-- Logging started at Sat Oct 17 12:01:26 -0500 2009 -- 
Fili/LOGURL - Set. zarf takes a seat in the Right Front Row. Moriarty looks around the lecture hall. Jota takes a seat in the Right Front Row. Chaz says, "Whoops. I was stupid and forgot to actually include the attachment. Doh. xD Sorry about that. Hang on a second, I'll put it up on my Photobucket and page you the link here (unless you'd rather I sent it to you by email, in which case I'll do that.)" Emily takes a seat in the Left Front Row. Walker goes home. Walker has left. Moriarty carefully walks up the narrow stairs to the stage. Moriarty has left. <Lecturer> Moriarty has arrived. tramp says, "Moriarty, @chan/off public, and @chan/off newbie, if you want to reduce spam." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Done, thanks." tramp takes a seat in the Right Fourth Row. <Lecturer> Moriarty peers out over the hall to study the attendees. Chaz says, "Uh, how do I take a seat, again? ^^;" tramp says, "join at #<placenum>" Zebranky says, "We'll give folks a couple more minutes, then get this started." tramp says, "like: join at #4" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Okay." Chaz takes a seat in the Left Back Row. <Lecturer> Moriarty shuffles his notes importantly. ToadyOne takes a seat in the Right Second Row. Announcement: Sketch shouts, "ITBG is starting NOW! @tel #12 and enter Gentoo Hall!" tramp says, "also: help places" Zebranky says, "And hope that my connection doesn't drop suddenly as it just did." AnneLions says, "+help places, actually." tramp says, "yeah. sorry." Chaz stands and leaves the Left Back Row. <Lecturer> Moriarty pokes curiously at the holographic projector. "Don't have these where I teach ..." AnneLions says, "It's just like an overhead projector! Only... holographic." Sketch says, "We'll get them in real life pretty soon now, I imagine. :p" Zebranky says, "Those projectors with cameras are almost as cool." Chaz takes a seat in the Right Third Row. Scavar emerges from the Linux Lobby. Scavar has arrived. Zebranky says, "I think we're good. Let's see..." Zebranky carefully walks up the narrow stairs to the stage. Zebranky has left. <Lecturer> Zebranky has arrived. <Lecturer> Zebranky says, "Welcome, everyone, to the eighth(?) annual(?) Innovations and NEw Directions in Text-Based Gaming Conference!" <Lecturer> Zebranky says, "Or ITBG." Nämmyung applauds! jaybird takes a seat in the Left Front Row. Orange_Guest applaud Chaz claps his hands! tramp applauds. Taladan emerges from the Linux Lobby. Taladan has arrived. Mercutio emerges from the Linux Lobby. Mercutio has arrived. Scavar says, "HELP" <Lecturer> Zebranky says, "Our first speaker this afternoon is Professor Brian Moriarty, of such renowned titles as... well, you can read the announcement I made yourself. :)" Orange_Guest says, "Professor Moriarty?" <Lecturer> Zebranky says, "And with that I'll give him the mic. Please give him a warm welcome!" <Lecturer> Zebranky goes down the few steps to the seating area. Zebranky comes down the few steps from the stage. <Lecturer> Zebranky has left. Zebranky has arrived. tramp applauds. jaybird woot!@ zarf claps Zebranky takes a seat in the Left Front Row. Nämmyung applauds! AnneLions applauds and stuff. ToadyOne cheers! Purple_Guest applauds <Lecturer> Moriarty steps up to the microphone, which (he notes with some disappointment) is NOT holographic. Taladan takes a seat in the Right Back Row. tramp chuckles. AnneLions snickers. <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Thanks for the introduction, Zebranky." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "To begin with, I invite you all to take a look at the emote I typed a moment ago." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "No graphics game in the world I am aware of is capable of expressing disappointment." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "But here, I was able to do it easily." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "In 16 bytes, without a schedule or a budget." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "I suppose I'm preaching to the choir when I say this, but despite 20+ years of development, graphics games STILL have not even begun to approach the expressive power, subtlety and suppleness of text." AnneLions says, "Hear, hear." jaybird says, "Yeh" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Yet, it's also obvious that these unique qualities of interactive text are not particularly valued." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "I was recently appointed to the position of Professor of Practice in Game Design at Worcester Polytech." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "This has two happy results." Allen emerges from the Linux Lobby. Allen has arrived. <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "First, I am now truly and actually PROFESSOR Moriarty." Zebranky grins. tramp smirks, "a dubious perk at best?" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Second, I am now in a position to teach students about the wonderful properties of text-based gaming." Orange_Guest laughs AnneLions says, "Hooray!" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Yes, strangely, and perhaps sadly, I find myself reluctant to do so." tramp applauds. jaybird says, "Yay for text games!" Impster has disconnected. Allen takes a seat in the Left Third Row. Chaz says, "A picture is worth a thousand words, but a thousand words can still observe more detail than a picture, if used correctly. ^^" Dan emerges from the Linux Lobby. Dan has arrived. <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "The reason for my reluctance is simple. If I show an 18-year-old aspiring game designer a modern text game, they will simply wrinkle their nose at it." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "This not so much because they have to READ or TYPE to use it (although some might not be particularly excited about that)." Scavar strokes his goatee in thought <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "It's simply because the actual screen appearance of modern text games is so GOD DAMNED UGLY!" Chaz says, "Not all teenage aspiring game designers scoff at text games, though. I'm an aspiring game designer, I'm 19 years old, and indeed, it is text-based games that have interested me the most over the past year or two." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "The interface I am using to address you today looks essentially identical to the interface I was using to play GEMSTONE back in 1987!" Scavar says, "SAY" I feel like I hacked into a 1980s movie coming here to listen to the Professor." SAVE: I will kick reason to the curb and go beyond the impossible! My drill is the drill that will pierce the heavens! <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "I simply don't understand why the visual appearance of text games has not evolved in the past 25 years." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Aside from a few IF systems capable of presenting UGLY screens that look like HTML circa 1995, text games seem to be stuck at around 1986, the year I completed my game Trinity." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "There is exactly ONE interpreter, Gargoyle, that even BEGINS to address the issues involved in making interactive digital typography attractive." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "And even Gargoyle is basically designed to mimic the DEC VT-100 terminals used by the Infocom implementors to write Zork!" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Text games enthusiasts seem curiously unconcerned about this issue." Yellow_Guest emerges from the Linux Lobby. Yellow_Guest has arrived. <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "I believe that, for this excellent medium to attract new reader/players and writers, the community needs to take a long, hard look at basic presentation issues, and find ways to make these things more appealing to look at." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Another long, hard look is needed at the natural language interface (which, to save time, I'll call the "parser")." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Despite 20+ years of hardware evolution, the parsers found in contemporary text games are essentially no different in expressive power than the one I used to write Beyond Zork." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "This is simply inexcusable." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "An average desktop machine is capable of much, MUCH more than the glorified toys we were writing for back then. But contemporary games don't exploit this massive power at all." tramp nods his agreement. <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "This is partly the fault of what I call Z-Code Nostalgia." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Z-Code Nostalgia is a wasting disease which originated in England." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "It has hampered the development of IF by locking writers down to a technology standard which was cutting-edge in 1990, and laughable in 2009." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Did I write 1990? Excuse me. I meant 1980." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "I know that better virtual machines have been implemented since then (GLULX, for instance). But these standards aren't yet fully supported by the most popular development systems yet." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "And even if they WERE supported, the standard libraries of the popular dev systems aspire to no more than Beyond Zork-level parsing ability." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "I remember going to a trade show to exhibit Beyond Zork back in fall of 1987. The story was always the same." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Some curious retail executive would sit down in front of a computer loaded with BZ. I would explain that you typed 'real English sentences' to interact. They would nod, turn to the keyboard and type WHERE AM I? End of demo." Zebranky grins. <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Now, I know some modern games attempt to handle these embarrassments by sensing common 'mistakes' like this and nudging the player towards simple imperative sentences. But THAT is exactly the problem! Typing WHERE AM I is NOT a mistake!!!" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Why can't my 3 GHz Core 2 Quad, with hundreds of times as much processing power as the DECSystem-20 mainframe I used to create Trinity, understand and ACT on a simple sentence like WHERE AM I? It's a scandal, pure and simple." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "The standards for natural language parsing in IF are laughably, pathetically low." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "I find it a surpreme irony that Inform 7, the most popular IF dev system, is capable of being programmed (in a limited way) using natural language ... to create games that are utterly incapable of doing so!~" <Lecturer> Moriarty turns his flame off. zarf brushes ash off his smoking jacket <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "These are the two main challenges for the IF community, I see it." Jules emerges from the Linux Lobby. Jules has arrived. <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "First, to design a user interface (or better, a whole suite of interfaces) that take advantage of the extremely high resolution and color depth of modern displays to create text games that are BEAUTIFUL ... that is, attractive to look at and easy to interact with. The utilitarian thing is NOT working." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "And second, to get up to speed with the enormous advances that have been made in natural language processing, and harness the raw speed and massive storage of modern PCs to ACTUALLY fulfill the promise of "typing in real English sentences"." Taladan mutters, "I'd be glad with a client that could handle unicode without freaking out." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "I should leave time for some questions. Anyone?" Taladan raises a hand with more of a comment than a question. <Lecturer> Moriarty points to Taladan. Orange_Guest raises a hand. <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Hmm. I see hands being raised, but the Qnext thing doesn't do anything." AnneLions says, "It does." Taladan says, "What you're talking about is a paradigm shift in the way text based games are approached. I think this is awesome, however, we're talking about a group of people (currently) who have projects (like TinyFugue) that are developed by one or a select few people that tend to show no interest in 'keeping up with the jonses' as far as Graphical games are concerned. Unicode is one example, the language parser is another...how do you see your vision for the future of TBG's meshing together with the established models of text based gaming out there? Or are we talking about a need for a generational shift in thought instead of personal shifts?" tramp says, "I dunno if folks are actually using that widget, Moriarty." Nämmyung waits for his turn after Taladan finishes. <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "I don't think this community should be trying to 'keep up with the Joneses'. You can't ... and you don't have to." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "As simple a technology as Adobe Flash is more than capable of creating beautiful animated text displays with full kerning and antialiasing, on every significant platform (except iPhone)." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "What's needed, I think, is an ORGANIZED effort to unite all the people making different clients. Failing that, a single visionary could do the trick." Orange_Guest has disconnected. Orange_Guest goes home. Chaz says, "So, less a case of what you use, and more a case of how you use it?" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "This is NOT that difficult, technically. It's more of an AESTHETIC challenge now." tramp loves this guy, fwiw. Nämmyung says, "Regarding the parser, what would some example of syntactic complexity that games should be going for?" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "What you use is important. The development tools must be able to express the new aesthetics. And that is really the issue. The current dev systems are only able to express a limited range of nostalgic aesthetic choices." Taladan nods, "As an addendum to my question, if I may: I see what you mean, but too, you do have a lot of folks who are invested in the clients/scripts/whatnot that they use...that personal investment in useage lends to them perpetuating the use of that client because, well, that's what they know, no? <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Certainly. Plenty of chickens and eggs to go around here. :)" Taladan nods and thanks for answering ;) <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Anyway, it's past my hour. Thank you all for listening. Hope I didn't offend anyone. Despite my remarks, there is some truly heroic work going on in the IF field. I simply fear that much of it will be for naught if beauty and power aren't added to the equation soon." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Thank you all very much." AnneLions says, "I'd like to note that I've been hearing the mantra 'text-based gaming must change' for the past 10 years (how long I've been on MU*). In that time, I've yet to see any really decent suggestions/ideas on exactly how to go about that. I've seen Pueblo, which was a nice idea but seemed to have been implemented poorly. I've seen FANSI, which is pretty, but doesn't work across all platforms (yet). Unicode would be nice, yes.. But what else is there to change about text-based gaming? If you start to get away from the current (telnet) technology, you start to lose the 'text based' aspect. You'll also lose a subset of players; the blind. I've met a significant number of blind people who use text-based games as essentially the only games they _can_ play. This counts MU* more than IF, which is a different ballgame altogether. On a related note, a book of today is would be recognizable and is essentially the same as a book printed 400 years ago. Parser aside, text is text, so I'm not sure what else COULD be changed. In other words, after hearing this sort of thing for a decade, I want to see a mockup that /works/ and doesn't alienate the current playerbase." Zebranky says, "Thanks for coming!" Zebranky says, "Got contact info if people have follow-ups? :)" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "AnneLions, you are exactly correct. What is needed is an EXAMPLE that makes it obvious what COULD be done. One really compelling example will do more than any number of years of griping." jaybird says, "Yeah... I was just going to say, as a blind person, text-based games are really valuble to me. Visual flash is nice, as long as it doesn't get in the way of blind people being able to play." Jota says, "Are you presently working on such an example?" tramp is. Nammyung has reconnected. Nämmyung kicks his internet. <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Jaybord, there's more than enough power available to fully accomodate the needs of both sighted and non-sighted people. The truth is, NEITHER group is being particularly well served by current technology or aesthetics." Purple_Guest says, "An example would also be very interesting in establishing how much these kinds of ambitions adds to the workflow of the hobbyist writer" Nammyung has partially disconnected. <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Jota, the answer is: Try and stop me. :)" Purple_Guest says, "in addition to primarily writing, as they do now, I imagine the need to generate art assets and a significant volume of customized procedural text" AnneLions nods. "The parser thing, I can see adding a lot of work for a programmer/dev person." Emily says, "There are some fairly strong reasons not to give the player full natural language (and not to pretend you are doing so: 'just type English sentences' is effectively a lie). I think Facade is a decent example of why not to do that. Leaving the lid off what you can express to the computer means it's much harder for the player to understand his range of effective actions in the game world." tramp loves hobbyist writers, too (shameless plug for a project I have indevelopment - come back often to hear more as it unfolds). Emily says, "It's easy enough to make WHERE AM I produce a room description (and in fact various games do do that)" Emily says, "it's much harder to cope with the expectations raised that way" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Obviously, if we make the parser understand more, we will need to find a way to accomodate the potential content explosion. But raw power can help us here, too." Nämmyung says, "Well, the underlying point seems to be that games need to be more ambitious / capable in handling a wider range of player interactions, rather than just dropping in a fancier parser while keeping the same restricted set of choices in what they can do." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Look at chatbots, for instance. Some marvelous work being done there ... noneof which has made its way into IF, as far as I can see." Emily says, "People have experimented with chatbot assimilation to IF" jaybird says, "Also, I don't really see the Z-machine going anywhere soon, limited though it is. It's probably the most widely available IF VM." AnneLions notes that chatbots can be /very/ tedious to program. Emily says, "The problem is that they don't really deal with the problem of agency" Matrix has disconnected. Emily says, "if the player can type anything and everything he wants and the results are handled mysteriously, it's much harder to understand what effect he's having" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "I'm not suggesting that chatbots are the solution, of course. But they ARE an example of using raw processing power to solve a problem that would have been impossible to address in 1980-class PCs." tramp says, "There are a great many minds willing and capable of contributing toward these goals... many of them here today, and many hundreds more will read the log at some point. Yet, there are always excuses not to 'get together' on a single common goal. MUCH individualism (can't do that know, I'm doing THIS)." Emily says, "Oh, sure: but I think it's naive to invoke raw power and assume that that's going to solve what's essentially a game design problem as well as a programming problem" Emily says, "Facade had buckets of power" Emily says, "it accepts all input, and it's deeply unsatisfying because it's not clear how you're steering the thing." Nämmyung says, "Galatea, on the other hand, did a pretty darn good job at handling unexpected / 'lateral' player interaction using z-code." Emily says, "(many people would disagree about that, but thanks.)" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Emily: I violently agree. Simply increasing the range of inputs that can be understood does not solve the MUCH bigger problem of doing something meaningful and entertaining with those inputs." Nämmyung says, "So it's probably comes down to how much time the writer can effectively invest in exploring all the various conversation possibilities. Which brings me to another question: how far can we go in replacing the chatbot / npc programming with other players?" Emily says, "I see a limited application for what you're asking for, in the sense that broadening acceptance of basic questions, etc., does seem to improve player experience, and people like Aaron Reed have done some tests with novice audiences on this and produced better libraries for input handling" Emily says, "even beyond the massive programming problem of "how do I handle all these inputs", however, there's the game design problem of how the player should know what to type" Nämmyung nods. Emily says, "'Type anything' is a TERRIBLE kind of game guidance" Emily says, "it's confusing and boring." Emily says, "The parser feedback informs the player about what's possible and reasonable in the world." Emily says, "and sometimes, admittedly, that's done badly, but I think it is in fact a needed aspect of any text-input game, not a flaw." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Let me suggest that actually LIMITING the player's inputs in some novel way might be a fruitful avenue? In playing some recent works, especially those by Aaron, I sometimes felt I was using the wrong technology -- they felt more like hypertext novels." Gunther says, "How about we farm out responses to player actions to Amazon's Mechanical Turk?" Allen says, "heehee" AnneLions laughs. Nämmyung says, "Well, as part of the mud / mush contingent here, that's pretty much what we do :)" AnneLions says, "And get results about as meaningful as any IF parser, depending on who's on the other end. ;)" Emily says, "Now I'm confused about what you're advocating." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Emily: We agree again. The problem, for the NON-SAVVY player, is that the input line itself STRONGLY SUGGESTS that anything can be typed, leading to frustration and disillusionment when the fraud is discovered. Is there some other technique that would not feel too limiting?" zarf says, "Limiting as in not using a text parser, or only accepting one-word inputs, or only accepting words highlighted in blue... ?" Emily says, "My approach lately has been to try to teach the command possibilities more explicitly." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Zarf: Those are old techniques. Is there something BETTER than all this power we have makes possible?" zarf says, "I don't know." tramp says, "I certainly believe so." Jota says, "What do you feel would be better?" tramp says, "just off the top of my head is a reference to an old novelty item... the text-based webcam." Purple_Guest says, "When you talk about increasing the beautification of the interface, to me that suggests a possible space for also exploring guiding the player" tramp says, "I don't have a URL for it (have been "off net" for 2 years)." zarf says, "But my basic view is that the old-fashioned IF input line *is* a limiting input mode, and its flaw is not how it works, but making the limitations apparent to the player in a smooth and playable way. If that's what you're saying, then the lack of power *isn't* the problem, because the limits are a feature." Purple_Guest says, "Iconography is a design space that has been used for a very long time to provide non-language-based guidance" Gunther says, "hmm, auto-complete of commands?" tramp says, "auto-complete of commands would be interesting to try, but I already hate that on my cellphone." SAVE: Institute support in time(), secs() etc. for cubic time, because Penn is educated stupid. AnneLions agrees with tramp. Emily says, "ADRIFT does auto-complete and it generally drives me up a wall." Gunther says, "The problem is, if you want to make the parser *seem* to accept anything, you can just program it to reply to "frooble snooblewitz" with "You frooble the snooblewitz!" etc." Taladan says, "Auto-complete is de debil." tramp probably wouldn't use it, but doesn't disagree with the potential of it for descovering 'smartness' in systems. Gunther says, "but that's not meaningful, and in fact makes it *worse* to find out what *does* do something" Taladan says, "Unless you're talking about something like bash's tab-completion." Nämmyung says, "a part of it also probably depends on the writing. If the player can get a sense of clear choices on what he should be doing at a given point in the game, then the parser probably becomes less of an issue." Taladan says, "If you let the player have a choice on whether to complete or not, I could live with that." tramp says, "discovering." Nämmyung says, "but that's itself a design choice." Gunther says, "Taladan, I mean it as a help for novices, to see what kinds of commands are available. So, strictly optional, yes." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Zarf: Here I must complain. We ALREADY KNOW that players can be 'trained' to speak in 1980-era Infocomese using a text input field. I'm just afraid that the community has settled into a false sense that this is sufficient." zarf says, "I think we have some awareness of the problem. :)" Sketch says, "Wow, this is all really cool. :)" Emily says, "I think there are some ways to add to player expressiveness, but they're a bit orthogonal to what you've been saying so far" tramp says, "it's about total immersion (a term introduced by a previous ITBG speaker a few years ago)." zarf says, "(Managing community effort is a different problem and I think it would be distracting to get into it here)" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "The tools available are confining us horribly. Have you seen some of the beautiful animated poems that people are making with Flash? I simply think the community needs access to much broader range of aesthetic possibilities." tramp says, "we want the interface to not be an impediment to the potential fullness of the experience." Gunther says, "Anyone can write text. Not anyone can make graphics, music, and animation." Emily says, "one is to add better handling for non-physical commands (such as conversation); another is to do better with sort of broad commands that entail many actions, like CHECK INTO HOTEL or similar" AnneLions notes that Flash is a horrible, HORRIBLE medium at times. "Have you played any Facebook games lately?" Emily says, "and those things are in fact a lot easier to handle now than they were a few years ago, I would say (though obviously I have a lot of bias in the game)" Gunther says, "IF also isn't an animated poem, because you can interact with it in a hopefully meaningful fashion." Jota says, "Wouldn't something that took its inspiration from Flash animated poems be a completely different field? As in, wouldn't this not really be the thing that current IF authors are interested in authoring?" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "AnneLions: I teach my students with Flash. Believe me, I am depressingly aware of its limitations. :)" AnneLions would be terribly afraid of any MU* that used Flash for their input. :P Zebranky hops up on stage for a moment to make a quick comment. Zebranky carefully walks up the narrow stairs to the stage. Zebranky has left. <Lecturer> Zebranky has arrived. <Lecturer> Zebranky says, "Sketch and I like where this discussion is going, so he's agreed to move his rambling to after Toady's Q&A." <Lecturer> Zebranky says, "Keep at it, folks. :)" <Lecturer> Zebranky goes down the few steps to the seating area. Zebranky comes down the few steps from the stage. <Lecturer> Zebranky has left. Zebranky has arrived. <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Jota: Well, if authors are content simply writing games for each other, which are never seen by a larger audience, they can simply go on doing what they're doing. But I recall a pleasant time when people could actually GET PAID to write text games. I would love for that time to return." zarf says, "Man, I never thought about that!" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Anyway, I seemed to have stirred the pot a bit. This, as a Professor, warms my cockles. :)" Taladan says, "I personally, as a game owner, would love to get paid for running such a thing, but I've also never been a proponent of the pay to play structure. Hard to have the one without the other anymore." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Thank you all again. And please remember, it's not my intent to offend anyone, or denegrate any of the wonderful (and in some cases AMAZING) work that has been done in the past decades to keep text games alive." Emily says, "I'm not exactly offended, but I think you're underestimating the amount of discussion there has already been on a lot of these topics, and in particular on what the parser is useful for, and how" Emily says, "The current state of the discipline isn't the result of complacency, exactly" Emily says, "On the presentation side, my own experience suggests that a moderately attractive and reliable browser-based interpreter does more than anything else to attract new players" AnneLions says, "If it were, we'd still be using MUSE. :)" Gunther says, "I'm not offended, but to say "this is not enough" and then not offer any thoughts on how to improve is not especially helpful..." Emily says, "and one of the things we're working on with I7 is a way to publish with a playable website with attractive stylesheets" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Emily: I'm a daily lurker on RAIF, and I've followed it all with keen interest. Your contributions in particular, which are often in the AMAZING category I noted earlier. :)" tramp nods to Emily, "Superminds, don't develop text games and interactive fiction. They get bought and regulated by corporations." Gunther says, "(but, of course, if we knew, we'd do it, so)" Nämmyung says, "Regarding many of these issues, let me just pose another question: how much difference would it make if we introduced more player interaction in the form of more players?" tramp says, "the great minds we have only do it as hobbies." tramp says, "part time." Nämmyung says, "is there room in IF for side-by-side reading / acting?" tramp says, "which points back to Moriarty's point about getting paid to create text games." tramp says, "the big money isn't in text." Zebranky says, "Co-op, effectively, Nammyung?" Emily says, "There's Floyd, which allows people to play a game with one PC but talk about it as they go; there's also Guncho, which is designed for multiplayer IF" AnneLions says, "Like a MUD?" Emily says, "but hasn't seen a lot of development yet" Emily says, "Guncho is a bit like a mud but programmable in Inform 7" Nämmyung says, "well muds have traditionally been hack and slash" AnneLions says, "MUDs seem like co-op IF games to me. You can get quests and such; even if they are hack & slash." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Nammyung: Adding more players is the heavy magic, of course. Here's another irony: Most of the top roleplaying sims in Second Life allow ONLY text chat. Voice char is disabled. :)" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "chat*" tramp says, "the true greats of text-based developments are driven by passion. this is our saving grace, imo. people who do it because they want to, regardless of whether or not they get paid." Nämmyung nods, "yeah, most MMOs are really just text games in disguise, but rather than the hack+slash we get in many muds, what other kinds of gameplay could we get? <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Tramp: That's for sure. You have to love this medium." Nämmyung says, "just co-op roleplaying is not quite the kind of crafted narrative fiction we can get in IF" zarf says, "Yeah. True multi-player IF, whether on Guncho or a MUD platform, is barely explored." zarf says, "It's one of the things I'd like to work on if I had three more lives" Emily says, "I have a half-finished Guncho project I keep meaning to get back to, but it's buried under a heap of conversation system work" Sketch sends a 1up mushroom zarf's way. <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Did any of you know that there was a project inside Infocom to create a commercial multi-user Zork?" zarf says, "Heh. Note the motif here." Nämmyung says, "in my ideal world it could be something that feels like IF for each player, but in whole looks like a boardgame." zarf says, "I don't think so" AnneLions says, "What?" zarf says, "I imagine it went less smoothly than Cyan's effort to make a commercial multi-user Myst. (A disaster that I watched from close-up.)" Gunther says, "(Zarf's write-up of said disaster is recommended reading)" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "It died when Activision closed its jaws. But it was actually working in prototype." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Wow, it's fun to talk about text games with a group of people that really cares!" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "I wish RAIF had a better signal-to-noise ratio." Emily says, "Heh, I was worried I was coming off as defensive" Emily says, "RAIF is pretty bad these days, unfortunately" Emily says, "a lot of the theory discussion has moved off onto blogs and Planet-IF" Gunther says, "(it is at http://www.eblong.com/zarf/uru/rj/index.html )" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Emily: Naw. You know what this communitu needs? A real meatspace conference." AnneLions says, "People have those, sometimes. ;)" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Zark, can't you get MIT to sponsor something? ;)" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Zarf*" Emily says, "There's been some discussion of having a bunch of IFfers get together at Boston PAX, but I don't know if that will come off" tramp says, "Emily, you were coming off as defensive. We all do that. Moriarty's intro was like that. We all know it can be better. We all know NO ONE is doing it right (yet). Etc. We are all individuals in the torrent of time, trying to thrive in a stagnating pool behind the rocks." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Hey, a PAX meetup could work. I'll bring a bottle of Scotch. ;)" tramp is working on one, as a matter of fact. Sketch says, "A bottle of scotch?" ToadyOne says, "I can always move my Q&A to after Zebranky's moved talk, if you guys want to keep going. I don't know about the schedules of people that wanted to ask me questions, though, if there are any that have to leave." tramp has opened the topic of a possible game con with his city mayor. Chaz says, "Well, I'm from the GMT Time Zone but I'll probably be staying up late anyways." Zebranky says, "I also like the PAX idea, FWIW. :)" tramp is also (more importantly, IMO) working on intramural gaming (with text-based games as the free option to include the lowest possible form of poverty). zarf says, "I am totally in for Boston PAX IF activity" Sketch says, "ToadyOne: It's okay, you can go before my little spiel. :)" Sketch says, "ToadyOne: Or after, either way." zarf says, "Also, may I interject an ad for the Boston monthly IF meetup. It's a small bunch, but we have ambitions" <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "I kind of need to go, myself. My email is prof@ludix.com, by the way, if anyone wants to contact me. I'd be very keen to know if a meetup actually gets scheduled for PAX." Zebranky says, "Thanks again for coming!" AnneLions waves. Sketch claps, cheers. zarf says, "Thanks for speaking" Nämmyung says, "Thanks for the presentation! It was a lot of fun, and it certainly gave much to discuss." <Lecturer> Moriarty says, "Zarf: I'll try to come sometime, if my schedule permits. It sounds wonderful." tramp applauds. Emily says, "Thanks" Chaz applauds! ^^ <Lecturer> Moriarty waves to the audience. For a moment, you see him as a sinister old man in an Edwardian longcoat. Then the vision fades, and he is gone. <Lecturer> Moriarty has disconnected. Zebranky laughs. Zebranky carefully walks up the narrow stairs to the stage. Zebranky has left. <Lecturer> Zebranky has arrived. <Lecturer> Zebranky says, "ToadyOne to the stage please, ToadyOne to the stage..." ToadyOne carefully walks up the narrow stairs to the stage. ToadyOne has left. <Lecturer> ToadyOne has arrived. <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Should I change the topic? I'm growing attached to the current one." Sketch laughs! <Lecturer> Zebranky grins. "Whatever you like!" Nämmyung laughs <Lecturer> Zebranky says, "Mr. Tarn Adams, aka ToadyOne, of Dwarf Fortress fame. Please give him a warm welcome, and have your way with him." <Lecturer> Zebranky goes down the few steps to the seating area. Zebranky comes down the few steps from the stage. <Lecturer> Zebranky has left. Zebranky has arrived. Nämmyung applauds! Emily claps Zebranky takes a seat in the Left Front Row. tramp applauds. Chaz applauds heartily! <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Hi! The cat is asleep so I should be able to get through this without much damage." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "From the cat, anyway!" AnneLions throws spitwads at ToadyOne in welcome, as directed by Zebranky. Zebranky says, "Any questions for the gentlemen? I have a few icebreakers if not. :)" <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "So, yeah, I was invited to come down here despite not having massive IF/MU* chops, so I've just been frantically wikipedia'ng to keep up." Nämmyung laughs, "talk about roguelikes! <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "I couldn't think of a topic that I wasn't sure wouldn't bore everybody to death, so we decided questions would be an easier way to do things." tramp raises his hand. <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "There's the question queue and then the people raising their hands. I guess I can alternate?" tramp uses the queue. Chaz says, "Question queue works fine for me." jaybird says, "My comment was the blindness issue for Moriarty. Disregard me." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Ah, cool. Okay. I think the command is "raise hand"." Chaz tests to make sure. Nämmyung says, "Ah, it's me. Well, we just had the previous talk which touched partly on presentation and nostalgia." Nämmyung says, "While I think we all agree better-looking typography at least would be nicer for IF, it seems that in other forms of text-based gaming," Nämmyung says, "roguelikes included," Yellow_Guest has disconnected. Yellow_Guest goes home. jaybird has disconnected. Nämmyung says, "the UI/presentation nostalia has also served as style choices, but to better outcomes?" Nämmyung says, "Of course I have DF in mind, partly. How well, in your estimation, do you think the roguelike look-and-feel works today as style choice?" <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "There's a small group of people that's attached to it. I know I lose a lot of players to not having good graphics support, and I keep a lot of people only because there are optional tilesets. For development, it's great, because work is much faster and it's easier to test as you go along, but I think stylistically, in terms of the audience, it's mostly losing people." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "I'm not really sure if the outcomes are better in terms of the size of the player base due to the text-based graphics, rather than the overall style of game. I have no idea. For all I know the IF player bases are larger than mine." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "It's certainly a good way to get things done though. My previous 3D fantasy game died, partially due to the graphics hole I had dug for myself." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "He he, I have a tendency to ramble. Did I answer the question?" Nämmyung nods, "Thanks!" <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Cool." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "After Chaz, the queue is empty. I hope Zebranky is warming up!" Zebranky grins. Chaz says, "This one's a bit more of a DF-specific question. In Dwarf Fortress, Kobolds seem to have developed a fan-base, with some kobold fans even creating an unofficial mod called "Kobold Camp." Just out of curiosity, do you have any plans to officially include Kobolds as a playable race in Adventure mode, or will you leave that to the DF Modding Community? :3" tramp says, "people keep asking questions extremely close to mine (I was gonna ask if you had new goals you were aspiring toward.)" <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "He he, well, I guess if you've looked at the dev pages, there are official plans and then... plans that are official but you have to start worrying about heat death and all that. There's a development arc for playing monsters as adventurers, and an arc for playing non-dwarven cities. I think what'll probably end up happening is using adventurer mode entities (like you running a group of bandits) as a wedge into both of these, with some paltry returns for version 1.0 before the actual post version 1.0 arcs can begin." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "It's pretty straightforward to mod them in, at least as far as modding goes, especially adventurers." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Ha ha, the queue is empty again, but new goals in general?" tramp says, "sure." tramp says, "I want to hear more about the bandit camps, if you want a focal point. Could a single player develop a bandit camp with puppets/drones under a single gobby leader?" <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Yeah, this is what we are shooting for. Right now, there's this notion of people that you can ask along for the ride, but it's deeply unsatisfying in about as many ways as it could be." Emilyhm <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Developing the character of the people coming along with you is going to be a major component of making adventure mode something enjoyable to play." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Really, what a bandit camp amounts to in the near-term is a couple of things. The ability for an adventurer to have a "site" or sites that they can use." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "And the ability for the game to recognize your group as an in-game entity on par with the existing civilizations/religions/etc." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Hopefully a lot will fall out for free by using the existing structures." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "But an awful lot needs to be done with individual NPC interactions before this will work well. That's the first step, and we're going to start with civilization leaders making decisions with the improved sieges." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Once they have goals in life, it's easier to consider how the rest will work out." tramp says, "it seems like this would require an enormous amount of 'smart data sorting' ... like throwing a bunch of legos in and having a system which assembles them into something recognizable. (to 'generate a background for a henchman' for example) Do you have any systems in the works like that?" Cuiorne emerges from the Linux Lobby. Cuiorne has arrived. <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Yeah, the world generation process keeps track of events that happen in the lives of all the characters. It takes several minutes to run, but after that they are all sitting there to reference. Already in the game, people can talk about their relatives that have died and when and where, that kind of thing. It's still in infancy, really, and has problems, but just tracking everything has worked so far, for several thousand characters." tramp says, "that is HUGELY impressive." Cuiorne types --> speakers topics <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "It kind of comes back to the computing power being discussed before. It's really become possible to have a lot of information floating around and to process it quickly. I'm not very efficient, but the CPUs are covering for me." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Did that work? It doesn't actually let me see the room." tramp says, "no. it's not a command. heh." tramp says, "teach is... but 'speakers topics' isn't." tramp illustrates... tramp types --> @emit foo foo tramp typed: teach @emit foo <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Yeah, it's gotten to the point that sometimes players will just generate worlds to read the accompanying histories." Sketch says, "That, in itself, is something I had a question about. ;)" <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "The text generation for that is incredibly crappy. It's just a list of events. But you can, with some effort, trace between the lives of many historical figures, and it's starting to shape up to be something interesting." Zebranky says, "That's the most interesting aspect to me. I wonder if the same idea could be applied to IF/MU*s... :)" Nammyung has disconnected. Nammyung has connected. Sketch says, "Yes, yes, Zebranky. That's the topic I feared would eat up another hour. If you can proceedurally generate histories, could you proceedurally generate adventures while people are playing them?" Nämmyung kicks the internet again. SAVE: The players, I will get rid of them. They are an evil toxin in the staff's bloodstream. Zebranky says, "Maybe we'll save that subject, then." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "I don't have any more questions to answer. So people might as well continue, or queue up!" Nämmyung wanted to ask a question about that, actually. "DF has been famous for some of the stories that people have written based on their play-through, and you and your brother of course base parts of the game on the short stories he writes. What are your thoughts on games as story generators? tramp says, "This is where MU always stumbles, IMO, there seems to be an aversion to db bloat in general which prevents folks from developing data accumulators." Mercutio says, "More people are starting to grow ot of that, however. Some using SQL to store their information - so there is no object-bloat." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "I think games are a great... touchstone? for story generation. The players still put in most of the work, but because they lived through the experience, narratives develop pretty easily." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "In a sense, I'm just trying to give people as much meat as possible for that process." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Then there are the stories that the game itself tries to produce." AnneLions has disconnected. tramp says, "Does your playerbase have political ideologies with reference to (in my mind, somewhat petty) things like "speaking proper dialects" in their RP? Or are they pretty much "screw that, let's just play, man"?" <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "People have pretty much written their own rules thread by thread in the community games section. Some games have stricter rules than others. I haven't noticed anything really heavy develop, but I'm not able to frequent some of those places, so it's possible." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "I'm pretty sure there aren't any uniform standards, though they do find things to fight about!" tramp chuckles and nods. tramp enters Linux Lobby. tramp has left. tramp emerges from the Linux Lobby. tramp has arrived. <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "The queue is dry, so, pretty much, whatever people would like to talk about is fair-game, I guess. I apologize I couldn't be more interesting. I've certainly been fascinated following the previous discussion." tramp says, "I ask, because so many MUs are based on Roleplay, rather than Play and it seems your game system is more focused on the Play part in general." tramp really should get his punctuations in the right places intead of just sprinkling commas. AnneLions has connected. <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "It's mostly single-player, so there, of course, the role part is mostly up to me rather than the player. There are community games where a strong sense of RP develops, and people are expected to pretty much report the log for their year in character, though the choice is broad. The single player stories are also often written in some character or another." Cuiorne says, "or just avoid punctuations tramp" tramp nods Moriarty was a powerful presentor (comes with being a professor, I guess). Nonetheless, I am intrigued by your game (only found out about it this week), because I'm working on a project for open development contribution which has enormous potential to emulate environments of 'pure play', like youirs is capable of embracing. <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "For multi-player stuff, I imagine there are OOC issues and all that, so having rules about roles and so on seems useful for immersion." Zebranky says, "My other big question: There was some discussion earlier about interfaces and making them more attractive and useful. When creating the interface for DF, did you try anything that failed notably, did you have a hard time getting something that works well, or any other such insights?" <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "He he, I was a visiting assistant professor. It's harder without a topic!" <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "I'm not sure I ever gave powerful lectures about math though." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Ha ha, I think the whole DF interface is sort of a notable failure, if you read the reviews." Zebranky says, "Any thoughts on how you'd improve it in retrospect, then? :)" Mercutio personally never gave it much of a chance because of its interface (and all the buttons that I need to seek) <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "There are so many little lessons to learn, and just overall, I haven't put as much time into it as I needed to. Just basic things like having consistent key choices, not having the menus run to deep, use keys (like ESC) that people are used to. It's kind of a death-by-a-thousand-cuts issue in some part." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "*too" <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "*too deep, that is" <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "The things that are good about it are things that are less likely to be noticed, and that's probably how it should be to the player." Zebranky says, "What do you mean by that?" tramp assumes, in context, good == it's working well enough that no one is griping... because it's working well enough. tramp says, "?" <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Well, if people like the fact that the keys that can be used are always visible, they'll hardly ever mention it when critiquing the interface, they'll just appreciate it and move on. Or if people like the status screen (not saying they do), it will never come up." Zebranky says, "Right, right, squeaky wheel gets the grease." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "I guess a good interface should never get in the way of playing the game." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "And DF is a miserable failure in this regard, of course." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "So keeping the game playable, and just running through it as often as possible during development, is a great way to iron things out, at least the things you're not going to miss for whatever reason." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "That's true in general, not just for the interface. There's a reason the beginning of the game feels quite a bit nicer than the older fortresses, and it's not just the CPU problems. I just don't see that stuff as often, so it receives less attention." Zebranky nods. "Have you thought of any ways to address that and iterate more on the "hidden" aspects of the game?" Tyr has arrived. <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Keeping old saves that people have submitted for bug reports is a pretty good way to do it, without having to work to create a realistic model of an old fort. I try to play them sometimes. There's also the problem that it's somewhat like the boundary of an expanding disk, with more to test as the fortresses become more complex." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Polishing out a linear game is probably easier to keep consistent from beginning to end." Zebranky says, "Wow, you really are a math guy. :P" Mercutio says, "He programs software. Math is important. >.>;" <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "I was thinking of that when I typed that... I hope it wasn't a faux paus. However you spell that." Mercutio says, "Faux pas." Zebranky grins. <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "So is mine foh-poh, or just unpronounceable?" Chaz says, "Sounds like Foh-poh. :o" Zebranky says, "It's not a big faux pas. ;)" AnneLions says, "Foh-poh looks about right. :P" <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "The cat is awake." AnneLions says, "Pet the cat. Or else." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "He is trying to lie down on ESC. I hope MUSHclient doesn't use that." Zebranky says, "So this might be a good time to segue into the big question?" <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "That's right! The big question." AnneLions says, "In SimpleMU, ESC takes all things on the input line and sticks it into the history buffer." Zebranky says, "Procedural content generation, recording, and playback -- how can we do more awesome things with it?" zarf goes home. zarf has left. Teal emerges from the Linux Lobby. Teal has arrived. <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "For me, it's all about little bits working together to make big things happen." Teal takes a seat in the Left Front Row. <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Emphasizing how the pieces of a system work together and using that for procedural generation has always been the most fruitful for me, rather than trying to generate an entire entity more rigidly, but I suppose it has its limitations." (New BB message (2/25) posted to 'Suggestions and Feedback' by Tyr: ITBG) <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "In terms of MU* and IF, I'm not really sure what that would mean, because I don't know what has been done." Zebranky says, "Very little in a MU* context. :)" Mercutio says, "It could work for a MUD context - I think." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "I mean, player-generated content in a MU* is fairly important I gather, so you'd have to make sure they play nice." Purple_Guest has disconnected. Purple_Guest goes home. <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Or is that just a MUSH?" Sketch says, "The line's kinda fuzzy anyway. :)" Mercutio says, "You can usually restrict what people can and cannot do - and they are restricted within the abilities of the server. But yes, player-generated content, especially in the form of their 'poses', is fairly important." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "In any case, things like random locations and complex systems could work very well in a MUD I think." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Having several people experience something weirdly emergent or novel is always fun." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "But for me, a key for doing it has been replayability." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "And I imagine that's not so much of a problem for a multi-user game." Zebranky says, "Yeah, I was just thinking about the lack of a complex ruleset in IF/MU*s." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "It might even be fun to try to work out the rules together or something." tramp says, "yeah. in multi-user environments, other players are part of the game." Zebranky says, "DF's rules allow for countless permutations of convincing gameplay without making anyone explicitly create that content." tramp says, "that's the part that fascinates me, Zeb." Scavar has disconnected. Zebranky says, "On MUDs, pretty much the closest thing is equipment scores and combat rules." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "It's mainly about being able to play the game myself." Chaz says, "Sometimes, self-imposed challenges are the most fun thing to do in DF (And they make the most entertaining stories, too. There's a reason "Urist McDwarf" is a commonly used name. :D)" Zebranky says, "That's a good way of putting it. You want the game to be able to surprise you." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Yeah, I wasn't releasing games for most of the time I've been writing them. They were just for my brother and I, so that tends to be how I've approached them." Teal has reconnected. Teal has reconnected. <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "I suppose it would be kind of intriguing to start in a location with several other players, knowing absolutely nothing about what it has cooked up for you this time. I think there are a ton of different ways to make that interesting." Sketch says, "Ooh. ;) Fun." Mercutio agrees. Chaz says, "That would definitely be entertaining." Chaz says, "A lot more fun than going into a game with several other players who have already done this before and are just looking for the ultra-rare drop. *coughWoWcough*" tramp says, "*coughEQcough*" Zebranky says, "Yeah, well, rares are *one* way of generating surprising content. For suitable definitions of "surprising"." Chaz says, "In part that's why I love roguelike games: Each subsequent time you play, you learn a little more about how to play and how to survive, but you still get surprises thrown at you." Sketch says, "I'd say it's more that -planning- for games is fun too, such as in calculating and preparing for a raid." Jules runs around swinging a yellow 'c' at Chaz. ;) Chaz flees D: <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "For IF, I'm not sure what has been done procedurally. On its face, for a newbie like me, it seems to run counter to the notion of an author crafting something, but there's probably room for it." Cuiorne says, "Very interesting - though would the "location with several other players, knowing absolutely nothing about what it has cooked up for you this time." Be that one time only for that group of players? - Which may not be a bad thing at all." Gunther has disconnected. <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Yeah, I was typing something about that -- I think having a starting group would be a good approach." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "There might be room to fit people joining in later, but that might impact the notion of shared discovery." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Though releasing a second pack at an opportune time might be fun too." Cuiorne says, "I like the concept a lot:)" <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Then the first group could share with the second group, unless there's some sort of conflict inherent in the setup." Cuiorne says, "a single group experience that somehow can be become part of the Mush history." tramp says, "Although I will commend EQ for the 90 minute module sessions they added a few years back. That satisfied a great deal of the demand for 'new and spontaneous'-ness. This is the same thing I was commenting on before about data accumulation and management... throwing legos in a box and having something recognizable (but unique) pop out of it." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "There are several paradigms where that could work, whether it's isolated survival groups or exploration expeditions or dinner parties in strange places, or something." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Scamps has hauled his rodent toy to the top of the cat tree again." tramp says, "and then there's that...." tramp says, "some activities never lose their 'fun-ness'... like hauling one's toy to the top of the tree." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "I have to watch out for it. When he drops the toy near me and wants to play fetch, he'll often scratch my back to get my attention." tramp says, "that's another fun one. clawing the hand that feeds you. *smirk*" <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "The hand is sometimes the food." Cuiorne ponders how could pull this concept off in a Mush. tramp, sadly, knows how... but isn't capable as a singular individual. tramp is taking lessons in cult leadership, hoping to get a more talented group of followers. tramp says, "(more talented than me)" tramp needs to find a talisman of charisma +8. Chaz says, "I think the one thing about Dwarf Fortress that most inspired me was the mantra: "Losing is Fun!". I was inspired by that to write an article for Xbox Live UK's "Monday Musing" feature, about how the developers put just as much work into game overs as they put into the victory sequences, and that players should have just as much fun getting killed brutally as they do winning a game. That article was published and I got a lot of feedback from Xbox players around the UK, some agreeing with me, and some taking an elitist "I play to win!" stance. O.o (and now I'm rambling, sorry about that. ^^; )" Sketch says, "I'm actually more interested in discussing proceedurally generated content/player-generated content/the like, than I am presenting my own topic... ;) Especially as it relates to MUSHes. I like stories, especially ones other people get involved with." Teal has partially disconnected. Allen enters Linux Lobby. Allen has left. <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "He he, yeah, we've always like the notion of preserving a play after a loss, and not having to replay something (at least something tedious or repetitive)." Teal has partially disconnected. <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "*liked" <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "I'm always upset when games don't even have scorelists, or something like that, at least if they lend themselves to that kind of thing." Cuiorne says, "Hey Sketch would like to discuss with you sometime!" Chaz says, "What I'm about to say actually relates more to a graphical game than a text-based game, but there's a game being released for the PS3 sometime in 2010, called "Heavy Rain", made by the people who made Indigo Prophecy (or Fahrenheit if you're in the UK). It's almost entirely about storytelling rather than gameplay. Even if the character you're playing as dies, the story will carry on, and the character's death affects the overall outcome of the storyline. It's not as random as a roguelike, but it's an interesting step forward in storytelling for graphical games. :o (and I'll stop rambling now. xD)" Týr says, "That sounds interesting." Sketch nods to Cuiorne. :) tramp wonders how one pronounces Cuiorne. SAVE: It's ITBG! How will you change MUSHing? (+dbsave and +dbsave/vote!) Zebranky says, "Anyone else?" Nämmyung laughs, "Yeah - when is the next release?! ;p" Nämmyung ducks and covers. tramp would just like to say, "Despite not having a topic, this was quite an interesting presentation." tramp applauds. <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Ha ha ha, I though that was going to be the big question actually. I get that one sometimes. I'm shooting for this year but it'll be rough." <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "Thanks!" Nämmyung applauds, "Thanks for speaking to us!" <Lecturer> ToadyOne says, "I'm glad it wasn't a total disaster." Zebranky says, "Thanks for coming!" Zebranky says, "I am too. :)" Chaz applauds! Sketch says, "Thanks ToadyOne! :)" Cuiorne applauds "Thank you ToadyOne" <Lecturer> ToadyOne goes down the few steps to the seating area. ToadyOne comes down the few steps from the stage. <Lecturer> ToadyOne has left. ToadyOne has arrived. ToadyOne says, "How relaxing, down here." Chaz, Student, cancels Applaud: Interrupted by Carp. Nämmyung says, "worse, it's undead carp!" Chaz D: ToadyOne says, "At least they don't have giant teeth anymore." Sketch says, "My turn. Wow. I should've gone first. These are hard acts to follow." Sketch says, "Fili, look" Gentoo Hall(#2602RVa) / /^\/^\/^\ \ |"""""""""""""""""""""""""|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|"""""""""""""""""""""""""| | LECTURER |~~)~~~~~~~~~(~~| TOPIC | | |~~) (~~| | | None |~~) ___ (~~| None | | | |~~) Y (~~| | | | |_________________________|\___ | ___/|_________________________| | |/ (_ (_ (_ (* (_ \|==\_____/==|/ _) _) _) _) _) \| \ (_ (_ (_ (_ (* \|___|/ *) _) _) _) _) / (_ (_ (_ (* (* _) _) *) _) _) (_ (_ (_ (_ A _) _) _) *) (_ (_ (_ / \ _) _) _) (_ (_ / \ _) *) (_ / \ _) / \ do: -help lecture Present: ToadyOne, Teal, Tyr, Tramp, Cuiorne, Zebranky, Jules, Dan, Mercutio, Taladan, Jota, Balerion, Emily, Ender, Moniker, Chaz, Nammyung, Sketch, Tanaku, AnneLions, Trinsec, Yuriko Cuiorne offers ToadyOne a alcoholic drink. ToadyOne enjoys his present. Sketch carefully walks up the narrow stairs to the stage. Sketch has left. <Lecturer> Sketch has arrived. ToadyOne carefully walks up the narrow stairs to the stage. ToadyOne has left. <Lecturer> ToadyOne has arrived. <Lecturer> ToadyOne goes down the few steps to the seating area. ToadyOne comes down the few steps from the stage. <Lecturer> ToadyOne has left. ToadyOne has arrived. <Lecturer> Sketch says, "Oop. Still following me from the other day. Haha. :)" ToadyOne says, "ahhh... numberpad!" Chaz says, "I have absolutely no idea why, but I ended up calling my Rock Band 2 band "Interrupted By Kobold" and had the logo as a frowning Dwarf face next to a lowercase k. I have no idea how many RB2 players will get the joke. XD" ToadyOne takes a seat in the Right Second Row. <Lecturer> Sketch says, "All right..." tramp applauds. <Lecturer> Sketch says, "You'll have to forgive me if I don't make sense. I wrote this all as I was falling asleep last night. Perfect time for dreaming. :)" Chaz applauds ^^ AnneLions laughs. <Lecturer> Sketch says, "At 2-3am." Zebranky says, "Perfect pondering time." <Lecturer> Sketch says, "I'm going to ramble for a little bit, then open the floor to discussion. I'm going to go a few different directions, so please type up your questions when you think of them so you don't forget! I'd hate to make somebody forget a good idea." Cuiorne grins and settles back for Sketch's talk. <Lecturer> Sketch says, "A little while ago, someone (Paige) asked me to code up a patch to get FANSI into PennMUSH. For those that don't know, FANSI is a protocol that uses XTERM escape codes and switches the charset to codepage 437. Which means 256 colors and fun IBM characters like the little ASCII smiley guy. I was bored over a weekend, and I have the mentality that the ANSI code in PennMUSH is my baby and I need to fix every problem related to it, so I hacked up the support for 256 colors (but not charset switching). Even the colors are a bit broken. I'll fix it later." <Lecturer> Sketch says, "But it is pretty. (Note: this URL is going to change.) http://mush.thruhere.net/stuff/fansi.jpg" tramp says, "nice." <Lecturer> Sketch says, "Over the years I've heard a lot of people asking for MXP, hyperlinking, or adding more colors to ANSI, FANSI, or adding other protocols to add graphical effects to PennMUSH. Note when I say "graphical", I mean things to add prettiness. Embedded media, millisecond timers, colors, fonts, characters, side-views, character-mode output instead of line-mode." Ender looks up. "Extending MUSH beyond the confines of the telnet protocol. <Lecturer> Sketch says, "Aye, that." <Lecturer> Sketch says, "Now here's where I get fruit thrown at me. While all those things are nice (for some), I don't feel like they really improve MUSHs. Okay, okay, I conceide on the point of characters. Unicode would be lovely. Maybe somebody will code it up someday. Anyway, none of those other things fundamentally enhance MUSHs are about, they just add new stuff." tramp says, "or, at least using the telnet protocol to it's fullest potential would be a good start." Týr says, "A picture is worth a thousand words. Some things are difficult to describe." Dan takes a seat in the Left Third Row. Mercutio says, "A picture only tells 'what is' not 'what happened', or the reason behind 'what is'." <Lecturer> Sketch says, "There was an example I thought of in reply to 'picture worth a thousand words'. Imagine I @create a Gundam here. I'm pretty sure most of my audience would understand what I'm talking about. Maybe somebody else would have to go to Wikipedia and look up 'Gundam', which would, most likely, display a picture of one in the corner. Note that the text beneath it (yes, text!) would say something like `a TYPICAL Gundam`. So there's text enhancing a picture which enhanced text. Sorta odd. Something to think about there." <Lecturer> Sketch says, "What I think MUSHs are fundamentally about is text. Clients receive text, process it, and display it. What I'd like to see is a protocol that tells clients information about what a MUSH is spitting out. Rooms would have a <room> tag around them, local speech would have <local> and channel chat would have <channel name="Public"> around them." Ender says, "The only thing I'd like to see is character-by-character protocol." Ender says, "And then, as a patch." <Lecturer> Sketch says, "It's basically XML, but it doesn't tell the client what to DO with text, just what it IS. Doesn't sound too useful at first, but it's much easier for a human to pick out what's going on than a MUSH client. There's lots of differences between the page/tell, room, and even room-name formats on different MUD types." <Lecturer> Sketch says, "This was Sparks' (one of the TinyMUX devs) idea to begin with. We're calling it DiRT for now. I opened the group in 2007, and in true MUSH style it died a month later. We've only recently revived discussions, but that's worth a mention. Here it is: http://groups.google.com/group/muddydirt." <Lecturer> Sketch says, "That isn't really where I wanted to go with this discussion, but it's related. I find people trying to improve things by 'adding widgets'. What I'd really like to think about, and do, is how to play off the strengths a media already has. Take radio shows--you get good writers that write for really good voice actors, and you get a really great show. Take MMORPGs, World of Warcraft being a good example--It's graphical, you can rotate the camera, click on enemies and NPCs to interact with them. There's no camera angle, nor any voices in MUSHs. We could add them, yes, but it wouldn't be playing off the power of MUSHs themselves." <Lecturer> Sketch pauses a moment. Topic is about to make a sharp turn. :) Týr buckles his seat belt. Týr hangs on for dear life. <Lecturer> Sketch says, "Oh neat. I didn't even notice those seat belts before." <Lecturer> Sketch says, "Must've gotten them in '08." tramp raises both hands over his head to experience the fullness of the swoop in true rollercoaster style. Cuiorne says, "new safety regulations" <Lecturer> Sketch says, "So what can we do with MUSHs? Well, we can write, explore, and code. Another part of MUSHs is that they're multiplayer. Perhaps unfortuantely, I'm not going to say anything brilliant, since I don't have anything brilliant to say." AnneLions has reconnected. Týr is shocked by this revelation. <Lecturer> Sketch says, "However, I was sick one week recently and daydreaming in the sun, and in this somewhat drunken state I rushed up to my bedroom to jot down a few ideas." <Lecturer> Sketch says, "I've always like the idea of cooperative play instead of competative play. MUDs tend to be (mostly) cooperative by nature, and I figured they'd be a fun activity for people on a weekend, so I've been mulling over the idea of making one. I have a few features in mind, many of them somewhat orthogonal, so I wouldn't be able to do them all in full." <Lecturer> Sketch says, "Rambling mode engaged. Let me paint you a picture of this MUDlike. You enter a room, and are presented with the description. It's a park, in autumn. Trees dot the area, through which a stone path winds. A crisp breeze intermittently blows from the southeast, picking up and plucking leaves from the ground and trees." Cuiorne says, "Muds or Mushs? My thought is a Mush is cooperative rp ...quiets." <Lecturer> Sketch says, "Boom. A stone golem appears in front of you. Or maybe it's made of backyard grills. Yeah, that's cool. Grill Golem. Anyway, the type doesn't matter. Alone, you can't take this thing. But you're imbued with a sort of magic--By changing into your Red outfit, you can channel the power of the leaves around you. Your partner (who was there all along), changes to White to channel the wind. In no time at all, you've downed the beast." <Lecturer> Sketch says, "The point being, you're picking up cues from the description of the area. You have to read. No, not a terribly brilliant idea. I extended it anyway, making some enemies resistant to certain colors, attracted to others, and making certain color-switching combinations with partners or teams have devistating effects. Maybe a Green/Red/Blue team would shoot off a beam of electrons. (Those that don't get the joke: Look up CRT Monitors.)" Ender says, "Sketch, you're making a Trading Card Game in MUD form." <Lecturer> Sketch says, "No, but I admit your chantitle was a minor inspiration. ;)" Týr says, "An anime-based TCG, at that." <Lecturer> Sketch laughs. Ender says, "Yes, yes you are, and yes, yes it is, cause I was going to ask what color Moon is." <Lecturer> Sketch says, "Anyway, that's just one idea. Another, possibly related was 'I want this game to be impossible to play without two players'. Some mechanism, somewhere, requires people to play together. The intent being to encourage friendship. As of yet, I haven't devised a system with this restraint that wouldn't completely ruin one." tramp says, "quest management." <Lecturer> Sketch says, "Another really cool idea that I like even better is a poetry slam MUD. You do damage by writing, with or without a partner, different types of poetry. Different verse forms (ABBA, ABAB, AABC, ababb) and different metres do different amounts of damage. Some enemies are resistant to ballades, some limericks. I'd include something so you couldn't use the same poems over and over, of course. Perhaps eloquence would increase potency?" <Lecturer> Sketch says, "Maybe you get a critical for using a strange word, like "Jabberwocky"." tramp says, "wizard requires object located in a locked and magically sealed vault which can only be opened by a rogue. and the object can only be weilded by a wizard. <- requires both." <Lecturer> Sketch says, "Meanwhile, imagine asking your average WoW player (and by 'average' I mean 'highly exaggerated stereotype') to write a sonnet to down their foe. After opening Wikipedia ('What's a sonnet?'), they might find themselves already down a few HP. I imagine this would only delve into frustration as they attempted to quickly construct and type one." <Lecturer> Sketch says, "So I'm hoping to open up ideas. I want to see people trying to utilize the media we have, interactive text-based worlds, to make interesting games. Games that wouldn't, CAN'T work in any other medium. I'll open the floor to any thoughts you have. This is all I have written. :D" tramp chuckles this is very similar to my multi-game geocaching idea. You play a customized version of some game (Mario Bros) which gives you a geocache location. you go there (IRL) to find out what game you have to play next, etc. etc. This could be done EASILY with MUSH (since all of the games would be interested in cooperating by providing a geocache location as a reward somewhere). AnneLions notes that being /forced/ to find a 'friend' to finish something is incredibly frustrating. RP is one thing, trying to shoot a Jabberwoky is another. <Lecturer> Sketch goes down the few steps to the seating area. Sketch comes down the few steps from the stage. <Lecturer> Sketch has left. Sketch has arrived. Nämmyung thinks it all has to do with the kinds of games you want to play. Sketch says, "Stepping down. It's open forum now. :)" Nämmyung says, "if you want to play the 'slay the blue slime' game, it would be frustrating to have to go find a tag-team friend to play. But there are also other games that only makes sense when you play with someone." tramp says, "in fact, it could be done easiest in a single MUSH." Ender agrees with Anne, I do not want to +Pub LF PUG Sketch 10+ Cuiorne says, "First are we talking about MUD or MUSH? There is a huge differance." Ender says, "LFT DPS OMG XYZ PEAPODS." AnneLionslaughs. tramp chuckles. Ender liked Guild Wars cause I could solo easily. Ender says, "And if I wanted a PUG, I could get one. Or I could ask my friends to assemble, etc." Nämmyung says, "so the question becomes, what kinds of games can we make that you can play with other players?" Ender will brb, though. Sketch says, "Cuiorne: Beats me. :) Personally, I see the differences, but I'm more drawn to the similiarities. Nammyung's got it." tramp says, "<Public> Newbie enchanter LFG to powerlevel. please twink me." AnneLions says, "As an example, I've been playing games on facebook. A large majority of them want you to ask X number of friends to play, or you can't have certain content. I have friends on facebook. They do not all want to play the same games I do." AnneLions says, "And even when they do, I can't get them to send me stuff I need." Ender says, "Anne: I hate people who invite me to MobstersWarVille." Ender nods. Nämmyung nods and those games are annoying. "You just end up inviting/being invited by random people. Ender nodsnods. "I invite people who already play. Nämmyung says, "But then again, that can in certain situations be good icebreaker to meet people, who knows." Ender will NOW go brb again, cause yeah. AFK. AnneLions says, "Me too. People that already play." tramp nods and they're all viral. you give up access to your personal profile to the game... and then never get to actually play. AnneLions has partially disconnected. Cuiorne says, "in a MUD one can play without ever interacting with another player. In a MUSH - its a cooperative RP envirorement" Nämmyung disagrees with that Cuiorne. Nämmyung says, "some of the best co-op play I've had were on Discworld MUD." Cuiorne says, "that may have been a over simplification" Nämmyung says, "And there is no reason why we need to limit MUSH to freeform RP." tramp says, "but generically accurate." AnneLions says, "In general, though, I think Cuiorne is right." tramp says, "I agree with Nammyung on that." Sketch says, "It's very difficult to solo some MUDs, I hear. Those are the ones I was thinking of most, if it matters." tramp says, "no need to assume that just because it's MUSH we can't do some thing or other." AnneLions hates going to a MUSH and finding out it's just a MUD. Mercutio has never seen solo-play on a MUSH... Mercutio headrubs. AnneLions says, "I.E. STABSTABSTAB." AnneLions says, "You've never been on ATS, Mercutio." Nämmyung says, "would it help if they just didn't post the server-type info on logon screen?" Mercutio says, "HSpace is no longer MUSH :P" tramp would like to go to a MUSH which, if you felt like it on that day, you could PLAY as a MUD, but didn't have to (you could just hang out and MUSH, too). Nämmyung says, "So you are just connecting to a game, not to a server flavor?" Mercutio says, "There's a reason we don't support it on +softcode" AnneLions says, "ATS has coded mobs and stuff." Mercutio says, "@ tramp - some MUCKs are ike that. Like Southern Cross." Chaz says, "Maybe rather than make co-operation an absolutely required element, make it a non-essential element that is preferable for a number of reasons. Easier combat is a given, but something like having optional puzzles that can only be solved by co-operation between two players, that sees both players work together towards a "sekrit ending!"" Cuiorne says, "AnneLions is ATS a MUSH or a MUD?" Nämmyung says, "As far as what a cooperative-play game might look like, I actually think there is a lot that we could learn from boardgame designs." Mercutio says, "It's a MUSH, technically." AnneLions says, "ATS is a PennMUSH with MUD qualities." Sketch says, "that's a better way, Chaz. Promoting teamwork instead of punishing solo players." Jules says, "The secret ending is that you're actually an eldritch monstrosity!" Jules spoils a particular game, but doesn't say which one. ;p Nämmyung says, "If you guys have played The Battlestar Galactica boardgame, for instance: it plays like a co-op game with each player taking the role of one of the characters. Each character has different role they must play to make sure the ship survives cylon attacks, etc." Chaz knows which game Jules spoiled. Nämmyung says, "However, there is a cylon traitor among you, of course. So there is quite a bit of what functions as RP among players" Nämmyung says, "to figure out who they can trust, who they need to work with, etc. Really, if you read some of the playlogs, it makes for really fascinating narrative generation." Chaz says, "Sounds like Werewolf/Vampire/Mafia, Battlestar Galactica style. :o" Nämmyung says, "And this is happening in an environment that has, after all, clear limits and guidelines on the kinds of play you are doing. And as we've seen with DF and the like," Sketch says, "I've heard rumors that Mafia was invented on a MU, but I may be mistaken. :p" Nämmyung says, "you can build some really amazing narratives / stories from a small number of pieces." ToadyOne says, "It reminds me of Space Station 13, which they fight about on my board but of which I don't know the details."" Mercutio says, "More like Paranoia." Chaz says, "Space Station 13 is pretty fun." Nämmyung says, "So that's my two cents for now: try some of the newer boardgames that are out now -- they offer some really great hints on what coop play might look like that also serves as effective role play, without becoming freeform 'playing house'" Chaz says, "Space Station 13 has several gamemodes, but the primary one is the most well known: You're on a space station, and depending on what job you picked you have to help keep things running, but one of you is a traitor and has to sabotage the place and kill everyone else before you get caught." ToadyOne says, "I wonder if any analog of chaining two people together like escaped convicts from movies and have them trying to make it someplace or otherwise do something would work. Just random people out of a lobby. You'd have to make a new friend, anyway, but it would depend on having good people." Nämmyung heads off for dinner with that, but thanks again to Toady and all the guests for joining us for the afternoon, and thanks to Sketch and Zeb for organizing things. Chaz says, "But yeah, I kind of like the idea of bonus content that can only be accessed via co-op play, in order to reward co-operative efforts. ^^ My usage of "sekrit ending" was a nod to something Sketch and I did once with a singleplayer game, Knytt Stories. We helped each other locate the hidden keys so that we could play the secret ending." ToadyOne says, "Bye!" Sketch nods to Chaz. :D Nämmyung waves and poofs! Nammyung goes home. Nammyung has left. tramp says, "interesting thin about the number two, as a bare minimum. one is a dead end. if there's only one option, it dies. if there are two options, life is spawned (choice/chance). this is the basis for the biological genome, and it's the same basis we need to be thinking about in expanding MU beyond static text. Keran's weather offered this (there's always more than one possibility for what kind of weather will come next). This is where MU needs to differentiate itself. Most MU's are static text descriptions (plus the few tweaks like Keran's); in order to grow and thrive and become lifelike (total immersion), it must be more dynamic than that (no 'single ending options'... strive to always have choices/forks in the road/options)." Cuiorne says, "Very good tramp" Chaz had no idea there was so much put into the psychology of gaming. @.@; Cuiorne says, "How to pull it off now. But just thinking about it if could do would have a Mush that would really change itself ..." Sketch says, "Hmm. I feel the need to MAKE something. I don't know what, though. ;)" Cuiorne grins at Sketch tramp says, "unfu~ is capable of supporting it, quite easily. But unfu~ is bacially a framework for managing content in a dynamic fashion. you'd need to actually write content and write the dynamic code to make it live. This is where I'm going public this month.." tramp says, "10,000 authors and coders can build a useful system faster than one hobbyist guy alone can." tramp should say... one possessed guy. *smirk* AnneLions has disconnected. Sketch grins. tramp says, "I'm not passioinate...." tramp says, "I'M POSSESSED!!! Mwuahahaha!" tramp says, "insanity is just a way of life for me these days." Sketch says, "Aah, Moriarty and ToadyOne sparked so much more interesting material than I did. :)" Sketch says, "Wish we could go back to that." Zebranky grins. Cuiorne says, "I missed a lot of ToadyOne talk as forgot the time, but ..take the proceedurally generated content/player-generated content and expanding MU beyond static text and Some mechanism, somewhere, requires people to play together. - hmmm" Zebranky says, "It comes down to what you do with it, anyway." Zebranky says, "Go forth and innovate!" Zebranky says, "(Can we close on that? I kind of think we should close on that.)" Sketch says, "Yeah sure. We can probably close on that." tramp says, "it's your show, man." Cuiorne smiles and applauds "Well done Sketch, thank you." tramp applauds. tramp says, "tell filibot to stop logging and i'll turn out the lights." ToadyOne claps with the remaining hand. Chaz appplauds ^^ Chaz applauds, even. One p too many. -- Logging stopped at Sat Oct 17 16:19:01 -0500 2009 --