The Procedural Generation Jam 2016 ended today, giving amateur and professional designers a chance to create some organized chaos. From endless shooters to infinite meadows, ‘Proc Jam’ offers plenty of variety.
There were two ways to participate in Proc Jam. The first is straight forward: make a game with procedurally generated elements. This means having games that algorithmically create content. Landscape, art, monsters. Whatever. The other option was to create something that helps people make things. The event lasted for nine days, starting on November 4th. You can view all entries here.
There were a few prominent themes that emerged. The first was a focus on space and building worlds. Many games had generated landscapes or shifting locals. A Place to Wander offers endless meadows while Silent Crossing opted for dark, gothic villages. Some games paired their worlds with music to create mood. Road Trip allows players to ride endlessly across a generated world while soothing vaporwave plays in the background.
These explorations games feel surprisingly intimate and meditative. Smaller games like Trash Tree or Your Personal Archipel turn inwards to focus on tree or scaled down landscapes in order to highlight the process of procedural generation. Regardless of the world’s size, there’s plenty of space to explore. Relax and wander for a while.
Another trend was endless play. Minimalist graphics encouraged retro throwbacks. The Green Legion is a tight and fun bullet hell shooter that feels like it leapt out of an arcade. Quadrilateral Cowboy developer Blendo Games made a procedural RPG called Acre 6. Games like Proc Skater 2016 created unique playgrounds to goof around in.
From text adventures to rogue-likes and more, Proc Jam had a wonderfully sly sense of play. You can run through mazes or explore Zelda-like dungeons for days if you want. There’s always another adventure waiting for you.
The jam was also just weird. Really, really weird. god is a ghost drops players in a cold city full of inhabitants who meditate on the nature of the divine. You cut open monsters and sell their guts in De daemonici corporis fabrica. Furniture bounces about in a joyous rave in Prop Party 2k16.
These titles are just a small sample of what Proc Jam 2016 offers. In all, it’s pretty neat to see what can be done with some enthusiasm and algorithms. With boundless worlds and regenerating oddities, Proc Jam’s games are wellsprings of creativity and fun.