Thibaud’s blog

Notes, thoughts, and open-source software

GGJ 2015: RubeGoldBash

This post is my post-mortem after the 2015 edition of the Global Game Jam. It was my first Game Jam ever, and I planned to learn the Phaser framework beforehand in order to get going quickly.

It was completely useless, as I decided to build a game in Bash, RubeGoldBash.

I started thinking about command-line games when I had a look at the diversifiers in the morning, particularly:

Batch Job: The game is a batch file from any operating system, using command line tools found in an out of the box installation.

Inspiring isn’t it? I got my idea when we learned the theme: What do we do now? See, UNIX tools are known to be easy to combine together. You start with a fixed toolset, but by combining them together you end up with endless possibilities. I would build a game about building Rube Goldberg machines in bash, RubeGoldBash (thanks for the name Chris).

Professor Lucifer Butts.gif
Professor Lucifer Butts” by Rube Goldberg - an old comic book. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

This is what it looks like:

The goal of the game is to create the most crazy, useless, enormous bash one-liners by combining basic commands together, using as many pipes as possible. Quite simple!

Here are a few examples which are worth a lot of points:

 # Retrieve the weather for your location
  curl -s | xargs -n 1 curl -s "$1" | cut -d ',' -f '9 10' | sed 's/,/\&lon=/g' | xargs -n 1 echo "$1" | sed 's/ //g' | xargs -n 1 curl -s $1 | tee weather.html
  # Same request, with display to the prompt using lynx
  curl -s | xargs -n 1 curl -s "$1" | cut -d ',' -f '9 10' | sed 's/,/\&lon=/g' | xargs -n 1 echo "$1" | sed 's/ //g' | xargs -n 1 curl -s $1 | lynx -stdin -dump

  # Retrieve the answer to "When will it be done?" (scraping) and make a nice voice read it for you.
  lynx --dump | head -n 8 | tail -n 4 | tr "\\n" ' ' | cut -d '[' -f 1 | sed 's/   //g' | sed "s/'/ /g" | perl -pe 's/([^a-zA-Z0-9_.!~*()'\''-])/sprintf("%%%02X", ord($1))/ge' | xargs -n 1 echo "$1" | sed 's/ //g' | xargs -n 1 curl -s "$1" > whenwillitbedone.mp3
  # File can be read with
  afplay whenwillitbedone.mp3

  # Count the number of folders in the current working directory.
  ls -l | cut -c 1 | grep d | wc -l

  # Find the longest name
  cat /usr/share/dict/propernames | grep 'S' | awk '{print length($1), $1}' | sort -n | tail -n 1 | cut -d ' ' -f 2
  # And spell it
  cat /usr/share/dict/propernames | grep 'S' | awk '{print length($1), $1}' | sort -n | tail -n 1 | cut -d ' ' -f 2 | say

You can then submit your score by using the rubeshare command:

And voilà! Your score is on the wall, your commands are stored as Gists on GitHub, and you can boast about your newly gained UNIX wizardry skills!

Thanks Global Game Jam, I had a lot of fun.