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Information Overload....

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Post by MannyJabrielle Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:08 pm

Inspired by Ramana's question about the magic staffs in the questions forum, my return to aenea and relearning all the little quirks of the VC system, rediscovering little bits here and there....

There's a *bleep* load of stuff to know and learn in Aenea. Not just "character knowledge of the setting" stuff, just purely mechanic bits the player deals with. Even being an Aenean veteran and a DM who knows as much as I do about the server inside and out.... it's very hard to keep track of everything. Information is spread out between feat/item descriptions, the forums... or somewhere that's just not easily accessible (and I suspect a few things that just aren't at all anymore!)

One problem I have is, while the player txt journal file is good for getting information accessible in game off the forums, that txt file can easily get lost (hard drive crash, playing on a different computer, ect) and it doesn't take long before it's stuffed with info, and the player journal is a real pain to scroll through when it's filled with notes on VC commands, lists for magic crafting PCs (the item, it's requirements, the VC command), notes on what items do, notes on this, notes on that, ect.

What Aenea needs is streamlining of information.

So... suggestions... This would be a rather big project, but I think worth it in the long-run, especially given that Aenea has a LOT of things that are tweaked from the generic NWN gameplay. And my following suggestions are FAR from perfect, and are just initial ideas that will be well refined by input from other players:

The following is a good bit of a ramble, and only rough ideas... but a step towards what I hope would be a good project for not just The Amethyst Dragon, but all involved with Aenea to contribute to (since it's to help players assimilate easier to the game)

The VC system. It's huge, some of the commands are rather esoteric (how DOES ;;mi scroll xxx fit into scribing scrolls? I have NO idea what MI stands for, it's just not as intuitive as ";;enchant scroll"

I don't know how many files are involved with the VC system, how it relates to magic script wise, other systems, ect. I know, that from a player standpoint, I sometimes wish I had one help command that just barfs out the entire list of VC commands. Not specific group lists... just something like ;;halp meh! and BOOM, every command that could be typed in gets thrown into the combat log.

Some of the commands I think could be made more intuitive. Shorthand is of course good for those with less than average typing skills (I remember when the VC system for teleporting was implemented, Dave advocated for the short "tp" command opposed to whatever the longhand version was) But also some -non-shorthand versions would be helpful.

Another example, with item enchantment.... ;;craft armor helm eyesminute for exmaple. Not that it isn't intuitive (craft command, armor crafting feat, armor peice, specific item). But it is somewhat clumsy. ;;enchant eyes of minute seeing would be better for that example. Without knowing the specifics of the scripting behinds the scenes, I can make some guesses with my limited scripting knowledge. One is that, the "armor helm" part of the command specifies the feat being used, and the base item being done. However, is it necessary for the player to specify those aspects? There's already an apparent check for if you have the right materials and gold (you get an error saying you don't have the right part/enough gold if you dont), so it could also check to see if you have the relevant feat... and as for category of base item, obviously a helm of the bat is not a magical force shield or chitin armor.

The scroll scribing command is another example... while it's partly esoteric... the name of the actual product the mage is making is straight forward. No shorthand. Want to scribe a scroll of Shivani's Beheading Blade? The player doens't have to look up an odd naming convetion like "shivbhblade" versus say "shivblblade" for shivani's bloodletting blade.

Being such a large system... Specifics would be best streamlined when *everything* is laid out and it could all be organized. I'll attempt to provide a list of all the VC commands I know... perhaps other players can suggest streamlining conventions for commands, ect.

Overall, I'd love to see a system that's more intuitive for a player to master.

Other information bits....

The "Game information" section of the forum is good... but it's not *in-game*, and with the sheer volume of addtions/changes The Amethyst Dragon has made to the game.... it's overwhelming.

The staff function question for example by Ramana in the questions forum. In-game, the staffs give the scantest OOC info about what they do, just names basically, no mechanical information. Another example is say... arcane archer's arrow making vc command, monk's and the ki stars. Material components for spell casting.

The sign in the astral conjunction says to check the forums for updates/bug fixes, ect, but I think that switching back to an in-game source would be great. Not just a blanket-list though. Categorized. Through the VC command system, have a help menu that lists game-changing items. Not necessarily bug fixes (which should stay on the forums), but gameplay changes of note.

An example of what I mean would be... type in something like ;;vc gameplay help and get a list in the combat log.. the list would be classes, combat, magic, general, ect. Taking one of those items... say class... ;;gameplay wizard would give a list of relevant gameplay changes that concern wizards. Epic magic, crafting feats, basic info about metamagic staves, information about the way the recharging item works compared to the default NWN function. For gameplay combat... it could list changes such as info about creatures who run away from combat (telling the player about the fear check, how they would get XP for the "win" without necessarily killing the creature, ect).

As new functions/changes are added, they could be listed in this VC help menu. Compiling a list of changes ALREADY implemented would be a MAJOR project, but I would be willing to compile the information for putting into such a system in whatever format is best.

Another slant on this aspect....

I've seen a few PWs that have had a database run "message board" in-game. Messages could be put on the board via a convo.... Click on the message board and it would give a basic menu (read messages, post message, remove message, ect). Click on the "Post message", and the game would listen to the chat channel for a string of text... Say a paragraph, then choose, "new paragraph" from the dialogue, or "end and post message".

It allowed players to post easy to read messages with multiple paragraphs that would persist through resets and such.

To alleviate the load on The Amethyst Dragon, a system like this could be used for disseminating information in-game by players and assistant dungeon-masters.

For the "Gameplay information" postings, perhaps a review by The Amethyst Dragon or one of the DMs would be required for the information to then be viewed by the player populace in general, to maintain content accuracy (not for in-character messages... although would be a good safeguard to have the DM and ADMs be able to remove any player-posted content that would require it). A player could post something, and it would not be viewable until approved by a DM. In-game, a DM could browse the postings, edit if needed, and make the information viewable on the message board.

While a dialogue has been used on other PW modules, the actual viewing would be VC based for Aenea of course. ;;message board help/read/post what have you. In-character messages could have a "decay time" so short term messages don't stick around for years simply because the posting player hasn't logged in during that time. But the "gameplay information" postings would remain because of their relevance to the server.

Same format there as well... information sorted by relevant categories, and easily accessible (even if not around an actual message board placable in-game).

These are just some rough ideas... and just a start to streamlining information in Aenea.... more player input is needed though, more ideas, more ideas on how to make stuff more easier to know and use in-game.

It would be very good to see an even more intuitive to play, information accessible Aenea Smile
MannyJabrielle
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Post by RustyDios Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:27 pm

That "message board" idea sounds like something awesome to have in the Player-Funded Academy just on the outskirts of Valorians Vale.

More in-game information on mechanics etc, is something I do think is needed in Aenea. Even just some general descriptions of items could do with some more information.

I tried to incorporate some of the crafting/item/tradeskill forum/webpage information into various descriptions of objects throughout my playerhouse. Whilst this was mainly for myself to not have to keep logging out to check bits of information, I have found others who find the house (and the information) really useful... even if it is a little outdated now...... ...

And so far in game there is the player-pc-crystal with plenty of general information that could possibly be expanded on. And I've always found the VC command ;;help is very useful in-game....
RustyDios
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Post by Eric of Atrophy Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:13 pm

I was thinking about the Adventure's Academy myself, and the potential it has to offer not only new players, but all players in Aenea. A library area in the Academy could fulfill this information function in-game, as the various topics could be covered by books - we could even have an in-character wing and an OOC wing, to cover respective info. And the message board idea - I am a big fan of that - wasn't there something in place like that, in Madara's old hideout? A guestbook of sorts, where a PC could leave a note that became part of the book? I only ever saw it once, so I don'ts remembers.

Manny brings up some interesting points, and they should be addressed in some form, just because of the sheer amount of change Aenea has in reference to standard NwN.
Eric of Atrophy
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Post by MannyJabrielle Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:54 pm

Madara's grove (now the leaf market) had a guesbook thing... a container with papers in it that you could 'write' your name on with the VC renaming tool.... but they didn't persist through resets.
MannyJabrielle
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Post by Eric of Atrophy Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:45 pm

Ah, I wasn't sure if they did ...
Eric of Atrophy
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