Generative gaming / ming mecca software?

just wondering if there’s anything like a generative side scroller / rpg maker / doom aesthetic et. all that generates game play, whether playable or not. ming mecca is the closest thing I can think of but I would imagine there’s alternatives? something like pico 8 or just a way to do on the computer?

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For some reason I just got the biggest no man’s Sky vibes but you’re playing Metroid

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give me all the weird games…mostly looking at snes style for a friend. personally after any and all lsd dream emulator vibes …

if you are interested in getting into the code side of things, it’s pretty fun to generate pixelated patterns in processing (the coding language)

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What I wouldn’t give for a Doom source port that let you maipulate the assets and rendering engine in real time via MIDI.

EDIT: I bet VVVV would be a good platform for this kind of stuff, you could probably use the 3d libraries to get some generative N64/PS1 type visuals going with it relatively easily (compared to working from scratch at least). I always lean more toward VVVV than Touchdesigner (and I’m not much good with either), but I’m sure Touchdesigner would work well too.

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I was going to suggest a combination of NESmaker, an emulator geared toward the TAS community, and one of the MIDI to HID/keyboard programs floating around, but before I could find any specific stuff that might work, I found this:

Which has some potential.
In general I think tools made for tool assisted speedrunning have a lot of potential for crative use, but I hadn’t thought of that until just now so I can’t get any more specific.

I did buy NESmaker on sale last year because having something that lets you throw together a simple NES game quickly seems like a useful tool for making source material (the original idea was to use it to make stuff I could load on a RAM cart and use as a visual instrument (with controllers or with MIDI to controller hardware) sort of like the Ming Mecca but less glitchy. I don’t have a RAM cart and I don’t know of an existing MIDI to NES controller converter (Highly Liquid had one for Atari back when they were around, and it probably would be too hard for even a non programmer like me to hack together something with Arduino) and I’m almost exclusively focusing on music right now, so it’s more of a medium-term idea but it would definitely be doable. Using an emulator on a Raspberry Pi or something would probably be more practical and flexible.

EDIT: if you don’t need realtime control, there are a lot of TAS tools (like the one I linked above) that you could misuse. This is where I’d start with that based on what little I know about TASing:


I guess that was pretty scattered, but what I was basically talking about at the end was using something like this to control TASeditor (or something similar) via MIDI and use it to glitch the game.

EDIT: in fact, I’m going tohave to try this myself as soon as I have a chance.

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so interesting to read, I have never heard of this before. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to seeing what’s possible!

I have a feeling the TAS stuff isn’t going to be as useful as it seemed on the surface, since it’s really all about step sequencing standard controller input very precisely. A realtime NES debug tool would probably be more useful (but a lot harder to get usable results from, maybe).

But completely unrelated I discovered this about 15 minutes ago and it looks like it has potential:

It’s a visual programming language for Windows 95/98 aimed at children that was released in Czech back in the late 90s, and now officially freeware with English translation. From the look of it there’s enough depth to it that you could probably use it to make live performance tools with a late 90s PC budget gaming aesthetic (and I bet it runs well under WINE, so maybe you could even use it on a Raspberry Pi). Plus it’s open source, so someone more skilled than me might be able to add, say, simple MIDI control. There’s already a fork that lets you directly capture the output window, up to 4k.

The fact that it’s buried on a Czech language Breatharian site of all places is just the icing on the cake, really.

  • The sprite technique makes it possible to create moving and overlapping animated objects.
  • Multimedia support of music, multichannel 3D sound playback, MP3 files, audio CDs, mixers.
  • All numerical operations are carried out with the double-real accuracy (15 digits, exponent +/- 308), mathematical functions (sin, log, int, …).
  • Rich graphical functions, pictures overlapping, transparency, shadows, multi-layer animation, height levels.
  • The program created together with all data is simultaneously an EXE application of Windows. It can be started immediately without the compilation.
  • The entire developmental environment is one compact whole including the picture, sprite, icon, and text editors.
  • A constituent of the installator is a big quantity of example programs, pictures, sprites, sounds, and musics.
  • Easy data portability from other applications thanks to standard formats ICO, BMP, JPG, MID, RMI, WAV, MP3, TXT, RTF, clipboard.
  • Possibility of creating the console programs, Windows dialog boxes, full-screen mode.
  • Control of the created programs with a mouse, a joystick, a keyboard.
  • File, folder, and disk management, modification of attributes, easy saving data into files.
  • Easy numerical operations with date and time (addition and subtraction, conversion), local and world time.
  • The DirectPlay network support of the games enables to play games in the Internet and a data transfer between computers, communication ports support (COM), UDP packets.
  • Multilingual programs creation, filename ALIASES support.
  • Easy using of external DLL libraries and Windows API functions.
  • Powerful 3D graphics (interfaces OpenGL 1.0 and 1.1, DirectX 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8).

To run it, a 486 computer using Windows 95 or Windows NT 3.5 with 10 MB disk space is sufficient.

Just a heads up, if you mess with that program the actual software itself seems fine, but one of the sample programs ( 3D Luminosity - demonstration of the use of light) I just tried to download is infected with a (very, very old - probably Windows XP era at the newest) trojan. The 13 Ghosts one didn’t set off any alarms, though, and I can confirm that the 3d engine still works flawlessly in Windows 10 x64, which is more than you can say for a lot of AAA games from 1999. It looks like it even does very primitive particle systems, although the JET demo that I saw them in could be faking it with sprites (and if it IS an actual particle system we’re talking like 15 particles onscreen).

So this really has serious potential as a platform for quickly making unique, retro-3d video instruments. Just make sure to scan the sample programs for viruses, especially if you’re reading this 25 years ago when they’d actually be a real threat.

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