Subject: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: December 05 2008 @ 04:34 PM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

Split from the "What I'm doing right now" thread. This is basically an extension to the commentary system that shows certain information and icons about the players in a chat area.

Here's a screenshot of the prototype. Not that the finished module probably won't look like this at all, but this is the general principle.

I'm not married to this idea, but I'll state my case here. I think it's a good idea because it makes interaction more natural - in real life you don't have to look too closely at someone (IE look in their bio) to see what gender they are. Well, most of the time anyway.

I also think it'd be a good area in which little icons could be awarded for bragging rights.

It could be good for roleplay, too; once the bugs are sorted with the custom weapon and armour modules, we can also make a sort of costume shop module (suggested by Sessine) which would change the race shown in the talkline.

Thoughts?



Replies:

Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: December 05 2008 @ 05:49 PM
By: Fodder+Kid

Content:

Damn it man. I just spit tea on my keyboard because you have a folder labeled MASSAGE in your toolbar.

If people can still name their mounts and someone's names theirs "blah blah blah blah blah blee blow blee blah blah blah beepers blah blah bleh blo blo bleh baby" and names their weapon something just as long, I would HATE to see a text wrap of a bunch of lines of gibberish.

FK


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: December 05 2008 @ 06:31 PM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

What? I do massage. Have done since... ooh, ten years now, on and off. The contents of the folder are mostly to do with massaging people with fibromyalgia; you've gotta be careful, 'cause of the pressure points and the fact that it's very hard for them to lie on their fronts for more than a few minutes.

Hell, at least I didn't leave something like "ginormous boobies" in my search bar.

There's always gonna be a character limit on mounts and equipment, so I don't see that being a problem. And if they take the piss, I'll just rename their mount to something embarrassing. Like "Harvey the ginormous booby."


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: December 05 2008 @ 07:08 PM
By: Fodder+Kid

Content:

See I see a folder named MASSAGE and I instantly think Asian owned 'rub and tug'. I NEVER would have thought about a serious masseuse.

Fodder Kid (a perv apparently)


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: December 06 2008 @ 05:01 AM
By: Epaphus

Content:

Are you planning an option, CMJ, so that players who don't want to see all that text at the start of each line can turn it off?

Also, if five lines of text wrap is a problem, perhaps the solution is a "shorthand," where, say, "FG13" means "Female Gobot Level 13," or "BH" means "budget horse," and "OO" means "ginormous boobies." I know I'd love to have "OO" showing up every time my player self says something.

We can post a "key" to the FAQ or the Wiki.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: December 06 2008 @ 05:21 AM
By: Hermein

Content:

Quote by: Epaphus

"OO" means "ginormous boobies." I know I'd love to have "OO" showing up every time my player self says something.



Hmm, perhaps a new line of work for Dr. Paprika? Or one of the choices after a drive kill could be "Boobies +1".


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: December 06 2008 @ 05:25 AM
By: Hermein

Content:

I have to confess that my first thought on seeing the screenshot was, "Damn, he needs a better font!" I'd go blind trying to read that all day.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: December 08 2008 @ 07:49 PM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

@ Epaphus - yup, there'll be a new entry in the Preferences page to control this stuff.

Also, I'm leaning more towards icons than text. ALT-text will be defined and meaningful filenames assigned, for people on screen readers.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: December 09 2008 @ 02:56 AM
By: Bodoni

Content:

Yeah, that would be fun, I think. I wonder how many people think that my character is male, from my username (my RL maiden name, which I happen to like very much).

I especially like the idea of little icons. And I'd love to show off my tatts, as it's probably something that someone could see easily just by looking at my character.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: December 09 2008 @ 10:05 PM
By: crashtestpilot

Content:

Two words on screenshot: Yuck. Also, yuck.
There's already too much text in the common areas. This just adds, what, nothing. Other than spammed information that from an information design perspective, adds nothing. Moreover, it's non-consensual.
Let me explain: From my perspective, the only reason I call up information on a character in-game is A) If I want to kill them later in their sleep because they've been an arse, or if they have something interesting to say, and I find myself wanting to know a little more about them, IE, WHAT THEY'VE WRITTEN about themselves.
I don't care about their level, tats, stats, and something that rhymes with "...ats."
Moreover, from an RPing perspective (one of the things that makes II unique, improbably) it just adds textspam between ppl emoting and doing stuff in-game that is often more interesting than the game itself.
Here's an example: During all the non-LOL PVP Hajen/Rhi/et al drama, Sessine was doing what he does better than most and as well as anyone I've ever encountered. He was giving a reading lesson to a synaesthete in CC404. The text was written so well, and the moment so compelling and evanescent, I found myself doing something I rarely do, which was scroll back and read what had gone before. I wanted to read it, dammit! -- so as to get the whole scene he was adroitly creating.
So, all this to say, the extra text would only detract from such moments, which are, to some extent about 30 pct. of why I come here.

Dan, I love you to death, so take this in the spirit it's intended -- as a warning to a friend who is about to step in front of a bus.
I know you likely worked yourself ragged over this one, but it would be a crime to implement it, and I'm sorry for saying so.
Because, ultimately, besides the framework/world/codebase you've created, what makes II a wonderful place is the people and what (most of the time) they're enabled to do from a storytelling perspective.

We're both writers, so I'm sure you understand what I'm speaking of.

Kill this, as the Sheriff said, before it grows.

Love and respect,

~CTP


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: December 21 2008 @ 11:02 PM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

Yikes - this looks like it could shape up to be a controversial one. I've had people PM'ing me on both sides of the argument, for and against. Weirdly, everyone seems to either love it or hate it.

Fair enough, then - we'll just give it an option in the player preferences, so you can decide for yourself whether you want it on or not. Smile


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 12 2009 @ 02:16 AM
By: Shallot

Content:

Bump! Sorry. Just wanted to confirm, would that option be off by default or on? It sounds like a useful piece of info for those who like that kind of thing, but like people have said, it's ugly and it really messes with the roleplaying aspect of the game, which seems to be mainly what keeps more experienced players coming back. It might be better if we could assume when posting that most people can't see the info, rather than the other way round, so that it's a little extra feature you can opt into. Otherwise the opt-out could end up feeling like a kind of wilful blindness, which could cause problems interacting with people who have it set the other way.

Sorry if this turns out not to make any sense, it suddenly seems to be 2am... Confused


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 12 2009 @ 02:45 PM
By: SicPuess

Content:

What it currently looks like

I actually like it, and the icons are quite easy to understand, though they seem a bit ... very simple.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 13 2009 @ 05:03 PM
By: Shallot

Content:

Quote by: SicPuess

What it currently looks like

I actually like it, and the icons are quite easy to understand, though they seem a bit ... very simple.



Good point, I forgot about the new version. The little species icons could still mess things up a bit, but it's not nearly as much of a big deal as it might have been.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 14 2009 @ 04:44 AM
By: Zolotisty

Content:

I realize this may be a bit late. I also realize there are many more important things to worry about with regards to S2, but I can't help but squint at the current talkline icons. As I see it, you could get away with combining race and sex into a single symbolic icon. This would reduce chatspace clutter! For example:

and for female and male Jokers respectively..
or
and for female and male humans, though I'll be the first to point out that the grenade does not translate to this scale quite so well as a very small top hat.

And so on. Rotting zombie faces. Naked Kittymorph rump, etc., etc., rather than the current straight-on face designs. Allow donors to unlock special donor icons or upload their own instead of slapping them with the little pound sign. Successful completion of certain in-game plots could grant you access to other icons as well, and allow a player to establish their own little collection. Etc. Further reiteration of previous suggestions. Costume shop. Tremendous headache.

Please disregard if the current icons are simply placeholders!


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 14 2009 @ 07:59 AM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

Those are awesome icons. Where are they from, did you make them yourself, will you make more if I give you Donator points, if you didn't make them then are they usable under a free license, et cetera et cetera.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 14 2009 @ 01:43 PM
By: Zolotisty

Content:

- I made them. The ugly little grenades were referenced against a piece of public domain clip art from openclipart.org, Home of Legitimately Public Domain clip art. The top hats were drawn without reference.
- Yes, I will make more. Please make your demands. They take very little time to do and I enjoy the process, so don't feel as if you're being a dick if I hand you a bundle of them and you'd like six to be tweaked or totally overhauled.
- Bullet point!


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 14 2009 @ 03:15 PM
By: Hermein

Content:

Ugly little grenades? Not so - I instantly knew what the were, and of course was very jealous of your ability to create them. Beautiful! I can't wait to see the Kittymorph. . . Wink


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 14 2009 @ 06:06 PM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

OK, you shall has DP's and I shall has icons. Smile

I'll need you to agree to some legal bumph, just to cover both of our asses (bloody hell, since when did running a website get so bloody complicated?).

LEGAL BUMPH:
You shall has DP's. I'll give you some. Tell me how long it takes you and I'll give you the going professional rate in DP's.
I shall has icons. Two ways to do this: you license them to me in exchange for the DP's and I can use them however I like, or you make them in exchange for DP's and put them into the public domain, so anyone can use them for whatever they like. I favour the latter approach, as it's more in keeping with the open spirit of the game, but I'm open to negotiation.

If that's okay, here's what I'd like:
...well, actually, I don't know. For KittyMorphs I'd figured a pair of boxers or panties and/or bra just kinda flapping away in the breeze as though carelessly discarded? For others... I don't know. I'd figured faces, but denoting them in a more abstract way is better, I think. Can of lager for Midgets? I really don't know. Knock yerself out. Smile

EDIT: Oh, can you make them as .png's? Then we can antialias them against any background. I'm really not fussed about IE6 users.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 14 2009 @ 06:24 PM
By: Hermein

Content:

Zolotisty, you will probably think of much better things than this. . . but just in case, this is what I would do if I had a glimmer of talent:

Strand of DNA for Mutants
Sickly green brain for Zombies
Just the top of a head for Midgets (probably with scowling eyes - sort of an angry Shmoo)
Shiny nut for robots
Knobbly tire for gobots

Of course CMJ should have a special icon, perhaps an All-seeing Eye? Lightning bolt out of the blue? Cigarette and teacup? Wink


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 14 2009 @ 06:56 PM
By: Shallot

Content:

Oh wow, those are deeply awesome. I can't wait for Season Two. Mr. Green


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 15 2009 @ 01:28 PM
By: crashtestpilot

Content:

Sigh.
Okay.
I hate the icons. Still.
Love the creativity. Love the player enthusiasm. Love the user-generated content.
It's a TEXT GAME, though.
The icons just don't add that much to the experience for me.
I don't care what race the other players are. I don't care what rank they are. I don't care about their number of DKs, who they're married to, what their favorite weapon is, or whether they prefer their eggs scrambled, sunny-side up, over-medium, boiled, or poached.

I CARE about what they have to SAY and EMOTE.
Which is what I want to see, without looking at cute icons all day.

I'm sorry. I want to like them. I really, really do.
But I can't. It's just not in me.

CTP


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 15 2009 @ 01:34 PM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

Quote by: CavemanJoe

Fair enough, then - we'll just give it an option in the player preferences, so you can decide for yourself whether you want it on or not. Smile


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 15 2009 @ 10:19 PM
By: Hermein

Content:

Whoa, somebody's been busy making icons. I like my Scythe - but now I want to try all the weapons to see what their icons are Wink


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 15 2009 @ 10:51 PM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

That's the idea. Mr. Green


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 17 2009 @ 04:52 PM
By: Zolotisty

Content:

I just shot a Distraction over to you with the preliminary race icons, Dan. :d I'm not as well-versed in copyright law as I might be, but how can I go about totally relinquishing my rights to the images to you under the condition that you license 'em under whichever Creative Commons license you feel is best? Would a snobby sounding statement do the trick? I'd thought about going totally public domain, but attribution requires a linkback.. and more links to the Island can't hurt.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 11:50 AM
By: Shallot

Content:

Aaaaagh. Okay, those weapon icons are really very big indeed. Wow.

I like the race icons, and the idea of the donator icon is a good one if it encourages people to give money to the game, but... wow. Those are a bit scary. They seem to be popular for looking at, for now, but they're basically everything people have been objecting to about the icons magnified by a hundred.

Like CrashTestPilot said, this is a text game, which relies on using your imagination and seeing the pictures in your head, perhaps better than we could if it was all spelt out in front of us. We don't need pictures on the screen. The way I see it, the more you distract from the writing, the less fun the game is, and you're too good a writer for any more distractions to be necessary.

The icons are funny, sure, and I can see how much effort must have been put into them, but when you get down to it they take up a huge amount of space and I can't really see how they're relevant to the game. They're just sort of... there, and not in a good way.

Anyway. Bitching over.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 01:02 PM
By: SicPuess

Content:

So. What was the point of the icons anyways? To get fast information about a player without having to go to their bio. When do you need this information? When typing an answer, or whatever, point is, it is mainly a role-playing aspect of the game. Therefore, which information is needed? Armour? No. Weapon? No. Those two are pretty much only interesting if you're planning in attacking, and for that, you'll check the bio anyways. Not worth the space. Race? Meh. Gender? YES. This is pretty much the only thing the icons are useful for, and therefore, I think Donator, Gender and Race should be enough, especially with the last two combined into one.

Since the icons currently are eyecatchers - drawing attention away from the information behind the name - while providing relatively little information (mainly about pronoun usage, and how the person will react to catnip), what about making them grayscale (except for Donator, maybe)? You'd only see them if you need them, though I think it'd be harder to include the gender then.

And the line that is specifically for the icons: Goodness it is so /damn ugly/. It currently makes the page a mess of colourful pixels, huge empty spaces, seperates one line of text from each other, and generally looks more like an awful sort of decoration than actually useful. I assume it'd be a bitch to make it so that it appears only once if the player is writing more than one comment at once, so I say, kill it.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 01:25 PM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

I've added three new userprefs to the commentary icons module. Now you can choose whether to show the icons inline or on the line above the comment, whether to put in a blank space between comments, and whether to show weapon images.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 02:34 PM
By: Zolotisty

Content:

Thank you for the prompt addition of those options! I'm with the 'oh my god those weapons are rather large, aren't they?' crowd, and I'm going to ponce about with no-space, inline-icons, no-weapons settings checked off in my user prefs. It seems to be the combination most in keeping with the original notion to provide quick and unobtrusive information about a user while -- as CTP has been frowning all along -- maintaining a clear focus on the textual element of the game. I recognize the draw and value for players like Hermein, who are curious about uncovering the lot of them firsthand, but for me, they are disruptive and superfluous. Not a condemnation, just the facts.

Could I suggest starting a new player with the weapon icons originally off, then having the new player turn them on as some part of the newb walkthrough? They should be aware that they can muck around with their user prefs that way. Possibly force them to be aware of their player bio too -- in my observation, people who write up a self-description or character snippet early are likely to stay longer -- though don't make it mandatory to write something. ..That should prevent '.' and 'PENIS' from the elevated lot likely to type that sort of thing. Or force them to look up an established PC or NPC. Something.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 02:39 PM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

I'm planning a much more detailed walkthrough for S2. After all, even LotGD veterans will be new to the Stamina system. I'll put some stuff about the prefs in there too.

Your icons look good. Smile I'm gonna test them against a range of different backgrounds, to see if they'll fit in with all the various themes, and if the test gives 'em the thumbs-up then we'll be sorted. Smile


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 02:52 PM
By: Shallot

Content:

Yeah, I'm with Zolotisty - please, please can we have them off by default? Even if they're easy to change, new players are unlikely to want to turn off something everyone else can see and possibly inconvenience themselves. I can't imagine anyone having a problem with opting into having more information, though.

I also agree about the whole line separation issue caused by the big icons. Is there any way of making it more uniform and table-like, like it is currently in S1? Everything just looks like it's drifting off a bit, and it's hard to read one comment in connection with another.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 03:04 PM
By: Shallot

Content:

Er, hang on, not table-like, exactly. You know what I mean, though - everything's just a lot clearer when the same kind of information is more or less stacked on top of one another.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 03:10 PM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

Sorry, it remains on by default. Most people aren't that into text-based games, and some visuals here and there will hopefully ease them into the transition. If they don't like it, it takes less than five seconds to turn them off.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 03:20 PM
By: Count+Sessine

Content:

Userpref for the viewer? Or for the commenter?

The latter is the only approach that could make these even halfway acceptable.

Dan, you haven't role-played in your own game. That's not what an Admin does. Your own experience is, therefore, not a good guide; you're working off what you imagine the user experience to be. Listen to the players who have done it.

Here's the thing. Role-playing is not just some frivolous side pastime that you let eccentric players engage in because they're bored and have used up their turns. No matter how wonderful and intricate you make the combat system, it's still going to be run by a computer. You aren't going to create AI in a browser-based adventure game. Sooner or later the computer-based part of the game environment will inevitably become predictable and therefore boring. The only thing that can keep a player around, after he/she has explored all the possibilities you've cast into code, is interaction with other players -- who are human beings, and therefore infinitely variable.

That means role-playing is, in the long term, the essence of your game. Don't cripple it!

Role-playing is a performance. Always. Performers need to know what their performances are going to look like to the audience. If they have to role-play on the assumption that some large fraction of the people viewing their comments are going to be seeing these icons, it will be a huge handicap. It will be awful. They have to be able to turn the icons off, on their own comments, for everyone who sees them.

(*goes and actually takes a look at the current state of the icons*)

(*tries to imagine role-playing some of the great stuff that's been pulled off in S1 with that...*)

Oh God.

Leave that in place... and you're not just crippling your game, you're killing it.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 03:40 PM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

Yeesh... Well, userprefs aren't cached, so you're looking at a whole fuckload of database queries right there. Are you sure that people who are into roleplaying won't just turn off the icons? Or ignore them?

*sighs* I'll put it to a vote, once the current one has enough data.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 03:51 PM
By: Shallot

Content:

Quote by: Count+Sessine

Userpref for the viewer? Or for the commenter?

The latter is the only approach that could make these even halfway acceptable.

Dan, you haven't role-played in your own game. That's not what an Admin does. Your own experience is, therefore, not a good guide; you're working off what you imagine the user experience to be. Listen to the players who have done it.

Here's the thing. Role-playing is not just some frivolous side pastime that you let eccentric players engage in because they're bored and have used up their turns. No matter how wonderful and intricate you make the combat system, it's still going to be run by a computer. You aren't going to create AI in a browser-based adventure game. Sooner or later the computer-based part of the game environment will inevitably become predictable and therefore boring. The only thing that can keep a player around, after he/she has explored all the possibilities you've cast into code, is interaction with other players -- who are human beings, and therefore infinitely variable.

That means role-playing is, in the long term, the essence of your game. Don't cripple it!

Role-playing is a performance. Always. Performers need to know what their performances are going to look like to the audience. If they have to role-play on the assumption that some large fraction of the people viewing their comments are going to be seeing these icons, it will be a huge handicap. It will be awful. They have to be able to turn the icons off, on their own comments, for everyone who sees them.

(*goes and actually takes a look at the current state of the icons*)

(*tries to imagine role-playing some of the great stuff that's been pulled off in S1 with that...*)

Oh God.

Leave that in place... and you're not just crippling your game, you're killing it.



Seconded times a million. You just explained that a hell of a lot better than I ever could. Smile


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 04:02 PM
By: SicPuess

Content:

Suggestion: Single, grayscale (`&)* combined Race/Gender icon in text line as standard setting. Opt-out. Coloured icons as opt-ins, same for the extra icon line and every other information.

*depending on used skin

And I wouldn't pull a vote now, instead, I'd add it to S1 for, say, a week, with some information on it, and then check how many players are using each preference. /Then/ I'd poll.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 04:14 PM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

Quote by: SicPuess

Suggestion: Single, grayscale (`&)* combined Race/Gender icon in text line as standard setting. Opt-out. Coloured icons as opt-ins, same for the extra icon line and every other information.

*depending on used skin



Not technically possible, sorry. :-/

Quote by: SicPuess

And I wouldn't pull a vote now, instead, I'd add it to S1 for, say, a week, with some information on it, and then check how many players are using each preference. /Then/ I'd poll



That's the plan. I'll give this poll a day or so to confirm the landslide, though.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 04:22 PM
By: Zolotisty

Content:

HELLO.

Hi!

My name is Zolotisty. I roleplay.

hi zolotistyyy..

Like the thick, horny pad of skin on the back of your heel, I am nigh impossible to get rid of. I've been an active writing presence on the Island since the beginning of S1. I want to explicitly stress that I don't come to the Island to play the game anymore. I stopped playing for DKs shortly after I received my complimentary side of fries, and continued my aggressive speed runs only because SPOON's coffers were in sore need of cigarettes. I come to the Island to play and write with other people.

So: I'm here to briefly characterize the population of your Island that roleplays. I'm going to present a few subcategories. You have writers, you have roleplayers, and you have people out for a lark.

Let's start with the people out for a lark, because they are the ones who will not particularly care about the clunkiness of their chatspace. These are the folks who will pipe up for a little while in town squares with the intention of playing a role for silliness and diversion. They like short-form slapstick humor and immediate gratification in terms of player interaction -- a lot of their interaction is bouncy teasing or messing about with anyone and everyone who has currently posted in the chatspace. Many of them make it to Kittymorph and stay there before fading away. They take what they know about the race and don't expand upon it -- that's not what they're interested in. They're after 'random' humor and quick interaction without the creation of significant on-Island friendships. These people are the ones that won't care.

Then you have your roleplayers, the folks who breathe life into their characters and actively present themselves as a consistent, continual presence in public chatspaces. They like reading. They like writing. They like short, free form plots with emphasis on silliness and general engagement -- doing 'big,' 'loud' things to draw the attention of their fellow players, all of whom the roleplayer typically knows in passing if not as an acquaintance or friend. They like establishing routines for themselves on the Island and making sure that other people know that it is their little routine, and they are the most compatible with the people who are out for a lark, as they are unintimidating and open. They absolutely not so prolific as your writers, and I very strongly suspect they will not be happy about the disruption of their chatspaces, though if you pad the hook in delicious cheese or peanut butter, perhaps they'll be more likely to accept it. (I doubt it. They're a clever group.)

Your writers, Dan, are the obsessed group who have been battering your chatspaces with storylines for other players. Puzzles and riddles and clever PMs. Elaborate cross-Island parties and theatrical performances. Thoughtfully crafted monologues where appropriate. Metaphors that are designed to make readers smile or turn English on its head. Careful attention to self-presentation and in-character consistency -- these are the folks that CTP was talking about reading for the pleasure of reading. These are the people who have shanghaied your ideas and back-stories to make the Island a grittier and more vivid place. These are the people Sessine is so adamantly warning you against alienating. These people stay.

So:

Are you sure that people who are into roleplaying won't just turn off the icons? Or ignore them?


Assuming you're talking specifically about the weapons icons, absolutely not -- how can you ignore them? Much too big. Much too much dead space. I suggested tightening the icon designs because there seemed to me to be a lot of dead space to begin with -- why have three icons in-line when one would do the trick?

Turning them off would work if it was as Sessine suggests. Neutral


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 04:26 PM
By: SicPuess

Content:

It's not possible to convert the 16 or 10 icons to grayscale (well, I imagine distinction between the male and the female race icons would get a bit difficult), and set those as standard, replacing that set with the coloured version when the preference is switched? (Or: hiding the grey ones while inserting the coloured ones) ('&) just meant that I suggested them being about the colour the standard text is. Of course, that would require a different set for every skin...



If the difficulty is something else, call me stupid. Smile


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 04:33 PM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

Well, what you're talking about involves having the icons represented as a div with a background image, so that they can be altered dependant on theme. Given that the weapon icons are all different sizes, and you can't apply ALT text to a background image, it's not possible.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 05:50 PM
By: Count+Sessine

Content:

What Zolotisty said.

The only thing I'd add is that it's not static. I've seen players develop from role-players to writers as they acquire more confidence. (I'd place myself somewhere on the boundary between -- in awe of the extraordinary achievements of people like Zolotisty, Gryph, Skidge, Sicpuess, and Snickerer, wishing I could do likewise, but only rarely venturing to do more than roleplay my own character.)

We're not ganging up on you, Dan. We're sharing knowledge with you, knowledge that you need to have to keep the game from being accidentally degraded into something much less than it is now. You need to give the role-players and writers additional tools for what they do, not tie their hands and make their task harder -- or impossible.

If it's not technically feasible to give players the choice about which icons appear next to their character name, then, please, if you value your game's life, put all of these very cool little icons into the bio where they belong. Keep them out of the chat spaces.

The only iconic information that would add any value to a chat space is gender, and that's only because of English pronouns. Race is a minor hurdle -- should The Contraption or The Network or Experimental Station One be prominently labeled as human? They surely aren't, no matter what the bio says! But, if combined with gender into a single icon, race would be ...acceptable. Something one could work around.

Taking a vote among the players can tell you whether they like or don't like the visual appearance. It won't tell you anything about the future ill effects of driving away writers -- or those who would become writers if given some encouragement.

A poisoned apple can look very pretty.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 05:57 PM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

Sessine, I get the feeling I'm missing the point. If players who don't like the icons can turn them off, and donators can upload a custom weapon/armour/race image, what's the problem? Those who like the system use it, those who don't, don't.

As you've quite rightly pointed out, I don't roleplay in-game - I've too much to do. Can you elaborate on why this would be detrimental to roleplay for the people who roleplay a lot?


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 06:04 PM
By: Count+Sessine

Content:

(*grin*) Yes, you are missing the point.

Try thinking like an actor. How would you be able to play the part of, oh, say, The Terminator**, if a few people seeing the movie through special glasses were going to see your makeup and costume and the special effects, but most of the audience was just going to see you walking around in street clothes?

You'd give up, right? There would be no point. You'd find some other producer to work with who wasn't stark raving mad.

--

** Or, wait, Arnie did wear street clothes through a lot of that, didn't he? Substitute Darth Vader, or some other dramatic part of your choice.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 06:11 PM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

I don't think that analogy works, but you're clearly taking this very, very seriously.

Anyway. I'll have a look at caching the userprefs to see how bad the overhead would be for allowing players to turn off their own icon displays. Maybe we can meet in the middle, here.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 06:26 PM
By: Count+Sessine

Content:

Well... if the analogy doesn't work for you... Hm. Trying hard to find a tactful way of saying it, but... that's exactly the problem, here. You've never had to think about what it takes to role-play well. So it's like I suddenly switched to speaking Chinese or something. Big Grin

It really is very much like acting. Theatre works off illusion. And those icons are street clothes.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 06:26 PM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

Testing it now - heh. That could really use an icon representing that the user has the "no-icons" pref set. Wink

Database queries were not significantly increased. The difference should be negligible.

Okay, so where we're up to on this now:

Players who want to roleplay purely in text, and who don't want other players to see their icons, can affect how their chatline appears to other players.
Players who want to see the icons need take no action.
Players who don't want to see the icons can turn them off completely.
Players who like the icons, but want the chat area to be condensed a bit, can eliminate one or both line breaks (going from icons-above-chatline-with-break, to icons-above-chatline-without-break or icons-within-chatline-with-break, or icons-within-chatline-without-break).

Am I missing anyone out, here?


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 06:28 PM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

Quote by: Count+Sessine

Well... if the analogy doesn't work for you... Hm. Trying hard to find a tactful way of saying it, but... that's exactly the problem, here. You've never had to think about what it takes to role-play well. So it's like I suddenly switched to speaking Chinese or something. Big Grin



Heh. And you've never tried to balance this thing. Which is even harder than I make it out to be, and that's saying something. Wink Not to mention code it, so it's a wonder we don't speak Chinese to each other more often. Razz


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 06:33 PM
By: SicPuess

Content:

I'm flattered, Sessine Big Grin (while placing myself more in the boundaries between the two groups, too)

CMJ:
The only thing would be to make every single icon switchable. Like, one wants to see Gender and umm, armour, but not weapon, while I would go only for Gender and nothing else. And I want to see Zolotisty's icons, already.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 06:37 PM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

The plan is to get some Armour icons going pretty soon, and display them alongside the weapon ones. Armour icons won't be quite so big, 'cause... well, guns and swords and such are quite long, and long things are still pretty long when they're only 17px high. I'm not entirely sure what to do with armour from an aesthetics point of view, but I'm sure I'll figure it out.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 07:21 PM
By: Count+Sessine

Content:

(*back from lunch*)

And you've never tried to balance this thing. Which is even harder than I make it out to be, and that's saying something.


Absolutely! I'm in awe of what you do, too, Dan, in case I haven't mentioned it lately. Besides, it's your world, and ultimately you're the one who has to make the choices about what direction you want it to take. I'd just hate to see you blind-sided by unforeseen consequences -- for lack of information I could have given you.

(Sicpuess, you're being too modest.)

(And, though my list of the stellar writers here was not meant to be exhaustive, couldn't possibly be, I don't see how I could have written it at all without mentioning Uncle Bernard!)


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 10:34 PM
By: Zolotisty

Content:

I've had another think about this, and I think this solution will please all parties.




Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 18 2009 @ 11:35 PM
By: Shallot

Content:

Okay, just a bunch of random thoughts, in no particular order:

* Yes, people are taking this issue seriously, but they're still being rational. They're talking in terms of the userbase and what you need in order to keep the game's community functioning. Trust me, I've been an admin on a site which got close to being eaten a couple of times by Bad Drama, and this isn't in anywhere near the same league. People aren't angry or emotionally invested - they're still thinking rationally and they're still making sense. They just care about the future of the game, and don't want you to put your foot in it with this. And you need people who care about the game, cause they're what keeps it alive.

* I genuinely don't see what the problem is with keeping the icons turned off by default, but making the option to switch them on very prominent in the tutorial. There's something I don't think you understand here, which is that almost everybody who posts in the chatboxes is a roleplayer of one kind or another - whether they're a writer, a roleplayer or just there for a laugh. I know before I started roleplaying, the whole chat area was basically a block of irrelevant banter down the bottom of the screen that I paid no attention to unless I needed help. You pay attention to it if you use it, and if you use it, chances are you're roleplaying. You need to tailor the area towards those who are going to use it.

* The icons make it harder to suspend disbelief, and the harder that is, the more pointless roleplaying feels. To me, Sessine's analogy makes perfect sense - acting in your street clothes isn't impossible, it's just that much harder and requires that much more effort from your audience. It's not as much fun. Even if the icons don't kill the roleplaying entirely, they'll still massively change the way it works, and I think by doing that you'll kill off a whole layer of interest. As things are right now, you can create anything you like in there, but by tying us down to what the game says we are, you're taking away all that. It sounds like a tiny thing, but I really think that by putting them in you would alienate a whole bunch of users. It just makes it too hard.


Also: YAY ZEPPELINS.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 19 2009 @ 06:59 AM
By: Bernard

Content:

Unless...

The icons can be taught to... lie.

Unless, if I'm playing Polonius, there is a curtain icon I can make use of?

EDIT: Sorry, I know this is a lot of arras.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 19 2009 @ 07:45 AM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

The general plan was to let players upload icons when they donated for custom weapons and armour. Likewise, to create a "Display Race" field, and have donators able to set their race and upload an icon for it (obviously new races would have to be based on a coded race and the player's "true" race referenced in the db - otherwise just about every module on the site would bork). The plan in general was to show off this sort of stuff.

Funny how something that was intended to enhance roleplay is seeming to have the opposite effect. Razz


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 20 2009 @ 05:10 PM
By: Hermein

Content:

Funny side effect of the icons being rendered according to the current state of the character, rather than the state that they were in when they posted; someone who quit while they were between incarnations renders as a little green zero. Professor Horrible apparently likes to sleep as a Horrible Gelatinous Blob (somehow appropriate?) and he's in that mode right now in the chat log for IC.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 20 2009 @ 06:31 PM
By: Count+Sessine

Content:

There's a problem in Safari: text doesn't show up. It appears as a box containing a question mark. That's perhaps appropriate for a Horrible Gelatinous Blob Wink but not for a weapon.

I'll take a screen shot in a moment so you can see, but how about other browsers out there? Hey everyone... if you've got a browser you don't usually use, try logging in to the Island with it and see if anything odd happens.

The weapon text shows up just fine in Firefox on the Mac, so it's the browser, not the platform.

Safari is, I believe, the most commonly used browser on the Mac platform... I've noticed another deal-breaking display problem* with it. (Should have mentioned that one when I first noticed -- sorry.) I was addicted to the Island already when I switched platforms, so it was this place that prompted me to download and install Firefox inside of a day. Potential new players who have been accustomed to work in Safari won't switch browsers, though; they'll wander off to try some other game.
--
*The combat bar doesn't change its length as hit points decrease; it stays full. The overlaid numbers are updated, the graphic isn't. To play in Safari you have to do it the old way, watching actual hit points and ignoring the bar.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 21 2009 @ 12:30 AM
By: Count+Sessine

Content:

The general plan was to let players upload icons when they donated for custom weapons and armour. Likewise, to create a "Display Race" field, and have donators able to set their race and upload an icon for it...

I think this will make a big difference for (using Zolotisty's categories) the out for a lark crowd, and quite a few of the role-players -- the ones who pick a single role and stick to it. These are likely to be delighted with the possibilities of such a system.

Other role-players, and the writers, will still have one problem with the system: the fact that the information displayed is whatever is currently true for the character, not what was true at the time the comment was made. Example: Tor's habit of switching races often and role-playing each race to enormous comic effect would be turned to nonsense, if past comments and actions of his Midget persona were visually labeled as coming from a Joker. I think you'll find such players will choose to hide their own icon displays, and won't have any reason to buy custom icons.

Among the writers, too, many storylines are built around changes in race. Retroactive changes applied to past comments would badly garble such stories, so these players, too, will choose to turn off any icon display for themselves.

And there will be others who simply prefer to be mysterious.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 24 2009 @ 09:57 PM
By: Count+Sessine

Content:

Quality issue here... the racial icons as they appear in the game are more blurred and jaggy than the attractive little samples that were posted in this thread. Did you, perchance, re-size them, Dan? If so, I hope that is only a temporary expedient while you get people's reactions. Re-sizing a graphic that small does big damage.


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 25 2009 @ 03:49 AM
By: Tor+NaGoth

Content:

Hmmm.. they seem pretty clear on my system (Firefox on a Vista system.) I'm using the improbable donator skin and the only Icon that i have any trouble with is the on/offline status bar. (I noticed that that icon is much clearer in Console skin)


Re: Commentary / Talkline icons

Posted on: January 25 2009 @ 05:09 PM
By: Count+Sessine

Content:

Are you sure, Tor? Look more closely at the curves of the top-hat, for instance. It's only a matter of a few pixels, but at this small scale that's all it takes to produce a serious case of the jaggies.

I'm using the same skin in Firefox on a Mac... there's a reason that Macs still have an edge over PCs with professional graphics designers. Much less of an edge than there used to be, to be sure -- but for one thing, the display hardware is markedly clearer and brighter, making defects such as jaggies easier to catch.

Checking with my old XP system... I see that the damage is not nearly as obvious in the blurrier display. It's still there, though. The original as posted in the Enquirer is noticeably sharper and better looking.


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