Hypothetical Game Design


  • Pitcrew

    So let's be honest. Eventually I am going to wanna do a new project. And I have a few ideas for what I would like to do with it, and I am looking for some idea bouncing/feedback.

    Here are some things I am contemplating:

    • Tiered Focus between "Casuals" and "Actives"
    • An actual Metaplot focused on the God-Machine
    • An emphasis on ST-led scenes
    • Gamewide Coherence

    Here is what I mean by some of those things.

    Casuals vs Actives

    I want to make a game for the people who want to seriously invest. People willing to do lots of work running scenes, pitching ideas, possibly having to put in more to get more. These players would have some sort of perks - IC titles, XP, who knows. But I also don't want to completely exclude those just looking to play a scene or two a week. These slots would be less restricted in the application process but have less impact, so to speak, on the game.

    God-Machine Metaplot

    I fucking love the idea of what you can do with the God-Machine. I have a lot of ideas on how to integrate it into various spheres and the game in general.

    ST-Led scenes

    This could never and should never be a requirement for a MUSH. But I am a tabletop player in background, and I love the idea that anyone could opt in to be the ST for a scene - not a scheduled plot necessarily, just any scene. This would give them some control over the environment, NPCs, etc. Possibly even a coded way to see local sheets.

    Gamewide Coherence

    One problem I have never been able to solve, is to make it so that what happens on grid happens in a meaningful way. Sure, you could log everything everywhere but that is intrusive and time consuming.


  • Pitcrew

    @tragedyjones said:

    So let's be honest. Eventually I am going to wanna do a new project. And I have a few ideas for what I would like to do with it, and I am looking for some idea bouncing/feedback.

    Here are some things I am contemplating:

    • Tiered Focus between "Casuals" and "Actives"
    • An actual Metaplot focused on the God-Machine
    • An emphasis on ST-led scenes
    • Gamewide Coherence

    Here is what I mean by some of those things.

    Casuals vs Actives

    I want to make a game for the people who want to seriously invest. People willing to do lots of work running scenes, pitching ideas, possibly having to put in more to get more. These players would have some sort of perks - IC titles, XP, who knows. But I also don't want to completely exclude those just looking to play a scene or two a week. These slots would be less restricted in the application process but have less impact, so to speak, on the game.

    God-Machine Metaplot

    I fucking love the idea of what you can do with the God-Machine. I have a lot of ideas on how to integrate it into various spheres and the game in general.

    ST-Led scenes

    This could never and should never be a requirement for a MUSH. But I am a tabletop player in background, and I love the idea that anyone could opt in to be the ST for a scene - not a scheduled plot necessarily, just any scene. This would give them some control over the environment, NPCs, etc. Possibly even a coded way to see local sheets.

    Gamewide Coherence

    One problem I have never been able to solve, is to make it so that what happens on grid happens in a meaningful way. Sure, you could log everything everywhere but that is intrusive and time consuming.

    Of all of this, it's the metaplot and ST-led bits that are going to be the hardest to pull off, to be honest. It really depends on how you build it, though.



  • Just one thought about Actives versus Casuals: As someone who got sucked in MMORPGs BIG-TIME for the last two years, I have a new appreciation for the very cyclical nature of online gaming commitment. A lot of players go through alternating phases of very active play and barely-playing-at-all, so from a practical point of view I think it would be difficult to lock someone into an "active" or "casual" category.



  • Perhaps a way to block nonofficial STs from seeing certain traits on your +sheet?
    I guess that would effectively function like a preset of +proves, but I am thinking more along blocking a few specific things that are likely not to come up in regular play, and might dispell player mystery. Things like I am a spy.


  • Admin

    Alright, let's take a stab at it.

    Casuals vs Actives

    If you want to make it tiered do it all the way; actually offer incentives (the standards of which would then need to be enforced) between kinds of players willing to put 'more' into the game. So if there are Vampires some are Elders - real Elders, with the dots to match. But then they'd need to do things, not only in theory but in practice, making them mini-sphere leaders in their own special way. Adjust for whatever spheres you got.

    These standards can be anything but you could tie them to Storytelling. More on that soon!

    I fucking love the idea of what you can do with the God-Machine. I have a lot of ideas on how to integrate it into various spheres and the game in general.

    Well, I got nothing to offer there. :) If you have the ideas make it so!

    ST-Led scenes

    You can tie this to the tiers - look, basically no matter what you do, want or offer some people will run plot because they like to do it and some won't because they don't like to do it. All you can do is encourage it more; so what you're talking about here (I think, correct me if I'm wrong) is changing the culture so there's less separation between what a "PrP" and a "regular scene" is.

    So how about something like this... each of your Elders - let's call them that for now although the principle is the same for any sphere - comes in the game with a metaplot of their own. It's part of their requirements to have more than a background but a story, with protagonists and antagonists and things happening around their very existence. So each time they are out on the grid they are asked or even requested to pull from those and involve others in the madness that's their existence. Assassins try to get near, crazed rogue ghouls pop up to steal their precious super-drippy vitae, powerful agents from their Covenant try recruit PCs to cater to their insanity, Angels show up to propagate their weird schemes, whatever.

    In other words make it so that being a Storyteller advances your character at the same time. It's narcicistic as hell but if it works, it could work really well.

    One problem I have never been able to solve, is to make it so that what happens on grid happens in a meaningful way. Sure, you could log everything everywhere but that is intrusive and time consuming.

    ... I got nothing. I guess the grid isn't something I usually care about, specific hangouts are and I always felt anything more than public posts and changed room descriptions was overkill.

    That's it for now. :)


  • Pitcrew

    Because it appeals to my tabletop sensibility, I would love if each room had the ability to set someone to be "behind the screen" so to speak, where they could access sheets and the like.


  • Admin

    @tragedyjones In theory it's a good idea (and it might help some STs) but if I'm running a scene with 5 people in it I'm not sure I'd ever go around poking into +sheets right then, spamming myself senseless to see what they got.

    However you could offer universal access to +sheets, either to your Elders or to everyone. The OOC Masquerade is a ridiculous thing anyway, and then it could become part of prep-work instead for STs.


  • Pitcrew

    Well I mean you wouldn't HAVE to look, just have the capacity. Maybe able to help assign damage and such, idk.



  • After playing on games where +sheets are public automatically, I have no idea how player STs function without them.


  • Coder

    @Three-Eyed-Crow said:

    After playing on games where +sheets are public automatically, I have no idea how player STs function without them.

    Do these games have the possibility of PvP?



  • It's typically not a huge focus.

    I don't think it's The One True Way for every game. It just makes running shit without a staff bit much easier, to my mind.



  • Where are you going to place the people who WANT to be highly involved but can't due to time zone or RL obligations. Are they going to be considered casual and not have any chance at some of the cool stuff being offered for active?


  • Pitcrew

    It depends on why they can't be involved, I think. If you have RL obligations ahead of time, I would suggest not trying to invest time that you know you don't have.

    Again, though, this is all brainstorming.

    And also, it is not at all meant to imply there is anything WRONG with being a casual.


  • Pitcrew

    I think that unfortunately one should probably look at ability rather than desire, when it comes to positions or limited things that the staff wants to be RP drivers. Lots of people want titles and shit, but if there are expectations tied to them (activity level) then there will be some people that are cool but can't make the cut. It's not fair, but I'm not sure that an individual who has no time and cannot accomplish the tasks expected of anyone else who takes such a slot should get a pass because of their timezone or RL circumstances or whatever.

    I do think, however, it is vitally important to be very specific about what you mean by 'active.' Just logged in? Are they expected to run plots beyond meetings? Do they have to accomplish all the expectations themselves as an individual, or can they have a team approach? (As in, perhaps the elder themselves is in New Zealand , but (to use vampire as an example) they have a lead ghoul who is available EST daytimes, and two childer also incoming who are available at other times with overlap, and who they are confident will be team players even if they don't get the CG stat boost? (I'm actually in support of leadership teams rather than individuals, though it is /hard/ to find them, when you have a great team, there's better longevity).

    Lots of people want lots of things,. If they can't perform or can't meet the requirements though, then it really doesn't matter how bad they want it.

    I think where most policies fall short in this regard is that they are not well defined expectations wise (so that everyone is on the same page, and there is some measure of performance) and seldom is there a very clear policy about removal (not so importnat IF there are unlimited 'slots'.). I think probably there should be some vetting as to type of activity too. You can have a super active individual, but if they have a catastrophic misunderstanding of theme or their purpose is more to just be sparkly starshine prince look at me I'm a snowflake what do you mean I have to involve people that don't totally want to keep me at the center of attention, then that's even more of a problem than the person who is able to log in 3 times a week, but spends that time generating activity for newbies and friends and the sphere at large and is capable of assembling a great suport time to keep it going.



  • Okay. So.. what would be the incentive for me to go onto a game where it comes off punishing people for having RL or being in the wrong time zone? (From what I know of @tragedyjones it doesn't seem like it would be an intentional 'punishing') Why would I even care to play if I know my less available time won't get me the cool things I want to do with my chars?


  • Coder

    @tragedyjones said:

    And also, it is not at all meant to imply there is anything WRONG with being a casual.

    People willing to do lots of work running scenes, pitching ideas, possibly having to put in more to get more. These players would have some sort of perks - IC titles, XP, who knows.

    These slots would be less restricted in the application process but have less impact, so to speak, on the game.

    There's nothing wrong with being a casual, except you get no perks and have less impact.

    I actually don't mind the whole time spent contributing to game equals greater perks. I just don't think that a casual should be artificially limited in the amount of impact they have. If they have a social scene with little consequence twice a week, that's just how they like playing. If they instead contribute through substantive scenes, smart jobs and other low-time, high-return activities, I think they should get to see their efforts bear fruit.

    The number of casuals that do something like that are probably few as it is, so I don't think it's going to hurt any to encourage contribution from all sources.



  • If not getting an incentive is always punishment, then the only game without punishment is one with out incentives.


  • Coder

    I think the way we've been doing it has already been "more time on the game means greater perks" in the same way that staff get perks from simply being staff, such as access to the staff channel and the ability to use their position to encourage their agenda.


  • Pitcrew

    @Misadventure said:

    Perhaps a way to block nonofficial STs from seeing certain traits on your +sheet?
    I guess that would effectively function like a preset of +proves, but I am thinking more along blocking a few specific things that are likely not to come up in regular play, and might dispell player mystery. Things like I am a spy.

    I rather like the idea of an '+stme misadventure' command. I enter that, then misadventure can see all of my sheet, and set damage on me. Given that she's on the list of acceptable STs, or not on the list of players blocked from STing.


  • Pitcrew

    This is why 'casual' needs to be defined.

    And why I don't like vague "be active" stuff.

    There are excellent people who have limited time but make efficient use of it. You can structure activity expectations around actual activity vs. just time.

    But if the only thing cared about is extra points at chargen so one can have the prettier sheet to do what one wants to do with in theory (even though the player can't be around for anything/will not run anything or whatever the 'activity' expectations are) I guess I have less sympathy for them not getting extra points at the start.