June 1, 2014

Authoring Generative Poetry via Game Worlds

** A Game about the Authorship of a Story about a Character in a Game. **

Goal: To explore methods of autoarchiving possible imaginative experiences of platformer-style video gameplay through the generation of textual narrative from within a game environment.

To keep this initial experiment manageable, a game world was created which exhibits a great degree of visual abstraction and traditional play mechanics. This way, the attention could be focused on text generation, and not gameworld aesthetics.

To build the game world in an expedient manner, I followed the tutorial available at http://www.programarcadegames.com/, which was simple enough to butcher once operational.

This work is partially inspired by the chapbook World 1-1 by Philip Miletic and Craig Dodman, in which both authors document actions within various playthroughs of the first level of the NES' Super Mario Bros. I feel that World 1-1 works superbly as an archive and as a written account of classic console gameplay, which this game strives to do.

Remainderly, inspiration comes from decades of wanting to develop a manner of logging actions, dialogue, &c. from old Sierra On-line PC games, so that I could read the story of my playthrough after completing the quest. Seems like a reasonable request.

Download (link at bottom of page), extract, and launch game.exe to start the game.

The game may be completed 3 different ways:
- Press 'q' to Quit.
- Fire all 6 bullets.
- Let 10-second timer expire.

The controls are as follows:
- 'a'     left
- 'd'     right
- 'w'     jump
- 'space' fire
- 'q'     quit

When the game environment opens, you have ten seconds to run around the house and fire your weapon. As you run around platform-style, each of your moves is logged and used to generate a short narrative about the game, the house, and the player (including an additional, unseen character). The more moves you make, the more passages will be generated in your logfile. When the game is over, a text file: gamelog.txt, is saved to the game's file location. Open this text file to read the generated work.


You may download game here: game.zip. Once downloaded, extract the .zip and run game.exe.

At this point, this game.exe has been tested only on Windows 8.1 64-bit. Please let me know if this works/works not in your Windows OS.