The Generator Page

The Generators
The Usage
The Technology
Hey look, there is a half-empty page!

And it will stay that way, I tell you. One day, there may be added interesting tutorials on how to make your own generators with JavaScript or PHP, a host of useful links, and more. For now, do not miss a page that lists a few more generators of other creators - the Generator link page of Strolen's Citadel.

Use and abuse these little programs at your own risk, but if you wish to know more, or are simply curious, read on or look into the code. If even that does not sate your thirst for knowledge, and you are determined to create your own generator, you may even send a PM to me, and I may help you, or not. (As the above link can be only used by members of the Strolen's Citadel, I am clearly showing what people I am partial to. ;) )


Following are tiny programs that shall serve for your inspiration. Be creative when you use them, you never know what ideas you may get. Have fun!

Current note: Most of these generators are 'mirrored' directly on the Citadel.
 

Generators

The Generators
The Usage
The Technology


The Citadel
The RPG Tips
The Mine
Generators made in honor of the Citadel.
The one and only Strolen's Citadel is a source of great many ideas... and some of them have been converted into generators.

Generators made in honor of the RPG Tips
The RPG Tips are also an interesting source. I have made a few in its name:

And a few of my own
Yes, there are a few data sets of my own personal design.

 

Usage

The Generators
The Usage
The Technology


Primary use
Getting more
Primary use
Most of the time, just push the button! In some cases you'll need to set up some options first. Then generate as many results as you see fit.

Getting more out of it...
Obviously, it needs a little creativity. The most important rule is not to look at what the generator gives, but what can be made of it. Don't be afraid to reverse the result(s) or twist them in whatever direction. Also, do use the generators for purposes they seemingly weren't made for... you may be surprised about the results. Entire plots were spawned from them.

 

Technology

The Generators
The Usage
The Technology


Why JavaScript
Generating
Making One
Why JavaScript?
I have to admit JavaScript can be a little diffilcut, particularly if you are used to other programming languages. You can easily hit on browser-dependant features, if you try anything more advanced. And don't get me started about debugging. Painful memories.

But at same time, JavaScript is widely available, and runs on most platforms. Most browsers can handle it, if you don't go for the effect but for the functionality. Also, it is friendly to the server load, so once loaded it can be run over and over by the user; a client-side application is it called.

Generating random stuff
For mono-tematic lists, like NPC Characteristics or Terrain Featuress it is almost too easy. Much more diffilcut are things like the Big List Generator or the Personality Generator, using objects (making objects work can be quite painful in JavaScript, but works nice once you get it right, also easier to expand functions). A completely different type is the Persona Generator, which generates from several small lists, but with weighted probabilities.

Finally, the Public Servant Generator rolls from several small lists, which can be linked into chains - so one generated result may open a new group of results. The old "if you roll 10 on this table, roll on another table" can be easily simulated here, without the need to rely on dice. The Horse Generator works on the same principle, as the character background generator. I have made a little file for people to easily create their own generators based on tables. Try yourself.

So if you want to know how it works, see for yourself, the code is all there. (Another of the pluses of JavaScript.)

Making one
That's the hard part. :)

First of all, you need an interesting set of data, something you would want to choose randomly from, and even better, combine in unexpected ways for inspiration.
A mono-tematic generator can be easily based on those mentioned above, and is quickly made. If you do some (and they look interesting), I'll be happy to host them. The others are... more diffilcut. I had to turn to object-oriented programming because of the complexity of some data sets. Makes things easier in the end, but the code is not very readable I am afraid.

And last but not least, a very important topic, but not a strength of mine, is the design. There is much more to it than adding some background color - though a little color definitely helps. What is most puzzling, and often takes the longest time, is the functional layout: what options to offer for the user, and how to arrange them, so they are easy to access and choose from; not to speak of displaying the generated results. Granted, I like to go for simplicity, but that is my take on the problem.



Copyright by Peter Sidor/manfred 2004-2007
Last Update 21.4.2009