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CavemanJoe
 Wednesday, July 08 2009 @ 05:32 AM UTC (Read 1167 times)  
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Right, this can go one of two ways:

1. We talk at length about the game's benefits, like we did on the old server. We pimp the community, the features, we talk it up.
Original text:
Warning: Improbable Island contains rancid midget brothels in addition to other silly (but mature) situations, and is best suited to equally silly grown-ups. Parental discretion is advised.

Returning players, come on in!

Oh, hello!

Improbable Island is a free multiplayer text-adventure game that you play in your browser. It's all about a machine that generates Improbability. Since the machine has gone crazy and started to generate Improbability in highly improbable ways, it must be stopped before it turns the world into a lemon. That's where you come in!

Improbable Island was born out of a desire for a free browser-based adventure game with a sense of humour. There are scads of browser-based MMORPG's and PBBG's out there on the Internet, but most take themselves terribly seriously. Improbable Island, on the other hand, is thoroughly ridiculous and proud of it.

But what is it like to play? Well, it's kind of like being kidnapped at gunpoint, stripped naked, tossed out of a plane and forced to battle horrendous creatures while the whole ordeal is broadcast on Reality TV. Except that all of this happens to an imaginary character who lives inside your web browser, so you don't have to get all sweaty and eaten. Good times!

Want some screenshots? Okay. When it comes to choosing a mount, you can't get much more inexpensive (and memorable) than Budget Horse or, for those whose tastes are a little more exotic, the Magical Mystery Meat Mount. Both will give you an advantage while travelling between such enchanting places as the Skronky Pot and Cake or Death stand. Sheila's Shack O' Shiny has a wide range of weapons and armour available for purchase; trust me, you'll need all the help you can get while fending off the creatures that lunge at you from the Jungle. Such hideous abberations include Genius Masters of Disguise, bitter memories from your troubled past, God-Awful puns and your own tongue.


Click here to enter The Island!

...still not convinced? Did I mention that Improbable Island contains Evil Midgets? Spiderkitties? Dali the Four-Clawed Lobster?

How about mad scientists? Do you like mad scientists? Or delicious beer? Cigarettes? We've got cigarettes. We've also got genetically-engineered bulldozers, ghosts, six-sided dice that throw sevens, Scientologists, and fetid midget brothels.

Any of those appeal to you?

Oh, I almost forgot - we've got weapons! Lots and lots of weapons! If you like ridiculously over-the-top weaponry, we've got great big guns that fire angry cats. If you're terminally insane, we've also got Chainsaw-Chuks. If you like to defy the laws of physics, we've got a cannon that'll throw a miniature sun at your opponent, complete with gravity well.

We've also got tons of armour, from Hello Kitty pyjamas and bunny slippers to sealed, servo-assisted encounter suits.

Come on, tell me that doesn't sound like good times!


Click here to enter The Island!

...no? Still here? Well, once you've played through as a human, other races open up for you to play with, some of whom completely change the way the game is played. Here are some of them:
human
Midget Kittymorph
Robot Mutant

...and there are other races too, that will open up later on. So you can see, Interesting Times are to be had!


Click here to enter The Island!

...what, you want more? Did I tell you it's free? I should probably tell you that it's free.

I also didn't mention that there are competitive and co-operative play options, that you can form clans with fellow contestants, that you can play on a mobile device without too many problems, that there's a thriving community of freaks, weirdos and bored office workers waiting to embrace you.

Nor did I mention that you can have an implant embedded into your skull to give you Special Powers, or that there are currently seven independant cities in which to explore, chat and fight. I should have mentioned that.

If you're just not that into games, you might want to come along and meet the folks who just use the Island to chat with other very strange people such as themselves. Every month, we hold a contest to see who is the best at a particular thing (sometimes that particular thing is "cheating at contests"), and prizes are awarded in-game. Some of these contests involve leaving the comforting glow of your computer monitor and venturing out into the real world! Admittedly, sometimes it's only to gather supplies so that you can dress up like a robot for a cheap laugh.


Surely that's enough to persuade you to Enter The Island?

...okay. Well, Improbable Island runs on a game engine called Legend of the Green Dragon, which is distributed under a Creative Commons license. This means that the game is constantly being added to and expanded upon, with new stuff to find all the time! It also means that if you've played any other games based on this engine, you'll know how to play straight away - but don't go fooling yourself into thinking that Improbable Island is the same as any other LOGD server, oh no!

If you're familiar with LOGD, you'll probably be familiar with the concept of a "Total Translation" or a "Total Conversion." Well, that's what Improbable Island is. A complete translation of the LOGD game system to include all our post-apocalyptic silliness.


Oh, go on, go on, go on.

What, you're still reading this? Well, this is the end of the page. There are literally many reasons to play Improbable Island, but to tell you the rest would be giving away the surprise.

Join us. You might enjoy it.


2. We throw the player right into the game before they've even signed up. The player plays through the game's introduction without being logged in - when they get to the gatekeeper, he tells them about the Island as they fill out their player info. Perhaps the player can ask the gatekeeper what this place is all about, whereupon he'll ask for the player's name as he chats. Then, on the next page, he might ask for a password, after another bit of teaser text. Sneak the signup into the game itself, removing barriers to entry. Then set the player's race to Human in the background, so that they don't see the same text again until they DK.

Thoughts, suggestions?


 
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Cath
 Wednesday, July 08 2009 @ 05:38 AM UTC  
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Personally, I like the latter because I never take the time to read all that text.

I know, I know, bad me... and I'm a bad player because I don't read all the lovely content that gets slaved over by the powers that be, but... *shrug* I play, right?

Clearly sometimes more often than others because school keeps eating all of my time up but I don't want to talk about that now. Have I mentioned that I like numbers a lot?


 
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Cath
 Wednesday, July 08 2009 @ 05:54 AM UTC  
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So, apparently I ran out of time to edit my response... seems odd to me, so here's what I was going to add. Sorry about the double post.

I'm just going to add that, if the text is in shorter chunks rather than in blocky paragraphs (I have trouble reading text on screens for long periods of time) I'm much more likely to read them. I also tend skim through books, though, focusing on dialogue and skipping the meaty descriptions, so I can't blame it all on the screen. While it seems a bit trixy to "con" someone into creating an account, I think it sounds like a much nicer hook to get them into the game.

I think, though, that there needs to be something that keeps people coming back after heading to the failboat because they don't know what they're doing. Maybe it's just coming from Season One and knowing how the game works for the most part (what wasn't changed, that is) I managed to, very quickly, run out of things to do. Starting out with 3-4 new days (an idea I read on another topic) would be a great start, but you might want to consider including something about that in the "sign-up" process... perhaps something about time being flexible on the Island and that it is sometimes possible to start a new day when your character goes to the fail boat or runs out of stamina.

Sort of a mini-tutorial and introduction... the challenge being keeping the info on each page short and interesting (especially with text based games, people can get bogged down with all text and no images) but not making there be too many pages so that the new player gets tired of too much talk and not enough action.

The only trouble I foresee with that plan is having to ask the new user for a username multiple times if they pick one that's already been taken. Not a huge problem, but one I could see being annoying, especially if you try and fail several times.


 
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Zolotisty
 Wednesday, July 08 2009 @ 06:27 AM UTC  
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Definitely do the second. I never really bothered with the previous homepage. I read a little of it and then went, 'well, alright, I get the point -- I've already read your banner ad and found it more compelling than this text, but let's give it a try, shaaaall weeeee?'

Sampling the product for yourself is almost always more compelling than a pitch!


BARK BARK BARK.
 
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K.K. Victoria
 Wednesday, July 08 2009 @ 06:51 AM UTC  
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I second the second.

Think it's better for the experience of just starting the game.


"You saved Pineapple!"
 
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Yrk
 Wednesday, July 08 2009 @ 08:02 AM UTC  
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definatly 2nd option, however, you wouldnt want people haveing to click though all that things just cause they forgot to bookmark after they signed up.
Perhaps a simple startup page that ask(or checks?) if its the players first time, if it is, toss them in the game, if it isnt, chuck them off to a sign in page.


 
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Rosin
 Thursday, July 09 2009 @ 08:19 AM UTC  
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Alright, since it's oh so very early in the morning and I've not slept, I logged out.

Chance, I see the new homepage!

I decide, oh so deviously to infiltrate this new fanciness and poke about, completing most of the required tasks to the point of almost creating someone by the name of 'Laurence'.

Needless to say, I am very happy with what I saw. I laughed, I cried, I lost ten pounds. And I needed that money for food.


A magpie's work is never done.
 
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