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Laketown Q&A - Original

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Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:47 pm

Icarus wrote:As next to no details have been officially posted, I'd love to give you folks a chance to ask various questions, and get some answers. Please feel free to ask about any details of the upcoming change, the setting, code, etc etc.
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:47 pm

Osse wrote:A recent conversation with Icarus led to the asking and answering of a few general questions which I believe you could all benefit from seeing.

Q. What is the major story of this new sphere? What is our setting, and what will drive the plots?

A.Darkness has long been returning to Mirkwood; the Elves are retreated northwards and the paths through the land are being enveloped by the marshes. The birds sing less than they have in the past, and the winters grow colder. The distant influence of the Necromancer has been stirring, and slowly powerful forces in the world are beginning to awaken.

We are opening about 20 years before the Battle of the Five Armies. A small band of Goblins have taken up residence in the mountains of Mirkwood - not as a vanguard, but rather a symptom of the Shadow that continues to spread. The spiders webs are woven thicker nowdays, and the trade to Laketown has become more sparse of late. The Elves are rightly growing suspicious and thus this brings us to the prologue to the end of the Third Age - where it all began, in Mirkwood, with a golden ring, a band a Dwarves and an old grey Wizard.

Q. How big will this new world be? Is it the size of the proposed Angrenost, or something more similar to Angost?

A. The actual settlements are on the scale of Angost. They are a few hundred rooms, but very compact in nature. The actual gameworld will be large, around 10,000 rooms. These are being dynamically generated by a program Nimrod has developed.

Q. What races will be available?

A. Humans and Goblins. There is a small orc sphere being developed - namely a semi-organised goblin band. This is being headed up by Nimrod, yet all staff are intimately involved in all aspects of the development of each sphere. In Laketown, there will be a great deal of "grey" area between groups. Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits will potentially be RPP characters.

Q. What code will we be using?

A. The code will be ARPI, modified for our current uses. We are making fantastic progress on getting it working for our needs.

Q. What happens to Angrenost?

A. Unfortunately, Angrenost will become a story of a distant land from a distant time. That is how the lore will be integrated. As for the descriptions, what can be integrated will be, but little will be able to be directly translated between games.
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:48 pm

Olthadir wrote:I am curious what the focus of the storytelling will be.

Is there going to be a major focus on combat and the military? Or is there going to be a balance between the military and the domestic people, like farmers and the like?
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:48 pm

Icarus wrote:Q. Is there going to be a major focus on combat and the military? Or is there going to be a balance between the military and the domestic people, like farmers and the like?

There will indeed be a balance in how we tell our stories. Laketown is a small place, and things that effect one group likely effect all groups. There will be no "favored" group in regards to who gets the bulk of imm-interaction, nor will any one person be the only one responsible for a group. All staff will partake in RPA responsibilities for all groups and spheres, and be well versed in them all.
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:48 pm

Frigga wrote:Just to also note, the over-emphasis on the military during the previous SOI3 Beta was a construct of the code situation.

As noted, there will indeed be roles, building, and inclusion of military and non-military people in Laketown. :D
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:49 pm

Zargen wrote:Goblins you say...I'm in. Question: What size would this goblin sphere be? I assume the actual encampment would be smaller(though hopefully no less intricate) than laketown. As well as a secondary question: if there's the possibility of RPP good races, what of RPP orcs? There's a few variations that would be present in the area. I would personally choose to be a savage pale-skinned orc of gundabad over a mirkwood orc.
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:49 pm

Icarus wrote:Q: What size would this goblin sphere be?
A: Sphere really isn't the right word. Both Laketown and Goblintown (there is a canonical term for it, but that's what we use as a codename) inhabit the same general region of Mirkwood. They share the same grand story of the powers of Middle Earth slowly awakening in preparation for the dusk of the Third Age. But, talking actual character-number wise, we are still working that out. Our initial documentation suggests that it will be around, ICly, about 40 goblins/orcs at any one particular time. The actual clan would be one of a number of goblin groups in the region as well.



Q: if there's the possibility of RPP good races, what of RPP orcs?
A: Indeed. We are currently planning on a range of potential goblins and orcs. To be clear, we are referring to the same "race" in this, as orcs and goblins truly are the same in all technical sense, but goblin tends to refer to the smaller varieties, and orcs to the larger. We will not be having Uruks or Olags, as those have not been created yet in our world. Likely we will have an appropriate range, with the smallest goblin likely not being a threat against a moderately prepared human, and the largest orc being likely able to go toe-to-toe with one.
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:49 pm

Zargen wrote:One thing that has always...always always always bothered me was the code handicap for 'goblins' being unable to swing a sword one-handed. I've not once read anywhere about tiny snagas who couldn't hold their usual scimitar and shield combo. Orcs on the whole being a pretty strong lot of bologna men and physics aside. An orc sword would probably be only -slightly- shorter than a human blade but still fall into the medium-edge range.
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:50 pm

Fox wrote:The new idea looks great. I've always been a fan of smaller settings, as it allows players to have a much greater impact upon the world. Impact upon the world is one of those elements that makes RPIs so much fun to play.

I just wanted to caution against opening two non-overlapping player areas simultaneously when the playerbase is low. We launched Morgul and Osgiliath originally on SoI, but did not have the playerbase nor admins for both. We ended up shutting down Morgul in order to make the game more feasible. We reopened Morgul after the playerbase grew significantly. In my opinion, though, this problem was never fully resolved. SoI remained two separate games with half the players each, only unified by a rare RPT.

The first solution is to only open the human area, and only throw in the goblins later.

The other potential solution may be to allow non-violent overlap between goblins and humans. If it is at all feasible canon-wise, having a town that allows both races could be really awesome. You'd have dynamic role-played conflict, mediated by whatever authority is present. Then, violent conflict could happen outside this town/common area. Role-played conflict is the other great part of an RPI.
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:50 pm

Nimrod wrote:
Fox wrote:I just wanted to caution against opening two non-overlapping player areas simultaneously when the playerbase is low.
Oh these two spheres will most definitely overlap, tyvm. :) I don't think you'll find orcs mingling with humans in the taverns, but interaction is inevitable for those that wish it.
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:52 pm

Frigga wrote:I just want to note thanks for everyone who has sent in PMs or emails showing interesting in helping out the project in various ways. If I haven't had a chance to write back to you, my apologies. I'm working through all the messages. :D
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:53 pm

Frigga wrote:Edit to the previous post:

Nimrod is currently looking into setting up an ability for player builders to submit room descriptions via our new generator (something along the lines of the old web builder). So once that is set up, we'll start looking into all of the interested folks.

Thank you for the applications. :D
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:54 pm

Jimmer wrote:What kind of themes are the staff looking to reinforce, at Laketown? Osgiliath, Minas Tirith, and all of the other areas all had their own central ideas and 'flavors'. What kind of flavors and ideas will make up Laketown?

It's been said that Laketown will be a smaller locale with fewer divides, and I think that's fantastic. Will there still be social 'castes', for lack of a better word? Does Laketown have nobles? Slums? A Fellowship/Guild presence?

In the write-up, there's mentions of a growing spider presence, and generally the build-up of evil, evil angst from the forest. How will the supernatural elements be treated, if at all, in Laketown?

Thanks in advance! :)
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:54 pm

Frigga wrote:Just to answer some of the social aspect questions.

Laketown has social classes as there are indeed distinctions between people are far as wealth and social status goes. (Obviously the Master for example, is better off than your average fisherman.)

However, Laketown is unique of all the other playing experiences we'd have thus far in SOI as there is no distinction between Men based on bloodline. There is no Dunedain nobility like there is in Gondor, (or a Black Numenorean nobility as there was in TE) the Men who have privilege and power in Laketown are those shrewd at politics, business, and commerce. Laketown has no king or Steward, but a man elected from amongst their own to lead them - it is indeed, the only clear democracy noted in Tolkien lore. (One is never told exactly how the Mayor of Michel Delving is elected or if its a generational post.)

Laketown doesn't have "slums" in the fact that Long Lake is bountiful, so Men can of course, always feed their families from the finned bounty, so there are rarely beggars, but will there be distinctions between areas based on the wealth of the people who live there, yes.

We are looking into a Guild/Fellowship system for the town, yes, though different than it was before, given indeed, the big difference in Laketown's social structure. I've been working on that documentation. :smt003
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:55 pm

Zargen wrote:Few questions.

Will we be referring to the town as laketown or Esgaroth? When it comes to actual dates for LOTR-related material I just get confused. I recall there is a distinct difference between the two based on pre-smaug and post-smaug pwnage.

Im still EXTREMELY wary of having an evil-aligned faction for players to be in for the simple reason of: Laketown is a citystate based on commerce...Commerce that comes from trading with the elves of mirkwood and dwarves of erebor. That stands to reason that the military might of Laketown would be exceedingly overpowered against primitive tribal orcs what with elven bows and dwarven mail. That is up until us hardcore mordor players get ourselves situated and start to systematically destroy everyone :roll:

Will this be the point in time in which Bard(going to be played by luke evans omg) is shlepping around the area?

On the topic of the upcoming hobbit movies and their portrayal of lake-town, absolutely LOVE the architecture and costumes they have. -love-. Seriously google that shit.

Finally, can I get piss-drunk into a stupor on Dorwinion wine?
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:55 pm

GreenRiver wrote:If I may add some thoughts...

At the time the new SoI is to be set (20 years before the Battle of Five Armies), Laketown would not have been as prosperous as it once was, or indeed as it would later become. The commerce it once enjoyed would have been severely curtailed.

Smaug would have been in the Lonely Mountain for about 150 years, meaning there would be no Dwarves to trade with in Erebor. It's possible there might have been some trade with Dwarves from the Iron Hills, but certainly not as much as with Erebor when it was flourishing.
Dale, another of Laketown's traditional trading partners, had been ruined by the dragon, as had the once fertile area around Dale and Erebor, which was now a barren waste (the Desolation of Smaug). This would also have limited the farming activities in the wider area during this time, as is implied in the chapter 'The Last Stage' in the Hobbit.

All these factors would have lessened the prosperity of Laketown, having a knock-on effect on any military presence there may have been there at the time.
Certainly I would think Dwarven items (at least new ones) would not be all that common. There's no reason to think that trade with the Elves would not have been continuing, as you say, although the most expensive/valuable elven items may have become more scarce.

So a Laketown military/militia would likely not be as well equipped at this point as it had been at other times.

Just my two pennies...
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:55 pm

Jimmer wrote:I find the play atmosphere put forwards by GreenRiver to be pretty intriguing, particularly the inclusion of the Desolation of Smaug. That'd be a wild place to explore.
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:56 pm

Icarus wrote:GreenRiver is quite right. The prosperity of what was known as Esgaroth on the Long Lake is much lessened these days, as it stands south of the Desolation of Smaug among other things. So, I would not anticipate the men of Laketown running around with Dwarven blades and Dwarven Armor. Infact, with trade so curtailed, Iron I imagine would be a great rarity.

As such we are revamping armor a bit, focusing on cloth and leather armors to a much greater extent than metal armors, which would almost in all cases have to be imported. Certainly one could get Dwarven mail from the iron hills, but it would likely cost as much as a fine boat.

This limitation extends to the orcs, though they are rather ingenious in their manner of getting supplies and such. We plan on having them be able to raid any trade coming up the river, so if Laketown is getting imports of iron from the south... there will be opportunities to raid said iron.

Bard will likely be scarce until the movie comes out, as I'm rather interested in seeing how he is portrayed. Yes to getting drunk, but dorwinion wine is rather pricy ;) Best become a high ranking guild fellow or merchant!
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:56 pm

Brian wrote:The elves that we're talking about here are also probably the least "noble" as it were of all the elves in Middle-earth. They are elves that never passed over the Misty mountains, let alone the Blue Mountains into Beleriand. For the most part, they had no contact with the Valar, the Noldor, or the Sindar, and were not ennobled. These are elves that are living in their "natural" state before they were uplifted by the Valar. The only influence of the western "High" elves they have is from King Oropher (Thranduil's dad) and his Sindarin compatriots that went east over the mountains after the War of Wrath. However, they went east specifically to try and go "back to nature" as they were. They wanted to blend with the locals, not to keep up the ways of the Beleriandic elves. So really, these are the most primitive elves you're likely to find in Middle-Earth. I imagine their wood craft and hunting is exceptional, but in terms of metallurgy and craft they're likely easily outclassed by the dwarves of the Iron Mountains. It's specifically said that the army of Mirkwood that went to join Gil-Galad was relatively lightly armed and armoured compared to the elves of Lindon, which is one of the reasons why they suffered so many casualties.
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:56 pm

Zargen wrote:Believe this was brought up earlier in the discussion. With the Necromancer active in the area how will the paranormal and the super natural(perhaps dare I say...supra natural. Like a whole level above super) be handled and viewed by the inhabitants of lake town and gobboville.
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:57 pm

Icristhus wrote:I'm most interested in the following five questions, myself:

#1. Can we get a hint of what is being considered for fulfillment Frigga's promise of allowing us to play similar stories/races/etc as our now forever gone previous PCs? Will it take the form of 'legacy PCs' as some have suggested, wherein we could play the descendant or relative of a former PC? Or is it more along the lines of, "If you previously had a Noldo Elf, we might let you play an Avari Elf." ?

#2. Will current RPP totals move over to the new game in any way?

#3. What is the story focus intended to be? If we are a mere 20 years from the Battle of Five Armies, what will come of PCs and the game itself, after that point in time when Dale is reborn, the Lonely Mountain re-peopled, and Smaug destroyed? More importantly, could we get a teaser as to what kinds of stories to expect in the years leading up to that point? Something more in-depth than, "The forces of the world are awakening for the end of the age." and perhaps less in-depth than, "We're going to make the tree at the center of town be an ancient, slumbering Ent." if possible.

#4. Is 20 years before the events in The Hobbit a good starting point for a game in this region? Could we potentially get more mileage out of a game set immediately after those events, or perhaps 50 years before those events, in light of the immense event that will be guaranteed to take place in a few short years and require a complete upheaval and re-working of the game, itself? (Admittedly, I am and always will be a huge fan of the Fall of Osgiliath RPTs and everything leading up to and away from them, years ago. And I would love to see events with Smaug awakening at long last and setting fire to the town, then dying, then the battle, etc. But is that something staff definitely wants to move towards? Additionally, if such events are what Staff wants to move toward in the extreme long run, will we be sticking to the ideal of the events as written are holy and PCs Cannot Change It?)

#5. How will the Supernatural and Supranatural be handled? Once upon a time it was argued on these forums (or at least their spiritual predecessor, the original SoI forums) that the world of Arda is an extremely "low-fantasy" setting, where magic and supernatural events are exceedingly rare and ultimately super mysterious and never to be understood. When I was a kid, I bought into this idea, but now that I'm older it seems that the books (all of them) are extremely fantastical. The chief argument for making everything Ultra Realistic and forbidding magical plots and stories was that we don't have a bunch of random wizards running around flying broomsticks and casting fireballs.

But a Tolkein game without heavy fantasy and supernatural elements abounding throughout will be a very barren and sad thing, at least to me. Is there any thought from staff on how this will be approached in the new world of Laketown RPI?


P.S. I know that's more than five questions with all the sub-questions. So sue me.
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:57 pm

Krelm wrote:Just to note, 20 years in RPI+ time is 5 years RL time, so we wouldn't have to worry about that for a while yet-- which is presuming that the game even opens (no offense) and, when/if it does, if it even lasts for 5 years.

Also, if 5 RL years isn't enough time, the code could be adjusted to change the flow of time to be slower than 4:1.
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 5:36 pm

Japheth wrote:I have a few questions to put to the staff. I think that some of these questions are very important and you shouldn't feel pressured to have an answer for them right away; they are too important to get wrong.

Staff / Organisation Related:
  1. What sort of leadership structure will Shadows of Isildur employ?
  2. Are there hierarchies of decision making, approval and authority? If so, how large will the team be and how many tiers of leadership?
  3. What sort of provisions are in place for conflict resolution, complaint management, staff/guide oversight, and transparency?
  4. Are there standards of conduct for staff members? If so, what things will be expected and/or prohibited? How will these measures be communicated, monitored, enforced and reviewed?
  5. Will the staff be active and hands on in the affairs of players (such as SOI mostly was) or more hands-off (such as how Armageddon used to be)? If it is the former, what measures will be in place to ensure that staff/player interaction is fair, in good spirit and of good quality? Will there be public guidelines as to what is and is not appropriate for staff members, so that the playing public knows what to expect?
  6. How large will the team be? Will inactive staff be pruned, or will people be allowed to come and go as their availability dictates? Will the number of staff members be tied to the number of players?

Setting and Gameplay
  1. Will the game be clan-centric or character centric?
  2. What measures will be in place to provide a high-quality, organised experience for new players? For example, will the game still use an approval system for new characters? Will new players be automatically guided towards certain clans or organisations? What sort of documentation and/or in game tutorial will be available for these people?
  3. Will the availability of particular clans, organisations, races, or even spheres (e.g. your goblin town) be proscriptive based on metaplot and administrative strategy, or will popularity play a role? How receptive will the staff be to players either suggesting their own content or even forging ahead with their own endeavours?
  4. Given the depth and breadth of the setting, and the large number of former players and staff, each of whom probably have their own "extremely cool" ideas about what you should do, what spheres you should open, what clans you should have, how some particular thing should be done (and so on), how do you plan to maintain a cohesive and focused vision for your setting?
  5. What sort of variety of roles can we expect to see for players to fall into? I do not only mean this in terms of actual roles selected in character creation (although that is part of the question), but also social, martial, professional and hierarchical roles that you see players filling during the natural course of the game.
  6. Will you still use Roleplay Points as a means of rewarding players and restricting availability of certain concepts? If so, what will your policies be concerning its awarding, spending, review, and removal? What do you forsee them being used for? Traditionally, RPP have been strongly linked with POWERFUL characters and concepts. Will you still keep this aspect of them, or will they be more targeted at variety?
  7. What sort of policies will you have for the policing of your community? Will you encourage or restrict players to communicate OOCly, talk about the game, use the forums, etc? How will you enforce whichever methods you have in place? How will you ensure that any measures you do put in place are applied consistently, transparently, and avoid the creation of cliques (particularly cliques centered around the buddies of your staff)?
  8. What will your priorities be in terms of getting the game built? You have set very ambitious targets - will you release earlier than when things are 100% complete, for the purposes of building brand loyalty and getting early feedback, or will you wait until the game is mostly ready? Will you have an alpha/beta period?
  9. How will you determine your priorities in building? What methods will you use to ensure maximum quality while still having a reasonable breadth of coverage and speed of production?

Code Related

  1. Given the buggy, crashy, corrupty nature of the RPI Engine and even ARPI Engine (though perhaps less so than the former), how will the coding team balance their time between essential maintenance, bugfixing, performance enhancement and new features?
  2. The ARPI engine has a number of features that players of SOI would be familiar with stripped completely out. Which of these will be restored, and what is the priority for doing so? Which systems will be restored "as-is" and which will be enhanced or changed?
  3. What new and unique additions beyond the former can we expect to see?
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 5:37 pm

Kite wrote:That's a good starting list. I'd like to add, as I saw it a few times, that old admins like me and Japheth probably have all the old zipped up versions of SOI flatfiles and web directories that you could possibly need. If they're needed.
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Re: Laketown Q&A - Original

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 09, 2013 5:37 pm

Nimrod wrote:Whew! That's a lot of questions, J! I'm sure Frigga is composing some huge reply right now. :)

And for the following poster... omg, it's a Yorkshire Banker! *wink*
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