Overthanking a plate of injokes

So I’ve been playing Glitch for the last few days; it’s a lightweight free-to-play social MMO done as a browser Flash game, sort of a cross between a platformer and combat-free resource-wrangling games like Animal Crossing. It’s a good little time. It looks a bit like this:

But I play a lot of games and don’t mention it here much at all, so why am I bringing up this one? Because of a plate of beans, is why.

It goes like this:

1. I found out about Glitch because I work for and hang out at Metafilter, and a lot of folks on Metafilter are playing it. And so while my little yellow dude has been mining beryl and cavorting with pigs in exchange for steaks and harvesting bubbles off of bubble trees, I’ve been chatting with my fellow Mefites. And not only are the are a lot of us playing the game, there’s even a couple folks who work for Tiny Speck, the company that makes Glitch.

2. There’s a long-running joke on Metafilter about how we’re the kind of people who could overthink a plate of beans. It started as a joke someone made during a thread years ago in which people were earnestly deconstructing the performative elements of Alanis Morissette’s cover of Black Eyed Peas’ My Humps, and it caught on, to the point where “beanplating” and “to beanplate” are a commonly understood derived verb forms used to describe maybe-needlessly-in-depth analysis of one thing or another. There’s even a song.

3. Glitch has bean trees, on which grow beans. One can harvest beans, and eat them or use them as constituents in recipes. What Glitch hasn’t had is beans arranged tastefully on a plate.

4. Except, well, that now exists, thanks to one of those Mefite Glitchers who happens to work on the game.

Here it is:

Click on it and you get, as with most items in Glitch, a context menu that gives you some basic options and a special option unique to this item: overthinking.
Continue reading

The Big Markovski

So I put together a thing that takes the script of The Big Lebowski and chews it up and spits out things like this:

It uses Markov chains, one of my favorite bits of applied mathematics in the whole dang world, and it is fairly silly and you can go play with it here:

~ The Big Markovski ~

If you pay enough attention to the odd stuff I get up to, you might recognize this as a port of a very similar previous project, Previously, On The X-Files, which was itself a significant elaboration on an even previouserly project called Garkov that mashed up Markov chains and Jim Davis’ Garfield comics.

One interesting point of comparison between Markovski and the X-Files project is that there’s a great deal less raw material for this new one to work with—Spooky Mulder had something like 15,000 lines of dialogue over 9 seasons, whereas The Dude has maybe 450 total in the Lebowski script. So you see less mid-sentence swerves with this one than with the POTX project; a smaller corpus of input means less resynthesis and more verbatim regurgitation for any given generated statement.

Clearly, the brothers Coen need to address this by writing a long-running TV series in the Duderverse. Until then, we’ll just have to make do with this as is.