A Super Tiny Random Number Generator

When I posted the last blog post about shuffling on the GameProgrammer.com mailing list, someone responded back with a super tiny random number generator that is actually pretty damn good. It is this:

x+=(x*x) | 5;

The high bit of X is the source of your random numbers, so if you want to generate an 8 bit random number, you have to call it 8 times. Apparently it passes a lot of tests for randomness really well and is a pretty high quality PRNG. Check this out for more info: http://www.woodmann.com/forum/showthread.php?3100-super-tiny-PRNG

You can start x at whatever you want, but it might take a few iterations to “warm up” especially if you start with a small seed (ie you may want to throw away the first 5-10 random bits it generates as they may not be that random). I adapted it into an example program below, along with some example output. I use time() to set the initial value of x.


// A super tiny prng
// http://www.woodmann.com/forum/showthread.php?3100-super-tiny-PRNG
unsigned int seed = 0;
unsigned int GenerateRandomBit()
	seed += (seed * seed) | 5;
	return seed & 0x80000000;

void GenerateRandom(T& value)
	memset(&value, 0, sizeof(T));
	const unsigned int numBits = sizeof(T) * 8;
	unsigned int* dataPointer = (unsigned int *)&value;
	for (unsigned int index = 0; index < numBits; ++index)
		if(GenerateRandomBit()) {
			unsigned int pointerIndex = index / 32;
			unsigned int mask = 1 << index % 32;
			dataPointer[pointerIndex] |= mask;

int main(int argc, char **argv)
	seed = (unsigned int)time(NULL);
	printf("seed = %urn", seed);

	printf("9 random uints...rn");

	for (unsigned int index = 0; index < 9; ++index)
		unsigned int random;
		printf("%2u: %10u (%x)rn", index, random, random);

	printf("3 random floats...rn");
	for (unsigned int index = 0; index < 3; ++index)
		float f;
		printf("%2u: %f (%x)rn", index, f, *((unsigned int*)&f));

	printf("8 random characters...rn");
	char text[8];
	for (unsigned int index = 0; index < 8; ++index)
		printf("%2u: %crn", index, text[index]);
	return 0;





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