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Subject review (reverse sequence)

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Posted by Nick Gammon   Australia  (19,631 posts)  [Biography] bio   Forum Administrator
Date Tue 30 Oct 2012 08:39 PM (UTC)  quote  ]

Amended on Wed 31 Oct 2012 12:20 AM (UTC) by Nick Gammon

Message
One thing I developed a while ago, purely client-side was this:



You can expand or collapse the categories.

The idea is that since MUDs tend to be wordy things, it shows common words you might need to type, and explain what they do. The green ones are hyperlinks so all you have to do is click on them. The orange words bring up help on that topic if you click on them.

If you haven't played a particular MUD it can be confusing to know whether you "equip" or "wear" an item. This is supposed to help clear that confusion up.

Being client-side (of course it requires MUSHclient, however that is a free download) you don't need to make any changes to the MUD to implement it.

The plugin itself is largely table-driven, so you simply edit it and alter the tables of words, and descriptions, to suit.


More detail here:

Template:post=9664 Please see the forum thread: http://gammon.com.au/forum/?id=9664.

- Nick Gammon

www.gammon.com.au, www.mushclient.com
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Posted by Jeremystratton   (9 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Tue 30 Oct 2012 08:22 PM (UTC)  quote  ]
Message
KaVir said:

Tempus said:
Your 'what' command is based on a few anticipated questions or does it intuit from elements of the question?

The autohelp feature responds to sequences of keywords people ask on the newbie channel and selects an appropriate response if possible.

The 'what' command is more like a dynamic help file, the contents of which is customised based on your current progress, achievements and abilities.


That autohelp feature is awesome!
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Posted by KaVir   Germany  (117 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Tue 30 Oct 2012 07:50 PM (UTC)  quote  ]
Message
Tempus said:
Your 'what' command is based on a few anticipated questions or does it intuit from elements of the question?

The autohelp feature responds to sequences of keywords people ask on the newbie channel and selects an appropriate response if possible.

The 'what' command is more like a dynamic help file, the contents of which is customised based on your current progress, achievements and abilities.
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Posted by Tempus   (6 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Tue 30 Oct 2012 03:36 PM (UTC)  quote  ]
Message
That's an interesting feature. We use something similar with our 'help' command, but it is less intuitive. We augment that by having an 'ask' command that poses a question to members of the player council (helpful veteran player volunteers) or staff who are on-line.

Your 'what' command is based on a few anticipated questions or does it intuit from elements of the question?
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Posted by KaVir   Germany  (117 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Tue 30 Oct 2012 12:14 PM (UTC)  quote  ]
Message
Tempus said:
I believe it does matter if it means that other people are not having the fun that they could be having as a result.

I don't see how dumping frustrated, clueless newbies into the main game to fend for themselves would improve the fun of other players (except perhaps as PK fodder). But even if it did, the solution would ultimately be self-defeating, particularly in the context of this thread; if the newbies are no longer having fun, they'll just log off.

Tempus said:
Are you saying that your tutorial mode could last indefinitely though? What does it entail?

You type 'what', and it gives you some suggestions on what to do next. Like this: http://www.godwars2.org/images/plugin_v114_8.png

And yes, it lasts indefinitely, although it gradually evolves from explicit instructions leading you step-by-step through the early game to general hints and suggestions in the later game.
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Posted by Jeremystratton   (9 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Mon 29 Oct 2012 02:47 PM (UTC)  quote  ]
Message
I was thinking it'd be nice to have direct help go from GM's to help-files.

This transition seems to be jarring, and can also result in communication errors and ill-feelings.

Many answer questions tersely with "Help <file>", or chastise.

I like the idea of libraries in MUDs, with mentions of where to start reading.

Some NPCs around that inform about how to not only go about doing basic things, but telling players how to go about learning more on their own.

This conversation has indeed taken a terrific turn. I love discussions like this.
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Posted by Tempus   (6 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Mon 29 Oct 2012 02:15 PM (UTC)  quote  ]
Message
It seems as if we are all saying mostly the same thing: I do not disagree that we should ease newbies into the game, but I am just looking for some opinions on how best to do that.

Right now, Forgotten Kingdoms progresses this way for a new player: character creation, optional skill tutorial (semi-OOC), mandatory training temple (IC with notes and optional explanations of game topics), and then progressive, local quests that should familiarize a new player with the major city in game. From there they have some nearby hooks for the major low-level training areas in the city.

A new player has an in-game help system and an ASK channel for OOC help at any time.

What do y'all think? Too much, too little?

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Posted by Jeremystratton   (9 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Mon 29 Oct 2012 12:48 PM (UTC)  quote  ]
Message
While I can't say I totally feel the same, I have to agree a bit with Kavir.

Maybe there's a middle road?

One thing, I think that becomes common, is that discovery or exploration(learning, basically) quickly becomes half the fun.

Finding that may be so subtle that it may make the differences between MUDs great enough to need a personal touch.

I like Aardwolf's MUD school. It's really great, especially for those totally new to MUDs.

But I think Achaea is that way as well, but it definitely leans more on sweeping you into the regular world.

I prefer sweeps, personally, and trying to lower the distinction between what is "newbie land" and what is "the real world". I'd like it all to be.

I'm a big fan prosumerism in games. That is; a circular nature of players consuming and creating.

Ideally, I'd like to have different experiences for each race for a player starting out, a place to return to and a means to facilitate newbies and high-levels mixing.
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Posted by Tempus   (6 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Mon 29 Oct 2012 12:36 PM (UTC)  quote  ]
Message
I believe it does matter if it means that other people are not having the fun that they could be having as a result. We all market our respective games to appeal to a certain demographic; if yours is looking for a semi-realistic, RP intensive experience then you need to provide that.

I believe that a progressive tutorial for new players is not necessarily mutually exclusive, but it cannot last forever. It has to exist long enough to allow the average new player to get the hang of the game's operations, and then offer tools for the slower ones to get help later on. Are you saying that your tutorial mode could last indefinitely though? What does it entail?


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Posted by KaVir   Germany  (117 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Sun 28 Oct 2012 01:41 PM (UTC)  quote  ]
Message
Tempus said:
When do we shove newbies out of the nest?

Personally I don't think we should. We're not teaching people to fly, after all - we're providing them with entertainment. If they want to "stay in the nest", does it really matter, as long as they're having fun?

It brings to mind a post I read a couple of years ago, where the reviewer described his experience of leaving mud school: http://www.mudbytes.net/topic-2542

"Now I am put in the game. There are some people standing around. Some use orbs to jump in and out of the room. What is this fantastical orb jumping that seems out of sorts? It makes me picture Aladdin wandering in, dressed in his open chest vest and pantaloons. I have no idea what to do from here. Interest lost, it was great up until this point, but there is no obvious direction to continue. And since my primary interest is learning from the experience, and I have, I have no inclination to fight my way through cluelessness to some understanding.

It does make me wonder if you can make the whole game a tutorial. Perhaps have a tutorial mode. I wouldn't want to dump players out of an experience that is guided, to one that is completely freeform."


This mirrors my own view, and I've actually experimented with an optional tutorial mode (inspired by the above comment). Feedback has been very positive. It's generally not much fun to sit around with no clue what to do next.
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Posted by Tempus   (6 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Thu 25 Oct 2012 04:51 PM (UTC)  quote  ]
Message
When do we shove newbies out of the nest? If we can suspend certain features or consequences for newbies within their own little area and then engage them with progressively more difficult quests in the city once they graduate, when and how do we cut the cord?

To use my own example, I have a short introductory area (think the 'temple of trials' from Interplay's Fallout II) which leads to some quests in a major city. The quests are not only progressively more difficult, but they are a good way to learn the lay of the land. After that, a nearby NPC will offer to take a player to a nearby dungeon (inside the city) for training. What else do you recommend?

I am of the opinion that they should find other players and try to interact at that point, therefore I don't want them to be able to just continue to thrive on NPC guidance.

(Alternatively: at what point do we sacrifice the integrity of the game in an effort to satisfy the lowest common denominator?)
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Posted by Nick Gammon   Australia  (19,631 posts)  [Biography] bio   Forum Administrator
Date Wed 25 Jul 2012 12:19 PM (UTC)  quote  ]
Message
I agree with making it simpler for newbies. So the starter area (preferably not a city IMHO, but a town, or outpost) is easy to get around, and find stuff.

But later on, finding a city should be an accomplishment. And finding a second city (say) should be something you are proud you achieved. Not just "click on the portal to reach City B".

- Nick Gammon

www.gammon.com.au, www.mushclient.com
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Posted by KaVir   Germany  (117 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Wed 25 Jul 2012 10:12 AM (UTC)  quote  ]
Message
Worstje said:

I can't say much since I don't know Aardwolf nor the current Achaea, but back when I played IRE muds some years back they were all being made simpler, simpler and simpler for new players. If that trend has continued, they're basically the graphical MMO version of a text game; easy to get started with, and arguably neutered where things used to be challenging long-time players. They might both be at the 'appeal to as many as possible' WoW stage already.

Lowering the entry barrier for newbies strikes me as a Good Thing. It certainly doesn't mean you can't increase the challenge later on, although I think the transition should be smooth (i.e., don't just suddenly switch off a hand-holding tutorial and dump the player into the middle of the city, with no suggestions for what to do next).
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Posted by Nick Gammon   Australia  (19,631 posts)  [Biography] bio   Forum Administrator
Date Sun 22 Jul 2012 11:21 AM (UTC)  quote  ]
Message
Some nice ideas there. One of the problems of making things easier is you remove the sense of achievement of doing the harder thing.

For example, originally in WoW you had to "discover" a flight point (waypoint) before using it. So upon making a new character you had a sense of achievement when you went to the trouble of running (possibly through quite hostile terrain) to activate it.

Now, a lot of waypoints are pre-activated. Sure, that makes it faster, and easier. And in some ways, more sense. For example, I don't have to swim to London before I can fly there. But the sense of achievement is lessened.

- Nick Gammon

www.gammon.com.au, www.mushclient.com
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Posted by Jeremystratton   (9 posts)  [Biography] bio
Date Sun 22 Jul 2012 03:36 AM (UTC)  quote  ]
Message
My view on making a game easier isn't set in stone. I'm not a great psychologist or philosopher of humans. Just a joe with a big opinion. :D

There's two avenues with making games "easier" that I see, right away(I'm sure there's more).

*1.Streamlining good game design
*2.Lowering difficulty of gameplay

1. I look at streamlining as something that isn't exclusive to a certain type of player, but(for the most part) all-encompassing for every player.

Newer MMOs aren't just getting "easier" as they are also changing in gameplay and design. I.E. the debate over fast-travel options. Newer MMOs aren't really about a living world to live in, as much as they are levels, like a Mega-Man game nowadays, so I see it as pragmatic that developers are adding fast-travel to quickly get in and out of dungeons, because the real gameplay is becoming quite narrowly focused on dungeons in graphical MMOs. That's good game design in my book, not making the game "easier"

2. As gameplay "is" part of game-desing, it can be hard to always separate, but an example would be handing out more/better armor that allows a player to kill a boss faster or with less worry of dying. This can be tricky, because I think depending on puzzle-based, strategy or skill elements, the gameplay can still be quite fun, thus lowering what initially would look like my idea of making a game easier and placing it more into my first category.

Nothing's ever written in stone.

Take two different ancillary features that might fall into both categories and maybe even both but with more weight in one category than the other: Say, bag space, auto-loot and crafting.

In RIFT, a big graphical MMO, you can not only auto-loot but auto-loot multiple bodies that are near each other. I don't see this as making the game easier, because I see RIFT's game-design as being in-line with a lot of today's newer MMOs(less world-living, more videogame, level-bashing). So in this example, I feel auto-loot is a good design element that adds to the overall gameplay in RIFT. Would that work in Vanguard? Probably not, or not nearly as well, because Vanguard is more about living in a world and that could detract from the specific gameplay experience(s) that Vanguard provides.

I would not have auto-loot in my game of anykind because I want it to be heavy RP and auto-loot goes against that. It doesn't mix, in my book. It's like oil and vinegar. I want to live the character and that means when I perform actions like picking objects up, searching bodies manually or picking my nose, that enhances gameplay. It increases enjoyment of the game for me.

Let's look at an aspect of MUDs: Speedwalks. I like them. To me it's good game design. The way I was inducted into a MUD and because of the basic ways they work, You, 1, get a bit of help from having to do memory recall of all the direction to get from one place to another, and, 2, it doesn't make detract from gameplay at all. It's optional. If I have a quest and can quickly get to the main area the quest is located, I'll speedwalk. If there's an idea that I would be missing something, it's my choice, and I'm the one losing out by not taking the leisurely stroll.

By the way. I'm a slow-travel kind of guy. If I designed a graphical-MMO, I'd make the world much like Vanguard without any fast-travel of any kind, because living in that world, realistically improves my enjoyment of it.

In a MUD, I don't think that same game-design translates. One could say that, but another could easily say, "Pretend you're running or riding a mount" and I could easily buy that.

My ideas on game-desing have many flaws and even though I nitpick them, I tend to be in the same camp as those that think MMOs are getting easier. I do agree with that, I just think we need to be more discerning of exactly how they are becoming easier.
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