How much Code is too much Code?


  • Pitcrew

    Just a fun conversation I've had for years with people. My own viewpoints on it fluctuate pretty regularly depending more on mood and what I am currently experiencing. But, just interested in feedback from the general community on the above question:

    How much code is too much code for a game?

    There's the far end of the spectrum with games that are completely free form, then there's the Firan's of the world (Or the El Dorado's or whatever other heavy code game you can pick) that have extensive amount of code.

    So for this discussion, I'd like to see what people think on that over arching question with the following sub topics in mind:

    • What genres seem to benefit most/least from code?
    • Does the code add to or detract from the games in your opinion?
    • In the era of the MMO, does more extensive code need to be present to 'compete' or does less code help to 'emphasize' story telling?

  • Pitcrew

    I like enough code to support my story-telling, but not so much that it gets in the way of my story-telling.

    The amount that this is varies from game to game and theme to theme. If there's combat, it's nice to have code to support that. If it's super important to the theme to know exactly how much money I have, same.

    On the other hand, if no one cares how much money I have outside of extremes, then I don't really want to be bothered with it. I don't want to have to remember to eat or drink or sleep or go to work, ICly. Get out of the way of my RP, code!

    There have been times that lack of code has really hurt my RP too, though. Like the game I played where I had to manually jump in dozens of space ships and fly each and every one of them to a location to prep for a battle, because there was no 'fleet' code or similar.

    Code should be a tool to make storytelling interesting and easy.


  • Coder

    Coming from a WoD MUSH world, I've decided more is better. Automated systems keep players engaged when the story is not actively being told. That keeps players logging in, keeps them from idling, and keeps them around to actually play when other players go looking for RP.

    In the WoD scene, Requiem for Kingsmouth was the example of "more code". You had weekly action points, you had different automated systems to set up patrols, to investigate stuff, etc. You had a blood pool that you needed to hunt to maintain. I liked it.

    But a lot of players didn't, so, definitely not everyone's cup of tea. But, to be perfectly honest, the people who found these systems unpalatable and couldn't do them were generally the players who were so very casual that I don't think they benefited the games they were on. They would log in, they would idle for great lengths, they would do one or two closed/private scenes a week. That doesn't grow a playerbase.

    So, in terms of WoD, more code!



  • Like it might sound strange coming from me, but I played systemless freeform games for way longer than I've done any kind of MU play at all. The reason I personally go with a more coded approach now is just wanting to make sure there are tools to let players create RP and drive story, and facilitate their finding RP. I definitely don't want people to feel overwhelmed, but it's a hard thing to balance since some people really do want something more like a sim (RPI style where everything is coded), versus people who feel an intense dislike to coded systems due to feeling like it's a roadblock rather than a help to just finding RP and really hate having to work through new systems.

    The goal I think is to make things as intuitive and easy to use as possible, and that's a really hard, ongoing struggle that pretty much doesn't stop ever.


  • Coder

    @skew said in How much Code is too much Code?:

    Coming from a WoD MUSH world, I've decided more is better. Automated systems keep players engaged when the story is not actively being told. That keeps players logging in, keeps them from idling, and keeps them around to actually play when other players go looking for RP.

    This. If done right, I think code facilitates storytelling. If I have options for more than bar RP, things which can influence the main storyline but don't immediately require a GM, or ways to queue up GM action that save the GM time, there is a lot I can do as a player. Combat code, exploration code, investigation code, etc.

    If done wrong, though, I think it just becomes a stumbling block in players' paths, something you have to navigate in order to find RP. In trying to make a functioning economy, for instance—not necessarily a bad goal in itself—I do think Firan crossed the boundary from one to the other in several areas, like bathing and eating and so on. They came from good intentions but in hindsight became things you had to do in order to RP, rather than facilitating it.


  • Coder

    I hate coded systems. (Ironic, yeah?) I much prefer just freeform storytelling.

    The only time I code a system for my game is when it makes it easier to tell stories. The FS3 combat system enables you to RP out stories involving epic battles that would otherwise take for-freaking-ever to play out. Skills system allow players to easily resolve disputes without needing a judge, to keep things from devolving into cops and robbers "I got you!" "No you didn't!"


  • Pitcrew Banned

    I think trying to boil it down to "how much" code one should have is reductive. It's like people who try to reduce economic regulation to "more government" or "less government." Just imagine trying to quantify how much code is in a game. How are you going to measure it, by the number of lines?

    Some qualitative assessments should be made before adding any code:

    • Does the code make the game more fun or less fun?
    • Does it add flavor to the theme or take away from it?
    • Is it a pain in the ass to write?

    There are probably more valid questions, but if you answer the right way to enough of these questions you should probably code it, and otherwise you shouldn't.


  • Coder

    Well, funny I should speak up with my background of being an insane, well, coder, but here we go.

    I think in the long scope of things, people forget a very important key of mushing.

    At the end of the day, regardless of the emotional attachment, time invested, or IC and OOC engagement, it's still just a game.

    On this very important, yet overlooked point, coding should make this enjoyable for the end user. Full stop.

    At the end of the day, the code you do should answer a very simple question:

    Does this code help make this game enjoyable to the player and help them find enjoyment?

    If the answer is no, short of it being a required administrative tool or important back-end code, the answer should be obvious.


  • Admin

    For me code serves three purposes:

    1. Allow for better record-keeping. Why remember things (such as when PrPs will be ran) when computers are so much better at remembering stuff for me?

    2. Expedite menial tasks. The worst thing about combat scenes done manually for 3+ players is how long they take; some nWoD battles took 2-3 hours to resolve, and that's with minimal posing.

    3. Keep coders busy, otherwise who knows what they'll end up doing with their free time.



  • @arkandel said in How much Code is too much Code?:

    Keep coders busy, otherwise who knows what they'll end up doing with their free time.

    Taking over the world.


  • Coder

    @arkandel said in How much Code is too much Code?:

    1. Allow for better record-keeping. ... 2) Expedite menial tasks.

    Oh yeah, I should have clarified. My "I hate code" sentiment was in regards to code that butts up against actual RP. Starships, economy, crafting, etc. OOC tools to enhance the community or make it easier to facilitate getting people together? Go wild. But even then, always consider what problem is this solving and what problems is this creating.


  • Coder

    @arkandel said in How much Code is too much Code?:

    1. Keep coders busy, otherwise who knows what they'll end up doing with their free time.

    RP for once, maybe?


  • Coder

    @thenomain said in How much Code is too much Code?:

    @arkandel said in How much Code is too much Code?:

    1. Keep coders busy, otherwise who knows what they'll end up doing with their free time.

    RP for once, maybe?

    No... wait... what?

    I don't understand. RP? Rabid Poodles? Huh? No, wait, it's getting dark out, I'm confused, help! Help!!



  • Are we talking code that helps players on a MU*, code that handles game play elements like die rolls and order of action, code that handles larger setting type things such as trade, improvements, and reputation, or "game mechanics" like having stats, rolling dice, and having set personality traits?

    @Ashen-Shugar Also there are wolves after you.


  • Coder

    @ashen-shugar

    Take the aggregate of all your code. Try to imagine the outcome. Remember that there are people logged in all the time asking you for ridiculous things like, "Can you create a setting that removes just the ANSI from comtitles?"

    Those people are RPing. Strange, isn't it?


  • Coder

    @thenomain said in How much Code is too much Code?:

    @ashen-shugar

    Take the aggregate of all your code. Try to imagine the outcome. Remember that there are people logged in all the time asking you for ridiculous things like, "Can you create a setting that removes just the ANSI from comtitles?"

    Those people are RPing. Strange, isn't it?

    That's when you tell them to just screw off and go away right?

    No wait, I actually helped you that time. Man, you must have caught me at a good time ;)

    On a serious note regarding this...

    > comhelp comset
    ComSys: Help for Version 1.2.0 of AshComV2 [09/22/2017]
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Syntax: comset[/switch] <channel> <value>
    
    This lets you set specific channel (or system wide) settings for various
    settings for the comsystem. Current settings are:
         1 - NOANSI
         2 - NOANSI/NOCOMTITLE
         3 - NOCOMTITLE
    
    NOANSI specifies you do not wish to see any ansi (except chan name)
    and will muffle all other ansi with the exception of
    the 'To:' option with player names. This is intentional.
    The NOCOMTITLE option snuffs you receiving player comtitles
    on the specified channel.
    
    You may specify +all to specify system-wide settings as it specifies
    all channels.
    
    The specific options are available for the comset command:
    /set - this will set (or modify an existing) channel with
              the specific value you specify. If you speicify +all it will purge
              all other entries as it assumes you set global overrides.
              This option requires a channel and a value between 1 and 3.
    /unset - this will remove the specified channel (or +all) from the
              options. You must remove +all before setting individual
              channels. This is intentional.
              This option requires a channel name only.
    /list - this lists what channels (if any) you have options on.
              This does not require any additional arguments.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ComSys: Individual Topic Help completed.
    

    Cheers :)


  • Coder

    @ashen-shugar said in How much Code is too much Code?:

    That's when you tell them to just screw off and go away right?

    Yeah, like either you or I are any good at that. We've worked so hard to become wizards that for some reason we feel that we have to use those powers for Good™ or we're not using them right.


  • Pitcrew

    I admire strongly coded systems but honestly it’s very intimidating and stressful for me as a player. I could lie and say it’s bevause I’m old and tired and the learning curve is steep but even in my young pup days I couldn’t get into firan either.

    I don’t know why this barrier exists for me. I love faraday’s system because it is very simple. It takes away all ooc stress for me in combat, etc. that kind of code I love. But all the moving off screen parts (except for narratives, like rfk’s beats, which I don’t think I’d consider “coded” to be honest) tend to fluster me and make me feel even more useless because I know it will take me so long to “get” without having to ask every single time, which is stressful for me.

    I recently tried/am trying Arx again which is not even that heavily coded, and it’s a huge mental barrier. I think I would be struggling even without my time crunch and fucking annoying constant illness issues, but that plus knowing I need to learn more stuff that’s not intuitively documented (for me) is just...intimidating.

    This isn’t the fault of this game (nor was my huge intimidating factor at Firan Firan’s fault.). Most people can learn this stuff better than me, and I can see how and why people like it. I just wish it did not have the effect of massive performance anxiety/stress on me personally that it does.

    I don’t think there is a wrong or right level of code for a game! I think game runners should pick stuff that enhances their organization/management styles or that they enjoy. There will be plenty of people who can learn, and happy less stressed staff is worth it, IMO, for everyone’s health.


  • Coder

    @thenomain said in How much Code is too much Code?:

    @ashen-shugar said in How much Code is too much Code?:

    That's when you tell them to just screw off and go away right?

    Yeah, like either you or I are any good at that. We've worked so hard to become wizards that for some reason we feel that we have to use those powers for Good™ or we're not using them right.

    Well, once someone annoyed me and eventually forced me to make the Medusa Object.

    Them: I'm going to keep coming back until you boot me! (insert other random profanities, whining, and petulance here)
    Me: ... ok (tap tap tap)
    ...
    ...

    Ashen-Shugar has dropped Medusa Object.

    ...
    ...

    Life from that point on was just hell for the guy.

    For those curious, here's the Medusa Object

    @@ This is the main medusa object -- An alternative to site-banning
    @@
    @@ This was created to counter-act the subset of trolls that get a kick
    @@ of being able to force a site-admin to sitelock them.  They believe
    @@ it as some weird badge of honor or entitlement and get a tickle out
    @@ of it.  However, I find turning them into an object lesson as a, well,
    @@ object annoys the hell out of them.  So I came up with this tool.
    @@
    @@ Essentially add their wildcarded DNS site to &SITES.  If you have IP only
    @@ then use the IP, it's fine.  If you have a 'good' player, add them to 
    @@ the excempt list (their dbref#) and it'll bypass them from being medusa'd.
    @@
    @@ The existing SITES is ones from a known troll, provied for your pleasure.
    @@
    @@ Versioning:
    @@ Owner              Date       Description
    @@ ------------------ ---------- --------------------------------------------
    @@ Ashen-Shugar       07/18/2017 Original deployment
    @@
    @create Global: The Medusa Object=10
    @Aconnect Global: The Medusa Object=@swi/f [!!and(wildmatch(v(sites),lookup_site(%#)),!match(v(exempt),%#))]=1,{@set %#=slave fubar}
    @Adisconnect Global: The Medusa Object=@swi/f [!!wildmatch(v(sites),lookup_site(%#))]=1,{@set %#=!slave !fubar}
    @Startup Global: The Medusa Object=@dolist search(eplayer=[lit([hasflag(##,guest)])])={@swi/f [hasflag(##,connect)]=0,@set ##=!fubar !slave}
    &SITES Global: The Medusa Object=<sites go here>
    &VERSION Global: The Medusa Object=1.0.0 07/18/2017
    @set Global: The Medusa Object=INDESTRUCTABLE SAFE INHERIT
    

    This essentially sets anyone connecting from the matching sites FUBAR and SLAVE, which disables every single command (including LOGOUT and QUIT) that the player can issue while on your game.

    They find it annoying. Fancy that!

    This will only work on RhostMUSH. You can likely tweak it for non-Rhost, but remember, non-Rhost games don't have the FUBAR flag.



  • @mietze said in How much Code is too much Code?:

    I admire strongly coded systems but honestly it’s very intimidating and stressful for me as a player. I could lie and say it’s bevause I’m old and tired and the learning curve is steep but even in my young pup days I couldn’t get into firan either.

    I'm the same way about this, 100%.

    To me, it feels like homework and paperwork work-work.

    When I play, I want to be creative. I want code that gets the tasks that get in the way of being creative out of my way, not code that is another hoop to jump through before I'm permitted to jump into the being creative part.

    I also don't think 'isn't fond of putting up with a bunch of code for side-functions' makes somebody a lazy non-contributing casual, either, since that came up somewhere along the course of this but I'll be damned if I can remember who said it at this point and need to be out the door, so not gonna dredge.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to MU Soapbox was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.