Git Revolution

I’ve been learning about git, and have generally been excited about the distributed model. I mean, I used svk, but a robust distributed model is quite exciting. Tonight I had a completely crazy idea: to make a game around git.

I brainstormed and I brainstormed, many brains rained. And then it hit me: this is perfect for my interesting-concept-but-needs-work-game Revolution.

A slight refresher: Revolution is an open-ended strategy/role-playing board game; i.e. people have roles, and they can do things consistent with their roles and their resources, but are not restricted to strict game rules. Whether they are capable of doing something is determined by an impartial game master. We did a few play-tests, and it was interesting, but it was frustrating for many people. This was because the core game dynamics were not very rich (intentionally, I wanted the player-created content to create the richness), but also because players felt cheated by the GM because other players were getting advantages for “unfair” moves that they didn’t think of. A lot of balancing decisions had to be made by the GM in real-time, and it’s very easy to disagree with those if they work out in your opponent’s favor.

My current idea, which I hope is mature enough to play-test tomorrow, is to do away with the GM in favor of a GM-like game dynamic. And that game dynamic will be provided by git!

Here’s the idea: everybody gets a repository which has the state of the world in it. Everyone also has files somewhere describing their role (some kind of player-specific ability perhaps) and what resources they currently have. And then during a game round everyone makes changes and commits them with a description of why they were capable of making that change. During the game round people also share their repositories with each other, and people merge in changes as they see fit. A soft rule is that you shouldn’t merge changes which don’t make sense; i.e. if a farmer builds an international airport, nobody should merge that. But they could if they wanted, it’d just be weird.

So there are a bunch of worlds floating around which probably disagree with each other. What is the real state of the world? I think it’s just the most popular commits. So if more than half of the player branches have incorporated a commit, it gets merged into the “real world” branch. And the real world branch is what determines if people have accomplished their (hidden) goals to score points. I’m not sure the goal/point thing still makes sense, but that’s all I can think of for now.

Git should make this super easy. For ease of communication, I’ll probably just set up a central repository with one branch per player. Players are allowed to modify whatever the hell they want, so commit hooks are not necessary. The only thing I need is a script which finds the most popular commits and merges them.

All that’s left is the hard part: the actual game dynamics…

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5 thoughts on “Git Revolution

  1. Your game/repository idea has startling theological overtones.
    If you make the central repository “god” and put some kind of Diplomacy-esque interactions
    amongst the repositories, plus some random distortions in the views the players have when
    they sync, you’d have a game approaching the intrigue of reality.
    Which might be self-defeating, as we game to _escape_ that reality.

  2. I dunno why not darcs. My first impression is that the two are almost identical in functionality, and I dove into git first. So git it is. Unless I am mistaken about the functionality thing, which I’m sure some readers would be able to correct me about… :-)

  3. We could also have “Git Git Revolution”, where you check in changes in time to music that goes faster and faster.

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