Classic of mountains

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1 January 2020

The first thing I ever made in Twine was a system that would generate descriptions of mythic landscapes, modelled after the Shan Hai Jing or Classic of Mountains and Seas, a classical Chinese geographical text and bestiary. As you moved across a chain of mountains, the game randomly generated the name of the mountain, its geography, what grew there, and what magical animals inhabited it. When I had some free time earlier this year I returned to my generator and cleaned up the code, available here.

I still sometimes add words to the program now and them. Classic of Mountains doesn’t have any particularly clever or novel systems, but I think it shows you don’t necessarily have to be clever or novel to generate interesting text fragments.

The second thing I ever made in Twine was a system that generated descriptions of the sky. I worked on this with a friend, and we had a lot of fun thinking up uncommon ways of describing clouds. These two games don’t do anything tricky or new, but I think they show that you don’t necessarily have to be tricky or new to generate text that is interesting to read.