Undertale and Curly Braces

Undertale and Curly Braces

Some reader questions this week, including Undertale, textures, and coding.

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I think with Undertale it kind of depends on what ending you got for it. I think that people who got the true pacifist ending tend to like the game more than people who didn't. Like, I'm not sure if I would love it as much as I did if I didn't get that ending, really for most of the game I thought it was solid but not that special till the ending started coming closer and then it gripped me more and more and more. Then boom, goat mom is best goat mom.
image

Article's title: Undertale and Curly Braces

I'm pretty sure this thread will be filled with comments about how curly braces are overrated...

I think that over the last three decades, there has been a noticeable movement from making programmers see things like a computer to making a computer see things like a person. Notation like curly braces are really there because a computer finds special characters easy to parse. There is a certain sophistication required before a computer will have the ability to look at text the way a person does.

CaitSeith:
Article's title: Undertale and Curly Braces

I'm pretty sure this thread will be filled with comments about how curly braces are overrated...

I didn't read the second part but I'm pretty sure hes talking about this Curly Braces.

image

Yeah, I know hes not but this totally came to mind when I first read the title.

Shamus Young:
Undertale and Curly Braces

Some reader questions this week, including Undertale, textures, and coding.

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Shamus, I think Undertale would be a very interesting dissection for you, even if you can't connect to the game on the sort of personal level a lot of people seem to. Play it with the eye of a developer, and see what you can get out of it from that angle. Study the plot beats and how the characters and stories interact with the mechanics to create a deliberate sense of ludo-narrative consonance.

The game is extremely detail oriented, on a level that is largely unheard of in the industry (I would be comfortable asserting that there are few to no genuinely 'wasted' details in the game...if you can inspect something, it's there for an actual narrative purpose and there will be payoffs in the story and/or gameplay associated with them at some point), and a lot of it is easy to miss early on (it spends a bit too much of the first sections of the game doing slow-burn world-build and brick toss before taking off in the third act). There's also an unusually high degree of expected metagaming on the part of the player, which, again, leads to some easy to miss things that are also huge hooks for the parts of the community that encountered them.

I suspect a lot of how people connected to it was strongly affected by how they approached it, by what goals they had in mind beyond 'play this game' and how the game itself targets and interacts with common sets of player goals (completionism, paragonism, metagaming, etc).

I think some of the success of Undertale can be attributed to how generally optimistic the game is. Forget the rest of the world, most games tend to be pessimistic, nihlistic, along with other things. Undertale had a big fan following for the same reason The Legend of Zelda has a big fan following, because it's a colorful, fun world that has characters that can easily interact with one another outside the confines of the game.

Compare that to, say, Mass Effect or even The Witcher and the difference is immediately noticeable. They may have good characterization, but the world around them is generally downbeat. People may like Dark Souls but no one is going to draw cute pictures of it.

So when you combine a cast of lovable (at least to some) characters and combine them in a not-horrible world, add in a dose of open-ended imagination, and you get a reaction like Undertale. Maybe.

hentropy:
Compare that to, say, Mass Effect or even The Witcher and the difference is immediately noticeable. They may have good characterization, but the world around them is generally downbeat. People may like Dark Souls but no one is going to draw cute pictures of it.

In Mass Effect, it really depends on how you play it.

Playing a full Paragon-type character makes it possible for even the most hated of enemies to be reconciled and united in their attempt to stop the Reapers. IIRC, the only faction you really have to alienate are the salarians, and even then, you still get a significant amount of support from them.

And then, at the very end, the Reapers are gone for good, and the rest of the races all start working together and everything is all sunshine and happiness. Sacrifices have been made, but through your actions, you guided the galaxy through its darkest hour, and left it a better place than you found it.

The world sucked, but through your actions, you made it better than it was. That seems pretty upbeat to me. Whereas the world of The Witcher sucks and always will suck.

But in the end, I'm in the same boat as Shamus. Toriel was a great character, but Papyrus just got on my nerves too much. I can't bring myself to love this game like everyone else does.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to finish the paper I have due in an hour.

hentropy:
People may like Dark Souls but no one is going to draw cute pictures of it.

I could show a million examples of how wrong you are :P But i'll just leave a couple :P



Really interesting article again by the way! :D

SlumlordThanatos:
snip

I suppose "optimistic" might not be the right term... or perhaps it's just a different kind of optimism. The difference may be that, even in the post Paragon possible run in Mass Effect, you can't settle into your apartment on the Citadel without having to mow down a full legion of hostile mercenaries. Everywhere you go is dark and/or neon. It's part of the charm, and there are plenty of people in the fandom.

The best analogue as to why people love it can be found not in games but in TV: My Little Pony, Adventure Time, Steven Universe... people love these things with a fervor that fans of Game of Thrones can't seem to muster. People love Game of Thrones, watch it religiously, have encyclopedic knowledge of it... but it just doesn't feel the same to people inside and doesn't look the same to those outside.

WWmelb:

hentropy:
People may like Dark Souls but no one is going to draw cute pictures of it.

I could show a million examples of how wrong you are :P But i'll just leave a couple :P



Really interesting article again by the way! :D

I, uh, stand corrected then...

hentropy:
I think some of the success of Undertale can be attributed to how generally optimistic the game is. Forget the rest of the world, most games tend to be pessimistic, nihlistic, along with other things. Undertale had a big fan following for the same reason The Legend of Zelda has a big fan following, because it's a colorful, fun world that has characters that can easily interact with one another outside the confines of the game.

Funny enough, people also love it because you can change that. Instead of a happy, optimistic world- you can turn it gritty and dark through your actions (by killing everything and everyone, and I don't mean whomever you come across... I mean grind monsters until you cannot find anymore around) and suddenly the game changes tone and everything is played out differently.

I believe Undertale is a huge success because it's delightful and hilarious when you're a pacifist, but the game isn't treating the player like a kid because when you do wrong ... crap gets disturbing. You affect the character's lives and because they're so likable, seeing how they would react when you're an evil person is the sole reason there's so much interest taken up for this game.

I love Undertale because the game pays attention to every action I take and reminds me of it in a clever way. TellTales did a fine job at first but now they're kind of ... eh. Oh and because there's so much mystery around certain characters, the game is going to stay relevant for a even longer period of time.

Worgen:

CaitSeith:
Article's title: Undertale and Curly Braces

I'm pretty sure this thread will be filled with comments about how curly braces are overrated...

I didn't read the second part but I'm pretty sure hes talking about this Curly Braces.

image

Yeah, I know hes not but this totally came to mind when I first read the title.

I also thought this was gonna be a comparison piece between Undertale and Cave Story.

I was also one of those really surprised by how much people seemed to love Undertale. If I had any guess, it's that I've played games like it recently, and so wasn't hit especially hard with the nostalgic stick. Or more likely, I was never a huge fan of that type of game anyway. Playing older RPGs I was usually in it for the good story and building a character for battles. Here...the battles were entertaining, but not necessarily anything special compared to any other decent game. Story never grabbed me either.

Curly braces are the best. So good for clearly delineating what parts fit where, to both a compiler and the programmer.

From the quote in the article:

Frank:
Languages like C use braces for defining code blocks, languages like Python just use indentation.

The notion of using only indentation for block structure is not just one of which-editor-do-I-like (GNU Emacs) and whether-I-use-tabs-or-spaces (spaces of course) but indeed how-do-I-parse-a-program. C, which as noted in Mr Young's article, descends from B and BCPL, has as earliest ancestor Algol 60 and 58; and in all those languages, the `dangling else' is a problem. That is: how should something like

if (breakfast)
if (eggs)
bacon
else
pancakes

be parsed by the language compiler? In particular, to which `if' does the `else' attach? Algol, and its many descendants in and out of the C family of languages, say `else attaches to the nearest if'. Algol was the first language with block structure, and it delimited blocks with begin ... end and similar structures---as do Algol's descendants in the Pascal family of languages.

(By the way, BCPL stands for `Beginner's CPL', since the full CPL language was never actually implemented; and in BCPL, the block delimiters were actually $( ... $) since character sets in the early 1960s didn't always have curly braces. Curly braces were accepted as easier-to-type representations for the real delimiters on machines that did have them.)

Finally, Algol had the very important feature that (unlike in Fortran) parts of statements did not have to start on particular columns in the text. People got used to this. The notion that blanks were only significant for separating linguistic tokens from each other was awfully useful, though it had its drawbacks. If the indentation in someone's source code didn't actually match the block structure of his or her program, confusion abounded.

People knew nought else for a long time, until two languages appeared in the 1980s and 1990s: Miranda, by Research Software Inc., and ABC, by Guido van Rossum. These two languages were the first (that I know of) that embraced the offside rule now familiar in their respective descendants Haskell and Python. Some functional languages aside from Haskell also feature some variant of the offside rule, notably Microsoft's F#.

It's still controversial. For one thing, it makes writing lexical analyzers, which are the parts of a compiler or interpreter that divide streams of bytes into language tokens, a little bit tricky---so compiler writers don't like the offside rule. One of the particularly tricky bits about it is distinguishing whether a tab character is more or less deeply indented than a series of spaces. Python, in particular, frowns heavily on any use of tabs for indentation, though people still do it. For another thing, there are other familiar ways to handle the dangling-else problem.

Lately, it is considered best style by many commentators now that all subordinate blocks of structured statements in C-family languages be fully enclosed by braces. As it happens, just doing that completely resolves the dangling-else problem. If it were mandated in the language rather than by the style, as it is for example in Perl, there would be no discussion.

WWmelb:
I could show a million examples of how wrong you are :P But i'll just leave a couple :P

You post a lot of cute Dark Souls images, but you forget Best Girl? How could you? Q_Q

Just as parens bound the value of an expression, statements reduce a list of statements into a brace bounded block. Although statements do not return a value (or they return 1, IIRC).

If x then printf("X is non-zero\n);
else
printf("X is zero\n");

"if x" is the same as "if ( x != 0 )". Much the same if x is signed "if ( x > 0 )".

My C style was defined in the late 70's and we used what is essentially the same one as Linus and the crew now use on the Linux kernel. The braces make hanging else statements clear and if we all think back on the Heartbleed bug in OpenSSL simply requiring statements to be in braces would have prevented the bug from being written. That bug had a hanging statement that allowed a longer than requested read to occur. Which is why I always use braces, even for single statements.

hentropy:
I, uh, stand corrected then...

Seriously though, just look up "cute" or "chibi" dark souls art, it's everywhere and amazing.

To better contribute to the discussion though, I'll say that while I enjoyed Undertale much like Shamus did (go Sans), I didn't like it anywhere near as much as the fanbase seems to, and for me it's because the pacifist game/ending isn't that interesting to me, and the genocidal one doesn't have enough content to justify the playtime, but I love Dark Souls, Mass Effect and The Witcher. I also like Game of Thrones and cannot be bothered to watch more than a few clips from current cartoon shows.

I theorize that there's at least two different groups of people we're talking about - which has plenty of overlap, I'm sure - where we have those who enjoy fun and colorful escapism with an enthusiasm that mirrors the unironic glee of the media in question, and those who approach more dark and cynical works, not necessarily because they are dark and cynical, but because the few moments of triumph, fun and color shine so much brighter when in contrast with the rest of the content than they would if that's what they primarily were.

Well here came this game that looked like another poopy rpgmaker game and some people humored it and gave it a try to discover that this is actually a pretty good game so they went to their friends and told them "hey that game is actually good" and that's how this whole undertale thing worked.

You probably spoiled it for yourself by not going into it with absolutely 0 expectations, trying to confirm some overblown description of this game being the second coming of christ that it is not.

Because execution, that's why. It's something different that many people can follow. I don't get into a lot of games that become popular because the way they usually represent them are either generic or just following the very basics on how to get to your audience. Hell, even games like Bloodborne and The Witcher 3 do this. They just don't take many risks.

I don't even like RPG's much, but Undertale grabbed my attention with it's clever music at first (without spoiling it for myself), and then when I started it, I noticed it had a very original style to everything else and a surprisingly aggressive opening introduced by a different sort of characters. It does play with your expectations, and while the characters are very simple in their own way, they do feel more human than most human characters (including the main character).

It's the execution most people will never understand. So many people think that just because there is a lot to a character that they are surely a better character, but no, it's what you do with them and what they do with you, and something really special can be done in a very short time. Quality over quantity goes for everything you know.

Caramel Frappe:
Oh and because there's so much mystery around certain characters, the game is going to stay relevant for a even longer period of time.

Us rabid fanboys love discussing the crap out of hypothetical game theories. It's the same deal with games like Five Nights at Freddy's: they're not THAT fantastic, but the vague backstory seems to be what keeps people interested for longer.

loa:
Well here came this game that looked like another poopy rpgmaker game and some people humored it and gave it a try to discover that this is actually a pretty good game so they went to their friends and told them "hey that game is actually good" and that's how this whole undertale thing worked.

You probably spoiled it for yourself by not going into it with absolutely 0 expectations, trying to confirm some overblown description of this game being the second coming of christ that it is not.

Eh. I was hyped up for the game for years ever since I played the demo, and it absolutely delivered for me... but then again I was expecting endearing characters and the forth wall being torn to pieces, not necessarily fantastic gameplay or massive sweeping storylines. There's such thing as the wrong KIND of hype, you know, not just too much volume. If, er, that makes sense.

 

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