When I was young and learning to program, I was fascinated by the possibility of creating things that could live inside my monitor. I had the same feeling when I started to play with procedural content generation, which is to find the rules behind a phenomenon, encode them in an algorithm, and use that algorithm to create something virtual, but realistic — a plausible simulation.
Typically, you can give a seed or some initial parameters to a procedural content generation algorithm, and get some result. You could generate the landscape of a city, the shape of a tree or an entire world.
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