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Malachite Drake

Forum Design/Game Types Idea

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So....Jess, Dawn, and I were talking about the site over Chinese the other day, discussing the change in tone and type of games run on the site since the days of 20(+10) (now called just N!Prime, I think).

Anyhoo, it was thought that the board really has moved away from free-form round-robin interactive fictions towards ST-run games; also, there seem to be two general catagories of ST-run games:

The first is a closed ST game, where the ST establishes strong hold over the number, theme, and power level of the characters of the game. They generally do not allow people to just join "whenever" and have a strong, central storyline for the game to follow. Characters -must- be approved by the ST both on points and background, getting to play in the game can often be a "by invitation only" situation, and players agree to the tyranny (grin) of the ST of the game. (Examples: Wild Cards, Dead Rising (which has a large fiction section but a fairly strict set of theme/mechanics rules for character creation and progress), Back to the Stars)

,,

The second type is an open ST game, like a hybrid of an ST run game and the OW games on the board right now. There are much fewer restrictions on type or theme of characters, players can join fairly easily along the course of the game, and while there are plots and possibly even meta-plots provided by the ST, there is a strongly encouraged "personal plot" or "side fictions" section to the game where players can muck about as they will outside of any provided plot. (Examples: Ultimate Abberant (perfect example when Dave was running plot), Long March, SGF (strong meta-plot for the world but incredible freedom on what/where/who of the game))

I have a proposal that I'd like to see people's opinions on; if Chosen is up for it, I'd suggest setting the board up with 4 forums (Discussion, Closed ST, Open ST, and Open World). This would help players know what kind of game they're looking at and give prospective ST's another way of letting prospective players know the type of game they'll be running. Open ST becomes our new hybrid forum as it looks like people are enjoying the looser ST-run games that allow for a great deal of self-direction but still provide plot to interact with and not as interested in pure OW fiction writing, while not removing the option for the interactive fiction writing that was the lifeblood of the site for so many years.

What do you all think?

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Looking at it, this makes sense to me. I second this motion. (I know that's not much to say, but really I don't see anything here I disagree with in principle.)

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While that does make sense, dividing the ST driven games into 'open' and 'closed', I think that there is probably a better way to make that distinction and that won't clutter up the main page.

Possibly where the Moderator is listed, or in front of or behind the game name, he could put the word 'Open' or 'Closed'. That way it'd still be easy to see if what type it is, but there wouldn't be any more clutter added. Of course, I don't know how difficult or easy it would be for any of these suggestions, original included. That's just my two cents.

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I'm just not a fan of the "open/closed" terminology. I think somebody new to the sit might not understand that a "closed" game could still be accepting new players.

Maybe instead of "open/closed" we could use something like ST Controlled / ST Driven / Freeform?

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I agree with Jameboros, the terminology might give the wrong impression. As far as reorganizing...*shrug* I have no opinion either way as all this will really do is reorganize the order of the games on the main page.

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I've got no attachment to the names, those were just the terms we were usuing.

Hell, ST, Hybrid, and Open World would work for me. I'm just not sure Hybrid wouldn't be confusing to newcomers. But yeah, something along those lines would be great.

Anyone else have suggestions for names?

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Unsurprisingly, I'm happy with this idea. The names used aren't a real big deal to me; I'm fine with ST, Hybrid and Open. As a note, both Dalton and WoDA (well, WoDA with active STs, which is what we're hoping for) would fall into the Hybrid category.

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I'm cool with it. Just adding my voice to the rabble.

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I followed this thread and would make the change if people prefer it that way. I am a bit skeptical though. My fear is that it just creates a way for people to make more basically open world games and bypass the player limit, which would end up with a bunch of games without much control and few players. And that would clog up the forum even more. I understand the reasoning behind it, but it needs to be discussed more.

Will someone create a list of the new division of games based on this method so that I can ask some additional questions? Then any ST can voice their opinion on the initial list to have their game moved to one side or another.

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You need 3 characters for an ST game, and 10 players for an OW forum, right?

How about just saying that you need 6 participants (ST's and players combined) in order to open an ST-Lead game? Those types of games do generally need more players to work well, but not as many as a full OW forum, as their is some direction/stuff to do from the ST staff.

I'll work on the list over lunch. laugh

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for me the big question is: Is there really a difference between the ST Driven and the "hybrid" games? I have never, ever, been told I could not write a solo or group fiction away from the ST of any game, and as a ST I have never told my players that I didn't want them doing so either, in fact I usually encourage it.

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I guess you are going along the same lines of thinking as I am. If we divide things up I want to discuss some rules changes to make sure that this improves things.

Here is the current listing of games:

Campaign PBP Games

Aberrant: Phoenix Rising

Aberrant: Dead Rising

Aberrant: Stargate Universe

Aberrant: Wild Card

BESM: Nexus Earth

BESM Miniseries: In the Shadows of the City

BESM: Virtus Arach

Mutants & Masterminds: Harmony City

Mutants & Masterminds: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Mutants & Masterminds: The Unlikely Prophets

Mutants & Masterminds: Legacy

Mutants and Masterminds: Mecha Mayhem

Mutants & Masterminds: Galatic League

Mutants and Masterminds: Bleach

StarGate: Freedom

World of Darkness: The Academy

World of Darkness: Glimpses of Darkness

World of Darkness: Balance of Power

Shadowrun: Into the Shadows

Trinity: Back to the Stars

Scion: Legends of the Wild West

Open World Multiplayer PBP Games

World of Darkness: Attrition

Aberrant: The Middle Children of History

Aberrant: 200X

Aberrant: Nprime

Ultimate Aberrant: Mutant High

I'd like someone to redivide the all the appropriate games into the new division. Then the actual STs can say whether they think their game belongs there or not.

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Here's the rough list; it has all of the forums currently open on the board, and where I didn't know the game I pretty much defaulted to whatever category it's currently in:

Phoenix Rising – ST Driven

Dead Rising – ST Driven

Stargate Universe – ST Lead

Wild Card – ST Driven

Nexus Earth – ST Driven

In the Shadows of the City – ST Driven

Virtus Arach – ST Driven

Harmony City – ST Driven

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – ST Driven

Unlikely Prophets – ST Driven

Legacy - ST Driven

Mecha Mayham – ST Driven

Galactic League – ST Driven

Bleach – ST Driven

StarGate Freedom – ST Driven

The Academy – ST Driven

Glimpses of Darkness – ST Driven

Balance of Power – ST Lead

Into the Shadows – ST Driven

Back to the Stars – ST Driven

Legends of the Wild West – ST Driven

Attrition – ST Lead

Middle Children of History – Open World

200X – Open World

Nprime – Open World

Ultimate Abberant: Mutant High – ST Lead

Jim - The difference for ST-Driven and ST-Lead is that ST-Driven games are more focused on the storyling/ST-provided bits while the ST-Lead means that there will be plot, but not all the time, the characters don't have to participate in the plot threads, and in general there is a much looser hold on the game from the ST staff than in an ST-Driven game. BoP is a good example of this: we'll provide options for the characters to pursue, but we're not gonna chase your characters down with plot and if you decide to go do other stuff, that's fine too. We're also generally going to approve any character that doesn't completely break the game (a werewolf that became a mage and then was embraced, for example), and allow xp expenditures pretty freely (ie, we're not going to be as uptight about character "theme" as an ST-Driven game might be).

Did that help clarify the concept? smile

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There's a pretty fine line in there between some of the games. I am pretty free with letting my players do what they want in SGU, but at the same time I do have a plot that will effect all characters whether or not they choose to participate and I do also limit what powers can be purchased or not, etc. The distinction between ST-Lead and ST-Driven in SGU's case is very grey. It could fit in either category.

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I'd say on that, then choose which impression you want to give to new people on the board or possible players: basically, is it more important that you have a tight control over the game or that players have a larger expectation of contributing to the game/forum through fictions and less of a requirement to participate in plot threads?

ST-Lead: There will be plots in BoP that have an effect on all characters, but immediate participation in those threads isn't required. An example would be that hobgoblins start wandering around KC in illusions to look like PC's and commit crimes. Everyone can be inconvenienced by this, but being a part of the hob-hunting group that takes care of the problem is up to the players. Plot is provided but not mandatory.

ST-Driven: Games like WC are a whole different matter. If you're in the game, you're there for the plot and there isn't any being in the game without participating in the plot.

Does that help?

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We're actually pretty adamant in WoD:A about the characters making sense, mechanically and thematically, and we expect some reasonable justification for why XP was spent on this or that. In theory, there was also intended to be (and will be) plots that would affect the world whether the PC in question got involved in it personally or not.

Perhaps a little more definition between those two types of games (ST-Driven and ST-Lead) would help, since what's stated previously is a little shaky.

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I didn't mean to imply that ST-Lead games would have no accountability for xp expenditures and character themes. I more meant that it would probably be less stringent than ST-Driven games, where a given ST might not allow something out of personal preference or other inscrutable reasons than any conflict with the game setting.

Also, I didn't mean to imply that plots in ST-Lead games wouldn't affect the game world; I meant only that participation in a plot threads in ST-Lead games wouldn't necessarily be compulsory for the individual characters, while compulsory participation in (at least most) plot threads in ST-Driven games would likely be more common.

These are examples and the ideas guidlines for where a game would most comfortably fit, not intended as iron clad absolutes. Games are fluid and complicated, the split into three groups is intended as a way for players to be able to get a good idea of the intent of the ST/Mods suggesting a game idea or looking for new recruits to know the general PbP style that the game is played in.

Fox - That's what I have it down as. wink

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I think Mala forgot my game in her list (I couldn't find it).

Legacy is ST-Driven if I understand the categories correctly.

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Ack! Sorry, Joani! I thought I got them all, but I was doing it while also trying to eat lunch.....blush

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No problem, I just added my data for Chosen for integrities sake.

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So, at this point do we have a feeling for or against asking to split the gaming area into ST-Drive, ST-Lead, and Open World sections?

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Honestly, I'm not really sure this is a necessary change. I don't think the difference between ST-Led and ST-Driven will be immediately obvious, for example, which seems to leave us back in the original position. If people want to describe the type of game they're running in their rules, or something to that effect, I think it would probably be simpler, e.g. "This game is heavily plot-based and nearly all aspects of play will be directed by the ST, with very little deviation from that format. There will be a few exceptions, such as down-time following the resolution of major plots, in which players may determine how their characters develop and interact freely."

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That's certainly an idea, too. It puts the onus back on the ST's, which is both good (if they'll do it, as it means Chosen doesn't have to change the site) and bad (if they don't/won't do it). I think tags in the names of games was also suggested, though I don't know if that's an option for games that have already started.

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In either case (changing/not changing the site), I think including something like that would go a long way to clarifying the purpose and style of a game. It's something I'd like to do for Attrition, since there was some confusion on both sides during its previous incarnation.

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Yeah, it's a really good idea. That and Carver's list of chapter links and in-game calandar are things that would be awesome to see in all games and I think would make posting/gaming on the site much more enjoyable. laugh

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I don't think there's a need for labels or additional break down of the games into ever decreasing size groups. The only thing I would like is to be able to add to the title of each games's forum (or as an icon) something to indicate if a game is Recruiting or Full. I'm not sure if that would need to be done by Chosen or if there's a way we could do so but I think that would help to direct newcomers (and vets) to those games that have open spots/doors better than anything else.

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I'm picturing flashing "Vacancy" and "No Vacancy" graphics, Jim. :P

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That's fine, and perfectly accurate. The games on the Green Ronin M&Ms forums use this technique and it works well. For new people its immediately apparent which games may be willing to take them on.

*tongue planted firmly in cheek* Now if we could just get a pot bellied and balding middle aged redneck to answer the bell ...

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