Interesting article on Algorithmic Game Creation

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SusanTheCat
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Interesting article on Algorithmic Game Creation

#1 Post by SusanTheCat » Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:43 pm

http://www.blog.radiator.debacle.us/201 ... -game.html
More talk, more rock: on algorithmic game narratives, speculative narrative design futures, and "Shakespeare."


Specifically: I want to point you to Aaron Reed's Interactive Fiction game: Almost Goodbye http://aaronareed.net/almost-goodbye/
And the paper he wrote on it: http://almostgoodbye.textories.com/almo ... -paper.pdf

I think this would be an interesting addition to a game. The ability to add flavour text to the story that takes into account the current situation and previous choices of the player.

Now I want to try this.

Susan
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Re: Interesting article on Algorithmic Game Creation

#2 Post by Funnyguts » Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:13 pm

I've definitely wanted to bring randomization and procedural generation to the world of visual novels and IF-related things. Emergent stories shouldn't only appear within roguelikes.
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Re: Interesting article on Algorithmic Game Creation

#3 Post by Arowana » Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:41 pm

Thanks for the links, Susan! :D

Procedural content generation is something I’ve only discovered quite recently (though in the context of puzzle/adventure games rather than writing), and I’m very interested in learning more about it! Seems to me there’s lots of potential there for VNs, and it would be really cool if we could do even a short experimental game working with some of these concepts.
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Re: Interesting article on Algorithmic Game Creation

#4 Post by SusanTheCat » Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:37 pm

I got permission from Aaron Reed to copy his idea. I'm 20% into a mini project to exploit use it in Ren'Py.

I now need to hijack the Ren'Py "say" function.

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Re: Interesting article on Algorithmic Game Creation

#5 Post by PyTom » Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:02 pm

It's pretty easy - you can just call characters.
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Re: Interesting article on Algorithmic Game Creation

#6 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:18 pm

I just skipped over the article, so I probable missed the point.
But from what I gathered, it's changing certain parts randomly, but having it still make sense. If so, I'm surprised people are surprised. Heck, I've been using a simplified version for almost 6 months.

Renpy has a function for randomisation, which can be used for numbers or also dialogue.

If you are indecisive like me and can't decide between 2 or 3 dialogue choices, just add them all with randomisation. It means the game is a little different with each play-through. If you've used variables, then the topic or whatever can flow logically.
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Re: Interesting article on Algorithmic Game Creation

#7 Post by CaseyLoufek » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:32 pm

This is totally the sort of thing I am interested in. The story itself beautiful but very sad, I was in tears by the end.

You may also want to look at this: http://jeffelson.e-monsite.com/

It's a chatbot and one skinned in a way that would probably appeal to many here but it's also got a pretty decent learning capacity for a free chatbot. Most notably it will attempt to generate its own sentences after some time by going over the existing conversation and combining things that it thinks are related. The results vary from quite appropriate to hilarious.

I think it has some kind of mood system but the documentation is spotty and in French and this is basically an Alpha version.

The source code isn't up at the moment but you can edit the database the controls a lot of the brain itself. The included file is actually half in French still and making some translations and fixing up the thesaurus helps.

The bot is nearly empty headed at the moment and the only good way to fill these things out is to talk to them. I can clean-up and post my version (Woo for year of French in high school) if people want but I'm going to want to see your results in return. :)

Between this thread and the mention I head of PyBrain (http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... it=PyBrain) I'm liking the more coding bent topics are taking around here.


@TrickWithAKnife, it's more than just randomness. It's building whole sentences from a multi-part logic based on mood and context. So it's doing two more things, tracking states and building sentences from templates. It's not particularly computationally impressive or ground breaking but it's actually treating the topic seriously. Frankly with the state of the industry I'm surprised and impressed you're doing basic randomness.

I don't hate KNs but I have fairly high standards for them, as I do traditional books. And at least KNs have the intellectual honesty to think of themselves as books, in contrast to bad "RPGs" where you play a mini-game to advance a story that you have absolutely no control over. Interactivity and open-endedness are just inherently appealing to me.

Frankly I can point to games from the 80s that made more dynamic use of dialog than most of todays. Technology isn't what's hold this area back, good ideas on how to implement it and get people interested in it are.

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Re: Interesting article on Algorithmic Game Creation

#8 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:07 am

CaseyLoufek wrote:@TrickWithAKnife, it's more than just randomness. It's building whole sentences from a multi-part logic based on mood and context. So it's doing two more things, tracking states and building sentences from templates. It's not particularly computationally impressive or ground breaking but it's actually treating the topic seriously. Frankly with the state of the industry I'm surprised and impressed you're doing basic randomness.
Hmm... doesn't seem too hard to do within the fairly controlled environment of a VN.
The fact that any of us can do a scaled down version without too much difficulty is quite exciting.

I think I'll keep this in mind while working on my project. Perhaps the variety can be expanded and controlled more, to make the game not only more unique with each play-through, but that the choices the player made had more effect than changing the next 2 lines of dialogue. Not only that, but it can help to make the characters more realistic, reacting to other characters based on feelings rather than the next scripted chunk of dialogue.

Imagine playing your own game, and encountering conversations that you didn't entirely predict.
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The #renpy IRC channel is a great place to chat with other devs. Due to the nature of IRC and timezone differences, people probably won't reply right away.

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Re: Interesting article on Algorithmic Game Creation

#9 Post by SusanTheCat » Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:57 pm

One thing I liked about his approach was that in each scene he had sentence placeholders. When you play, these placeholders would be replaced by flavour text that was relevant to the scene, the location, and the time of day.

The writer gets control of both the main plot, and the flavour text.

Play the game. :) It's not very long and you can even highlight the extra sentences. It's magical.

I am well on my way to creating my experiment.
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My son made me some AWESOME music that has subtle variations for difference scenes.

Susan
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