Toonamu Plans 2017!!! DOCUMENT DRAFT NOW AVAILABLE!!!
I'm still working out a system of development that works in the long-term, I haven't forgotten or abandoned this. But I thought I would give an update and make a possible thread about what I'm doing.
The system of development aside, I've decided to go the weeb route and create a Dragon Ball game. There are a few reasons for this, even though I might accidentally attract some people from the MUDing community (there are some good people in that part of the hobby, it's not all bad).
My primary reason for choosing Dragon Ball, despite an inherent interest in the theme (look no further than the insane wiki to see the bizarre depth of setting it has), is the fact that it actually thematically overlaps with my desire to create a system of advancement that works in the long-term. The them in of itself does not lend itself to being very easy to make functional and interesting in the long-term in a way that keeps players engaged, so I believe that by test running a new form of advancement with this kind of theme, it'll be like a freaking trial by fire and any theme after that will be easy.
Aside from that, I intend to use Evennia to do this, which means I'm learning Python. This project is going to be a lot to take, but hey, again, trial by fire, if I can do this I can do anything after this.
If you're wondering why I'm announcing it in this post, it's because now if I don't do it, I'll look like an ass, so now you know!
But this isn't just about me and my theme. This will also be about collecting valuable data that I hope will help other people, so don't worry if the theme itself doesn't interest you, when I finally have things up and running (god knows when), I'll either use this thread or make another thread about my observations of how things are working out, and any challenges I'm having. My intent is to be entirely transparent so that what I'm doing will be educational and valuable beyond the scope of the project itself.
I more or less have a theme concept worked out, I don't plan to just use the show and just be like "OK WE'RE DOING THE ANIME STORYLINES!", I'm taking ridiculous creative liberties.
Update: Thread title renamed to reflect the finalized name of the MU. I needed a name that fully illustrated where I stand tonally as a director in relation to other games, a name that we can be proud of, a name with no pretense of pretentiousness. This will be a place that knows what it is, that can be serious without taking itself seriously, because seriously, Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, Yu Yu Hakusho, and Naruto are what the theme is. Let's have some self-awareness about that!
Update 2: I've settled on the name Toonamu, credit to Mega Man MUSH's Daryn. I actually loved the GCZ name, but I legitimately couldn't say no to Toonamu, it's perfect. I now have the draft of the design document complete, though there are incomplete sections due to them needing longer consideration and discussion, or not being practical to write until I have other things finished. Comments are enabled for anyone with a link. Tear this shit apart: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1K9JqcQjwLYPNweaSWOc08jgQE07ZiECcClUJGQcYqZ4/edit
Update 3: Table of contents added. It's shitty because Google docs, but it's better than nothing. It should be in add-ons, so you can click show table of contents, I believe. Final version will be in a PDF to avoid this shit.
So, while brainstorming this design document, and trying to figure out a system, I've had a bit of a realization.
This might sound obvious of course, but I realize that there isn't really a "one size fits all" system. So what I'm actually going to do is form this system, and thoroughly detail the intent of the system, and the type of game that it's meant for. This might mean that I create more than one system (not for the same game, obviously).
But either way, creating different systems for different types of games, like a bit of an RP toolbox, seems like the best route.
Again, this might seem obvious to some people, but I really thought there might be a way to create a universal system. But the more I think about it, the more that just doesn't seem practical in a way that's actually fun to use.
I'm going to keep an eye on this, if mostly for the development of the system. I am very much in the mindset that you are, there's no 'one system fits all' and, especially on a MUSH, development needs to be done for what you're doing. I look forward to seeing what is going on.
I do plan to let people help when I get to the coding stage, but my intent is for this to not be a project that will just crash and burn if anyone leaves it. So I'll definitely enforce practices like code comments and such.
Writing my design document, I'm trying to decide what the proper order of things should be in one specifically made for a MU. I'm thinking I'll make the explanation of theme very brief in the beginning, and quickly get into the meat of things (with theme sprinkled throughout, obviously).
Also gonna work on Photoshop and Word markups for various aspects of the game that I will put into the final PDF.
Still waiting for the DICE guy to say if I can use/modify his system at all. (or her)
Still waiting for the DICE guy to say if I can use/modify his system at all. (or her)
- I don't mind; it's not like the DICE 1.0 concept hasn't been floating around since I did Lost Stars (the original-theme SF game 1.0 was designed and written for) umpty jillion years ago; I'm morally certain other people have made systems inspired by now. However, if you do use the design directly as a basis, I would love it if you credited either 'Sparks' or 'Packetdancer' for the original design.
- Her. :)
That said, you say you're using Python? I do plan to finish up DICE 2.0 as a generic Evennia module others can use. If you're using Evennia, you're also welcome to just wait until it's in the contrib directory, though that could be a bit before I get there.
@Sparks Yeah my intention is to use Evennia. Though I still have to hammer down actually learning a lot of this code stuff, so I guess it depends on which of us is slowest!
At the very least, I'll have a more clear idea on just how much work needs to be done once this design document is finished, and perhaps I talk to Volund for suggestions. DICE definitely saves me a hell of a lot of work, since it's pretty much what I think I want.
Thanks, though! I look forward to seeing how things go.
Design document is 7 pages in. The theme is now comprised of four different anime themes because I don't want the temptation to just re-hash a story to be there, and I like all the contrasting flavors. This isn't intended to be a big multi-theme game, I very carefully selected the four themes and my intent isn't to add more unless it's very carefully considered and not disruptive to the existing world.
Much of the core of what the game will be is more or less figured out, so this rough draft of a design document will serve as the basis for actually creating a more refined document.
Once the finalized document is complete and I've moved beyond the draft (I intend to have multiple people look over the draft before it's edited and finalized), then I'll move from the concept to code planning.
During this draft stage, I intend to have everything that needs to be coded already figured out (at least game-wise, I'm sure there's back-end technical stuff I don't know about yet), so the code planning stage will be to figure out how to code what needs to be added to the game.
After the code planning stage, then the actual coding will begin. Rooms and all that will be desc'd, etc.
When this is done, the design document will be used as the basis for quickly writing up files and theme stuff, and by this point I should already have settled on what wiki platform to use. The wiki itself will be fully designed with a roster of characters who are ready to pick up.
When both the wiki and game are complete, I'll start writing a plot document and use the established world and theme files to have a wide variety of things that can be pursued or interacted with, as well as plot to be unlocked and methods to unlock it. This stage should be fairly quick (probably about a week), so I'm not super worried about it (I don't spend 3 years world building shit no one will care about).
After all that's over and the game has been fully polished, then I'll let people come and break the game. I don't think what I want to do is particularly impossibly ambitious, so I'm pushing ahead.
Fyi I intend to entirely do away with pointless background and personality writing, except for OCs. FC apps will consist of two questions: "What is your RPing history and most known characters?", and "Why do you want to play this character?"
I don't really have a timeline, but this is my general plan currently.
Are you fishing for feedback or just stating plans?
I'd recommend keeping personality for FC and eliminating it for OC.
You see, an OC's personality is in the long run pointless to have. Players of OC characters will often take turns and departures from their plans or adapt them to events and plots. Their background is on the reverse very important, as you don't want someone's OC to have done crazy things in the past. Key points and important events only. No one cares what high school your OC went to.
It is naturally the other way around for FC characters. You already know their background, what you want to know is whether the player has a good idea of what he's signing up to play. If someone applies for Vegeta you want to be sure they understand who Vegeta is, because maybe they're just after the prestigious position, and power boost, of being Vegeta. At the same time you don't want an essay. Like backgrounds for OC characters, key points and important events only. No one cares what Vegeta's favorite food is, even if it's interesting trivia.
@Salty-Secrets I'm generally keeping people up to date on the state of things with this thread, but I'm also doing this because I want to be open to feedback as well as questions or suggestions.
You make a lot of good points and I do overall agree with your points. The only reason that I'm thinking "Actually writing an entire app might be pointless", is because a person can be the best app writer in the universe and still be completely garbage at actually RPing (things one would have some sense of by them explaining their RP history). The other reason reason is that this game will be an experiment in lowering the barrier to entry for people outside of the hobby, because of a marketing experiment I'm gonna do.
Knowing people's RP history and why they want to play the character both gives me a gauge of their experience and also their intent. These two things combined should give a reasonable measure of if someone will actually be a good fit for the character or not. Anyone can go and read up on a character and regurgitate some shit from a wiki somewhere, rendering the information gained from a background or personality basically useless in the context of an FC. But if I have their intent and their experience, then I can trust that they'll do what needs to be done to handle certain characters.
A good RPer is also not necessarily good at writing a background or personality, so I want to prioritize who is playing the character, not necessarily how well they can Google and rewrite.
What are your thoughts on that, now that you know my intent?
edit: I also think you're right in that personality is probably not a huuuge priority with an OC, people should know what they want to portray already. So I may cut that.
@HelloProject I think your intent to lower the entry barrier is a good design philosophy.
I don't think that someone's RP history is all that informative. It's too easy to lie. Unless you have encyclopedic knowledge of every role-player running around every role-playing circuit you can't do much with a list of roles someone has played or even a list of games someone has played on. I also feel that it might be unfair to newer role-players to use role-playing history as a metric.
You're also correct that it's easy for someone to take information off a wiki, or even another game, and put it in an application. That's why I recommend that your history requirements, for OC characters, and personality requirements, for FC characters, be simplified lists, not paragraphs or essays. Far too many games that require applications encourage you to pad them with purple prose to meet certain word minimums or quality checks. What you really want is to get to the facts right away.
I really, really like the idea of asking "why do you want to play this character" and it may be the most interesting thing you've touched on. Not enough people put thought into that.
@Salty-Secrets Yeah, I accept that there will be people who might lie on their history, though I think it's worth having the question in general. It's not so much that I want a hard list as like, just for someone to basically talk about their RP history a bit, y'know? Even if, as you said, some people might lie.
I'm still not sure that I necessarily see the merit in the personality section, since it seems more like a formality than anything else, that doesn't technically prove anything. But since the intent is to get a feel for how someone might RP a character, and if they have the personality of the character down, maybe I should bring back something M3 used to have. Basically, the sample pose. Like, entirely replace personality with a sample pose, of dialogue and action.
Rather than have someone have to think of something on the spot, I could just offer a simple writing prompt for them to respond to. Further, it'll be a non-combat writing prompt to really challenge the player's interpretation of the character.
Do you think this sounds like a good idea 0_o?
@HelloProject I like it.
I've seen two WoD games, can't recall which ones of the hundred clearly, do something like that. There was a small selection of non-combat poses and you had to pick the one that spoke to you the most and reply to it.
@Salty-Secrets Then I'll go with this. I like that selections idea.
Thanks for your input!
Every time I mention King Furry in this document, I think of how every MSB person who reads this document and has never seen DBZ will react.
I actually really liked the DB universe and such, there is a crazy amount of lore there for sure.
My only question is how do you stop the Super Saiyajin Powerup of the week being the be all and end all?
Everyone can't be a member of a now mostly dead race after all.
There's tons of in-universe things, and various powers. Hell, right now, Tienshinhan and Master Roshi are going to fight in a tournament for the sake of the entire universe against other universes, with people who can give God-level Super Saiyan Goku a run for their money, and people like Krillin and them are keeping up at a decent pace. Cybernetics are a thing. Magic is a thing. I'm sure, with it being a pastiche of Journey to the West, magic peaches of Super Superness could be a thing. It's a very open world for options.
@Lithium Well the first thing is that my game is going to have a pretty easy to control progression using the DICE system.
The second thing is that a part of the entire reason I even chose DBZ as one of the foundations for this game is specifically because of how necessary it is to make sure that progression is very tightly figured out by day one.
I intend to start off characters relatively evenly, with the exception of support characters. Major FCs like Goku or people from the other three themes I added, are differentiated in their specialness by the fact that they have certain special things built into their narrative. I think that's more than enough, they don't need like a massive sheet lead or whatever.
This is definitely not going to be comparable to MCM or whatever, the progression will very much be codified and I'm essentially crafting this game around my GMing style.
I'm not one for predetermined narrative. At best I come up with three possible endings for a particular plot, and even those aren't a guarantee. So if someone is playing a major FC and they're slacking, I'm not gonna handwave and tell Krillin "Sorry, you're working too hard, get back in your box". If Krillin ends up the goddamned savior of the universe, that's Goku player's fault for slacking.
I should just say right now that the world is being made up of DBZ, Sailor Moon, Naruto, and Yu Yu Hakusho. This might seem random, but I have my reasons. DBZ is still the foundation of much of this, but, well, let's just say that this isn't going to be a world that takes itself so seriously that I'm gonna beat people with a stick for not wanting to follow the canon plot of their character.
I intend for any super transformations to be more or less on par with each other at each level, but I also don't intend to make everything perfectly balanced either. That said, if a super saiyan is being a dick, then team up and beat the shit out of the super saiyan.
This will also not be an explicitly PvP game. PvP will certainly exist and be a big part of the game, but I'm gonna have stuff like villain slots, and on average hardcore villains are gonna often be more powerful than non-villains. The reason for this is that even if you do become uber ultra awesome saiyan #2, I want there to be a constant air of threat, and I don't want all the major villains to just be NPCs or whatever.
But yeah, not everything is gonna be balanced, but on the PvP friendly rivalry level, I don't plan for everything to be wildly uneven either. I'm still working out how the DICE system can be used to handle new players in the long-term, and how power bloat can be handled, but I'll get there.
edit: Since this is an alternate universe, based on the premise I set up (subject to change), I also made Planet Vegeta a thing again. Why? Because I'm not gonna be like one of those dickish Star Wars MUs that's like "Oh, only a select few people can be a Jedi". If you wanna be a saiyan, be a saiyan. I also explicitly state in my document that anyone can do an OC Sailor Senshi. So, there ya go!
I don't want to put all the plot stuff (like unlockable plots and in-game secret stuff) into the design document. I figured I'd just touch on and explain how these things will work.
Do you think this is fine? I figure I'll make categorized documents to share with relevant staff, rather than some sort of master plot document (though I might keep a master document for myself). This isn't due to a lack of trust in any staff I'll get, but to allow staff to be able to experience the game without knowing every single plot secret.
You're going to want a Master Plot Document and at least one or two helpers familiar with it. It shouldn't be written solely by you, either. You can part it out further from there, but having things shotgunned around all over the place causes problems pretty damn fast.