Legend of Mark

YAY! If you have a Facebook account, you can try it here.

This is a project I’ve been messing around with for a while now, but the premise is pretty simple: login with Facebook, then move around the island (arrow keys) and talk to the NPCs (spacebar). The NPCs will grab your public Facebook data (posts, statuses, comments, etc) and generate markov chains out of them for their dialog. Do you recognize what you’ve said? ;D

I got the idea (and initial algorithm) from an app called What Would I Say. Turns out the basic premise for text-based markov chains is pretty simple: for every word in a set of data, generate the list of words that word and record how often they follow it. Then, choose randomly from the list of starting words and continue to choose a following word at random  (with the frequency weights) until you hit a terminal word. This results in semi-coherent phrases with some minor grammar mishaps. If you’ve ever encountered spam that was almost human-readable it probably follows a similar algorithm!

I thought it would be neat to see a game where NPCs talked to you in those same semi-coherent, semi-recognizable strings, to see your own personality reflected in the game. And thus Legend of Mark was born!

Legend of Mark

The game was an experiment in using the Facebook API, browser-to-Unity communications, and pixel art. For tileable pixels, I got a lot of mileage out of this tutorial. I also wrote a Tiled map importer for Unity (more on that coming soon!)

All in all, while the game is a prototype that got slightly out of hand, I’m really excited for the learning I got out of it and some of the tooling that I can use in the future. In the meantime: enjoy the silliness!

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Copyright © 2011 Corey Nolan