2007 Innovations in Text-Based Gaming conference

October 13, 2007 at M*U*S*H and MPUG

Table of contents:

-- Logging started at Sat Oct 13 12:56:54 -0700 2007 -- 
Stoko says, "Fili, type look" No matching command. Bancor coughs and chokes. "But I didnt light it yet!" Trinsec says, "No matching command, heh." Trinsec says, "Well, better to prevent!" Stoko says, "fili, look" Plaza Room / /^\/^\/^\ \ |"""""""""""""""""""""""""|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|"""""""""""""""""""""""""| | LECTURER |~~)~~~~~~~~~(~~| TOPIC | | |~~) (~~| | | None |~~) ___ (~~| None | | | |~~) Y (~~| | | | |_________________________|\___ | ___/|_________________________| | |/ (_ (_ (_ (* (_ \|==\_____/==|/ *) _) _) _) _) \| \ (_ (_ (_ (_ (* \|___|/ *) _) _) _) _) / (_ (_ (* (* (_ *) *) *) _) _) (* (_ (_ (* A _) _) _) *) (_ (_ (_ / \ _) _) _) (_ (_ / \ _) _) (_ / \ _) / \ do: -help lecture Present: Blue_Guest, Adam, Tanaku, Mike, Valois, Z z z, Apparatchick, Arty, Lain, Wedge, Trinsec, Vadiv, Nemetona, Zubeneschamali, Matrix, Givur, Stoko, Elvira, Caireen, Bancor, Watchmaker, Temperance, .nails, Brody, Ahikam, Emerson, Qa'toq Zubeneschamali perches on Blue_Guest :D lvr lowers an extractor fan over Bancor's head Trinsec waves at the camera! z z z snarls at the person sitting next to him. Trinsec says, "What person?" z z z says, "That one!" lvr kindly takes a saw to the back legs of z z z's chair so that it reclines Givur whees as he sees him in the TV! Trinsec points out she'd like a reclining chair as well! z z z says, "Thank you! Here, have a ham sandwich." Adam stretches back in his seat and puts his feet up on the one before him. Vadiv says, "Okay, everyone, I'm sure you're wondering why I've called you here today." Vadiv says, "The fact is, I haven't." Trinsec snickers. Announcement: Elvira shouts, "Last call for ITBG! About to begin in the Plaza Room at the Park Hotel. Settle down ladies and gentlemen and no flash photography please. Show's about to begin!" Vadiv solves that problem. Stoko carefully walks up the narrow stairs to the stage. Stoko has left. <Lecturer> Stoko has arrived. Nymeria enters from the ballroom foyer. Nymeria has arrived. Blue_Guest carefully extracts Zubeneschamali.

Keynote speaker: Temperance

<Lecturer> Stoko says, "Good afternoon, everyone, and thanks for coming." <Lecturer> Stoko says, "This year's keynote speaker is Temperance from Shangrila." <Lecturer> Stoko says, "Temperance has been present in MU* scene since the early 1990s, and has worked on the development of a number of very ambitious games. From 1996 to 2000, she has staffed on Legends of Future Past, which was widely regarded in the early-mid 1990s as one of the best and most active text RPGs/adventure games in the genre. Since January 2003, she has staffed at Shangrila, which is currently the MUSH with the biggest number of active players." <Lecturer> Stoko says, "Having been around for a long time, and having seen successes and failures of many MUSHes, she has a lot to say about whether the MUSH community is growing bigger or smaller, and about the factors which affect the successfulness of a MUSH." <Lecturer> Stoko says, "Please, give a welcome to Temperance." <Lecturer> Stoko goes down the few steps to the seating area. Stoko comes down the few steps from the stage. Stoko has arrived. Porthos claps paws together...um, somehow. Trinsec claps. Adam cheers for Temperance. lvr claps politely Mike applauds. Stoko applauds. Blue_Guest claps... Bancor claps softly Wedge claps. Apparatchick applauds. z z z stares. Orange_Guest has arrived. Zubeneschamali claps~ Givur applaudes too. PeekABoo has arrived. Blue_Guest takes a seat in the Right Fourth Row. Nemetona smiles warmly and applauds with zeal. Temperance rocks. PeekABoo takes a seat in the Left Fourth Row. Zubeneschamali takes a seat in the Right Fourth Row. SAVE: Chocolate-covered fried chicken Tokeli has arrived. Temperance carefully walks up the narrow stairs to the stage. Temperance has left. <Lecturer> Temperance has arrived. Stoko applauds. Trinsec cheers. lvr claps again :) .nails hoots; hollers. Tokeli whistles! Givur applaudes Bancor smiles and applauds Matrix cheers! Arty yays! z z z 'accidentally' kicks the back of the seat of the person in front of him. Quartz has arrived. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Like Stoko said, I've been in and around the mush and online text scene since the early 1990s. I've played and staffed on both pay text games and free ones... and this isn't the first time that I've heard that text gaming is in its death throes." Impster has arrived. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Show of hands - how many people have heard some variation of "Mu*ing is dying out."" Tokeli raises both hands. Mike raises a hand. Trinsec raises hand. Adam hesitantly raises one. Wedge raises. Stoko raises his hand. Impster raises a hand .nails raises everything. PeekABoo blinks. Givur raises hand <Lecturer> Temperance says, "How many believe it?" Apparatchick sees that, and raises a hand. Adam covers his eyes with his free hand. Apparatchick drops her hand. Trinsec shakes her head and lowers hand. z z z stands up and cries, "The end is near!" Tethys raises hand Stoko lowers his hand. .nails drops everything. Adam follows Apparatchick's lead. Wedge isn't on that many games. z z z dusts off his pants and sits back down. Vadiv can't decide!!! Bratto has arrived. <Lecturer> Temperance laughs and shakes her head. And tosses a blanket to nails. Porthos raises a paw, controversially. Bancor shakes his head. "I dont belive its dieing Brody has heard it. Ignored it anyway. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "I may be preaching to the choir here... but I'll go on anyway. Back in 1992, when I first started playing on a radical new game called Legends of Future Past..." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "it was unusual to see a game with more than 10 or so players connected. We were unique because we nearly always fielded 100 players, day or night..." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "which was our limit, since we were limited by the number of ports we could have open at once." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Legends is the only piece of software I know, btw, that was killed by the Y2K bug... but we'd started to die long before that. And the things that killed Legends, a game that brought in over $10k a month for its creators at its height..." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "are the same things that kill almost every game. In the years since then, I've played on a lot of games, and watched a lot of them die the same way. I've been part of the creation team for a number of games that never got off the ground - for the exact same reasons. And for the past nearly five years, I've staffed on a game that has the largest player base outside of MMORPGs and MOOs...mostly because we avoid those reasons." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Audience participation question - why do you think Shangrila is as big as it is? Just shout 'em out, guys, and don't be afraid of insulting me. I've probably heard it." z z z says, "Sex and violence. 'nuff said." Apparatchick says, "A sane wizstaff." Trinsec scratches head, "Don't know it but wasn't it sex?" lain says, "The promise of getting laiiiiiid but I know that isn't the whole reason." Wedge says, "You can do anything. No having to account for what you want, you can just setup a character however you want, without having to get approval or have to adjust your portrayal." Nemetona says, "And a theme that provides a framework for roleplay but isn't stifling." Arty says, "Only one tiny char concept limitation. You can be anything, do just about anything ICly." lain says, "Yeah what Wedge said too." Nymeria says, "What are your alt rules? How many can people have, and how many can connect at once?" Arty says, "10 and 10" Bancor listens and agrees with most of the responces lain says, "Oh, it's 10? I thought it was 8." lain goes to make more alts. Trinsec laughs. Nymeria would be curious to have connection stats that indicate number of players rather than number of characters. Tokeli thinks question time is over now? <Lecturer> Temperance says, "That's it? Okay. Everyone is partly right.. but there are a few points.. first, Nymeria, the people who think that Shang stats are hugely exaggerated because more than one character played by the same player can connect at once are way off..." ihavenomouth has arrived. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "nails - can you pull unique connected ips on Shang right now?" Nymeria nods, "I don't know personally, but I think generally it makes more sense to measure number of players, since some games do have restrictive alt policies." :) .nails says, "Urm. Not instantly :)" Bratto has partially disconnected. .nails checks <Lecturer> Temperance nods. "Wasn't actually sure about that :). I can tell you as a general rule that you can shrink connected stats by about 10% to account for multiply connected alts.. Wedge says, "Sloth said a day or two ago it was around 2500, I think." Trinsec says, "On one given moment, connected?" <Lecturer> Temperance says, "No - Sloth was talking overall playerbase - and I think he's underestimating, personally. He's not taking into account that a lot of our unique IPs have multiple players.. but I'm getting off track." Wedge ahhhs. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Sex is a big draw, and there's no denying that - but it's far from the only factor. nails can tell you how many games he's hosted that are "adult", to use the euphemistic term.." .nails says, "Okay. Using *very* crude method, There's about 500 people on and about 300 uniq IPs" <Lecturer> Temperance says, "few of them have any players at all connected most of the time." ihavenomouth takes a seat in the Left Front Row. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Thanks, nails. So more like 20% - but we still have 300 unique players connected at 3-6 pm on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. And that's typical..." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "The person who said "sane wizstaff"? First, thank you :)." Bancor was on for a little bit there Wedge seconds that! .nails says, "Most 'adult themed' games I have hosted have about the same success rate as any other theme." .nails hushes up. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Second - it's a major factor. The first and most important factor in building a game that is successful is a dedicated and mostly sane staff." GAME: Sketch (admin) is joining your location. Sketch has arrived. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Not a large staff, mind you. But a dedicated staff who are willing to make a commitment and stick it out. They must work well together, respect each other even if they don't necessarily like each other, and have a good base of communication among themselves. Lust did a very good job of setting up a framework for staff that works well together, can cross over in responsibilities, but respects each others' territories." collette has arrived. Parrot has arrived. The parrot mimics, "*whistle* " He preens his tailfeathers for a few minutes. "" He whistles long and softly. "" He preens his tailfeathers for a few minutes. "" A pause... " *whistle*" The bird listens some more. "" He turns his head back to preen a little. " *whistle*" He preens his tailfeathers for a few minutes. " Awk!" He turns his head back to preen a little. "" and then... "" The bird listens some more. " *whistle*" He whistles long and softly. "" He turns his head back to preen a little. "~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~" He whistles long and softly. "" The bird listens some more. " Squawk!" The bird clicks its beak. "" He cocks his head, listening. "" He pauses. "" He pauses. "" He preens his tailfeathers for a few minutes. " Awk!" The bird listens some more. "" He turns his head back to preen a little. "" The bird listens some more. " Awk!" He whistles long and softly. " *whistle*" He turns his head back to preen a little. "" Trinsec ... (OOC) collette says "Ack. sorry." Parrot has left. collette takes Parrot. Tokeli says, "Bad parrot. D:" <Lecturer> Temperance laughs. "Cute toy :)." (OOC) collette says "Yes." Trinsec continues listening. Adam chuckles softly, then goes back to listening to Temperance. (OOC) collette says "And he seems to be broke." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "A few years after Legends closed its doors, the game's admin approached me about my interest in working with him and a few others in building a text game that he felt could rival the numbers of the MMORPGs." Bancor listens <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Basic fallacy there, btw. I think a large part of the reason we're hearing about the death of MUSH and text games in general is right there..." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "not that we're losing players to graphical games, but that people insist on comparing text gaming to the numbers that they see on graphical games." Impster nods, "Finding sane people around is near impossible.. if they were sane they wouldn't staff :p <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Depends on your definition of sane :)." Tethys nods silently in agreement with Temperance. Wedge has been on a number of places that, at least to him, had staff meltdowns. ihavenomouth seconds that. Bancor thirds that z z z finds that the most common cause of a MUSH disappearing. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Most games that I've seen die have died for that reason, Wedge. But there are reasons that staff melts down, and those are the things that I want to address." Wedge nodnods. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "The game that my old admin approached me about spent over two years in development before dying without ever opening. They broke every single rule of building a successful game." Apparatchick whistles. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "The very first, most important thing you need is a cohesive vision." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "In order for a game to be successful, the core staff has to know unequivicollay what the game they're building (and you never stop building it) looks like." <Lecturer> Temperance just ignores that spelling. But cringes at it nonetheless. And continues. Soli has arrived. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "That may happen because one person defines the world and everyone else buys into their vision. More often, the original group hammers out a basic theme for the game. And I do mean BASIC." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "The first mistake that new game builders make is not knowing their theme.. .the second is knowing it too well." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "The theme that you create has to have room in it for the players. That was the biggest problem my old game group had. They laid out a time line for the game that extended from the world's creation to hundreds of years in the future of the world... and expected that players would take their given roles and play in them like good little puppets." .nails has got no strings at all. :( collette says, "So, they had a script for the storyline, and gave people parts to fulfill?" <Lecturer> Temperance says, "A couple of people made reference to Shangrila's open theme and open character choice. Shang's theme was purposely designed and refined to allow people to play the stories that they'd enjoy playing..." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "in general terms, collette, yes. They weren't exactly laying out specific roles for people to play - but they had a very firm idea of what the players' role in the game was..." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "and it didn't allow for the players to change the game's eventual outcome at all." Wedge winces. lain says, "Roleplay isn't really roleplay when you're just copying and pasting from a script." Chouli has arrived. Wedge says, "My first MU* had almost entirely.. Scripted TP's run. Wasn't very fun." z z z can recall one super-popular game that died after a chance of headwiz, the new one 'scripting' the gameflow. .nails says, "Just a quick note to the group: There will be logs made available later." Nymeria says, "A roadmap isn't a script. ;)" <Lecturer> Temperance says, "When I first suggested that players be allowed to write their own descriptions and change them at will, they nearly had an apopleptic seizure." ihavenomouth says, "That all depends-- many games feature OCs and FCs, and the FCs often must react to scripted events." .nails listens to Temp :) <Lecturer> Temperance says, "but a roadmap where all roads lead to one destination might as well be a script, Nymeria." Adam has reconnected. Bancor nods <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Wedge, some of the best fun I had was on Legends where I ran multiple scripted tps..." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "mine were popular because I had no problem abandoning my original storyline if the players took it off in another direction. I followed and facilitated.." Wedge nodnods. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "In my opinion, the role of staff is to facilitate." Wedge says, "Well in the one I Was on, the staffers would often just run things the same way whether there were five characters present, or thirty." Wedge says, "The specific character would always save the day, tangents or attempted goarounds would be nullified." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "That includes building a solid base world and presenting information about it so that players can find inspiration for their own characters..." Wedge nodnods. Arty has disconnected. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "making it elastic enough so that it accommodates many different ideas and story arcs..." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "but being firm enough about the theme that one player's ideas don't totally destroy the fun that other people are building." Bancor nodnods <Lecturer> Temperance says, "On Legends, we had a player who had his own hidden agenda. He had decided that his character was the only begotten son of the major deity in the world..." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "the rest of the staff was infuriated that he had the gall to "take on the role of staff" and start adding to the theme." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Their solution was essentially to nuke the player out of orbit. But here's the thing..." collette says, "It could have been great. :)" <Lecturer> Temperance says, "he'd managed to gather a dozen players around him who believed that he was Rorin's son. They had a wonderful time rp'ing on their own. They formed their own informal faction and went out into the game trying to convert people. They created their own rp challenges for people.." <Lecturer> Temperance nods to collette. SAVE: Chocolate Sushi. collette says, "That's so cool." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Emanon's TP collected people. He made room for them in his story. Players loved it." Wedge says, "Thta sounds great." Matrix says, "Indeed." Tokeli says, "Very." Bancor says, "now a flexable staff could of used that" Tethys nods. Impster says, "it's one of those if you build it and let them take part.. they will come :p" Trinsec says, "Why wouldn't a player be able to add to the theme... enrichen it." Nymeria says, "Well, depends on whether you're an original theme or not. :)" <Lecturer> Temperance says, "In the end, I convinced the staff that it didn't matter if we ordained Emanon the son of Rorin. Practically, realistically, in the game canon, Emanon was insane..." z z z says, "I've noticed a lot of players are followers, though, with those 'creators', the 'go getters', being a rare breed." collette says, "Or even, staff-arb that the char is in fact, crazy, but let him continue." ihavenomouth says, "If they didn't want to add that to the theme, I understand it, but no reason why they couldn't let him go on /thinking/ he's the son of Rorin." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Exactly collette." Trinsec says, "Yeah, they could let them go on thinking indeed. It didn't have to be /true/." Bancor chuckles and nods <Lecturer> Temperance says, "We do the same thing on Shang. The only characters that we'll restrict are those whose character concepts change backstory or limit other players." collette says, "I imagine that has to be tough, considering the wide range of power types that are possible there." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "That "one little char restriction" is a myth, btw. There are some other character concepts that are not kosher. For instance, a player can't decide to play the founder of Shangrila. They can't play a character who holds a major position of power in the city unless they earn it.." Impster says, "One of the main problems I see with gaming. And not just mu*. Is I've encountered to many people who think of it like a D&D Module. read the intro text and turn to page 5. If I wanted to spend hours trying to figure outta the command parser I'd still play zork :p. Course with my groups the one or two times we tried to use a module I don't think we ever made it outta the bar."" ihavenomouth says, "Wouldn't claiming that you're the sole son of the game's god change backstory? (Just Devil's Advocate)." lain says, "Claiming to be wouldn't." .nails says, "Less distractions. More Temp!" lain says, "It's just a claim :)" <Lecturer> Temperance says, "no. exactly.." lvr says, "But would the player agree to stick to it only being a claim?" Bancor chuckles at Impster Soli's arm is getting tired. collette says, "Yes. More Temperence. :) Sorry." .nails says, "You all had your chance to sign up for giving a talk." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "The player who can't fit their concepts to the game doesn't play it, that's all :). In our case, Emanon loved it." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Sorry.. Soli? You had a question?" <Lecturer> Temperance admits to being very informal and used to fielding questions that are just thrown out there. Soli says, "yes, I was wondering where you pull the line. I'm sure some players have marvelous ideas, but if one idea would for instance cause the destruction of a massive and nice palace you built and coded for the game, what to do then?" PeekABoo says, "That kind of change usually requires reapproval" Soli says, "letting them go their way might cause other players to go yikes and stopping them... well, you get my drift." PeekABoo says, "err pre-approval" <Lecturer> Temperance says, "That's where staff has to use their judgment and nix the idea. That's what I meant by "flexible enough to allow for change, firm enough to keep the game alive"." Soli says, "not all players ask before they do..." Adam has partially disconnected. Walker has arrived. PeekABoo says, "Good luck destroy code as a player bit then?" <Lecturer> Temperance says, "For the record, gang, since I was just asked to clarify.. I'm likely to not notice hands raised. I'll try to keep on track because I know thre's a timeline here, but if you have questions, just speak up." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Let me recap though..." .nails says, "People post announcements saying they've invented the internet in Shangrila, or they've discovered a new moon. We beat them down, and it goes away." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Dedicated, sane staff." Orange_Guest has arrived. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Cohesive vision of the theme." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Flexibility to allow players to play out their own story arcs (more on that in a minute)." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "A few firm lines that are not to be crossed, with all staff knowing where those lines are drawn." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Everyone with me so far?" PeekABoo nods. Zubeneschamali nods! Soli nods Impster says, "lost ya at sane staff :p" collette smacks. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Okay. A word about player story arcs - which we've been talking about to some extent already." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Emanon's backstory was his own personal story arc. He actually never intended for it to come to the attention of game staff - and by that, I don't mean he was trying to sneak it by us." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "He had created a character with a personal conflict - trying to resolve his belief that he was the son of Rorin with his own sanity. He was perfectly content to play it out without staff assistance at all..." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "I've staffed on a number of large and small games, and frankly - that fits more players than it doesn't fit." .nails raises a hand in hand raising way. Soli coughs. <Lecturer> Temperance points to nails. "Speak!" .nails says, "A good buddy of mine who runs a game used to be involved with RPI (role play intensive) MUDs. They once had a guy come on and pitch an idea to staff:" .nails says, "He wanted to bring about the end of the world." <Lecturer> Temperance coughs. .nails says, "He said that he realized this might create some extra work for staff, having to destroy everything and write new descs and all, but he felt strongly that the RP opportunities it created would more than make up for it." Soli thinks that qualifies as ruining others' RP .nails says, "These people will always be out there. It is just a fact of life." Sketch has disconnected. Impster says, "You scared Sketch away :p" <Lecturer> Temperance grins. "We actually get quite a few proposals like that. The biggest one being the person who wants to end slavery in Shangrila..." Soli guesses they can try. Matrix says, "Ooh, where do I sign up? ;)" Apparatchick imagines that one comes up at least once a week. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "And this is where the elastic/firm thing comes in. Our general response is - what Soli said..." .nails says, "What Temp is talking about is finding the balance and the sweet spot between openness and giving players freedom to play with the world, and keeping people locked down. There will always be crazies on either side." .nails done Luke has arrived. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "We say "Slavery is a fact of life that will not go away. If you want to play out raising a rebellion and will be content with a few small victories, and are really all about the RP, let's talk. If you want it all to happen according to your script, and you win all the marbles, ain't going to happen."" <Lecturer> Temperance says, "in general terms, exactly what nails said. Better than I could have." .nails says, "A quick reference back to an earlier point Temp made: I have seen games go down in flames because staff wasn't sane enough to recognize a crazy before the damage was done. Sane staff keeps the crazies away." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "The other part of that is that most people DON'T want to destroy the world. They want to find their place in it. A lot of them just want to build their family, create a business, have a life - and if you give them the ability to effect those changes, they're not only happy, they'll bring their friends from other places."" <Lecturer> Temperance says, "The fact is that there is really far less sex and violence on Shang than most people imagine." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "There is far MORE dramatic, interpersonal rp than you'll find in most places." Emerson says, "*cough*foreplay*cough*" Soli laughs <Lecturer> Temperance says, "No, Emerson, not foreplay. Not for a lot of people." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "There are a lot of people on Shang who don't engage in TS at all, but have very active rp lives." qa'toq leaves for the ballroom foyer. qa'toq has left. ihavenomouth actually has created characters on Shang which were created for non-sexual reasons, and were never involved with sexual RP. It goes on more often than you think. collette nods. It's true. Nymeria says, "I guess what I would be curious about is whether you think that what it takes for a game to be really popular is pretty much an original theme and an 'almost anything goes' policy, or how much can one deviate?" Wedge has a few chars that very rarely have sex, and most often do storyline or at least personal storyline RP. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "I think, Nymaria, that the key isn't "anything goes", but openings for new people to get involved." Sink has arrived. Bancor is flexable with his chars,, <Lecturer> Temperance says, "A couple of years ago, I went looking of somewhere to spend non-staff hours off-Shang, and hit a number of mushes of all varieties..." PeekABoo says, "It's also very good for Staff to have a solid line that the enforce that takes it outside their boundaries, not to mention an idea for growth to begin with and how it can be done." Soli says, "I think though that anything goes, or the hint to it does a lot..." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "the one that caught me was a WoD mush - and there aren't many types of games that have more rules about what your character can and can't do. And here's what caught me..." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "The first time I logged on, I walked down Main Street, wandered into the cemetery and was accosted by a ghost who not only rp'd with me the first time I logged onto the game..." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "but offered me hooks - you should speak with this person who owns the bookshop. If you run into this blond girl with this habit, be careful of her. ..." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "so that when I came back, I had an "in" on the game. I wasn't a "new player", I was a new person in town." Soli says, "uh... what's WoD?" ihavenomouth says, "World of Darkness." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Sorry - World of Darkness." collette says, "Cool. :)" Luke says, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_of_Darkness" ihavenomouth says, "White Wolf games, such as Vampire, Mage, Werewolf, Changeling, Wraith, etc." Watchmaker has disconnected. Tokeli has always wanted to play on a WoD MU*, but was always too much effort. Soli nods and goes watch the wiki Watchmaker has connected. Impster used to play on them.. but found most to hard to hook into. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "If you don't have players who are that actively involved, it's up to staff to start by example. Get to people ICly and hook them into the game." PeekABoo found Paris to be extremely easy to hook into. ihavenomouth cut her teeth on WoD games. Good ones, that sadly no longer exist. Le sigh. Disraeli has arrived. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "I'm a firm believer that IC interactions will hook people far far faster than all the ooc tools to help them find rp you could ever provide." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "if it was up to me, I'd cut out half the "search" methods for finding people to play with that Shang uses - of course, most people are very happy that it's not up to me in that case :)." Tokeli says, "Admin always love to remove stuff that players like." .nails notes the irony that Temp has written most of those tools. <Lecturer> Temperance snerks at nails. Watchmaker has disconnected. Watchmaker has connected. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "And that's because I live by my belief that you become successful by evaluating what your players want, and offering those things that will facilitate play the best." Quartz says, "That is actually how I do it, on Shangrila. Safe very rare instances when I feel I want something specific. Otherwise I just go out into a public location and watch. If something hooks me in--I throw a few poses of my own to see if the other person will pick up on them and just take whatever comes from there." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "My own preference is for a game with no ooc mechanisms for players to find each other at all." Impster wonders what the addy is for this shangrila he hears about. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Total immersion. Like Quartz said." PeekABoo grins, "Don't get me started on OOC means of hooking rp." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "The very last part of building a successful game is the one that's the hardest.." Bancor says, "Finding coders?" <Lecturer> Temperance says, "A critical mass of players. It's one of those catch-22 things..." collette sighs. "Yeah." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "bah, coders are a dime a dozen, with no offense meant to all the coders here...." Walker sniffles. ;). Tokeli says, "A dime? That expensive?" Disraeli snickers. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "you have to have players online to keep new players online long enough to get involved in the stories going on around them." Bancor says, "Then I must be looking in the wrong places" Zubeneschamali remembers feeling like going out into the IC world and wandering until I ran into someone and RPing with them, but not enough people idled IC side. This was partially due to a 'times' system, and if you idled for 20 minutes on the IC grid, you'd be @telled back to the OOC grid. Impster gives walkers two dimes. Soli needs that dime Emerson . o O ( Good, Stable, Unidle. Pick any two for your Coder.) Walker bites the dimes, finds they're cardboard. Yay, food. Wedge says, "The last couple of games I was on, during the big TP's, it seemed like I was one of two or three characters that wasn't a staff alt." ihavenomouth hates total immersion systems if they don't come with an updating map. I could get lost in a one-room house. Orange_Guest says, "Room for player 'investment' in the game is important to building/retaining a player base, as I see it. Ways to make their character an integral part of the world/setting if they choose to. I played on a game years ago that shall remain nameless to protect the control freak who was headwiz there. It had a really nice setting, a mid-size grid decently populated with places -- and felt oppressive and sterile. There was NO building or coding by players allowed. And players were not allowed to have homes, or even apply to be the IC owner/manager/whatever of one of the businesses already on-grid -- They were all exclusively run by faceless NPCs." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "On a small game, that's sometimes the only way that you can get a critical mass of players, Wedge." collette says, "Sometimes staff plays TPs themselves because they want to. And sometimes they play them themselves because they have to." .nails says, "That is a serious pet peeve of mine. People logging into a game, going "Hmm, not enough players" and leaving. Hi! You're part of the problem! Hypocrite!" .nails yells a lot. Disraeli is with nails on that one. Impster logs into Shangrila and goes, "Argh it's big!" and logs off. Soli lol Disraeli does my bit to persist when a game is small, though! Wedge nodnods. Apparatchick walks into a room. Complains it's quiet after idling for twenty seconds. Leaves. .nails says, "People do that a lot." PeekABoo logs on and finds lots, but either ooc or housed away ic. .nails says, "I'm find with that. We don't need them. ;)" Mike says, "True, nails, but I also hate logging onto a game, spending 4 hours reading stuff and developing a character, and waiting 3 weeks for anything to happen." <Lecturer> Temperance nods to nails. "But it's also something that you can build your game to accommodate.." .nails says, "Don't wait. Go tell your friends, bring them over. If you're there because you think the game has promise, talk to staff and ask how you can help spread the word." .nails shuts up again. Luke goes home. Luke has left. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Build things for people to amuse themselves with while they wait for others. Code in gambling machines, coded puzzles, things that will engage people if they're there alone.." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "And try to keep a few staff alts online and visible who can engage people when things are slow." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "you don't have to do that forever - it's a beginning maneuver." collette says, "It's still hard work." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Anything worth doing is hard work. Don't get me started on instant gratification :)." collette revises, "Hard work, with no guarantee of success". :) Disraeli says, "c'el a vie!" Soli says, "C'est la vie..." Javelin has arrived. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "so to sum up... in order to have a game that runs successfully, you need - a small, dedicated staff (you can have a big staff, but honestly, smaller staffs work better)..." Purple_Guest has arrived. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "a strong, cohesive theme that can serve as a base for rp..." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "the ability to be flexible and let players find their own place in your world..." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "openings or hooks for new players to get involved..." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "and a reason for players to stick around when they log in and find nothing happening right now." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Any questions? Comments? Pies to throw? And where's the coffee?" lvr has a question :) Impster has disconnected. Watchmaker drank it. Javelin claps (and pours coffee when no one's looking) Mike says, "What kind of reasons would you suggest?" lvr says, "And a comment" Soli says, "how to get that dedicated staff? *ducks and hides*" <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Hang on, Mike.. Elvira?" collette raises hand. Zubeneschamali throws a doughnut to Temp. A tasty, tasty doughnut. :D .nails checks E for pulse. .nails says, "She's dead, Jim." lvr says, "Mike asked his question" lvr says, "Oh" lvr says, "sorry, I misunderstood when you said Mike... Elvira. I thought you meant he'd go first ;) Ok" <Lecturer> Temperance :chuckles. "Missed communication.." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "go ahead, Elvira - you spoke up first." .nails puts on his "I touched Elvira and lived" tshirt. Soli sneaks behind nails. lvr says, "Right, my question is: What is the measure of success of a MUSH? Because I was thinking about your question at the start about whether MUSHing is dying. And my feeling is there'll always be someone somewhere running a MUSH and talking with someone else there, just like there are people still playing Atari games today. So MUSHing won't 'die' in the forseeable future. And isn't that MUSH that those two people are playing on as valid and successful as a game with 500 people? Or a game with 10 handpicked roleplayers with amazing literary skills as valid as a massive multiplayer game where RP is limited to 'Bob smiles'?" lvr kinda worked her comment into the question ;) collette smiles. Chouli makes some comment about how it's not about size, but what you do with it. :) Matrix coughs suggestively at Chouli. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Actually, I totally agree with you. I addressed one measure of a "successful" game - having a lot of players. Or, more accurately, building an active player base. I think that the measure of success is whether a game meets the expectations of those who are running and playing it." ihavenomouth made a game that's just for her friends to hang out on. No other purpose. <Lecturer> Temperance nods to the mouthless one. lvr says, "Good answer, thank you" ihavenomouth would smile atcha, but... .nails says, "MUSHes don't die from natural causes. In some cases, technical disasters have taken games out, but that rarely happens these days. Most MUSHes 'die' because the people who run them get burnt or discouraged and they take the game down. That there is failure in the terms that Temp outlined: Failure to meet the expectations of the staff and players resulting in euthanasia." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Mike, you asked about what kinds of amusements I'd suggest.. I mentioned a couple. Code is your friend. Interactive features, things to read, games to play, puzzles to solve... er...monsters to kill." collette agrees with Elvira's hidden comment. Comparing visual game players and text game players is like comparing the number of people who like to curl up to a good book to people who want to go to the movies for entertainment. There's a vast difference in numbers. The book readers might go to movies sometimes, but they will /always/ come back to the books, because that's how they are. Because graphic games aren't as good as one's imagination (to them). ihavenomouth agrees wholeheartedly with collette there. <Lecturer> Temperance agrees with collette too, and has used the exact same example. SAVE: MUSHmallow keyboards Emerson raises a hand for a derivative comment to nails'. .nails says, "MU*s killed by MMORPGs: Total myth espoused by disenfranchised malcontents. The end." collette says, "Can I make another comment?" <Lecturer> Temperance says, "I think the enormous size of the mmorpgs has led to some mush admins getting size envy. Emerson? Then collette." Zubeneschamali loves both! I personally find it easier to convey things in text than by visual means, but visual is so... pretty... <3 Adam leaves for the ballroom foyer. Adam has left. Emerson says, "In my experience of wandering here and there with online games, I've noticed that for volunteer games.. those that have less.. hmm, 'nitpicky' rules-structures and staff tend to be longer lived, as their staff do not tend to burn out quite as hard or fast." WHUFFIE: Looks like you haven't given anyone whuffie! The whuffie system becomes more powerful and useful as more people assign whuffie. +help whuffie for information on how. <Lecturer> Temperance nods. "Yes. You can only spend so much of your time dealing with disciplinary stuff. It's honestly not so much that players won't stay on a mu* that's too strict, though that happens. It really is a matter of staff burning out because it's not FUN to staff when your whole job is looking for rulebreakers." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "collette?" Soli loves to smite. Emerson says, "Or not even 'rulebreakers', but adherence and overabundance of theme material." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "I won't even tell you about the book that my old cohorts came up with for building their themed world." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "There were 23 major gods. Nuff said about that." .nails says, "game requires x amount of energy. staff and players have y and z energy. if x > y + z, then fail." collette says, "Re: Mike's thing about ooc distractions...once upon a time, I had a little cultural staff that worked for me, and I tried to make it policy that staff should try to say hello on the com, and engage in some chatter, before the player had a chance to finish catching up on bbs. If there's not RP around at the moment, people can still make friendships and share stuff, and enjoy each other's company oocly, till the right RP time comes." <Lecturer> Temperance loves the way that nails sums things up so succinctly. .nails should be saving this up for his talk. Then maybe he'd have some material! Nymeria says, "The thing that I find troubling about that is that to fullfil this apparent need of players to have a lot of freedom and not too much theme to adhere to, is that games based on pre-existing themes seem almost hopeless cases. Which I suppose may be true, though I'd like to think there's some way to make thos work too. ;)" <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Not really Nymeria, unless you're talking about games that have their entire story arc planned out in advance..." Soli says, "I counter that, Nymeria." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "I'm not saying that you have to allow people to play whatever character they want. In fact, games based on pre-existing themes have the advantage of already having a cohesive theme that people can hook their characters into." PeekABoo says, "Most games with pre-existing themes, have a start point and go forth from there, unless you're talking broad themes like WoD, in that case it's irrelevant." Soli says, "I'm 'working' on a MUSH which theme is pretty fixed and which future is determined. But it still leaves a lot of room for plots and changes as I set it in just a small region of said plot." Nymeria says, "Sure, you can allow room for plots, but you can't allow people to add very much. :)" Mike says, "While having the ability to change the world in some way is important, people often play on games based on well known books/movies/etc because they want to play in a world they know. If you let people change the world to a point where it's not recognisable as the setting you started with, people lose that reason for being there." Nymeria nods to Mike, that's more what I am thinking about. collette says, "Well, what I've come to realize is that theme that is too accomodating becomes...generic. There's a lot of MUSHes out there with the same ideas. orc species, elf species, talking animal species...wooded region, city region, mountain region...and the more they try to look different, the more they look the same. So when I see a game and its like "What? I can't make an elf?" it nearly seems MORE interesting to me. Down side to a non-original theme mush is if you don't know the theme well, you are never sure what you can do." Soli has picked Command & Conquer, if you don't like elves, ;) collette doesn't mind elves, it was just an example. :) .nails rubs his eyes. Bancor says, "Had that same problem on WoT games collette" Soli pouts. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "That's where you set the balance. On Shang, that set point is broader because of the theme we've adopted. On a game that's set in a pre-existing world, the flexibility comes in people affecting their own lives and the lives of their friends." collette says, "So the cohesive sane staff..." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "is easier said than done?" .nails says, "The level of separation and/or cohesion between thematic window dressing and game mechanics is always up to you." collette takes any pointers she can get. :) <Lecturer> Temperance says, "This has been great, gang - but there are other presentations that I'm really looking forward to hearing. I'll end with the vision of the theme I'd LOVE to build, if anyone wants to hear it?" collette says, "Yes!" Trinsec says, "3D MUSH?" <Lecturer> Temperance says, "I'm not that innovative, Trinsec :)" Trinsec says, "Dang. ;)" Watchmaker says, "Go for." .nails hates 3D MUSH. "wearing the glasses makes me feel sick after the first six hours. :(" Soli has fun trying to catch those letters though <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Croatoan, essentially..." Quartz is very, very curious to hear it. Walker has to take off, will read the log when he gets back. Walker goes home. Walker has left. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "a group of settlers is dropped off in an unexplored land with all the supplies they need to survive a winter. The ship leaves... and never returns." Tokeli is immediately reminded of Pern, for some reason. lain says, "I read a book like that in sixth grade." Emerson says, "A perfect setting..." Soli thinks it is from Strata. Emerson says, "...for a series of axe murders!" .nails says, "lain means she flipped through the pictures in a book like that in sixth grade." <Lecturer> Temperance says, "The game would consist of a wilderness grid. There would be mechanics for realistic building. You can chop trees, build a cabin. Get your fellow settlers to agree to build onto your cabin, or find a way to sell them supplies.." collette says, "How do you account for new players joining the MUSH after the initial start then?" <Lecturer> Temperance says, "new players would enter via the same mechanism..." Tokeli says, "Random people out in the wilderness?" Disraeli says, "sounds a bit like a game i know in development. Which is a colony, fantasy style." PeekABoo says, "Well that would mean the ship returns" <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Because the settlers didn't land where they thought.. they ended up in something very different. No outgoing contact...but people wandering in." Disraeli says, "Starting out with a blank slate and you gotta build stuff." Javelin has an indefinitely-stalled game much like that. :) <Lecturer> Temperance nods to Disraeli. PeekABoo add thoughts of Lost into the theme lol .nails has an indefinitely-stalled game that is ten times cooler than that. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "Javelin, I think it's every serious admin's dream game :)." .nails dreams big. Emerson says, "nails set his colony up in Greenland." collette has an indefinitely stalled game that...wait...I have several. Let me find them... Javelin wonders if all those serious admin should get together and do it. <Lecturer> Temperance says, "I proposed that to my gamedev group and they freaked at the thought of players building the whole world - but THAT is exactly what I want." .nails says, "(mine has space ships, dinosaurs and terra-cotta mechs)" .nails says, "But perhaps I have... said too much." collette says, "Oh, players can build. Players are great builders." Bancor says, "sounds interesting so far" <Lecturer> Temperance says, "And on that note, folks... I leave you to imagine terracotta mechs fighting dinosaurs in the sky.. and hand the floor over to Stoko. Thank you all!!" lain says, "So your grid would essentially just be 'Here is some grass. There is a tree. Oh look, a flower.' and players build everything else?" <Lecturer> Temperance nods to lain as she flees the stage. Soli knows a mush with softcode building aids, "it works great. So great that even some admin forgot about @dig, lol" <Lecturer> Temperance goes down the few steps to the seating area. Temperance comes down the few steps from the stage. Temperance has arrived. Stoko carefully walks up the narrow stairs to the stage. Stoko has left. <Lecturer> Stoko has arrived. .nails applauds! Brody applauds. Javelin claps. collette clap clap clap! Tokeli throws rotten tomatoes, and a baby, at Stoko! lvr claps Zubeneschamali hoorays! <Lecturer> Stoko dodges some rotten tomatoes, and says, "Thanks to Temperance for coming and holding her interesting presentation. I'm sure we all enjoyed it."

Javelin: Podcast for your MUSH

<Lecturer> Stoko says, "The next presentation, 'Podcasting for your MUSH', will be held by Javelin. Javelin is former PennMUSH maintainer, and current host of the Tinytalk podcast. In his presentation, he'll talk about why people might want to start podcasts for their MUSHes, and how they can get started inexpensively." <Lecturer> Stoko goes down the few steps to the seating area. Stoko comes down the few steps from the stage. Stoko has arrived. Javelin carefully walks up the narrow stairs to the stage. Javelin has left. <Lecturer> Javelin has arrived. Stoko applauds. Brody cheers! Elvira carefully walks up the narrow stairs to the stage. Elvira has left. <Lecturer> Elvira has arrived. <Lecturer> Elvira goes down the few steps to the seating area. Elvira comes down the few steps from the stage. <Lecturer> Elvira has left. Elvira has arrived. Tokeli throws money and hugs at Javelin! lvr whoops, hit the up button by accident :) Temperance applauds and has been looking forward to this one. lvr was overexcited lvr woots loudly for Javelin Jaron has arrived. Bancor laughs Soli sneaks out to bed. "Will read the logs tomorrows, :)" Soli leaves for the ballroom foyer. Soli has left. <Lecturer> Javelin says, "Hi, folks. Thanks for coming and thanks to the organizers. Today I want to talk, as Stoko said, about why you'd want a podcast for your MUSH, and how to start one painlessly." Luke has arrived. Blue_Guest stands and leaves the Right Fourth Row. Blue_Guest leaves for the ballroom foyer. Blue_Guest has left. Clotho has arrived. <Lecturer> Javelin says, "First, some really basic terminology, because people still ask this. A podcast is just a set of (typically) mp3 audio files together with a meta file that describes (to a computer) which mp3 files are available, and when they were made available. You listen to a podcast using whatever mp3 player you've got -- not necessarily an ipod, computers work fine. You either download episodes as you want them, or you "subscribe" to the meta file using software that can automatically download new episodes as they become available." Wedge says, "Would it be live or not?" Stoko says, "fili, look" Plaza Room / /^\/^\/^\ \ |"""""""""""""""""""""""""|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|"""""""""""""""""""""""""| | LECTURER |~~)~~~~~~~~~(~~| TOPIC | | |~~) (~~| | | Javelin |~~) ___ (~~| Podcasting for MUSH | | | |~~) Y (~~| | | | |_________________________|\___ | ___/|_________________________| | |/ (_ (_ (_ (* (_ \|==\_____/==|/ *) *) _) _) _) \| \ (_ (_ (_ (_ (* \|___|/ *) _) _) _) _) / (_ (_ (* (* (* *) *) *) _) _) (* (* (_ (* A _) _) *) *) (_ (_ (_ / \ _) _) _) (_ (_ / \ _) _) (_ / \ _) / \ do: -help lecture Present: Clotho, Luke, Jaron, Elvira, Stoko, Temperance, Purple_Guest, Disraeli, Sink, Orange_Guest, Chouli, Collette, Ihavenomouth, Bratto, Quartz, Tethys, Tokeli, PeekABoo, Nymeria, Tanaku, Mike, Valois, Z z z, Apparatchick, Lain, Wedge, Trinsec, Vadiv, Nemetona, Zubeneschamali, Matrix, Givur, Caireen, Bancor, Watchmaker, .nails, Brody, Ahikam, Emerson <Lecturer> Javelin says, "Having a audio podcast for a text-based game sometimes strikes people as a strange thing to do. As we know, text is in many ways the lowest common denominator, and when you start doing things like sound (or video!), you're not going to be providing it to all of you players, as some may not have equipment to listen to it conveniently or may not, in fact, be able to hear at all." <Lecturer> Javelin says, "Generally not live, Wedge." Wedge says, "Got it." PeekABoo has disconnected. .nails says, "Generally Memorex." <Lecturer> Javelin says, "But just as many MUSHes have web-based forums, some of which develop their own community feel that's nicely complementary to the MUSH - even when all the players don't participate - using podcasting provides a nice way to bring, to some of your players, a little extra personality and connection that may provide them with enjoyment and a close relationship with the game and the other players." <Lecturer> Javelin says, "I like hearing the voices of people in the MUSH world, and even beyond that, there are opportunities to do things with collaborative sound -- including music, sound effects, and dramatization -- that can be a genuine enhancement of the game and community experience." Molikai has arrived. <Lecturer> Javelin says, "Ok, so on to what's involved. At the cheapest level, podcasting requires essentially: (a) a way to record sound into a computer (e.g., a microphone, a soundcard, and some recording software), (b) a place to store the audio files (e.g., your web server, or one of the free places to store audio files I'll mention later), (c) a way to make the metafile that lets people know when there are new episodes, and (d) ideas for things to do." <Lecturer> Javelin says, "There's lots of good geeky things to say about the recording side. Plugging a cheap microphone into a mic jack on a soundcard (or buying a usb microphone, which is essentially its own soundcard) and running a decent free audio recording program like Audacity requires very little effort and money. For those who are looking to really work on the sound, the next step up is usually a studio microphone and a mixer, which can be had for less than $100, and provides more flexibility as well." <Lecturer> Javelin says, "Naturally, you also need some kind of headphones, not only so you can listen closely to yourself, but also so your speakers don't feed back or echo into the mic. :)" <Lecturer> Javelin says, "Once you record the audio and save/convert it out into the mp3 format, you need to put it on the web somewhere. If you have your own server that can handle the bandwidth of people downloading your audio files, you're set. Otherwise, there are several free places. I use ourmedia.org, which actually puts the files on the archive.org (The Internet Archive) server. There are also several inexpensive commercial podcast hosting services, usually with a monthly fee." <Lecturer> Javelin says, "The metafile that tells other computers about your episodes is written in XML. Very few people, however, write their by hand, because most blog software (drupal, wordpress, etc.) has plugins or modules that can generate it automatically from blog posts that have links to mp3 files." Teech has arrived. <Lecturer> Javelin says, "So, with Tinytalk, for example, when I write my little blogpost describing the episode and linking to interesting things talked about in the episode (the so-called "show notes"), that blogpost contains the link to the episode. Drupal automatically generates an RSS feed (in XML) for my blog, and that can serve as the podcast metafile. In practice, there are some podcasting-specific tweaks you might want to make to that file, and you might want a way to figure out how many people are subscribed to the podcast. A free service called Feedburner does a lovely job of taking any RSS feed and adding those tweaks, and giving you a place to monitor subscriptions." Nemetona has disconnected. <Lecturer> Javelin says, "For a MUSH podcast, which is likely to have a relatively narrow audience, publicity is not much of an issue -- you tell your players about it, post on some mush sites, (and please, tell me about it so I can talk it up on Tinytalk and link to it!). You can register with the Apple iTunes Store or other podcast sites and have your podcast listed there. If you've registered with mudconnector, this is usually easier. :)" <Lecturer> Javelin says, "If you're doing something for a broader audience -- for example, you run a Dune-based MUSH and want to do a podcast on all things Herbert -- you'll also want to produce a short "promo" ad for your podcast that you can trade with other podcasts on related topics. Some kinds of podcasts (e.g. board gaming podcasts) even have organized "podcast networks" that you can join and that help with sharing promos and the like." Matrix yawns. Will read the log tomorrow (more like today, but meh). Matrix has disconnected. Purple_Guest has disconnected. Purple_Guest goes home. Tokeli has disconnected. <Lecturer> Javelin says, "And after that, it's all about ideas, and listening to your show, and seeing what else you'd like to do, or do better. On Tinytalk we've highlighted electronic music collaboratively created on a MUSH, we've produced a dramatization of a MUSH RP log (with multiple actors and sound effects), done interviews, etc. If you find that you're having fun with the process, you'll think of all kinds of clever things to do. And I hope you'll tell me about them, too." <Lecturer> Javelin says, "That pretty well does it for the formal bit of this talk. I think we've got 5-10 minutes available for questions or discussion, and if we don't, Stoko will wave his big hook at me, so what else can I tell you?" Zubeneschamali giggles at the thought of a dramatized RP log. Tokeli lawls at the thought. <Lecturer> Javelin says, "That episode's here, if you want to hear it: https://community.pennmush.org/node/448" <Lecturer> Javelin says, "Er, http:// works too" Nymeria says, "Next step, streaming sound integrated in PennMUSH. ;) I kind of like that feature of SL, actually." Temperance says, "We actually had a Shang player who created an IC radio show that did live audiocasts for specific events. Gathered promo spots from players, played music during the event - it was a wonderful way of integrating sound into the game." <Lecturer> Javelin chuckles. "For some kinds of RP themes, having an IC news show or something similar that players listen to off-MUSH would be interesting until someone streams it on-MUSH" <Lecturer> Javelin says, "Scooped by Temperance again. :)" Nymeria nods, was thinking of music for events, for example. <Lecturer> Javelin says, "Live audiocasting is a bit of a different beast, and has some additional complexities. People interested in that might want to talk to Walker, in fact, who did the In The Band live mush/music jam" Temperance laughs and shakes her head. "Not me... the player. We've got some wonderfully creatie players." <Lecturer> Javelin is reminded of one thing. "If you decide you want to podcast interviews and things, it's very helpful in many cases to have 2 sound cards (I use an external usb second sound card)." <Lecturer> Javelin says, "It's not impossible to work with a single one, but it's much more annoying." collette says, "Why?" <Lecturer> Javelin says, "The cheapest/easiest way to do those things is usually with Skype." <Lecturer> Javelin says, "If you're talking into a microphone, and it's going out over Skype, and coming back to you from Skype, your voice gets a bit distorted. So does the voice of the other person, but you usually can't do anything about that." <Lecturer> Javelin says, "If you want your voice to come through as cleanly as possible, you want to record your voice direct from the mic, and only their voice from skype." <Lecturer> Javelin says, "That's easy with 2 sound cards." collette ahs. <Lecturer> Javelin says, "Now, if you've doing a podcast with something like co-hosts, where you want *both* of you to sound as clean as possible, there are some trickier approaches possible, notably doing a "double ender", where you each record your own mic, and someone stitches the two audiofiles together into a single one at the end. But I'm trying to stick to "how to get started with the easy stuff.""" <Lecturer> Javelin says, "Well, it looks like my time's up IRL, but anyone who wants to talk about it more knows where to find me, and I hope to be *hearing* you soon." <Lecturer> Javelin goes down the few steps to the seating area. Javelin comes down the few steps from the stage. Javelin has arrived. Tethys says, "You could also attempt to use a non-skype method like using a locally hosted teamspeak or ventrillo server. Still not the most desirable, but you can select your desired codec and bitrate and get the best quality you can afford on your connection." Stoko carefully walks up the narrow stairs to the stage. Stoko has left. <Lecturer> Stoko has arrived. Tethys says, "If you have the technical knowhow anyways." <Lecturer> Stoko says, "Javelin, thank you very much for your presentation." Javelin nods to Tethys, finds Teamspeak's sound much worse, but YMMV, of course. :) Bancor claps politely collette clapclapclap! lvr claps :) Nymeria claps, and ponders things. :) .nails tosses hats in the air in celebratory fashion! Brody cheers! .nails has... so many hats... Tethys claps. collette says, "And you wear them all, too. :P" Zubeneschamali throws nails into the air-- wait, no, that wouldn't be good. :O Javelin waves. <Lecturer> Stoko says, "ITBG will continue on MPUG, where nails will be your host. Everyone, please connect to puggy.mushpark.com 9033, and type 'ITBG'." Javelin has disconnected. <Lecturer> Stoko says, "ITBG will continue in five minutes." .nails says, "Let the invasion begin!" <Lecturer> Stoko goes down the few steps to the seating area.

Stoko: Internationalization

nails says, "Okay, boys and girls and other forms and conglomerates. Up next we have a presentation on Internationalization given by my esteemed co-coordinator, Stoko. Stoko has translated PennMUSH into Croation, and is the head wizard of InterMUSH, a multilingual MUSH which is planning big contributions to the PennMUSH translation project. He'll talk about the issues they have dealt with, and the benefits that internationalization brings to MUSH as a whole." nails says, "Stoko, take it away." Stoko says, "Hello again. The following presentation was written in advance, and is automated. However, anyone who has any questions can ask them at any time during the presentation, or at the end of the presentation, when there'll be time for Q&A." Stoko says, "I'll have to apologize for two things. I apologize for the topic of this presentation, because it probably won't be interesting to some, or many, of the people here. If you are one of them, I won't be offended if you idle until the next presentation. The presentation which will come after mine is likely to be very good, so it'll be worth the wait. Also, I apologize for my imperfect English. I know how tiring it can be to read text written by someone who doesn't have perfect mastery of a language, especially if it's a long text." Stoko says, "I'll talk about the question of translating MU* servers to languages other than English, and of running MU*s in languages other than English. I'll talk mostly about PennMUSH, because it's the only kind of server I have significant experience with. This presentation is meant to introduce people to works in progress which are related to internationalization features in PennMUSH, and to give ideas to developers of other types of servers for adding internationalization to the codebases they are working on. I'm the one who's holding this presentation mostly because I'm the head wizard of a place called InterMUSH, which is planning many contributions to PennMUSH internationalization." Stoko says, "The credits for the contents of this presentation don't go only to me, but also to the people who've worked in the PennMUSH development team in the period from 2000 to this day (because they are the ones who've made the first, and the most important contributions to PennMUSH internationalization), to some staffers from InterMUSH (among which Luke has made the biggest contributions by his influence over the course which InterMUSH'es staff took in making contributions to PennMUSH internationalization, and by creating some vital InterMUSH-specific server features through his work on the source code which InterMUSH is using, without which InterMUSH probably wouldn't be able to make some specific contributions to PennMUSH internationalization), to all people who've written translations for PennMUSH Translation Project, and also to all people who've helped these efforts by their advice or in other ways. The thing, which this presentation is about, is something that, by my count, around thirty people had worked on, or are still working on." Stoko says, "In year 2000, PennMUSH development team started PennMUSH Translation Project. The goal of the project is to provide translation files to gods of PennMUSH servers who want to run their games in non-English languages. The translation files, when applied, are supposed to replace all PennMUSH server messages with their translations to the language of choice. If the staffmembers of a MUSH where all room descriptions, messages sent by global commands, news texts, etc. are written in a specific non-English language install the translation files for that language, the server will become more accessible to people who speak that specific language, but don't speak English. Currently, translation files for sixteen languages can be downloaded from PennMUSH Home Page. A few of them are almost completely up to date (Dutch and Croatian), some of them were up to date several years ago, and some have always been incomplete." ihavenomouth has partially disconnected. Stoko says, "The birth of this project was a big step forward in helping people run PennMUSH servers in languages other than English. However, this project has many problems, and most of them are solvable." Stoko says, "First problem would be the lack of unicode support in PennMUSH. Some languages have characters which can't be displayed without unicode support. Obviously, for those languages translations either can't be done perfectly, or can't be done at all. There won't be any problems with translating PennMUSH to languages like German, French, Italian, or Spanish. However, some characters will have to be substituted by similar characters from ASCII in languages like Czech, Polish, and Croatian, and the translations to those languages will thus be imperfect. Also, there are languages like Serbian in which translations will be possible, but not in the original alphabet (Serbs use both Cyrillic and Latin alphabet, but they use the Cyrillic more often - however, if one uses Latin alphabet, same problems as for Czech, Polish, and Croatian will occur in the Serbian translation). There are also languages for which translations will be completely impossible because they contain letters for which there are no perfectly corresponding letters or groups of letters in the Latin alphabet, and because it's a very uncommon practice to write them by using Latin letters (for instance, Hebrew, Greek and Arabic)." nails imagines Cyrillic alphabet soup. Yum! Zubeneschamali says, "Tasty!" Zubeneschamali would be very interested in seeing an asian-language (any of them) MU*, though. Stoko says, "I believe presence of Unicode would make such MUSHes possible." Stoko says, "Unicode support is planned for future versions of PennMUSH, but it's hard to say when we'll be able to see it in PennMUSH. The main problem is that adding unicode to PennMUSH is a lot of work, and that the need to add it is not particularly big." William has arrived. Sketch-the-fox has arrived. Stoko says, "The second problem is that there are few people who still regularly update PennMUSH translations. Of sixteen languages for which the translations exist, only two can be said to be regularly updated. Those are Dutch and Croatian. Regular updates of translations are important because new server messages are often added in new versions of PennMUSH." Stoko says, "InterMUSH, the social MUSH which I've mentioned earlier, currently has active translators which are capable of translating things from English to four different languages (German, Spanish, Dutch, and Croatian). Translations to two of those (Dutch and Croatian) can be done by native speakers. Four languages isn't a lot, but we intend to recruit more translators. One of the tasks that I, as the head wizard of InterMUSH, hope the translators will accomplish are regular updates of translations of PennMUSH server messages for the PennMUSH Translation Project. Hopefully, sooner or later, we'll have a staff which will regularly update server messages' translations for more than ten different languages. That should solve the problem of lack of people who regularly update translations for PennMUSH Translation Project. Also, anyone who has a reasonable amount of experience with PennMUSH, and who is fluent both in English and in a language other than English, can contact Javelin and tell him that he's interested in contributing to PennMUSH Translation Project." Stoko says, "The third problem is that, as far as I know, only one MUSH currently uses any translation files for PennMUSH. That MUSH is, again, InterMUSH. The Mud Connector site lists more than one hundred eighty MUSHes, but no MUSHes on which primary language is something other than English." Givur has arrived. ihavenomouth has always felt that was unfortunate. Zubeneschamali says, "That's too bad, it seems like MUSHing would be a great opportunity to practice another language." Stoko nods, "Indeed. That's the way some people whose language is something other than English practice their English." Stoko says, "I'm probably optimistic rather than realistic, but hopefully, when there are enough internationalization features, and when MU* community learns of PennMUSH'es support for various languages, a significant percentage of people who'll decide to run a MU* server in a language other than English will pick PennMUSH primarily because of its internationalization features. MU*s in languages other than English are very rare, but they do exist. That means that there is some interest in MU*s in languages other than English. InterMUSH is a multilingual MUSH where conversations in all languages are welcome. Perhaps InterMUSH will, some day, become a place where many future gods and staffmembers of MUSHes in languages other than English will start their MUSHing career. They might get familiar with using PennMUSH and writing MUSHcode there, and they might start liking PennMUSH. Next step they might then take is to start running their own game in their own language, and, if they don't speak English and therefore can't understand the helptexts or ask for help elsewhere, they could get the initial help from the staff and the players of InterMUSH who speak their language." Stoko says, "The fourth problem are MUSHcode functions which, for their entire range of possible arguments, return a big variety of different pieces of text in English. Some of those functions are spellnum(<number>) which returns the number in the brackets spelled in English, and ordinal(<number>), which is same as spellnum() except that it returns an ordinal rather than cardinal number. Most of the languages other than English, or perhaps even all of them, use different rules for building the names of numbers, so simply translating strings like 'one', 'two', 'ten', 'hundred', 'thousand', etc., and including those into the translation files for different languages wouldn't be enough." Zubeneschamali says, "Oh, man. I hadn't even thought of that. ;[ *thinks about it*" Stoko says, "InterMUSH intends to create softcoded systems for as many languages as possible which will provide translations of outputs of MUSHcode functions such as spellnum() and ordinal(), and distribute them over the Web. Some preliminary steps in that direction have already been made. Perhaps later, if it turns out a hardcoded approach would be better, either the PennMUSH development team, or someone from InterMUSH, will probably write a hardcoded translation system for those functions for the future official PennMUSH releases." Stoko says, "The fifth problem is incompleteness of the list of server messages which are being translated. Around twenty server messages which aren't even being offered for translation were found. There are probably more such messages. Translators won't be able to translate those messages until PennMUSH development team marks them for translation. That means the end users will still see those messages in English, instead of seeing them in the language of their choice." nails tries to imagine what it would be like. nails says, "I type something and get an error message in French. My eyes cross." Stoko snickers. Stoko says, "Two things would contribute to making such server messages more rare. A bigger number of people who occasionally actively search for messages which weren't marked for translation and report them to PennMUSH development team would help. As far as I know, I'm currently the only one who does that. The other thing would be a bigger number of players on servers which use translations, and who report the omissions to PennMUSH development team, either directly or indirectly (through a staffmember of the MUSH they play on, for instance). Unfortunately, there's only one PennMUSH server which uses translations (InterMUSH), and it has an extremely small number of players. That means that the chance that a player would report a message which hasn't been offered for translation is very small. Also, the fact that translations for most of the languages are incomplete makes the identification of server messages which weren't offered for translation at all more complicated. So, the problem of server messages which weren't offered for translation at all will probably become smaller when there'll be several well-populated servers which use the translations, because it's likely that the number of people who report the omissions will be bigger. Also, it would help if there were more active translators of PennMUSH server messages, because translators are, in my opinion, the people who are most likely to actively search for and report the strings which weren't offered for translation." Disraeli has arrived. William says, "We could use Babelfish...as a stop gap?" Stoko says, "Unfortunately, there is no software which can translate better than a human. Personally, I don't like the idea of using Babelfish." Sketch-the-fox says, "Me either." William says, "Me neither." nails says, "I wonder how we'd go about setting up an advertising campaign to encourage people to start alternate-language MU*s." Stoko says, "Online translation tools often return nonsense." William says, "I'm just thinking it's better than nothing." Disraeli thinks there already are alternate language MUXs. Stoko says, "I think that's an important question, nails." Disraeli says, "that we dont know abotu as we we dont hunt for them. ;)" nails says, "They work well enough for me, since I speak nonsense already." Stoko snickers. ihavenomouth says, "I'd think you could write an advertisement, then ask someone to translate it into various languages and post it somewhere for you." nails hosts a Spanish-language MUX. Disraeli has heard of Norwegian and Swedish MUXes out there nails says, "Find them and bring them to me." nails err. Disraeli salutes! Stoko says, "I think that the currently most important problem is making the intfrastructure for MUSHes in other languages." Stoko says, "Advertising would, in my opinion, be best done after such infrastructure has been made." Sketch-the-fox nods. Stoko says, "There are many reasons why you'd be in a worse position if you started a MU* which isn't in English, than you'd be if you started a MU* in English. I'll mention some of them during the presentation." Stoko says, "The appropriate infrastructure would remove some of those problems." Diuturnal has arrived. Stoko says, "The sixth problem, the non-existence of translations of commands, either is or isn't a problem, depending whether one thinks the commands should or shouldn't be translated. Currently, the main argument against command translations is that the players which will get introduced to MUSHing on non-English language servers will learn the translated commands, but won't learn the original commands, which will make MUSHing on English-speaking servers more difficult for them later on. If no command translations were used, they'd learn the original commands in English right in the beginning. The main argument that supports the idea of command translations would, perhaps, be that the existence of translated commands would achieve a higher degree of adaptation of PennMUSH to non-English languages. To be a bit more precise, I think that the experience of a Russian who doesn't speak English, but has to learn and use commands in English on a Russian-speaking MUSH, would be similar to the experience of an American who doesn't speak Russian, but has to learn and use Russian commands on an English-speaking MUSH." Luke says, "It'd encourage him to learn Russian. :-)" Stoko smirks. Sketch-the-fox says, "But I can't -type- in russian..." collette raises hand. Stoko says, "Yes, collette?" Minuet has arrived. collette says, "Well, you are talking about say...keeping switch() as switch(), instead of the foreign word for switch, right?" Stoko says, "Right." Stoko says, "We wouldn't translate things which are mainly used in softcode, to ensure portability." Stoko says, "If someone started using translated commands and functions in softcode, the code wouldn't be portable to MUSHes which don't use those translation features." collette says, "On the one hand, being able to code with switch() (or the foreign language equivalent) makes coding quite intuitive and easy to remember what commands do what. But if you want to download someone's coded system, and it uses english, then you are in trouble." nails waves to the newcomers. collette says, "You read my mind." :) *sits down* Stoko says, "The MUSHes which use translations of commands and functions would still have the English equivalents enabled." Stoko nods and smiles. Elvira has disconnected. Stoko says, "InterMUSH is currently working on making a softcoded system which will provide the translation of PennMUSH commands which are commonly used by players. The system itself already works, but it won't be distributed until helptexts for it have been written. Once the helptexts are made, the command name translations for several languages will be available on InterMUSH'es website. The intention is, as for translations of everything else, to make translations for as many languages as possible. I'm the one who made the selection of commands to be translated, and it's arguable whether the selection was ideal. If necessary, the selection of translated commands will be made differently in future versions of the system. Basically, our softcoded system creates the translations of commands as @command/aliases. The only problem about the system that I see is the inability of translating the switches for commands. It's impossible to @command/alias a translation to a specific switch of a command, and I don't think any way of translating the switch itself is possible unless a hardcoded approach is taken. That's why I haven't offered the commonly used @mail command for translation to InterMUSH'es translators. I believe nearly all players use @mail with switches more often than without them, so by translating @mail's command name, very little would be accomplished; players would still have to type English text almost every time they used that command. The first version of softcoded command translations will probably still have that problem, but in case command translations really are a good idea, the first version of command translations will be a step forward nevertheless. However, @command/alias which could alias a command with a specific switch to something would be useful not only to the effort of creating translations of commands, but probably for other purposes as well. I, or someone else, will suggest that feature to PennMUSH development team. If the developers decide to add that feature, it will be the solution of this problem, and there will be no obstacle for future versions of command translations to have the switches translated as well. But, since, as I've heard, making such a change to @command/alias is a lot of work, it's possible that the modification of @command/alias won't happen soon." Sketch-the-fox says, "That was longer than most of the poses I've ever seen..." Doyle has arrived. Stoko snickers, "I know. Sorry." Wine has arrived. Givur has disconnected. Stoko says, "The seventh problem which will be mentioned is, in my opinion, the one that will by far be the most difficult one to solve, due to the great amount of planning and work required. It's probably not the most important problem for the entire internationalization effort, but it's the most important problem for the translation of the hardcoded PennMUSH server messages to languages which wouldn't get anything from unicode support (for other languages, the main problem would, in my opinion, be the non-existence of unicode support). Also, there is no other problem about which so much could be said, due to the complexity of its consequences, and also of its solution. The problem in question arises from the fact that different languages have different grammatical rules." Stoko says, "We can classify PennMUSH server messages into two types. The first type of messages is the one which looks the same every time it's sent to the user, regardless of all conditions. Examples of such messages are 'Huh? (Type "help" for help.)', 'Permission denied.', and 'Obvious Exits:'. The other type is the one which has the same basic format every time, but different contents in different situations. Examples of those messages are 'MAIL: You have sent your message to <player>', 'You say, "<text>"' and '<player> pages: <text>'. In some languages, problems will sometimes occur in translations of the first group of messages. But problems in translations will more or less often occur, I believe, in nearly every language for the second group of server messages." Stoko says, "I will list some of the grammatical reasons for those problems. I will describe those problems mostly by making references to Croatian grammatical rules, because I'm not well familiar with grammatical rules of any languages other than English and Croatian." Stoko says, "One of the reasons is declension of nouns. Declension of nouns are changes done to the form of a noun (including personal names), which depend on the context in which the noun is used in the sentence. Nouns in English can have only two forms - one form for singular, and one form for plural - and plural of a noun is, in a great majority of cases, formed simply by suffixing it with an 's'. However, there are languages in which each noun has more than two possible forms. German, for instance, has four grammatical cases for singular, and another four for plural. Croatian has seven grammatical cases for singular, and seven for plural. Also, rules for declension of a noun both in German and Croatian depend on its gender, and both of those languages have three genders. Let's see how that affects server messages from the second group which contain player names in their output." Molikai says, "I knew there was a reason I preferred English..." Stoko smirks. Sketch-the-fox says, "English is pretty simple, all things considered. :p" Wedge can only imagine how complicated this can get. Much less if you use non-traditional genders. c_c nails does! Stoko says, "English seems like one of the best languages for writing computer-generated messages, mainly because of its simplicity." Bancor has disconnected. Stoko says, "Message 'MAIL: You sent your message to Igor.' can't be literally translated to Croatian. Name, or any other noun, remains unchanged only in the first grammatical case, which is called nominative case, and which exists in all languages. So, 'Igor' will remain 'Igor' in nominative case. However, this message requires that 'Igor' is declensed into dative case, which is used when the noun signifies direction of the action of the main verb of the sentence, and this verb is called 'predicate'. Obviously, the predicate in this sentence is 'sent', and noun 'Igor' indeed tells us where (to whom) the message has been sent, so it really does have to be in dative case. The only thing PennMUSH server is able to insert into both the original and the translated sentence is the name of the player the message has been sent to, and that name can only be in the nominative case. Dative of 'Igor' is 'Igoru'. One could solve this problem by adding a 'u' right after the place where player's name is supposed to be in the translated message. The problem will be solved for name 'Igor' and some other names, but there are names whose dative case is formed by addition of suffixes other than 'u'. I'm fairly sure that an algorithm which would determine the correct form of Croatian dative for any personal name (even the names which were made up by players), could be made, but that algorithm would be pretty complex, and would require the sex of the owner of that name as a part of its input." nails says, "kind of like the art() function in MUX, which requires multiple config directives in the conf file to function properly." William has disconnected. Sketch-the-fox says, "Wow, that's way cooler than penn's art(). :D THat's more like it!" Stoko says, "Hm... Actually, art() would have to be more complex than it is in PennMUSH to work properly." nails says, "One of the tricks in upgrading a MUX from older versions is making sure an old conf file gets updated article rules added." Wedge nodnods, can imagine. And also at what point you include things like if someone is diong a hermaphrodite or something along those lines. Stoko says, "As far as I know, it should be 'a user', not 'an user'. And PennMUSH'es art returns 'an user'." Stoko says, "If one does 'think art(user) user.', he gets 'an user'. Wrong." Sketch-the-fox says, "Penn's just does it by vowels, I think. :p" Stoko says, "Because the article, as far as I know, depends on the beginning sound of the word, not on the beginning letter." nails says, "So basically, even if you provide flexible tools, maintenance and config of those tools is complex and time consuming." Stoko nods. Stoko says, "The system for determining the right form of dative in Croatian would, IMO, be far more complex than the system that's being used for art()." Bancor has connected. nails nods. Stoko says, "I believe it's obvious now how complex this problem is - perhaps the only way to solve it is to write one long algorithm per every language which has this kind of a problem, and to determine the contents of messages sent to players by the server on the basis of players' SEX attribute. It's best when coders can code a system for translators who have to know a language but don't have to have any technical knowledge, and then let the translators translate while they don't need to do any more work themselves. In the solution I've just explained, coders would have to write unique code for each language. However, if one doesn't mind changing structure of sentences a bit, it's possible to reconstruct a sentence so that a player's name, which would be in a grammatical case other than nominative (in this case, dative) if the sentence was translated literally, really does end up being required to be in nominative. To achieve that, one could translate the above message as 'MAIL: Igor will receive your message.' This time, Igor is the performer of the action in the sentence (he is the one who will receive the message), and is thus expected to be in nominative, which means it's grammatically correct if his name in this sentence remains 'Igor'. By using exactly this method, I've avoided such problems in many different hardcoded PennMUSH messages when I was translating PennMUSH to Croatian." nails nods. That makes sense, too. "There's very little need to maintain structural parity when you're translating. It's not poetry to receive mail. ;)" Zubeneschamali is glad she's learning a language that barely even recognizes genders, let alone utilizes them so heavily. nails says, "Venuzian?" Stoko nods and smirks to nails. Sketch-the-fox says, "Japanese?" Zubeneschamali says, "Sketch wins." Wedge can't even pass high school level Spanish. You're way ahead of him. nails was close. Sketch-the-fox needs to hang out with Zuben, apparently. nails says, "Venuzian just doesn't recognize other genders." Stoko says, "Problems with declension also occur when object names are inserted into server messages. Also, there are server messages which, depending on the occasion, use different words, such as 'flag', 'power', etc. in different contexts. The translators translate words like 'power' and 'flag', and then they get inserted into several different server messages, which require those words in different grammatical cases. For that reason, this insertion of words will produce grammatically incorrect results for some languages." Stoko says, "Much more could be said about grammatical problems relating to the translation system. Hopefully, what has been said shows how complex this problem is." Caireen says, "Can I ask why worry? Why not take the approach that Igor is not a person it is the name or unique label for a specific type of object." Bancor waves and heads out, will have to get the logs later Stoko says, "Personal names and objects declense in the same way." Bancor goes home. Bancor has left. nails says, "Also, Igor called and he said he finds that remark offensive." Stoko snickers. Stoko says, "The eighth problem is the translation of PennMUSH helptexts. The translation of those wouldn't be a big amount of work - it would be a tremendously huge amount of work. PennMUSH helptexts have a total of nearly a million characters. Also, new helptexts are added with each new version of PennMUSH." nails says, "Added and modified." Stoko nods. Stoko says, "Helptexts aren't particularly likely to ever get translated. However, if PennMUSH translation effort takes that course, there are several ways of making the job more feasible. In any case, it would be best if a system, similar to the existing Web-based system for translating server messages, was created to translate helptexts. Then, either a selection of the most important helptexts could be made, or the translation of the bigger portion of the helptexts, or perhaps even all of them, could be done by a team of ten or more translators for every language. Obviously, it could be difficult to find so many translators even for translations to one language." Sketch-the-fox says, "It's hard to get them written in the -first place-. :p" nails grins. Stoko says, "Yeah, I imagined." collette giggles. Stoko says, "But... It's been done over a long period of time, by many people. I doubt anyone would dedicate several years of his life, half an hour each day, to translating them for one language." nails says, "I think a more feasible project would be to start with alternate-language tutorials for common tasks." nails says, "Maybe build up a database of how-tos, and work from there." Stoko nods. Stoko says, "I could probably name more problems which PennMUSH Translation Project has, but I have to admit I didn't have enough time to mention them all while I was preparing my presentation." Stoko says, "There are some other problems MUSHes which run in languages other than English could have." Stoko says, "One of the problems is the question of portability of softcode. There's a lot of softcode available on the Web for download, but all, or almost all, of it is in English. A staffer of a, say, Hungarian MUSH would have a much harder time implementing that softcode than a staffer of a English MUSH would. He would need to spend time on translating all text sent by the softcode to Hungarian." Molikai says, "all functions are based on the english language, also, and thus are less intuitive for non-english users?" Wine has disconnected. Sketch-the-fox says, "All functions are based on computer-science terms, and are thus less intuitive for the average player. Not a problem." nails peers at Sketch. Sketch-the-fox peers back. "I try to tutor softcoding on an RP MUSH." Impster has arrived. Stoko says, "InterMUSH intends to partially solve that problem by distributing softcode over the Web which is translated to several different languages." Stoko says, "There is also a problem of fragmentation of MU* community. MU* players who don't speak English wouldn't communicate with English-speaking MU* players, and they wouldn't go to their websites or read their blogs. Generally, speakers of one language wouldn't have much contact with the speakers of some other language, unless they speak their language." collette has reconnected. Stoko says, "InterMUSH hopes it'll make that problem smaller if it will succeed in becoming a sort of crossroads for MUSH staffers and players of MUSHes in languages other than English. Perhaps it will become a place where MUSH players and staffers who don't speak English will be able to learn softcode, to learn how to start their own server, and to be in some sort of contact with the rest of the MU* community." Stoko says, "That's all from me. Any comments or questions?" Zubeneschamali says, "What's the address of InterMUSH? :D" Nymeria has disconnected. nails says, "You should post an ad for InterMUSH on our ad bboard :)" Stoko says, "It's intermush.pennmush.org 4201. However, we, and especially I, have been very lazy, so InterMUSH can be said to still be under construction." Stoko says, "Thanks, nails, I will." Stoko says, "Also, if you're interested in the website as well, it's at http://intermush.pennmush.org" nails says, "Are there any MU* clients that have useful amounts of internationalization, or do most non-english MU*ers use the same clients english-speakers do?" Sketch-the-fox says, "I know that Atlantis, the client developed by Sparks of the TinyMUX devteam, has full unicode support..." Stoko says, "Sorry, nails, I'm not knowledgeable enough to answer that question, but perhaps Sketch, and some other people, might answer it." Sketch-the-fox says, "MUSHClient is also headed in that direction, and its source is now available to view/patch (it's not, however, open-source)..." nails nods. Unicode support doesn't really cover it, though. all the menu items and dialog boxes are probably still in English. Sketch-the-fox says, "Ah. Yes, probably." nails says, "I'm just thinking of other obstacles to getting more non-english speaking MU*ers into the mix." nails says, "how can we convert them en-masse..." Stoko says, "I haven't even thought about it. Yes, something might be done to internationalize the clients, too." Sketch-the-fox says, "nails: the largest obstacle is getting more than one. Then they might -stay-." nails rubs his hands together. nails coughs. Anyway. collette has partially disconnected. Chouli goes home. Chouli has left. nails says, "The worst part is when I go on one of these games with another primary language and I try to communicate with the natives by typing my ENGLISH IN ALL CAPS." Caireen says, "Lol" nails <-- MU* tourist Caireen says, "And you type slower?" lain says, "nails, ever the ambassador." nails says, "Any other questions guys?" nails says, "If not, lets have a quick 2min snack and/or potty break and we'll move on to the next presentation." Stoko says, "Okay, my presentation is over, then. Thank you for your attention." nails says, "And everybody, a big round of applause for Stoko!" Stoko sits on one of the seats in the audience. Diuturnal applauds, quite loudly. lain says, "Everybody?" Guest2 applauds Caireen says, "Thanks Stoko" Zubeneschamali flings pieces of random vocabulary into the air in a celebratory fashion! nails cheers! collette clapclapclapclap! Watchmaker claps. Zubeneschamali then scoots AFK to the heat run, to defrost self. ihavenomouth claps, applauds, lauds, etc. :D Sketch-the-fox wooo1 nails runs out of the room. brb nails appears in the doorway, walking backwards slowly, dragging a huge couch. Impster fling poo. . I like the zoo.. :p nails gets some of the audience members to help him carry it and place it in the center of the room. A little to the left, no back the other way. Just right there. nails plops down on the couch. collette flops. collette was tired of standing. ihavenomouth continues to sit on her hard, uncomfy rock. Yep. Watchmaker hops up on top of the couch, gargoyle-like. Everybody claps, and then pushes herself out of her seat and goes out for a smoke break.

Nails: Projects... for a better Tomorrow

nails says, "Okay, my fine feathered friends. The next and final presentation will be brought to you by someone who needs no introduction, but does like talking about himself in the third person. Oh, that would be me." Sketch-the-fox laughs. nails says, "After this one is done, we'll head back to M*U*S*H for a reception and all around classy shin-dig." Disraeli hees nails says, "My presentation: Projects... for a better Tomorrow!!!" Stoko applauds. Emerson says, "!!!1111!!" Impster wonders why Nails set on the couch if ya are going to present, "Get up there in front." Impster tries to steal the seat. Diuturnal joins in with Impster. Couch is more comfy than the audience seat. nails says, "Hi, I'm nails. I've been MUSHing since the fall of 94, I got my first wizbit in 95, learned what to do with it in 96, and have been messing around with games for a good long time. I was one of the earliest staff members on OGR (Online Gaming Resources), having been suckered into being their codewiz after helping to fix some dice code, and I was staff there for ~5 years. I've been hosting games for about 6 years in some form or another, and have seen hundreds of games come and go in that time. I've sat on the staff channels of both successful games and horrible failures, and I have seen things. I've seen them with my eyes." Sketch-the-fox raves in a corner. "Y'dunno the places I been, the things I seen!" ihavenomouth says, "You've seen them, you can't UNsee them." Luke says, "They're often in disguise." nails says, "Before I talk about the projects on my list, I want to point out that there are several common underlying themes in all of them. We're talking today about innovation, and what I'm getting at is that innovation isn't just the domain of technological advances. There are all forms of new ways to approach things, and at the very heart of it, MUSH is about people." nails says, "Amongst the things I've come across are lots of naysayers and pessimists, a lot of people espousing this problem or that problem. There are a lot of derogatory myths that have perpetuated over the years that I think really hurt the community, and I think it behooves everyone to dispell them where and when they can." nails says, "Where I'm focused, and where I see a whole bunch of room for growth and development is in the community and the culture of MUSH, how people go about playing, staffing, building, recruiting, advertising, etc et al. This kind of change requires a lot of buy-in from a a lot of people, though." nails says, "Okay, I'm a hippy cult leader blah blah blah." Emerson breaks out the Kool-Aid. Clotho claps and is a nails minion! nails says, "But this is part of the mindset that underlines my approach to projects, so it's worth stating." Sketch-the-fox nods to nails. Peace and love! nails says, "The other disclaimer is that many if not all of these projects are either in their infancy or dormant. They're all in need of help to get them started or get them rolling again. We'll be taking names and numbers at the end. And yes, the doors are currently sealed from the outside." nails says, "Project #1: Museon!" nails says, "Museon is a project that dates back several years now. The idea is to build up a modular softcode framework similar to previous efforts (MIAM, SGP), but with a more open and structured development model. Instead of just writing code and releasing it, there would be community involvement at every level: Design, documentation, installation support and education resources. Because the code would be handled by a open project instead of a person or a specific group of individuals, it could have longevity beyond the involvement of the initial author." collette giggles. Impster volunteers Collette to help with everything. Sketch-the-fox says, "If I volunteer, don't take me seriously, I -beg- of everyone." Luke nods seriously. nails says, "This is something I came up with to solve a specific problem: I had all these new players starting new games, and all of them seemed to need a dedicated coder to write essentially the same code for each game. Coders may be a dime a dozen, but in practice this doesn't work out. The ones that are available often aren't up to such a big task, the ones that are have already been booked. A 1:1 ration of coders to games is not a feasible model. Museon looks to solve this." Emerson raises a hoof to make a comment. nails says, "Three game admins, non coders, each need faction code. The process under Museon is that they'd form a group amongst themselves (and possibly others), and work out a design for one system that would suit the needs of all their games. This would be made available to coders who would review, suggest changes, and when everybody was happy, would work on the project. The game admins would provide documentation, people would test it out, and then the finished project would be made available to the public, not just the original group." nails says, "Mr. Emerson in 3D. Your comment?" Javelin has connected. nails notes also that a very old and rough draft rant of his on the subject can be found at http://museon.org/ Sketch-the-fox raises a hand. Diuturnal raises a hand. nails says, "I fear the size of Emerson's comment." Emerson says, "What I've noticed from coding my own projects, as well as reviewing other code.. is that code, whether awesome or fairly poor, tends to last for a fairly long time, often past the point where their original coder is long gone from the host MUSH. The problem is that alot of this code is written in.. 'dirty hack' format, and hardly maintainable. In addition to writing and documenting code, we need to write -understandable- and -flexible- code, that can be understood by newer coders, and more importantly, maintained by them." Diuturnal hearhears! nails says, "That is also part of the Museon charter. Best practices, naming conventions, etc are to be sorted out and documented, and to be applied to all code projects. One of the facets is that every bit of code written under the Museon project would be reviewed by another coder before getting stamped with approval." Sketch-the-fox says, "Neato. I've noticed a potential problem that most people want their +who, +where, etc, to be essentially the exact same thing, but look different. So won't people end up recoding it anyhow?" nails says, "Museon started with a bang, back in the day. I had an idea, I pitched it to some people, 2 days later we were up and running and advertised and had coders on board hashing out those very issues. Vadiv was there, and he was evangelizing the need for skinnable systems to avoid the need for recoding." Luke says, "Best practices would be to separate presentation from content, I should think, Sketch." Disraeli says, "dirty hack, oh yes." Sketch-the-fox says, "I see I see." Emerson does that with his other projects, "It tends to work very well, except when you have to process large volumes of data." nails says, "The basic idea of Museon can be summed up very simply: Software engineering applied to MUSHcode." Pain has arrived. nails says, "The ideas aren't new. They just aren't often applied to MUSHcode projects." Caireen chuckles a little. Disraeli did a course on software engineering. :p Luke says, "The interesting thing, to me, is that the result will be open." nails says, "All of the common complaints about existing 'available' softcode are to be addressed. Documentation, portability (often debated, won't go into that here), and installation. Furthermore, the more people that use the code, the larger the group of people there are to help answer questions about how use and modify it." nails says, "Not every game is going to all have the same exact code. There doesn't need to be only one +who, or one faction system." collette assumes you could offer a few different kinds with museon. nails says, "Museon doesn't put that kind of limit on code. It just talks about how it should be designed, developed and maintained." Emerson raises another hoof. nails says, "go for it." nails notes that he was going to gloss over this project, but got requests not to. :) nails says, "So I do have some other topics I'd like to talk about after this." Clotho pins a star to nails. :) Luke says, "So, Museon: Sourceforge for MUSHes." collette says, "Now he's the sherriff." nails says, "That, or google code. svn seems to be the 'hep' thing with the kids these days." Luke says, "You make him the sheriff, somebody will shoot him. It's a rule." Sketch-the-fox says, "Uh, nobody has -ever- said 'hep'." Luke says, "Two people have, so far." Clotho says, "I shot the deputy, but I didn't shoot the sheriff." nails says, "Emerson is going to drop another bomb on us." Caireen says, "svn?" collette didn't understand nails either. Sketch-the-fox says, "Subversion. a widely-used source control system." Luke says, "svn is the short name for... for what Sketch said." Clotho is waiting for Emerson to write up his pearl of, well, something, yes. Emerson says, "This goes back to the software engineering aspect - portability aspects. One thing that I've been playing with is the idea of 'higher-level code' or using layers of abstraction. For example, I'd have one function that would do basic code-logic. IF this, DO that, but it calls additional modules for 'this' and 'that', so the more complex code is obfuscated. By using an engineering approach to portability, the nasty difficult parts of dealing with the differences between say, Penn and MUX, are as simple as dropping in a series of sub-modules." Emerson will now be quiet and go write his own paper or something :P nails says, "Some levels of that have been talked about. I'll disclaim again: I have no plans of writing any code for Museon. I'm not that good of a coder, and I'll leave that to my betters :)" nails says, "Last thing I'll say about the project:" nails says, "The reason that it did not take off like a shot at the beginning was not to do with anything people would have suspected." Luke says, "It had a silly name?" Javelin was voting for 'too many people find it fun to code badly' :) nails says, "After we set up shop, I went around door to door trying to find game admins who would participate. I went to new games with new game admins, fresh projects from old schoolers, and big popular games where the headwiz was begging me to find them a coder. To a one, they all refused to participate." Diuturnal stares. nails says, "They told me: Great idea, but it'll never work." Diuturnal says, "You jest. Surely." nails says, "they said: Coders won't show up. Coders won't share their code. Coders won't work together on projects." Diuturnal says, "Well, the idea of collaborative development is something you need to know enough about to actually believe in." nails says, "I had one guy, who had just set up an account with me and had asked me for help finding a coder, say: "I don't trust coders."" Luke says, "Actually, that was exactly what I would have suspected. :/" nails says, "He closed his game 3 months later after never getting a coder." Molikai says, "Gee, I wonder why." Clotho snorts and nods. nails says, "Meanwhile, I had Brazil. I had Anomaly. I had Ronan. I had Ashen-Shugar. I had Vadiv. I had half a dozen other coders on board, and all of them were playing well together waiting to get started." Luke says, "What were they waiting for? :)" collette says, "So...you had coders, but no one asking for projects?" nails says, "I had the head of a game I hosted log into the Museon game (it was a separate game at the time) and try to recruit a dedicated coder." nails says, "This is what I meant about derogatory myths that hurt the community." lain says, "But not coders, because they have no feelings." nails says, "The very people who would have been helped by the project were the ones who rejected it, and all based on either outdated or false ideas that they couldn't let go of." nails says, "For community projects to succeed, they need to get past hurdles like that." nails says, "And that's what I got for Museon. Currently Grey, who is the maintainer of the AnomalyJobs softcode system, is the point man for Museon." nails will try to go through the others a little quicker. Caireen says, "But nails, it is a fairly closed community, one needs to know what is going on and who to speak with. It isn't easy from the outside." collette says, "Nah. Take your time." nails says, "That's a problem to be solved, Caireen." Clotho says, "Which is what Museon was trying to do. >.>;" Clotho says, "(Introduce people; get them working.)" nails says, "Next project, or project idea really. Less exciting, but will sound eerily similar: The Softcode Archive!" collette grins. Clotho gasps and ooos in all the right places. nails says, "Yawn! Yet another softcode archive. These come and go, usually just a collection of a few decompiles, sometimes sorted in an orderly fashion and sometimes not. What I'd like to see is a system put in place for several stages: collection/intake, proccessing and testing, and then sorting/filing/releasing. Have a standard format for credits. Tweak old code to fix bugs and perhaps work better or be installed or setup more easily, DOCUMENT it, etc." Sketch-the-fox says, "Ugh. Yeah." nails says, "The project would go like this: Instead of one person trying to do all this, have one or more people take on the role of project management and recruit helpers to do the various tasks needed. A comprehensive softcode archive with reliable and documented code is an ambitious project, and a living project. No single person can handle that indefinitely." Luke says, "How is this -not- Museon?" nails says, "There are a number of sites out there, most of them are derelict. Those that are still active? I'd like to see combined efforts." Sketch-the-fox says, "Uh, this isn't an archive! ;)" nails says, "Because this isn't about producing new code. This is about collecting what's out there, and just fixing it up so it's actually useful." Clotho says, "Yes, it is. Complete woith archivist that maintain the 'books' and 'repair' them, sometimes." collette says, "Its a good idea." Sketch-the-fox says, "Aaah." Luke says, "Sounds like a different facet of the same jewel. =)" nails says, "Like I said, eerily familiar. How about different project, same common sense?" collette nods. Clotho says, "One churns out code, the other regurgates code into new and fun shapes." nails says, "The reason I'm listing it separately is that the work involved requires a different skillset, so people who might not be involved with certain aspects of Museon code development may be suited to helping with this project." nails says, "But you are correct, they aren't far apart. I'd say that they are complimentary." nails says, "The goals are the same. Get code to people who need it." nails says, "Here's the thing." nails goes into rant mode. Diuturnal braces self. Luke dons rant-proof parachute pants. Temperance cringes. Sketch-the-fox hides under the couch. Clotho sits and waits in glee. collette says, "Or maybe to reword it...there's a lot of people spending a lot of time needlessly bashing their heads on their desks, over code that won't quite code right, or install right. The manhours that could be saved for the MUSHing/coding community are countless." Luke says, "Yeah. And there'd a lot less idiocy on the code channels." nails says, "Running a game takes a great deal of energy, and it requires a constant supply. Starting a game requires even more. And a huge amount of the energy that people spend on these projects is *re-inventing the same old wheels*. There is some value in the education of learning things, but this is not efficient learning. The MU* community doesn't have endless supplies of energy, and anything that we're wasting is bad for everybody. So the idea here is to just stop that. Lets stop being dumb, lets evolve, lets be smart about what we do and how we do it. And lets stop writing an new +who every 8 seconds." Luke says, "Pretend that was grammatical." Clotho peers at Luke. "No, there'd still be idiocy on code channels. You can't stop that." Luke :( nails says, "This means a lot of things" Diuturnal listens, intent! nails says, "The MUSH community is unbelievably fractured; it's barely a community. PennMUSH has a nice solid enclave, but it's pretty insular. And nobody here, either in the room today or reading this log, has any idea of what is really out there in terms of games or groups or cliques. Nobody can see the big picture because there is so much separation and fog. that needs to be fixed." Wedge nods! Clotho nods, sort of, kind of. nails says, "Many of the people who cry "MU* is dead!" haven't logged into a new game in years, and don't believe me when I tell them I alone am hosting close to 100 games. And that's just one host." nails is foaming now. ihavenomouth wipe mouth. collette says, "Preach it!" Watchmaker hands nails a clo-- nails says, "So yeah. I think this is a good project. Or facet. Or whatever." nails says, "Questions?" Javelin has one. nails says, "Yes sirrah." Clotho has one, but it isn't productive. collette has one too. nails eyes Clotho. "There is no punch and pie." Clotho :< Luke says, "What?" collette says, "Too late. Doors are locked." Javelin says, "Given the concerns you've just raised about the community, I'm led to wonder if we'd be better served by reviving a MUSH-specific "mudlist". Mudconnector is not well suited to telling us about what's going on in our community. Perhaps that would be a good project for some people to think about as well." nails says, "That's in my list :)" Emerson beats the ritual drums. Javelin yays. nails says, "Well. Sort of." Sketch-the-fox says, "who -runs- mudlist? Do we even know the people? o.o" Sketch-the-fox says, "Er, connector." collette says, "Now me!" nails picks collette. Javelin has had some contact with them, but that's not really the point. collette says, "You say there's no idea what's really out there, what cliques there are, no big picture due to separation and fog. But how can such things be monitored and watched? Lots of people have lots of little MUSHes." Emerson mutters, "We need larger meta-MUSHes." Sketch-the-fox says, "No, we need -fewer- meta-MUSHes..." nails says, "I don't really expect we'll have any sort of monitoring of all that's out there. No NORAD or such. But what I think we need is a more well rounded and well supported and above all cohesive infrastructure." Luke says, "We need a meta-meta-MUSH." nails says, "For years there were new 'resource' websites popping up. People got their hands on an install of CMS and they had a MUSH site and oh by the way would people please give them content." nails says, "This goes back to the cultural change. I think we need to get some sort of revival moment going where more people contribute and participate at an individual level. Sites like ElectricSoup will become more useful to more people when more people contribute. It's the pet peeve I mentioned during Temperance's talk: People find something that has value, but they don't see enough participation. So instead of participating and encouraging their friends to do so, they walk away." nails says, "That sucks." nails says, "movement, not moment." nails says, "I think the PennMUSH community is a great model for others to learn from. There's a lot of openness and sharing and participation from what I've seen. It does tend to be highly focused on PennMUSH, which is understandable but unfortunately is also exclusive to many other members of the overall MU* community, even if unintentionally." Impster nudges collette, "Do I raise hand or how does that work here?" collette raises Impster's hand. Javelin wonders what would happen if mush servers could write out a special log file in rss format that could be aggregated by ES, etc. nails says, "Hmm. That could be done." Caireen says, "I keep hoping electricsoup will fill some of the gaps left by moosh (and others resource sites) closing down in the last year or so... the list of MUSHes and code samples, tutorials, manuals, etc. That sounds a bit like nails' archive and Javelin's list." nails says, "The technology exists today." nails has two other projects to talk about btw :) Javelin supposes writing out the MUSH's "announcements" bboard, if any, in RSS, would be a good start. Shuts up now. Disraeli says, "nails = busy man" nails pokes Impster nails says, "Sorry, I thought you were already typing :)" Impster says, "So.. I attempted to start a game 5ish years ago. I've played with Penn, tiny, mux. for years. And I hate to say it but I only discovered places like OGR and Electric Soup by accident. Part of what is need is better promotion of these resources in my opinion first and foremost." nails nods and agrees. The problem is that such promotion is usually left up to a small handful of people. "It needs to be a greater effort by a greater number of people." nails says, "Okay, let me get through my last two topics." nails says, "Okay! Next up, something to annoy Luke's sense of deja vu." Impster says, "And the only reason I found those places was looking to advertise the game. I mean.. I've been mu* since like 84 back when Compuserve and GEnie were big. I had never heard of That Shang place until today :D" nails says, "The Incubator Project!" collette giggles! Luke says, "How is this -not- Museon?" Impster hides bhind Collette. Not the incubator.. Javelin believes the problem is that the people who make the servers (who you naturally find) tend not to be the people running the sites. People find cpo and the BrazilMUX site easily if they use Penn and MUX nails says, "This one wasn't my idea. It started with a discussion on ES, and I suggested that MPUG would be a logical home for it, so we're doing it." nails says, "The goal of the Incubator Project is to provide a mini-MU* resource, but one that uses zones to provide code support and local admin control to rival that of a full standalone game as closely as possible. Instead of limiting a given game (ie an incubator) to a handful of rooms for soft RP and maybe a +roll command, a modular suite of code will be available and they'll have the option of rolling their own." nails says, "Additionally, should an incubator grow to the point that its staff are ready to graduate to a stand-alone game, resources will be available to migrate the existing grid and code to another database." collette says, "Dang! This was my idea!" nails says, "The upshot of this is lowering the barrier to entry for designing and running a new game, both in terms of cost (incubators are free) and technical hurdles. The energy is then put towards theme, character development and storytelling, and it helps people build experience they otherwise might not have a chance to aquire." Luke says, "Hey. this isn't Museon. Well done! :p" Impster doesn't want to learn mux code :p nails says, "One of the advantages of running a game like this is that it'll be inside an existing environment that has existing resources -- code channels, bboards and supporting staff -- and players (people who come to check out one incubator might see others that they like). An incubator won't exist in the cold vacuum of space." Emerson says, "Or heck, we could have some stock-built areas that can be pulled and thrown together for a one-shot pickup game or three." nails says, "A lot of the same issues come up as with the other projects already mentioned. Project management, development of the starter code and the migration tools, etc. There's the issue that if it starts here, a game is skewed towards one codebase. There's solutions to all these issues, but it requires more people to dedicate time to them." nails nods to Emerson, maybe have time-share incubators. :) nails says, "Questions?" Impster says, "Is the punch and pie?"" nails says, "There is going to be punch." collette says, "I have one..." ihavenomouth says, "i can has cheezburgr?" nails says, "Go ahead and ask away." ihavenomouth ducks. Clotho sets ihnm on fire. :D Zubeneschamali once considered writing a version of pennmush translated into lolspeak. nails says, "mouth, I will end you with cheezburgr. I will end you." Zubeneschamali says, "icanhas() would be get()." Luke says, "Thank the gods you didn't." nails says, "Okay." nails says, "Any questions about the Incubator project?" nails says, "comments?" Luke says, "The Incubator rocks." collette says, "I tried to use zones in a TinyMUX environment, and it wasn't anything close to what I was trying to accomplish. As far as I could tell, it wasn't /doable/ in this codebase." Impster thinks the incubator project needs to have games named after chickens.. Zubeneschamali says, "Oh! Maybe have multiple versions over different code-bases, so new-like people can get a feel for each one?" collette says, "I know. Doesn't sound like a question, but one is implied." nails nods to Zuben. Setting up instances of Penn, etc to host incubators is doable. "The trick is that the support environment is not something that can be replicated, so they would be relegated satellite status." nails says, "collette, we have top men working on it." nails says, "top." nails says, "men." collette laughs. Zubeneschamali says, "ninjas?" Emerson says, "What were you trying to accomplish with zones?" nails says, "Anybody interested in learning more about Incubator, come by later (tomorrow?) and we'll talk." collette says, "The point of zones, as I envisioned them, is people could have their own areas, with their own 'master rooms' and wizard-like powers within their areas." nails says, "Lets not get into a technical discussion of zones, here." nails says, "That'll go on for hours. Trust me. I know from experience. Hours." nails @Colberts, "Moving on..." Javelin believes there are other MUSHes that could be interested in providing the support environment on their codebases. Impster wants a softcode or comand/function that I can go @decompile db# and it searchs through that DB object and grabs any related db objects and outputs them without output flushed and then re-imports them elsemu* with the new numbers the @create blah causes. :p nails nods to Javelin. There would probably be a call for coordination between them. Javelin believes some people have perl scripts and the like that can do that, Imp. Javelin gives nails the secret handshake. nails covert furtive response. Molikai can write a softcode object to do that, Imp, in about 10 minutes. Impster points at Jav, "He's hording resources again! Javelin isn't one of those people, Imp. :) nails says, "People, meet me at camera 3." Javelin uses a tool called vi for that. nails says, "Last project!" nails says, "That I have on my list because I didn't have time to do proper research..." nails says, "MU*IS!" nails says, "Preamble:" nails says, "This is a fairly recent idea and the details aren't fully fleshed out, but I believe the concept is sound. The impetus for this is the current lack of a good solid MU* list. There have been many of these over the years, some are still around but stale, some have gone away, some exist but have limited offerings. There are options like the MUD connector, but many MUSH players feel marginalized in the sea of MUDs, and advertising there often brings in MUD players who aren't interested in a MUSH in the long term. Arguments go either way, but the bottom line is that there are many players out there who feel they don't have a really great way to find out about all the games that are out there." Disraeli says, "Amen, brother." nails allows for table thumping to signify agreement. Wedge woofs! nails says, "MU*IS isn't a MU* List project, it's an attempt to solve a problem with MU* sites. It goes back to the inital problem of efficiency and duplicating work. Every time someone decides to start a new MU* list site, they have to find a way to populate it. Sign-up forms, address tracking, etc. And every time a new game opens and wants to advertise, they have to figure out where to go to list themselves. Every time a game moves or changes address, there's a laundry list of places to update." nails makes a face at the camera. Updating is no fun! Diuturnal is feeling this pain right now, acutely. nails says, "MU*IS is a database that gets its name and concept from WHOIS. It is a very simple central repository for games to register their basic info - name, address, contact info, etc - That can then be used by others to build a list site or a tracking site or some other MU* related site. This frees up the potential site builder from having to manage the data collection, and when used by multiple sites, it frees up the game admins from having to run all over the place to make updates and changes." Molikai says, "I remember this idea!" nails says, "(for those who aren't familiar with WHOIS, it's the database that keeps track of your domain when you register imubercool.com)" collette says, "Perhaps hosts can make that part of their package deal?" Javelin notes that a lot of that could be done by providing only the hostname and port #, and having MU*IS connect to the MUSH connect screen and run the INFO command. Should extend the INFO protocol to add contact info, etc. nails says, "Just like renewing a domain with WHOIS, the contact for a given game would have to 'renew' or refresh the record every x period, be it a year or 6 months or whatever. Obviously there would be no charge, it's not being run by Netsol. But this helps ensure that the information in the database stays fresh. Any record that is not updated during the renewal period will not be deleted, but will be marked as Stale. It's then up to the sites who use the database to decide how they handle it, whether they mark it as such or exclude it from their site, etc." nails nods to Javelin. "There are pros and cons to the seek-and-update method, and I'm not going to get into that level of detail tonight. But that is certainly an option." Javelin nods. No reason one couldn't integrate both. Impster has a better idea he thinks. nails says, "Details not worked out are the various record types, what they include, what format the data is presented in, how it's mirrored, etc. One thing I'd eventually like to see is that some of the more prevalent sites using it would also funnel people back to the MU*IS registry for new signups, or even possibly have signup forms on their sites directly." Impster says, "The mu* developers should put hardcode it to "phone home" to a central site with the information. And then @mail staff about codebase updates too :D" nails says, "The first question, before the implementation details are hashed out, is whether the central repository concept would work, and would people adopt it?" nails says, "Would site developers adopt it?" nails says, "The very first time I pitched it to someone, I got: Great idea, but it'll never work." nails, horrible crushing deja vu. Zubeneschamali D: Molikai says, "It'll work." nails says, "So I pose the question: Is this a good model?" Sketch-the-fox says, "We have to answer -right now-..?" Wedge has a question about it? nails says, "I don't see the doors unlocking, Sketch." nails nods to Wedge? Javelin thinks nails' problem is this "pitching" thing he keeps doing. Wedge says, "How would you get it mass marketed enough to get a considerable proportion/majority of the games out there to do listings?" Stoko says, "I also think it'll work, because it would be an advantage for website owners to use such a database. They would lose something if it was out there, and they didn't use it." Javelin . o O (Everything good is impossible, until someone goes and does it.) Sketch-the-fox says, "Easy. All the 'big guys' are right here, aren't we..?" Wedge has seen a lot of MU* listings, which range from a few dozen to a few hundred games on them. How would you mass market it enough to make people aware of it to have the mlutiple potentially thousands of games around get up on it? nails says, "The initial startup would be work, but it'd be the one-time hard work instead of doing the same hard work a dozent imes." Emerson considers it workable, although requires the support o' yer hardcoders. Watchmaker has disconnected. nails says, "And Stoko makes a great point." Stoko says, "Also, if we wanted to put pressure on website owners, we could remove our listings from there, and have them only in the MU*IS database." Sketch-the-fox grins. Stoko says, "But that would probably be a mean move." Javelin dunno why you'd want to do that. It's probably sufficient to have the MU*IS database be more up-to-date (through its better process) and to allow good information to drive out bad. Pain raises his hand. nails says, "The trick is that there is no target list site out there. This would be an effort to support such a site's creation. There was a discussion some months back about making a list to replace the one lost from MUSH Warehouse's closing, but it hasn't happened yet. And there is talk of bringing MUSH Warehouse's list back, hosted on some other site, but that isn't a long term solution either." nails says, "The problem that I worry about and am trying to prevent is that, in the void of no go-to list site (like MW's), people will attempt to fix it by making a dozen smaller sites that don't get updated." nails says, "Critical mass." Wedge nodnods. "Makes sense." nails says, "It's not the first time you've heard it, and it won't be the last." nails says, "Also, my eyes are blurring and I can't see hands. Just ask questions :)" Pain says, "Considering I'm fairly clueless when it comes to most stuff, is there a possible way to notify people when they install a new MU* codebase that they should register with MU*IS? I think that'd be a great place to start." nails says, "Possible." Zubeneschamali says, "Maybe a note in the mush.cnf?" Luke would suggest an option to enable automatic registration. Caireen says, "That is painful to those of us who run local copies, not accessible to the outside world." nails says, "The hardcoded call-out command might take a config param to list a preferred site (or list of sites) to send info. Or maybe the seek-and-update would login as a guest and @mail staff. Who knows. Crazy things can be done." Javelin says, "We used to do that with the pennmush mailing list in the Configure script" nails says, "normal advertising might happen." nails says, "The specific methods will rely on the implementation details." collette's eyes have crossed. Molikai was always a fan of a bot that would watch for ads for new MUSH's, and use that to hunt for more. nails says, "I am not a database guy. This project will require skilled assistance to implement." Impster Still thinks ya should just dump it in the Mu* hardcode to phone home like the EULA I want to eventually right that when someone agrees I get their soul. no one reads thos thngs anyway :D nails says, "So that's the last of my Big Ideas." nails says, "I know that other people have them, and ideally I was hoping to put out a call for topics. RL interrupted pretty brutally the past week and I didn't get to that. I know there are tons of issues that can be helped by new and inventive approaches, and not all of them are about how to build games." Pain says, "One problem I see with automatic registration is that people who are just starting to develop their game (like me) don't necessarily want people roaming around their game. If it auto-registers, then people would have info on my game that I might not want them to have, at least not at htis point." Luke did say "option". ;-) Pain apologizes to Luke. "Sorry, missed that one word :)" Impster says, "Or.. it could get back to an incubator enviorment. where if it comes for <list of domains> do not list.. or if playerbase size is less then to 10.. or an option in mu* config. or lock the mu to wizards only or..." nails says, "One of the issues is how to get more people into MUSHes more easily. There was talk somewhere recently of making a slick Ajax-y MU* Web client, something that might help get around pesky corporate firewalls. There's the issue that most games advertise only within the existing MU* community. Ideas of how to leverage social networking sites to get the word out would also be cool. Maybe some simple Facebook application to list / vote on favorite MU*s" Molikai says, "A way around that would be to notify upon creation, with the note to: Register now, register later, Register NEVER. If later, then once a month or so, d oreminders: For both Later and Never, a god-only command to do it." Impster says, "As a network guy.. I still think playing MU in a corp work environment is a bad idea :p." Impster says, "Sides.. that's what shell accounts are for :D" Luke says, "You probably wouldn't want to register now, unless you're moving an existing database to a new server." Wedge would love a MU*client that's capable of being opened in IE/FF. nails says, "The bottom line is that to get these things done, more energy has to come from more people. Javelin's comment about my pitching was keen of sight. I haven't gone and built all of these things. I don't have all the necessary skillsets, I certainly don't have the time or energy, I'm spread pretty thin. But that's true of a number of people, and the load needs to be spread around a bit more." Pain says, "Any ideas on how we could get an interview with, say, Yahoo News and maybe get a feature on their front page? That'd be one way to get people in." Sketch-the-fox says, "Piece of cake, Wedge. making a -good- one...that'll take time." Luke says, "Lots of money would help, Pain." Emerson says, "Yeah, Impster. Imagine your typical conversation in a MUSH.. being reviewed by your Employee Relations officer and your boss. :P" Zubeneschamali says, "CGI:MU*, like CGI:IRC would be love." Impster has had to do that before... Javelin says, "Actually, Pain, that's where RP mushes with established themes can do a lot for the MUSH community in general, if they're so minded" Impster actually had to turn in his own Supervisor for setting up drug deals over AIM. Impster shakes his head. Javelin turned a ton of Dune-book-fans into MUSH-fans via being Dunemush-fans for a while. nails points at: WHO Mudtape nails says, "I have Mudtape on my contacts list in gmail." Guest2 should really take its finger out of its nose. collette says, "I found MUSHing by being a Lord of the Rings fan, and finding Elendor in a non-mushing site." nails grins at Guest2. Luke thinks drug dealing is not the same as MUSHing. ;-) Wedge found it by browsing Transformers sites and coming across a link for a game. Got my teeth wet. Luke found it via some random Hitchhiker's Guide site somewhere. collette says, "I think that if we'd do more advertising on non-mushcentric sites, we'd bring in more new blood." Impster says, "Oh Oh Oh! I know what we do!" nails says, "A friend of mine found the address to TinyTIM in the back of Wired Magazine, and he got half a dozen of us on." Emerson says, "I found the address for my first MU* in a book about the internet." Zubeneschamali has successfully turned one of my MegaMan.EXE fan friends into a MUSHer via MegaManMUSH (which is also how I found it). Caireen blames her husband for her MU* habit. Emerson sniffs, "I think I'm still banned from there." Impster says, "We make a MU* based on HS.. then allow player killing.. then leak that Collette was arrested bring a gun to school. And see how many news orgs publish the story before checking it out :D" nails says, "Emerson is a bad apple." nails says, "Impster is a bad apple, too." Stoko says, "I discovered MUSHes after my friend mentioned to me how fun to him it was to play on a Star Wars MUD. So I searched the web for a Star Wars MUD, found a Star Wars MUSH, and got confused how come there aren't any roaming monsters." Impster says, "But my idea would work :p" lain says, "Ugh I guess I'm napping." lain says, "Er sorry, wrong window." nails laughs. Luke is a roaming monster. Pain was introduced to MU by someone he met on IRC and used raw telnet for the next 5 years cause he had no idea what a MU* client was. nails says, "So guys." Wedge feels your pain. nails says, "Lets wrap this up." Javelin rests his case. If you run a mush on a well-known theme, use it to introduce people to mushing, not just yourmush. nails says, "Lets go get our punch and pie. As I mentioned before, we" Zubeneschamali plans to do that with my "Someday" MUSH, Jav. :D nails says, "We're going to head back to M*U*S*H, and this time there will be punch and pie." Zubeneschamali says, "Yay!" Caireen says, "Have you unlocked the door yet nails?" collette sagenods to Jav. But that goes back to what nails was saying, more than just the core people need to be looking at the bigger picture. Javelin nods to collette, but people who run original-theme mushes or social mushes will have a harder time than SW, ST, Dune, Pern, etc. nails says, "But I charge everybody here to get involved with projects, and /talk to your friends/ and get them involved. Every time you go "Huh, too bad about x", think about solving the problem." nails says, "Thank you, and have... A Better Tomorrow" Luke says, "x = Britney Spears' career." Javelin cheers wildly. Diuturnal applauds enthusiastically. "Thank you, nails." Stoko applauds, "A great presentation!" Zubeneschamali cheers! nails unlocks the door. nails says, "Time for snacks!" Zubeneschamali says, "Time for dinner!" nails says, "dinners are made to be spoiled!" nails goes over to M*U*S*H. See you there! -- Logging stopped at Sun Oct 14 00:37:26 -0700 2007 --