If you’re interested in entering PROCJAM but don’t fancy writing any code, here’s a few ideas for projects you could do. Got any more ideas? Please leave them in the comments! PROCJAM is just a few days away now, and has over 330 people signed up on itch.io. We’re so excited for the jam to start!
1. Dice Tables
One common use of generative systems is to make things for pen-and-paper roleplaying games. For example, you write down twenty ideas for things you might find in a chest, and then when someone looks in a chest you roll a 20-sided die and look down the list to see what people find. donjon is a site with a lot of very cool generators, and Chaotic Shiny’s site has an incredible number of them. Dice are a really simple way to get a source of randomness, and you can make dice tables on the bus or in your lunch hour with just a pen and some paper. Tie lots of dice tables to together to tell stories, or invent planets or generate fortune tellings.
Like dice tables, shuffling a deck of cards is a really easy way to randomise something. Get some blank cards by chopping up some paper, or design them online in something like Google Docs. Then design something that uses the randomness of these cards in a fun way. The card game Once Upon A Time has cards for characters, events and places and then players improvise a fairy tale using each card they draw. Carcassonne draws little roads, towns and farms on cards and then players build a world map by placing them next to each other. Maybe you could make a deck of cards with heads, bodies and legs and then randomly match them up, Exquisite Corpse-style? If you like, you can scan in your cards and share them with everyone on itch.io!
3. Tend A Garden
By this we don’t mean a literal garden (although if you want to submit a garden to PROCJAM, that’d be rad) but instead, find an open-source bot or ask a botmaker if you can help expand a bot’s content. Lots of bots have word lists or other data they use to generate things (@botsburgers has a list of pop culture and food ingredients, for example) but over time these lists become used up. For PROCJAM, you could put your writing hat on, find an existing procedural generator, and double the size of its word lists. This would be a huge contribution to that particular generator. Team up with an existing procedural generator for this year’s jam!
4. Curate Some Data
A PROCJAM entry doesn’t have to be a generator – you can also make a tool or something useful for the bot community. Darius Kazemi’s Corpora is a big list of data that’s been formatted and organised in a special way for people to use in their generative software, and anyone can add to it. Someone has added a list of named colours and their RGB values. Someone else has made an indexed list of all the Tarot cards and some interpretations of them. Someone else lists common occupations. Every new file that gets added to Corpora is a huge and useful tool for people who make generative software – why not add your favourite data to the set? Characters from High School Musical? List of modifiers for Starbucks coffees? Breeds of dog? Your work might help dozens of other people make cool things.
5. Make A Cheap Bot, Done Quick
Okay, we’re cheating a little bit here because CBDQ bots look like code on first-glance, but they use a very clear and very clean language to write down templates and lists of words, and it only takes ten minutes to get a bot running on Twitter. No weird API keys, no programming languages – you just write your generator like a dice table, and get it running online. You can do spectacular things with it, and keep adding to it long after PROCJAM ends!
Whatever you make for PROCJAM, be sure to have fun, and let us know what you get up to so we can enjoy it and share it with everyone else. You can comment on our site, tweet at us with the #procjam hashtag, or submit on itch.io. We can’t wait to see what you get up to!