"Often, a desire to quickly create a generator and have it done in the next couple of days devolves into a multi-month long project that seems to drag on endlessly"
I have a creator interview with a fellow Brit, Ameronis of rangen.co.uk
Interview with Ameronis of RanGen.co.uk
How did you get into creating random generators?
After being a fan of random generator sites such as Seventh Sanctum, Chaotic Shiny, and They Fight Crime, I started to get lots of ideas for generators that could really do with existing.
In some cases, the generators DID already exist, but the results they gave out weren't anywhere near as detailed or useful as I would have liked.
Seeing as most of the generator site creators did their generators on a part-time or hobby basis, and they already had their own plans and schedules for what they wanted to do, I figured "hey, why harass them with complicated requests for more generators when I can just create the exact generators I'm after myself?".
I already knew a bit of coding, but it was actually Hannah from Chaotic Shiny who set me on the path forward with some hands-on help. A while later (with Hannah's blessing and a blessing from Steven Savage of Seventh Sanctum too) RanGen was born!
Its aim; to fill in the gaps left by the other generator sites and to offer an alternate, more detailed version of some generators that already existed.
What generators are you most proud of creating and why?
Each one was tough to build, contains considerably more code than most of the other Gens, and each one forced me to learn a completely new way of manipulating the code to get the results I was after.
In the end, I think they all turned out OK!
What is the most fun thing about creating generators?
The sheer brilliance and stupidity of the results you can get. While some generator sites have Gens that produce short, wacky results that have a higher rate of unusable (but amusing) results, I aim for my gens to have more realistic, usable ones, so the end result can be a suggestion that really works well to get those creative juices flowing and spark viable ideas.
On the other hand, I always enjoy playing with the "wackiness levels" of the generators, and seeing some of the sillier results that can pop up; from results that are contradictory, to results that seem perfectly reasonable at first, then collapse into something outrageous when you least expect it, a good example being the Law Generator saying "Walking a dog without a leash is punishable by execution by firing squad".
Sometimes I have to stop myself from cranking the silliness all the way up to 100. Though sometimes, I don't…
What are the most painful lessons you've learnt from creating generators?
It takes a looooong time to complete a project. And a lot of brain power! Often, a desire to "quickly create a generator and have it done in the next couple of days" devolves into a multi-month long project that seems to drag on endlessly.
I've had to learn to be more realistic about the workloads and completion times when it comes to creating them, and have also learned to compromise and be satisfied with updating the Gens in stages as I get more parts done; trying to 100% a generator before uploading it was a sure-fire way to have no updates for months or even years in some cases.
How do you use random generators yourself?
My main use was to help me with my writing and world building, but at the moment I'm a bit busier than I'd like to be, so the writing help bit is on hold I do still have time to play with them though!
I especially like to play with the Drink Gen (after a long day of work, nothing beats a lukewarm, foamy purple drink that tastes like mold and gives you a headache, right?) and the Appearance / Quick Character Gens
(you can choose the preferred gender, but you can only press generate once. Whoever you get is now your significant other. Imagine your life with your newly created partner. Despair/laugh uproariously. Repeat.)
What are your next big projects (generators or otherwise) that you can talk about?
My next big project is a major update to the Plot Generator (which I've been blathering on about for a while now). I'm really hoping to make it into something much bigger and more useful than it currently is.
I do also have two new generator types I'm hoping to build in the near future, one more playful, one more serious, but they're secret!
Where can people find you on social media?
You can find more creator interviews on RandRoll.
What are your favourite tools by Ameronis?