Tag Archives: procedural generation

Tracery Live Released

I love the work that Kate Compton and others have done with generative/procedural art. One thing I’ve missed, though, is the ability to just link to a quickly-made thing. Specifically, I’ve done things like specify the naming structure of alien species for a roleplaying game using Kate’s tool Tracery, but there’s no easy way I’ve found to just link to an arbitrary Tracery grammar without spinning up a server or making a Twitter bot or something similar.

So I made one.

Tracery Live is an open-source Tracery front-end that stores your JSON source code in a query string, so that you can load grammars without any back-end storage needed. It supports HTML and various other supportive techs. You can paste in an arbitrary Tracery grammar or edit it directly on the page. Here’s Tracery’s Night Vale example for a sample of a lengthier end result.

This really is, like many software projects, a bunch of techs slapped together: George Buckingham’s Node version of Compton’s Tracery library, Nicholas Jitkoff’s itty.bitty.site approach using Nathan Rugg’s JS implementation of the LZMA compression algorithm, and the is.gd URL shortener, glued together with the unnecessarily-bulky-for-this-purpose Ember.js framework and hosted on GitHub Pages. My thanks to everyone involved.

Check out Tracery Live on GitHub Pages.

If you have any feature requests or bug reports, let me know in the GitHub issues or in the comments.

The Cost of Content

The most expensive part of game development is content production. This is a bit unintuitive: if you look at a game like Kirby’s Epic Yarn, you immediately see the cool graphical style, the fun game mechanics, and the well-polished charm. The clear advancements Starcraft II made over the first game are its increased graphical fidelity and its modified gameplay elements. The levels are just where the game happens; they’re rarely the interesting part. However, I’d bet you that more person-hours were spent making those levels than on any other single aspect of the game. This is a big part of the appeal of procedural content.
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TIGSource Procedural Generation Competition

The Independent Gaming Source recently finished the submission period for their Procedural Generation Competition. Contestants had about a month to begin and complete a game that created content on the fly, allowing players a different experience each time they played the game. Voting should start soon, but before then, I thought I’d highlight a few of the submissions (all free downloads or web games, of course). Click through to see a list of games I think you should check out, as well as a list of the awesomest game titles.

Continue reading TIGSource Procedural Generation Competition