Interview with Oleg Dolya of Medieval Fantasy City Generator

"When I see a generator with interesting output (maps, NPCs names, dungeons - anything) I immediately start thinking about how it could be used in a video game. Sometimes it makes me start writing a game."

An interview with Oleg Dolya of Medieval Fantasy City Generator

Oleg Dolya talking about Map Generators

How did you get into creating random generators?

Procedurally generated maps were one of the first things I tried when learned to code as a kid (it was VERY long time ago). Of course, back then I called them just "random maps".

About 2 years ago I discovered /r/proceduralgeneration and it has renewed my interest for the subject, but almost all my generators were created just for fun, not because I needed them for some practical purpose.

What generators are you most proud of creating and why?

I guess I have to be proud of Medieval Fantasy City Generator as it's pretty complex and apparently a lot of people find it useful.

In practice I'm more content with simpler generators (e.g. my recent Procgen Mansion) which have smaller scope, more compact algorithm idea and cleaner code.

Mansion generator

floorplan generator

What is the most fun thing about creating generators?

I really like when I have a small clever idea how to generate "something" and then surprisingly this idea works! Unfortunately it doesn't work this way every time, sometimes an idea seems clever only until I start to implement it in code...

What are the most painful lessons you've learnt from creating generators?

Creating generators is not very painful in general :)

Well, I have already mentioned "ideas" as the source of fun for me. The sad fact about them is that they work only to some extent.

To generate something procedurally you can either come up with a "trick" or build a complex simulation.

Inventing tricks is more satisfying, but less reliable. For this reason I prefer small generators - I don't like to test how far I can push an idea/trick until everything falls apart.

How do you use random generators yourself?

It's still hard for me to see random generators as self-sufficient applications.

When I see a generator with interesting output (maps, NPCs names, dungeons - anything) I immediately start thinking about how it could be used in a video game. Sometimes it makes me start writing a game. That's how I use generators.

Medieval Fantasy Map Generator

What are your next big projects (generators or otherwise) that you can talk about?

I keep updating the web version of MFCG, but in parallel I also work on the desktop version.

Besides general improvements I want to implement a lot of customizing and editing functions, so I hope it will be a "designer" no less than a "generator".

Where can people find you on social media?

My primary social network is Twitter (@watawatabou).

Recently I've started a subreddit dedicated to MFCG: /r/FantasyCities.

Is there anything else you would like to talk about?

My message for the readers...

...don't neglect mathematics, you'll never know when you need it :)