|Jul. 8th, 2009 07:42 pm An Almost Working Analogy|
This afternoon while walking to the train (something I do when I have the time after work), I hit upon an analogy that I could almost get to work. I realized that there is some analogous mapping of role playing game systems to programming languages.
In my analogy, I relate some of the early games, such as D&D, Basic D&D and Advanced D&D first edition, to early high level languages such as BASIC or Fortran. In these systems, you had a fairly to very complete set of rules to handle a lot of situations, but they didn't always work the same. Further, if you wanted to do anything really different from what was envisioned, you needed to write your own core rules. Similarly, many of these early languages had most of the capability built in as basic capabilities, and any major expansion -- such as real string handling in Fortran -- required a customized version of the language.
My analogy gets a bit fuzzy from there. I've been trying to decided if games like GURPS or Hero System are more akin to C or to C++. That is, are they just a better implementation of a procedural game, or are they object oriented? Being more familiar with GURPS (at least the editions around 20 years ago), I'm leaning to having it be C-like. You have a compact set of core rules, and then a large standard library of functions that are built on top of those rules and it is fairly easy to write your own libraries.
However, magic makes me think that GURPS may be object oriented. Specifically, if I recall, magic added not only a bunch of new skills, but also a new derived attribute for the amount of spells that can be performed in a day. I think that psionics were handled similarly as well.
Not having had much exposure to newer games, I can hazard the guess that d20 (a.k.a. D&D 3rd edition) is close to object oriented, but clearly more like C++ then Java or C# -- you can completely ignore the object nature if you like. From my limited exposure, and dislike from it, I'd classify 4th edition as going back towards BASIC, or perhaps back to Dartmouth BASIC -- it is hard to do anything that isn't specifically from the rules without writing your own. On the other hand, at least most of the mechanics are consistent, so that is a bit of an improvement.4 comments - Leave a comment