"When I was writing the generator to start with and it was nearing completion, it suddenly stopped working and I was stumped for weeks. It turned out that my computer had auto corrected an apostrophe to a single quotation mark, which broke the code"
Back to more Warhammer-themed generators with Bobo of Bobo's Name Generator.
Q&A with Bobo of Snow White Hills
When I was writing the generator to start with and it was nearing completion, it suddenly stopped working and I was stumped for weeks. It turned out that my computer had auto corrected an apostrophe to a single quotation mark, which broke the code
How did you get into creating random generators?
I was assembling an all night goblin army, for Warhammer Fantasy Battle, which was around around 200 goblins, and got the idea of converting all models to be unique. After going to all that effort to give every one it’s own character, I felt like they all deserved to be named as well.
I remembered that Games Workshop used to have name generators for a couple of different teams on their website but after a bit of digging I couldn’t find anything. All ‘officially’ named goblins seemed to follow a pattern, so I thought if I couldn’t access the one the writers use, I could have a good attempt at making my own.
I’ve always been intrigued by coding and wanted to learn, and this was the perfect reason to teach myself some basic code while creating a useful tool.
So, a big search began to find as many officially printed goblin names as I could and I’m still adding to it when I come across new ones. Once it was finished, I felt I might as well make one for orcs while I was at it, as I had come across several orc names during my research of greenskin lore. With that the ball had started rolling, and I began adding more and more races as I came across good sources. It’s important to me that my name generators stay true to the lore at heart.
What generators are you most proud of creating and why?
There are plenty of Tolkien and other universe based name generators out there, but very few that fit the Warhammer naming conventions. The ones I had found lumped together orcs and goblins, which doesn’t really work for me. In the novel ‘Skarsnik’ by Guy Hayley, the author adds to what we know about greenskin context and we discover that it is unacceptable for a goblin to take an orc name. So, in the spirit of accuracy, I wanted to create the most authentic goblin names I could.
I’m most proud of this generator, partly as it was my first attempt at creating this type of tool, but mostly because of the research I did to ensure its authenticity. Currently the goblin generator is based on 391 names I extracted from official sources, giving a potential 118,383 outcomes.
Currently, the generator allows for the user to specify whether they create a name for a generic goblin or a night goblin, and whether or not that character is a shaman. I’m planning on allowing for it being split up even further in the future to allow for forest goblins as well.
What is the most fun thing about creating generators?
Reading through the list of random titles I’ve managed to extract from various novels and texts is always good fun. But ultimately, seeing your hard work come together is a great moment, especially when other people are utilising the tools you spent so much time putting together.
I have also hidden some Easter Eggs, which is always fun to do even if they never will be discovered. However, make sure to let me know if you do!
What are the most painful lessons you've learnt from creating generators?
It’s been a huge learning curve discovering the problems that can arise when first writing my code out in a program with auto correct. Particularly when using separator symbols.
When I was writing the generator to start with and it was nearing completion, it suddenly stopped working and I was stumped for weeks. It turned out that my computer had auto corrected an apostrophe to a single quotation mark, which broke the code. After trying to fix every other part of the code and all it’s different functionalities, I managed to identify that the fault was in the source material.
Now I know to write the code in a non rich text environment and regularly use the search and replace function to avoid the same problem. So my advice if you’re writing code yourself is to test your code often. If you run into a problem while testing, condense it down to it barest form and use simple short clean stand-in arrays.
How do you use random generators yourself?
I’m a huge Blood Bowl fan and use generators to create names for my players. I also write background fluff for characters, teams and army and will usually need names for this too.
What are your next big projects (generators or otherwise) that you can talk about?
For a long while I’ve been working on a comprehensive timeline which displays the entire history of the Warhammer universe, with events from all races included. There will also be a parallel axis displaying events from the the Blood Bowl universe.
I don’t feel that there is currently a tool out there like it, especially one that goes into this much detail while remaining easily understandable. I just need to to figure out the finer points of the css code to make the text display properly.
Where can people find you on social media?
After the Snow White Hills Blog there is Twitter and the Snow White Hills twitter for blog updates.
There's also Instagram, Facebook and trying out Mewe.
Is there anything else you would like to talk about?
Feedback and suggestions are always welcomed and much appreciated. I’m always looking for ways to improve and create tools that will be useful to everyone in the Warhammer community.
You can find more creator interviews on Rand Roll.
What Warhammer races have you used Bobo's Generator for?