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SicPuess
 Sunday, January 18 2009 @ 04:26 PM UTC  
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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


 
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CavemanJoe
 Sunday, January 18 2009 @ 04:33 PM UTC  
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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.


 
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Count Sessine
 Sunday, January 18 2009 @ 05:50 PM UTC  
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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.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Sunday, January 18 2009 @ 05:57 PM UTC  
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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?


 
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Count Sessine
 Sunday, January 18 2009 @ 06:04 PM UTC  
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(*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.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Sunday, January 18 2009 @ 06:11 PM UTC  
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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.


 
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Count Sessine
 Sunday, January 18 2009 @ 06:26 PM UTC  
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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.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Sunday, January 18 2009 @ 06:26 PM UTC  
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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?


 
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CavemanJoe
 Sunday, January 18 2009 @ 06:28 PM UTC  
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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


 
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SicPuess
 Sunday, January 18 2009 @ 06:33 PM UTC  
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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.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Sunday, January 18 2009 @ 06:37 PM UTC  
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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.


 
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Count Sessine
 Sunday, January 18 2009 @ 07:21 PM UTC  
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(*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!)


 
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Zolotisty
 Sunday, January 18 2009 @ 10:34 PM UTC  
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I've had another think about this, and I think this solution will please all parties.




BARK BARK BARK.
 
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Anonymous: Shallot
 Sunday, January 18 2009 @ 11:35 PM UTC  


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.


 
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Bernard
 Monday, January 19 2009 @ 06:59 AM UTC  
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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.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Monday, January 19 2009 @ 07:45 AM UTC  
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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


 
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Hermein
 Tuesday, January 20 2009 @ 05:10 PM UTC  
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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.


 
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Count Sessine
 Tuesday, January 20 2009 @ 06:31 PM UTC  
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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.


 
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Count Sessine
 Wednesday, January 21 2009 @ 12:30 AM UTC  
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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.


 
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Count Sessine
 Saturday, January 24 2009 @ 09:57 PM UTC  
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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.


 
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