In-game representations of out-of-game activities

 
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 2:17 pm    Post subject: In-game representations of out-of-game activities Reply with quote

In the Too high an entry cost? thread, Sandi mentioned a mud where the Guest characters were cows, allowing them to wander around and watch people roleplay without being able to cause trouble. I went on to mention that it might also be rather fun to represent such characters as flies (they can travel anywhere, can't cause any real trouble, and - unlike 'ghost' accounts - other players would be able to recognise when their roleplaying had witnesses). In effect you're creating IC representations of completely OOC concepts.

Most muds use some sort of echoed message to represent the passing of a tick - the patter of little feet, a scream in the distance, or some such. I guess you could even make these messages area-specific (I think some muds may already do this) so that the town tick message might be someone shouting, a forest message might be a bird flying overhead, etc. I've also seen muds with descriptive hotreboot/copyover messages, decay messages, and so on.

But this got me thinking about representations that could be used for other OOC/out-of-game things. Carrion birds circling overhead when a connecting player gets their password wrong? A small spider scuttling past whenever a known mudlist site tests the connectivity? A flash of lightning if a player connects and there is already someone else connected from that IP address? A bird flying overhead with a baby in its beak whenever someone connects from an IP address that's never connected to the mud before? NPC citizens gathering around to celebrate whenever the playerbase reaches a new "highest number of connections"? NPCs who act happy or depressed based on the muds vote rankings (assuming such an indication isn't against the voting rules)?

I'm sure this idea could be extended to a lot of things, although the drawback is that many players might not realise what the messages indicated. Is the flavour worth the potential confusion? For messages that the players don't really care about (such as connection attempts and such), it might serve to be almost a minigame in its own right, as players could try and work out what they meant.
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Massaria



Joined: 14 May 2005
Posts: 31
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the cow/fly idea is excellent. I may do something like this, but it needs some more thought in the setting I have in mind.

I'd also like to see idling players explained/excused in an IC manner. Can't think of anything in this reard of the top of my head, but in this case the excuse would depend largely on the setting.
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Molly O'Hara



Joined: 11 May 2005
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Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In our mud idling players are transported to a safe room, with the message 'NN fades into the shawow'.
I thought it was standard procedure in most muds. Works for me anyhow.
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Sandi



Joined: 13 May 2005
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Location: Boston

PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KaVir, I think that's a great idea. So, back at you, they wouldn't have to be direct messages. You might use such events to modify the weather, or now I'm thinking of having such things influence my stock market.

Massaria, it just happened that in the Pern setting, a feudal commune that lived in caves, was perfectly IC to have wandering cows. In the cowboy town Maddock setting, loose cows on a regular basis wouldn't go over at all!! Stray dogs might work, though. It would be completely IC for someone to shoot a dog that caused trouble. I hope you think of something.

As to idlers, in a H&S you need to get them out of harm's way if you have wandering aggies, but in a roleplaying situation they need to remain so the player can use their scroll back to return ICly. On my MUSH, I put the player's idle times next to their names in 'look', so people wouldn't start a conversation with someone that had been idle for 20 minutes; 'look', with horizontally listed contents, being much less spammy than 'who'. I also listed active players in high ansi, the effect being the idlers were dimmed.
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Vopisk



Joined: 22 Aug 2005
Posts: 99
Location: Golden Valley, Arizona, USA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Delving a little bit deeper into KaVir's original concept here. I don't think that you'd be creating a spam generator or useless messages by doing this, in fact, you could make the game... pop! By generating content specific to areas, you could basically have any of these triggering acts fire off from the list one of the chosen one-liners (perhaps with some sort of weighted system to make sure the same one doesn't get sent all the time which would get annoying.)

In effect this could make the market that the player was standing in ACTUALLY bustle in a dynamic way that would bring a certain level of immersion to the gameplay without getting in the way or being overly annoying (in my opinion). Yes of course this means that content must be generated, however, there could be very general and more specific sets of content that were chosen from. For example: If a player is in the forest, they may get a message from the generic forest spammer database, however, if they're in the creepy forest, they might get the generic forest spammer or the nifty little extras for the creepy forest (perhaps slight preference to the creepy list as it is location specific). Not to mention, that in places like private homes and the like, this sort of content should be all but drowned out, if not completely then most certainly in large part.

For example, it always, to a painful point, irritated me no end when I was exploring a supposedly underground cavern and could still see the rising and setting of the sun, this just tells me that you're not trying. So basically you check for a few factors and have at it. As the echo to character function of the game should already be able to check certain flags upon the character, then we simply check for their location (certain values returning null and creating no spam to the player) and others then selecting a message from our pre-existing database of content based upon where the character is within the world.

I don't mean to delve too far into this idea, as it's not my own, and I'm starting to confuse myself. Howeer, I do believe that it is an idea worth meriting and exploring as it could be a nice addition (if not replacement) for seeing the same, boring four messages that go off like a buzzer every time the mud ticks.

My two cents, something to chew on,

Vopisk

edit: A key factor that I forgot to mention in my post above but would certainly be applicable is that the use of such a system would rely heavily on triggering of these events. If player connects or new players or redundant IP addresses are not something that you are going to face very often, then perhaps a weather or stock system as described by the poster above would be a better solution. However, this idea certainly has potential.
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Kelson



Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 71
Location: SC

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KaVir: cool idea, not-so-cool in play?

What might be a good idea (though I think random functions might work better, perhaps) is to use these ooc activities as influences on systems that always exist (which is actually what you described (influencing their appearing to players)), but make 'permanent' modifications to the system. For example, a stock system could permute relative to the number of logins / hour vs the number of logins this hour.

On the other hand, random numbers would be easier and it is possiible to provide the same flavor without incorporating the extra work of using ooc activities, imo

- Kelson
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Lindahl



Joined: 29 May 2005
Posts: 56

PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only relation that should exist between an outside environment and the direct environment would be one to generate true random numbers - which is only necessary for security. Anything beyond that is a waste of time, IMO. Neat idea, but I don't see much of a purpose (unless it ACTUALLY provided information, such as when a friend logs off).
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lindahl wrote:
The only relation that should exist between an outside environment and the direct environment would be one to generate true random numbers - which is only necessary for security. Anything beyond that is a waste of time, IMO. Neat idea, but I don't see much of a purpose (unless it ACTUALLY provided information, such as when a friend logs off).


Well my examples would indeed provide information - the question then becomes one of importance.

If you're roleplaying with someone and they lose their connection, it'd be very useful to be told so that you don't keep chatting with them for the next few minutes. But if you want to keep everything IC, you're probably not going to want to send out a "Bubba has gone link dead" message. Instead, you could present the information in an IC way, such as describing their eyes glaze over.

Equally, if a player is kicking off their old connection this might be useful to know because they could have missed part of the conversation - and once again, this might be more appropriate as an IC message.

Some of the other examples I gave, such as the scuttling spider or the circling carrion birds, would be of more questionable value - but sending out colourful echos could potentially add to the atmosphere of the game world anyway, so in these cases the 'hidden meaning' is really just an extra bonus.
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Molly O'Hara



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 99
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing that we have implemented in my mud, and which works quite nicely ICly, is to allow the players to set their own log-in and log-out message.
This is of course only readable to other morts in the same room as the one they respawn in, and serves as an IC explanation of their sudden presence in that room.

So instead of the generic 'Player So-and-so has entered the game' they can set a line like 'So an so enters the room and sits down at a corner table'. Or of course something more colourful. It's all up to their imagination, and can be changed as easily as their title.
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Molly O'Hara wrote:
One thing that we have implemented in my mud, and which works quite nicely ICly, is to allow the players to set their own log-in and log-out message.


How do you deal with players who select silly or inappropriate messages?

Molly O'Hara wrote:
So instead of the generic 'Player So-and-so has entered the game' they can set a line like 'So an so enters the room and sits down at a corner table'.


What if they log on in the middle of a forest? Can they select different login messages based on the terrain type?
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Molly O'Hara



Joined: 11 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What if they log on in the middle of a forest? Can they select different login messages based on the terrain type?


They always respawn in the same room they logged out from, so that wouldn't be a problem. Most of them log out from Recall point anyhow.

Quote:
How do you deal with players who select silly or inappropriate messages?


I guess I leave that to their own good sense. If you treat players as adults most of them live up to it. And not all players have the privilege to set their own log-in/out messages. They get it as reward for earning RP points, and I suppose if someone really abused it, we might react by removing the privilege.

In any case, we are not a RPI, so we don't take ourself all that serious. If someone set a silly message, I guess I could live with it. Smile

However - this entire thing could probably be hardcoded. I don't see why it shouldn't be perfectly possible to code a log-in message based on the sector type of the room they spawn in.
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