forum Introducing NovelGens: free creatures for your worlds
Started by @andrew health_and_safety flash_onAdmin
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@andrew health_and_safety flash_onAdmin

Hey all!

If you're looking for more creatures for your world (or just some inspiration and/or prompts), you might be interested in our new site, NovelGens.

Here's a full blog post about it but here's a quick breakdown:

  • Every day (starting on January 1, 2022), an AI will generate 1 random creature (name, description, and image) and post it to NovelGens
  • Users are able to claim creatures as their own, which gives them the rights to use that creature in their own fiction works
  • Creatures have a limited number of owner slots (depending on rarity), so claiming them is first-come-first-serve

Eventually, I'll get some integration going that lets you export your claimed creatures into Creature pages on Notebook.ai, plus the ability to trade, buy, or sell creatures from others. It's a very experimental concept that I'm still figuring out, but the goal is to create some valuable assets for authors, give them away, and hopefully provide a new way to make a few extra cents from the stories you're already writing.

If that sounds interesting to you, the site is live now and you can already sign up and start claiming the 4 preview creatures already released. Signing up now means you'll be ready to be the first to claim when new creatures start getting generated on January 1, 2022!

Happy worldbuilding!

@standingondesks Know-it-all

I see an option for NFTs there, and as such I'm seriously considering to leave this site if that becomes a thing. Legalese (and the fact that adoptable creatures have been a thing on other sites for many years) aside, this is not something I want to support in any way, since NFTs create a horrendous impact on the environment for (as far as I can tell) very little actual value.

@andrew health_and_safety flash_onAdmin

@standingondesks Thank you for the feedback.

The primary ecological problem with NFTs stems from the mining and upkeep of the cryptocurrencies that underly them, which are some of the biggest carbon-emitting activities on the planet right now. Buying and selling NFTs on popular cryptocurrency blockchains like Bitcoin's or Ethereum's produce ongoing emissions due to the processing power necessary to verify and distribute records of those sales.

However, non-fungible tokens aren't married to distributed blockchains – and especially not the environment-destroying ones we hear about every day. While there are alternative methods of verifying transactions on a blockchain (for example, using proof-of-stack chains instead of the proof-of-work approach that uses insane processing power), you don't even have to use a public blockchain at all to manage ownership and trading of tokens if all users trust the source (for example, a website). A blockchain itself is just one of many convenient data structures to organize data into, like an array or a hash; it's unfortunate that cryptocurrency's use of "blockchain" has kind of overshadowed the original use.

But, of course, offering non-fungible tokens are easily the least important aspect of the site and popularizing them do run the risk of further normalizing the practice using more destructive cryptocurrency-linked blockchains, so I'll revisit whether they're worth offering at all, even on a private blockchain that would have zero ecological impact.

Again, thank you for the feedback. I appreciate the thoughts and will do more research on the issue.

jacob

In addition to what Standingondesks said, there's also the unfortunate, predominant public opinion on NFTs right now which is that they are inherently useless and simply just a way to launder money through creating artificial scarcity, etc etc. WHile I see the merits of that argument, I also do think NFTs have value as a means of verifying ownership. However its also typically the case where the NFT is simply saying "I have purchased a copy of this work" and 99.5% of the time doesn't actually give true ownership to the purchaser to use, resell, or alter in any way. I see that you allow that, which is nice. I also think the way you're doing it would resolve the majority of peoples gripes about the prospect. So cheers to that.
Buying and reselling in game assets has been a thing for a long time, so I also understand that NFTs arent entirely necessary, but I do think the potential for them to be used in a more open source manner will lend itself well to whatever the future of web 3 and the metaverse have to offer.

@standingondesks Know-it-all

@andrew I see, thanks for clarifying that. My initial response might have been a little knee-jerky. I still don't see the point of NFTs but I'm relieved to hear you were taking these things into consideration.

@andrew health_and_safety flash_onAdmin

@standingondesks No, I appreciate the thoughts. :) Climate change is a huge problem that we should always try to keep in mind. I try to do my part, and a small part of that is making sure I'm not actively making it worse!

As I said above, this is a very experimental idea and I'm still very much figuring out what I want to do with it, so it's important to hear those initial reactions, too. It's a fun project, but I also want it to be useful and/or beneficial to other writers, too.

RE NFTs: In this context, the focus of the project is more on legally distributing intellectual rights of generated content, which any kind of non-fungible certificate should be able to do. NFTs have a slight benefit of allowing owners to prove their ownership to others without relying on the site as an authoritative third party (which, I think implies a more "real" ownership you can take with you if e.g. something happens to the site years from now), but the whole process could also all just be done with some other kind of mutable public record that says, "Yep, this person has the rights to use this creature!"

JakeGo72

I love NovelGens, I love the idea of basically generating a seed to grow into something amazing. But I am curious, could you also make a superpower generator? That would be cool. Anyway, with NovelGens, could you add a way to report or maybe just ask for something to be publicly changed if something, either the name, image or something in the description, makes you uncomfortable?

@andrew health_and_safety flash_onAdmin

@JakeGo72 Those are some good ideas! I'm already having a lot of fun with NovelGens and expect to eventually add a bunch of generators (probably in a way that lets you generate things that tie into the existing ownership system). I'm also planning on figuring out a system for handling updates to generated creatures; since they can have a lot of different owners (not just the site), I'm planning on implementing some kind of consensus system to make changes, where owners need to agree on changes before they go live. Besides letting creatures evolve in new ways over time, I think this should also help with making changes to the name, description, tags, etc.

Wilblk

Just to be clear. Once claimed the creatures are free to use in our works. Does this include the ability to make necessary changes for our works? Or do we have to use the creature description as is?

@andrew health_and_safety flash_onAdmin

@Wilblk You're free to change claimed creatures however you'd like, as if they were your own original ideas – except that other people might be using variations of them in their own stories, too. They're meant to be a nice starting point, but probably need tweaked in many ways to fit into all the worlds they could fit into. :)