Inzignia

Social artifacts and digital curiosities

The case for MUDs in modern times

In the age of smart devices and instant entertainment, can a medium as old as MUDs survive? Driven entirely by text, these Multi-User Dimensions ― or Dungeons, or Domains, or so many other options that they’re often called MU* ― are virtual worlds that consist entirely of text. Often outfitted as RPG-style games, these platforms are also home to niche internet communities on the fringes of the web. The servers are accessed via a telnet client, which is easy enough to launch in a command line. But there are a few popular applications that many longtime players opt to use. They’re rather reminiscent of the various chat programs built up around the IRC protocol, and provide simple functionality like logging, colors, aliases, triggers, timers, and even mapping.

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Sculpting Generative Text with Tracery

As humans, we take our ownership of words very seriously. We see words as a way for a human to express their thoughts and feelings, and while all words have concrete meanings, there are connotations and sentiments associated with certain words and phrases that we think a machine could never truly master as an unemotional third party. Even if we sometimes perceive emotion in a machine’s words (thanks to the ELIZA effect), a computer will never learn language the same way a human does, so can they deliver narratives with the same authenticity, accuracy, and appeal as a person?

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TIC-80 in JavaScript

I set out to participate in this quarter’s #FC_JAM a few weeks ago. I scoped out the various fantasy consoles available, trying to find something lightweight and fun to use. Most fantasy consoles are written in C and accept Lua scripts, but I found that TIC-80 released JavaScript support and that instantly convinced me. Since I’ve been studying so much JavaScript, getting to stick with that language was the appealing choice. The console itself is all-inclusive, with a terminal, sound, sprite, and map editors, and with artificial restrictions of 240x136 pixels display, 16 color palette, 256 8x8 color sprites, and 4 channel sound.

I fired it up, entered new js, and I was in business.

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