The Endless Bus

I took a long, long ride on a bus recently, in County Durham. It was a very nice bus; it had free wi-fi (totally free, not just “free for fifteen minutes”) and powerpoints on the walls. The most interesting thing though, was the electronic readout at the front.

I don’t know if there’s a specific word for them, but you know what I mean – the one-line display you get on trains, spelling out the name of the next stop in blocky letters and reminding you to “please mind the gap between the platform and the train”. This bus had one of them.

I’d never seen one of them on a bus before. I don’t think they’re that common, although I possibly am coming across here as rather sheltered. However common they are though, I found myself fascinated, watching the different stops scroll by. Continue reading “The Endless Bus”


Sparks Fly: Romantic Premise Generator

Sparks FlyProcedural generation is fascinating. Essentially, it’s the idea that instead of making something, you create the rules to make that thing – a recipe instead of a meal. Games like Dwarf Fortress and Minecraft are only possible because of procedural generation; it would take an incredible amount of time to handcraft each world, but only a few minutes (once the rules have been made) to procedurally generate them.

The most interesting kind of procedural generation, to┬áme, is language. I like words, and I love the idea that you can create intelligible sentences and text just by applying sufficiently precise and comprehensive rules. I must admit that I also find it alarming, but mostly I think it’s awesome. It raises all sorts of questions about what meaning actually is, and is often very entertaining. Continue reading “Sparks Fly: Romantic Premise Generator”