Showing posts from March, 2020

Sam Kabo Ashwell, "Scents and Semiosis"

There are, among interactive fiction authors, many aficionados of procedurally generated text. And indeed many of the most famous -- I mention Nick Montfort, Emily Short and Aaron Reed. Personally, however, I've never really seen the point of procedural text generation. What's the advantage? What does it give you? As far as I can see, three things:
Surprise: the algorithm for procedural text generation is complex enough that not even the author can oversee all the possibilities. Hence, the text that gets generated can surprise even the author.Quantity: the amount of possible texts generated by even a simple algorithm quickly rises above what a reader could ever read.Uniqueness: the text read by me is read by me alone; other readers will read different texts. But none of these seems very advantageous from the perspective of the reader. Text generated by an algorithm can surprise me, certainly, but text written by a human author can also surprise me. When I'm looking for mat…