Monday, February 20, 2006

The Poem Generator Just Got Better

I've made a couple more tweaks to the 'Poematic' ActionScript.
Now you can't get double adverbs (i.e. one before and one after the verb) as was previously the case.

I've also added a new group of words - the connectives. Now, sentences can start with a connective word (e.g. but, however, although, while, meanwhile, instead, and, or, for, suddenly, as, like etc.) These seem to give the randomized poetry a bit more flow; slightly less 'choppy' than before.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Press Green for Kinoautomat

Thursday night (16/02/06) went to the NFT to see 'Kinoautomat, One Man and His House'.
It's a revitalisation of the Czech film made in 1967 (dir. Radúz Činčera).
Truly a fascinating thing, because it's an interactive movie, and billed as the first one ever. The film stops at certain points and the cinema audience votes on the next course of action for the narrative to follow. More details can be found at the Kinoautomat website. I was really up for this, and nice to see art college mate Tom Hillenbrand acting as host/compere for the night.

Got to thinking that I've had quite a few experiences with these branching narratives in various forms already; teenhood 'adventure' novels; early text-based computer games and the games at the Siggraph 'Electric Cinema' come to mind. I even tried creating a branching HTML narrative of sorts on the first incarnation of my website 'Tall Story Hotel' circa '97. The idea of modular, self-generating or random story devices has been kicking around in the things I'm keen on for quite a while now.

KinoAutomat shows that participating in an interactive movie can be engaging as a live and communal cinema experience. Astonishingly ahead of its time; the technologies of DVD and the web make it technically easier to create and deliver work in this field nowadays. I guess that once digital projection is more common in cinemas, there'll be much more of this to come...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Coding Again

I've just updated the 'Poematic' code again.

The ActionScript now chooses whether to deliver a truly random poem or a pre-written text selected from variables stored within the code. The library is currently pretty small, so repetitions occur all too frequently.

Either way, random or pre-written, the text is dynamically converted into word tiles then automatically laid out on the page.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Random or Written?

Woah, apologies for throwing 'poetry' at you there without any warning messages...

I'm planning to update the 'Poematic' feature of this site slightly. To make for more variety, I'm planning to randomly plant pre-scripted texts in amongst the randomly generated ones. Phase one of this has just been implemented... The Poematic feature now dynamically generates a page of 'fridge magnet word tiles' (henceforth FMWTs) from a single variable within the ActionScript code. This seems to work OK.

The next phase will be to build a small library of texts (yikes, more poetry!) then re-instate the random poetry generator too. On a random basis the visitor to the site will either be confronted by a digital poem or a humanly generated one. Clicking on any word will probably take the visitor to further digitally created texts. Maybe later, keywords that I've bothered to write accompanying text for will trigger the apropriate pre-scripted work.

For the forseeable future the pre-scripted texts will be variables embedded in the action script code, but I'd be keen to learn how these might be stored as text files server-side; the ultimate aim being to allow site visitors to contribute words or texts to the library for generating the FMWTs.

Ultimately, the goal would be a whole bunch of dynamically-created / partially random, partially hand-made web pages endlessly interlinked with each other for a truly non-linear user experience.