See the entire conversation

I love maps & their promise of fractal discovery. I love procedural generation and the aesthetics of the unauthored. Where do these two loves intersect? Generated maps. I am the procgen map admirer. These are my favorite map generators and the folks who create them. πŸ‘‡THREADπŸ‘‡
225 replies and sub-replies as of Apr 05 2018

To start with, you can't talk about map generation and not mention @redblobgames. His HTML5 generator is the gold standard.
The quantization of the map into hexes. The beautiful terrain iconography. They partition the gestalt into something explorable in discrete steps, one story at a time.
's generator's pencil sketch style (which was stumbled upon accidentally) produces the most visually stunning generated maps I've seen.
And here's his wonderful blog post about map generation.…
Really just check out his whole blog.
Next: the continents of Dwarf Fortress (@Bay12Games) were the first generated maps that truly blew me away. They're the most artful use of ASCII I've seen and the biggest influence on the visual style of Caves of Qud.
The rich ANSI greens evoke unbounded lushness. The landmasses teem with jungles that ride right up to the coasts. These are wild, untamed worlds.
Next up is the amazing work of @mewo2. Here's his fantasy mapmaking bot that reproduces the whole atlas aesthetic.
Those imaginary place names are abnormally good, right? Martin wrote a generator that produces names from a consistent set of generated morphemes.
A "real" fake map aside: as research for @unchartedatlas, Martin collected maps from across fantasy and science fiction and made a bot that tweets them out every couple hours.
Now we get to city maps and @mewo2's equally stunning @metropologeny. I love how tiny neighborhoods of rectangular order are concatenated along the sinuous paths of nature.
Let's do more city maps. How about @watawatabou's crisp, clean medieval fantasy city generator. I love the sense of urban concentration these produce.
His interactive generator is the best I've seen. It feels like playing a city simulator.…
Of course Oleg built a 3D visualizer for his medieval cities. Of course it's just as stunning.
We're back to the world-scale and @Enichan's generated pixel continents for her game Shards of Immortality. I dig the use of lighter blue to indicate shallow coastal waters.
's pixel maps really illustrate the allure of fractal discovery. Like: I want to learn about the politics of the prosperous river kingdoms in <img1>, but I also want to read about sheep lineages on the island meadow of <img2>.
's generated islands almost look like meteorological maps. I haven't seen another generator that imparts such a sense of dynamism.
Here's the (open-source) generator with height, temperature, and rainfall sliders.…
Finally, I want to shout out @GridSageGames and the research he did for Cogmind's map tech. There's a certain juxtaposition of order and chaos that emerges from long-lived human edifices, and these maps really nail it.
Josh also uses cellular automata to produce natural, cavern-like maps, which envelop the more ordered spaces.
That's it! That's all the procgen map admirer has to share... for now. Reply with your favorite map generators and creators and I'll rt them.
Really amazing stuff here
I’ve really enjoyed watching the progress of @delacian’s procedural world and city generator…
I've ported my procedural city generator to @UnrealEngine! #gamedev #ue4 #screenshotsaturday
I loved this thread so much, thank you thank you thank you
Came for Dwarf Fortress, found a bunch of other great creators as well! Thanks!
Welp, this is it. My favorite thread on Twitter, ever. Thank you so much.
I recently created a command-line tool that generates continious planet textures. It's still in pretty early changes, but I might add things like rivers and GUI.
gaia - Gaia generates cool random planet textures.
We made a game called 4ever transit authority that generates a nice city to ride a bus through. You might like it!
We (@clockworkgiant) spent a lot of time making our generated world map look as good as possible
Working on the world generation map! What do you think? #screenshotsaturday #gamedev #indiedev #lowpoly #gaming #map
I work on procedural world building as my hobby. Thanks for writing up with a great list. :D Obligatory plug for my own infinite map that I'm working on (which comes with an explanation of the algorithm)
MistDominion WorldGenerator by KaynSD
Procedural WorldBuilder that creates a fully traversable world as you explore it, to be used in Project MistDominion. Available to play online
did you see Big Robot's 'British Countryside Generator' for their release 'Sir, You Are Being Hunted'? It's loverly.…
I'd played the game but hadn't seen this writeup. thanks for linking.
Gaia for Unity is amazing
I'm working on a map generator with a geological model - the WiP version runs a few million years of erosion:
Must. Have. This.
Please turn this into a blog post I can save somewhere!
The game Powerhouse, from 1995, had a random world generator that was significantly more primitive. (Disclaimer: they only gave me a week to write it!) This was the only screenshot I could find online, alas. (Note top right of image.) #procedural #algorithmic #art #map
I don't know if this qualifies as a "map", but it's totally procedural!
BTW - this was such an awesome thread! Thank you for sharing!
For entire planets/globe makers: Map To Globe and PlanetMaker
neat! I knew of about 4, but the rest were new to me!
This thread is artful in its own way too! For @RisingReignGame, I'm working on a planet builder that uses cellular automata to model the interaction of the asthenosphere and the lithosphere. @Bay12Games and @GalaxyKate helped me think it through at #GDC17.…
Our work on plate tectonics is almost done! Here's some examples of our progress: (Presented normally) (Presented with Peirce quincuncial projection -…) Let us know what you think! 3D coming soon. #procgen
Thank you for compiling this list!!! Great inspiration🐱
I think the aptly-named @Fantasticmaps deserves a mention for some lovely maps…
A town on a river. There’s a mill on the waterfall, the quarry, and a host of other featured buildings. I’m still in the fence on whether the cliffs make this easy or hard to defend. Thoughts? How would you invade? Available on rpgnow:…
The least I could do! Your maps have helped inspire me when I'm world-building for my writing. I'm sure there are plenty of others that will feel that same spark
Then I’m doing what I intended. Great!
I don't know of any map generators, but I did draw this fantasy map a while back. What do you think?
Wow I never realized how much I like this stuff??? I guess this explains why I used to start tons of new worlds in minecraft all the time just to explore the maps without ever really actually playing
check out this thread.
Oh my God there goes productivity for the day. 😭
Great thread, thank-you!
Thanks for this thread, great read and super interesting!
The fractal world generator (and the random dungeon generators!!) are FANTASTIC!! Check them out:
Do you have any resources on how to create maybe simpler versions of the cities? I actually really love this type of work and would love to read more into the workings behind the generation!
Brilliant! Thank you ☺️
I made a cave map editor based off the cellular automata article you referenced above, it's mostly for tabletop games like D&D.
Map Generator by MatthewTarbutton
A tool for generating cave like maps. Available for Windows
My little C library for height maps has a web demo that not only generates terrain but also renders it with ambient occlusion (click "Colors & Lighting")
heman's terrain generation API includes some interesting functions, like a directable archipelago generator:…
What a wonderful thread.
Dunno if anyone else mentioned it yet, but @TynanSylvester map generator for Rimworld is pretty ace imo. Check it out if you haven't already!
I feel like you'd be into @IanHardingham's Frozen Synapse 2 with their city map generator
Much oblidged for the thread. I had been looking for map+city gens to help flesh out the less central places in the world of the book Im writing
a simple midpoint displacement implementation in js:
WorldEngine at completely open source and free
The site is down :(
Oh thanks for the shoutout, Jason, I've been following your thread this morning--it's wonderful and has a few I haven't seen before :D (note that a couple of those images from my blog there are by other devs! properly sourced in the articles of course)
Ah good to know! Hopefully the credit bubbles up (or down) correctly.
This is great, imagine all the D&D world building possibilities
This is a new one for me. It looks incredible!
Thank you for the shoutout! :)
Where we droppin boys
I think I need to subscribe to this thread.
thanks! :D got some nice follows out of this one
Ahhh so awesome! I've tried something like this but I'm still very unexperienced with random-yet-nice-looking generation, want to add deserts, rivers, and altitude (so would have snowy mountains :-)
Also this one that looks like the internal district subdivisions of a country :-)
Yes! @FoxBuchele used this for our #dnd campaigns city map, it's ace
Honoured to be in this list :)
No collection of random cityscapes is complete without Substrate, though it's more abstract.…
I always imagine that somewhere in the infinite multiverse some place looks exactly like this.
I have been a patron of dwarf fortress for a long time!
As soon as I saw the first pic I knew what this was. An incredible game...well. More than a game. A universe.
I absolutely love the look df maps give. It gets me excited to play everytime
You can export heightmaps as well as lots of different types of climate maps, and then if you put them together in Blender...
This is my favorite world I've ever generated in Dwarf Fortress.
Did you rent the Sunway TaihuLight for a month and just let it loose?
I'm pretty sure I used the largest world size available, specifically because that was the only way to get decent river systems to generate.
Well, it is pretty beautiful. I wish I could figure out how to generate maps without an infection, but sadly I no longer have the time for DF anyway :(
Like the end papers of a fantasy novel!
Where is the sketch style map gen? I can't see any links from the blog at all
How did you get to the pencil sketch style? Would love to take a look at it!
I never finished it but you can play with it here:…
Where is the sketch version of the generator? I can't seem to find it on the mapgen2 page.
I never finished it but you can play with it here:…
ooh a civilization 5-style map
This generator has more potential to serve the tabletop gaming community than any other I've seen. I'd kill for them to do one that outputs whole worlds instead of just islands. As a hobbyist world-builder, I'd pay money for that.
Thank you for sharing! I'd followed a couple of these already, but now I've found some new favorites - and even better, ways to keep supporting their work!
this is made for you.
oh lord, yes. I know of some of this work already but some of these creators are brand new to me. Thanks for tagging me in, D :)
"Aesthetics of the unauthored" is a very nice and cool concept. Loved it.
Wow, this is amazing! Is there anything like it for Civ 6 that you know of?
Thank you for this!!! These are very helpful tools for my world building!
Those are my idols. πŸ™Œ
please kindly unroll
I spent way too much time turning dwarf fortress maps into 3d textured maps. Now let me tell you about my new hobby: ESRI real world mapping techniques based on satellite heightmap scans and other data. Make fantasy maps out of real world maps (still mostly unlabeled):
I'm almost certain this is where I live. I wonder what kind of landmark the nuclear site would become.
I've never been there myself, but with all the manmade landmarks removed it had a ton of traditional fantasy personality in the landscape.
I had to be careful to use just the right resolution of lidar scan, otherwise bridges and buildings show up. I think there are still areas that show up looking manmade in-spite of my efforts. Here is another one I made for a sea adventure, was still messing with hex thickness:
you might like this thread.
Thank you!!!! This thread is great
You made me want to write a map generator.
did you see this? maybe it is of interest to you.
Excellently put together thread, many thanks!
absolutely everybody here did better than Firaxis smh
to be fair, firaxis is too busy spending its time not fixing multiplayer
Thank you for the amazing thread !
If you like these I bet you’d like the game dominions, it has great map generation. (Not the card game, there’s an unrelated computer game on steam)
I think all these posta will help fantasy writers to build up their worlds!
You really need a shout out to @DavidBFox for Rescue on Fractalus on this thread
terei muita diversão nos próximos dias HAHA
where we droppin boys?
For a long time I have a weird ambition to create an awesome world-generator. Something simulaitonist, probably based on celular automata. Now I brows through these links instead of work I should be doing, feeling as if I am at a library of great masters of a arcane craft :-D
This whole thread is extremely, extremely my shit. Thank you for pulling it together!
I love maps. They make my imagination run wild.
Wanted to point you to a couple of developers whose work you may find relevant. @ExUtumno, creator of the WaveFunctionCollapse library, and @OskSta, who applied used it for 3d terrain in a game.
WaveFunctionCollapse - Bitmap & tilemap generation from a single example with the help of ideas from quantum mechanics.
oh we use @ExUtumno's wonderful WFC in our game too
I think you will appreciate this codepen done by a co-worker of mine. I find it super fascinating.
Isometric map using Obelisk.js and NoiseJs
Generating a map/landscape using Obelisk.js and NoiseJs...
Thanks to most of the articles linked here (especially @GridSageGames for the cellular automata model and of course @redblobgames) an early version of the map generator used in the game I'm currently making runs directly in your browser at
Ooh very pretty maps! I see some vaguely familiar patterns in the automata :)
Thanks for publishing it! It's been a super useful technique I wasn't aware of previously that keeps coming in handy for different problems
As an example it's also what I use to expand the river outwards
Much of the best procgen of today is built on pieces of great info filtered down from the past and reworked :D
I never would've managed to get as far as I have without plenty of research into foundational work by others, just adding a fair number of new concepts along the way.
wow, perfect. thanks for linking.
Azgaar is doing some interesting stuff at, including a live map generator at…
This is real interesting. I like it!
Oh.. I'm a little in πŸ’– here. Thanks for posting this!
This is one of the coolest threads. Thanks for sharing!
You're likely aware but there's a subreddit for each of these things and they're fascinating. /r/mapmaking and /r/proceduralgen (I think that's them both, if not something similar
A nice thread which seems relevant to some of our historic shared interests
One of my favorites is also by @mewo2 : @emojiatlas
This thread is too much. Thank you.
Exploring the ways basic cellular automata rules can generate maps was my first foray into this endeavor. a fun and easy way to start.
Maybe/probably someone else has mentioned this but... ... also these maps created with Photoshop actions:
we need a generalized system that can take these maps and dump them into skyrim mods.
these maps are nice to look at but I want to wander among them, with also dragons.
I really like this one (original tweet here ) because it reminds me a bit of top-down zelda games and their maps.
Zooming in/out of the world map based on mouse position. Evil factions have seized shrines and camps; minor point of interest labels are only shown at lower zoom levels. #dividedkingdoms #proceduralgeneration #gamedev #madewithunity #roguelike #screenshotsaturday
If someone made a map generator that could spit out these beautifully organized "world dungeons", I'd eat my hat.…
Excellent thread, thank you! Definitely bookmarking some of these. Here's my favorite (probably already in your replies so apologies for spam).…
(No comment)
Do any of these map generators allow you to explicitly vary the 'fractality' of the maps? I might do some research on this!
Not sure what you mean by 'fractality' but the jagged vs smooth parameter on is an approximation of the fractal "persistence" parameter (…)
thanks! and sorry for being unclear/ambiguous. i had in mind 'degree of self-similarity', independent of -- jaggedness/smoothness. so perhaps not the same thing as persistence!
does this interest you too
it's really good stuff! i always feel a little like i want to go even Farther with such things sometimes though. it's just a silly pipe dream of course maybe some day
This was exactly what I needed today. Thank you so much for sharing!
Oh my god this is amazing 😍
this is such a lovely thread—thanks for doing this kind of curation and advocacy!
Just got fortnite, where we droppin'?
I‘ve been looking for ages for something like that
Very nice, thanks! One that was inspirational for me was a scientific planet generator by David Allen from 1990. It simulated continental drift, a climate and generated a planet from that. However Googling gave me no resources. Contact me if you want the source for Unix.
A map you never knew you needed
WTGF Uyou forgot Mine Craft. downvoted!
does fantastic proc gen work in general, especially maps, landscapes and towns.
Oh my. I haven't thought of that urban generation work they were doing in a long time.
I've managed to port @redblobgames's map generator into lua to make a nice little kid's adventure game on #Roblox
Anybody tried WorldEngine? "World generator using simulation of plates, rain shadow, erosion, etc."
worldengine - World generator using simulation of plates, rain shadow, erosion, etc.
Lovely thread, thank you! My contribution: I wrote this island generator several years back