Pixel's musings on Roleplaying

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Pixel's musings on Roleplaying

Postby Pixelmage on Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:25 am

Ok, so... Here's the thing... I've been thinking a lot about how RPs work lately. Thanks to running FC and trying to figure out which way to go and understand how to make things better. So, at the same time, I've been thinking that if I have ideas, then I should share them and maybe someone will be interested?

Anyhow, this is not an RP idea or anything of the sort, but given that it's a discussion on Roleplaying in general, I think it fits here. If not, I'll ask a mod to move it.

Getting to what matters though, what I intend to do is go through my own thought process, outlining my reasoning and hopefully make sense by the end as to how I end up making certain choices.

Step one: Medium.

This one is the most straightforward of all. We're on a forum. The only truly viable choice is to use said forum. I could go on a tangent as to how the different media compare, but I think that's unnecessary at least at first. That said, a forum brings certain characteristics to the table, a set of constraints that we must work with in order to be able to play over it. These, to my mind are:
  • Turns.
  • Wait time.
  • Lack of GM tools.
  • Difficulty to implement a mathematical system.
These have effects on a lot of the decision-making.

Firstly, there's no true real-time interaction. Even if two people are online at the same time and can put out posts in quick succession, there's no live intervention. Others can only interject only after the poster has fully typed the whole of their idea. This isn't inherently bad, but suppose a player makes the decision to Charge a Gelatinous Cube. That's clearly a bad idea, and exemplifies something that could be easily remedied in face-to-face gameplay, even if only to ask if the player is really going to carry it through. Given the turn format, both the GM and the other players can only interact after the action is taken and posted. Re-factoring is possible, but requires further steps.

Wait time is an obvious one. No one sees the progress until the post is fully finished and posted. Once an action is taken, reactions take time to appear. Again, not inherently bad, but it further cements the fact that forum games are strictly turn based.

Lack of GM tools is related to the Charge a Gelatinous Cube example. Given the format that only allows intervention in fully complete segments, it means less opportunities to intervene. I wouldn't defend GMing as steering the game, but interventions and guidance are necessary to make the game progress (more on this later). The forum medium makes it slightly slower, and requires additional steps. To avoid stalling the game on tweaks, some planning is necessary to avoid the need for such interventions.

Math is again an obvious one. By default, forum systems don't have an embedded Die or Random Number systems. Or proper support for dynamic spreadsheets. This means that mathematical impartiality is not truly possible without a third party system. Yes, it's perfectly fine to trust the GM with the random numbers, or even a commission of players, but again, that requires a third party in some manner and full disclosure is still impossible.

Of course, I'm not factoring the chat in this because given that only the forum posts count as canonical RP content, the chat serves as a tool to create the forum posts, instead of being a piece of the game itself.

Step two: Building within the constraints - PvP or PvE?

This was a major point for me in the process of creating FC. And it still is. In that sense, I feel that this deserves an in-depth observation.

PvP stands for Player versus Player, PvE stands for Player versus Environment. The two aren't mutually exclusive, but there are certain concerns. Any game has losing conditions, or even if not outright losses, there are favorable outcomes and unfavorable ones. And no one wants to end up with the bad end of the deal. This is what motivates PvP games into being extremely well written, and have a great depth in thought behind each action. However, given an PvP interaction, one of the sides must lose. It doesn't matter why, but a conclusion to the conflict needs to be reached, and one side will be better off than the other. Given that both are populated by players, someone will have, to put it simply, failed. That's not a nice feeling, and it can be worse if the conclusion isn't clear cut.

For that end, I personally believe that an impartial, mathematical system is required. Some manner of verifiable calculus that leaves no doubts about which side played the best. Sports have score marks and tie-break systems. And the acts of acquiring said score is based on physical performance. Electronic games work on mathematical logic, and are decided by proper strategy, personal skill with the controls or a combination of both... As far as playing in a forum goes, the only thing we can certainly have is narrative. And that is cloudy and subjective. Yes, it's possible that any given group will agree on the same books, but YMMV prevails. Short of grammar and spelling, whatever else is there is subjective.

Thus, that forces someone to admit to defeat, for whatever reason. Or it forces the GM to intervene and make a decision for the players, either himself or through a delegation.

With all those concerns, I'm really afraid of handling a PvP game. Thus, I look to PvE. Now, if I assume that the Environment is capable of defeating the player, all of the above remain a concern, on top of the GM being required to control the Environment actively and fairly. But if the Environment is not necessarily capable of it, then you have a system where the outcome, whatever it is, is favorable to the player.

Now, note that I don't mean character there. Ultimately, the goal is that the players have fun. If said fun is not tied to having a character being successful, there's nothing wrong with that. But PvP enforces that one side of the confrontation will have his character being defeated regardless. In which case, if both players are unhappy with losing, someone ends up sad. Giving the Environment to player control serves two purposes then.

First, it eliminates the need of arbitrary losses. Without a mathematical system to be impartial, the player is then the one with control over his character's success rate. And, as outlined above, it reduces the need for GM intervention, as the GM doesn't need to actively control the steps of the setting. In this way, everyone wins out.

Of course, the GM still has an active role here. Given that the players have control over their outcomes, it's necessary to watch over what they do so that they don't step over someone else's fun. Suppose someone enjoys writing a Mary Sue. That, by itself, doesn't have the slightest problem. Now, there's an important question that needs to be asked, is that Sue's presence hurting the others' game? If so, then as a GM you need to take measures to balance things out.

Speaking directly about FC, I choose a collaborative format, given that everyone is supposed to be helping each other, someone being at Sue tier, thus, able to solve the problems on their own would defeat the purpose of the game: Preemptively avoiding the problem, I have to make sure to keep an eye out on the power spread. Spikes and vales are what make the game interesting, but only if said spikes are dynamic. Thus, for FC in particular, someone getting to be too much more powerful than the others would be an issue I've foreseen, thus, something I work in order to balance out. Each game would have it's own set of such GM flags to keep track of.

Given that format, PvE means everyone wins. So, it's my particular brand of choice right there.

Step three: Okay, the game is built. How to run it?

This, again, taps into the GM's role. Back on the constraints, the game is turn based, yes? It's also limited in that each post is a fully contained action or set of actions, correct?

Then, from that point there's one question, how much should be expected of the players to write each post?

Too little and too much are entirely possible. But it mostly depends on the format of the game. Something that's heavily story based requires longer posts or there's not enough room for proper narration. Something that's battle heavy has to decide whether to make the battles self-contained, meaning bigger posts that deal with the entirety of a fight; or spread out, with different players taking a series of small scale actions that affect the battle over a set of posts. Or Dilly's wacky awesome idea which is fun fun fun and very short in terms of post length. :3

But too much can cause burn out. If you miss your estimate making the posts smaller, you can get people to play more or faster or slightly raise the average over time, if at all necessary. If the players burn out from writing too much, the game dies from lack of interest or player time.

Now, FC went with the friggin' massive text length. Honestly? That would really be bad if we didn't have as many players as we do. Because thanks to having just about everyone in the game we can have a rotation, people can take breaks and go back in and no one is expected to write one book per day. And of course, the text limits are maximums, which means if someone wants to make more concise posts, it's entirely possible to do so.

So, in that sense, what I'd advise is to take a measure of how long it takes to write a turn. How long is it? How long does it take to read it? Measure whether or not you, as a GM would be able to keep that up if you were playing it yourself. Because honestly? Being a GM in FC is essentially like being a player that has quests every turn. If it's not possible to keep up, then you need to tone it down.

And here lies the GM guidance part that is necessary to make the game exist. It's not to control what the players do or don't do. But rather, to play the eternal balancing game, trying to figure out how to best lay out your plots and scenes for your players, in a way that they can enjoy the game without burning out from going too fast, or losing interest from going to slowly. If anyone knows a formula, I'd love to hear it. Because I'm trying to figure this out as I go. :P

Step four: It runs... Oh god it's gonna crash!

Namely, miscellaneous things that I think are important in order to make sure the game is able to survive.

One of the major things that I believe are essentially vital: The game is in turns. There must be a post order! To elaborate, if there's no mandatory order to how the turns are supposed to flow, players are able to go two ways.

First, it's someone else's time to shine. That's one thing that tends to happen inside honor systems. Someone thinks they got their share of the spotlight and wants to let the big scene to someone else. There's no clear line of who is supposed to take the opening, turns out that no one takes the last piece of the cake, and the cake just sits there. Uneaten in an stalled game. This is bad. I don't even think I need to say it.

Second one is the classic someone else's problem. So long as it's not my turn, I don't need to worry about how the game is going. Someone will move it along. I'm not saying this to sound like an ass, so, sorry everyone. But, what I mean is, we might forget, we might assume someone else is already on it, and in the end, it turns out the same way as the last piece of cake, and the game stalls all the same.

The order might be set in stone for the whole game, it might change every turn, it might be defined by some in-game factor. It doesn't matter. But the player should know when it's his turn to move things around.

Now, looking again at what I did for FC, free-posting has room to be useful. Side Stories has more posts than the Main RP at the moment. But, that's something that's entirely optional. Same for the Special Events. While they offer interesting opportunities and are places for someone to play in case they want to and are not on any main thread quests, they're free to go into the free posting threads at anytime. But, assume these threads outright die. The game can continue on, because unless everyone is unavailable, there's a way to send people into the main thread with named quests and keep the game itself going. And in the main thread, with the quest prompts, everyone knows who is supposed to take each slice of cake, there's no reason to leave it sitting there in case someone else wants it, because each slice is given to the person supposed to have it.

This brings up the second factor: Deadlines.

These are not a clear-cut must have element. It mainly depends on the game, who are the people who play it and how many players there are. For FC the deadlines are necessary, if only because of the player rotation element. While someone is not playing, there are other players who are inactive and would like to play. Thus, some manner of rule to govern it is necessary. A smaller game, without a rotation, could probably survive fairly well without these as long as it has a turn order.

Worse comes to worst, whoever is supposed to take that post disappears and the other players along with the GM decide to skip him for the turn. But it's more likely that it'd be possible to just ask the person if he wants to skip because of whatever reason. Establishing a deadline is mostly not a bad thing, but I really think it shouldn't be seen as an easy solution to keep the posts coming. There might be real life factors involved. Or maybe it's the game itself that has a flaw of some manner, like player burn out or lack of interest. And simply establishing a countdown wouldn't fix these, so yeah, lastly, time limits are a good tool, but a potentially dangerous one.

Well, this is Pixel, typing yet another wall of text on stuffs. I'm a newbie at this, but hey, FC is working. So maybe some of that reasoning behind what choices I make are right after all. And if they can be useful to even one of you, that's a win for me. :)

I did mostly avoid mentioning the other RPs, I don't know if that kind of review is wanted or not. Specially in a public form like this, but if you guys want me to, I can do a review on each one individually. I also avoided mentioning merits or demerits of settings and plots and that kind of thing, because to be honest, I think that's tangential to the mechanics of running the game. And they're subjective, not everyone necessarily enjoys the same genres of media. Other than that, I really hope this makes sense.
"Yami ni madoishi awarena kage yo
Hito o kizutsuke otoshimete,
Tsumi ni oboreshi gō no tama,
Ippen... shinde miru?"
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Re: Pixel's musings on Roleplaying

Postby Pixelmage on Sat Jun 29, 2013 6:02 pm

Already PM'd this to Xana, and he replied as it being ok to post. So, public form, unedited.

-----

Well... Taking a look at Xana's RPs. All of them. :P

First thing that comes to mind, you have a lot of games. So, I'll skip over the ideas that never really got to the opening post, and focus on the games that actually got to start.

Setting the baseline, I'll start with the First RP.

I... Don't think I have much to say about it. It was the game that influenced me the most and one that I think was the best executed here. It had a clear turn order. Each post knew what it had to accomplish, even though there was freedom with the number of enemies to face. There was no plot, and thus, no drama. It also had a soft deadline of sorts that we used to time how long to wait before poking the next guy about when he'd post. Just fun and awesome scenes. :)

Until the end of the ARG. We were forced to take a hiatus to focus on bigger puzzles. That's not bad, but we lost momentum. Now that the first act finally ended, I really think it ought to pick up again. As long as it sticks to how it played up to now, I don't think it has anything to worry about.

Moving from there, Black Knight.

That one was epic. It was a step up in terms of how awesome it'd be. Better plot focus, the system itself was solidly built on top of everything good the First RP had. And you introduced some manner of free posting that I think was really good: Introduction scenes.

The way I see it, that worked because we had a clear goal in mind: Getting our characters to the meeting point. It didn't matter which order we posted in, as long as we got to that particular point, it'd be your turn to give us the next step.

Another great thing was the way you handled a big player base. Splitting in two teams you could approach the plot from two different angles. It really had some awesome potential there.

I think that the issue that broke it was timing. It was starting up just as we were approaching the endgame for the ARG. We had to pause it before it actually started properly and then we were missing players and by the end it wasn't really worth continuing. Maybe it could come back fresh after one of the others finishes? I mean, it's not like we can't use the idea anymore. :P

Then came Chain Wars. But not quite just yet.

It was a great idea, but this time, ARG Endgame. Not getting the game to run just yet, and then it stood as just an idea. So, it stays here for now.

Comes Jester and markets the Full Free Post game model. (Skipping FK on this, just noting to keep the timeline straight).

Then you create Rise. With free posting.

Initially, Rise was just like Black Knight. It had everything the First RP had, but a stronger plot sense. You had the same introduction system used in BK, and then established the same usual turn system that we have on the First RP. Save for "Julian kills the Kraken." the game ran without a hitch.

Until we hit the intermission, when you let total freedom. Our prompt was "Get to Kingas" but we didn't have any sort of guideline on how to do that: When? Is there a specific path we should take on the way?

That much freedom causes the cake problem, we don't know what we're supposed to do. We created a fight event because it's what our characters do. Great, only... We wrote ourselves into a dead end. We need to get to kingas, otherwise there's no plot. But no one is likely to run away from a fight. So, the fight is made to be impossible to win... Speaking for myself, I can post anytime:

"Rissien noticed the stark odds. Unwilling to take the chance, he strapped his bared blades to the holsters on his back and, infusing them with his magic once more, flew towards the safety and food of Kingas."

Honestly? I feel like that amounts to the same "Julian kills the Kraken." It adds essentially nothing, doesn't help anyone and only serves to say "Hey, I did go to the city, it's your problem now." Unless we are at a point when we want to do that in order to move the game, I'd rather avoid having to do that. Which is fair game, of course, if the idea is "Ok everyone, get to the city and then we'll move differently from there." So we just need to handwave our way there to avoid the need for a retcon or Deus Ex.

Now, to wrap up, I don't play Chain Wars or Game of Life and Death, so my perspective with them is different.

They seem plot heavy, and both are relying on free posting. What I think is happening is that people don't have a discrete view of what they should do. Sure, having freedom in the game is important, but total creative freedom means writing a novel. That's not compatible with playing a game. Games need rules, goals and outcomes. Leaving all free interaction without a reachable goal in hand can be what's causing them to go slowly.

I can't speak on Godsfall because that didn't even start yet.

On generic notes however, I have the feeling that we have way too may games, and that plays a role. Take the "measure how long it takes to write a turn" idea. Apply it to Qara, for instance. Suppose she has a quest in FC, there's no turn order, but she should post on the First RP, Rise, Chain Wars, Game of Life and Death, Irun and prepare the next development on Ship of Spies.

That's a fuckton of text to write. Given how many of us there are, and how many games most of us are in, we need to prioritize and whatever doesn't need to get done now gets shoved aside. Which is another reason why the lack of a post order is bad. Everyone can postpone their turn indefinitely, because it's not strictly their turn.

Establishing post order and deadlines on everything would be bad, given how the playerbase is composed. It'd force people like Sicon, Mimsy and Qara to drop something. It might hurt the game and cause it to die. At the same time, as things stand, whatever is less urgent will keep getting postponed.

I get that FC plays a part in getting the other games to slow down... But again, I already built the system to work around these time limitations, so, suppose you want to take a couple of weeks out of quests to get your RPs sorted out? Salvantas continues perfectly fine in game, and then you go back and pick up where you left. And the way I see it, it's that commitment flexibility that makes it as reliable as it is. And even that only works because all of you like the game and want to play it. :)

I'm not really sure what to suggest. Honestly? What would be more helpful would be everyone getting better at time management. Say, Sicon, Qara and Mimsy not being on all of the RPs ever, and getting non players like Rota, Krika or Spirit to join in. That would tone down the word count necessary from the current players, meaning they'd not need to keep juggling what to write, and we'd keep the games progressing.

Another option would be shutting down some of the games. Focusing on a couple of them to the end. Then switching to new ones.

At the same time, I get that these are not win-win options. :( Someone will be sad or left out. We can't control anyone to make sure they don't take more writing than they can handle, closing games is overkill. But simply leaving things is also bad... So...

Maybe establish a post order? That way everyone knows when they're supposed to focus on what. And then if there's interest in focusing on a particular game or the other, let the rest run more slowly. But ultimately... We already have too many games for the amount of players available.

I didn't mention Virtual War because everything I would have to say is what I already said in comparing PvP and PvE... PvP in honor systems only works if both parties are on the same page. Having the same expectations and interpretation of the posts. Hence why I joined Mimsy's arena with a character that is completely based on die rolls. Otherwise, I know I wouldn't be able to agree with half of the "logical outcomes". And from that point, devolving into a fight is really a matter of time. Either that, or everyone simply dropping out because "meh, I'm not going to out-technobabble that anyway."

It's yet another Pixel Wall of Text (tm)... Not sure how good it is but... Well, it is here.
"Yami ni madoishi awarena kage yo
Hito o kizutsuke otoshimete,
Tsumi ni oboreshi gō no tama,
Ippen... shinde miru?"
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Re: Pixel's musings on Roleplaying

Postby Sicon112 on Sat Jun 29, 2013 6:41 pm

OK, not sure if I'm supposed to post directly in this thread or not, but I just need to leave a note here in relation to Pixel's suggestion to establish post orders again and that would be simply that I cannot really go along with that.

I had WAY more than my fill of posting orders in the first RP's run during the ARG. I was frantically trying to make things that made sense chronologically and TRYING to write scenes that played out smoothly when put together, but it just was not possible. Trying to work around the post order to hold conversations and have character interaction was a nightmare for me. I did not, and still do not, especially mind the post order during fight scenes, (if only because I do see the obvious need to restrict people from multiposting again and again) and I do not mind the determined post order of FC because in that, everyone involved in a quest is collaborating on a single post. Trying to make a sensible, coherent interaction scene with post orders like the first RP had is frankly, WAY too much of a pain to handle, ESPECIALLY on a regular basis.

Luckily, in the first RP, I had a way out, so I took it. Sabrac is not the kind of guy to really give a crap about any of the other people, so aside from on or two collab posts, I just had Sabrac leave and do his own thing his own way so that I never had to deal with the constraints of trying to hold a linear conversation with post orders like the first RP had.

I do not mind post restrictions like "Everyone gets one post to introduce themselves, and let everyone post once before you do more". They are quite fine and have a purpose in certain segments of an RP, depending on the situation in game. However, even they are restrictive if applied literally ALL the time. One of the things I really took advantage of was my freedom in CW and ROH to fire off little tiny posts of back and forth with whoever I was holding a conversation with at the moment. Shane and I had one interaction in CW that took up about nine small posts, all made in the space of an hour or two in one night. It was a smooth, coherent scene, and was fun to write, while not taking a whole lot of effort on either of our parts.

Post orders make every interaction post a nightmare for me, and force me to take a far greater amount of time for a post than I usually would. This results in less posts, more work time, and significantly bigger posts that are harder for people to read in one sitting. So I'm here to express a vote solidly AGAINST post orders, because honestly I think I would have to start deleting my characters from RPs left and right if that happened because it just wouldn't be any fun any more.

That said, Pixel makes a good point here. Some manner of light post control, such as what we have been doing for intros is obviously beneficial. It is certainly possible to do the same thing for battles as well, limiting everyone to one post, but not actually adding in a strict order unless the battle gets stuck, at which point you add an order to finish off the turn. However, there has to be freedom to bend the restrictions for things like a conversation between two characters. Yes, collab posts are all well and good, but doing one for a single conversation is, well, overkill. It is much easier to remove worries about finding a document where you can work, synchronizing time zones, etc, to merely start making small posts on the RP whenever you happen to be around.

So I'm almost totally against strict posting orders, save in extremely specific situations, but I can see the benefit of looser controls applied as the situation seems to merit.

...

*sigh* And this started out as just a small note... I may need to work on resisting the urge to Wall of Text.
Normal people are the easiest to manipulate. Too smart and they have an annoying tendency to catch wind of your plans, too dumb and, in the words of a certain pirate, "You can never tell when they are about to do something incredibly...stupid."
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Re: Pixel's musings on Roleplaying

Postby Pixelmage on Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:03 pm

Sicon112 wrote:*sigh* And this started out as just a small note... I may need to work on resisting the urge to Wall of Text.

I know how that feels.

And, in a way, I agree with you. My point is merely that moving things into a more game-like format would need organization. A soft-order system could work wonders, like you said. I just don't know how to implement one, personally.

Working with the tools I know how to use, I can only suggest a post order, but... *considers*

Sicon112 wrote:Shane and I had one interaction in CW that took up about nine small posts, all made in the space of an hour or two in one night.

This one actually sparks a idea similar to wiki edit-locks. Suppose the interactions will take place as a series of quick and short posts. The players not involved could stand to wait for a short time before posting the next timeline slot. It's more complicated to implement, but it would mean anyone can do these quick intermissions within the normal flow of posts.

Take the First RP: Shane goes. Then I go. Shane posted, but before I post, you jump in with Sabrac chatting with Kariese. You take roughly a day in short posts every half an hour, which still outlines the chat, then once you're done with the intermission, I post as the next step in the usual post chain.

Not exactly straightforward to keep track of, but it would allow writing interaction scenes more easily, and still have a game-like structure tied to it.

And posting here is perfectly fine. :)
"Yami ni madoishi awarena kage yo
Hito o kizutsuke otoshimete,
Tsumi ni oboreshi gō no tama,
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Re: Pixel's musings on Roleplaying

Postby Sicon112 on Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:08 pm

I think for little conversations like that, very little oversight is needed, though. They just kind of start and end in a couple of posts, and are done within 24 hours easily. Most of the time, no one else will even have the timing to post in the middle of one, and if they do, oh well. A bit of cutting to and fro is going to happen, and with small posts on that level, it isn't as though it is hard to keep track of.

Now, bigger conversations, on the other hand, events where four or five, or even the whole party is interacting with each other, DO get chaotic pretty fast. If you have a close player base like this one, I'd say first make an attempt to let them work it out with themselves, but if it starts to lose control, it might be good if the GM stepped in and nudged the players out of character and gave them a hand organizing it somehow.
Normal people are the easiest to manipulate. Too smart and they have an annoying tendency to catch wind of your plans, too dumb and, in the words of a certain pirate, "You can never tell when they are about to do something incredibly...stupid."
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Re: Pixel's musings on Roleplaying

Postby Pixelmage on Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:56 pm

Sicon112 wrote:Now, bigger conversations, on the other hand, events where four or five, or even the whole party is interacting with each other, DO get chaotic pretty fast. If you have a close player base like this one, I'd say first make an attempt to let them work it out with themselves, but if it starts to lose control, it might be good if the GM stepped in and nudged the players out of character and gave them a hand organizing it somehow.

Hum... For these in particular something similar to the Side Stories and Side Events could be arranged? Not necessarily a new thread, but for instance...

This particular situation we're in on the First RP right now. Xana made an GM post announcing an intermission. We get, not a strict order, but rather, a deadline before the next event pops up. Within that time, we post as we will, organizing the interactions according to how the posts come up until either we all say we're good to go, or we hit the time to move. A malleable deadline to account for Real Life and the like could pretty much handle these events in-between the scripted / plot-moving scenes and events. Without leaving them sitting indefinitely.

There's another thing that I really think I should ask about too. Related to this particular segment on the second wall of text:
Pixelmage wrote:On generic notes however, I have the feeling that we have way too may games, and that plays a role. Take the "measure how long it takes to write a turn" idea. Apply it to Qara, for instance. Suppose she has a quest in FC, there's no turn order, but she should post on the First RP, Rise, Chain Wars, Game of Life and Death, Irun and prepare the next development on Ship of Spies.

That's a fuckton of text to write. Given how many of us there are, and how many games most of us are in, we need to prioritize and whatever doesn't need to get done now gets shoved aside. Which is another reason why the lack of a post order is bad. Everyone can postpone their turn indefinitely, because it's not strictly their turn.

Establishing post order and deadlines on everything would be bad, given how the playerbase is composed. It'd force people like Sicon, Mimsy and Qara to drop something. It might hurt the game and cause it to die. At the same time, as things stand, whatever is less urgent will keep getting postponed.

Now, before anything, sorry about using names and making assumptions. :oops: But what I theorize is not that you are all biting more than you can chew, but rather, that there is a point at which the volume of writing would simply be too much to handle, especially if all of a sudden all of it is due the same day. I know I had to step back and pass on a few games so far, so, what I assume is that everyone has a limit of that kind in there somewhere. And then, forcing deadlines out of nowhere might cause you to hit these limits, which would be a bad thing.

I'm curious, how do you guys handle being in all of the games ever?
"Yami ni madoishi awarena kage yo
Hito o kizutsuke otoshimete,
Tsumi ni oboreshi gō no tama,
Ippen... shinde miru?"
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Re: Pixel's musings on Roleplaying

Postby Sicon112 on Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:11 pm

Well, Mimsy has been doing it for well over a year, so he has plenty of experience, but both of us are the same way, really. We type very fast, and once we get going, we really have more of a problem stopping than we do continuing onward. Furthermore, I personally ALWAYS have some scenes stored away in my head in advance, so whenever I sit down to write, I already have a general idea of what has happened. In the background, while I'm doing other things, it's easy for me to consider various possibilities coming up in the RPs that I'm getting close to posting on and account for them, deciding a whole bunch of different vaguely planned outlines of various things depending on what happens. Then, I just modify them accordingly if required and add on as I start writing. Sometimes, scenes just come to me while I'm lying in bed trying to go to sleep or sitting at work.

So really, I'm just churning out a bunch of outline ideas and then reacting, and using my writing speed to keep making a whole bunch of posts. Sorta like what I do for Xanatos Speed Chess. :D
Normal people are the easiest to manipulate. Too smart and they have an annoying tendency to catch wind of your plans, too dumb and, in the words of a certain pirate, "You can never tell when they are about to do something incredibly...stupid."
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Re: Pixel's musings on Roleplaying

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:51 pm

Pixelmage wrote:I'm curious, how do you guys handle being in all of the games ever?


<_< Well... when I was in high school, I was in all the clubs ever (okay, not LITERALLY, but...). I'm used to having too much on my plate, and if I don't, I get the same uncomfortable feeling like if I forgot to wear my glasses. Also... for the past while, all the writing I'd been doing had been soulless stuff for school. When the ARG happened, and I started writing refics, it was the BEST THING. I was writing stuff for fun, and even the really terrible failed refics I was so much prouder of than essays that I did well with, because they were fun. The RP posts feel like a continuation of that-- no matter how much stuff I've got on my plate, I kind of always want to have a post to write, because they're my way of relaxing.
...Plus I keep a to-do list with all the RPs I'm in, and I make sure to gauge if I can actually handle it before signing up for more.

---

On another note, more relevant to this whole thread, which I'm really glad exists...

Reading, I was debating with myself whether to sit on this for a while-- I'd have preferred to wait until the intros were over and see if it works for Ship, but I might as well toss my thoughts into this ring now, I suppose. My plan for a while was, once all the introductions in Ship of Spies are over, to introduce a sort-of-not-post-order, wherein there's an order of people who *have* to post within the next period of time or be poked by me about whether they need more time (yeah I'm real strict XD), but anyone else can post out-of-order as much as they want, so long as they mark at the top that it's not part of the order so people won't get confused about who *has* to post.

I figure it's my best way of avoiding the cake problem (which is a more generous description of my frequent problem of "I don't know when I'm supposed to post what if it's stepping on someone's toes for me to post now maybe I'll just wait), while not limiting character interaction, which would probably be suicide for this game.

.-.
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Re: Pixel's musings on Roleplaying

Postby Pixelmage on Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:24 am

Qara-Xuan Zenith wrote:.-.

Building from Sicon's input, I think that model you came up with is pretty damn good and at the very least worth a try.

Just to illustrate the idea, if only so I can see if I understand it:
- Mimsy has the next "plot" slot. And has five days to post.
- Everyone else can post at anytime with a [Interaction] tag on top of the post.
- Mimsy posted, next one up is Jack. Five days for him to move the plot-slot.
- Everyone else remains able to use the [Interaction] tag any time they choose.

Effect: Every five days you get a plot-post, [Interaction] posts can crop up as the players feel necessary.

I just used five to exemplify, but I like that flowchart. I really like that flowchart.

I can see two things you might want to do there, either enable a way to shuffle the order of the plot-slots on occasion. Or simply go around timing big updates in a way that different players get to take the plot-moving reaction each time.
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Re: Pixel's musings on Roleplaying

Postby Victin on Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:35 pm

Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh... Everything I just typed was eaten by the forums, lemme see if I can rewrite.

Sorry if this isn't the right place to put this, if not I'll just ask a mod to delete it or something.

In RPs like RAH and FC I feel like I should write collaboratively for it, even if it's just a talk between characters or a fight. Most of times I don't know what to do because there's nothing happening and I don't know how to take the lead, or I don't want to jump in someone else's scene. The problem is that sometimes (or most of it) I can't get some people to work with me, either because they are unavailable or some other reason, and that disencourages me from asking for other people (and I paradoxically don't feel like I should ask everyone about it either). In the end, it disencourages me from writing anything because if it's supposed to be collaborative (even if just inside my mind) and there's no one to collaborate with I can't write :?

In the first Rp, on the other hand, I just feel like my char is left out. I think I shouldn't feel like this, but I do. I was supposed to write a boss fight angainst someone who could lift mountains, flashstep, control the elements... While all I could do is... Cry. At him. I had no idea what to do, so my creativity and other stuff related burnt out even though I wanted to do something :? Now it made me feel moody to a point I don't even know if I should/could/want to keep going with the first RP.

Again, sorry if this doesn't belong here :oops:
Dolphins are some of the smartest animals, yes, but by human standards… Let's say you should praise the god that forces them to stay handless and underwater.
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