Joy Project: FGNO Plotter


Joy project: Today’s a comparatively light work day, so I’m gonna lay out what I’m actually trying to do with this project.

The source, btw, is at:

GitHub – GeePawHill/fgno-plotter Playtime project for the fgno meetup. Contribute to GeePawHill/fgno-plotter development by creating an account on GitHub.
Feel free to poke around.

There are a bunch of simultaneous missions going on with fgno-plotter, which is why it’s a joy and learning project. "fgno", btw, is an abbreviation of "Friday Geek’s Night Out", our regular private gathering of old geeks, where we gossip, talk trash, and mess with code.

If you don’t have something like fgno, I recommend that you start one. I wrote it up here:

Get Stronger With Geek’s Night Out | GeePawHill.org

So, first, what’s the program gonna do, in the event that it ever does anything? Welllll, it’s a gamer thing, tho it’s not a game.

Didja ever play one of the monstrously large RPG games, Skyrim, A Plague Tale, Days Gone, Cyberpunk 2077, something like that?

I love that kinda game, and I play a lot of them. They’re visually beautiful, the game mechanics are viable on a PC, and they’re long, really long, for a completionist like myself, sometimes over a hundred hours of game play.

But then? We’re done, and that’s that. These games don’t replay nearly as well as other games, because they are plot rich. Much of the pleasure derives from the gradual unfolding of the plot, the cross-connections, the consequences of this mission or that, and so on.

A friend of mine got sucked into Cyberpunk 2077 not long ago. I’d played it, had fun with it, thought what the hell, I’ll dip back in.

But when I dipped back in, I was immediately confronted with one simple fact: I still remembered almost exactly where all this was going.

The game, when you already know the plot, comes down to whether or not you like the mechanics. And the mechanics in these games, as much fun as they are, they just don’t really suffice to hold your attention for very long.

Not only is there a paucity of mission type, but even when they have randomized missions, they’re never part of the plot, they’re just irrelevant skill-builders. And in most of these games, all random encounters are the same each run anyway.

I would like to play Days Gone again.

And I’m fine with starting in the same place, and ending in the same place. But I would like many or most of the internals of the plot to be wildly varied, and derived from a game seed, like most builder-games are. That’d be supremely cool.

What are some of the blockers to this? 1) Heavy reliance on cut-scenes to advance plot. Cut-scenes must be pre-written and hardwired, even if they have variants embedded. 2) Use of "rote" NPC’s, same schmoe every time, same words, same purpose. 3) Very few mission-types.

fgno-plotter isn’t intended to be a game, it is intended to generate viable variant plots. Start with a hardwired landscape and a hardwired cast, with a hardwired start and end of game. Weave a complex plot that seems to be dramatically different with every different seed.

Can this be done? Well. I don’t know, do I?

fgno-plotter is for me to find out the answer to that. I have a lot of problems to solve, and I have a lot of strange ideas for solving them, and I want to try that all out.

Along the way, of course, I hope to be learning cool stuff. I’m using Kotlin, cuz I greatly enjoy Kotlin. I’m using tornadofx, cuz I am not writing a game, but I still want a maker-UI, and I’m fairly confident at tornadofx+javafx. I’m using my TDD, cuz I always use my TDD.

So that’s my current joy project. I will try my best to not turn it into work. To take my time, to push on any angle I want whenever I want, to use my normal coding style, with no focus on teaching, beyond what I myself feel like talking about.

Wish me luck!


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