If We Were Allowed To Visit is an anthology of poems by Gemma Mahadeo rendered by Ian MacLarty.

As you move through the game's environment, the poems are rearranged into the shapes of the objects they're about, each frame becoming a new generative poem.

Rated 4.9 out of 5 stars
(69 total ratings)
AuthorIan MacLarty


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man. I made an account specifically after playing the catacombs game exclusively to share how interesting and beautiful your projects are, what a trip factor you've implemented, the artistic value and amount of randomized experiences is baffling, when I become rich I will not forget you my good sir, hope to see more ambitious projects sometime, that is your choice of course.
stay safe, live life. <3

I played this game a few years ago and have thought about it every few months, but couldn't remember who made it or what it was called, so I'm very delighted to have found it again, and am gonna check out more of your work. Cheers!

how'd ya do it?

Hey Ian Maclarty! I just wanted to let you know that we featured your work as an example in our shufPoetry Experimental Poetry Jam. Is this okay? If not I will of course take it down, and apologies for asking after the fact and not before. Hope you are well and thriving!


Ah cool, thanks! Though please credit Gemma Mahadeo too - it was a collaboration.


Will do! Thank you

Very cool!

the loading bar just kinda sits there and does nothing... i'm so bummed!

seems to be working fine for me. maybe try a different browser.


Fascinating and beautiful


anyway to have this dowloaded? dont want to lose it whatsoever


i can't come up with a comment that does justice to how i felt when i played this. it took me a minute or so to realize what was going on, and when i did, it felt like i was experiencing something i had never experienced before. like seeing a new color or something.

i'm simply in awe. thank you for making this.


I haven't stopped thinking about this poem/game every day since I first played it a few weeks ago. The visualization of language in this medium feels so "right" to me, and my enthusiasm when I got to the piano-- hooo boy, I could not contain my excitement, I think I made some sort of audible sound version of "!!!!!!". this is such a lovely piece and I can get lost in it for hours.


Thank you!

I'm SO f**king impressed!!! You are incredible!


Really really cool !

absolutely amazing

Pure genius & an amazing collaboration. I am in awe.




This is wack



This is wonderful. Modern art at its very finest.

Very clever, nice work. Is this a custom shader, I take it?

People who think in words and not shapes be like:


wow , this is really impressive 

Ian, I'm your fan

This is wonderful

wow, that's super great! love love love this 

trippy and awesome

cool, cool, cool.

So cool.

This is nice! How was it made?


Thanks! Gemma wrote the poems and I created the models and programmed the renderer. Not sure how much technical info you're after, but I'm happy to go into some of the rendering details if you're familiar with graphics programming.


This is lovely! And I'd also love to hear some rendering details :) So good!


So briefly: all the poems are pre-rendered and packed into a texture. We render the scene into an off-screen buffer, storing the texture coordinates of the poems in the buffer (each model in the scene has a different poem). Finally we render to the screen, looking up the poems in the texture using the intermediate buffer. We make sure we sample the buffer at a resolution that corresponds to the number of character rows and columns, so that we only render whole characters. Hope that makes sense!

Hi, the work is very impressive. The first thing I thought was, wow, I could provide a italian translation to have it in my native language. But I just read the explanation you wrote: I fear the "pre-packed" texture makes a translation in another language very hard. Is this true?

hey, Gem here (the aforementioned poet). Technically that could be done if the text I gave Ian were translated into Italian, and then does whatever genius stuff he did? I might actually translate the poems into French.