m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...

A Cosmic Epilogue

In Part I, I covered the fictional, meta-choicemaps shown in Bandersnatch. In Part II, I covered some of the earlier and more popular actual maps of the show as played (and frequently mapped) by the viewers. In Part III, I surveyed the later and less noted maps of the show, in roughly chronological order. Here as an epilogue I tack on the map to end all maps:

educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap by Vladimir Panteleev closeup educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap by Vladimir Panteleev

In an enterprise he calls datamining but that sounds a lot like decompiling, Vladimir Panteleev has derived the One True Choicemap of Bandersnatch from the Netflix files themselves. The map style itself is not novel (yet another flowchart, with a questionable representation of variables as nodes), but the semi-automated effort led to some interesting problems of scale not faced by previous choicemappers.

The existential horror of the process and its redundancies is hidden behind links to massive images of earlier versions of the map. Here’s a chunk of the initial “disaster” layout, plus a tiny piece of the already partially “optimized” version:

educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap, disaster version, by Vladimir Panteleev educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap, partially optimized version, by Vladimir Panteleev

The data is also available in non-map formats. The summary deserves a read; it reveals unreachable nodes, unused variable and unreachable variable states, other bugs, and what looks like an abandoned or test interface for revisiting choices. This moves the choicemap from a superficial accounting of how the story plays out into a twilight realm of what the authors intended to write.

I’ve added links to this Bandersnatch subseries to my History of Choice Mapping, along with another timely choicemap from this year (for the board game version of House of Danger). I have high hopes for more choice fiction in these “new” media (streaming TV, board games, etc.), and more choicemaps to come.

Market Bucket 2.2.2

I’ve upped Market Bucket, my formerly App.net-based grocery list app, to version 2.2.2 after this weekend’s pnut.io hackathon. I fixed a couple of bugs that were bugging me, then went shopping to test it out and found some new things to bother me.

Entwee/Enscree 1.1.1

I’ve bumped Entwee and Enscree, my Twee and Multimarkdown exporters for Twine (respectively), with a bug fix for buggy brackets (reported by AnotherRPGEnthusiast in the Discord). Unfortunately, bigger Twine bugs exist in proofing formats than the one I fixed, which make my changes rather academic at this point.

On the bright side, there’s a beta/preview of DotGraph as a Service that got rolled along with the above changes. The corresponding version of DotGraph isn’t out yet, but enterprising graphers can build it themselves off the dgaas branch in BitBucket, if they can’t wait.

A Cosmic Flowchart: Part III

In Part I, I covered the fictional, meta-choicemaps shown in Bandersnatch. In Part II, I covered some of the earlier and more popular actual maps of the show as played (and frequently mapped) by the viewers. Here in Part III, I will survey the later and less noted maps of the show, in roughly chronological order.

In the December 28th thread about u/alpine-’s more popular graph, u/turcois on Reddit posted his simpler, boxy, top-to-bottom graph with color-coding for ends, repeating of passages, and randomized choices. Also Jason Cooper, a.k.a. deamwork at GitHub, apparently translated alpine-’s map into draw.io format and Chinese, with the intention of collaborative improvement (which doesn’t seem to have panned out):

educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap by turcois educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap by deamwork

Also on December 28th, Leon Hurley tweeted his meandering map, both shrunk down to spoiler-free size, and also in full resolution:

educational portion of despoiled Bandersnatch choicemap by Leon Hurley educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap by Leon Hurley

Some maps desperately need legends for their unexplained color coding. On December 28th, u/Madra_ruax on Reddit posted posted a flowchart with pervasive, but equally unexplained, color coding. On December 29th, u/EngineeringMySadness on Reddit posted a wordy, black-and-white looking flowchart that actually has some subtle line coloring:

educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap by Madra_ruax educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap by EngineeringMySadness

On December 29th, Reza Lesmana posted a three-piece incomplete flowchart to his blog, and Wogan May blogged an excerpt of his unpublished flowchart:

educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap by Reza Lesmana educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap by Wogan May

On December 29th, Tobie, @kubriickscube on Twitter tweeted an incomplete map in a thematic White Bear/video game crossover style. (The color coding appears to be structural rather than reflecting the similar colors of the show.) On January 1st, u/AppiusClaudius on Reddit joined in the dark theme with a black, bubbly, partial map, with some boldface for end nodes and a single, unexplained octagon shaped node:

educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap by KubriicksCube educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap by AppiusClaudius

On December 30th, u/pablo_alab on Reddit posted an annotated, colorful map with ten numbered endings. (The discussion on the post goes into up to 17 possible endings, the difficulties of mapping the PAC/PAX/JFD/TOY point, and the general feasibility of mapping Bandersnatch.) In a curvy tangle with end-coloring, bananatops on Tumblr came across 12 permanent (purple) ends and many more ends with the option to go back (orange):

educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap by pablo_alab educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap by bananatops

Chartgeek reposted a January 5th tree-style map by Adam Smith, who’d used a bit of color coding and some interesting time-banding:

educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap by Adam Smith

Other maps I’ve spotted out there include a simple black-and-white, single path map by annabel (@QUERTYFINGER) on Twitter (December 28th), and a boxy blue map by myanklesaresprained on imgur (also December 28th).

Update

There is now A Cosmic Epilogue.

A Cosmic Flowchart: Part II

In Part I, I covered the fictional, meta-choicemaps shown in Bandersnatch. Here in Part II, I’ll cover some of the more significant actual maps of the show as played (and frequently mapped) by the viewers. I’m also planning a Part III for the less significant, but still interesting, maps out there.

One of the earliest choice maps of Bandersnatch the TV show was posted to reddit by u/scrixie on the same day (December 28th, 2018) that Netflix broadcast the show. It gave a good, quick summary in the White Bear style of the meta-maps seen in the show, and became one of the go-to maps in reporting about the show. A far less popular summary map was posted to reddit in early January by u/truthcrab. Structurally, it uses meandering paths illustrated with screencaps, but in content it is quite similar to the more famous map:

educational portion of Bandersnatch flowchart by scrixie educational portion of Bandersnatch flowchart by truthcrab

One novelty brought on by the process of summarizing the multiple paths through these nodes is the annotations—the orange circles in the first map and the faded choice in the second—intended to indicate that the choices are not always available, or other qualities that change depending on previous choices.

Most of the choice maps out there are more exhaustive but (or therefore) structurally less interesting. The most famous is another early map by u/alpine- on Reddit (sometimes falsy attributed to The Verge, although they credited it properly themselves), which lies firmly in the flowchart style. A boxier but more washed-out flowchart from IGN also garnered a bit of attention for its completeness:

educational portion of Bandersnatch flowchart by alpine- educational portion of Bandersnatch flowchart from IGN

Along with the standards, Petrana Radulovic at Polygon dug up (and Popsugar later regurgitated) some rarer early choice maps, including an allegedly low-spoilage, unusually curvy flowchart from Reddit user u/madarasi012, and a White-Bear style map from Reddit user u/kicos018 which takes the exhaustive route, but adds an interesting application of background color to a main divergence point:

educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap by madarasi012 educational portion of Bandersnatch choicemap by kicos018

But by far the most interesting (and hard to find) choicemaps out there are the ones made and used by the producers themselves. They first started with a White Bear-style flowchart, then tried using Twine:

educational portion of official Bandersnatch choicemap, White Bear style educational portion of official Bandersnatch choicemap in Twine

Later they wrote their own software, Branch Manager:

educational portion of official Bandersnatch choicemap in Branch Manager educational portion of official Bandersnatch choicemap in Branch Manager with menus educational portion of official Bandersnatch choicemap in Branch Manager, big screen

There are a few more glimpses of the software in a couple of making of videos on YouTube.

Update

Besides Part III, there is also A Cosmic Epilogue.