I was wondering if anyone can point me in the direction of some research papers, or articles that describe a method for generating biological 3D models.

I am drafting a prototype for a new game that would feature a near infinite number of creatures.

I have laid out 2 possible types of procedural generation, the first is more complicated but more desirable.

1st idea Each of these creatures should be entirely generated from a set of rules, for example:

  • Locomotion type = legged, limbless, rolling
  • Number of legs
  • Number of arms

2nd idea A base template is used with parameters that modify the overal appearance of the final creature

I realise its an incredibly complicated topic, I've also realised theres a severe lack of resources on the subject - it seems to be extremely cutting edge.

For reference, they achieve something similar in this demo of No Man's Sky https://youtu.be/K0umGtw90Z4?t=96 (thats if its not just staged)

I found the following paper: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00371-018-1589-4 but am yet to pay the subscription fee in order to access it - if anyone has read it, I would love to hear if you think it would help me out.

And this also seems like a valuable resource https://nccastaff.bournemouth.ac.uk/jmacey/MastersProjects/MSc13/06/Jon%20Hudson%20Thesis.pdf

If anyone has any experience with this subject , I would love to pick your brain.


  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to this community :) . Asking for off-site resources is off-topic here (and a lot of other SE sites). Consider reformulating your question in a way that it can be answered clearly and fact-based so that it is more on topic here. Maybe focus on the "how to do xyz" aspects that are unclear to you. $\endgroup$
    – wychmaster
    Jul 21, 2020 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ @wychmaster I appreciate that, but at the current time I am unable to formulate my question in such a way. I would require off-site resources in order to begin my learning process. Feel free to close the question if its inappropriate. $\endgroup$ Jul 22, 2020 at 10:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hi Daniel, yours seems like a perfectly acceptible question to me and I'd expect it'd be quite reasonable for answers to include "off-site" information. (Further, IMO, always expecting people to write"on-site" answers for questions that might require multiple pages, is just unrealistic) $\endgroup$
    – Simon F
    Jul 23, 2020 at 8:22
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @SimonF Don't get me wrong here. I don't see the question as totally off-topic, neither do I think that "off-site" resources shouldn't be allowed. I also think that it can be made "valid" by focussing more on the "What are the known methods" part. That's why I asked the OP for an edit. However, as it currently stands and as I read it, the question is too open for "link-only" answers and opinions, even though I think the accepted one is good. In the end, it's a community decision and I cast my (close) vote. I don't want to be dogmatic about the "rules", just wanted to provide some guidance. :) $\endgroup$
    – wychmaster
    Jul 23, 2020 at 10:43

1 Answer 1


I am playing with L-Systems and with some thorough understanding of how they work I think you could manage to get something useful out of them. You can see Paul Bourke's site for a sneak peek of what they do and you can read the book The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants by Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz and Aristid Lindenmayer. I am going to try and explain what L-Systems do in case the links die, L-Systems are a way of creating simple rules that define the topology of plants/organisms/fractals by simple axioms, this axioms can be rewritten in terms of other rules that can create incredibly organic behaviours, originally this systems were abstract in the sense that they lacked geometric meaning, but over the years people have figured out how to transform this topologies into geometry through interpreting the rules as "directions" much like turtle graphics. I have seen this systems replace basic geometric rules such as "draw a line between two points" into create a complex building with "A or C characteristics" so I think you could define your interpreter in terms of biologically accurate creatures.

  • $\begingroup$ This sounds extremely promising. Thank you! I will definetly read that book, it sounds very interesting $\endgroup$ Jul 22, 2020 at 10:24

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