This article presents a method to generate diverse and challenging new test instances for continuous black-box optimization. Each instance is represented as a feature vector of exploratory landscape analysis measures. By projecting the features into a two-dimensional instance space, the location of existing test instances can be visualized, and their similarities and differences revealed. New instances are generated through genetic programming which evolves functions with controllable characteristics. Convergence to selected target points in the instance space is used to drive the evolutionary process, such that the new instances span the entire space more comprehensively. We demonstrate the method by generating two-dimensional functions to visualize its success, and ten-dimensional functions to test its scalability. We show that the method can recreate existing test functions when target points are co-located with existing functions, and can generate new functions with entirely different characteristics when target points are located in empty regions of the instance space. Moreover, we test the effectiveness of three state-of-the-art algorithms on the new set of instances. The results demonstrate that the new set is not only more diverse than a well-known benchmark set, but also more challenging for the tested algorithms. Hence, the method opens up a new avenue for developing test instances with controllable characteristics, necessary to expose the strengths and weaknesses of algorithms, and drive algorithm development.

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