Perlin noise is a useful technique to be aware of when making games. It’s useful for creating apparently random ‘noise’, which is restricted to a range of numbers. Some potential uses in games are:
- Make a random looking heightmap of a mountainous area, without going outside certain bounds.
- Create the jagged line for a lightning bolt between two exact points.
- Apply a subtle random wander to the game camera to make it look like the camera is hand held, while still pointing generally at the target.
- Create a tiling plasma texture.
Perlin noise works by starting with a straight line and recursively bisecting it. Each bisection point is shifted some random amount from it’s initial position. Each recursion can specify a different range from the random offset. By varying the level of recursion and the shift range for the different recursion depths, you can get a range of different types of shape.
Actually, the above is just my simple/para-phrased understanding of Perlin. Here’s a better page which really goes into it in depth.