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Old 11-11-2004, 04:12 PM   #1
Traithe
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Hey all,

Recently over on our MUD I've been working on moving more and more interactive/dynamic game content to our website. I just finished implementing a system allowing our staff and player guides to review and edit character applications through a restricted area on the website, and noticed a considerable decrease in turnaround times. Apparently people are much more comfortable with the more 'intuitive' feel of a point-and-click web form than they are doing it over a telnet connection, and they also enjoy not having to monopolize their connection to the MUD to deal with apps; reviewing them in a separate web browser window leaves them free to do other things in the game itself.

So, this got me thinking about character applications/character creation in general. Moving this to the website would require a rather enormous amount of work, since I'd have to essentially replicate a lot of the chargen's hardcode in PHP (if race == elf, skills available == X; else if race == goblin, skills available = Y), or find a clever way to allow it to feed off the MUD's code directly through some sort of database interchange.

Thus, my question: has anyone implemented something like this on their MUDs before? If so, what was the general reaction? Do you think the increased ease for the players was worth all the work necessary to get it running?

I'd especially be interested in hearing from any MUD coders who've implemented this on systems where character applications are required. Most games of these types feature an enormous learning curve, and I suspect the ease of a web form to submit a detailed character application would help lower the "barrier to entry"... but there's just so much work involved here that I'm not willing to make the jump on a total guess. <g>

Anyway, thanks in advance for the feedback.
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Old 11-11-2004, 04:31 PM   #2
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I ran the web submission version before. While it lowers the barrier for *submission*, saving a player the trouble of logging into the game, it really doesn't lower the barrier for entry in the long run. What it did for me is increase the amount of crap in my email, including some of the most ludicrous and laughable character concepts I'd ever seen.

Ultimately, I ditched it. Over time, I've become much fonder of the immersive in-game character creation system. It's a little more trouble for the short-attention span player, but at least it puts them with you in real-time so they can ask questions and resolve potential thematic concerns before they invest a lot of time in a concept for submission.
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Old 11-11-2004, 04:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Traithe @ Nov. 11 2004,16:12)
Hey all,

Recently over on our MUD I've been working on moving more and more interactive/dynamic game content to our website. I just finished implementing a system allowing our staff and player guides to review and edit character applications through a restricted area on the website, and noticed a considerable decrease in turnaround times. Apparently people are much more comfortable with the more 'intuitive' feel of a point-and-click web form than they are doing it over a telnet connection, and they also enjoy not having to monopolize their connection to the MUD to deal with apps; reviewing them in a separate web browser window leaves them free to do other things in the game itself.

So, this got me thinking about character applications/character creation in general. Moving this to the website would require a rather enormous amount of work, since I'd have to essentially replicate a lot of the chargen's hardcode in PHP (if race == elf, skills available == X; else if race == goblin, skills available = Y), or find a clever way to allow it to feed off the MUD's code directly through some sort of database interchange.

Thus, my question: has anyone implemented something like this on their MUDs before? If so, what was the general reaction? Do you think the increased ease for the players was worth all the work necessary to get it running?

I'd especially be interested in hearing from any MUD coders who've implemented this on systems where character applications are required. Most games of these types feature an enormous learning curve, and I suspect the ease of a web form to submit a detailed character application would help lower the "barrier to entry"... but there's just so much work involved here that I'm not willing to make the jump on a total guess. <g>

Anyway, thanks in advance for the feedback.
I'd certainly recommend doing it. It's something we keep tossing around doing. (easy in our case as all you pick at creation are name, password, sex and race. The only dependencies are sex-restricted races like satyr or siren.)

I'd try to keep the ability to create via direct telnet connection too for those who find and connect to your game from within a client like Zmud (via the in-client list of games).

Just generally, moving things to the web is Good I think. We use our Wiki endlessly for building and organization, do all our mob scripting via web apps, use the web for submission and review of writing and art contests, use the web for searching help files, etc.
--matt
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Old 11-29-2004, 04:17 PM   #4
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Talking with a couple of the games marketing firms, both have recommended that one of the first things we should do is enable web character creation. It's just a far more familiar medium to people than telnet-style prompts, and given that the conventional wisdom is that the first 5 minutes of your game experience is the single most important part in player retention, it makes sense.

We're going to be going this route, while maintaining the option to create by just telnetting in.

--matt
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Old 11-29-2004, 04:44 PM   #5
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Personally I would like to promote the greatness of having a character creation in a custom client interface. We're using that solution for our upcoming game. It is a little bit more customizable than web based solutions. I guess most muds would do more than fine through a web interface though, and I am absolutely confident that going away as much as possible from "telnet" interfaces is a good thing.

Text based muds do not need to be "telnet" based :=) And i think there are already some sucessfull games out there (maybe gemstone?) that do not rely on telnet.
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Old 11-30-2004, 12:49 AM   #6
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If you were using an LPMUD I might be able to help you. With the ERQ from LPMUD, you can have an LPC object listen on a certain port and have it throw up the HTML form and interpret it, so your generation would be internal.

With a DIKU, I don't know if it's threaded enough to be able to listen on another port with a function that would throw up the HTML, take the form and feed it to your in mud character generation routine.
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Old 11-30-2004, 02:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Ogma @ Nov. 30 2004,00:49)
With a DIKU, I don't know if it's threaded enough to be able to listen on another port with a function that would throw up the HTML, take the form and feed it to your in mud character generation routine.
On Armageddon's forum the staff have said that they review applications via their webpage. They can edit the applications so I imagine it would be possible to create applications (possibly with some editting of the code).

However Armageddon is a highly modified DIKU so it could be that this functionality was added after many many modifications.
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Old 11-30-2004, 02:43 AM   #8
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Yeah, Ogma, it isn't a matter of threading.

We already have complete web-based character review for admins and player guides, based on our MUD's mysql foundation and the interactive PHP scripting I wrote up for the website to interact with it.

Moving chargen to the web would just be a matter of spending the time and effort to do it - it wouldn't be particularly challenging in a technical sense.
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Old 11-30-2004, 04:09 AM   #9
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I love the idea of web based character generation. Does anyone know of a MUD that has one?
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Old 11-30-2004, 04:30 AM   #10
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Well - give me a couple weeks of downtime after exams are over here, and we should be good to go in that regard. <g>

Started the framework for the system on our MUD shortly after I made this original post; just a matter of finding the time to "fill in the blanks" at this point and make the code live on our website.
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Old 11-30-2004, 05:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Estarra @ Nov. 30 2004,04:09)
I love the idea of web based character generation. Does anyone know of a MUD that has one?
I think gemstone3 uses web based character generation...
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