Breadth-first versus depth-first

From this debate in the TADS category

Aside the creative process of Jbg, the concept “breadth-first vs. depth-first” is worth of general debate, at least IMVHO.

The concept is often applied in designing & implementing map layouts, either first drafting the entire maps or major regions, then detailing the rooms and populating them with items, puzzles or NPC (breadth-first) or doing one (or more) rooms at time, but fully implemented (depth-first), and there was already debates on merits (and demerits) of the two concept in map building.

But the concept isn’t limited to maps; can apply to all major components of an IF (ex. items/things, verbs & vocabulary, NPCs, daemons & fuzes, even puzzles).

For example, one can implement a set of verbs with only the default stock response (e.g. “you verb the item without results” or like) then implement the responses, special cases &c one by one, or fully implement one verb at time)

Personally, I apply the “breadth-first” concept to maps and the “depth-first” to verbs. But the point to debate should be the application of this pair of concept to the diverse components of an IF, not necessarily limited to the major ones cited above.

I think that will be an interesting and inspiring debate…

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.


Well. Regardless of the way i attempt to implement or design something, there’s always some time afterward that i can’t help having additional ideas that simply have to go in. Usually stupid stuff or something irresistibly comical. Or an awesome response in a character dialogue that I didn’t think of before.

So i don’t know what that makes it in terms of breadth vs depth.


Same. The placement of rooms is usually a mechanical matter for me, so I usually have a nameless arrangement first, and then I figure out names and descriptions and details later.

For verbs, I usually implement some basics and then hand it over to testers to see what people are most likely to try, and implement the more common attempts next.