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Generating American Small Towns for Narrative Applications


This tutorial will present Talk of the Town, an asymmetric multiplayer simulation game environment in the style of Dwarf Fortress that features character knowledge propagation as a core mechanic.

Talk of the Town is an AI framework that supports gameplay with non-player characters (NPCs) who observe and form knowledge about the world, propagate knowledge to other characters, misremember and forget knowledge, and lie. Talk of the Town will be used in this tutorial to generate (small, American) towns as settings/material for other works of interactive storytelling and story generators.

The audience will walk away with knowledge of how to generate their own towns, and a guided walk-through of their generated content.

Speaker: James O. Ryan


  1. Brief overview of simulationist/emergentist approaches to interactive storytelling
  2. How the towns are generated
  3. Recap the projects that have already used this framework (Talk of the Town, Bad News, Juke Joint, National Pastime)
  4. Interactive session
    1. Download and set up
    2. Generating towns and in interactively exploring respective towns (in Python)
    3. Discussion of integrating the framework into an existing project/framework
  5. Brainstorming ideas for projects that would be enabled by the framework


Ryan, J.O., Summerville, A., Mateas, M., Wardrip-Fruin, N.: Toward characters who observe, tell, misremember, and lie. In: Proceedings of the 2nd Experimental AI in Games Workshop at the 11th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment. pp. 56–62 (2015)