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What's In A Name?

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Ya gotta love procedural development. I just finished randomly generating more than 10,000 starship names. And not the kind of crap gobbledy-gook names you tend to get from Markov lists, either! Examples include "Maiden's Dream," "Queen of the Heavens," "Titian Tiger", "Nightwind" and "Eastern Thunder." The names have weights, as well, which assigns them a greater chance of belonging to pirates, bounty hunters, freelance independents or even romantic cruise ships (like "Empress of Love").

This adds to the 2,000+ handcrafted starship names I've already created (and don't ask how long THAT took! [grin])

I started this side project, btw, because of how Escape Velocity, Freelancer and Independence War made me feel every time I ran into the same few ship names. I don't know if it bothers you as much as it bothers me, but when I'm told a dozen times in a row to hunt down "The Black Dragon" it loudly reminds me that I'm playing a game.

Anyways, there's more to tell, but I'm too sleepy for a more extensive update. More later...
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Procedural text generation is one of those things that I'd really like to have the time to get properly obsessed with. Unfortunately, because of localization demands, I don't get to play with it much at Egosoft, but I do appreciate the challenges of coming up with coherent and unique content in large quantities. There's something uniquely annoying about limited ship/place/person names, and frankly, considering we're in the year 2006, you'd think more effort would have been spent on fixing that particular problem. Heck, Elite got it right, and that was nearly two decades ago.

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In a nutshell (or maybe some links), how does one perform this random generation of names? I will eventually like to add similar capabilities to my own work.

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