Words and Chaos

Category: General

You meet a stranger…

Describe me like one of your French girls.

My apologies, I have been silent. I have, however, been at work on various projects and ideas. One of those is my character generator. I have fully moved onto the character details portion of the generator, which is coming along fairly well.

To get there I had to complete the description generator. I have. There are some minor things that I have left out in the interest of not getting bogged down. At this point, everything I wanted in the generator is there, and anything else is a cool idea but not integral. So I’m putting a lid on it for the moment because I’d like to get to the more interesting parts of the generator: The character details.

So consider this version 1.0 or 0.5… I don’t have a version-by-version point list, just a lot of bullet points that I’m working through. The general idea is to generate a full character, and from there just expand on the presentation of that. At the moment it can be almost dry and mechanical, which isn’t fantastic for evoking strong images. In the end I want to try and incorporate simile and metaphor in there. With random generators controlling metaphor and simile I’m expecting some very dada-esque description, but, regardless, that’s a while away. The syntax is still a bit odd in places, but I think that’s going to have to be addressed once I’ve got all the pieces in place, and perhaps just a side effect of trying to account for as many things as this generator does.

In the end, this is all meant to spark ideas more than it is to be taken wholesale. Nobody writing a character would ever, nor should ever, describe a character in the detail or fashion that this generator presents them. So without further ado:

You meet a stranger…

US Presidential Election 2016

Trump won. Against all rational incentive, America has voted Donald J. Trump for president.

In the immediate future America can expect a severe increase in number of racist attacks. As for your new president: Either he’s a complete master at playing the game, or he’s the easiest mark you could think of. All evidence points to the latter. This man is a slave to his own gigantic, infantile ego. That makes him exploitable.

Arms dealers:
‘Hey! Donald, let’s talk guns.’
‘I thought we already had a deal.’
‘Sure we do, sure we do! But, you know, it was made by that Liberal. ‘
‘True.’
‘And now that you’re in the White House, you’ve gotta show you mean business. Back up your talk on the trail.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘You’ve gotta show your tough, Donnie. An Alpha male. And what says strong like a gun, right?’
‘Ok, but can’t we just update the existing contract?’
‘Hey, hey, Donnie. Come on. You wouldn’t want people to think you’re weak, would you?’
‘No! No, I’m not weak!’
‘Of course you’re not! But they’ll start talking. You know that, don’t you? What if they start talking about your hands?’
‘You’re right. I’ve gotta buy the guns.’
‘That’s right! And you’ve gotta do it big. You wouldn’t want them to think you’re not rich, right?’
‘No! No, of course not!‘
‘And what’s more worthless than a weak man who lacks wealth? How are you going to prove how much of an Alpha male you are? Stick with us, Donnie, we’ll take care of you. Even Putin’ll respect you. He’ll admire you! Stick with us and you can be the Alpha Alpha. What do you say?’
‘Yes! What’re the biggest guns you’ve got?’

Or Putin. Putin likes Trump because Trump is a fool and Putin isn’t. He can lead Trump around by the nose. Massage or prick his ego, put him where you want him, turn him in the right direction. Just give him enough attention. He’ll dance on anybody’s strings because he’s too blind sided by his own ego to notice them. Putin buzzed the West coast with fighter jets recently. How do you think Trump would respond to that?

Update

Oh Christ, it’s been far too long since I updated this. Apparently I’ve been away since the end of May. Time flies. I literally thought it was the end/mid of the last month that I last posted.

Errr, well, I can account for that. Sort of. July at least. I was on holiday for most of July. A week at the start, a weekend in the middle. Catching up on work in between. June… I’ve got no excuse for June.

Either way, I come bearing vaguely interesting updates:

Generators.

I’ve been actually making generators. Usable generators. Not just these lists of things I generate on my Jack Jones and feed you. I want to share them with you at a slightly later date. I have a clothing generator so far. Needs a bit of work, and because it was the first thing I made. It’s a bit janky, syntax wise, but you can get clothing out of it. Mostly very gaudy.
It is coming. Needs some extra bits, but I’m mostly done with it.

It spits out things like this:

• This rectangular Tunic is made from blue fur. It is patterned with floral green, purple, and grey on the one edge.
• This plunging necklined Top hat is made from purple teeth. It is patterned with chevron white turtle on the centre.
• This sleeveless Fedora is made from black ivory. It is patterned with repeating green and red on the edges.
• This frilled Long tunic is made from green scales. It has symbols in white in the shape of a cockerel’s upper body on the edges.
• This short sleeved Porkpie hat is made from pink bone. It is patterned with interlinking purple on the sleeves.
• This square Scarf is made from purple PVC. It is patterned with trellised green and white on the top.
• This plunging necklined Justacorps is made from green PVC. It is patterned with celtic knot black snake outlined in orange on the back.
• This ornate Kimono is made from green PVC. It has flaming bronze trim on the top.
• This turtle-necked Jersey is made from red leather. It is patterned with horizontal rows of orange, pink, and yellow man on the entire garment.
• This simple Wrap dress is made from purple scales. It has multiple fur spikes on the bottom.

I’m also working on a character generator.
It’s very early stages at the moment. Still working the descriptions. I want to get descriptions and personality in there. There’s a lot of do.

A Novel Idea podcast.

This will come very soon. Tomorrow, the weekened. Something like that. This month we’ve been reading some weird fiction by Jeff Vandermeer. Some interesting conversation arises. I’ve always been a fan of weird fiction and it probably shows.

Scenery clusters

The other day I posted about the scenery generating clusters I was using. I thought I would post a few up and perhaps give some people a couple of ideas.

Small island Channel Trench Crater Shrubland
Savannah Narrow river FeaturesTorch Urban – Town
Steppe Basin An irrigation ditch Animal Bones Flagstones
Tundra River Stones Cobblestones A pile of logs
Desert Natural arch Bushes Burial site Plains
Woodland Estuary Stocks Stones A chair
Small island Valley Tunnel Dormitory Dairy farm
Woodland Crater Pathway Lava flow Crumbling wall
Woodland Headland Alcove A bedroll Mesa
Large island Gulf Scene generatorRotten food Crater
Steppe Dale Vale Torch Smithy
Desert Valley Alcove Glacier Smithy
Savannah Valley Winding road Animal skull Cross roads
Grassland Oasis Workbench Wall Boulder
Jungle Glen Bank Fresh blood Stream
Sandy coast Plateau Lake Berries Pools
Shrubland Gully School Poultry farm Plains
Grassland Peninsula Floodplain Butchers Peak
Woodland Shelf Some tablets Tanning frame Impaler’s spike
Jungle Mountain pass Signpost Overhang Dense undergrowth
Small island Volcano A fresh meal Crater Floodplain
Mesa Peninsula Mountains Small religious building Human skull
Large island Lagoon Natural arch Poultry farm A firepit
Steppe Vale Marsh Market Grassland
Forest Narrow river Bank Dune Church
Sandy coast Trench Rocky coast Stairwell Bell
Savannah Geyser Tomb Prison Sign
Shrubland Oasis Fallen Branches Cottage Lookout post
Subterranean Shelf Sand hill Skilled Carving Watermill
Woodland Lake Bell tower Pyre Herbs
Forest Natural arch Discarded Wagon Wheel Forest Standing stones
Sandy coast Waterfall Road Pond Gulch
Shrubland Shore Kiln Mountain pass Few trees
Mesa Ridge Large island Furnace Taiga
Mesa Channel Roadside inn Stream Impaler’s spike
Sandy coast Channel Fruit Overgrowth Ranch
Marsh Sinkhole Lava flow House A doorway
Small island Crater A herb garden Carving A ditch
Woodland Dry lake Chains Knoll Dung
Marsh Urban – City Pillar Old blood Bog
Desert Natural arch Alcove Terrain:Some chairs
Woodland Mountain pass Pool Fallen birds nest Thicket
Mesa Urban – slum Gorge Gem mine Elaborate altar
Large island Vent Shelf Discarded Wagon Wheel Ruins
Desert Peak A ditch Rocky overhang Natural arch
Tundra Urban – City Kiln Wasp nest Desert
Mountains Lava lake Bee hive Library Carving
Shrubland Narrow river Breaking wheel Pit Church
Subterranean Pools River River A crater
Grassland Crater Gulch Pit Lake

Scenery Shenanigans

I’ve been experimenting with scenery generation. I divided it by biome, terrain type, and then three features. So it spits out something like this:

Mountains Cape Few trees Bars A crater
Woodland Knoll Small religious building Flagstones Furnace
Mountains Bay Old Ash Many boulders Ore mine
Jungle Peak Boards A bed Bench
Taiga Saltflat Cross roads Plain obelisk A lean-to
Taiga Dale Gallows Bee hive Gutter
Marsh Chasm Quarry An irrigation ditch Broken wagon
Shrubland Flatland Carved Obelisk Pile of stones Standing stones
Rainforest Overhang Fresh corpses Lighthouse Bell
Rainforest Estuary Skilled Carving Ring of sharp stakes Ruins

I’m not sure if biome is technically the correct term, to be honest, but it’s broader than something like ‘a hill’, so it’ll do. Regardless, it works pretty well for me. I was able to get the following out of it in about ten minutes:

‘There’s an island off the cape. At an abandoned building site on the island you find a single chair and a wagon wheel.’

‘A stretch along the peninsula is dominated by seed strewn shrubland and haphazard nests of insects. There is also a discarded crate.’

‘In a savannah, on a river bank, the road runs out. The end of the road is marked by a broad pillar besides which is a scruffy merchant’s shop.’

‘A rocky glacial coastline where someone built a lighthouse. Apparently they had a preoccupation with punishment. The bottom of the lighthouse features a prominent scaffold and a pair of heavy chains nailed to a rockface.’

‘Through the highlands, beside an inlet, you find a bedroll tucked under a sign directing you to a pig farm.’

‘The woodland ravine used to contain a river. That river has long run dry. Now there are just disparate bones and skeletons. And a noose…’

‘A series of bluffs out in the plains mark the location of a temple surrounded by high fences. A nearby tree buzzes with the endless work of a beehive.’

‘A stone-strewn estuary, where they set prisoners to work on a farm as a means to earn their redemption. When they weren’t planting crops and looking after animals, they’d make things in the workshop. There’s still the famous blocked up tunnel under the walls where some of the prisoners made their escape…’

‘A coastal hamlet with a prominent bell tower. It sits on a broad hill surrounded by a ring of sharpened stakes. At the foot of the hill, by the side of the road, there’s a scaffold with a noose.’

‘A dry river bed threads through the bluffs of a small island populated by nothing much apart from the berry bushes. Outside of the dry riverbed, the only thing remarkable about the island is the tall impaler’s spike.’

I was able to sketch a little map out based on ten of these. The geography f the whole thing almost certainly doesn’t make much sense – there’s a lava lake more or less next to a tundra. Also, because it goes from the macro right down to the micro, if you’re trying to use it as a mapping inspiration it’s a bit weird to try and mark something like a beehive in a forest. There’s ways and means around things like that – a key or something at the side, but it was an interesting experiment and kind of worked.

There is Only Chaos: Consumer Critical

Ever wonder why marketing treats you like an idiot? Because you act like an idiot.

People are bitching about the price tag of No Man’s Sky because the development team is small. What? Critical thinking. Please. Anybody?

I genuinely can’t understand the process where people make these assertions and then fail to review them. How do you come up with argument and fail to step back, look at it, immediately realise the flaws in your arguments, before revising either the argument or your position on whatever subject you happen to be arguing about? How is that not just a natural process?

Using the initial subject: I’d love to see the equation for ‘dev team size = cost’. What’s the maths you have to do to get a price tag on a game if that price tag is contingent on the size of the development team? Surely, by that logic, Call of Duty should cost far in excess of a hundred pounds per iteration, because their development teams are gigantic. At a logical extreme, you just end up with developers hiring the maximum number of employees they can get away with before the cost of team outweighs the price of the game and predicted sales.

Surely you should bitching about the fact that nobody knows a thing about it but they’re asking people to pre-order it. Which is like the digital equivalent of snake oil. That’s actually a problem with some relevance – not just to the game in question but the industry, and the slightly wider economics of that market. How did people suddenly decide that you can literal sell ideas or your marketing to people, with very little information outside of the buzzwords? Worse – how are consumers OK with this? As a mass, as a gaping maw, that the market simply exists to keep feeding, the people have managed to get to a point where industries have tapped each other on the back and murmur, “You realise we don’t actually have to produce anything, right? That bloated fucking moron over there will eat whatever you throw at it. It barely even has to exist!”

There is only chaos: Self-improvement is masturbation

We’re coming to the end of the first month of the new year. If you made a resolution, how are you doing with it? What did you resolve? Are still going with it? Did you give up? Will you continue after January?

I don’t really bother with resolutions, myself. I have given myself a list of goals that I want to achieve by the end of the year. So far it’s going well enough. I may add more as I go, but it’s not wise to give yourself too much to focus on at once. Either way, I think annual goals are a good thing. I haven’t done anything specific before now, no specific lists. After all, that’s daunting. It’s concrete. You have to follow through. Or don’t. But if you don’t, you fail. So you might as well at least try to follow through. Win or lose, you’re bound to learn something about yourself.

I’m not posting mine. I think if you’re into the whole self improvement deal then it should be a personal thing. If you’re doing self improvement for the sake of taking selfies and posting self-satisfied statuses on Facebook or Twitter, you’re doing it wrong. It’s just ego-masturbation.

I like lists for things like this, though. I think it’s a good way of focusing on exactly what you want, without getting through the first month and just abandoning everything for the rest of the year. Personally, self development, if that’s not too much like some kind of industry buzzword that gets thrown around every time there’s an annual review looming, isn’t something you can do for a month and then feel smug about, like buying a gym membership you’ll use four or five times and leave at the back of a draw somewhere. It’s got to be a permanent drive for advancement. Whatever form that takes.

Moving On From Monte Cristo.

I’ve abandoned Monte Cristo. I’ll read four hundred pages in four days if I’m interested, but it’s telling that I made a comment about this book months ago and today I’m only 650 pages in. I realise it’s taken me far too long to get to where I am and I do not have the time to waste while waiting for this to go somewhere. I stuck with it out of some bizarre sense of obligation, but I’ve come to my senses. I know: I’m some sort of literary philistine, but I’m not a patient man and no amount of social standing will make me revere something any more than it deserves. Classic or no, I’m bored of this obnoxiously opulent Mary Sue, sub plots like woodworm that don’t lead anywhere, and the literary equivalent of corpse-bloat. Revenge epic? I wish. There’s more padding here than a lunatic asylum in a mattress factory.
Dumas can do one.

A Pioneer Has Left

Fucking hell, Lemmy’s dead.

Happens to everyone, but very few people manage to keep the kind of pace that guy did. He kept it up to the point where we all sort of started to wonder if he could actually be killed.

There is Only Chaos: “I Don’t Mind Surveillance: I Have Nothing to Hide.”

What’s your name? Where were you born? How old are you? What school did you go to? How were your grades? What’s your mother’s maiden name? Your father’s? Any siblings? How’s your medical history? What did you search for on google last night? What newspapers/websites do you frequent? What are your political leanings? Who did you vote for in the last election? Married? Divorced? When was the last time you watched porn? What did you search for? How long were you watching? Ever pirated something? What was it? Can I look through your text messages? Can I have the password to your email account? Ever done drugs? Which ones? When was the last time you had sex? Who with? Any sexually transmitted infections or diseases? Hired a prostitute? How many? Ever had an abortion? Can you give me your bank details? Do you mind if I dump this information into a vast trough?

No, the trough is not secure.