The Rebecca Game is a child response to the Ivanhoe game. Games like Ivanhoe are interventions and Rebecca, as its given name suggests, is an intervention after Ivanhoe. It is entranced by Ivanhoe. It is a daughter.
These notes are from my conversation with Steve Ramsay.
Rebecca is a game of algorithmic transformation. Unlike Ivanhoe where moves are made by editing text in the discourse field, in Rebecca moves are made by writing programs that intervene.
Simply put, at the start of the game there is a text and players make moves by running programs on the starting text or its children. Players make moves with an agreed goal in mind and the game is considered complete when the goal is achieved. The goal could be to generate an answer from the start.text to a question about the start.text. Or, the goal could be to transform the start.text into a stop.text.
What is the point of the game?
1. First it is an experiment that came out of the Ivanhoe project. It is an experiment to see if one can play through coding.
2. It is a game for learning together about the limitations and possibilities of automatic text transformation.
3. It is a toy environment for learning to program text tools and it is therefore a pedagogical toy for teaching text programming.
How might it work?
A simple version of the game can be played with existing tools.
1. Set up the environment. Choose a programming language to play this with. Set up a server so that users can upload programs to the server and run them on texts in the discourse field.
2. Choose a start.text and a goal (either a stop.text or the goal of developing an answer to a question from the start.text.)
3. Set up a web page on the server where players can enter their moves. Every play should be able to edit the web page. Alternatively you can use a blog.
4. For each move a player creates a directory. They copy the text they are going to reprocess into that directory so that they do not alter the original. They upload their program to their move directory (or write it in the directory.) Then they run the program on the text to generate a new text (or texts.) They should then add a paragraph to the log announcing the move with links to the text they operated on, to the code of their program, and to the results.
5. Players can chose to stop when they agree that the goal has been achieved.
Obviously this can be implemented with software for checking in and out texts and controlling moves. We could also develop a text processing language for this like Proce55ing.