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Pseudorandom Global Village

A browser which interprets HTML as a game world.
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As a browser is merely a piece of software which interprets HTML in a particular manner for purposes of display, why not build a browser which interprets HTML in an entirely different manner, such as a graphical game world? The player would never see actual web content as you would through an ordinary browser, but only the content's auto-generated representation within the game world.

For example, perhaps each page would equate to a room. IMG tags (images) might be treasures, where the HEIGHT attribute becomes the number of gold coins contained therein, and the WIDTH tag algorithmically distills to a trap type. Maybe P tags (paragraphs) are monsters, where the first letter within the paragraph determines the monster type, the total number of words divided by 100 becomes a multiplier for the base hit points of that monster type, etc. These examples are intended only to convey the concept.

The most important interpretation is that links become portals of some sort (doorways, stargates), though some care must be taken to rationalize their one-way nature. (Alternatively, the browser / game engine could store a history of your travels for bread crumbing.) Thus, the game engine would allow one to travel from room (page) to room within a single complex (site) using site navigation links, or from one complex to another via external site links.

The game world itself could be any genre (fantasy, sci-fi, whatever) and any format (bird's-eye view, side-view, first-person, whatever). It could be made multiplayer using centralized servers similar to those used for MORPGs. (Or it could even be locally multiplayer using web server plug-ins hosted by any site that wished to do so.)

On a somewhat technical side note, it might be useful for the browser to transform the HTML of pages into a game world description markup via XSLT or some such (possibly after converting the HTML to XHTML).

Using the Pseudorandom Global Village browser / game engine, players could explore an enormous game space (as large as the web) that has already been unwittingly created. How rich that game space would be probably depends on the complexity of the interpretation engine.

count_crackula, Apr 03 2003

David Gelernter http://www-2.cs.cmu...ware/Gelernter.html
[ato_de, Oct 04 2004]

Mormonism Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormonism
They've really got no tolerance at all. [disbomber, Apr 16 2005]

[link]






       So do you kill the paragraph monsters with form submits? Doesn't sound like it would be very interesting. And there's no winning... just wandering around looking at stuff. I'd rather use actual web content for that.   

       ("Paragraph monsters"... I do like the sound of that.)
waugsqueke, Apr 03 2003
  

       I'm game :-D... I would add "surfacing" (i.e. ending up in the normal view of a given page) as a possibility, and the complete restriction of viewing addresses. A map of sorts would begin to develop. Surfacing at a planted website may be a possible objective? PLUS from me Count.
DickWeed, Apr 03 2003
  

       Sounds remarkably like the article I just read in Discover magazine regarding the work of David Gelernter.

“Gelernter's current interests include adaptive parallelism, programming environments for parallelism, real-time data fusion, expert databases and information-management systems”
ato_de, Apr 03 2003
  

       Something like this used to be possible with the old Apple II game _LodeRunner_. A fine fine game. You could load up many different levels. But you could also take any given file and tell Loderunner that it was a level, and it would load up as one. These levels were rarely playable - random chunks of blocks, gold, bad guys etc. Sometimes the game would start and the whole scene would be black except for one or two blocks, you and the bad guys. But the idea was neat - anything could be interpreted as a Loderunner level. Ah, the days of yore.   

       This same principle applies, I think , to Godmode in Doom, when you walk thru the wall and head off into space, away from the developed levels. You encounter strange sounds, invisible monsters and other phantasms. I am not sure why it is interpreting as these things - presumably other bits of the guts of the game.   

       Perhaps something like the Quake engine could be made to interpret HTML as items in the Quake world. It would be a freaky trip.
bungston, Apr 03 2003
  

       OO MS-Bob 2005 – “The Shores of Hell”
Shz, Apr 04 2003
  

       hrm... since html contains no data about the user browsing the site, there would be no interaction with other people, would there? although i suppose really creative uses of SSI variables could manage something...
urbanmatador, Apr 04 2003
  

       I think this sounds pretty cool.
Thinking about it a wee bit, you needn't necessarily stick to just one style of graphical interpretation - there's only so many base HTML tags, so it'd be reasonably simple to knock out your own visualisation scheme and post it on the web.
my face your, Apr 04 2003
  

       What would make this awesome, IMO, would be to have this as open-source, and allow different people to script different 'schemes' for interpreting various tags and such. That way you could load a scheme--one interprets paragraphs as monsters, another interprets them as windows-- and rock it. Croissant for you.
disbomber, Apr 08 2005
  

       You're playing [insert your fave game]. You've dodged a zillion bullets; you've snuck up behind your unsuspecting adversary; you're sweating like a mormon on speed; you're in the groove. But something's nagging at you. You check your ammo and the med-pak. They're ok, it must be something else. Then the realisation slams you - the red electricity bill is overdue. REAL LIFE, computer sustaining electricty. F**k! You ditch, and work your way to the mall, clearing out the scum along the way.   

       The sign blinks in the distance, flickering, insubstantial, but you recognise your bank's logo. You fight you way there, wiping out a few beggars as you go. They weren't your problem, and now they won't be anyone else's, either. You hit the bank, and the other patrons spreadeagle themselves on the floor and shit themselves for all you care. The teller leaps up and presents your electricty bill. You quickly type your password, and wait for him to smile. The bank's logo flashes across the screen. You blow the mother away, and spin around, gun ready on the hip...
goldilox, Apr 08 2005
  

       What... exactly was the point of that?   

       What exactly is a "mormon" anyway?
EvilPickels, Apr 08 2005
  

       //What exactly is a "mormon" anyway?//   

       I'm going to assume you're not being sarcastic. A Mormon is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or somesuch, and one of their basic principles is that they are never to take a drug, including caffeine, ibuprofen, methamphetamine, etc. See link.
disbomber, Apr 16 2005
  
      
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