Mark Johnson is the developer of Ultima Ratio Regum [official site], an ANSI 4X roguelike in which the use of procedural generation extends beyond the creation of landscapes and dungeons to also dynamically create cultures, practices, social norms, rituals, beliefs, concepts, and myths. This is the second in a four part series examining what generating this kind of social detail can bring to games.
As I enter the city centre, I find myself confronted by the massive edifice of the Cathedral of Urrothek, the Bleak Mouth of the Desert. Its architecture is reminiscent of the religion’s chapels I have seen throughout the land, but on a far grander scale. A detailed garden of plants and stones is laid out in a geometric pattern beyond the many double-doors leading inside, through which pilgrims continually pass. Traversing these doors myself, I see reflecting pools glittering, incense holders etched with unique designs, a number of twisted and unsettling altars dedicated to Urrothek, priests in Urrothek’s religious garments walking about the building, tables and desks with scribes hard at study, and an iron gate, set back into a wall behind the altars, leading to the crypt below in which the most faithful of Urrothek’s holy knights rest.
And all of this, of course, was procedurally generated.