Wave Function Collapse

Algorithmic Aquarium: Watching Your World Come to Life

March 31, 2023 - Tommy Dräger

I recently took my Wave Function Collapse project (WFC-Tiles) to the next level, transitioning from simple 2D tiles to an engaging isometric 3D look. This new development gathered some attention on Twitter, with over 300 likes and 50 retweets. Inspired by the incredible work of Oscar Stalberg, I’ve created a browser-based editor that generates stunning isometric tile maps in pixel art style.

What is Wave Function Collapse?

Wave Function Collapse (WFC) is a procedural generation algorithm that produces complex patterns or layouts based on a set of constraints. Think of it like a puzzle where each piece can fit together in multiple ways, but only certain combinations are allowed. Originally, WFC was popularized by Maxim Gumin (mxgmn), and it has since start an avalanche in creativity among developers and artists alike.

If you want to fully understand it, I recommend to check out my other article and have a look at Martin Donald - Superpositions, Sudoku, the Wave Function Collapse algorithm.

Transition to Isometric 3D

In my latest project, I aimed to explore the potential of WFC with isometric tiles. Isometric perspective adds a pseudo-3D effect, making maps more visually appealing and providing depth. This approach also enhances the aesthetic value, making it suitable for pixel art-style games and applications. There is also another project of mine which is not yet published that will show the full potential with 3d meshes.


Click here to check out this simple example:


Key Features of My Isometric WFC Editor

  • Save Feature (not public)
  • Load Feature (not public)
  • Reset
  • Random Generate your World
  • Automatic finish your World
  • Manually set and replace Tiles
  • Funny little Animation
  • One Secret hidden Feature


This project was definitely one of the most satisfying experience for me! It satisfied my wish to really "create" my own microcosmos. I could spend hours generating new worlds and watching the inhabitants doing their thing. I don't know if this in the German DNA, but my father also likes this project. Growing up with German games like Anno and the Settlers really shaped a whole generation^^. Stay tuned for more updates and enhancements as I continue to develop this project!