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Tracery: generating text, art, twitterbots and more


This tutorial will present Tracery, an author-focused open source tool for writing generative grammars. Grammars are composed as JSON objects in a simple and readable syntax, and then recursively expanded by Tracery into a finished artifact.

Tracery has been intentionally designed to be lightweight and syntactically simple to encourage its use, and works as a modular system with several independently usable components, including a parseable language and visualization tool. Tracery has been presented previously at ICIDS and has been used by many members of the ICIDS community.

The audience will walk away with a twitterbot, and the ability to make an assortment of other things (poetry, text, music) with Tracery.

Speaker: Kate Compton


  1. Introduction to Tracery
  2. Examples of works in Tracery
  3. Basic syntax
    1. Making your first twitterbot with CBDQ*
  4. Advanced syntax
  5. Using Tracery with javascript
    1. Making music generator, comic generator, and generative RPG with Tracery*
  6. Show-and-tell

* = activities


Compton, K., Kybartas, B., Mateas, M.: Tracery: An author-focused generative text tool. In: Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling. pp. 154–161 (2015)