| 5 - 15 min playthrough
Web-based generative art game
Awards and Festivals
About the experience
Wayfinder is a web-based generative art game that takes the player on a contemplative cause-and-effect journey through nature. Combining artificial intelligence, machine learning and generative processes, each experience is as unique and ephemeral as nature itself. Players move a mystical character through the landscape in search of poetic tokens which, when activated, reveal words hidden in the wind. The poems and visuals players see today will never appear in the exact same way ever again.
Wayfinder is a web-based generative art game that brings high quality game-like rendering and interactivity to mobile and desktop browsers. On the surface, it’s a relaxing interactive animated experience that lets players reconnect with nature, but behind the screen is the latest in generative storytelling.
Artistically, the experience combines illustration, 2D animation, and 3D modelling into a seamless interactive WebGL2 landscape, magically assembled through procedural generation. Until the player loads the webpage, their particular journey does not yet exist. It’s all created and rendered in real time. Wayfinder is an ever-changing, emergent artwork with infinite possibilities.
The visuals and poetry were crafted and assembled algorithmically, making use of generative algorithms, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data mining. The game’s artwork is hand-illustrated by Tiffany Beucher and animated by Guillaume Le Roux,and placed into the experience with code and randomness. The verse fragments are mined from a mix of GPT-2 AI and data mining software, and then recombined during gameplay according to the player’s unique journey.
Two and One-Liner
The wind picks up
The moon casts azure shadows
Dissolving into mist
Nature is full of poetry. As the breeze dances over fallen leaves, its earthy sighs intertwine with birdsong off in the distance. What ageless tale is the landscape whispering today? It may never be whispered again…
Wayfinder is a web-based generative art game that takes the player on a contemplative cause-and-effect journey through nature. Symbolizing the give-and-take relationship humans have with the natural world, players move a mystical character through forest, grasslands and tundra in search of poetic tokens dotting the landscape. When activated, they reveal words hidden in the wind, breathing new life into the nearby flora and fauna. Leaves stir and flowers spring up in the character’s footsteps. Birds and butterflies emerge. As the player continues on their journey, these uncovered words combine into verse, expressing our eternal need to capture nature’s fleeting moments in poetry.
Each experience of Wayfinder is as unique and ephemeral as the natural world itself. The visual assets are assembled procedurally and delivered in real-time. The lines of poetry are created with a mix of artificial intelligence, machine learning and generative processes, providing thousands of possible combinations. As such, Wayfinder is an ever-changing, emergent artwork with infinite possibilities.
Blurring the line between video game, animated short and interactive poem, Wayfinder is produced by the NFB and the latest project by artist and creative coder Matt DesLauriers. It can be played directly in-browser at WAYFINDER.nfb.ca.
Using artificial intelligence, machine learning and generative processes, Wayfinder lets users capture nature’s fading memories before they’re gone forever.
Capture nature’s fading memories before they’re gone forever.
Concept, Design and Code
Photo : Emily Cooper
Concept, Design and Code
Animation and 3D Modelling
Guillaume Le Roux
Music & Sound
Drew Thomas & S. Quinn Hoodless – Boombox Sound
Senior Production Coordinator
Sergiu Raul Suciu
French Translation by
Gabrielle Lisa Collard
Poem verses adapted from Haiku Dataset by Harshit Jhalani,
licensed under CC BY 4.0
About the NFB
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is one of the world’s leading digital content hubs, creating groundbreaking interactive documentaries and animation, mobile content, installations and participatory experiences. NFB interactive productions and digital platforms have won over 100 awards, including 21 Webbys. To access this unique content, visit NFB.ca.