Converting the rulebooks into a wiki?

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krank krank's picture
Converting the rulebooks into a wiki?

I've been away from the facinating world that is Eclipse Phase for awhile, mainly because my time has been devoured by other projects (work, studying, and completing and publishing my second roleplaying game). However, I was reading Sunward the other night, and I got to thinking about formats. Books are a very particular format; kind of old-fashioned in a sense. They are strictly linear in nature; any hyperlinking (known as "references") are kind of bulky /turning a bunch of pages, finding the right one)...

PDF's are electronic, so at least you can search through them - but they still suffer from the linear book perspective and - as those of us who have attempted to read the pdf's in iPhones or iPod touches have discovered - they are very much set in stone, layout-wise. Reading am multiple-column page meant for printing on a small device just isn't very feasible. There are constant breakage of flow as one needs to reposition the window into the PDF.

So... Since the EP books are CC:ed, there'd be no problems creating a wiki, containing all the info, right? I was mainly thinking of "fluff", not statistics. Think Wikipedia, but for Firewall. Lists of organizations, sorted by system or importance. Important people, places and concepts, hyperlinked and ready to be discovered.

I'd personally love a project like this. Especially when researching something specific, like when writing an adventure about a specific colony and figuring out the connections between different organizations, people etc. I think I'd find something like this immensely useful.

I am aware there's at least one fan-wiki, containing mostly fan-created material, but I'm talking about something focusing on the official texts. Something like the (defunct?) LaTeX-conversion I was a part of a while back.

Has anyone else had the same idea? Is there such a thing already, am I just really bad at google-fu?

I got a server and a few domains I could use for this, though acess time isn't what it could be, I suppose. As a temporary base of operations, it might do. Until the viability of the project has been proven. I'm thinking either Dokuwiki or Mediawiki, registered-user only, and only texts from the official books (canon). The core rulebook, Sunward, Gatechrashing. Possibly official PDF's as well. Focusing on slow growth, good hyperlinking and structure.

(Yah, I know - not very anarchic of me. But I just prefer web projects with clear senses of direction, structure and administration... Call me old-fashioned)

Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist

krank krank's picture
Re: Converting the rulebooks into a wiki?

Quote:

Think Wikipedia, but for Firewall.

By the way, don't.

Wikipedia grows chaotically, by random user input. It's curated mostly by chance. The Eclipse Phase version of Wikipedia would of course be an open wiki, with user-generated content. What I'm imagining is more like the canon-only version. Like if someone made a wiki by only inputting material from a singular source. Transforming the Britannica into a carefully curated wiki.

Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist

Redwulfe Redwulfe's picture
Re: Converting the rulebooks into a wiki?

This sounds like a good idea, only in practice would you know for certain.

Is this a call for help?

red

There are only 10 kind of people in the world; Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

Red

krank krank's picture
Re: Converting the rulebooks into a wiki?

Redwulfe wrote:
Is this a call for help?

Might become one, if I decide to do this. But then only after layoing down some basic structure etc. I find having basic stuff already in place helps collaboration =)

Mostly, I just wanted to know if it had already been done. I'm not one for unnecessary wheel-inventing... If there's already such a wiki, I'd be happy to contribute to it instead. If not, I'll start looking for the perfect wiki engine... and do some structural sketches, categories etc.

Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist

nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
Re: Converting the rulebooks into a wiki?

I would leverage what's already there. The Eye has a wiki. Tell them to add tags for Canon vs. Fan-created, then go to town. As long as everything is tagged correctly, you're golden, and making two separate sites just hurts everyone.

krank krank's picture
Re: Converting the rulebooks into a wiki?

nezumi.hebereke wrote:
making two separate sites just hurts everyone.

Not necessarily. Interwiki linking is supported in most wiki engines right now, after all - so the two might still work together. There are advantages to separation; look at the Linux world: better to do three pieces of (interlocking) software that do their own thing really well, than one singular, bloated software which does everything poorly...

EDIT: I'm coming off like an asshole. Sorry. I don't mean to sound like I'm not considering all options, because I at least try to. I'll look in to it some more, and see if their operation seems compatible with how I like to work.

Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist

nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
Re: Converting the rulebooks into a wiki?

If you have two separate wikis but with a shared interface so, to me, they appear to be one wiki with nice search options, that's fine. My concern, especially with EP, which has a limited audience already, is that by splitting the two into separate sites, you're going to have a certain number who go here, a certain number who go there, and a certain number who hit both. By reducing the number that hits either one or the other, that reduces the audience and number of contributors, and may push it below the critical mass necessary for it to be really successful.

InsidiousAlgorythm InsidiousAlgorythm's picture
Re: Converting the rulebooks into a wiki?

I'd say do it, and to hell with whatever anyone says. I had the same idea myself, but rather than just include setting bits, I'd put everything in it. Wouldn't be too difficult to do given access to the raw text.

The Green Slime The Green Slime's picture
Re: Converting the rulebooks into a wiki?

Do it, I beg of you.

Am I alone in finding myself absentmindedly prodding the words printed in the books in the hope that I'll activate a hyperlink? Ever find yourself, whilst searching for some vital paragraph, brandishing your 'ctrl + f' fingers despondently in the air? Oh god my salivary glands can't cope with the demands of this sustained page-turning!

I demand to be freed from the constraints of medieval deadtree technology. I only bought the books to show support. Somebody please render this gorgeous information into legible electronic format!


Time will perfect matter.

Jay Dugger Jay Dugger's picture
Re: Converting the rulebooks into a wiki?

You can export, among other things, MediaWiki mark up from freeplane. By coincidence, I used that very program to create a mind map of the core rulebook.

http://www.eclipsephase.com/eclipse-phase-core-rules-mind-map-freeplane

I don't know whether Freeplane exports good markup, but you might get a running start from it.

UPDATE--20110416

I just tested the Freeplane MediaWiki export from my Freeplane (v1.2.4_05) map. Pasting the exported *mwiki file into sandbox page on Wikia gave usuable results, if riddled with formatting errors, ugly tables, and of course--no images.

The map I work on has a complete copy of the text, mostly copied from the Mobile Eclipse Phase project. I'll keep working on that project, as I use it in actual play. If there exists a wiki which can accept the exported mwiki files, I'll contribute to it.

I.e., please set up a MediaWiki for this project. :)

Sometimes the delete key serves best.

krank krank's picture
Re: Converting the rulebooks into a wiki?

Damn it! I was just working on a DokuWiki install... For various reasons; it's lighter, uses txt-files for its backend (hello easy backups, greping, etc), and it's a lot easier both to administer and to create templates for (plus I've got much more experience with it)...

Your thing, does it export info as separate pages or as one really large and long wiki file?

Would it be possible for you to link to an example of the output?

(OTOH; building a basic mwiki->dokuwiki in python or php shouldn't be too hard...)

(Also, apparently there's a mediawiki syntax plugin for dokuwiki...)

Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist

Jay Dugger Jay Dugger's picture
Re: Converting the rulebooks into a wiki?

Quote:

Your thing, does it export info as separate pages or as one really large and long wiki file?

That depends on how many nodes you select in Freeplane before export. You could dump a single node and its Notes, or the entire map.

The picture below should clarify the previous sentence.

Various Authors - Eclipse Phase - Game Mechanics - (2011)

That image shows the map filtered to show mainly the Game Mechanics chapter of the Core Rulebook. The tree structure matches the structure defined by the book's Table of Contents. Each node matches a line of the Table of Contents. Each node has a Notes block (not shown) which holds the text from the matching section of the Core Rulebook. Different nodes have styles coding their position in the book (Chapter, Subchapter, Table, etc.). Each Node also has attributes (tags) that I use to track their state in the editing workflow, applicability to PCs in the game, etc.

(Filtering Freeplane lets a user see ALL the instances of the target, whatever it might be, in the context of the overall structure. I think this gives an advantage over wikis, even.

E.g., I can filter to show only those nodes tagged with particular attributes such that I can see all the text of all the rules that came in actual play by player character. I can then use C-f to find within that filtered set, or even export the results to PDF, ODT, etc. and give that player a copy of those rules we've actually used in play.)

Quote:

Would it be possible for you to link to an example of the output?

I can, but I am a little reluctant to do much work on setting up a wiki. I have a campaign to run, and only so much time to spare. Let me set up a test case on Wikia. I'll post the link in due course. If it fails, I can upload *mwiki files to Google Docs.

EDIT--20110416

All the rules on one page at the Eclipse Phase Rules wiki on Wika. I can dump them in pieces as small as a single node, but that takes a great deal more work.

Finally--thank you and everyone else involved with Mobile Eclipse Phase. I use that document more than the core book.

Sometimes the delete key serves best.

krank krank's picture
Re: Converting the rulebooks into a wiki?

Jay Dugger wrote:
Finally--thank you and everyone else involved with Mobile Eclipse Phase. I use that document more than the core book.

No probs, though I seem to remember there should be at least 1 or 2 chapters we never got around to. And there's still a fair bit of cleaning up to do (but that's mostly codewise, nothing regular users would need to concern themselves with)

Anyways, I'm not at home this week, which means access to my server and home system is limited (not to mention that the EEE's keyboard isn't really ideal for coding), but whan I get home I'll probably set up a basic Dokuwiki and give it a temporary Eclipse Phase:ish theme, and start putting stuff in to show you what I had in mind. Mediawiki syntax will probably work, so if you want to dump mechanics or whatever into pages, just feel free. I'll try to write some clear guidelines or whatever.

Structurally, I'm thinking a major reorganization; not "chapters" but "namespaces". For instance, namespace "org" for all organizations, so all info on the Lunar-Legrande Alliance gets put into the page "org/lunar-langrange-alliance". Similar namespaces for people (ppl) and places (loc). All info on a certain location, regardless of source, gets put into a singular wiki page. The info on each wiki page is then "sourced", that is, there's info on which book (and edition) the info is taken from. That way, one can see if the info is up-to-date etc. Info from different books is kept apart; no rewriting - just straight-up dumping of text and tables (and images, if they are CC:ed) from the book.

(Rules might have their own namespace; i'm thinking "sys", if we're keeping with the unix-like three-letter-names)

If an article becomes too big, there should be pre-set rules for forking/hierarchal division. For instance, should the "Venus" article become too big (which it will), there should be "/loc/venus/name-of-habitat" etc.

There are export-plugins for INDTT, LaTeX and PDF formats, and I've written one myself for export to InDesign Tagged Text (a markup language used by InDesign... I use this plugin constantly when writing RPG's.). It's also possible to export as XML, pure XHTML, or whatever we need. If we need something that's not available, I can probably hack something together; export plugins are easy to build.

Sorry to WOT you guys, just wanted to get some thoughts down and share them see what you think. Since the text is already available (PDF:s and the - wildly unsourced - LaTeX "light" files), most of the work will be 1) text copy-paste, 2) text cleanup, 3) structure work (i.e creating appropriate namespaces and links). Images won't be much of a problem; most of them aren't important to the understanding of the text. The remaining few, if there are any, can easily be extracted from the PDF.

Warning: Anarchist, postmodernist, socialist, transhumanist, feminist

Jay Dugger Jay Dugger's picture
Re: Converting the rulebooks into a wiki?

The Eclipse Phase Rules wiki

http://eclipsephaserules.wikia.com/

has seen a lot of new edits, courtesy of Wikia user Tnargraef.

Feel free to contribute, y'all.

Sometimes the delete key serves best.

Tnargraef Tnargraef's picture
Re: Converting the rulebooks into a wiki?

Work is moving along!