No announcement yet.

Definitions of Online Terms

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Definitions of Online Terms

    In her newest column, Jessica offers definitions of some common online terms. This forum is a place to comment on those definitions & also add more of your own.


  • #2
    Um... Her latest column isn't up yet...

    So I'm commenting on that.
    Lovecraft Country: Albert Zero
    Castle Marrach: Cody the Blade

    StoryCoder Azrael tells StoryHermit Death, "I *did* get told "you're amazing" by a girl when I was saucing my hotdog..."


    • #3

      Immortals (IMs) - Virtually the same term as Game Masters. It cropped up due to the fact that in many MUD code bases the Game Masters actually perform the task of gods in addition to their other duties.

      Mobiles (mobs) - NPC characters usually those players attack and kill for loot.

      Player Character (PC)- Any character who is controlled by a player of your game, not staff.

      Non Player Character (NPC)- Any character within the game that is either controlled by the staff, or the computer AI

      Multi User Dimension/Dungeon (MUD) - A game, usually skill based, and achievment based, in which players can interact together, and fight various NPC mobs. The first code base for a MUD was MUD I

      In Character (IC) - Usually referenced to mean someone is saying/acting as their character should within a RolePlaying Game World.

      Out of Character (OOC) - Comments or actions that are generally not only wrong for your character to say, but also for the entire theme in which the game is set. Such as saying 'Woooohoooo the Bears won the Super Bowl.' within a roleplaying intensive game such as The Eternal City or Castle Marrach. Only a truly valid term in RPG games.

      Vapor Ware - Software products that a developer promises will come out, but never do, often for a variety of reasons. The classification of Vapor Ware is usually reserved specifically for those games that the developer hypes intensively but never come out, but it is not simply restricted to this catagory.

      Twink - A player whose sole purpose is to annoy not only staff but players, and generally cares little to nothing about your game besides what fun he can derive from his annoying schemes. (Definitions on what a Twink is vary greatly)

      Role Playing Game (RPG) - A game in which players are expected to play a specific character under certain restrictions, such as time period, and setting. These players are generally expected to remain IC (In Character) throughout their time in the Game World.

      Troll - The original name for those who speak what is now known as l33t.

      l33t - A net language in which one attempts to use not only the normal alphabet but other various symbols, characters and numbers to make the shortest possible, yet generally understable sentance possible. (Note: The vast majority of Twinks speak l33t to varying degrees).


      • #4

        Troll - any post written with the malicious intent of invoking an emotional response from someone.

        The author of the post is "trolling" for bites.

        Trolls are best left ignored.


        • #5
          Hehe... "Twink" used to mean something totally different in EQ. In fact, "twink" was a verb, to twink was to have a high level character give equipment to a lower level character that is generally considered beyond the means of that character. The low-level person in high-level gear was often called a "Twinky", which led to many Hostess-related jokes. The definition of Twink formerly given can also apply to a term called "Munchkin" which isn't in much use anymore. These people are also sometimes called "Trolls" for the same reason as what Santlar gave.

          Flame - (also used in IM programs, bulletin boards, email...) A person who gives a malicious attack through text to another person online. You can flame another player OOC while in the course of a game, this is almost always considered really rude.

          PvP/PK - An environment where players are allowed to compete and in some way harm each other in order to advance, short for Player versus Player or Player Killing. PK is a bit more specific, where a character can actually take the life of another. The level of harm and/or competition allowed can vary widely.

          Newbie - Pretty much self-explanatory, but it essentially refers to any person who is new to the game. What defines a newbie varies from game to game, and is usually based on the perception of other players.

          Powergamer - Similar in ways to a twink/troll/munchkin but not intentionally malicious in most cases. A person whose only purpose is to advance, whether that means by getting money/equipment, or skills, or attaining a certain position, or points... But the thing they all have in common is that they will use the easiest means available to achieve their goals, which frequently entails cheating. They are also often anti-social unless it directly aids their goals.

          Nerf - To lower the impact that a particular commodity in a game has, through game mechanics. Often this means having something be harder to obtain, to improve, or reducing the level of power it grants. You can nerf a skill, an attribute, an item, anything that a person has or does that grants them a benefit that is considered unfair by those doing the nerfing. Personally I believe the term "nerf" is in reference to the fact that whatever is changed is less effective, or less dangerous, or "wimpy" after the nerf. Just as a Nerf ball is made of basically harmless foam.
          Lovecraft Country: Albert Zero
          Castle Marrach: Cody the Blade

          StoryCoder Azrael tells StoryHermit Death, "I *did* get told "you're amazing" by a girl when I was saucing my hotdog..."


          • #6
            Flavors of Persistence

            Eternally Persistent: There is never a universe-wide reset of the Game-state. Does not preclude various "decay" rules.

            Whimsically Persistent: There are universe-wide resets of Game-state -- wiping out all accumulated Game-Stuff -- at the whim of the Game-proprietors.

            Periodically Persistent: There are scheduled universe-wide resets of Game-state. MegaWars-III (tm Compuserve) and Stellar Emperor (tm Kesmai) were of this kind.


            • #7
              Never heard those terms used before, Monty... I have heard "Groundhog Day" used for what you call "periodically persistent."

              Here's a large hunk of glossary, with a lot undefined, taken from the book I haven't finished writing. Apologies for the rough formatting.

              · Admin
              o An individual avatar or player of a virtual space who has been granted special powers within the space in order to administrate some aspect of it.
              o See also Immortal, God, Wizard.
              · Anonymity
              o A state in which your identity and past history is completely unknown. In a virtual space, avatars are only anonymous under one of the following circumstances: a) they are able to change identities easily, b) the avatar is new to the space, or c) the space is so large that in any given group of people, a given avatar is not likely to be known.
              o See also Pseudonymity, Profile, Name.
              · Area
              o A term for a collection of rooms that share a common theme, generally by the same author. Areas usually also imply a collection of other statistics and data beyond the mere description of the map.
              o See also Zone, Yell Zone, Room.
              · Area file
              o The file in which an area is stored: a template-based text file that may or may not be compiled into binary data before use in a mud server.
              · ASCII
              o In mud terms, shorthand for text-only display. When one refers to ASCII graphics, one means crude graphics formed out of typographical characters.
              · Attributes
              o The collection of tangible and intangible qualities that make up an avatar.
              o See also Tangible attributes, Intangible attributes, Avatar.
              · Avatar
              o The virtual incarnation of a participant in a virtual space; the character, figure, or persona they inhabit the virtual space with and present to the other participants.
              · Bandwidth
              o Connections over the Internet imply data transmission. But wires can only handle a certain volume of data in a given time. The term for this is bandwidth. In general, the bandwidth required by a server is the average bandwidth usage per player, multiplied by the number of players at peak usage times.
              · BSX mud
              o A type of mud written by Bram Stolks which supports simple graphics on the X-Windows platform using a markup language.
              o See also Markup language.
              · Cartoon
              o A simplified and abstracted visual representation of something which selects specific elements to magnify and therefore emphasize.
              · Character advancement
              o The common goal-oriented practice of increasing tangible attributes and available commands for an avatar.
              o See also Tangible attributes, Goal-oriented or GoP, Avatar
              · Chat
              o An embedded real-time communication system via the Internet. Muds frequently embed chat systems within their framework, and for some muds, chat is the whole point of existing.
              · Chat box
              o An interface method for presenting textual output in a graphical environment, a chat box is a typically modal interface that aggregates all the text output from the server into a scrolling text box. In many graphical muds, a chat box serves to essentially display all the output of the mud except for special effects and a graphical depiction of the spatial relationship between avatars and the world.
              o See also Text bubble
              · Chat room
              o A chat room is a non-spatial environment wherein multiple participants may type and have their text reflected out to all other participants. The sine qua non of chat rooms is Internet Relay Chat, usually termed IRC.
              o See also IRC.
              · Churn
              o Churn or churn rate is a term from service industries. It refers to the amount of users of the service who are choosing not to continue subscribing to the service, versus the amount of newly acquired users and the amount of returning users. There are several different ways of measuring churn, but in general, a positive churn rate indicates that your user base is growing, and a negative one means that your base is shrinking. Clearly, nobody wants to keep a negative churn rate for long, as it is unsustainable and may result in shutting the service down.
              · Client
              o For the purposes of this book, a client is a piece of software that connects to a server. It serves as front-end for the server’s output, essentially a display mechanism. Generally, clients have very little smarts to them. Clients do not have to be graphical—a common type of text-based client are Telnet clients, which are implementations of a text-based client that uses the Telnet protocol defined in an Internet RFC.
              o See also Telnet, Client-server, Server
              · Client-server
              o A relationship in which piece of software is run remotely on a server, but users do not interact with the server directly. Instead, they connect via a client, a mediating piece of software that opens a remote connection to the server and displays the server’s output.
              o See also Client, Server
              · Closure
              o Marshall McLuhan’s term for the act of filling in gaps and details in an iconic or abstracted representation of something. When we see two dots and a curved line as a face, we are committing an act of closure.
              o See also Cool media
              · Codebase
              o The common term for the standardized code distributions of various types of mud. When one refers to the Merc codebase, one means servers based on the publicly released version of the source code.
              · Contextual exit
              · Continuous map
              · Cool media
              · Corpse
              · Cross-gender play
              · Culling
              · Design pattern
              · Distributed server
              · Driver
              · Dynamic load balancing
              · Emote
              · Exit
              · Fastwalk
              · Female-presenting
              · Furry
              · Game master
              · Global namespace
              · Goal-oriented
              · God
              · GoP
              · Gossip
              · Grief player
              · Groundhog day
              · Handle
              · Hex grid
              · Hypertext
              · Iconic vs representational
              · Identity
              · Immortal
              · Intangible attributes
              · Interactivity
              · IRC
              · Latency
              · Level
              · Locker
              · LPMud
              · Male-presenting
              · Markup language
              · MMORPG
              · Mob, mobile
              · Monty Haul
              · MOO
              · MUD
              · MUSH
              · Name
              · Nanny
              · Netsex
              · Network layer
              · Newbie
              · Nick
              · Node
              · Object ID
              · Object primitives
              · Packet
              · Packet handler
              · Paperdoll
              · Persistence
              · Persistence database
              · Persistent world
              · PK
              · Player
              · Player housing
              · Profile
              · Pseudonymity
              · PvP
              · Repop
              · Reset
              · Rnum
              · Role-playing
              · Roleplaying game or RPG
              · Room
              · Room-based map
              · Say
              · Server
              · Server mirroring
              · Server process
              · Session-based game
              · Stock mud
              · Tangible attributes
              · TCP/IP
              · Telepresence
              · Telnet
              · Template
              · Template database
              · Text bubble
              · Tile-based
              · Tinysex
              · UDP
              · Virtual reality
              · Virtual sociopath
              · Vividness
              · Vnum
              · VRML
              · Whisper
              · Wizard
              · World state
              · Writing space
              · XP
              · Yell
              · Yell zone
              · Zone


              • #8
                Not sure I agree with "Massively Multiplayer"

                In the original article, "massively multiplayer" is defined as having (the capability to support) 128 or more participants at once. I'd disagree with this definition because of how it get's used.

                What makes a MUD or Everquest MM while quake is not? The key issue is that most MM games support the ability to have a large number of players playing "at once" and "idependently". Quake is not MM because everyone is doing the same thing, and is [supposed to be] continually interacting. A MUD, even though many support fewer than 128 players, is MM because everybody plays their own game, and chooses to interact or not with other players. NWN when it comes out will probably not be MM, because it only allows a few characters, and those characters are expected to play as a pseudo-team in a collected storyline.

                Now, perhaps you might disagree with me on the distinction about MM here, but then we need a different term to describe this phenomenon.


                • #9
                  I would have to disagree, unfortunately. As I've seen it used in the industry, MM is dictated mostly by size. By your definition, Castle Marrach for example could be considered MM, but it definitely isn't.

                  If I'm not mistaken, Quake doesn't allow 128 people to actually interact with each other in the same place (correct me if I'm wrong, my Quake experience is very limited). If you could have 128 people actually shooting each other at once, I would be tempted to call it MM. It was my understanding that Quake was like, where you could have tons of people on at the same time but only a small amount could occupy the same area at once (or level, or whatever you want to call it).

                  128 seems kind of an arbitrary number to me as well, I'm curious as to where it came from.
                  Lovecraft Country: Albert Zero
                  Castle Marrach: Cody the Blade

                  StoryCoder Azrael tells StoryHermit Death, "I *did* get told "you're amazing" by a girl when I was saucing my hotdog..."


                  • #10


                    Should be 'Massive Multiplayer Game' rather than 'Massively Multiplayer Game'.

                    Meaning used should be "large in comparison to what is typical for a non-MMG", i.e. 128 player LAN games may become common-place, and MMGs may typically be on the order of 10,000 players. No numbers should be used in the general definition.

                    As an adverb 'Massively' is more appropriate in 'massively parallel processing'.

                    Either it is a multiplayer game or it isn't. We don't need to modify or make superlatives for 'multiplayer'. What we do need to say is that it is a multiplayer game that involves such a large number of players that it becomes impressive because of this. Thus MASSIVE is the term.


                    • #11

                      Persistence is persistence

                      Consistency is consistency

                      Persistence is where changes to a virtual world last, e.g. across sessions by that player or any number of players.

                      A virtual world in which a player's changes are only visible to that player, but which nevertheless persist across sessions, is still persistent (however naff).

                      Consistency is where players' online experiences agree, i.e. if two players in the same virtual location are asked to describe the scene presented to them, then both players' will remain unsurprised by each other's story. Each player may see something qualitatively different, but both will have the same significant experience.


                      • #12
                        Wow, great response so far. Thanks, folks! The first update is going to be a large one, . And Raph, why am I not surprised you have a bunch o' stuff already written down? <g> Godd job on your list, too.

                        Crosbie: Instead of Massive Multiplayer for Massively Multiplayer, how about a hyphen, as in Massively-Multiplayer?

                        In general: When talking MMGs, remember we're talking players per game session. Example: There may be 10,000 Internet Quake sessions with a total of 80000 people in play at peak hours on various servers world-wide, but the limit is around 8-32 players per session or iteration (depending on the version), making it a multiplayer game, but not a massively-multiplayer game.

                        I'll try to post a new version of the glossary early next week, for comment.


                        • #13
                          Crosbie is totally right about the MMG thing.

                          Unfortunately, the industry calls it Massively Multiplayer. Check out the ads, or a box for a game like AC, EQ, UO... It's just the vernacular, correct or not.
                          Lovecraft Country: Albert Zero
                          Castle Marrach: Cody the Blade

                          StoryCoder Azrael tells StoryHermit Death, "I *did* get told "you're amazing" by a girl when I was saucing my hotdog..."


                          • #14
                            More terms

                            Mules, Multis.


                            • #15
                              Mule! That's one I forgot.

                              Mules are characters made for OOC reasons, not actually played, but just used for the convenience of having them around. I had a really useful mule in EQ.

                              Mules usually do things like hold goods for you (which I believe is where the term came from, they are often used as pack animals), or deliver messages (like in CM, I have heard of characters who get glitches and are unplayable, or get stuck somewhere, and someone makes a new character just to enter the game and report the bug), or other things of convenience.

                              Mules also are sometimes given special skills and stats at character creation to help them perform whatever task they are made for, such as greater strength to carry more items, or a tailoring skill to mend clothes or a haggling skill so that they can sell and buy items for the characters that you really play.

                              Also, sometimes mules turn into real characters if the player gets an interest in them. Normally though, the character never does any of the activities of the regular characters the player has, such as training skills, going on adventures, fighting things, and especially not interacting with other characters (unless it is useful to the player somehow).

                              This reminds me of another term not mentioned yet, alt (short for alternate), which might be what David meant when he said "multi". An alt is a character that a plays in a particular game other than their "main" character (often simply called a "main"). The alt is usually less developed than a main, meaning that they spend less time in the gameworld with them, and usually don't develop the skills, reputation, and other facets of the alt as much as they do their main. Sometimes, a player devotes equal attention to all characters, and considers them all alts without one being a main.
                              Lovecraft Country: Albert Zero
                              Castle Marrach: Cody the Blade

                              StoryCoder Azrael tells StoryHermit Death, "I *did* get told "you're amazing" by a girl when I was saucing my hotdog..."