Let’s say you had the time to investigate hundreds of tabletop games, plug in their publication dates and work out how each one was related to another.
It would take a while, but that dataset would allow you to create a giant family tree of tabletop RPGs.
As it happens, this week Google launched dataset search. Dataset Search does what you’d expect; you can use it to search for sets of data. And someone’s already completed that tabletop game research and made the data public.
Pascal Martinolli’s work is impressive. In this blog post, you can see a sliver of the giant timeline tree of tabletop RPGs (TTTTRPG) as a teaser, but there’s also an embedded PDF that you can access directly, zoom in and take a visual tour of data.
Pascal was kind enough to find time for Geek Native’s curiosity.
Can you describe what TTTTRPG shows?
TTTTRPG shows a kind of genealogic tree of tabletop role-playing games, laid down on a timeline. For some games, I also added some noteworthy innovations of game designs.
How did you go about compiling this data?
I started by selecting the most famous TTRPG from my past gaming experience, from blogs and podcasts I am listening and then from different sources I used after to dig more about theses games (RPGGeek, Wikipédia, etc.). I use a programming language very simple that do the job of creating the graph. I just have to create elements and link them one by one.
It’s fascinating data to look at but could it have practical use as well?
The look needs definitely to be polished. For example, I think I will put the innovations before the games next time I make a big improvement. I will also try to link more games one with others. It’s always a work in progress, shared and benefiting of the comments of the gamers community.
What other data projects do you think the tabletop role-playing community might benefit from?
Currently, I am having 2 similar projects: one is also a “Timeline tree” but about games and boardgames (TTRPG included) from -8000 to today at https://github.com/pmartinolli/TTGBG . The other is a series of graphs on the citations practices in TTRPG, named “On the Shoulders of Cloud Giants” at https://github.com/pmartinolli/OtSoCG.
If you want to get involved or check out the data yourself, then visit Pascal’s GitHub project.