Neighborly: A sandbox for simulation-based emergent narrative

Shi Johnson-Bey, Mark J. Nelson, Michael Mateas (2022). Neighborly: A sandbox for simulation-based emergent narrative. In Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Games. DOI: 10.1109/CoG51982.2022.9893631


This paper presents Neighborly, a customizable, community-scale social simulation engine for procedurally generating settlements of characters for use in research experimentation or entertainment media. Neighborly is a rational reconstruction of Talk of the Town (TotT), an earlier social simulation for emergent narrative focused on simulating small American towns and the townspeople's lives. Based on Talk of the Town's previous success as part of the experimental game Bad News, we wanted to reconstruct it as a general-use social simulation authoring tool. In this paper, we delineate the design space of TotT-like social simulation and compare TotT-likes to other academic projects and commercial social simulation games. Finally, we provide an overview of how Neighborly embodies the essence of TotT while offering users a customizable tool for creating community-scale social simulations.

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