NaNoGenMo idea sketch

2017-11-2 02:18:37

I’ve been thinking about joining in to National Novel Generation Month and wanted to sketch out preliminary thoughts here.

The game

I’ve been experimenting with a procedurally generated simulation. Basically like a game but with all non-playable characters. The scene is going to be our backyard, and it will feature myself, my partner and our dog and cat.

A GIF of four letters - standing if for characters - moving around a rectangle

Four characters moving around an empty yard.

I’ll give each character certain actions, like ‘P begins weeding the garden’, ‘G writes something in his notebook’, and ‘Prince pees in the garden.’ Everything will have a frequency, and I’ll decide what everyone is up to by rolling the Math.random(). After I get everyone to do their own thing I’ll put in some reactions to what others do, and some overall systems like plant growth/health. The ultimate goal is to have a bunch of systems interacting with some emergent/somewhat unexpected results. For inspiration I’m thinking of Dwarf Fortress and Universal Paperclips. Code-wise I’m interested in figuring out how to manage the state of all those systems.

The book

To make the experiment into a NaNoGenMo entry, I’m thinking I could generate the log of those actions. So it would read mostly of mundane log entries but then hopefully once and a while there’d be some strange event. I could set it up so each section is a log for a different day, and I could do at least some basic events based on time, like ‘The leaves started to fall’, or special Halloween events. I think it would also be kind of fun to have the log be super mundane matter-of-fact action-based stuff but then once and a while get a look into a character’s emotional state, like ‘G felt incredibly sad that day.’ I think that would need to be meaningfully tied into the system for me not to feel like it was cheap though.

I think it’d be kind of fun to format that into a book like thing, and I could take snapshots of the game state once and a while and include those as illustrations.


The main challenge is I have a lot of work to do just to get the basics of the game working. So is it a good idea to add the novel generation in there as well? I think it’s worth a shot. Maybe the artificial deadline will help me get moving on the game. I’m also hoping it will make me more actively engage with the other entries, there’s lots of interesting stuff there that I would like to learn more about.

I’m going to think about it a little more than submit my idea as an issue on the official repo.