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I'm trying to create a Random World Generator.

To create this, I need to be able to generate geological structures like mountains, volcanoes, etc. What rules (i.e.: min 200 miles between 2 islands) should there be for this generation?

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    $\begingroup$ Nothing as simple. Depends how realistic you want it to be. If you want something that looks believable at first glance, all you need is some 2d fractals + noise. If you want it geologically accurate, you need to define tectonics and volcanoes first, then erosion, and then calculate from that. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Mar 8 '17 at 8:28
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    $\begingroup$ which is the granularity you want to implement? Is the smallest feature you can design at planet level, continent level, region level or 1 meter detail level? $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Mar 8 '17 at 10:18
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    $\begingroup$ This is a good question, and very pertinent to Worldbuilding. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Mar 8 '17 at 12:56
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    $\begingroup$ While i do like the question, i think it's currently too broad to properly answer. Could you try to narrow it down a little, and provide more details (how detailed you want to generate it, how realistic, etc.)? $\endgroup$ – Daniel M. Mar 8 '17 at 13:22
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    $\begingroup$ I would love to see more procedural generation on WB SE. It is used extensively in world, history and biome building in computer games. $\endgroup$ – Abulafia Mar 8 '17 at 13:32
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Your question puts the cart before the horse. We can't give you any advice because we know nothing about the mechanics of your world.

  • Volcanoes are decorative Put them anywhere you want.
  • Volcanoes are dangerous They will act as barriers and obstacles. Players must avoid them.
  • Volcanoes are where the treasure is hidden Players will need to locate and explore the volcanoes.
  • Volcanoes cycle between active and dormant Volcanic ash makes rich soil for farming, but when they erupt watch out!
  • Volcanoes serve no function in game play Don't put volcanoes in your game.

Similarly, whether an island is 200 miles away or 2 miles away makes a huge difference if your character must swim (or paddle a canoe) to get there, or if he must fly a bomber with only 300-mile range of fuel.

Consider the 4 game worlds in these photos. How will the terrain effect game play? Does the terrain become harder in advanced levels?

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

The main design rule for ALL games is to build the mechanics of gameplay first. Since your terrain is procedural there is no reason it should be randomly generated all at once before the game even starts, or based deterministically on real world geodata. You'd be putting resources into a dynamic game mechanic that the player cannot influence.

Read up on the "communication cycle" and the "feedback loop" in games. The exact number of volcanoes should be a variable that evolves dynamically with your game, otherwise what is the point of procedural generation if the world is always more or less the same, just rearranged? Change your terrain in lock-step with the skill of your player. If the game is too easy, add more swamp to slow him down, etc.

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    $\begingroup$ At the moment of posting this, there was no mention in the question that OP is creating a game. Maybe unfortunate use of the word "game" in the title mislead you? Because it seems to me you are not answering the question that was actually asked. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Mar 8 '17 at 14:16
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    $\begingroup$ True. It may be a "vista simulator" that creates pastoral paintings. Nevertheless without understanding the mechanics and goals, we can give no specific advice. The #1 rule is still to define the necessary mechanics before randomly assigning numbers to arbitrary parameters. $\endgroup$ – wetcircuit Mar 8 '17 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ And because it was not specified, I voted to put the question on hold. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Mar 8 '17 at 14:47
  • $\begingroup$ No argument from me. Are you asking me to delete my answer? $\endgroup$ – wetcircuit Mar 8 '17 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ Not yet - but when OP will provide details we asked, please update your answer to match them, or delete if it no longer fits, OK? $\endgroup$ – Mołot Mar 8 '17 at 14:52

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