Yet Another Graphomaniacs Compendium
Friday, March 14, 2003


Any game that has a fluid computer generated narrative (and I'm thinking of RPG's here) must have a history. The foundation of a narrative is an interlinked set of episodes based on preconditions in the world: almost all the preconditions are based on historical knowlgedge. I.e. has character x met y? Has z told b about a? Has q bought the w? And so on. NPC's need to keep a history trail of actions (movements, killings, sales, purchases, meetings) . This is a first level implemnentation. The second level of implementation would allow characters to know things about other character's history selectively depending on what they conceal and reveal. Then things start getting very interesting indeed. Characters can feed each other false information, bluff, bargain, gamble with pure information. Social judgements have to be modelled and made.

Why do no games that I know of attempt this?

posted by John Connors at
Friday, March 14, 2003

Thursday, March 13, 2003

The death of gaming.

An interesting rant that got slashdotted. The basic problem isn't code but content: you put all that art and eye candy in, and it costs you. And it has to be better next time. That's caoitalism. The solution is an open library, I think, that can produce procedural content on demand, but it's a generation or two away. Time to start writing it now, I think.

posted by John Connors at
Thursday, March 13, 2003


The end.

For weeks, and months a single game has been dominating my life like no other for a very long time, but it's finally over. Curses!. It definitely is up there with Infocom's finest. We (my partner and I) only had to use the cheat sheet three times Anyone who said they solved it straight off is either read the souce code or is lying.

posted by John Connors at
Thursday, March 13, 2003

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Dungeon Generation

The whole dungeon generation thing has been much more comprehensively addressed than I thought: lsystems aren't the thing, but artificial life is. Hmm..perhaps the actions of the AiLife enitities in this app could be coded as LSystems.

posted by John Connors at
Saturday, March 08, 2003



The first task for Deadlock will be to try and create some kind of LSystem for dungeon generation. Probably based on a string sequence of instructions that involve creating, enlarging and linking rooms. Some kind of evolutionary rule will have to be applied: any rules that create overlapping rooms or disconnected rooms must die.

posted by John Connors at
Saturday, March 08, 2003



My thoughts about Deadlock dungeons and what I want to try with it have been firmed up thanks to one of Mark LeBlanc's rants.

Deadlock is definitely going to be much more heavily on the simulationist side of the equation. I'm not going to try and embed small micro-narratives inside a simulation, just yet. Instead I'm going to concentrate on magic systems and autonmous characters within the world, with limited AI, and see what behaviour emerges. I've never tried this before. It will probably be a mess, but a voyage into the unknown always appeals to the creative process more.

posted by John Connors at
Saturday, March 08, 2003



I must keep things clear in my head: Deadlock is for testing some of these ideas about systems, simulation and emergent narrative. Personally I find the narratives generated by such teqchiques fragmented, not comparable to traditional narratives, except in Alpha Centauri. Which didn't have that great a storyline, to be honest. But I did play it a lot more than many games since. I'm thinking about moving away from the roguelike convention of random levels and mixing mostly random levels with pre-edited ones. Or even a mixture of hand-crafted and random content in a single level.

posted by John Connors at
Saturday, March 08, 2003

Friday, March 07, 2003


While I've been away I've been playing with more Python. I've rewritten the client - server side of Deadlock Dungeons in Python. Much easier than the original C++. I've played with the worlds worst terrain generator. What's needed now is a good dungeon generator. Plus, some better terrain. I always thought terrain generation was easier. Happen it's and art.

There's also a couple of interesting things on the web. I like the look of what the Liquid Narrative crew are up to, plus I have to try some of these tips on Dungeon Generation and World Building from DungeonDweller. In Python, of course. Embrace the snake!

posted by John Connors at
Friday, March 07, 2003


Still in hell

That said, I'm still in hell. Less than two months to go to E3 and the game still runs at 5fps. All around the world, games development teams start to face reality time! Still, it's the best possible stimulus to development. I have no doubt that things will improve dramatically in the next few weeks.

posted by John Connors at
Friday, March 07, 2003


Royal Society for prevention of crultey to Blogs

I have been neglecting this poor little blog for too long. I have been causing it much emotional distress by my callous neglect. I must repent.

posted by John Connors at
Friday, March 07, 2003

The Journal

A miscellany of topics that intersest me: deaf culture, game design, politics as soap opera, the cyborg condition and the experience of learning to hear again. Other topics presented are speculative fiction and imaginary cities. There are appearences of snippets of work in progress, public rants, pointless posts and Mish the Mouse.

The Writer

A lower middle class cyborg living an innocous life in a suburban village near Newcastle On Tyne, in the United Kingdom. Mostly autobiographical and creative notes posts and musings on the topic du jour.


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