A handful of approaches have been previously proposed to generate procedurally virtual forestry for virtual worlds and computer games, including plant growth models and point distribution methods. However, there has been no evaluation to date which assesses how effective these algorithms are at modelling real-world phenomena. In this paper, we tackle this issue by evaluating three algorithms used in the generation of virtual forests—a randomly uniform point distribution method (control), a plant competition model, and an iterative random point distribution technique. Our results show that a plant competition model generated more believable content when viewed from an aerial perspective. Interestingly, however, we also found that a randomly uniform point distribution method produced forestry which was rated higher in playability and photorealism, when viewed from a first-person perspective. We conclude that the objective of the game designer is important to consider when selecting an algorithm to generate forestry, as the algorithms produce forestry that is perceived differently.
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