I have a few PCs that I would like to put on a small isolated network, load up some sample smart contracts, and get them talking to each other. Any advice on what sample Ethereum code to begin with?
Welcome to the community
Do you want to setup an environment for automated analysis or more general experimentation?
I believe I want to go for an automated analysis, as I would like to develop code that others will adopt. For now though, I just need to get something running that I can play with on my machine that will interact with other code on other machines.
You could start with running a local blockchain
ganache-cli on one machine:
You could also use public test networks:
You could also create your own network, in the past I have used Microsoft Azure to spin up a Proof of Authority network.
Though it depends on what you are trying to do. To experiment with contracts, I would use
ganache-cli and public test networks.