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Database of independent rpgs

Started by lumpley, April 16, 2009, 01:42:25 PM

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While extolling the virtues of semantic wikis, I forgot to link to any. I use MedaiWiki (i.e. the code that runs Wikipedia) for the main wiki bits, with the Semantic Wiki plugin. There are others.

I haven't seen a very good introduction to what these actually do for you. All docs seem to make it sound way more complicated than it actually is. So, here is a nickel tour:

As you probably know, in a standard wiki, you link from one page to another using some kind of markup around the name of the target page, within the text of the source. So, say you had a page about a game called Fizzbin. It might contain a line like:

The earlier game [[Udis]] heavily influenced the design of Fizzbin.

When the Fizzbin page renders, that line contains a link to the wiki's page titled "Uids". A human reader can know from the context that the reason this link from Fizzbin to Udis exists is that Udis influenced Fizzbin.

Unfortunately, computers don't analyze context that well. To the machine this is just a link. There is no information about why the link is there.

The point of semantic wikis is to change this. They supply the computer with a why, and this turns out to allow some powerful things to happen. The why is encoded by changing the link syntax, so that the line above would look something like this:

The earlier game [[influenced-by::Udis]] heavily influenced the design of Fizzbin.

The page renders the same way as before, with a link from one to the other. Things get more fun when you reach the other end of the link.

Suppose you are now on the Udis page. You'd like it to have a section the lists all the games that have been influenced by Udis. Using standard wikis, you have to make this list by hand. If some new game comes up that lists Udis as an influence, unless you know that happened, this list will get out of sync with the rest of the data. With semantic wikis, however, you can do something like this:

{{#ask: [[influenced-by::Udis]]
   | format=ul

This automatically generates a list of all pages in the wiki that contain an "influenced-by" tag that points to Udis. There are a lot of other bells and whistles (with progressively funkier syntax), but that is the main idea. You can also use non-linking semantic tags for "properties". For example:

First Published: [[created::2008]]

You can then do a dance to make any created:: tag just render as plain text, rather than a link. This lets you add properties to various queries. For example, to list only those games created in 2008 that were influenced by Udis, you'd do this:

{{#ask: [[influenced-by::Udis]] [[created::2008]]
   | format=ul

And so on.
What I think about. What I make.


Hmm, I use wikis a lot and have set up a few.  I'm also a big user of Boardgame Geek (I put my PnP games up there), and would also recommend having a look a the piecepack wiki for ideas on taxonomy -

More importantly I work in a library with metadata, and would be interested in helping you work out an XML schema based on authorities for your classifications.

Some interesting references include MARC (international standard for books) -
Dublin Core (which we use in Picture Australia) -
And RDA (and FRBR) which we will soon be replacing AACR2 with -
(soon in a very loose sense of the word).

Which is all a bunch of library jargon for "organising how you find stuff"
Authorities are the key to this - they determine the base term for all the variants.  I.e. "city fantasy see urban fantasy".


Hmm, found a useful link for authorities on Wikipedia (which isn't :) ) -


Quote from: sirogit on April 19, 2009, 01:36:48 AM

I created the framework for something roughly similar awhile ago. You might be interested in looking at it for inspiration.

- Sean Musgrave

This is quite a bit like what I was expecting to see from a project like this.  Simple, focused checkboxes and dropdowns (of which you could answer 1 or 100) that would help you hone in on what exactly you're looking for.  Could be quite a bit of manual coding though.

As an aside, developed well, and this could build into the Gamer's version of the Music Genome Project (used in the Pandora music service, and I believe ripped off for a newer iTunes feature).  That concept could help shape the way you'd like your database to be set up, as well.
-Anthony Anderson-
-Partner, visioNation studios-


Man, I totally forgot about Freebase. It is sort of like Wikipedia, but communally creating a relational database instead of a wiki. It already has a bit of RPG information in there already. As an example, here is its entry on Jared Sorenson.

Might not be what you are after, but I'm guessing you could mine its data, at the very least.

What I think about. What I make.


RPG Geek is now live. come take a look.

here's a copy of the press release:

The creators of are proud to announce the long-awaited launch of!!

Using ten years of community-driven software, has been specifically developed to organize Role-Playing Game information: High-level RPGs, Low-level RPG Items, Settings, Families, Mechanics, Categories, all the way down to Version specific information like PDF or Special Edition. Plus, we've added Artists and Producers to augment the Designers and Publishers to encourage everyone to participate in what will be a vibrant online community.

Additionally, has all the of the features you've come to expect from the software: Images, Files, Forums, Ratings, Reviews, Collections, GeekLists, Trades, and many, many others.

As of July 31st 2009, contains 7000 items linked to 1300 role-playing games, with hundreds of new items being added daily. All information is user-submitted and user-corrected, so it will become what the community wishes it to be.

Learn the way of the RPG Geek!

another link that you may find of interest is the guide that was put together that explains the data model and how books should be entered to keep everything consistent:

indie game are already pretty well represented, but since the site is based on user generated content, if you see something is missing (and there is *lots* missing) please submit it, or submit corrections on data that is wrong


This is a fantastic development. Great news!