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The focus of this survey is on research in applying evolutionary and other metaheuristic search algorithms to automatically generating content for games, both digital and nondigital (such as board games). The term search-based procedural content generation is proposed as the name for this emerging field, which at present is growing quickly. A taxonomy for procedural content generation is devised, centering on what kind of content is generated, how the content is represented and how the quality/fitness of the content is evaluated; search-based procedural content generation in particular is situated within this taxonomy. This article also contains a survey of all published papers known to the authors in which game content is generated through search or optimisation, and ends with an overview of important open research problems.