03 December 2007
The tone of the linked article is not what I would like but the issue is a real one. The gaming community is worldwide. Morpgs require teamwork in some way. Not all members of a server speak the same language. So What should we do? Withdraw into our own little English/French/Spanish only world or seek a solution?
To me the solution is not to set up barriers or isolate people according to the language they speak, but rather to provide an environment in which all CAN communicate. Impossible you say? Not so. Take into consideration game players who are visually impaired. They use something called a speech client. The most commonly used speech client worldwide is Jaws. A gamer with whom I am acquainted lives in Brazil. She uses Jaws with an app that helps with translation from English to Portuguese. Now it is not perfect and honestly she spends a lot of time honing her English skills, but wouldn't it be nice if a gaming company partnered with a translation company to create an interface where we could understand each other?
I don't mean complex communication. I mean things like Leader: "Kasuke go around the west, make noise, draw them off. VerdeLapin you go right and sneak up behind them. Zwei you support him. The two of you take out any remaining guards." Global cooperation through gaming - Making friends around the world and being able to play with them because you can communicate via the game effectively. Call me a an old hippie type if you want but seems to me that might just be one of the first steps to understanding people and cultures - being able to communicate with them.
Of course this is just a pipe dream. Heavens forefend a gaming company actually or ANY company for that matter, actually adding a useful feature to an established product. That would mean the end of the world.
30 October 2007
First there is the old childhood game of Let's Pretend. That encompasses things like Cowboys and Indians, House, and whatever else you can think of. Frequently it involves using whatever is at hand to enhance the game. Lines in the dirt to act as house room divisions or a DMZ for war games. Odd pieces of fabric or an old blanket to make a cape for a superhero or a robe for royalty. You get the idea.
There are two basic older (adult) version of this. Historical reenactments is the first. They range from Ren fairs to battles. Form a few hours to all year around. Costumes are elabprate as are props and the general "play area". Various groups and people devote a lot of time and effort into these productions. SCA, DAR, and other groups.
Then there are LARPs (Live action Role Playing) Usually a group dresses up in costume and makeup and act out a game. World of Darkness LARPs were big a few years ago, Shadowrun seem to be now. They tend to be based on table top game ideas and expanded upon. Players usually devote no more than a weekend and many are incredibly creative.
For the players who prefer less public attention but still like face to face social contact there are tabletop games. D20, or any other system involving dice, paper, and a lot of imagination. They are refereed by a GM or DM and can run for years off and on. Genre include everything from Cowboys and Indians (or Zombies) to superheros to good old fashioned Dwarves, Elves and Evil vs Good. Dungeons and Dragons, Starwars, Shadowrun, Cyberpunk; you name it there is or will be a system for it. Or one that can be adapted to it.
Next there is chatroom or even gameroom play via computer. Some sites have die rollers for the game, others just provide a chatroom. Either way, again it is a group getting together to work through improbable problems with basic team efforts.
MUDS, MUSHes, MOOs, MPORGs and MUCKs are next. Frequently these are a game online that can be played with little or no roleplaying, or with full scale characterizations. It depends on the players and the Admins. All have a environment set up through areas built that lend to the atmosphere of the world. Some the IMMs or Admins are very active in setting up a story line others are left open to the player.
PbM - play by mail or play by email. These tend to be be less popular these days, but it is a type of interactive writing between several people. Usually one functions as a gamemaster or coordinator to ensure turns are taken in order and people only see what their character would see. It has been replaced mainly with Play by post.
Play by post or Forum play is very similar to Chatroom play except it allows people to publicly post their character's actions and part of the story when they can instead of having to set an online meeting time. Moderators or Site owners usually function as DMs.
Next time a bit more information on one or more of these styles.
19 August 2007
Now here are the neat outcroppings
1. An environment with which to interact
2. A variety of people and skill levels at RP
3. The ability to play multiple character types with no one knowing who is behind the character
Here are some not so neat outcroppings.
1. Players tend to rp the same story over and over
2. Admins force the RP
3. New players are excluded from older players RP
Now some of the last three have been addressed elsewhere in this Blog, but the third one really bothers me. I have been wandering through MUDS lately. I have found one I like that is RP enforced. At first it was great. People there are nice and happy to see new players arrive. There were many people I knew from other sites, I see them less and less now though. There are OLQs, the admins seem like nice people, a lot of the players seem truly happy to have new blood and the MUD engine has been heavily modified to enhance Roleplay.
So I kept my head down and RPed some with people and watched. The set up of this place is a good idea. It has temples and clans. Almost everyone joins some temple. Clans are for those characters that are signed to Player Kill. So in theory there should be a lot of RP for all.
I got the 3rd degree however from one admin who kept "wondering if it was an old player who
no longer was there" who suggested the site to me. Another time the same admin was certain I had an alt on the site (I do not) and that I had played there a few years ago (I did not). That little piece of paranoia set MY paranoia meter dancing. Then posts went up about so and so has been asked to leave. Two in three weeks, that also set me a bit on edge. But again I do not know the details nor do I care. I went there to roleplay which is how the place was recommended to me. Except it seems to be difficult to set my character's storyline in motion.
So another new player and myself started to RP. Again we had a difficult time drawing others into our RP. We changed it, no luck. Finally we went to a stale storyline that has been done 1000 times before. (yeah a sort of Romeo and Juliet type - why does it ALWAYS have to be a romance if a female character is involved?) We got some pulled in. Being a stale storyline it ran it's course and ended. Now the two characters are less likely to interact. So now instead of 2 ostracized new players trying to find something to do together, there are 2 new players isolated. Seems everyone else went back to their RPs.An old player started a new ALT, came on and announced the RP and suddenly everyone wants to join in. One temple's leader (apparently - this is third hand info)ordered all members of the temple to follow the RP. Interesting. We are back to the usual issue, the same I see over and over on the internet, in tabletop RPGs everywhere, the game gets stale. New ideas and people are introduced, then the old players either fade away or refuse to interact with them. Newness and change make people uncomfortable.
How to fix this? Here are some ideas:
1. Invite the new person to rp with the entire group.
2. Ask them their history.
3. If it is a female character and you play a male do NOT start a romantic storyline. If you are female, try actually talking to her, not sniping at her. And vice versa ladies.
4. If you are a clan leader (or a temple leader in this case) Organize some RP in the group and pair up older players with the new ones.
5. And last but not least - head out to the newbie areas to RP. Grab one and show them around - walk slowly so they can memorize routes and use the movement time to RP.
Or you can keep doing as you are and the new players will go away and leave you alone.
27 July 2007
*This is a role-playing MUD. Your name must follow certain guidelines, or your character will be DELETED. Any inappropriate name will be DELETED at the discretion of the Administration.
*The theme of this MUD is XXX, with emphasis on XXX,XXX and XXX, and the time period is more or less Medieval. Do not use present day or non-themed names. ANY name can be deemed inappropriate, for ANY reason, by the Administration.
*If your name is questioned, do not act like it is the first time you were warned. This is pre-creation, pick a suitable name now, and avoid problems.
Most Muds reserve the right to nix a name. Usually canon, really famous ones (like the original DIKU creator names), and names that are offensive are forbidden. Many places add in out of genre names and ones that are the same as Mobs on the MUD. Experienced MUD players expect this. Inexperienced ones learn quickly. So as I logged into this place I was prepared to skim the usually naming rules, but as I read this, it seemed more and more confrontational. The tone of the last item almost sent me to the next Mud on the list. I hate playing guessing games as to what a MUD deems suitable.
"Do not act like this is the first time you were warned." Well actually, if an IMM said something to me; it would be the first time I was warned. It would not be the first time I knew the possibilty of my name not being what others wanted. BUT it would be the first time I was warned about my name specifically. If there are multiple IMMs and one has seen it and said fine and later another sees it and says it is not, then I would be somewhat surprised. It means the IMMs do not communicate with each other. I continued on because I AM an experienced Mudder and know that sometimes rules are written due to a specific occurance. As a note though, no IMM should ever let a new player think that perhaps there have been confrontations that have affected the entire playerbase. People come to play a game. If there is any indication that one person or a small group of people have managed to destroy the enjoyment of the game for all the other players that just smacks of bad Administration. A reference to a name generator that you approve of for your MUD's theme would be nice also.
This is role-playing MUD with a specific theme. In order to enhance everyone's experience, please keep this in mind when selecting a name for your character. Modern names or ones that are obviously not of the ((insert genre here)) will be deleted as will any offensive names. Please remember the Administration retains the right to deem any name as inappropriate to the MUD and will ask players to change or remake characters accordingly. Polite compliance is expected, if you are confused as to what is an appropraite name, please ask or try this name generator ((Include addy or link)).
This next example was a desc of a MUD's intent. I wish more MUD's had this up front and not buried in rules or history. It tells me right away whether this is the type of MUD I want to play. I hate entering a proclaimed RP MUD to find out that only the IMM's story line is accepted RP or all Drow must be based on The Riftwar's Brethern rather than FR's Drow, etc. So I give kudos to the owners that actually took the time to explain what sort of game they run. Now if the tone was just less confrontational and arrogant.
This MUD is an RolePlay (RP) Enhanced PlayerKill (PK) MUD: You are required to have a general knowledge of or the ability to gain that knowledge of the XXX RPG system and this MUD's interpretation of that system.
If I do not know the specified D20 tabletop system I might as well forget it? I am not good enough to play here? And just how the hell am I supposed to know this MUD's interpetation of that system? For all I know the owners could have stripped the rules and gone completely with house rules. That is what most of us old DMs did. In today's atmosphere of more MUDs than players, a willingness to help someone who wants to learn or just wants to enjoy online RP might behoove you.
XXX is a RolePlay (RP) Enhanced PlayerKill (PK) MUD based on the XXX RPG system. Your enjoyment of the game will be greatly enhanced if you have a general knowledge of or at least access to information about that system. If you are in search of a Pure PK or hack and slash, you will be unhappy here. If you are seeking an active Roleplaying environment, you may be pleased with the changes we have introduced. Many are still in the works and as always we encourage ideas to enhance everyone's roleplaying within the game.
** DISCLAIMER - Some of the content of this mud may require you to be mature or it at least act like you are. If you feel you may be offended, or for some reason unable or unwilling to handle this please refrain from playing.
That is just plain assuming that people logging in here are not mature. Maturity has nothing at all do with age, it has everything to do with behavior. I have met mature 15 year olds and immature 30 year olds. The tone suggests to ME that the IMM is not mature.
** DISCLAIMER - Some of the content of the environment as well as the roleplaying members may be unsuitable for those opposed to game related violence, alternate religious views, occultism and a miriad of other topics. If anything of this nature offends you, you may not wish to proceed farther. Please be aware most characters here are adult characters and as such are expected to play the part of an adult.
I suggest every MUD that allows PK or is a PK MUD include some disclaimer similar to the following.
S T O P: READ THIS BEFORE ENTERING!!!! THIS IS A PK/RP MUD!!! That means if you ((PKjoin)), you can be KILLED by other players. If you opt to remain ((UNJOINED)), you do not have to worry about this, and continue to play as normal/boring. If you do decide to ((PKJOIN)), you must live with your decision, since it is non-reversible. Also, you are responsible for knowing the PK/RP system. If you are ((PKJOINED)), and you are killed, do not whine, you chose to ((join)). Read the help and ask around first!
My only complaint is this line:
If you opt to remain ((UNJOINED)), you do not have to worry about this, and continue to play as normal/boring.
The tone of this is that well it is ok if you choose not to PK but you are boring and a bit of a coward. I actually have no complaint with the other phrase many may see as confrontational. I have heard too many PKers whine when they get killed, looted etc. You chose to PK deal with it!
I HATE whiners. The main mud I play one cannot sign to PK until they are over level 50. When you sign the Book of Blood there are multiple warnings as well as a reiteration of the PK rules. No one can say they were not warned. Yet many still whine. Let's face it any new signer in almost any PK environment is initiated to the PK world by a week or so of being killed by every other signed player on the MUD. However tone is important, try not to assume the player is a whiner. And honestly any idication that you DO assume so, means to me that perhaps your MUD is full of a bunch of people who hate to lose to another in PK. That would just make me move on.
Here is how I would rewrite that. Note I have also included consequences up front of the choice not to PK.
THIS IS A PK/RP MUD!!! That means if you PKjoin, you can and most likely will be KILLED by other players. If you choose to remain UNJOINED, this will not be an issue. Be certain to read all of the PK rules to ensure you do not inadvertantly break one and are forced to PKJOIN as a result. If you do decide to PKJOIN, you must live and die with your decision. It is non-reversible. You can and most likely will be KILLED by other players. When you are killed, please do not whine. The decision was yours. It is advised that you read the help on player killing and ALL of the cross referenced files, then ask other players about it before you decide!
I see the following type of thing in many places. It just plain turns me off. Here are 2 examples:
* WARNING * The area on this MUD are unlike the areas you may be used to. Don't let any stock named areas fool you. The ENTIRE realm here has been totally re-worked, re-themed, and modified. Please ask around before teleporting in a random fashion, or running straight to a usually weak starter area, as you may
be unpleasantly surprised.
ANY MUD coder/builder worthy of the name is capable of changing a stock area name to something original. DO IT. All the above tells me is either you are a lousy or a lazy coder. On one mud I looked at (a Godwars), there was a statue in the temple of the God of the Undead. Being fully aware of how much time some builders put into the extras I looked at the statue. I found the standard Diku description of ODIN complete with Hugin and Mugin. Change the extras at LEAST.
The second example:
Also, this MUD is unlike other XXX MUDs. If you are unfamiliar with the
XXX type MUDs, you won't notice much. If you are, you may or may not like the roleplay enhancements here. AGAIN, this is NOT a standard XXX. If you are in search of a PurePK, hack and slash...you will be unhappy here. If you are willing to attempt to actually RP, you may be pleased with the changes we have and the changes still yet to come. Given some time to build up your char and get used to things here, you will grow to appreciate the time and effort that has gone into this MUD. Thanks.
In this case the owner is already assuming I will not give his place a chance. I wonder why. Honestly get this straight guys - the players do not care if it took you 20 minutes or 20 hours to make a change, they DO care about how it impacts their gameplay. Stop calling attention to how much work you put into it, rather just list the changes as features and move on. Also on the login screen I do not want to see that phrase "and changes yet to come." I have logged into countless MUDS that are not complete (mainly Circle). I logged into one that the death code locked up partway through and your character just froze in limbo, they had not yet created the afterlife zone. That 'yet to come' phrase puts me in mind of that and I start to shy away. In both of these cases, I would most likely delete the paragaraphs and just list the some of changes as enhanced RP features.
As my personal disclaimer, I am jaded. I have seen too many MUDS claim to be totally original. I log in only to find that my starting point is good old Udgaard or Midgaard, sometimes with different street names and Mob names. I don't care if an owner changed the names, I DO care that they are claiming to have an original MUD with all original code to find it is merely a renaming. When a player makes an suggestion or enters and idea in many of these muds, they are ridiculed or the IMM gets angry at the suggestion that their world is not perfect. Rules and character creation screens that hold tones similar to the ones above tend to chase me off before I even attempt to create. I do persevere if the MUD has been recommended to me by a player I trust or if I have heard differently from players.
Overall it seems to me that too often MUD owners and some IMMs let their egos get in the way of the enjoyment of the game by the players. Yes, players oftenn forget how much youdo for them. But by focussing on the negative in your rules and login screens you are most likely chasing away the 'nicer' players. Who wants to play a MUD with an IMM that seems to be concerned with what is wrong with their players instead of what is right about the mud?
29 June 2007
So I open I.E. Same stuff. Hmm, so what is this game about? Looks interesting. Ahh I probably can't play it cause of the dial up issue. Oh whoa cool you send in moves by e-mail or snailmail. So the thoughts are running through my head when I notice the payment option on the menu. A lot of games are p2p (pay to play), others give paying players advantages. So I click on it - it tells me how to pay but not how much. So I look around more.
A new game starts end of June, seems they run 7 -15 days between turns. Again I think Cool. It makes sense if they are using snailmail. Hey a low tech game I can play maybe. FINALLY I find a note that says is a see appendix 3 for payment. So I wander over to appendix 3. First turn is free, - good, E-mail turns are £3.50 (approx $5.5 or 5.5 Euros or $7.00 USD) and postal turns are £4.
Now granted a turn is multiple orders like 45 or some amount, but they are processed once every 7-15 days. How many orders are countermanded in a typical game so neither side accomplished anything? So $14.00 to $28.00 a month for a mail in game? Hey I think WoW is too much at $12.00 a month plus 40.00 or so for the war chest. Not to mention I can't play it anyway on dialup. So no thanks guys. Game sounds neat. Site is annoying but the price is just too high for this old D&Der who still uses index cards, pencils and graph paper.
27 June 2007
Vista vs Darkstone Darkstone wins.
Vista vs Revanant Revanant wins (but display must be dropped to 16 to play)
Vista Vs. Final Fantasy VII Vista wins-so far I get to start a new game or load then screen turn black and stays that way.
Vista Vs Prince of Persia 3d PoP3d but Movies do not run so far
Vista vs Dungeon Keeper- Vista. Vista laughs at me. It tells me it installed but it did not.
Vista vs.Zmud- Zmud, but must run as administrator
Vista Vs Normality- Vista. It did not really even try. No directory made.
Vista Vs Lands of Lore: Guardians of Destiny-Vista It goes through everything makes a westwood chat directory even, but does not even begin to install Lands of Lore although it claims it does.
Vista vs THQ's Let's ride Dreamer-THQ Damn,I had hoped Vista would win that one. don't ask it's a long story. but it loaded.
Vista Vs Icewind Dale-Icewind Dale wins.
Note: Icewind Dale and Darkstone loaded first attempt with no tweaks,driver downloads or researching what was happening through the web or readme files. The rest all had issues that needed to be resolved during installation.So to all you Best Buy employees and others who spout the Microsoft Party line "of course your games will run fine on Vista with its ability to emulate older OSes" you know where you can put it.
22 June 2007
One of the lowest tech and highest imagination forms of gaming is Roleplaying. It comes in many forms from the old Let's Pretend game that children play to a sophisticated profession known as acting. Yet all are based upon one premise, you are pretending to be someone else.
So how do you do this? I'll let you in on a secret - you don't. What you DO is find an aspect of yourself and apply it to that character. I have found there are only two things most people cannot roleplay well in a game - what they cannot conceive as a possibility and what they do on a daily basis.
While the first point may seem obvious, it is a bit complicated. For example, There is a cardinal outside my window, I can concieve easily of the following, listening to it's song happily, muttering at it what do YOU have to be happy about, scaring it off, shooting it, reaching out ripping it's head off and eating it like a cat. Now in real like i am likely only to do the first three actions. The second three are things that would horrify me. So if I am playing a character that is the type of person I am NOT I might choose to roleplay out one of those last two actions. But there are other things that have not crossed my mind that I could do. These are teh ones I cannot roleplay.
Now expand that. Try to think of being a character that you have no concept of. Actually the one that comes to mind for me is a sunfish. How would I BE a realistic fish (Yes, this was once given to a group I was in as an exercise in a method acting course.) Ok what does a fish think about, I don't know, does it even think? Food I suppose, swimming. What makes a sunfish different from say a blue gill? I have no idea. In other words, I cannot roleplay a realistic sunfish because i have no experience with them.
Most people cannot effectively roleplay what they do on a daily basis, because it is what they do. Imagine narrating your day, literally step by step.
"I am awake, I lie in bed for a minute listening to the radio, What is that playing? Oh, it's Brahms. My feet hurt. I lay back in the pillow until the piece is over. When I hear the announcer say 'It's 7:00 and time for the news', I arise and get my clothing out of the drawers. I put on my panties and bra first then the pants and pullover shirt for work. I can't find my socks. I go to the laundry room and hunt through the dryer for a clean pair."
And so on, while a good writer can make that sound much better than I just did, they cannot make it any more interesting without delving into the psyche of the individual and taking the scene out of the realm of the immediate action which, unlike novels and stories, is not done in roleplay. Typing out step by step such actions as eating breakfast, driving to work, working, meetings, eating lunch, working some more, gossip around the water cooler with no juxtaposition of the abnormal mixed in with the normal bores most people. As a result, the person 'falls out of character' and into themselves and loses the sense of it being a game.
Now if one were to take that last example and insert an abonormal occurance for that setting, THAT opens up roleplay. If a band of vikings suddenly time warped into the office and started raiding, it would cause the writer of the ordinary day to find something in the character to deal with the situation. In short, roleplay is using what you know with your imagination and that of others to have fun.
Next time - Types of roleplaying games.
18 May 2007
But why do so many people beg to be in a position tha requires time and patience? Then when they are about halfway through, they lose interest and go off to something else? I see it in forum posts - role play threads held up by people who have to be involved in everything. They post for a few weeks then disappear for months leaving others hanging.
Or even worse in forum owners that start forums but let them die after a few months or even years. Then rather than close it down or pass ownership on to someone else, they leave the site open to attract spammers and take up space.
In clans, players who beg, plead and cajole admins for a clan or for the leadership of an exisiting one only to disappear in a few months - usually at the first sign of discord or when the clan becomes large enough it actually requires some work.
In team stratagy games where members are given tasks such as building funds or forces. They begin, but disappear before the end game so that the team cannot compete. Now these are just in games you say. they are not important. Yes and no, these are personality traits that as I have said I have seen time and time again in real world. It is just more annoying to me in games because they are my escape from that real world.
15 January 2007
Wizop caught cheating - deletes characters caught, harasses all who knew about it then proceeds to make new characters thinking no one noticed the Wizop's consistant playing style and cheats again. Players leave disgusted because the Wizop must always win.
Wizop repeatedly shouts things about a player when the player is not on that gets others angry at the player "Fred is the one that broke into the clan and stole all their stuff, Fred is the thief that took all the money from the bank, Fred is the one that looted George's corpse. Players proceed to PK Fred off the MUD.
Wizop constantly reboots MUD when certain people log in.
Wizop constantly "accidently" deletes a player's character and restores it back 2 weeks. Player loses all exp and gold.
Wizop "loses" certain player's donations to mud.
There is one mud I have played for 5 years now. I have played there because yes sometimes the Wizop is an ass, but I have never seen him actually try to drive someone off the MUD and have seen him give people multiple chances. Why? because the Wizop knows that people come to play a game and game should be fun, not a chore.