How to Make the Game Faster

Random discussion, related to the game, but not really of a rules nature.
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Joshua
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How to Make the Game Faster

Post by Joshua » Sun Apr 20, 2014 9:15 am

So, looks like some people are not sure how to transition from one scene to another. While I am not the expert, I do know a bit of gaming theory. Feel free to post any tips or suggestions of your own here. Maybe when we're done, I'll compile it into something for the reference section.

Quick Tip: If you wait more than 24 hours for someone in your thread to post because you think it's their turn, make a short post of: "I wait for you to answer before responding."

How to Exit a Scene

First: Make a declaration of leaving. Common ones include "I head over to 'this thread'." or "I'm leaving unless someone has another question."
You may also state something like "I continue to make chitchat but it looks like this is winding down." Which states that you're still around, but plan on going to a later scene.

Second: Post in the new scene or make the new scene. If you're not sure, give things a day or so (24 hours is polite if you think the scene might continue) for other people to interrupt you leaving.
Remember: You are allowed to be in two scenes at the same time. Especially, if the first scene is winding down.

And that's about it. The one thing I did, was make an effort to say "I'm not sure who is joining this scene." and I left it open, so those who want in on it can get there. You can use this technique if you are unsure if someone is following you or not, and lets you get the next scene started quicker. (That way, they can post both their exit and entrance at the same time.)

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Joshua
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Re: How to Make the Game Faster

Post by Joshua » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:55 pm

Tip: After you post, view the forum to make sure your browser didn't eat the post.

Multiple Scenes / Time Difference

One of the major differences between a forum game and a traditional tabletop is the lack of need to keep everyone at the same moment. After the Amber dinner, for example, some people went off and did after dinner activities. Those who wanted to get started on the next day, can do so. In the end, the second group will get more 'time' at the festival, but overall, both groups will have about the same amount of actions. Is it possible that an event in one scene might alter a later one, but it's rare, and there are actually several methods that can be used to account for apparent discrepancies. So, my suggestion: Just go for it.

Okay, I'd avoid being in multiple scenes at once if you don't have the time to deal with both, but if it's a difference of one scene or no scenes, choose one scene.

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Re: How to Make the Game Faster

Post by Joshua » Tue Apr 29, 2014 2:36 pm

Tip: Get involved, make your own plot. Or poke me with "I want to do this, but I'm not sure how." Wyvern is also good at that, but he's also playing in the game. I have been starting to weave in some background mysteries, and wouldn't mind adding a few additional for you.

Bonus Tip: When writing a post for more than 10 minutes, copy/paste it into a word processor (or at least into notepad). That way if something happens to the browser, you still have your post. This is sometimes called the "save often" rule. ^_^

My Post Isn't Finished or: Keep Posts Manageable

So, you may have noticed that some posts (like here) are longer than others and may take longer to write. Some posts, (like the one above it), take a little research OOC into what has been built for the setting and making sure that what is there fits what has come before. Both of these take time. If you're the only one in the scene, it's not a big deal if it takes a day or two. We all get stressed and sometimes we're not up for writing a huge post.

There are a few ways to avoid this issue.

Now, avoiding making big posts is one, but these posts can add a lot of flavor to the game.

Another method is to anticipate that you may have to do that later. This is more helpful with descriptions. For example, you can always write up what your quarters in Amber look like beforehand, and then when they show up, copy/paste it into the post, saving yourself time.
Still, it's not always possible to anticipate what will happen.

If it's a conversation or a long description, make a partial post if you need to. Either break the post up into two (or three) smaller posts, so you can post one part at a time (And so you don't have to write it all at once), or post a short placeholder. Either a literal "I will edit in my real post when I'm done with it. I'm here though." or perhaps something like this. A useful thing to do, is include a quick note of WHEN you expect to be able to get back to the post. This lets people who are waiting for the post respond faster after you get the post up. (Which helps the game move faster.)

Last, and most important, ask for help. Poke myself, wyvern, or anyone on IM. Most of us can offer an idea or two. If you have a really big description, toss it up on the OOC board, and call for suggestions. If you are really stuck and there are 6 people in that scene, post a "I was writing this, any ideas?" and link it from the IC board to the OOC board. I'm sure at least a few players would be more than willing to help offer ideas for a description to keep the game moving.

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Re: How to Make the Game Faster

Post by Joshua » Sun May 11, 2014 6:46 pm

Tip: Asking "What the heck are you talking about?" is a valid response to most posts. If your character would really know, ask on the OOC board or perhaps over IM.

IM, PM and Posting

IMs:
So, IMs are a quick way to ask short questions. This is helpful if both people are on IM. (Skype has a semi-chat room with most people added.) It also allows someone to make a quick trump call by sending me a quick IM. If we're both online.
If we're not both online, and you don't want the entire thread to pause, state you are making the trump call in the thread and then send me a PM or e-mail.

The big problem with IMs is that you don't get the residual threads. Even if someone is not involved in a scene, if there is a thread, they can read it and that helps them feel a bit more connected to the game.

PMs:
So, a Personal Message through the forum system will send an e-mail letting you know you got one. (If you have your e-mail in your account.) It's like a mini-forum thread for just you and the person you send it to. It allows you to ask OOC questions without muddying up the board.

Again though, if overused, other people just see the threads stopped dead. If it is something the game shouldn't know yet... well, I understand. But before you assume the players should be kept in the dark, step back and ask yourself what would happen to the players if that information was public. I think most of us can keep OOC and IC information separate.

Posts:
Most times, once the off-site contact is finished, a copy of what happened should be posted on the forums. So, a short chat with an NPC can be cleaned up and posted. A thread with just two players can be summarized into one or two quick posts. A quick combat can be made a single post instead of tying up a thread for days.

There are a few things to keep in mind.
Most important is should you hide what happened? In general, the answer is no. Even if no one else is there, chances are people would enjoy understanding what happened.
Next, is to remember if posting a summary, other people don't have a context. So, if you post that you're trumping an NPC about "that problem from before" which only happened over IM, and no one else knows about it... be careful. We want to be inclusive in this game. Add little details if you can. Link to summary posts (which may have been edited in after people stopped reading a thread). Put in footnotes. (I can show you how to do that, if you want.) Give the actions context, if you can. At the worst, post something on the OOC board about it and link to that.
Last, remember that IMs and PMs should be used to make composing a long post faster. They shouldn't replace the forum. We want to keep people informed and able to react to game.

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Re: How to Make the Game Faster

Post by Joshua » Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:04 pm

Tip: Large crowds are difficult in any game. It is often better to make a sub-thread instead of joining an existing thread.

Sub-Sub-Threads

To make a sub-thread, you use a letter. 07.07e or similar... to make a sub-sub-thread, make a new thread with a different letter. To tie it back to the original, you can use the original name with a secondary name in ()s. As a reminder, you have permission to make new threads.

Why would you do this?

This allows you to be in the vicinity of an event while still allowing you to go at your own pace. For example, in the Wander Inn, Aibne could have created a sub-thread called 07.04f: the Wander Inn (On stage). That would have allowed me to post a back and forth of audience responses without disrupting the original thread. Alternately, I could have done so when there was a request from the audience. Since they are happening at the same location, requests or similar can simply go back and forth as needed. (Okay, so, you gotta double-post where you stand up and shout a request for Aibne to hear... but still.)

Effectively this is what is happening at the ball and at the initial feast and lets people have smaller side-conversations in a bigger scene. Again, do the timeframes match? It doesn't matter, so long as it's remotely close.

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Re: How to Make the Game Faster

Post by Joshua » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:31 pm

Tip: "I was off screen." is a perfectly valid explanation of what your character was doing at any point not covered in a post. If it's important, we can work out the details.

Catching Up

This has happened to a lot of people lately. They get distracted for a day or two, at the wrong time, and suddenly there's 12 or so posts and you're not sure which thread you're in. It's fairly easy to fix.

First, remember there's no need to read everything at once. Just read the threads you were directly involved in. If you're not sure, the 'main thread' is a good place to start for important things that everyone should be aware of.

If you're still stuck, IM or PM me or Wyvern or... well, just about anyone. We can often give you a quick update as to what went on, and what you might have seen or not seen.

Once you've done that, worry about catching up the rest of the way a little at a time.

Lost in Threads

If you are not sure what thread you should be in, either because things got away from you or because of a short break, the answer is simple:
Find a current thread with an opening and post that you show up or make a new thread of what may have sidetracked your character.

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Re: How to Make the Game Faster

Post by Joshua » Tue Sep 30, 2014 9:02 pm

Tip: It is helpful to keep replies of sufficient length so that they end on a prompt for the other person to act. For example, if your character is talking about himself, put enough there so that it can end with a prompt for the person listening to ask a question.

Bonus Tip: It is also acceptable to ask someone to rewind a little bit, if they accidentally skipped past something you wanted to interrupt with a question or action. This request is best sent over IM so it can be done quickly, but PM works just as well.

Bonus-Bonus Tip: “We talk about this topic.” is fine within a post. If the specifics are important, they can be worked out later. Also, your character is a bit smarter than you. So, if you get “I should have asked him about this,” it’s okay to assume that the question was asked. Even if it’s a minor retcon.

You The Narrator

I chose Amber for the forum game because each character can run scenes for others. When you are doing a hellride or people are visiting your shadow (or even your quarters in Amber), there is no need for me to be involved. The hellride is powered by your character’s pattern and power. There is no need for me to help with that. If there is some plot that should happen, I can chime in, but for the most part, this allows me to focus on other threads and over aching plot while you keep the game moving.


“Gotcha” Trump

So, the rulebook suggests the GM mess with Trump so that it will be less reliable and less of a crutch. For that, you should check with me when you are making a trump call. With one major exception:
In this game, if trump is used to make a scene go faster, I will not mess with it.

Again, maybe I’ll poke you if there is plot that should be happening, but when trump is used to make communication and plot move along, I won’t press at those points. Especially if trump was only used to make things faster, and you could have done the scene without using trump.

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Re: How to Make the Game Faster

Post by Joshua » Mon Nov 17, 2014 6:48 pm

Tip: Lots of people have been simply grabbing NPCs to play in scenes. Mostly it is NPCs they have come up with, which is fine. Why not do more of that if your main character is delayed?

Skip This Scene

Time is fluid. Want to go back and look at something in more depth? Do a flashback. Want to skip a boring scene and let other people catch up? Flash forward. Everyone in the game wants to skip a scene? I'll do it. If there's plot to be happening, I might ask permission to skip ahead to said plot occurring, but most of the current scenes are happening so you can poke stuff. If you'd rather poke something else, let me know.

You are a divinely chosen god-king. Bored and want to go off on your own? Do so. Seriously, nothing in setting is going to stop you, and I'd rather do a scene of you poking something interesting than waiting around for something interesting to happen. The ties back to Amber are metaphorical, not literal, so... go, do something else. You can always get trumped if need be, and there's plenty of plot out in shadow that can happen.

Canon vs Non-Canon

While this story is generally considered a prequel to the novels, none of the events in the novel are set in stone. Dworkin can die (it's just highly unlikely). Oberon can also die (and who is to say he is the same oberon from the books?) and why not blow up the pattern? It's not like Dworkin couldn't draw another one between 'now' and the books. (and whose to say it hasn't already happened?)

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Re: How to Make the Game Faster

Post by Joshua » Thu Dec 11, 2014 12:10 am

Major Tip: You can get a notification every time someone posts by clicking the "Subscribe Forum" link at the bottom of the In Character or Out of Character forums. (You have to subscribe to each separately.) If that's too many e-mails, you can simply follow a specific topic by clicking the wrench icon next to Post Reply. That will e-mail you when someone posts to just that one topic. You can unsubscribe the same way, or by going to the user control panel.

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Re: How to Make the Game Faster

Post by Joshua » Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:35 pm

Tip: While it looks like we've gotten away from it, we did have a bit of a chat going on Skype. Unfortunately, I am easiest to catch on AIM, as are most of the people currently in the game. I don't post my info on the forums, but I do give it out fairly freely to people who ask.
If you'd like to know who people are, you can always let me know and I can ask them. If you are comfortable with me sharing your information with members of the game, please let me know and I'll just give out your information without that added step.
Note: Feel free to give my AIM info to any potential player for the game. I can also get on Skype if that's better for them.

How to Arrange a Scene

Sometimes when threads get going and you need to talk to a particular PC or NPC but you are not sure if they are free. This can lead to waiting for a thread they are in to wind down; perhaps because the interaction is private, perhaps because the original thread is complicated enough as it is. The problem comes when this waiting takes longer than a day or so.

So, this is where a touch of OOC communication goes a long way.

Send the person who runs the character an IM, or an e-mail, or a PM. Remember, private messages should send a note to their e-mail account. Say "Hey, I wanted to catch up with your character when this thread winds down." Many times, you can even start the second thread before the first one is completely done. Seriously, how many times has a thread rendered a character physically incapable of starting the next scene*?

Then, just make the thread. Start with "When this person is done with their current conversation, I approach them." Very few players will take offense if you make the tread early, but it is often a good idea to double-check.

If your character's narrative cannot advance until this scene takes place, most people will be willing to get things wrapped up so that you can participate again. Remember, you can always speed things up by having a conversation over IM, and if there's something about to happen, more players are willing to use this method to get there.

Bonus Tip: If you're unsure, the two best people to contact to see who is free in the game at a given time are myself or Wyvern.
____________________
*: Okay, maybe if you are walking the pattern or dueling with a shark you should perhaps resolve to be patient.

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