You Are Procedurally Generated

Yup. You are.

I often think about what the limits of procedural generation are. When you think of procedural generation in video games, the usual suspects are terrain maps, and 2D levels. Very rarely do professionals venture beyond those two categories, and when they do…

No Man’s Sky

21 Totally WTF Creatures From No Man's Sky | News | Comedy Central UK
A hideous, awkward, and gangly creature.

The results can be… questionable.

Many people might see a spectacle like the creature above and decidedly declare:

“Procedural generation doesn’t work!”.

But I would say that just because humans can’t do it (yet), that doesn’t mean it can’t be done at all.

My evidence? Earth.

Every creature on Earth is a product of procedural generation. The DNA in our cells is nothing but a set of instructions that is seeded (ha) with a random element during our conception. More specifically, during genetic recombination.

6. genetic recombination in prokaryotes

Genetic recombination randomizes our instructions in natures own attempt at experimentation. Nature just wants to flip a few switches and see if that works out.

Why would nature do that? Well, reproduction is law when it comes to evolution. My guess would be that creatures with a random number generator built into their DNA are more likely to develop beneficial mutations than those with static DNA. Thus, they’re more likely to reproduce.

It’s also very likely that evolution has fine tuned only a small percentage of our DNA to be randomized. If too much of our DNA is randomized, mutations could run amok and impede our reproductive fitness.

Something else that’s fun to consider, one of the many switches that nature flips during genetic recombination is likely the very switch that decides what percent of our DNA get’s randomized. How meta.

But all of this is just to say that every creature is a piece of procedurally generated content, just not one that’s built by any algorithm devised by humans. No human could ever match the beauty and majesty that nature is capable of when it procedurally generates creatures.

Like these for example:

The maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is the largest canid in South  America. His marks resemble those of foxes, but he is not a fox or a wolf.  It is the only species
A hideous, awkward, and gangly creature.


Illustrator Sami Bayly finds key to conservation message in beauty of animal  'ugliness' - ABC News


The world's ugliest animals - in pictures | Environment | The Guardian


You know what, scratch all that.

Procedural generation doesn’t work.


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