RE: Proposal to encode dominoes and other game symbols

From: Ernest Cline (
Date: Tue May 25 2004 - 09:59:00 CDT

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "Re: Proposal to encode dominoes and other game symbols"

    > [Original Message]
    > From: Michael Everson <>
    > To: <>
    > Date: 5/25/2004 6:23:35 AM
    > Subject: RE: Proposal to encode dominoes and other game symbols
    > At 23:30 -0400 2004-05-24, Ernest Cline wrote:
    > >Dominoes:
    > >
    > >I'm not certain that a full 724 set of Dominoes is needed. In plain
    > >text, the orientation of a domino would seem to be a matter for the
    > >font to specify.
    > Hardly. Complex display behaviour is expected for writing systems
    > like Gujarati or Mongolian. It is not expected by users of
    > Miscellaneous symbols.
    > >The orientation becomes a concern only when the dominoes are
    > > laid out as played, and that cannot be represented in plain text.
    > That's not true. In the first place, the tiles if properly designed
    > can be used in the same way as ASCII art is to make a layout (just as
    > they were in lead type). In the second, orientation is also a concern
    > when the tiles are used in text, as shown in Figure 1 and Figure 4.

    But the meaning of the text would not be changed if the orientation of
    any of the dominoes in Figures 1 and 4 was changed. In Figure 1,
    the author chose to present the double dominoes vertically, but the
    meaning of the text would not be changed at all if their orientation was
    horizontal instead of vertical. In Figure 4, again the meaning would not
    be changed, if the orientation was other than that used by the author.

    I would be very surprised if a line based layout was used in lead type
    to show the play of dominoes, given that a nice tight domino layout
    would require overlapping "lines".

    > >If instead of providing all four orientations, no preferred
    > >orientation or only a single orientation were specified, then
    > >instead of 724 characters only 191 characters would be required
    > >to represent the same variety of dominoes as the proposal calls
    > >for.
    > We have discussed "glyph rotation" for more complex scripts like
    > Egyptian and SignWriting, and it is generally agreed that we have
    > no mechanism for causing such behaviour.

    Who says that glyph rotation is something that Unicode should
    handle? Why is it not something that can be left for markup?
    However, I will concede one small point, it is clear that the author
    of the text in Figure 4 is choosing the orientation of the dominoes
    in the hand so as to place all of the 2's on top. However, the
    meaning of what the author is saying would remain unchanged
    if the orientation was different there. This argues that rather than
    leaving the orientation of the dominoes unspecified, a standard
    orientation should be provided, so that the author can with
    confidence be assured that applying a 90 clockwise rotation
    to DOMINO 02-05 will result in a glyph of a domino that is vertical
    with the 2 pip above the 5 pip . However, I remain unconvinced
    that Unicode shouldn't leave glyph rotation to a higher level
    protocol. Mechanisms for basic 90 (and its multiples) glyph
    rotations are available in existing web standards and word
    processors. Why should Unicode duplicate this, when the
    plain text meaning remains unchanged by orientation.

    > >It might be better to consider encoding the pips for 0 to 18.
    > >(either in addition to or instead of the bones themselves).
    > >Some domino sets (as shown in the proposal) use different
    > >colors for different pip values. With the pips available as
    > >Unicode characters, it would be trivial to use HTML and CSS
    > >to not only create the desired dominoes out of the pips, but
    > >place them in any desired orientation and in relation to other
    > >dominoes for play.
    > I considered a smaller set. But I don't think it makes sense in any
    > way that is user-friendly or practical in terms of the ways in which
    > the characters are used. Orientation of domino tiles is significant;
    > there is ample space in the standard for 724 tiles. Let's not make
    > something simple into something impossible for a false economy
    > of code positions. This isn't an 8-bit world any more!

    Even with the bones encoded, I think it would still make sense to
    encode characters for the pips. Given the usage of color in some
    domino sets, having separate pip characters would be very useful.
    just as different colors can be applied to the two parts of a
    NO LEFT TURN traffic symbol.

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