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Old 05-13-2008, 02:07 PM   #21
LoD
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Re: Quick, short descriptions

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Originally Posted by Ide View Post
Similarly, if the purpose of the sdesc is not to be ambiguous, you want to go for the eyeball-kick of product placement. Abstracting the referant to its most common icon is I think the most effective way to communicate the message here.
I meant for the ambiguity to apply to the contents of the bag, not to the object itself.

> a bag of Miracle-Gro

This object states rather than implies what the bag contains.

> a green and yellow plastic bag

This object is ambiguous for the sake of the character as there are other factors that could be involved. It does have something that everyone save color blind characters could see, which would be the color scheme of the bag -- which is often how people identify goods with which someone is unfamiliar. For example, someone might ask me to go to the hardware store and pick up some kind of lubricant. They'll tell me the name, but they will also tell me the shape and the color of the product.

Factors that exist in other games, which encourage forms of ambiguity are:

> Are there language barriers? Literacy barriers?

If that's the case, then perhaps objects like a green and yellow plastic bag would be preferred because they don't assume that the character can read, is familiar with the brand Miracle-Gro, or speaks English.

> Are there cultural or regional issues?

Are we assuming that everyone is going to be an adult that's grown up in a Western civilization and knows a thing or two about lawn care and/or planting? What if they are from a region where there's very little vegetation and they've never even seen a commercial fertilizer? All the fertilizer they've ever seen may be in the form of dung.

If I lived in another country and they told me to pick something up, telling me the name would do me no good. They'd have to tell me how it looked. That's part of the reason for why you may prefer a more ambiguous system.

There are lots of considerations to make, and you may feel that they're becoming too complicated -- but it all comes down to what you want to achieve and how deep a system you want to support. The broader strokes you paint, the more possibilities that you support. The more specific you become, the more narrow the playing field becomes. It's just a design choice -- not a right/wrong issue.

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Old 05-13-2008, 02:08 PM   #22
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Re: Quick, short descriptions

The issue of brand name usage comes up a lot on MMOs that want to make use of paid advertising as a way to generate revenue. Anarchy Online, Hellgate:London (not really an MMO), and (soon) City of Heroes are some modern games that have done this. They have modern or futuristic settings which makes it easier for them.

In discussions I read on the topic, many players expressed the opinion that in modern settings, it is sometimes more jarring to *NOT* see brand name products. In a lot of respects, I agree with this view. I remember 10, 20 years ago you would almost never see brand name products on movies or TV shows. If someone had a can of beer, it would say "BEER" in big letters on the can. That always looked ridiculous to me. Now that product placement has become the rule rather than the exception, I think it actually makes the movie and TV worlds seem more real and alive.

If someone's game setting does not lend itself to our RL brands, I think it might still be a good idea to invent brands for your world. Obviously, it depends on your setting, the literacy or worldliness of your game's characters, etc. But it is definitely something to consider. Brand recognition has a deep, emotional power, which is why advertisers fight so hard to create it.
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Old 05-13-2008, 02:46 PM   #23
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Re: Quick, short descriptions

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Very true. That brings up a whole other question.

There are people who are able to recognize certain things based on the creator of the item. (Okay, Miracle-Gro would probably not be one of them.) For example, some people can just recognize things such as "This is Cartier watch" or " This is a Stradivarius." In order to possibly show that someone has achieved a level of fame, how jarring would it be in character to have a description such as "a Stradivarius violin" as the short?
If I were doing this, I would probably handle that via the main description as well. I would probably also have the ability to tell the maker of an item dependent on the skill of the person who is viewing the item. I'm still not sure that they should be able to tell definitively on first glance who the maker is. After all, art forgery still exists. Knock-off guccis can be found just about anywhere.

I would probably do it like this:

Allow crafters to sign their items.
Have skill level of crafter taken into account when an item is crafted.
When another master crafter (or maybe a master user of that item type) looks at an item, they can see with how much skill the item was crafted and get it when they assess the item. The accuracy of their judgement increases as their skill increases.
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Old 05-13-2008, 02:46 PM   #24
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Re: Quick, short descriptions

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Originally Posted by LoD View Post
There are lots of considerations to make, and you may feel that they're becoming too complicated -- but it all comes down to what you want to achieve and how deep a system you want to support. The broader strokes you paint, the more possibilities that you support. The more specific you become, the more narrow the playing field becomes. It's just a design choice -- not a right/wrong issue.
Right. I have no interest in a right or wrong discussion on how to do these things. We all know that it's a matter of preference. What I'm looking for is what you guys have given... how certain descriptions impact you, as a player. I guess I should have been more clear in that the bag isn't as important as what's IN the bag. It's just that you don't really cart fertilizer around (nowadays) in anything other than the original bag they were purchased in.

I guess a more "gamey" version would be something like this:

a black-hilted longsword inlaid with silver
a black-hilted longsword inlaid with silver
a black-hilted longsword inlaid with silver
Excalibur, the black-hilted longsword

At some point, I would assume that Excalibur has some quality that makes it stand out from other similar swords. At some point, does it become famous enough to be "known" by its name so that the name can appear in the short description? If I do choose to allow Excalibur to be the short description, what does this end up conveying to people?
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Old 05-13-2008, 02:51 PM   #25
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Re: Quick, short descriptions

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Originally Posted by Bakha View Post
If I were doing this, I would probably handle that via the main description as well. I would probably also have the ability to tell the maker of an item dependent on the skill of the person who is viewing the item. I'm still not sure that they should be able to tell definitively on first glance who the maker is. After all, art forgery still exists. Knock-off guccis can be found just about anywhere.
I agree. I want to be able to handle forgeries. I want to be able handle things like Miracle-Grub ripping off Miracle-Gro's main colors for their packaging, but I also want to arm (and reward) players when an item has reached a certain amount of fame.

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Allow crafters to sign their items.
Have skill level of crafter taken into account when an item is crafted.
Excellent suggestions. We've already designed the system itself, and I'm pretty confident in it. What I'm worried about now is specifically branding and "famous" items.

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When another master crafter (or maybe a master user of that item type) looks at an item, they can see with how much skill the item was crafted and get it when they assess the item. The accuracy of their judgement increases as their skill increases.
This is actually implemented for all players. A swordsman would likely be able to identify an extremely well-made sword, or a cook would likely be able to say, "Bah! This knife you sold me is a piece of crap!" even if they neither one of them can actually create those specific items themselves.
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Old 05-13-2008, 04:41 PM   #26
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Re: Quick, short descriptions

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Originally Posted by Milawe View Post
but I also want to arm (and reward) players when an item has reached a certain amount of fame.


Excellent suggestions. We've already designed the system itself, and I'm pretty confident in it. What I'm worried about now is specifically branding and "famous" items.
Okay, I'll try to stick specifically to this, then.

Here's how I've seen it handled:

A mastercrafter is allowed to create one masterpiece "recipe" per year. This is an item that is entirely new in the database. It can be made so that only they can craft it, or it can be made so that only they have the recipe. If someone steals the recipe or deconstructs the item and figures out the recipe, then they'd be able to craft it as well.

As for the issue of assigning "proper" names vs. common descriptions to the short descs: the way it's handled is that the person is producing a unique item that no one else can produce. While no one sees that it's "Bakha's Massive Codpiece for the Well-Endowed" they would see, "Wow! That guy has a shiny purple codpiece, and I've never seen one of those before. I wonder where he got it?" Then they find out that it's made by such and such mastercrafter.

I don't know, I'm just not sure that I buy the argument that eventually everyone will recognize Excalibur automatically when they walk into a room.
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Old 05-13-2008, 05:06 PM   #27
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Re: Quick, short descriptions

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Originally Posted by Bakha View Post
I don't know, I'm just not sure that I buy the argument that eventually everyone will recognize Excalibur automatically when they walk into a room.
I don't think I'm making such an argument.

It's more of a "How do I distinguish Excalibur and give players the option to recognize it on sight?".

I figure that if someone does NOT want to have their character recognize Excalibur on sight (by name), they would still know "Wow, there's something special about this weapon" and roleplay accordingly, or they also have the option of ignoring it completely. Whereas, the more "gossipy", "know-it-all", or "well-learned" characters could easily say, "Oh, you're the wielder of Excalibur? I've heard of that sword, but I've never heard of you. How did you get that weapon? Is that the REAL Excalibur?"

I liked your masterpiece item scenario, but I think I'm possibly discussing something beyond that. Let's say we're wanting "Starry Night" specifically instead of a van Gogh painting. Does that make sense? What other options are there on giving characters the knowledge that this is "Starry Night" immediately without actually giving the object the short description of "Starry Night"? Or perhaps the best option is to simply show it as "Starry Night".
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Old 05-13-2008, 05:23 PM   #28
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Re: Quick, short descriptions

It's possible that you could code up an additional flag that is applied to characters and objects that are 'famous'. It can be toggled by a command in the game.

The flag denotes whether or not the player want their character to recognize these 'famous' items on sight, and if the item has a 'famou' flag & desc, that one is shown to them as the short desc instead. Or, perhaps, they still see the generic (maybe with an extra tidbit added to denote it seems familiar), but when they look at the item closer the long desc has an additional section that mentions that they recognize it as whatever it is supposed to be.

This sets up a convention though of walking into the room is just a quick glance around, and then actually looking at it makes it more regocnizeable.

Ex:

Player with flag toggled off:

sdesc: a black hilten longsword inlaid with silver.
ldesc: desc of the sword

Player with flag toggled on Option 1:
sdesc: Excalibur
ldesc: desc of sword

Player with flag toggled on Option 2:

sdesc: a familiar black hilted longsword inlaid with silver
ldesc: desc of sword You recognize it to be Excalibur.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Milawe View Post
I don't think I'm making such an argument.

It's more of a "How do I distinguish Excalibur and give players the option to recognize it on sight?".

I figure that if someone does NOT want to have their character recognize Excalibur on sight (by name), they would still know "Wow, there's something special about this weapon" and roleplay accordingly, or they also have the option of ignoring it completely. Whereas, the more "gossipy", "know-it-all", or "well-learned" characters could easily say, "Oh, you're the wielder of Excalibur? I've heard of that sword, but I've never heard of you. How did you get that weapon? Is that the REAL Excalibur?"

I liked your masterpiece item scenario, but I think I'm possibly discussing something beyond that. Let's say we're wanting "Starry Night" specifically instead of a van Gogh painting. Does that make sense? What other options are there on giving characters the knowledge that this is "Starry Night" immediately without actually giving the object the short description of "Starry Night"? Or perhaps the best option is to simply show it as "Starry Night".
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Old 05-13-2008, 05:28 PM   #29
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Re: Quick, short descriptions

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Originally Posted by Milawe View Post
I don't think I'm making such an argument.

It's more of a "How do I distinguish Excalibur and give players the option to recognize it on sight?".

I figure that if someone does NOT want to have their character recognize Excalibur on sight (by name), they would still know "Wow, there's something special about this weapon" and roleplay accordingly, or they also have the option of ignoring it completely. Whereas, the more "gossipy", "know-it-all", or "well-learned" characters could easily say, "Oh, you're the wielder of Excalibur? I've heard of that sword, but I've never heard of you. How did you get that weapon? Is that the REAL Excalibur?"
Yeah, it's problematic. There are a few such items on Armageddon that are properly named (Magekiller, Heru's Sword, etc) and ICly famous. None of those have proper name sdescs, buuut (and this is a big but) they are almost all metal which in itself stands out in a world basically devoid of metal. They are also usually distinctly described in some way so that they stand out as out of the normal. I do, however, get that you're going for something a little different here in that players need to be able to produce such things. I also imagine you want a bit of "gee whiz" or "neat" factor for the players as they create nifty looking items that grow in popularity and spread throughout the mud, becoming the latest ingame rage.

Quote:
I liked your masterpiece item scenario, but I think I'm possibly discussing something beyond that. Let's say we're wanting "Starry Night" specifically instead of a van Gogh painting. Does that make sense? What other options are there on giving characters the knowledge that this is "Starry Night" immediately without actually giving the object the short description of "Starry Night"? Or perhaps the best option is to simply show it as "Starry Night".
Well, the artist always has the option of only producing one of those items to make it a unique masterpiece, but I do get that you're going for something a little different. I think what it comes down to is what's in theme and consistent with the rest of your game world. If a proper named short desc isn't going to stand out like a sore thumb (or maybe the whole point is to have it stand out like a sore thumb), then go for it. If it's going to be jarring and look weird, then choose a different route.

My main concern would be ,mass proliferation of masterpieces and brands in such a system. So, you don't have just Starry Night in a room. Instead you have:

This cozy bedroom is cozily arranged with lots of artwork hanging on the walls:
Starry Night
Guernica
Mona Lisa
The Scream
Sunflowers

And every single person's abode being decorated with "unique" items. Or, if you're looking at mass-produced instead of unique, every single persons' equipment containing, "Crown Jewels."

Last edited by Bakha : 05-13-2008 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 05-13-2008, 05:44 PM   #30
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Re: Quick, short descriptions

Amazing.
An entire Mud based on modern gardening?
And a long thread discussing the short desc of one item in that Mud?

I don't want to scoff really, and I am a huge gardening fan, but aren't there more important things to discuss in such an original project?

Milawe, you should come around 4D some time and check out our gardening feature. It's not an entire gardening Mud, but it's a pretty nice feature, with 8 different garden plots, where you can sow your seeds and watch them grow. And unless you tend to the garden continuously, your crop will be eaten by insects, slugs, rabbits and other garden pests, trampled by kids chasing balls, wither and die from lack of water, and get suffocated by various weeds. I've promised a silver token to the first player that can get a full crop from all 8 plots, but so far nobody has succeeded, although it's quite possible.

My aunt, who is an enthusiastic amateur gardener, designed the feature, and the only thing she seems to have forgotten is some Miracle-Gro.
She'll probably come and play your Mud after it's up - that is, if she can tear herself away from her garden.
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Old 05-13-2008, 05:46 PM   #31
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Re: Quick, short descriptions

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Originally Posted by Molly View Post
Amazing.
An entire Mud based on modern gardening?
And a long thread discussing the short desc of one item in that Mud?

I don't want to scoff really, and I am a huge gardening fan, but aren't there more important things to discuss in such an original project?

Milawe, you should come around 4D some time and check out our gardening feature. It's not an entire gardening Mud, but it's a pretty nice feature, with 8 different garden plots, where you can sow your seeds and watch them grow. And unless you tend to the garden continuously, your crop will be eaten by insects, slugs, rabbits and other garden pests, trampled by kids chasing balls, wither and die from lack of water, and get suffocated by various weeds. I've promised a silver token to the first player that can get a full crop from all 8 plots, but so far nobody has succeeded, although it's quite possible.

My aunt, who is an enthusiastic amateur gardener, designed the feature, and the only thing she seems to have forgotten is some Miracle-Gro.
She'll probably come and play your Mud after it's up - that is, if she can tear herself away from her garden.
I don't think her mud is actually based on gardening. I think she was trying to use an analogy without giving away exact details on a particular feature of her mud. I could be wrong, though.
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Old 05-13-2008, 06:41 PM   #32
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Re: Quick, short descriptions

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Originally Posted by Bakha View Post
I don't know, I'm just not sure that I buy the argument that eventually everyone will recognize Excalibur automatically when they walk into a room.
But isn't it a lot more fun when they do? For some people... at least.

I imagine the movie Excalibur would have been a lot less exciting if every time King Arthur drew Excalibur people just thought "yeah, that's nice. You have a sword. So do the rest of us. Big deal." It would have been very anticlimactic.

This is starting to sound like another difference of viewpoint based on preference for simulation or story. Some people want a gritty, realistic simulation, and other people want an exciting, engaging storyline. If there are no givens or common frame of reference, it is hard for the characters in a story to relate to each other. Neither preference is better, but they are quite different.

But I think you are already alluding to that in some of your posts. Ultimately, the decision as to how "famous" an item can be, or whether brands are possible/feasible, depends on the type of world you have.

Last edited by Threshold : 05-13-2008 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 05-13-2008, 08:40 PM   #33
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Re: Quick, short descriptions

Additional thought:

Assuming you have multiple cultures and centers of civilization here.

Work with a culture skill. Skill is based on native culture and can gain through spending time in other cultures (exposure to language, time spent in city, commerce conducted within other cities). To use Threshold terms, one could be well-versed in Thracian culture but ignorant of Sablean culture.

Items would work the same way as characters. An item would be assigned a dynamic cultural value. As an item is traded and used within other cultures, it can gain value within that culture.

Now you combine the two. A person versed in Thracian culture would recognize an item with a high Thracian cultural value by its proper name. They might even have additional insight into its uses and properties. A Sablean, looking at the same item, might see a very basic item description without any additional information provided. Now, as an item gains in it's Sablean cultural value, the Sablean cultural expert might start to see more. At some value, you allow an item to cross over from its generic descriptive form to its proper name that the designer intended.
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Old 05-13-2008, 08:52 PM   #34
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Re: Quick, short descriptions

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Originally Posted by Bakha View Post
I also imagine you want a bit of "gee whiz" or "neat" factor for the players as they create nifty looking items that grow in popularity and spread throughout the mud, becoming the latest ingame rage.
Yes, I really do want the gee whiz factor without everything and its mom having a proper name. However, I want the gee whiz factor without the jarring, "WTF. How do I know that weapon's name?" factor. It's kind of a fine line to draw, and it's something I've been debating for quite some time. I prefer to keep a short desc very short and a long desc full of details with additional detail descs if necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bakha View Post
Well, the artist always has the option of only producing one of those items to make it a unique masterpiece, but I do get that you're going for something a little different. I think what it comes down to is what's in theme and consistent with the rest of your game world. If a proper named short desc isn't going to stand out like a sore thumb (or maybe the whole point is to have it stand out like a sore thumb), then go for it. If it's going to be jarring and look weird, then choose a different route.
Yeah, that's the problem. Is it going to be jarring or will it be more "Wow. That's different?" I totally want the "Wow!" factor and not the "Well, that's pretty out of character."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bakha View Post
My main concern would be ,mass proliferation of masterpieces and brands in such a system. So, you don't have just Starry Night in a room. Instead you have:

This cozy bedroom is cozily arranged with lots of artwork hanging on the walls:
Starry Night
Guernica
Mona Lisa
The Scream
Sunflowers
This would be acceptable to me only if the player has spent a fortune gathering these unique items and dedicated most of his/her online life to gathering these pieces. And in order to have them all in one room, he/she probably needs to be an art thief and hiding all the pieces together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bakha View Post
And every single person's abode being decorated with "unique" items. Or, if you're looking at mass-produced instead of unique, every single persons' equipment containing, "Crown Jewels."
That's definitely not the goal. Unique will be unique on the scale of Excalibur and the One Ring. It's just a matter of deciding how to show their "uniqueness" and "fame" in a simple, informative way to players. There's lots of ways to do it. I'm just interested in hearing all the thoughts behind what people enjoy and what they would do themselves.
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:00 PM   #35
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Re: Quick, short descriptions

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Originally Posted by Molly View Post
Amazing.
An entire Mud based on modern gardening?
And a long thread discussing the short desc of one item in that Mud?

I don't want to scoff really, and I am a huge gardening fan, but aren't there more important things to discuss in such an original project?
ROFL. Yes, I am making a pay-for-perks, modern, roleplaying enforced gardening mud. I plan to make millions of it, and I'm looking for a coder. Would you be interested?

No, I kid. I made up the scenario because I was trying to get to a specific point without bogging people down with the specifics of a rather large game. I figured if I made the example modern and a bit outrageous it would be easier to talk about without it turning into a comparison of games. (I made a booboo.) Also, I'll admit that I never quite got over the law school exams that consisted of professors making us analyze the craziest, most unlikely scenarios and write multiple page essays. While it annoyed me in law school, I now see the appeal in writing those things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molly View Post
Milawe, you should come around 4D some time and check out our gardening feature. It's not an entire gardening Mud, but it's a pretty nice feature, with 8 different garden plots, where you can sow your seeds and watch them grow. And unless you tend to the garden continuously, your crop will be eaten by insects, slugs, rabbits and other garden pests, trampled by kids chasing balls, wither and die from lack of water, and get suffocated by various weeds. I've promised a silver token to the first player that can get a full crop from all 8 plots, but so far nobody has succeeded, although it's quite possible.

My aunt, who is an enthusiastic amateur gardener, designed the feature, and the only thing she seems to have forgotten is some Miracle-Gro.
She'll probably come and play your Mud after it's up - that is, if she can tear herself away from her garden.
Actually, Molly, that sounds like a lot of fun, and I'm at lose ends as far as games go at the moment. I may stop in and check out what sounds like a very interesting system.

Before you scoff, though, there's a very popular series of games out there that consists of nothing more than your character making the best farm ever. Your character gets married based on how well your farm is doing and how well you woo your spouse. You're expected to feed her based on the food you cook off the things you grow. Since the game is now on its 5th version, I wouldn't be too quick to scoff on the "modern farming" mud. (Maybe I'll make it after I'm done with my project.)

No, ultimately, I'm interested in what players of different games expect from a short description, how to treat an item becoming "famous", and how to give players the option of roleplaying that an item can be recognized or "known".
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:21 PM   #36
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Re: Quick, short descriptions

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However, there are plenty of trademarks used in the modern world that are as good... no better... than words. I bet if you show a can of Coke with no letters but only the device, better than 90% of the population would know what it is... or at least would know what it is *supposed* to be. The same is probably true of a number of others, like the McDonalds arches.
As an answer to the original question: As Zhiroc says, there have been times on TV where a red can has been shown and you instantly know its a coke can. This, in itself, can be amusing because we all like to think we're smart enough to catch it. I'd vote for the second option, a green and yellow bag filled with fertilizer, just for the fun of saying, "Hey, I've seen that bag before! I know what it is!"

Of course, this opinion is based on the fact that:

Quote:
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Anyone who gardens can identify a bag of Miracle-Gro from a long ways away, though lots of generic brands try to mimic the Miracle-Gro bag for marketing purposes.
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Old 05-13-2008, 10:43 PM   #37
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Re: Quick, short descriptions

I'm going to quickly throw out more ideas on my earlier one about cultural knowledge being a skill:

You could also differentiate between various classes of cultural knowledge: low and high. For instance, someone with a "low" cultural knowledge in the United States would probably be able to differentiate between powdered cocaine, powdered meth, and powdered heroin whereas a highbrow wouldn't. Converse, the highbrow would know the difference between a nice Alexander Valley Cab and an Australian Merlot.

Anyway, I know this is all getting very simulationist and offtopic for the OP's original intent, but I thought I'd throw the idea out there.

I should add, as I think my views are associated with the RPI viewpoint for the most part, that my suggestions don't really mirror RPI implementation. In an RPI, the broader, vaguer context would be coded, as LoD discussed in his post, with the "cultural" knowledge being gained ICly and ingame. There would never be a point where one's character codedly recognized the proper name for a generic looking object. The only problem with an RPI in this is that it makes veteran players who have a broad OOC knowledge of the game have an advantage over newbies who don't have that knowledge. An example that comes to mind from Armageddon is the IC lore surrounding "spice" (which Arm's version of drugs). I remember playing my first druggie PC whose background stated that he had been addicted to some specific spices for quite some time. Unfortunately, when faced with:
a pinch of golden brown spice
a pinch of viscous black spice
a pinch of moldy green spice
My addict couldn't tell you which of the spices was actually his spice of choice. Now, after playing that PC through his life and discovering all of this knowledge ICly, I was able to apply that knowledge to future underworld characters, but the problem is that OOC knowledge impacted my IC concept.

Anyway, I know I'm veering dangerously close to the RPI vs. The World thread, but I'm really just approaching this from a theoretical game design standpoint now.

Very cool original post to spark all of this, btw.
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Old 05-14-2008, 12:37 AM   #38
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Re: Quick, short descriptions

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Originally Posted by Bakha View Post
You could also differentiate between various classes of cultural knowledge: low and high. For instance, someone with a "low" cultural knowledge in the United States would probably be able to differentiate between powdered cocaine, powdered meth, and powdered heroin whereas a highbrow wouldn't. Converse, the highbrow would know the difference between a nice Alexander Valley Cab and an Australian Merlot.
I very much like exploring this idea of "cultural knowledge" for certain items since cultural could be geographically based, racially based, or even religion based. This wouldn't be that hard to code and adds only a little bit of extra description. Ultimately, though, it still brings us back to "Starry Night" vs. "an swirled oil painting depicting a night sky", or are you saying that certain cultures/level of learning would allow a person to identify it as "Starry Night".

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My addict couldn't tell you which of the spices was actually his spice of choice. Now, after playing that PC through his life and discovering all of this knowledge ICly, I was able to apply that knowledge to future underworld characters, but the problem is that OOC knowledge impacted my IC concept.
That's why it's so often hard to decide how to convey things to a player that a character would know that a player didn't have to learn completely him/herself. While the discovery can be extremely thrilling and immersive, I think I'm a firm believer that a player has choices when a character sometimes doesn't have a choice. For example, if there were a character on my roleplay enforced mud who had designed his character to be an art expert but absolutely was not one, I would want him to be able to identify "Starry Night", a painting on sight. He'd have to examine it closer to find out if it were a forgery or a reprint, but he could look glance at the picture and know it's "Starry Night" even if the player had no clue that it was a famous painting by van Gogh. At the same time, I would expect a player who was playing an uneducated brute from the northlands to ignore the name "Starry Night", a painting and say "Wow. That's an ugly picture of a bunch of colored circles." or whatever is appropriate.

OOC will always impact games in some way. I guess it's a matter of deciding how much knowledge to impart on a player and how much "discovery" the actual player should have to do.
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Old 05-14-2008, 11:09 AM   #39
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Re: Quick, short descriptions

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Originally Posted by Milawe View Post
Ultimately, though, it still brings us back to "Starry Night" vs. "an swirled oil painting depicting a night sky", or are you saying that certain cultures/level of learning would allow a person to identify it as "Starry Night".
Right. You could attach exact numbers to it, but it might look something like this:

Person A:
A person well-versed in Sablean culture sees the painting and they see:
"Starry Night" as the sdesc.

Person B:
A person somewhat well-versed in Sablean culture sees instead:
A painting of a swirling night sky.
When they look at it more closely, they might see:
"This painting looks to be Starry Night."

Person C:
A person with little understanding of Sablean culture sees:
"A painting of a swirling night sky."
When they look at the painting more closely, they still get no indication of proper name.

Now imagine this scenario:
Person C, while ignorant of Sablean culture is well-versed in Thracian culture. Now imagine that the item Starry Night has gotten so well-known that it's crossed cultural boundaries. It receives a 100% value rating in Sablean culture as well as a 100% value rating in Thracian culture because the artist has become famous in both cultures. Now Person C will get the same message as person A did above because the item itself has transcended its culture and people from both Sablean and Thracian cultures know of the item.

This system could get ridiculously clunky, but it could also be interesting.
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Old 05-14-2008, 12:41 PM   #40
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Re: Quick, short descriptions

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Originally Posted by Bakha View Post
Now imagine this scenario:
Person C, while ignorant of Sablean culture is well-versed in Thracian culture. Now imagine that the item Starry Night has gotten so well-known that it's crossed cultural boundaries. It receives a 100% value rating in Sablean culture as well as a 100% value rating in Thracian culture because the artist has become famous in both cultures. Now Person C will get the same message as person A did above because the item itself has transcended its culture and people from both Sablean and Thracian cultures know of the item.

This system could get ridiculously clunky, but it could also be interesting.
It depends on the code I think. With a MOO-type of code where there are parent/child object setups, it wouldn't be clunky at all. It's been awhile since I've built with MOO but it would go something like this:

You want to start the game with Van Gogh being unknown to everyone. So -all- items with the parent of "van_gogh generaic object #42" will be flagged in the "famous" category of "0" on a scale of 0 (null, not at all) - 5 (with 5 being known by all PCs and sentient humanoid NPCs worldwide - which would be very rare).

Van Gogh shows up and starts painting in the town of Muffpuff. Everyone in Muffpuff eventually learns to recognize Van Gogh's stuff. The parent generic #42 gets a flag change: first, the flag of origin is checked to make sure it reads Muffpuff. Then, the fame flag will be changed to 1, indicating that ONLY people from Muffpuff will recognize ANY VanGogh paintings. In addition, the child of generic #42, item #177 which is titled "Starry Night," will have its fame flag toggled to 2, indicating that this specific item is recognized in both Muffpuff, and in the neighboring cities, but no further than that.

So now we have 20 VanGogh paintings, and generic #42 is a 4 fame, meaning every sentient humanoid game-wide, except cave-dwellers who never leave the tunnels of the caves and are considered a completely separate game component from the rest of the world (which is why a 5 fame would be rare). At this point, Starry Night is also flagged at 4, as are at least 10 other paintings. So generally speaking, the entire world would recognize a VanGogh when they saw it. They might not know the -name- of a specific painting, but they would all be able to identify his unique style.

You could even have master artists and appraisers, who exist to identify or create forgeries. So the master artist could create *a* Van Gogh style, that everyone who sees would recognize *as* a Van Gogh..even though they wouldn't know its name. They could then kill Van Gogh, so he can't deny ever making this painting, and tell everyone they found a lost painting of Van Gogh, and make a fortune on the fake. If the master artist's work is good enough, the master appraiser would never notice the difference. But if the master appraiser's skill is better than the master artist's skill, then he'd be called for a fraud, arrested, and banished to the caves, where he would never be allowed to see another Van Gogh for the rest of his miserable life.
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