Indent Labs
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Indent Labs

New features in NovelGens

Breathe life into your fictitious worlds with novel creatures

The idea of NovelGens — using artificial intelligence to generate weird, new creatures — has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time now, but the technology only recently became possible. As soon as I saw AI models like CLIP, GPT-3, and VQGAN, I knew it was finally time to build it.

And so I did, mostly for my own amusement.

And so you might imagine my surprise when the old adage started to ring true: “if you build it, they will come”.

I’m excited to have some new friends along for the journey! I don’t know if it’ll live up to the grand plans I have for it, but I’m excited to build something weird — and, potentially, useful.

Although I’ve spent most of my time these past few weeks working on bigger releases and the Shelf of Tales beta, I’ve carved out enough time for this passion project to have a slew of new features ready for you with tonight’s NovelGens release.

Here’s what’s new!

A focus on visuals around the site

The whole point of the site is to create these weird creatures, so… why not put them front and center? You’ll now notice that artwork is much larger and properly prioritized everywhere it appears around the site, and images (and the site in general) have been polished up to look better on screens of every size.

New organizational pages for browsing however you like

In addition to the normal, chronological list of new creatures, there are now several new ways for you to find creatures with:

  • An alphabetical listing of all creatures makes it easy to jump to a specific creature quick (or just explore by name alone).
  • A new tags page lists all the tags across all creatures, then shows you all creatures of whatever tag you choose to see.
  • The new vibe index lets you browse creatures by feedback: see scary creatures, powerful creatures, sad creatures, etc — all based on everyone’s collective feedback.
  • A rarity index page groups creatures by whether they’re common, uncommon, or rare.
  • Finally, most creature lists around the site will also conclude in a collective list of tags used across all of the creatures in that list. Clicking a tag in that list will take you on a journey of viewing more creatures with that tag, which also includes its own list of more tags at the end, and so on.

Improved feedback for all creatures

Those that’ve signed up for a NovelGens account are able to leave feedback on each creature. We originally started with six options, which let you vote on whether each creature was interesting, memorable, unique, scary, comical, or comforting.

“Interesting” has been retired as an option (because, ideally, all generated creatures should be interesting!) but three more options have been added: you can now leave feedback on whether a creature is powerful, dangerous, and/or sad.

There’s also a nice pie chart whenever you view any creature’s results, which lets you visualize what kind of votes they’re getting:

Fill out your profile to be ready for what’s next!

Last, but certainly not least, each user’s profile is now starting to take shape. While I’m excited just to be generating so many weird and unique creatures, I’m also super pumped to see how useful they’ll be to the writing community at large.

To this end, each user now has a profile page they can fill out with a name and brief blurb. Your profile makes it easy to share which creatures you’ve claimed (and even shows what tag is most common across all your claimed creatures), but it’ll soon be home to everything these creatures are used for.

Stay tuned for more details on that soon!

In the meantime, I hope you’re enjoying a new fictitious creature every day.

And, as always, happy worldbuilding!

— Andrew



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