Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Role-Players New Groove

Here on the Sea of Storms there has always been a strong culture of quality RP since the very beginning. The majority of newbies are inducted into RP by senior players wielding emotes and poses that are often well written and highly descriptive. Another mainstay of RP on our MUD has been posting length. The standard to which most players hold themselves is about four lines at a minimum. Anything less than that has often been considered lower quality, while anything more than four has been considered higher quality (up to a point at least). In pursuit of this 'higher quality' RP, styles like turn-based role-play were born to enable longer posting length and mitigate the problem that can arise with players interjecting themselves repeatedly when another players long posts. Turn based role-play has never been a policy of the MUD, far from it! It has, however, been encouraged by many players and staff  through personal preference as a way to manage larger RPs involving more than two or three people. The downside of this has been a rise in scenes which are  beautifully written, take forever (and a day) to play out, and have very little happen in them because the players zone out due to the inevitable 15 - 20 minute wait times between rounds.

The Staff is, of course, dedicated to quality RP, and we're always on the lookout for areas where we can tweak things.  Part of our recent batch of improvements is to add several new RP commands to be used in  harmony with emote and pose. These commands are whisper, think, and feel (along with some changes to say and sayto). Some players who have been to other MUDs, may recognize these as commands often seen on RPI MUDs. This is no accident, as these commands are inspired by good experiences staff members have had over the years playing on other RPI MUDs.

Enough build up though, lets get into the nitty gritty! These new commands are often used in something called real-time RP. This style of RP is one where no order exists and characters/players react to the posts of others as they come. Length is not a focus, but descriptiveness is. An easy way to look at the difference between turn based and real-time is this: Instead of writing a large post with several actions and segments of dialogue, players will instead write smaller posts with less actions and more immediate dialogue to which the other players in the scene can quickly respond to. This allows for the flow of RP to be fast paced and immersive. You know, for things to actually happen in a reasonable amount of time.

Link: https://docs.google.com/a/tsosmud.org/document/d/16nor8LTqfrlTepST4yOflX63kuWqWrRrE_ZTs0VBHH4/edit

The link above shows a brief RP where a staff member used the new commands to animate both Master Varian of the Feast of Lights Inn and Lord Kiriak Riatin, a member of a leading Cairhien house. This scene took very little effort to run and moved at a very fluid pace. One can easily see the way pose/emote were used in conjunction with the say and whisper commands.

The last two commands, think and feel, are primarily for individual players to deepen their own role-play experience. The output from both of these commands display only to the player using them, along with any staff member that happens to be in the room--allowing them to have a better understanding of the characters and motivations if they are running an Event (for example). Players might be surprised how occasional use of these commands can change how they role-play their characters. I highly encourage everyone to give them a try at some point.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Winds of Change are Blowing

I'd like to welcome everyone back to TSoS's Developer blog. It has been awhile since any posts have been put up here, but that will change going forward. In fact a lot of things on TSoS have been changing lately (albeit, lots of them behind the scenes) and thus we have our theme for today, change! We would like to let all of our players know what we have recently implemented, as well as give some idea what is still on the docket going forward.