Procedurally-generated British countryside

Developer Big Robot is making an open-world game named Sir, You Are Being Hunted, for which it is required that swathes of convincing British countryside be generated on-the-fly.

I’ve worked on a number of procedural world generation tools before, but this particular engine is unique in that the intention was to generate a vision of “British countryside”, or an approximation thereof. To approach this we identified a number of features in the countryside that typify the aesthetic we wanted, and seem to be quintessential in British rural environments. Possibly the most important element is the ‘patchwork quilt’ arrangement of agricultural land, where polygonal fields are divided by drystone walls and hedgerows. These form recognisable patterns that gently rise and fall across the rolling open countryside, enclosing crops, meadows, livestock and woodlands. This patchwork of different environmental textures is something that is very stereotypically part of the British landscape. I looked for a mathematical equivalent we could use to simulate this effect and quite quickly decided upon using Voronoi diagrams.

I feel compelled to offer this aerial photograph of Sark, by Phillip Capper (cc), which always looked to me like someone just plopped a gigantic SIGGRAPH paper in the middle of the sea.


  1. Aw, I read it as ‘Sir, you are being haunted’.
    That would be a much better game :(

  2. Otherland by Tad Williams had this nightmarish part where a British soldier is trapped in an endless simulation of trench warfare of WW1.

    Guess we’re not far off.

  3. “Everything is better with Voronoi” sounds like a vintage liquor ad.

    Regarding the game, if it has a proper single-player mode I’m completely sold.

  4. perhaps the remnants of a flooded future Britain

    Hmmm…. is ‘Riddley Walker- the game’ next?

  5. i just came back from filming a folk festival in Sark. it’s a very beautiful place. 

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