the Example genre

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steve....@gmail.com

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Mar 10, 2006, 4:07:23 PM3/10/06
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I'm making a list of the remarkable games that should be called
examples; I'm trying to figure out the shape of this genre.

My initial sense, which I am trying to develop, is that a game is
properly in the Example genre if the game is designed to demonstrate
programming technique to the game designer. So a game which is
exemplary for its strengths as a work of IF is not necessarily included
in the genre of Example, nor is the game which demonstrates mere
functionality ("hello world", or "start room").

Gold Skull (TADS-2) (original-example and HTML-example)
Heidi (TADS-3)
Quest for the Golden Banana (TADS-3)
Find the Ring (TADS-3 ConSpace example game)

Cloak of Darkness (cross platform comparison)

Ruins (Inform) (does this count?)

Let me know if you can think of other examples, or if you can clarify
the range of this genre for me.

Shadow Wolf

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Mar 10, 2006, 4:17:27 PM3/10/06
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steve....@gmail.com wrote in news:1142024843.788017.264380
@u72g2000cwu.googlegroups.com:

> I'm making a list of the remarkable games that should be called
> examples; I'm trying to figure out the shape of this genre.
>
> My initial sense, which I am trying to develop, is that a game is
> properly in the Example genre if the game is designed to demonstrate
> programming technique to the game designer. So a game which is
> exemplary for its strengths as a work of IF is not necessarily included
> in the genre of Example, nor is the game which demonstrates mere
> functionality ("hello world", or "start room").
>
> Gold Skull (TADS-2) (original-example and HTML-example)

Ditch Day Drifter is the other major TADS-2 Example.

> Heidi (TADS-3)

Heidi is originally Inform (in the IBG), so it serves for both languages.

> Quest for the Golden Banana (TADS-3)
> Find the Ring (TADS-3 ConSpace example game)
>
> Cloak of Darkness (cross platform comparison)
>
> Ruins (Inform) (does this count?)
>

Scavenger Hunt (Hugo).

--
Shadow Wolf
shadowolf3400 at yahoo dot com
Stories at http://www.asstr.org/~Shadow_Wolf
AIF at http://www.geocities.com/shadowolf3400

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Mike Snyder

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Mar 10, 2006, 4:19:32 PM3/10/06
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I would include "The Vault of Hugo", which is an example game that
demonstrates various Hugo features (NPC scripts, light/dark I think, etc).

--- Mike.

<steve....@gmail.com> wrote in message
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steve....@gmail.com

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Mar 10, 2006, 4:55:35 PM3/10/06
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Shadow Wolf wrote:
> Ditch Day Drifter is the other major TADS-2 Example.

Yes, that's right. I was thinking of this, but then I was thinking,
isn't it really a game properly speaking, and not really an example any
more than any other TADS-2 game? Or is there something about this game
that makes it a better example than any other TADS-2 game whose
sourcecode has been released?

Similarly, for Tads-3, "Return to Ditch Day" is really more of a great
work, rather than an example -- that's my impression anyway. In any
case, once a game gets to be really, like, a game, doesn't that mean
that it's not really an example? Or do you think it still be a
functional example, while being a great game?

Eric Eve

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Mar 10, 2006, 5:15:00 PM3/10/06
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<steve....@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1142024843.7...@u72g2000cwu.googlegroups.com...
> I'm making a list of the remarkable games that should be called
> examples; I'm trying to figure out the shape of this genre.
>
> My initial sense, which I am trying to develop, is that a game is
> properly in the Example genre if the game is designed to
> demonstrate
> programming technique to the game designer. So a game which is
> exemplary for its strengths as a work of IF is not necessarily
> included
> in the genre of Example, nor is the game which demonstrates mere
> functionality ("hello world", or "start room").
>
> Gold Skull (TADS-2) (original-example and HTML-example)
> Heidi (TADS-3)
> Quest for the Golden Banana (TADS-3)
> Find the Ring (TADS-3 ConSpace example game)
>
> Cloak of Darkness (cross platform comparison)

> Ruins (Inform) (does this count?)

It surely counts just as much as the TADS-3 Heidi or Quest of the
Golden Banana.

> Let me know if you can think of other examples, or if you can
> clarify
> the range of this genre for me.

In addition to the Inform Heidi (which Shadow Wolf mentioned, and is
a different game from the T3 version), there's presumably the other
two IBG games: William Tell & Captain Fate (which also exist in T3
ports as examples for Inform programmers interested in T3).

I suppose you could also count the sample game that comes with the
T3 distribution, though it's something of a hybrid between a
programming example and a programming test.

It's difficult to say what else these games have in common beyond
their function as programming examples. The three IBG games (Heidi,
Tell and Captain Fate) all seem to be as brief as possible to keep
things reasonably simple while introducing a range of concepts. Gold
Skull and Cloak of Darkness would seem tobe similar in that respect.

Ditch Day Drifter is a bit different as a game that seems designed
to have been reasonably playable while demonstrating how to code in
TADS 2. Now that the source code for Return to Ditch Day has been
released, it's somewhat in the same category, while also being an
important work of I-F in its own right.

T3 Heidi, Quest of the Golden Banana, and Ruins are all rather
longer, and perhaps rather contrived, games designed to introduce
potential authors to as wide a range of language and library
features as possible, although Ruins ends up as a much more
tightly-constructed game than the sprawling monstrosity that is
Quest of the Golden Banana (which I think I'd do very differently if
I was starting from scratch today).

So, as a first approximation, I'd suggest there are three sub-genres
here:

(1) Games that are so short and simple that game design (or the
conflict between game design and author pedagogy) is scarcely an
issue.

(2) Games in which game design (from the perspective of providing
a decent player experience) comes first, but the source code is
available as an example of good coding practice.

(3) Games in which author pedagogy comes first, and good game
design is not a primary goal.

Perhaps a slightly different (and more meaningful?) way of dividing
this up would be into

(1) Pedagogical games: e.g. Heidi (both T3 and Inform), William
Tell, Captain Fate, Gold Skull, Golden Banana, Ruins.

and

(2) Example Games: e.g. Ditch Day Drifter, Vault of Hugo, Cloak of
Darkness, Find the Ring.

The difference being that Pedagogical Games are designed to be
(re)constructed step-by-step by budding authors from an explicit
tutorial that explains and illustrates features of the target
language/library as one goes along, while Example Games simply
provide source code for inspection, leaving budding authors to learn
what they can from the examples.

But this is all off the top of my head and highly provisional, and
can no doubt be further refined.

-- Eric


steve....@gmail.com

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Mar 10, 2006, 6:25:31 PM3/10/06
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Eric Eve writes, quoting me:

> > Ruins (Inform) (does this count?)
> It surely counts just as much as the TADS-3 Heidi or Quest of the
> Golden Banana.

Is that the closest comparison? I thought it might be closer to Ditch
Day Drifter. Anyway, I thought it might not count because I'm vaguely
distinguishing pedagogy from example, as do you.

Your distinction seems perfectly sound to me:

> The three IBG games (Heidi,
> Tell and Captain Fate) all seem to be as brief as possible to keep
> things reasonably simple while introducing a range of concepts. Gold
> Skull and Cloak of Darkness would seem to be similar in that respect.

These above are certainly Examples.

Considering the following...

> Ditch Day Drifter is a bit different as a game that seems designed
> to have been reasonably playable while demonstrating how to code in
> TADS 2. Now that the source code for Return to Ditch Day has been
> released, it's somewhat in the same category, while also being an
> important work of I-F in its own right.

I don't think these latter are Examples; certainly not in the same
sense. Honestly, I don't think they are better examples than just any
game whose code has been released. Maybe some effort has been made to
cover more ground than would be covered in just any game or so, but the
whole ground can't be covered by a single work anyway. So I'm inclined
to think that such works are only good representations of the platform.
Any game is instructive in its own terms.

As to the rest...

> T3 Heidi, Quest of the Golden Banana, and Ruins are all rather
> longer, and perhaps rather contrived, games designed to introduce
> potential authors to as wide a range of language and library
> features as possible, although Ruins ends up as a much more
> tightly-constructed game than the sprawling monstrosity that is
> Quest of the Golden Banana (which I think I'd do very differently if
> I was starting from scratch today).

Tight construction is great for game-writing. An example normally fails
to be an example when it becomes a tightly-constructed game. Once a
game is too refined, it cease to be an example, in spirit. You
recognize an aesthetic difference between:

1. code which is simple and purely for pedagogical demonstration
2. demonstrations which are "worked up" into extended works, and
3. works which are representative of what one might demonstrate.

Shadow Wolf

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Mar 10, 2006, 9:09:09 PM3/10/06
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steve....@gmail.com wrote in news:1142027735.804045.82450
@i39g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:

> Shadow Wolf wrote:
>> Ditch Day Drifter is the other major TADS-2 Example.
>
> Yes, that's right. I was thinking of this, but then I was thinking,
> isn't it really a game properly speaking, and not really an example any
> more than any other TADS-2 game? Or is there something about this game
> that makes it a better example than any other TADS-2 game whose
> sourcecode has been released?

DDD used to come with TADS 2, explicitly as sample code (it even says so
in the TADS Overview), and is referenced several times in the manuals
IIRC. It also appears to make an effort to cover as much of the T2
library as possible.

>
> Similarly, for Tads-3, "Return to Ditch Day" is really more of a great
> work, rather than an example -- that's my impression anyway.

Contrarily, Return to Ditch Day is *not* packaged with T3.

> In any
> case, once a game gets to be really, like, a game, doesn't that mean
> that it's not really an example? Or do you think it still be a
> functional example, while being a great game?

I think a real game can make a good example - After all, Quest for the
Golden Banana is no less a real game (and a fairly good one) than Ditch
Day Drifter.

Eric Eve

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Mar 11, 2006, 7:31:59 AM3/11/06
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<steve....@gmail.com> wrote in message
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> Eric Eve writes, quoting me:
>> > Ruins (Inform) (does this count?)
>> It surely counts just as much as the TADS-3 Heidi or Quest of the
>> Golden Banana.
>
> Is that the closest comparison? I thought it might be closer to
> Ditch
> Day Drifter. Anyway, I thought it might not count because I'm
> vaguely
> distinguishing pedagogy from example, as do you.

Ruins is the game that's constructed by working through the DM4,
just as Heidi is constructed by working through "Getting Started in
TADS 3" (or the IBG, for the Inform version), and Quest of the
Golden Banana by working through "The TADS 3 Tour Guide", so in that
sense there'd seem to be a close comparison.

-- Eric


steve....@gmail.com

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Mar 11, 2006, 4:26:39 PM3/11/06
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Oh, you're right; I forgot which game was contrived for the Inform game
designer's Manual.

Fredrik Ramsberg

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Mar 13, 2006, 11:31:03 PM3/13/06
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steve....@gmail.com wrote:
> I'm making a list of the remarkable games that should be called
> examples; I'm trying to figure out the shape of this genre.
>
> My initial sense, which I am trying to develop, is that a game is
> properly in the Example genre if the game is designed to demonstrate
> programming technique to the game designer. So a game which is
> exemplary for its strengths as a work of IF is not necessarily included
> in the genre of Example, nor is the game which demonstrates mere
> functionality ("hello world", or "start room").
...snipped...

>
> Ruins (Inform) (does this count?)

I'd definitely say yes.

Also, Balances seems to fit the bill.

/Fredrik

Benjamin Caplan

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Mar 19, 2006, 5:56:40 PM3/19/06
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Arguably, Not Made With Hands (Inform).
That's intended as a seed for debate more than an outright suggestion.
I'm fence-sitting.

eluch...@yahoo.com

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Mar 19, 2006, 6:17:17 PM3/19/06
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Perhaps also Rat in Control and the Sonnet of Marie Antoinette which
are meant to demonstrate some particular functionality rather than a
language.

Cirk R. Bejnar

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