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I am currently working on a educational and fun 2-in-1 game. As I am not a professional, I need advice on story and news-feed. The goal is simple-get richer, the story is about a worker who is trying to get over his/her financial problems and become rich.

During the whole gaming process there is a news-feed (every day there are a couple of fresh news about what is going on). The news are fresh and individual so I need to write about 2000 pieces of news for 2 year gaming, maybe more.

The problem is that I am not sure whether repetitive news can interest in this game. What can be done to make the news-making process easier but not boring from the point of view of the player?

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Could you describe the news and their function in a bit more detail? Are they generated by randomized in-game events or could you have them "pre-made"? –  Mikael Högström Aug 7 '12 at 17:13
    
Since writing is hard to automate, one idea could be to harness your players. If whatever story submission system you create for yourself is available to the users as well, you might find that some people enjoy making content themselves. User-created stories will need to be checked (manually) for language/racism/trolling, which might again be offloaded to the users if the job becomes too large. –  tugs Aug 7 '12 at 19:00
    
With the help of news players determine what they should do next step (or do not). Like when you get news about a company and then decide you buy the stock or not. Originally I thought about collecting a database of news articles and then randomly spread then in the game process. The problem is if I want an interesting real-life like game, I have to collect a huge amount of articles. So I wonder if there is anything I can do to make the process easier?.. –  arpine Aug 8 '12 at 5:00
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2 Answers

Not being able to substitute words like in English is not a real problem, because while in English you have this problem less often, it is still there:

"There was a man named %name%. He liked kids..." - female names won't work here.

Instead you could try to have fun with a more complex approach.

"There was a %person1.sexAndAge%. %person1.personalPronoun% liked kids... But they didn't like %person1.personalPronounGenitive%."

Now if you create a random object:

var person1 = {}
person1.age = random(80)+10;
person1.sex = randomFromList( ['man', 'woman'] );
if ( person1.age < 20 ) person1.ageDescription = 'young';
else if ( person1.age > 50 ) person1.ageDescription = 'old'; //sorry to all guys here above 50!
if ( person1.sex == 'man' ) {
   person1.personalPronoun = 'he';
   person1.personalPronoun = 'him';
   if ( person1.ageDescription == 'young' ) person1.sexAndAge = 'boy';
   else person1.sexAndAge = 'man';
}
if ( person1.sex == 'woman' ) {
   person1.personalPronoun = 'she';
   person1.personalPronounGenitive = 'her';
   if ( person1.ageDescription == 'young' ) person1.sexAndAge = 'girl';
   else person1.sexAndAge = 'woman';
}

Now, whatever random functions will return, the sentence will work (at least grammatically!)

  • There was a boy. He liked kids... But they didn't like him.
  • There was a woman. She liked kids... Buth they didn't like her.

but you're limited and you can't add "old man" to your sexAndAge possible values:

  • There was a old man ...
  • should be: There was an old man...

This is easy to solve, but it complicates your code even more. You could also go a step further and make functions randomizing a group of people, e.g. a married couple, where there would be only like 1% chance that this is a gay marriage. Then you could make a story about a %person1.name% being in love with %person2.nameLocative%. You should write a few stories, some variants of these stories and see what functionality you need.

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And sorry for potential bad naming, I'm polish and I really can't be sure if Polish grammar rules can be translated to English as well as I assumed. –  Markus von Broady Oct 6 '12 at 9:40
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Maybe you can use some type of natural language generation to create news based on certain input. It wouldn't have to be state of the art (this is a complex field with lots of research) but could be based on a certain sentence pattern with some different synonyms that can replace each other for different types of news. Wikipedia has an article on this which might be a good place to start. Just keep in mind that since news are very similar in structure you can keep it very simple by sticking to certain patterns.

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the problem is that in my native language (the game is not in English) this is almost impossible, or the news is going to sound very primitive and boring :( –  arpine Aug 7 '12 at 10:09
    
Thank you very much. –  arpine Aug 7 '12 at 10:10
    
Ahh yes some languages are a lot harder than English in that sense. Although not impossible som might be a lot harder due to grammar... –  Mikael Högström Aug 7 '12 at 17:12
    
By the way, which language is it? –  Karlos Zafra Aug 8 '12 at 6:47
    
Armenian (it is much harder, as the grammar makes it quite difficult to arrange the random words and still get a nice and correct sentence) –  arpine Aug 8 '12 at 8:01
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