Monday, April 25, 2016

Penn & Teller's Desert Bus

The world's worst videogame provides the lowest initial bar to scale in simulating Ulysses.

"The objective of the game is to drive a bus from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada in real time at a maximum speed of 45 MPH. The feat requires eight hours of continuous play to complete, since the game cannot be paused... The bus contains no passengers, there is little scenery aside from an occasional rock or bus stop sign, and there is no traffic. The road between Tucson and Las Vegas is completely straight." [wiki] [Java port]

Let the viewer be a pedestrian and the view be an unchanging street scene. Let them choose any startingpoint-and-destination among the book's many paths, and decide when to move and when to stop. Keep track of progress and end the game when they've 'walked' as far as their chosen path demands.

Variants: Ride in a carriage, a train, or a tram. Include paths deduced for characters between episodes. Add destinations like Mullingar or Clongowes.

Complications: Add a graphic for cross street intersections that appears at appropriate times, and require the character to 'turn'. Represent different street widths and building heights.

(If someone wants to do this, it would be nice if the data files are in a format that can be repurposed for more advanced sims.)

gameplay starts at 3:53

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Oregon Trail

Lots of text-based decisions about your path and progress, consequences like death if you don't maintain provisions. Track progress on map. Option for multiple characters in party.

[HTML5? port]

Simplest startingplace is probably the Hades carriage-ride with four passengers and a driver and horse.

"You have perished of inanition."

Bet on horserace?

Man in macintosh passes

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


strength/stamina/agility/intellect/perception: it should be interesting to differentiate the ulysses cast this way
instead of outfitting ships they could provision their pockets?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

HTML5 animation

this category started with the whimsical notion that bloom's travels could be illustrated in 8-bit DonkeyKong style, which led to the realisation that HTML5 offers a built-in toolkit for simple sprite animations, moving characters around an x-y grid.

Bloom's (and to some extent Stephen's) paths are well-known, so simple mock-ups were easy to generate, but their detailed interactions are much subtler and it quickly becomes clear that treating them respectfully will require more detailed 'cut scenes' with much more 'theatrical' staging.

html5 has enough complexities to explore and master that it's hard to foresee what will eventually be possible.

for now, i'm thinking every human interaction that joyce describes in any detail deserves a custom 'stage' with the goal of capturing some sense of joyce's artistic intent.

the first priority is to list the sequence of events, breaking down paths into straight line segments and making sure 'instantaneous' effects are actually allowed a momentary gap so the direction of causality is clear.

joyce hides lots of little clues that help trace paths in detail.

pauses should usually include some kind of jiggling to show the character is alive. speaking probably deserves at least chin-jiggling.

characters' x-y paths can be broken down into 100 segments each, with a duration setting for the whole.

their depictions can be freely changed along the way using a delicate (and unintuitive?) technology called 'sprite sheets'. editor

or wandering rocks like:

PARADISE - A contemporary interpretation of The Garden of Earthly Delights from STUDIO SMACK on Vimeo.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Donkey Kong

Is there any point to putting a little 8-bit Bloom walking sideways across Dublin? Eating sandwiches (and flirting?) for refreshment, dodging trams and apes throwing biscuit tins?

Could his route be emulated in 2.5-D?

or: a cutaway view of the 7 eccles house w/kitchen in basement and molly in 1st floor bedroom, outhouse in back garden (there's no reason the scale can't be as accurate as we know how)

and switch to some kind of streetview for his butcher trip, and then for his postoffice trip


what the heck, let's just do the whole thang:

Thursday, April 14, 2016


bloom avoiding streetcars?

"BLOOM (Halts erect stung by a spasm.) Ow.
(He looks round, darts forward suddenly. Through rising fog a dragon sandstrewer, travelling at caution, slews heavily down upon him, its huge red headlight winking, its trolley hissing on the wire. The motorman bangs his footgong.)
THE GONG Bang Bang Bla Bak Blud Bugg Bloo.
(The brake cracks violently. Bloom, raising a policeman's whitegloved hand, blunders stifflegged, out of the track. The motorman thrown forward, pugnosed, on the guidewheel, yells as he slides past over chains and keys.)
THE MOTORMAN Hey, shitbreeches, are you doing the hat trick?
(Bloom trickleaps to the curbstone and halts again. He brushes a mudflake from his cheek with a parcelled hand.)
BLOOM No thoroughfare. Close shave that but cured the stitch. Must take up Sandow's exercises again. On the hands down. Insure against street accident too. The Providential. (He feels his trouser pocket.) Poor mamma's panacea. Heel easily catch in track or bootlace in a cog. Day the wheel of the black Maria, peeled off my shoe at Leonard's corner. Third time is the charm. Shoe trick. Insolent driver. I ought to report him."

Trams and trains

dublin's complex network of trams and trains would take a lot of research to get right but would flesh out lots of hints about characters' movements

and the animation could be quite simple [demo]

traffic sim

modern ireland trains sim

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


collect all characters

items: potato, key, bike


speed, accuracy, evasiveness
effort, experience

friendship, affection


bloom triumphs

"A major subplot of each game is to defeat a criminal organization trying to take over the world through the misuse of Pokémon"

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Animated storytelling

there's lots of simple apps that let kids create animated stories

joyce has filled episode one with minute stage directions that we're honor-bound to honor

Monday, April 11, 2016

September 12tth

A little farfetched (or not?) but imagine a game where the British assassinate Irish nationalists, in the process inspiring two new nationalists for each one killed?

Sunday, April 10, 2016


Before Doom there were partial implementations including Castle Wolfenstein [survey]

Choosing a 3D game engine to attempt will take research.  Dublin's streets are not all at right angles, and the sky is almost always visible.

Wireframe 3D might be more effective for the first try. Buildings would need basic dimensions in addition to streets and sidewalks.[typology of buildings] The census form 'House and Building Return (Form B1)' includes a count of windows in front.

there must have been open spaces: parks, rivers, vacant lots? calculating the view

boiling it down to a handful of standard blocks

interactive Flash demo

Friday, April 8, 2016

Emotional Street Fighter

random pedestrian interactions could be handled by Street-Fighter-like AI

instead of blows, each would have a menu of conversational gambits, including sharing gossip, trading compliments for favors, trying to end conversations quickly

visualise a panorama of dublin's streets with a full complement of pedestrians where every meeting is handled this way

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


could a very lo-res but broad Dublin map be laid out?

maybe one voxel per building?

voxel Paris

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Restaurant Empire


ulysses depicts dozens of ways that food and drink were sold

gamify these, to clarify the economics

- borrow money
- hire location
- decorate
- set menu
- hire employees
- advertise
- count profits
- move on up


starting at the very bottom:

Banbury cakes
Simnel cakes
cabman's shelter
north city dining rooms
Red Bank