Alternative Formats to MU


  • Pitcrew

    I am curious what other similar, but not MU based types of formats exist, or that people may have tried.

    I am tinkering with the idea of a multiplayer persistent game using alternative formats, possibly linking multiple resources. One idea I have is to combine a game with a Wiki, a sub-Reddit, and a Discord server, where staff can use Google Drive to track character sheets.



  • @tragedyjones

    I feel like you really need a 'one stop shop', of which there aren't too many. People are bitching in the other thread about having a MU* client and a wiki open being hyper distracting. How are they going to handle a Discord client open for RP, a wiki, a google spreadsheet link to their sheet and a sub-reddit for OOC discussion?

    I think some of the bigger digichats that I used to play on did things okay, but they were still not ideal (everything was in the web browser, but you had a page for rolls; a page for all the 'rooms' and a wiki-equivalent). I think if you wanted to integrate something into a mediawiki, you'd have to really work with the WebChat extension, which integrates an IRC. But then you have the standard IRC issues. This would work, I guess, for games that use standard dice rolls but you would lose most all automation that most WoD games function on, for example.

    Part of the problem we run into is ease of editing information on the fly, and centralizing that information and the ease of access and organization. MUs have a hardcoded news command, there's tons of softcoded news file options... but a lot of times, those are harder to update, whether it be minimal shell access to update news (which are often very disjointed, since you can't subcategory the default news at least in Penn, or easily search it with great accuracy). I think that's why so many games are MU + wiki. Wiki gives you a one-stop shop for a centralized and easily accessible and (often) easily organized information.

    Additionally, for some things some games might want to do (like my game and my automated systems), there's not many other options. And I'm already familiar with coding in Penn, for example. Learning Evennia or something else requires starting over from square zero.



  • I've often thought about the merits of creating a game wholly contained on a website. MU* style, with a grid and familiar commands, but hosted through a strictly web browser interface, with a panel on one side for go to commands like attack rolls and etc. Automated bonuses and penalties, and the like. Even a "current players" thing for the room, with links to their wikis that open up a new tab.



  • @shelbeast I think that's more or less what @faraday is doing with Ares. I think.


  • Coder

    @surreality said in Alternative Formats to MU:

    @shelbeast I think that's more or less what @faraday is doing with Ares. I think.

    Not exactly, but that's mostly because the overwhelming majority of MUSHers have indicated that they'd abjectly refuse to play on a game that was entirely web-based. Heck, a non-trivial number of them refuse to play on a game with a mandatory web presence at all.

    Ares has tons of stuff available on the web - chargen, bbs, events, mail, combat, help, character profiles, logged and auto-cleaned scenes, admin jobs and config, and more. But the game is still principally played in a MU client. Not because it needs to be for any technical reason, but because I actually want people to play it.



  • @faraday My perspective might be biased since I'm missing out on the hardline dinosaurs already by running evennia, as those folks wouldn't play on a new codebase anyways. But I personally feel that the amount of dinosaurs like that is pretty tiny compared to the people that would get introduced into MUs with a web only format. Downloading a client is a big bar for entry for some people, let alone archaic command line interfaces in telnet.


  • Pitcrew

    @faraday said in Alternative Formats to MU:

    @surreality said in Alternative Formats to MU:

    @shelbeast I think that's more or less what @faraday is doing with Ares. I think.

    Not exactly, but that's mostly because the overwhelming majority of MUSHers have indicated that they'd abjectly refuse to play on a game that was entirely web-based. Heck, a non-trivial number of them refuse to play on a game with a mandatory web presence at all.

    Ares has tons of stuff available on the web - chargen, bbs, events, mail, combat, help, character profiles, logged and auto-cleaned scenes, admin jobs and config, and more. But the game is still principally played in a MU client. Not because it needs to be for any technical reason, but because I actually want people to play it.

    So it's not just an 'age' thing.

    It's a distraction level thing.

    We're in an era where we have so many distractions that there are more apps coming out helping people to pare down and get shit done with fewer distractions. Email clients that take up your entire screen and focus on just the salient details so you can zero inbox. Focus writers (Q10 is my fave) so writers can get shit done without finding themselves going hither and yon and 'oh no how did I only write 200 words today?' So on and so forth.

    For many people, studies are finding that multitasking is actually a bad thing. And how many of us already gripe on the regular about our RP partners taking 20, 30 minutes to pose?

    Expanding into the browser, with its dozens of tabs (aka distractions) is only risking making that worse. A client, however, allows us to focus entirely on the scene. Look at the 'How Much Code is Too Much?' thread: people are saying exactly this. 'I go to the browser and it takes me out of the scene.'

    It's not 'age,' it's not people being cruel or rude. It's a lot of us realizing the same thing that many companies, writers (hi!), designers, etc. are realizing. Multitasking, spreading yourself out, etc., actually detracts from the quality of output.


  • Coder

    @apos said in Alternative Formats to MU:

    I personally feel that the amount of dinosaurs like that is pretty tiny compared to the people that would get introduced into MUs with a web only format. Downloading a client is a big bar for entry for some people, let alone archaic command line interfaces in telnet.

    I just wish built-in web clients supported some sort of logging. I feel like there's a place to be all "bind your Dropbox account to your game account" using Dropbox's API, give it access to just an Apps/<whatever> directory, and let the server write logs there for you when you click the 'log' button. Et voila, they even show up on your computer for easy searching, too.

    Arx's logging of scheduled events is awesome, but only works if there's already an event scheduled. Ares' scene system is great, but I think all scenes are all public, and on some games—anything involving secrets, PvP, etc.—you don't want every scene publicly readable.


  • Pitcrew

    @sparks said in Alternative Formats to MU:

    Arx's logging of scheduled events is awesome, but only works if there's already an event scheduled. Ares' scene system is great, but I think all scenes are all public, and on some games—anything involving secrets, PvP, etc.—you don't want every scene publicly readable.

    So scenes set =private are not public/posted unless you choose to do so. They do expire down the road, but it'd at least hold onto it until you (or someone else in the scene) can grab it from scene/log to save somewhere.

    But any scene on AresMUSH set private can only be viewed by people in that scene (so it is an option).


  • Coder

    @auspice said in Alternative Formats to MU:

    For many people, studies are finding that multitasking is actually a bad thing. And how many of us already gripe on the regular about our RP partners taking 20, 30 minutes to pose?

    I think that expecting people to stay focused on the game is unrealistic given that the nature of the medium means you have to wait for other people to pose. Even if there are only two people, it's going to take 10 minutes on average for someone to come up with a halfway decent pose. Add another person in? No. I'm sorry, but I'm not going to stand there twiddling my thumbs staring at a screen for 15-20 minutes. Multitasking is inevitable due to the genre.

    But I agree with your basic principle, which is that spreading the game across two mediums is ugly. The difference is that I think the web is the medium we should be moving towards. There is nothing you can do in-game that can't be done on the web. There are many, many, many things you can't do in-game that you can do on the web. If we have to stick to only one platform, web is a no-brainer IMHO.


  • Coder

    @sparks said in Alternative Formats to MU:

    I just wish built-in web clients supported some sort of logging

    Sorry for double post but I missed this the first time. You're assuming a traditional model of "stateless junk window with everything from channels to mails to help to scene stuff shoved into it". That model is what necessitates logging.

    You don't need to "log" when people generate RP in a google doc. Or on a PBP web forum or storium. You may want to export the RP as a backup; that's different. A different way of playing the game that's similar to those other forums (such as my Pipedream Web Prototype) could get us there.

    And yes, @Apos, we may be able to draw in more new people from other mediums than we'd lose. But for me? I'd rather play with the friends I've made over the past 20 years. And the overwhelming majority of them don't want to leave the MU client for various understandable reasons.


  • Pitcrew

    @faraday said in Alternative Formats to MU:

    @auspice said in Alternative Formats to MU:

    For many people, studies are finding that multitasking is actually a bad thing. And how many of us already gripe on the regular about our RP partners taking 20, 30 minutes to pose?

    I think that expecting people to stay focused on the game is unrealistic given that the nature of the medium means you have to wait for other people to pose. Even if there are only two people, it's going to take 10 minutes on average for someone to come up with a halfway decent pose. Add another person in? No. I'm sorry, but I'm not going to stand there twiddling my thumbs staring at a screen for 15-20 minutes. Multitasking is inevitable due to the genre.

    But I agree with your basic principle, which is that spreading the game across two mediums is ugly. The difference is that I think the web is the medium we should be moving towards. There is nothing you can do in-game that can't be done on the web. There are many, many, many things you can't do in-game that you can do on the web. If we have to stick to only one platform, web is a no-brainer IMHO.

    Except if you put the game in a browser tab? It becomes one of ten, twenty.
    How am I going to remember it's there?

    Fast-forward three hours, 'Hurr. Sorry guys, I lost track of the tab because I was doing other stuff. Sorry.'

    But when it's a whole other entity, I can remember.

    I speak from experience. I've tried some of those other 'RP' experiences (Storium? Web chat 'deals,' etc) in browsers. I forget they exist very, very quickly. I can't do web based chat at all. I reload this only when I'm bored and come back to it later on. I couldn't keep up with a scene with any expected consistency.


  • Coder

    @auspice said in Alternative Formats to MU:

    Fast-forward three hours, 'Hurr. Sorry guys, I lost track of the tab because I was doing other stuff. Sorry.'

    Sure, but those are solved problems in every other medium but MUSHing. PBP forums? Play-By-Gdoc? Storium? They don't expect you to sit there twiddling your thumbs between poses. You pose, and then it's perfectly fine to come back three hours later. That's just how it is. Web chats? They make dedicated desktop/mobile apps using the same underlying api - though of course that takes a lot of effort.

    Now I get that many people like the "immediacy" of MUSHing, which is what I was saying about why the majority won't switch to a web-based medium. I'm just saying there's a cost to that.


  • Pitcrew

    @faraday

    I don't think I've ever seen any of those handle combat. I've only seen those do social roleplay. I do GDoc RP myself and it's only ever social. And even then, sometimes scenes get dropped because 'Well, it's been a week since the last pose and we've lost the thread of this scene.'

    I think moving MU*ing to such would be the killing blow for that very reason. More and more scenes taking not hours, but days for a scene. Who wants that to become the average? I don't mind it every so often during busy RL times, but I don't want my norm for RP to be 'it takes 2 weeks per scene.'



  • @apos said in Alternative Formats to MU:

    @faraday My perspective might be biased since I'm missing out on the hardline dinosaurs already by running evennia, as those folks wouldn't play on a new codebase anyways. But I personally feel that the amount of dinosaurs like that is pretty tiny compared to the people that would get introduced into MUs with a web only format. Downloading a client is a big bar for entry for some people, let alone archaic command line interfaces in telnet.

    I agree with this whole-heartedly. I would encourage anyone attempting such a project to forget about the MU* community and just do it.


  • Pitcrew

    @auspice said in Alternative Formats to MU:

    @faraday

    I don't think I've ever seen any of those handle combat. I've only seen those do social roleplay. I do GDoc RP myself and it's only ever social. And even then, sometimes scenes get dropped because 'Well, it's been a week since the last pose and we've lost the thread of this scene.'

    I think moving MU*ing to such would be the killing blow for that very reason. More and more scenes taking not hours, but days for a scene. Who wants that to become the average? I don't mind it every so often during busy RL times, but I don't want my norm for RP to be 'it takes 2 weeks per scene.'

    Let me add on to my own post:

    I began my online roleplaying career in PBEM (play by e-mail). It was so slow, so tedious, and I lost the thread of things so often that when I found MU*s, I bailed ship without a second thought.

    And in reading these ideas, I feel like I'm being asked to go back to that, just with some shiny new toys slapped on top.

    What am I being given that well and truly actually enhances that experience and makes it better? What improves the story-telling? What makes the game more engaging? We're here to tell the stories of our characters in a cooperative environment. Currently, we do so in 'archaic' ways, but it's a live method that allows us to interact directly with one another (that is also, for many of us, some of the only direct interaction we get on a regular basis).

    By taking it to a browser and making it asynchronous, but giving it some bells and whistles, how will we actually improve it?

    Will we tell better stories?
    Will we improve as writers?
    Will we engage more with one another?

    Or will it just be "new and improved!"

    Because if all that's being advertised is New Coke, well.



  • @auspice Those are precisely the reasons why we have not made the transition to the web yet.



  • This theme runs through several threads lately. Just to add two cents.

    I want info on wiki, not in game. I want Mu* primarily for live interaction. Converse to those who lose immersion by having to look in another window ... I lose immersion having to pull up info between poses. I need to read and respond to other poses on the same screen and if I have to start scrolling to see what I'm replying to cause it's way up in my buffer from reading info files in game, my immersion breaks. I already look at web to get medical details or other fake knowledge my character has. I'm good having 6 web Windows open separate from my client to inform my poses, but scrolling through the buffer in the scene breaks immersion for me.

    Sure clients can separate into other Windows but that's no different from web browser in conjunction with Mu* client (and yes auto combat with lots of players breaks my immersion).

    Secondary reason for wanting it on Mu* specific platform. The versatility of softcode itself. Sadly everyone is locking it down more and more. I want to code myself how my bit hears the world or use my client to pick the words to single out and alert me too. Or my own dice roller on the side to flip a coin when I'm deciding if my PC will fight to death or run foot cover or my own room. The whole reason Mus separated from MUD is lost, everyone is reverting back to hardcoded control and the very versatility we sought in Tiny MUX and MUSH is things we're taking back out of them more and more lately. The newer systems are less Mu and more something else newer.


  • Pitcrew

    @lotherio

    I do flip coins a lot for deciding how my character is gonna react to something, but my Google Home has helped there. I spent a lot of time going 'Hey, Google, flip a coin!' :D
    (Which is a lot of fun tbh)



  • I don't know about anyone else, but I will personally keep important things not just in separate TABS but in separate WINDOWS. Part of this is because of my dual monitor setup. I can run Amazon Prime Video in one window and drag it over to my 'offhand' monitor while keeping Facebook or MSB up on my 'main' monitor. I would likely do the same for any web-based game. Simply separate that one out into its own window and pull it to one monitor or the other so I can keep it separated from whatever I'm doing between poses.