How to make a Twitter bot

September 30, 2013

Probably every other day some very well-intentioned person asks me: “Can you teach me how to make a Twitter bot?” If that person is a programmer, no big deal, I show them some code and they’re happy. But sometimes this is followed up with, “I don’t really know how to code.” The thing is, there […]

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New npm package for bot-makers: wordfilter

September 12, 2013

Something I often end up copy/pasting between different Twitter bots I make is my “badwords” file, which contains a running list of words that I do not want my bots to say. As I’ve explained in detail in the past, the danger of running a Twitter bot that uses found text or random dictionary words […]

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New Twitter bot: @TwoHeadlines

September 11, 2013

A couple weeks ago I quietly launched a new Twitter bot, @TwoHeadlines. It’s my attempt to automate jokes where people mix up two popular headlines from a given day. The algorithm is simple. Because there are no good news APIs out there, I resort to basic screen-scraping. Here’s what it does: Goes to Grabs […]

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Some thoughts on the IGDA (or: why I quit)

September 3, 2013

For nearly three years, I served on the Board of Directors of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA). I ran in the elections for the IGDA board because in 2009 I really believed in their mission, and I believed that as an organization it could improve the lives of individual game developers everywhere. Three years […]

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New project: automating fandom

August 13, 2013

I just posted up a new project: it’s a bot that makes animated GIFs from TV shows and posts them to tumblr. The way it works is pretty simple: I have a video of The Wire and its corresponding subtitle file, which provides dialogue with timestamps. The bot finds some dialogue at random, looks up […]

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Book Review: Dreamcast Worlds, by Zoya Street

July 31, 2013

I recently read Zoya Street’s book Dreamcast Worlds, a “design history” of the Dreamcast. I really like it and started writing a review for this blog. But I felt more people needed to hear about it than my own meager readership, so I pitched the review to Kotaku and they are running the full review there. […]

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Professor Jocular vs Twitter

July 28, 2013

Inspired by Rob Dubbin, I made a new Twitter bot last week called Professor Jocular (@ProfJocular). It tries to explain jokes. Here’s how it works: grabs short tweets from Favstar’s Tweets of the Day (there’s no API for this so I just scrape it) picks a random short tweet gets three random words (of 4+ […]

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A brief note on hip hop and videogames and the cost of assets

June 21, 2013

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea that videogames in the late 90s and early 00s were at a “sweet spot” in terms of the cost of producing assets, technological capability, and the expectations of the gaming public when it came to things like graphical fidelity and polish. This is what allowed games like […]

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A brief word on multiplayer lag compensation

May 8, 2013

I help curate a website called Build New Games, which contains longform tutorials about making games for the open web with technologies like JavaScript and HTML5. One of our most popular articles is Sven Bergström’s Real Time Multiplayer in HTML5. I wrote something in the comments that I thought might be valuable to people setting out […]

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BioShock: Infinite and Against the Day — bifurcated transdimensional twins?

April 3, 2013

I just finished playing BioShock Infinite. It’s a game with very high highs and very low lows. Plenty of people have said really interesting things about the game, and I won’t retread their words. What I do want to talk about is Thomas Pynchon and videogames. It’s been a while since I last did that. In […]

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