2006-06-10 : Two more resources for that game

You know, that game. The one that doesn't currently have a name.

Clinton R. Nixon's AG&G Wiki


This latter is a little executable version of the oracle. It's expanded from the original oracle - it has almost half again as many entries, mostly new characters.

1. On 2006-06-10, Ben Lehman said:

Any chance that some endeavoursome mac person could make an oracle port?



2. On 2006-06-10, Clinton R. Nixon said:

If Vincent will share the source code, I will port it.

- Clinton


direct link

This makes...
MDK go "You're my hero, Clintonian."

3. On 2006-06-11, Christopher Peterson said:

If you relaxed the wiki's password requirement, then playtesters could post questions and suggestions inline within the text. They could post suggesions for new and modified Oracle entries. And since the wiki has a revision history, there is no risk (just minor annoyance) of you losing your work from a wiki troll or defacer.


4. On 2006-06-11, Ryan Koppenhaver said:

Those on Unix-ish systems who just can't wait for a port can do this at the command line instead:

strings -el oracle.exe | head -n 255 | tail -n 253 | perl -e 'rand $. < 1 && print while <>' | tail -n 1


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This makes...
lpl go "Brilliant!"*

*click in for more

5. On 2006-06-11, Larry Lade said:

All right, I broke down and ran it under Windows. I like the presentation of Clinton's oracle better, for some reason. The element types are clearly labelled in that one.

I dig the illos, though.


6. On 2006-06-11, Darren said:

This is great.
Like Larry, I'd like the category to be included the way it is on Clinton's, but I love the ability to add specific types of things. And, of course, the ability to use it away from the web.


7. On 2006-06-12, Vincent said:

Clinton, can you work with, um, MS Visual Basic Project files?


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This makes...
CRN go "VB Project files"*

*click in for more

8. On 2006-06-12, Vincent said:

Clinton: Okay! I'll put my files up around here maybe tonight.


9. On 2006-06-12, Vincent said:

Oh hey, Larry, Darren, what are you using the categories for?


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This makes...
lpl go "I dunno, it's just THAT much cooler."*

*click in for more

10. On 2006-06-13, colin roald said:

Will you post a text file of the new entries, for use in the "player at top of the We Owe list selects element" part of chapter creation?

Part of me thinks that the full list ought to keep some mystery—it's cool to be *surprised* by stuff from the story roll—but given the free-choice part, I guess we have to have a list to look over.

Well, obviously not "have to".  It's totally awesome that you're posting this stuff for free, and you don't have to do anything.


11. On 2006-06-13, Vincent said:

Hey Colin.

In my ideal world, the list is constantly changing and unpredictable, and the list you're choosing from isn't identical to the list you're rolling on, and whenever something cool comes up in play or you end a chapter on a cliffhanger you add it to both the list you roll on and the list you choose from, and all like that.

In one way, the most practical solution would be to put the oracle on cards and include a bunch of blanks. In other ways - important ways involving money - that's the LEAST practical solution.

I wish I were a better programmer. I'd make something AWESOME.

And the answer is, yeah, probably sooner or later I'll get around to putting up the whole current list. It's a pretty low priority.


12. On 2006-06-13, Vincent said:

For Clinton and anyone else who wants to see my VB code:

I think that's the one you need, but what do I know? Here's a file that MSVB generated that I can't read with Notepad:


13. On 2006-06-13, Dave Cleaver said:

I wrote an oracle object on the Foundry MUSH last night.

You can vend Oracle to get a personal copy or play with the one in the Lounge using oracle consult


I hope to make it so that new elements can be added, and the object will be browsable.


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This makes...
DSC go "doh"*

*click in for more

14. On 2006-06-13, colin roald said:

Do you feel it's important that the element list be externally defined?  That is, that the "pick an element" step is not just "make up anything you like"?


15. On 2006-06-13, colin roald said:

The ideal Oracle program ought to read elements from some arbitrary number of XML resource files—a default one that comes with the Oracle, plus one created from play in your game, plus any number of "expansion packs" downloaded from the net.  You'd want to be able to consciously subscribe to "Clinton's elements" but not "J's elements", because your set will affect the tone of your game, and you don't want modern urban stuff mixing in with your Arabian Nights style game.

Separating the element list from the executable also means you can have distinct Mac and PC executables that use the same resources.

While we're at it, it would rock to integrate the Story Games random name lists.


16. On 2006-06-13, Clinton R. Nixon said:


I am going to convert what Vincent has - which, by the way, I can't see the interface, so I will make my own - into a Java program (or maybe another language if I feel like it) that takes XML files, so you can make your own. It will be awesome.

Expect it sometime in a few weeks.


17. On 2006-06-13, Vincent said:

Clinton: Awesome! You're like the programmer I never was.

Colin: Do you feel it's important that the element list be externally defined? That is, that the "pick an element" step is not just "make up anything you like"?

I do feel that it's important. It's all about constraints being creative spurs.

I don't feel it's important that I make up the list and you don't - although I do feel that my list is very, very good.


18. On 2006-06-14, Clinton R. Nixon said:

Ok, if anyone's still reading this thread, you are a member of the hardcore. I have questions - and Vincent, if you want, tell me to do my polling somewhere else.

In the original source text for these adventure elements, you had a sort of two-container system to hold them in.

type of element (event, person, location, threat) -> arena (rural, urban, magical, military, etc) -> element

In Vincent's new tool, oracle.exe, there's none of this. There are, basically, tags on each element, like so:

"The arrival of honored emissaries from a wealthy, exotic land."—tagged with—> "event group"

In making his tool cross-platform, I'm expanding it to take outside files, so anyone can use this for their own list, if they want. What I'm trying to determine is what people find useful out of the above. Specifically:

(1) Is the arena interesting or necessary? My thought is yes, especially for other projects. It basically lets one file hold many sub-files. My file contains, for example, TSOY adventure seeds, and my arenas could be "Khale" and "Ammeni", allowing people to choose to restrict their adventure elements to one of these.

(2) Are the tags a better way to go? At first, I thought so, but in actually trying to write the XML out, I discovered I liked the constraint of having to pick even more. It's still pretty up in the air, though.

To make life easier, I'm going to be posting my ideas at and you can come and comment there, too.


19. On 2006-06-14, Vincent said:

One thing to notice about the arenas is that they aren't really containers for the types. On the original charts, I happened to group the elements by arena then by type; I might just as well have grouped them by type then arena.

- Military characters
- Wilderness characters

- Military events
- Wilderness events

Like so.

Accordingly, I prefer a non-hierarchy of tags.

I have a proposal, I'll comment over there.


20. On 2006-06-14, Vincent said:

Or wait, is that how I did it in the original charts? Anyhow what I mean is that it might be like this:

- Military characters
- Wilderness characters
- Military events
- Wilderness events

or it might be like this:

- Military characters
- Military events
- Wilderness characters
- Wilderness events

Equally validly.


21. On 2006-06-15, Clinton R. Nixon said:

I think we have a consensus. I've posted on the wiki page again and it looks pretty good.


direct link

This reminds...
CRN of The original AG&G seeds in XML format

This makes...
lpl go "Hey C, what XML editor do you use?"*
CRN go "oXygen"

*click in for more

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