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Question for Players -- Coded Plots

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  • Question for Players -- Coded Plots

    Quick question for players -- would you like to see coded plots?

    And by that I mean, I automate a plot or two, so it's all handled by code, and can be played single player, or in small groups -- and without staff needing to be awake.

    We obviously have been having a problem hitting critical mass so we can run typical plots, even small scale plots. Coded plots could get around this, at least somewhat, allowing the part-time player the ability to at least do something story-wise if there aren't many others awake.

    I could whip up something as a test, if anyone is interested. My first choice would be to finish up the seemingly ever-lasting underwater plot, which we can never get around to finishing.
    Last edited by Lazarus; 02-10-2014, 11:23 PM.

  • #2
    I'm more than willing to see this. I have run a couple 'maintenance training plots' in the VR rooms, and that turned out well. And I've seen some interest (not just my own, but mostly) in automating at least something for the various jobs to do.

    I can also try running some minor player plot, whenever the opportunity presents itself, and @assist about what happens. If that is permissible, can I ask for a few ground rules?

    So, I think it would be good or bad, depending on what you automated. Too much stifles and limits RP, too little may not help.
    Chief of Maintenance and Officer of the Ministry of Security

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    • #3
      Automated tasks for some of the jobs is something I've definitely considered. But I have held off, seeing as we have so few people about, and even when we do have people, they haven't always been interested in RPed tasks/plots related to specific jobs -- which would definitely be more interesting than automated coded tasks. It's something to consider for down the road though, if we get more people.

      Just keep in mind that the Hatchery control panel would be an example of an automated task, so it may not exactly be the most exciting thing in the World.

      And player-run plots are not only of course permissible, but welcomed. Players can run any plot they want, can page or assist for help, ask for props (if they make sense icly), or can ask for staff involvement. We do have limitations currently as for the latter, seeing as we aren't exactly chock full of staff right now, nor VPs, but I can sometimes get an old VP/Staffer to pop in to play a temporary role, just to push a plot along. The only rules are that if you need props or help with a player-run plot, it needs to make sense icly. So if you are asking for a item to turn your character into a super-strong, all-powerful superhero ... or ask for a personal spaceship so you can save time going to the wilderness... don't expect a positive reply (not that I'd expect you to ask for either).

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      • #4
        As for what I had in mind, it is something a bit more radical than simply coding up a mission that has some RP elements thrown in. Although that too could be useful to a certain degree and is something I may eventually add too.

        Basically what I am talking about is coding up bits of a plot that normally I'd handle using staff powers, as well as simplifying some things so players could take part without having knowledge of the past events.

        As for RP, or stifling it, that's up to players. Right now, to be honest, we can't even get the simplest of plots off the ground. There would be less RP from an automated plot under normal circumstances, as I (or staff) wouldn't be around at the time to add extra characters or help control things. And some aspects of a coded plot could be done by one character, so that may stifle some RP, at least in regard to the plot. But at this point, what do we have to lose?

        An example ... our never-ending waterworld plot.

        I'd post oocly the basic outline of the plot, what has occurred previously, important details/characters, and present information on how to proceed -- goals, areas to venture, and that sort of thing would also be mentioned. I realize that this is definitely not how our normal plots work, and would provide information that characters may not know about icly, but again, if players at least take part, it's better than doing nothing at all.

        Players would still need to RP with one another, make use of items that perhaps a specific character owns, and sometimes do things in small groups. But it wouldn't require a lot of people, and could be done at any time at all.

        The alternative is to wait it out, hope for more players to return, and that those players would be willing to take part. And we've been waiting a while now...

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        • #5
          I think i would welcome anything that could be implemented, that would provide the ability for a player to pick up the ball, juggle it, throw it down, and for the next player to pick it up , juggle it, and throw it down too.

          Ideally , the first person would be able to communicate their experience with the ball, so that the next one to pick it up, would know what had happened, could use that information to decide how they might juggle it, and then of course follow suit by providing the information of their experience as well.

          People seem to log in, do stuff on their own mostly, and log out again. With that being the situation, it is impossible to organise times and dates for a group to all be ingame at the same time. So for stories to take hold and have momentum, alternative aveunues of communication , rather than one character telling another, must be sought.

          I would suggest that also there needs to be at least the appearance of sides of some conflict. If i could log in, do something or other that might help one side and then someone else could do something of equal value, then that might give the impression at least, that combined effort would effect the world we are playing in. Character actions effecting the story, as it were.

          I am of the opinion that if the solo player can log in, and learn about a story, contribute to it, and then walk off, without this having a negative effect on the story, infact having a positive effect.. this might go along way towards player retention.

          Better to have even a few solo players actively doing stuff in plots, than none.

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          • #6
            That could be the biggest obstacle in regard to this, communication. A decent proportion of our small playerbase doesn't even read the skotos forums, so they may not even find out if a coded plot has been posted.

            The logical way for players to communicate as far as progress with the plot would be in the forums here, and icly.

            PlayerX ... Hey, I found such and such, and did this with it. If anyone wants to help out, go here and blah blah blah.

            If PlayerX instead does something, keeps it a secret, and it's sort of important, then either the plot becomes stalled, or I eventually just override it with another way to further the plot. If I can, that is...

            As for conflict, I'm all for it. Although it can be difficult to set up via code and without characters actually interacting with one another. Plots could certainly involve competing factions, however, and players could take a role on one side, or another. Back when we had more people about, we did have plots relating to conflicting groups and rebellion, but that tends to work best when characters are about to RP, rather than some background conflict that nobody knows about or can interact with directly.

            Anyway, the biggest issues I see with this are communication, as has been mentioned, and the fact that plots themselves will need to be somewhat limited, simply due to how they are set up. If a plot requires X, Y and Z to occur, the earliest players to take part will do the X, Y and Z stuff... meaning later players will just catch the tail-end of things. It's sort of like a single player RPG mission/story element ... certain things can only occur once, or it's weird. Find the lost <whatever> only tends to work once, as after found... well, it's found.

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            • #7
              Plot updates would be good , via forums and via npc/npc's put in place perhaps to actually give out stages of the plot.

              Of course if using npc/npcs, you could always have the provider of the next stage, give the player/character, the ' background so far ' story.

              I would suggest that players who dont read the forums, are used to using the command ' ask proffesor xxxx '. So if they come across a new npc, this might infact be intuitive.

              As for information icly being provided. There are already a number of locations ( though more could be added, even temporary ones ) where you might put..broadcast equipment/ flickering panel with info on it/ etc..etc..

              You could even work it so that as the character progresses with the plot, more information is passed to them, ie ..location of hidden info..etc, etc.

              If worked in a similar way to the progression of jobs from npc's currently, then no information will get lost due to players not being about.

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              • #8
                Those ideas are all good and basically how I would handle it if making RPed missions (or let's call them mini plots), sort of like how Phibes is set up -- but for story related assignments. I'll probably try that route if people at least take part and seem interested.

                But for something like the existing waterworld plot, or certain other types of plots, they don't all necessarily require cnpcs and in some cases it wouldn't make sense to broadcast all past activity.

                As a test, I was thinking it'd be more in the line of:

                Put props all in place. Put code in place. Mention outline of plot here. Then let the players just do, or not do, whatever it is they wish. It'll still be sort of how normal plots work, just without staff needing to be about or requiring a dozen chars to show up.

                But some chars would still need to interact with one another, since 1-2 may have an important item. It'd sort of be a simplified version of a regular plot, and not necessarily require a large group of players. I guess the best way to demonstrate is simply give it a try... and see how it goes.

                One hesitation is the oddness of mentioning ic elements of a plot here, oocly. And the fact that players can always play faster than I can code. So what may be a 1-2 week plot normally, may be a 1-2 evening run-through, for some players.

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                • #9
                  I have noticed in various games, a percentage of players will take time to read about what has happened in the game world. By this i mean , there is usally some interest in reading about past plots, when they have been concluded.

                  It helps ' flesh out the game ' somewhat. Nothing is more irritating than knowing somethings have happened but no one can remember icly or oocly, what it was or when it was, or was there any further understanding of the game world or political/historical learnt.

                  There could be a GM written only past occurances thread, simply giving a plot write up of each important (ie.. important by denoting things mentioned above.)

                  Also, perhaps to make players aware , something akin to an events thread. So the players would know that something was happening, and to have their characters participate if they choose.

                  To bring that ingame , there could be a bulletin board, radio broadcast, even npc's gossip emit's...

                  Obviously not every plot has to have groundbreaking story arch potential, but for those that have some percentage of minor quakes, perhaps depending on what a character got involved in, could determine which plots might be available to them next time...branch too far of in one direction, and the other direction becomes harder to get involved with. Thats probably a completely different topic, so i will just leave that as a afterthought.

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                  • #10
                    From a player perspective (in various other types of games), past plots, past story arcs, are what I find the most interesting. So I would be one of those types of players who would like to search through past details and find out all sorts of hidden knowledge. I'm not sure what percentage of players are like that though.

                    The problem here though is, many plot lines, and a great deal of past history, are purposely secret. And I don't mean as staff I want to keep everything secret. I mean by the nature of the game, characters shouldn't go around blurting out certain facts, or information regarding the past history of the colony, or they'd find themselves strapped into a chair in Mendus with a doctor standing over them ... which sharp instruments in his hand.

                    Buy we have run into the problem where the characters who do know certain past story-lines are never about anymore. We did have several chars who kept secrets closely guarded, but would spill the beans to the right characters. But that was sort of part of the game .... I recall Fionn being such a character, and her player brought up the TV show The Prisoner more than once. And it was an apt comparison -- you shouldn't know who is friend or foe here. And you wouldn't go around bringing up certain facts, unless you knew with 100% certainty whomever you were speaking to wouldn't turn around and have you arrested. But that only works when we have more players about.

                    And that's one of the key issues with divulging too much information oocly in a coded plot, and also with players keeping each other updated in the forums. To a certain degree it can be done, but if we have Player X announce: 'Hey, I just killed an administrator, so the plot should be able to continue now' ... or 'I just found out a bunch of secret info about the colony' it sort of goes against the flow of how the game should work. And by the same token, I can't write up a past occurrences thread on several subjects, without divulging a lot of stuff that most characters wouldn't know about, and if they did, putting those chars at risk if they happened to blab about it.

                    So it'll be tricky, but I'll see what I can come up with. The underwater plot that I want to finish up is extra tricky, as not only does it involve hidden colony background, but at a certain point in the plot, characters should definitely not talk about it anymore publicly -- especially icly in the forums, anyway.

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                    • #11
                      Just wanted people to know that i am still working on this. I have been busy in RL, so haven't been about as much, but I'll get this done hopefully soon-ish.

                      I'm not sure if anyone here is even still interested... but it'll get done. It'll sort of be like a mini-text adventure/plot -- probably the emphasis will be on the 'mini' part, as it's basically a trial type of thing at this point. Just hoping some players will give it a try.

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