Subverting historical cause & effect: generation of mythic biographies in Caves of Qud

Abstract

Procedurally generating history is a daunting task. The process of proceduralization requires codifying relationships into rules, and real-life histories are tangled networks of people, places, and events whose complexities obscure their relational mechanics. The task is further complicated by the fact that history serves a rhetorical function, i.e., historical accounts are used to promote certain cultural narratives that can belie the facts they purport to narrativize (this function is routinely neglected in video games' treatment of history). This paper describes a novel approach for procedurally generating coherent biographical narratives for historical figures, as implemented in our far-future roguelike game <i>Caves of Qud.</i> Using a state machine and replacement grammar as procedural tools, we construct a system that subverts the logic of cause and effect in favor of a process that first generates historical events and rationalizes them ex post facto.

DOI: 10.1145/3102071.3110574

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Grinblat2017SubvertingHC, title={Subverting historical cause & effect: generation of mythic biographies in Caves of Qud}, author={Jason Grinblat and C. Brian Bucklew}, booktitle={FDG}, year={2017} }