Monday, January 26, 2009

Let Google create your NPCs

Over the weekend, Angela and I were working on developing our Woodstock game. We had some NPCs that we knew needed to exist, but neither of us had any immediate ideas for details to flesh them out.

Then, suddenly inspired, I fired up Googlism. This is a tool that lets you enter a name and spit out random facts associated with that name by Google. So, for example, let's say you have a policeman NPC named Simon that you want some details on. Googlism will give you:

simon is the best or the happy prozzak page
simon is being transformed ?
simon is back
simon is worthy of your vote
simon is named nlrb deputy
simon is hypocrital at
simon is surprisingly strong
simon is a god
simon is fighting for his life
simon is a
simon is threatening to
simon is
simon is a game
simon is smudge's brother
simon is in the room
simon is still at play
simon is ill
simon is easy
simon is new president of associated students of cuesta
simon is geboren deel twee
simon is geboren
simon is not like austin powers
simon is like austin powers
simon is one of
simon is funny
simon is blessed and hand the cross back to
simon is journalist
simon is a happy boy
simon is laying hands on this indian man for
simon is a doofus candidate
simon is '98 commencement speaker at centenary
simon is missing in a layer of the abyss
simon is terug
simon is the gladiator
simon is being transformed ? june 2002
simon is back ag russell continues to impress me
simon is back post a comment name
simon is worthy of your vote derrick j
simon is named nlrb deputy regional attorney in indianapolis
simon is at 35%
simon is hypocrital at times
simon is a god look
simon is much more than a flatmate
simon is enough of a kitten that his purrsonality
simon is still hot
simon is a rock band and you're not
simon is a killer on the loose
simon is not a well teddy
simon is here
simon is home
simon is new president of associated students of cuesta college
simon is a regular participant
simon is not like
simon is like
simon is one of the leaders of a young group of bulldogs looking to move to the forefront of the wac
simon is so simple and so small in fact that it could be built to fill up less space than a grocery
simon is still searching for an nba
simon is a very simple electronic game
simon is quick with his jab
simon is a megamillionaire
simon is not only a talented singer
simon is moved away from outside the bowers museum where
simon is gone
simon is on cue
simon is closer to god or simon has to rise above the rest of the world
simon is blessed and hand the cross back to jesus
simon is our first dog
simon is clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the george washington university in washington
simon is kimberly
simon is not a walrus
simon is amazed he could dance on stilts like stickney
simon is a guy who just has too much time on his hands and chooses to spend it bothering people through the mail
simon is laying hands on this man for healing
simon is modular and is flexible to configure
simon is the creator of "every icon
simon is 18
simon is the author of over 200 highly acclaimed science books
simon is" google search bandwagon
simon is a sophisticated multipurpose simulator for single
simon is even stronger and more featured filled than before
simon is located on the west bank of the lac
simon is the wise colleague who needs to be on every curriculum committee
simon is not so bad
simon is president of monitor group china ltd
simon is a free swinger who walked just 15 times in 256 at
simon is not a politician ? yet ? not even a citizen
simon is a conservative whose family
simon is characterized by acoustic and south american influenced reworks of many of his pre
simon is ‘the performer
simon is shot
simon is told that jack has been put in charge of the website and simon is in charge of the genetic research
simon is now
simon is er niet meer op woensdag 14 november 2001 is hij gestorven aan een maagkanteling
simon is a successful nebraska businessman with a strong record of creating jobs in the community
simon is wealthy
simon is a character actor with extensive experience across the whole spectrum of the industry
simon is back in chalk drawing land and is talking to the chalk land children about cars but they have never seen what a
simon is approached by the train driver who wants simon to extend the railway track
simon is a great composer in ambient/dub music too
simon is centenary college's commencement speaker on saturday
simon is more than just accommodation
Now, a lot of this is meaningless junk... but you can go through it and pull things out that aren't... and try to make sense of some of the things that are. For example:

simon is back
(where was he? we'll find out...)
simon is worthy of your vote
(he's running for office. maybe sheriff?)
simon is hypocrital at
(sure. he can be a hypocrite.)
simon is surprisingly strong
(that's fine. He's sort of lean looking, but wiry)
simon is smudge's brother
(his brother has a nickname. maybe his brother is a stoner who he covers up for? making him a hypocrite...)
simon is easy
(ummm... why not?)
simon is funny
simon is journalist
(he writes a humorous column for a local paper... or maybe the police newsletter?)
simon is a doofus candidate
(he's not really qualified for sheriff)
simon is at 35%
(that's the percentage of the vote he'll get)
simon is a killer on the loose
(he killed someone in the line of duty. it still haunts him and he thinks of himself as a murderer some nights)
simon is not a walrus
('Walrus' is departmental slang for overweight cops with shaggy facial hair. In Simon's department, there are a few of them)
simon is a conservative whose family
simon is wealthy
(He's from a wealthy, conservative family. OK.)

Now we have some details, not just about Simon, but about how he fits into the police station and his community.

Pretty cool, huh?

4 comments:

Kimyou said...

This is a pretty awesome little gimmick, I have to give it a try sometime...

I wonder if they have anything for weird fantasy names...

szilard said...

It depends how weird you go. Names form various real-world cultures work decently. More common names work better. Of course, you can always toss in a name that doesn't actually match the NPC you are using.

Noumenon said...

"Kargar is a participant in the Thirty Day Challenge" -- that sounds cool.

Kathleen said...

That's a really handy brainstorming tool. Thanks!