Yet another thing I'm working on. Part of MUSE is much simpler to understand, and part of it is a little more complicated. If you choose to ignore the complex part, is basically a large collection of name generators from scifi, fantasy, and real world cultures. It can also generate the names of several kinds of places and several kinds of objects. Everything from african tribal names to feudal japanese and space faring insectoid races. These random names are seeded as well. All of this is pretty easy to understand, and it's difficult to see why I would want an entire plugin dedicated to this seemingly simple function. That's where the complicated portion of MUSE comes in.
MUSE is a prose generator. Not that it generates prose FOR you, but it can help. Whereas GridTree can easily help you layout geological things - MUSE can help you easily layout chronological things. You pass MUSE the current time and a seed, and the general period of the data you are looking for. Period is kind of like, how long each portion of this data lasts - weather would be shorter periods, while things like political changes and species extinction would be much much longer. MUSE will then tell you the current state of the world based on the time you gave it. (If it's raining, who is in control, etc.) So say for instance you passed it the REAL WORLD time, then things would happen while you aren't playing the game. While you sleep. Say you passed it the time elapsed since the game started - then the game would pause while it was closed. There are two modes that MUSE can run in in this way - one generates a markov chain of "states", as I explained above, which describe events. The second method is going to output you a list of numbers. Explaining this one will require a picture, since we call it the "falling elevator", and the picture will explain why we call it that better than I ever could.
The picture is rather large, so here's a link to it
. Notice that in the picture, the elevator is as tall as three floors. This represents the list of numbers that MUSE will output to you. As you can imagine, the elevator only travels in one direction, which we call "gravity" but for this example we will call "time", and as it does so, older numbers fall off the top end of the list, and new numbers appear at the bottom of the list. Whereas the first method of MUSE will tell you the state of the world, this could be used for a list of entities that come and go. You can even ask MUSE how old an entity is by seeing where on the "elevator" it currently is. So if these numbers represented NPCs for example, the ones near the top of the list would have more gear since they've been in the world longer.
You can explain them disappearing from the list however you wish. In Void Runner our ships have a small chance to appear as wrecks on planetary surfaces rather than ships if they are on the very top part of the list. This creates a story for the player. For most of the ships however, they simply disappear, and the player needs to fill in the blanks. The pilot moved on to another sector, or whatever.
The main purpose of MUSE is the chronological stuff allowing you to generate procedural events and histories - the procedural names are icing on the cake. I've been working on it for a bit as a side project. I am working on MUSE and GridTree side by side as my time allows and my interests change - so it is quite likely that both of them will come out at around the same time. I figured this also merited an introduction thread since it will be out around the time of GridTree.