random.h

random.h is a header only random number generation library for games, image processing and procedural content generation.

A few years back I wrote some handy floating point random number generation routines for a raytracer.  Time and again, I have needed these routines for other programs I have been working on.  It seems like a good idea to wrap them up in a small header and release them in the public domain for others to use too.

Each RNG function takes an 64bit integer as a seed value and permutes it in place.  The resulting bits are used for the generation of the result.  I like this design as it keeps the RNG functions stateless and thread safe.  You just have to keep track of the uint64_t you have been using as your RNG stream.

Included are various 1, 2 and 3 dimentional random number generators with a range of different distributions.

Triangular random noise is very usefull when dithering audio and images during the process of bitdepth conversion.  Typicaly, triangular noise is added to the signal immediately before type casting (at the same magnitude as the LSB of the destination bit depth).

The 2d and 3d vector RNG functions generate statisticaly unbiased vectors inside and on the unit circle or sphere (Generating vectors by randomizing the components and normalizing would bias the vector to the corners of unit cube).  I have used these functions successfully in the past for generating ambient occlusion maps.

I wrote a little program to generate some images to display the output distribution of each function.  A 3d point is generated by filling its component from the RNG function under test, and the resulting point is projected in space, as well as projected on each component axis (the red, blue and green planes).  Hopefully the images help a little to convey the distribution of each function.

Again, you can find the library here:
random.h

randfu() - unsigned random 
range [0,1]

randfu_2

randfs() - signed random 
range [-1,+1]

randfs_2

trandfs() - triangular random 
range[-1,+1], tends to 0

trandfs_2

grandfs() - gaussian random 
range ~[-1,+1], tends to 0

grandfs_2

vrand3d() - 3d vector random 
magnitude range: [0, 1]

vrand3d_2

nvrand3d() - normalized 3d vector random 
magnitude = 1

nvrand3d_2

vrand2d() - 2d vector random
magnitude range: [0,1]

vrand2d_2

nvrand2d() - normalized 2d vector random
magnitude = 1

nvrand2d_2

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Fuzzy Compression

fuzzy_compressor

I recenty programmed a very strange and almost worthless image compressor for fun.

The image on the left is 230400 bytes and when reduced to greyscale takes up 76800 bytes.  The image on the right was reconstructed from 3072 bytes… thats 4% of the original size.  The compression time was somewhere in the region of an hour running on a single core.  It is very very lossy.

The process is fairly cool however.  The compressed image is reconstructed by performing 512 random walks over the screen, each leaving a pixel trail behind.  If the start locations and random number seeds for each random walk is computed correctly then the final result can be trained to produce any desired image.  The training I used for this demo was a very basic genetic algorythm / progressive refinement technique.  I imagine if left to its own devices to learn for a few days, the output image could look much cleaner, but I dont have that kind of patience.

The concept has been done before and much better:

see here: http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=62917

It seems the creator of this demo managed to fit that into 256 bytes including the unpacker.  Here are some of the things he says about his demo:

There are 64 pseudo random brush strokes of cycling color. Each stroke is shorter than previous to increase details. Intro code generates set of random numbers starting from initial 32bit seed with Galois LFSRs as a PRNG. This set is used to control direction of brush movement and and starting position. Each stroke has initial 16bit value that influences the seed. Therefore data is 4 bytes (initial seed) + 64*2 bytes of stroke PRNG seeds. Picture of Mona Lisa (3072 bytes) was compressed to those random brush strokes by external optimization program (a few days of work for modern CPU/GPU combo). The process can be seen as lossy compression (23x) of picture into random brush movements.

The seeds were found with iterative brute-force approach. Each brush stroke is a layer which covers the previous one, therefore is mostly independent in calculations. For each layer there is a 16bit seed to be found that generates the best picture possible. Therefore there are 64 layers * 65536 possible values per layer and the program iterates through all of them (4 million of combinations – acceptable). This should be done for each initial 32bit seed (means *4 billion combinations) but can be performed in parallel. I’ve checked only a few thousands of randomly chosen initial seeds to find a nice looking picture. Details mask had to be used to multiply difference error on critical parts of the picture (eyes, nose, mouth). Otherwise too many details were put in the background.

Space Invader Generator

Image

I read about a very interesting technique some time ago. A method was proposed for generating a completely random set of low resolution space invader like creatures. The idea was extremely simple and elegant. The key to the technique is its use of symmetry, since the human mind likes to find form and meaning in symmetric things.

For my implementation I chose a size of 5×5 pixels for my invaders and a line of symmetry down the middle. More specifically, the first three pixels of each row are random, and the last two are mirrors of the first two. For this technique I implemented my own pseudo random number generator using a linear feedback shift register technique. The color of each of the invaders shown corresponds to the seed of the random number generator when it was formed. This seed could be used to re-generate any space invader, but this implementation does not support this currently since the seed is 32bits wide and a colour is clearly 3x8bits or 24bits.

The code can be found here:

http://pastebin.com/223eTMka

It would be great to add this to a game like geometry wars and have all of your enemies procedurally generated, from their visuals down to their abilities. The scope for using this in a retro computer game seem really endless.