Horizon Zero Dawn Will Use Procedural Tech To Create the Environment

Horizon Zero Dawn Will Use Procedural Tech To Create the Environment

In an interesting bit of technical development news, via Wccftech, Sony and Guerilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn will be using a GPU based procedural tech that dynamically creates the world around the player.


We can read more about in a description of a GDC session that Guerilla’s Senior Tech Programmer, Jaap van Muijden will be hosting next year at the conference:

Jaap van Muijden from Guerrilla Games will describe the GPU based procedural placement system that dynamically creates the world of ‘Horizon: Zero Dawn’ around the player. Not limited to just rocks and trees, the procedural system assembles fully-fledged environments while the player walks through them, complete with sounds, effects, wildlife and game-play elements. He will show the entire pipeline, from the graph editor where artists can define the procedural placement rules to the GPU algorithms that create a dense world around the player on the fly. He will demonstrate the power of this procedural approach by showing how painting in a tree line and redirecting roads can be just as easy as moving mountains and changing a desert into a tropical swamp.

As you can see from the session’s description, this goes beyond the procedural generation of rocks and trees. The system assembles the entire environment! So sounds, effects, wildlife and game-play elements are dynamically created as the player travels through the world, creating quite the living atmosphere as opposed to the scripted or static environmental elements we’re used to in open world games.

Color us intrigued. We already know what to expect visually from the game, so a peak under the hood like this hints at even more promising gameplay possibilities. Horizon Zero Dawn is releasing February 28th for the PS4 and is poised to be Sony’s next blockbuster exclusive.

Visit the Horizon Zero Dawn Wiki

More on Horizon Zero Dawn


Editor at Fextralife. I look for the substantial in gaming and I try to connect video games to the emotions and stories they elicit. I love all things culture and history and have an odd fondness for the planet Jupiter. I think my dogs are pretty awesome too.

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5 comments on “Horizon Zero Dawn Will Use Procedural Tech To Create the Environment”

  1. Avatar skarekrow13 says:


    Could be cool

  2. Avatar Fexelea says:

    I’ve generally been let down by procedurally generated environments in big games (Bloodborne’s Chalice Dungeons anyone?) – but I’m willing to give it a chance. I imagine this means the landscape will not have set loot and walkthroughs would be somewhat difficult to chart out. Enemy strategies it is then!

  3. Avatar HazamaOuroborous says:

    Huh, now that is interesting……I wonder how the randomisation will work, when there has to be a degree of permanence about the world and its layout for a story-driven game (as events will have to occur in specific locations).

  4. Avatar Lich180 says:

    It seems to me that they crafted the main structure of the game, then took the random-generation stuff and let it fill in the world, instead of hand placing every single tree.

    It’s an interesting application, at least.

  5. Avatar Nodos says:

    Interesting, interesting…..

    But this Procedural Tech, works for the New Game+ (considering it has, such an option) ?

    For example if i wish to play it again, the environment will be the same as before, so i will know what to expect, or will it have a touch of

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