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Random element generator for game concepts?

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Over the long Easter weekend I'm planning on playing around with Flash by aiming to make a couple of small game demos. I'm thinking of limiting myself to attempting something really simple within a three hour period, sort of like what is done in speed game contests from time to time. So I don't get too hung up over what I based the demos on, I'd like to have a method to randomly select something, kind of like what you can find online for plot ideas or for fictional characters in creative writing. However in my Google search I haven't found anything that looks like it's designed for simple game demos. I really just want something that outputs a single term that you could base a game on in the same vein as the elements for GDNet contests - things like "fire", "economy" or "collecting". My question is twofold:
  1. Do you know of anything out there in this big internet that sounds like it would fit the bill?
  2. If not, I can always make my first three hour Flash dev break being the construction of a random game element generator (something simple that just reads a random term from a text file). Could you give me some suggestions for the sorts of elements you think would make good items on the list? Examples are:
    • Classic mythological elements and extensions (fire, water, air, earth, metal, wood, light, shadow, lightning, etc.)
    • Interesting verbs (catching, running, jumping, collecting, estimating etc.)
Thanks!

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I know of this excellent random element generator called "people". For example, putting a thread on GameDev that says "what is a random element I could make a game out of?" would probably yield an answer in a matter of only a few minutes. [grin]

Random Element: Painting by Numbers

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Quote:
Original post by JBourrie
I know of this excellent random element generator called "people". For example, putting a thread on GameDev that says "what is a random element I could make a game out of?" would probably yield an answer in a matter of only a few minutes. [grin]

I tried that last year - and ended up with "Voltron... on fire" [rolleyes]

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Keep a dictionary handy. Flip open to a random page and randomly select (closing your eyes and pointing to something, no algorithms needed) a noun or verb. If you don't like the result, repeat until satisfied.

If you want to put a bit of effort into it, collect a bunch of terms in an Excel spreadsheet and use a random number generator to randomly select a term. No app compiling required, just a spreadsheet program and a Google search.

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Quote:
Original post by QuantumDynamics
Keep a dictionary handy. Flip open to a random page and randomly select (closing your eyes and pointing to something, no algorithms needed) a noun or verb. If you don't like the result, repeat until satisfied.

The problem with the dictionary is that it's chock full of inappropriate terms for small game demos. I'll give it a quick test to see what words I pull out:
  1. mercerize: to treat cotton yarn with an alkali to make it strong and shiny
  2. compensate: to make amends to someone, esp. for loss or injury; to serve as compensation; to cancel out the effects of something
  3. enhance: to intensify or increase in quality, value or power
  4. family support: a top-up of family income in certain circumstances where there are dependent children.

Admittedly "enhance" might work, but the other three are a bit hard to make a mini-game out of [smile].

Quote:
If you want to put a bit of effort into it, collect a bunch of terms in an Excel spreadsheet and use a random number generator to randomly select a term. No app compiling required, just a spreadsheet program and a Google search.

Actually, I think I'll go ahead and make the Flash equivalent as a warm-up as it's been a while since I've played with Flash. I'm mainly fishing around for ideas on what terms I should put into the collection of words the app will draw from. I'd hoped there would be something out there to help spark some creativity, like a big bumper list of game ideas for contents. But if not, I can always come up with my own.

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http://www.seventhsanctum.com/

They're a so-so bunch there. There are some things of which you may find use, probably the few random generators that have actual detail in their descriptions (the What-If generator, Lost Realm generator, et al).

Still, don't rely on anyone else's work. Its best to write your own out of things that you like.

And just for fun,
1. Cotton farming sim, plantation or sharecropping, either or. Have Eli Whitney references somewhere in there.

2. Courtroom litigation

3. Quite a few applications, just need a setting.

4. Any dynasty-oriented game, like The Sims with an actual economy, or The Guild.

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Quote:
Original post by QuantumDynamics
http://www.seventhsanctum.com/

They're a so-so bunch there. There are some things of which you may find use, probably the few random generators that have actual detail in their descriptions (the What-If generator, Lost Realm generator, et al).

Still, don't rely on anyone else's work. Its best to write your own out of things that you like.

Thanks for the link. I've found many of those kinds of generators and they're kind of fun, but I agree they're not that much use for game elements. I guess I'll throw my own list together. I'm really only after single word terms: the sorts of things that are used in game contests here like with the Four Elements.

I've brushed up on enough Flash and ActionScript to get the randomizer widget running with an external XML file: now I just have to populate that XML list (and figure out where to put the widget when I'm done: it'd work well in my GDNet journal but I don't know if I can put Flash in there).


Quote:
And just for fun,
1. Cotton farming sim, plantation or sharecropping, either or. Have Eli Whitney references somewhere in there.

2. Courtroom litigation

3. Quite a few applications, just need a setting.

4. Any dynasty-oriented game, like The Sims with an actual economy, or The Guild.

It isn't that hard to think of ideas from any dictionary word, but it's a lot harder to think of ones that you can base a quick-and-dirty gameplay demo from that you create in a single evening. Especially if you're also using this as an exercise to learn Flash and ActionScript [smile].

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I've put a version of the Flash widget up at my GDNet journal. I'm still thinking of ideas for elements to include in the XML file that it reads, and am happy to see any suggestions.


Quote:
Original post by Kaze
ever played dwarf fort, it has the most hilarious random names but im not sure how a game about "the endless mirth of vomit" or "the special forest of pants" would play

I started dabbling in Dwarf Fortress again recently when I saw it had a Mac version. My current fortress is "The Eternal Mushroom", while my dwarf group are the "Eaters of Cake".

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