The New York City Working Group on Gender and Language: Gender Engines

In analogy to graphics engines and physics engines, gender engines are a possible future building block of game design that would simulate gender perception of a chararcter (or player) by another character, thus facilitating building gender-diverse games.

Proof of Concept

Gendered Narration

Gendered Narration is a prototypical rewriting system allowing to render a web page using a specific (possibly custom) set of pronouns and thus notion of gender. For a demo, see this prototype.

Snowperson

Implemented as a Twine story format, Snowperson, built on Chris Klimas’s Snowman, will allow to easily build text-based games where characters (or the narrator) can choose or ‘learn’ new pronouns or pronoun sets.

A playable mini game (without much of a plot, but, it is hoped, demonstrating the concept), can be found here.

Some key snippets of the source code of that game are the following (called passages in Twine terminology; slightly edited for clarity):

Introducing a new non-playable character:

    <{Character A goes by the name of Andy.}>
    <{Character A goes by they pronouns.}>
   
Narration involving that non-playable character; note how pronoun–verb agreement with respect to number is implemented by {{Prn|A}} {{verb|look|reg=-1}}, which may render as, for example, “They look” or “Xe looks”:
    You run into {{name|A}}. {{Prn|A}} {{verb|look|reg=-1}} like a nice person, and you wonder if {{prn|A}} {{verb|think|reg=-1}} of {{prn-refl|A}} as a cutie, like you do.
   
(Narrated) interaction with the character, and the narrator adopting the character’s preferred pronouns:
    {{Prn-nom|A}} {{verb|say|reg=-1}}, “I’ll read it later. For now you can call me *he*.”
    <{Character A goes by he pronouns.}>
   
Different player choice leads to different interaction, causing the narrator to learn a new pronoun:
    “I go by *fay* pronouns among people who know how to use them.”
    ―“How do you use them?”
    ―“fay, fem, fir, firs, femself”
    <{Learn pronoun fay,  objective fem,  possessive fir,  independent possessive firs,  reflexive femself.}>
    ―“Well, that’s easy enough to remember (’cause my gender engine will do that for me).”
    <{Character A goes by fay pronouns.}>
   
In the demo game, the player can always return to the first scene, which will be re-rendered reflecting the narrator’s latest pronoun choices (in this game based on characters’ stated preferences).

A very early build of the Snowperson story format can be found here.

Background

State and Representation

coming soon

Engines

coming soon

Gender Models

coming soon

Gender Engines

Perception by the Playable Character—Rendering Engines

coming soon

Perception of the Playable Character—Simulation Engines

coming soon

Discussion

coming soon