Hey, These Procedural Trees Are Cool


Friday afternoon is as good a time as any to ask: fancy seeing some cool trees?

I’ve got some cool procedurally-generated trees to show you.

You want to see some realistic 3D trees with dynamic fruit and falling-to-pieces? I can show you those.

Fancy some eerie neon pixeltrees which mmmay be sentient? I’ve got those too.

Lots of good trees today, my friend.

Let’s start with S. Krezel’s Dynamic Tree & Plant Generator for Unreal Engine 4.

You see that? Shockwave reaction. Tree chopping. Dynamic vines and fruits! Look at that cheeky shower of fruit. Look at those oranges which hang tough. This dynamic fruit is dedicated. Fruitaku would flip.

It’s just tech, of course, not part of any game – yet? – but it’s still quite pleasant to watch. I suppose you could buy it for fifty quid and just fiddle with trees yourself if you really wanted to. The similar SpeedTree is used in loads of games, of course, but can’t we appreciate all trees and their fruits?

Oh, but isn’t this tree from Rémy Devaux delightful?

That’s made in PICO-8, Lexaloffle’s imaginary console.

If you like that tree, you’ll love Devaux’s walk in FOREST.GIF. I shan’t show any of that here. Go on. Be brave. You’ll be fine.

Back already? It’s great, isn’t it? I like how the trees move almost… insectile? Skittering.

If you want to see how FOREST.GIF’s trees were made, Devaux has uploaded the PICO-8 doodad used to make the forest, so you can generate glowtrees to your heart’s content.

Other varieties of imaginary trees are available, of course, all fancy in their own way. These two passed before my eyes this week and I wanted to share them with you. Good trees. Are there are any trees you might fancy sharing with everyone today?


Top comments

  1. DellyWelly says:

    Here is one of my procedural trees, from my twitter feed, with bonus procedural crazy paving.

  1. jon_hill987 says:

    Those are the floppiest trees I have ever seen.

  2. Blowfeld81 says:

    I want these in the next Elder Scrolls game.

    Notable: Forget philosophy. Login just proved my humanity by pressing 7. Nice

  3. DellyWelly says:

    Here is one of my procedural trees, from my twitter feed, with bonus procedural crazy paving.


    • Czrly says:

      Do you have references on the algorithms? I’ve been wanting to do procedural trees for my game but haven’t started researching the field.

      • DellyWelly says:

        I’m using Unity and after a bit of research, i got results from this quickly. It took a bit of modification to change it to a procgen script rather than an editor script, but nothing too advanced. I added the leaves and other bits and bobs myself.

    • Headwired says:

      That crazy paving looks fairly stable to me

    • benkc says:

      That paving is fantastic!

  4. poliovaccine says:

    Good trees indeed.. interesting category to pull from the abstract, and the enthusiasm gives me an Agent Cooper vibe which I obviously find charming. Though sadly I have no trees of my own to share… but for real, was there a “procedural tree tech jam” or something I didn’t know about? Are procedural trees some kind of new ubiquity for animators/programmers/whoever’s responsible for their creation? Is it an old ubiquity? Why do they exist onhand? What I mean to say is, how exactly did the concept of this article come about? Btw if I seem like I’m implying anything I’m not, I am wondering in earnest here.. the category itself confuses me..

  5. SlimShanks says:

    I do love me a good tech video. That said, this seems a whole lot like Speedtree, just slightly fancier. I wonder how many people realize that a single program created the vast majority of all the trees we have seen in games in the last decade? I mean, Oblivion and The Witcher 3 both use Speedtree…

  6. brucethemoose says:

    Something something No Man’s Sky procedural generation, something something.

  7. Chillicothe says:

    This is something that I’m glad is being worked on off to the side. You can tell when people who don’t “see” foliage and how it goes about its thing when its put to code so this is great.

  8. TheSplund says:

    This takes me back to my roots(couldn’t resist it). Actually I remember many years ago pondering the mathematics of trees and was intrigued by the various random trees that early landscape generators used (I did consider this branch (sorry) of computing as part of my, never finished, degree). I’ve had a quick look around and have found this archived thread for tree[d]
    link to web.archive.org
    and also this:
    link to arbaro.sourceforge.net
    which has a link to a paper on the algorithms behind tree generation.
    Something else has cought my eye:
    link to flora3d.net
    for a demo, though the full version isn’t free

  9. rexterror says:

    Dynamic Tree & Plant Generator could be used to make a really satisfying lumberjacking game. You could chop down trees, skip and jump, and go to the lavatory.

    • pepperfez says:

      Procedurally generated women’s clothing or I’m not interested.

  10. Dan Stubbs says:

    Not as pretty as these or DellyWelly’s, but here’s a shot of my trees so far.

    link to i.imgur.com

    I’m using a form of ‘space-colonisation’, which involves seeding a volume with points and connecting them to make the branches. The advantage of this system is that I can use my voxel city systems to occlude areas so trees will be able to grow around, and through buildings. They’re also made from voxel volumes, so damage will at least be semi-realistic (and topiary may also be a possibility).

  11. DelrueOfDetroit says:

    Has RPS ever done any articles on Pico-8? Tried searching but none came up. Would love to see a roundup of its best programs or perhaps an interview with the people who make them.

  12. MrDowntempo says:

    I recently played through Slayer Shock, which is a very procedural game. It looked like it only had one tree model though, and one that didn’t vary at all. The fact that the trees weren’t procedural as well felt like a missed opportunity, and something that might’ve helped their bad visuals. Oh well. Still had a lot of fun with it!

  13. haowan says:

    Nice trees

  14. R4_Unit says:

    I’m not very good at self promotion, but I think if you enjoyed this list, you’ll probably like my Twitter bot . Paints a new little painting a few times a day with plenty of procedural trees (even procedural tree species!).