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Weekly Blog Update #8: I Swear I Read That Somewhere

SnipehunterSnipehunter Revival Admin
Posted:

Weekly Update

This has definitely been an interesting week for Revival. We’ve spent the last few weeks putting together the real estate site and we’re finally at a point where it’s starting to come together. The light at the end of the tunnel is definitely there.

Chris and I have been writing housing listings as part of the push to get all the content done. Writing a “real estate agent” style listing for a hovel is challenging, but also fun in a goofy way. Meanwhile, the team as a whole has been hard at work on the game client, building houses and the props and housing renovations (“room kits”) you’ll be able to use to personalize them. Among those props are some of my favorite in-game items, books.
image
Soup, hard at work in the polygon mine

Great Minds of Theleston

I mentioned that books are some of my favorite items, but I should probably explain: It’s not just books, it’s what they represent in Revival that excites me.

Revival is a game about knowledge in a very real way. As a player, you won’t find a quest by looking for NPCs with “!” over their heads. In truth, NPCs won’t really have quests like that to give players. Instead there are things in the world to be found, threats to be thwarted and organizations with agendas to be furthered or disrupted. Maybe it’s a nuanced distinction, but we often say here that “players don’t have quests, the world does.” The change in perspective this brings is fantastic for storytelling, but it does present players with a bit of a problem: How do you know what’s going on in the world? How do you find the fun?

Our answer is to provide a flow of information in the game in the form of gossip, rumor, lore and scholarly research. As players talk to NPCs, or eavesdrop on conversations, they become exposed to information about the world. Our systems note this in the background and open different conversation choices, NPC encounters and potential game events for those players with the appropriate exposure. This is, in a sense, how a player “follows a quest chain.” Characters investigate the things that interest them, exposing themselves to new information (e.g. the location of an ancient tomb) which either points them to new adventures to undertake (e.g. acquire the finger of Al’Zir in order to cast a particular spell) or unlocks new bits of information on the trail. (e.g. Find the keeper of the tomb and ask him about Al’Zir)

Books are at the heart of this flow of information and have lives of their own, in a sense. When the storytelling team authors a book, they also jam pack them with these information unlocks (“tags”). For many, the first step to pursuing an epic adventure will begin with a book exposing them to the subject. You might, for example, find a copy of Al’Zir’s Lands seen Dreaming and in reading it discover the existence of the Dreamlands, tagging your character as “dreamlands aware.” Pursuing that information might lead you to an historian investigating Al’Zir’s work that discusses Aldur, once again tagging the player. Being tagged by both bits of information might in turn unlock other conversations, revealing new sources or even connecting the bits information together to reveal that Aldur is in the Dreamlands.

This flow of information can adapt to current conditions and allows for the game to eschew the classic “static quest” in favor of either completely dynamic events and tasks that are only available right now or “ancient legends” that wait to be found until someone finds them and adds the next piece of the legend to the world through their actions. Gossip and rumors change to reflect what is really happening in the world right now and books rise and fall in popularity becoming ubiquitous and easy to find or obscure and in short supply. In truth, books can change over time, become less or more useful, as well.

Books have different editions and, typically, first editions are king. Whenever a book is copied, a new edition of the book is the result and the person making the copy might add new pages. Sometimes this can be a great thing, as in the case of say a field guide to monsters, but not all that is added to a book is accurate. Additionally, the original editions of truly ancient books are usually imbued with the magic of their authors, or in some cases the author’s madness, and contain information that does not survive being copied by a journalist (a journaling crafter) no matter their skill.

What gets copied in instead is the closest the journalist can get to the mad truth they are seeing. Following these bits of near real information as if they are proven fact might make it possible to fall off the trail, so to speak. Usually this will mean that players want to track down the first edition of these books, but it’s not always easy to know that’s what you have. There are many copies of the Necronomicon, and many were made in the time when it was first written, but only the original can raise dread Cthulhu.

And let’s not forget that it’s not just about the ancient past. Books can be written by players and NPCs at any time, and over time new books will enter circulation, maintaining the vital flow of information in the world. In fact, players can sell the books they make to book buyers or donate them to libraries. Based on a books size, its contents and, often, the assessments of the storytelling team, books will become “popular” and begin to propagate through the world via the caravan system.

If a user named Tobin writes a spirit guide, for example, and it turns out to be a definitive book on the topic, copies will become easier to find as merchants, knowing they will sell, begin to copy it and sell them. Upon seeing its success, the storytellers may go through the book and add tagging capabilities so that those that read it will gain tags associated with the information, making even a player-made book a useful resource. In fact, through the use of the journaling skill, players can copy pictures, charts or sketch certain objects (e.g. plants, animals, relics, etc.) into their manuscript and those manuscripts will inherit the information tags. Returning to our example, even a 5th edition copy of Tobin’s Spirit Guide will tag players as knowing about the spirits found within, but of course if any magic was added to the original, only the first edition will have that power.

And that, in a rather drawn out nutshell, is why I love books. Opening a book in Revival is opening a door to a new adventure or mystery just waiting to be solved. In a subtle way they broaden the lives of your characters for reading them, revealing more and more of the fantastic behind the mundane, the madness hidden in the rational.

The People Speak

It’s been a lively week on the forums, to say the least! First, I should say welcome to all the new faces. It’s great to see so many folks showing up and taking part in the conversation! If you haven’t yet, come join the conversations in the forums! Members of the teams can be found talking out details of the game almost every day and we’d love to have you take part.

Of particular note this week have been threads on housing, discussions on death and one of my favorites, a thread on roleplay and... fish. (True story, see for yourself! http://www.revivalgame.com/forum#/discussion/53/thoughts-on-roleplaying )

I’m actually not a fan of fish, I hope that’s not a problem!

The Seer’s Rede

Next blog, Chris will take you on a lore master’s tour of Crown’s Rock, the first city where you’ll be able to purchase a home. He’ll walk you through several of the key districts in the city, telling their stories as he explains the town and its relationship with the various eldritch powers in the world. Those of you thirsting to know more about the world of Theleston, will definitely want to tune in!
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Infinite adventure awaits the avid reader

Elder Signs

As I sit and write this week’s blog, I’m watching a BBC show called “Castles: Britain’s Fortified History” - it’s no “Secrets of the Castle,” but it’s definitely an interesting look at the historic significance castles played as well as the techniques used to fortify them and, of course, to defeat them. The sound a trebuchet stone coated in greek fire makes as it flies through the air is sick. Anyway, I don’t have a link to share for you all, but if you find yourself with an idle hour, it’s definitely worth looking at. Revival will have siege warfare and shows like this are rich fodder for us as we think about what form that will take.
Post edited by ILLCorey on
- Snipehunter
- Lead Designer, Revival
«1

Comments

  • soupsoup Member
    Posts: 24
    Yep, that's the back of my head!
    Matt Campbell
    3d Artist
    illfonic
  • ZheinZhein Member
    Posts: 8
    Interesting blog as always!

    Any ETA on when the real estate site will be launched?
    #4 Aldercrown Street, Cullwarren - Anakhatha
  • SpacetimeSpacetime Member
    Posts: 209
    Hell yea! I was waiting for this post :)

    I really like it that you're stepping away from the common (!) quest system. I'm wondering about a static vs a dynamic system though and what we can expect. Will their be a book laying in the same place that everybody is able to use? And nothing really changes? Or can we expect things to change and influenced if one person used it. Will it spawn on other locations?

    The same goes for things such as vendors. Can we expect the exact same prices and stock or will the NPC's be involved in a dynamic economy? For example let's say you have a baker. That baker is able to sell different types of breads in his shop. If there's very few people buying it he might lower his prices or maybe not, depending on his behavior. Things can be sold out if he sells a lot and he needs to bake them again to refill the stock. He might also rely on grain supply's.

    That's just a random example but I'm just wondering how dynamic or static things will be. You've already mentioned it a bit but I'd like to know more if possible :)

    Also, it's funny that you bring up "Castles: Britain’s Fortified History" because that's what I've watched after Secrets of the Castle haha!

    Either way, nice write up!
    soup said:

    Yep, that's the back of my head!

    The back of your head has now been added to my collection!

    http://imgur.com/a/H4Dlw
    Post edited by Spacetime on
    - EU Hardcore Server
  • SpacetimeSpacetime Member
    Posts: 209
    Too late to edit but I'm wondering the same thing for so-called mob spawns. Will they be in the same location all the time? Or will things be influenced by other things? If there's a volcano eruption NPC's might move? Or what if all the bunnies in the game get killed to the point of (near) extinction, will the wolves be looking for other flesh?
    - EU Hardcore Server
  • NoveiNovei Member
    Posts: 74
    Odds are if the NPC dies in the eruption, you're gonna need to take a detour to find your way through that storyline...that or maybe the storytellers will wind up drawing you to follow them into the spirit realm to get the information you are after. As far as things like rabbit populations though, I think they will likely 'spawn' plenty themselves...bad rabbit jokes but couldn't resist. Seriously though, I believe the wolves likely would start looking for other food sources...prompting people nearby to find ways to protect themselves, or to cull the wolf population.
  • SpacetimeSpacetime Member
    Posts: 209
    Novei said:

    Odds are if the NPC dies in the eruption, you're gonna need to take a detour to find your way through that storyline...that or maybe the storytellers will wind up drawing you to follow them into the spirit realm to get the information you are after. As far as things like rabbit populations though, I think they will likely 'spawn' plenty themselves...bad rabbit jokes but couldn't resist. Seriously though, I believe the wolves likely would start looking for other food sources...prompting people nearby to find ways to protect themselves, or to cull the wolf population.

    Haha ;)

    It could bring up a lot of interesting things though if things would be dynamic like that. For too long I've been going to pre-determined spawn locations. It would be nice if things aren't as expectable as they are like in almost any MMORPG. The mobs could decide to roam around cities if their village is burned down looking for revenge. Maybe other mobs will be extremely well hidden. Other mobs might be roaming the lands looking for blood (players) for their demonic rituals. I guess the AI would be quite complicated to program but the biggest issue most likely will be all server related things (stability).

    - EU Hardcore Server
  • SnipehunterSnipehunter Revival Admin
    Posts: 2,056
    Spacetime said:

    I really like it that you're stepping away from the common (!) quest system. I'm wondering about a static vs a dynamic system though and what we can expect. Will their be a book laying in the same place that everybody is able to use? And nothing really changes? Or can we expect things to change and influenced if one person used it. Will it spawn on other locations?

    The short answer is that if it doesn't make sense for more than one person to have done the thing, then only one person will do the thing. Since "it's the world that has the quest," it's likely that a thing only needs doing once, at least that time it happens. For example, a nest of ghouls forming in a cavern near the town may be cleared out by a party or an adventurer, leaving the cavern empty, at least until something or someone realizes that there's a perfectly good cavern they could put to use. This is true of spawners and the like, too. Monsters gotta spawn, I won't pretend that's not the case, but mapping out what spawns where is a race against time. The moment you create such a map the timer on its usefulness begins to tick down, because it's only a matter of time before events in the area change what spawns, and where. That said, cartographers can make these maps and anyone given such a map can use it to add the information to their own map displays. It's just that they work in the reverse of books: You always want the oldest copy of a book you can find, but unless you're hunting legends or the likely place an old monster might have died with atlases and maps, you want the newest one you can get your hands on.

    That's the "2x2 LEGO brick" element of the content though, the truth is there's a much larger system at work in the background that determines what's going on in the world, where and when, and that system is constantly changing what content is being offered over time based on how folks react to the content already online. It's sort of the AI DM for the game that ensures that, even when the storytellers aren't doing much in an area, things keep progressing and evolving so the content is never stale.
    Spacetime said:

    The same goes for things such as vendors. Can we expect the exact same prices and stock or will the NPC's be involved in a dynamic economy? For example let's say you have a baker. That baker is able to sell different types of breads in his shop. If there's very few people buying it he might lower his prices or maybe not, depending on his behavior. Things can be sold out if he sells a lot and he needs to bake them again to refill the stock. He might also rely on grain supply's.

    That's just a random example but I'm just wondering how dynamic or static things will be. You've already mentioned it a bit but I'd like to know more if possible :)

    There's a fluctuating supply and demand model at play in the world that feeds both into the economy of a town (how many bakers are there? What do they specialize in?) and, via the caravan system, the larger world economy (what grain is available and at what prices?). You'll hear us talk about the caravan system a lot, and this dynamic economy is actually a big reason why. There's no perfectly safe way to ship commodities, especially for NPCs, which also feeds into the system to create event and continuity based anomalies. This helps ensure that even when the world is peaceful, the market is lively and variable, which is definitely the goal. :)


    - Snipehunter
    - Lead Designer, Revival
  • XDemXDem Member
    Posts: 269
    Alright, that's a pretty fantastic piece of info.

    The post mentions libraries and donating books to them, do you mind expanding a little bit on that? I was toying with the idea of building a sort of public library to gather knowledge in one place, and also report live events that might happen, etc.
    #4 Grousewalk Way, Nightgaunts Reach, Anakhatha.

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  • EversorEversor Member
    Posts: 208
    I love this so much. I believe (hope) that there's enough in this game to just play a non-combat orientated character which is what I haven't done since UO.

    @Snipehunter

    Are the 1st edition books unique in a way that there can be only one or are you able to craft multiple 1st editions of a book? And if you're able to craft multiple 1st editions of a book, do they need to crafted at the same time and could they all potentially have the same magic in them (if the author applies magic)?
    Brauggine chirurgeon at your service
    #4 Cambric Lane, Cambrics Toll, Crown's Rock - Anakhatha
    #5 Grousewalk Way, Nightgaunts Reach, Crown's Rock - Anakhatha
    #8 Manorside Way, Holloston, Crown's Rock - Anakhatha
  • SpacetimeSpacetime Member
    Posts: 209


    ..

    Damn, that's an interesting statement. So everything must make sense, that's going to be a huge change compared to every game on the current market and I'm looking forward to see the exact implementations of it. I highly appreciate the dynamic approach you guys are taking, it's something that have been highly lacking in games. I'm wondering how the networking architecture will react to it, many games have difficulties dealing with in-depth systems like that. Not so much the economy per se but things such as AI, players or placed objects definitely are. Thanks a lot for the reply!
    XDem said:

    Alright, that's a pretty fantastic piece of info.

    The post mentions libraries and donating books to them, do you mind expanding a little bit on that? I was toying with the idea of building a sort of public library to gather knowledge in one place, and also report live events that might happen, etc.

    I guess it's going to be a building that will be placed by the developers. A public library requires certain functionality and I doubt they will link it to the housing system but who knows. It means that all people need access to go inside of your house which means that they could also steal other things. Unless you're only going to allow people in your house when you're there yourself so you can watch them.

    I'm expecting that there will be some kind of loaning system and/or books being chained to the shelves.

    One other thing that I suddenly started to think about is the influence of time on the public buildings / shops. Usually in games nowadays you'll be able to buy things 24/7 and the NPC is just standing still in front of the shop or building. Will we actually have NPC's walking around doing actual work and have times where the shops are closed (during the night). It would be neat to see shops opening and closing.
    Post edited by Spacetime on
    - EU Hardcore Server
  • SnipehunterSnipehunter Revival Admin
    Posts: 2,056
    XDem said:

    The post mentions libraries and donating books to them, do you mind expanding a little bit on that? I was toying with the idea of building a sort of public library to gather knowledge in one place, and also report live events that might happen, etc.

    @Spacetime was pretty close in guessing that libraries will be facilities in cities that the storytelling team puts into place. They're meant to be clearinghouses of scholarly information, a sort of academic counterpart to inns and alehouses: You might spend some time in the common room of an inn to eavesdrop and get a sense of the state of the world or learn new rumors, but when researching the past is your goal, probably go to a library instead. (They're free, first of all ;) ) We're not actually sure how we're going to handle checking books out yet, though it's something we want to do. We're thinking that perhaps books are enchanted to return to the library when the checkout period ends, but we haven't called that final because of the way it would confound thievery, which isn't exactly what we want either since libraries will also house special collections - old books that can't be found anywhere else - and we don't want to take a "great book heist" off the table for players coveting those books. Though, perhaps dispelling the library's enchantment will have to be an aspect of the heist. We're not sure yet. Crown's Rock, the first city we're building, doesn't have a library, so we have some time to iron out the kinks. (it has an abbey with a collection of chronicles, but they're more like the chained library linked earlier - you can't borrow those books)

    The point though is that libraries will play a key part in a scholar's life. We expect player libraries, schools or clubs to form as well, probably as charter organizations like guilds running out of commercial properties or mansions, since acquiring knowledge is a critical part of gaining power and knowledge is easier to acquire when folks cooperate. As was mentioned earlier though, this will bring with it the risk of thieves, so those organizations will have to consider security even as they open their doors to members and/or the public.

    With the storytelling team watching the lives of books, too, players running such organizations and authors compiling new knowledge, should expect some attention when their collections become noteworthy or their information proves valuable towards furthering the agendas of the powers of the world. Then again, I suppose a popular author writing adventures novels or a talented poetry club could expect attention too. I hadn't considered it, but there's reason "sudden fandom" would be a storytelling scenario we'd take off the table. Especially since a fanatical crowd makes great cover for a heist... ;)
    - Snipehunter
    - Lead Designer, Revival
  • XDemXDem Member
    Posts: 269
    Thanks for all the info @Snipehunter! I might have to review my stance from "great public library" to "crazy-book-hogging-old-man tower"... Or somewhere in between ;)
    #4 Grousewalk Way, Nightgaunts Reach, Anakhatha.

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  • PoopenheimerPoopenheimer Member
    Posts: 160
    Would love to author a few books of my own. Mentions of grimoires have been around the forums before. Will they have similar quest-related tags? I've also seen that grimoires may be copied, but the original would still possess the most power. I assume writing one's own powerful grimoire will be something of a world-class event that's going to happen maybe a dozen or so times only, but would it actually be possible to write your own tags, benefits, or madness into it? Possibly, extremely powerful grand wizards or wizardettes may actually start cults of their own to revere them through the spreading of such unholy scriptures.
    All That Glitters-Revival Guild:BlackwellGoldUS
    In my soul, in my heart, I hold all that glitters until my soul departs.
    With my voice, with my pride, I rally all that glitters to my side.
    All that shines, all our dreams, all that glitters, all that gleams,
    For my soul, for my heart, I hold all that glitters until my soul departs.
  • SpacetimeSpacetime Member
    Posts: 209
    @Snipehunter That sounds very nice :)

    Completely off-topic:

    What if I'm freezing to death in my own house and I need to keep myself warm? Will I be able to use these books as fuel in my fireplace? Hahaha.
    - EU Hardcore Server
  • XDemXDem Member
    Posts: 269
    Spacetime said:

    What if I'm freezing to death in my own house and I need to keep myself warm? Will I be able to use these books as fuel in my fireplace? Hahaha.

    I heard that's how Nyarlathotep's last visit on earth began..
    #4 Grousewalk Way, Nightgaunts Reach, Anakhatha.

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  • NorthieNorthie Member
    Posts: 268
    I hope you guys are making the in-game writing easy. For example if I'm playing a herbalist or alchemist I'd like to keep a sort of recipe book / journal while running the experiments. This would mean I'd need an easy and fast access to a book editor... erm. i hope it's an editor and that I don't need to rely on my own handwriting with some sort of gesture control mechanic. My handwriting is bad enough. It only gets worse if I've to draw the letters with a mouse!

    I wonder if books are going to be expensive. If this somewhat emulates the dark ages all books would be copied by hand. Real paper would be extremely rare as you would likely use parchment as opposed to paper. Perhaps it will be late middle ages style world though which would make paper more common but still not mass produced?

    Even creation of ink is a relatively time consuming process and one of the talents required from a scribe. For example check the creation process for most common medieval ink which is the iron gall ink.
    لا ميتاً ما قادراً يتبقى سرمدى فإذا يجئ الشذاذ الموت قد ينتهي
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Informative links: Crafting and Homes, Combat Revisited, Magic and Mysteries, The World as We Know It, Previously.. On Revival, Dev Tracker --- Feel free to ask questions but please keep the threads free of random chatter so they are easy to read!
  • SnipehunterSnipehunter Revival Admin
    Posts: 2,056
    We haven't implemented the system yet, but the plan is that every player will have a journal they can jot down notes in. (Some notes will be added automatically as things happen too, quest journal style. Though the level of detail in these automatic notes might be determined by a player's journaling skill, we haven't decided yet). Right now the thinking is that the journal will be sectioned and that players can add new sections at will. Entering text will be a relatively simple matter of typing it in, no handwriting. :) That said, when a player goes to reproduce something graphical, e.g. a sketch of a painting, an in-world game object, or symbol on a wall, chances are that some sort of "Art minigame" will be played to determine how good the reproduction is. There are no photographs in Theleston, after all.

    Creating ink, quills, paper and parchment are definitely tasks people will have to perform if they don't want to buy these supplies from crafters, but they won't really play into day to day journaling. Instead, if you want to copy information from your journal, or write a book (create journal style content outside of your journal), you'll need them to produce a manuscript. The finished manuscript can then be taken by a bookbinder to produce a finished book with that content in it. (Book binders can combine one or more manuscripts together into a single book too, making omnibus editions possible)
    - Snipehunter
    - Lead Designer, Revival
  • XDemXDem Member
    Posts: 269
    Being able to add things to your journal on the fly is actually pretty cool! That'll make reporting what happens around you much easier.

    I imagine the "Art minigame" would allow us to draw other people too? That would be pretty neat.
    #4 Grousewalk Way, Nightgaunts Reach, Anakhatha.

    Subreddit | Devtracker | Devtracker's Twitter
  • SnipehunterSnipehunter Revival Admin
    Posts: 2,056
    XDem said:

    I imagine the "Art minigame" would allow us to draw other people too? That would be pretty neat.

    We're definitely not anywhere close to implementing it, but that's the plan. Mechanically, the game would take a screenshot of the thing you were looking at from your camera angle and then apply certain treatments to the image to produce a final "drawing." Sort of like the way Valkyria Chronicles did its stylized transitions, if that makes sense. It will tie into a few systems that work with journaling, such as the bestiary system which allows players to learn things about creatures in the wild (weaknesses, biomes normally found in, that sort of thing) and then record those details in their journal alongside a "field sketch" of the creature. the idea is that the first thing you'd record for a new bestiary entry is a sketch, which would require you to get relatively close to a creature without causing it to attack you for some time while you produce the sketch. (you could sketch corpses too, but you learn more from living specimens in the system. Admittedly not totally realistic, but it does have a higher risk factor and thus takes more effort.)

    - Snipehunter
    - Lead Designer, Revival
  • XDemXDem Member
    Posts: 269
    I'm absolutely in love with that idea. I do realize (no, I really don't) the technical challenges behind it but it would open a whole world of possibilities.

    I'm 99% sure I'll be a scholar now. :D
    #4 Grousewalk Way, Nightgaunts Reach, Anakhatha.

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  • AresAres Member
    Posts: 82
    it think it would be pretty sweet if you could have it so artists can just paint on an empty canvas to then hang in their home or sell. with this though you'll have to find a way to monitor or check the work so there isn't just paintings of dicks everywhere. tho some may argue that it is art and should be ok :P
  • Posts: 83
    Ares said:

    it think it would be pretty sweet if you could have it so artists can just paint on an empty canvas to then hang in their home or sell. with this though you'll have to find a way to monitor or check the work so there isn't just paintings of dicks everywhere. tho some may argue that it is art and should be ok :P

    Greek statues... I rest my case. ;)

    2 Cutters Road, Crown Hill, Crown's Rock (Anakhatha - EU)
    2 Willowsgate, Crowns Willows, Crown's Rock (Anakhatha - EU)
  • sailKitesailKite Member
    Posts: 48
    Just a thought: will journalists/manuscript-makers (whatever the term for them is) be able to use salvaged/found paper and write over it, possibly making a palimpsest?
    It had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning its little home.
  • SnipehunterSnipehunter Revival Admin
    Posts: 2,056
    sailKite said:

    Just a thought: will journalists/manuscript-makers (whatever the term for them is) be able to use salvaged/found paper and write over it, possibly making a palimpsest?

    That's interesting, but barring an exceptional example, that isn't something we're presently considering. I'm personally a little worried about bloating the game data with "books within books," but I'm mostly building systems, so that sort of things tends to be on my mind. ;)

    I did say "barring an exceptional example" for a reason though: Kept rare, the bloat problem is at least manageable even if it can't be mitigated completely, so I wouldn't rule it out completely yet, especially as unique or key items used by the storytelling team. (E.g. "When viewed on a solstice night when the stars of the Yog's Maw shine their light upon the book, the ink crawls across the page to reveal it was the Book of Dread Portents all along!")

    We never completely abandon cool ideas, honestly. We just bury them to lie in deathlike slumber until those foolish enough to risk the consequences of such eldritch power come seeking them. ;)

    - Snipehunter
    - Lead Designer, Revival
  • NorthieNorthie Member
    Posts: 268
    Speaking of books and libraries. How extensive books can we expect? Will most books be page long pamphlets pretending to be massive manuscripts? Have you figured some way to speedily provide paragraphs of purple prose or are we doomed to peruse pitiful booklets?

    What stops me from visiting a library laden with lore and just tearing through tomes for tags without actually reading them? Not that I'd ever subject precious books for such blasphemous behavior. Unless they were boring beyond belief.

    What kind of books can we expect anyway? I mean out-of-the-box. Can we expect the sordid and oh-so-shameful tale of wench and the watchman sit next to cautionary if surely purely fictional tale ofwicked witches of the woods? Can we expect the extensive essay potions and poultices compete for a spot with the scribbled scrolls studying the end of empires? Maybe a timeless tome on deities and demons manufactured by a mad monk?

    Most likely all those and more but if they all end up being a paragraph or a page long a scholar's life poring over the books would be a rather boring one. I wonder if there are free internet sources for suitable stories... hmm...
    لا ميتاً ما قادراً يتبقى سرمدى فإذا يجئ الشذاذ الموت قد ينتهي
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Informative links: Crafting and Homes, Combat Revisited, Magic and Mysteries, The World as We Know It, Previously.. On Revival, Dev Tracker --- Feel free to ask questions but please keep the threads free of random chatter so they are easy to read!
  • SnipehunterSnipehunter Revival Admin
    Posts: 2,056
    Northie said:

    Speaking of books and libraries. How extensive books can we expect? Will most books be page long pamphlets pretending to be massive manuscripts? Have you figured some way to speedily provide paragraphs of purple prose or are we doomed to peruse pitiful booklets?

    We haven't set a length limit, but we are expecting books to marginally scaled in size. 75+ pages is considered a massive tome by the system presently, though admittedly the numbers are completely arbitrary at this point and set by me and the rest of the designers, so they could change. It's our hope though that novella sized books, at least, will be the norm. Anything below 25 pages is considered a "tiny" book, presently. (0-25 pages = tiny, 26-49 pages = normal, 50-74 pages = large, 75+ = massive)
    Northie said:

    What stops me from visiting a library laden with lore and just tearing through tomes for tags without actually reading them? Not that I'd ever subject precious books for such blasphemous behavior. Unless they were boring beyond belief.

    We thought about ways to prevent this for awhile, honestly, but decided that if that's what players want to do, there's not really much we can do to stop them without making the game a lot less fun for some players. Candidly, however, I wouldn't recommend it. One thing we've not mentioned about tags yet is that most of them don't last forever. There are a set of forever "tags" (technically those are flags), but what we've been mostly talking about are the less permanent tags and they are modeled as "stacks" in the player data. This means that a player can only store a fixed number of tags at a time.

    When a player gets a new tag, it's added to the "top" of the stack and if the stack is full, the oldest tag the player has is removed to make room for it. It's not actually quite as mechanically rigid as it sounds, but that's the foundation of the behavior. It's modified from there to address our own content related and storytelling concerns, though. For example, if a player receives a tag they already have, it is "freshened" instead of duplicated: The older instance of the tag is removed wherever it is in the stack and the new instance is placed on top so that, without losing any other tags, it floats to the top. (becoming "fresh") In this way, tags that should remain with you for longer periods of time will, because the content related to them will cause them to freshen, while the obscure tags you ripped out of a book without reading or pursuing will eventually go stale and drop off the stack as you replace them with other tags. If you really want to "rip em and forget em" the most effective way would be to keep a copy of the book in your home so that when you finally do want to pursue what it talks about, you can freshen those tags by re-reading.
    Northie said:

    What kind of books can we expect anyway? I mean out-of-the-box. Can we expect the sordid and oh-so-shameful tale of wench and the watchman sit next to cautionary if surely purely fictional tale ofwicked witches of the woods? Can we expect the extensive essay potions and poultices compete for a spot with the scribbled scrolls studying the end of empires? Maybe a timeless tome on deities and demons manufactured by a mad monk?

    All of the above, or at least examples like them. Sizes will certainly vary and there will be few multi-hundred page tomes, if any, but they won't all be leaflets either. Some will, from the perspective of the average fantasy RPG adventurer, be quite boring. A survey of the Blackwell family tree, for example, is going to be pretty dry stuff, but a scholar will find slogging through it to be pretty rewarding because of the role that family played in keeping Crown's Rock stable as the world crumbled around them. The Blackwells may be stodgy monarchs these days, but they've guarded some impressive secrets in the span of their reign. Secrets that even the living scions have forgotten about. Finding them isn't going to be a simple matter of talking to Lady Blackwell; you'll have to do the research.
    Post edited by Snipehunter on
    - Snipehunter
    - Lead Designer, Revival
  • PoopenheimerPoopenheimer Member
    Posts: 160



    Northie said:

    What kind of books can we expect anyway? I mean out-of-the-box. Can we expect the sordid and oh-so-shameful tale of wench and the watchman sit next to cautionary if surely purely fictional tale ofwicked witches of the woods? Can we expect the extensive essay potions and poultices compete for a spot with the scribbled scrolls studying the end of empires? Maybe a timeless tome on deities and demons manufactured by a mad monk?

    All of the above, or at least examples like them. Sizes will certainly vary and there will be few multi-hundred page tomes, if any, but they won't all be leaflets either. Some will, from the perspective of the average fantasy RPG adventurer, be quite boring. A survey of the Blackwell family tree, for example, is going to be pretty dry stuff, but a scholar will find slogging through it to be pretty rewarding because of the role that family played in keeping Crown's Rock stable as the world crumbled around them. The Blackwells may be stodgy monarchs these days, but they've guarded some impressive secrets in the span of their reign. Secrets that even the living scions have forgotten about. Finding them isn't going to be a simple matter of talking to Lady Blackwell; you'll have to do the research.
    Oh, delicious. What a taste of quests to expect! Amazingly thought out. The tags refreshing and going stale is also a very nice way of controlling the data. Interest tidbit about the flags, too. Can we expect permanent tags, or flags, to be stuff like Conquerer of Cthulhu, or something equivalently rare, hard to achieve and impactful? Or are there flags for managing to finish all the beer in a tavern without passing out with low consequence? Both, perhaps?
    All That Glitters-Revival Guild:BlackwellGoldUS
    In my soul, in my heart, I hold all that glitters until my soul departs.
    With my voice, with my pride, I rally all that glitters to my side.
    All that shines, all our dreams, all that glitters, all that gleams,
    For my soul, for my heart, I hold all that glitters until my soul departs.
  • SnipehunterSnipehunter Revival Admin
    Posts: 2,056

    Oh, delicious. What a taste of quests to expect! Amazingly thought out. The tags refreshing and going stale is also a very nice way of controlling the data. Interest tidbit about the flags, too. Can we expect permanent tags, or flags, to be stuff like Conquerer of Cthulhu, or something equivalently rare, hard to achieve and impactful? Or are there flags for managing to finish all the beer in a tavern without passing out with low consequence? Both, perhaps?

    They definitely run the gamut. The system is extensible, so the storytellers can decide when something warrants a permanent flag and add it to the world as the game develops. We basically have to make all of our systems data driven like that because of the nature of evolving content; we can't really predict exactly what will matter as the storytellers put new content into the game, so it's mostly up to them. Right now they represent big things we know will happen eventually (e.g. held the necronomicon), things related to character creation (e.g. "character indicated it was a farmer before moving here") and things that would permanently brand your character karmically and cosmically (e.g. "Bought a slave" or "sacrificed a human being").

    tl;dr version: The only real rule for what should be a flag is that it's permanent, the rest is up to the storytellers as they interact with players to evolve the world. :)

    Post edited by Snipehunter on
    - Snipehunter
    - Lead Designer, Revival
  • PoopenheimerPoopenheimer Member
    Posts: 160

    Oh, delicious. What a taste of quests to expect! Amazingly thought out. The tags refreshing and going stale is also a very nice way of controlling the data. Interest tidbit about the flags, too. Can we expect permanent tags, or flags, to be stuff like Conquerer of Cthulhu, or something equivalently rare, hard to achieve and impactful? Or are there flags for managing to finish all the beer in a tavern without passing out with low consequence? Both, perhaps?

    They definitely run the gamut. The system is extensible, so the storytellers can decide when something warrants a permanent flag and add it to the world as the game develops. We basically have to make all of our systems data driven like that because of the nature of evolving content; we can't really predict exactly what will matter as the storytellers put new content into the game, so it's mostly up to them. Right now they represent big things we know will happen eventually (e.g. held the necronomicon), things related to character creation (e.g. "character indicated it was a farmer before moving here") and things that would permanently brand your character karmically and cosmically (e.g. "Bought a slave" or "sacrificed a human being").

    tl;dr version: The only real rule for what should be a flag is that it's permanent, the rest is up to the storytellers as they interact with players to evolve the world. :)

    Oh... I see! Cool!

    Could you tell us a little bit about the story telling team? Will they be current developers or separate from the development team? What kind of rough criteria will you guys be looking for in a storyteller?
    All That Glitters-Revival Guild:BlackwellGoldUS
    In my soul, in my heart, I hold all that glitters until my soul departs.
    With my voice, with my pride, I rally all that glitters to my side.
    All that shines, all our dreams, all that glitters, all that gleams,
    For my soul, for my heart, I hold all that glitters until my soul departs.
  • OmbwahOmbwah Revival Admin
    Posts: 337
    The Live Storytelling team is being put together from a carefully selected group of developers and will be evolved into a structure that is more-or-less based on the team necessary to produce a weekly serial. I will more than likely be putting the storytelling team structure and paradigm in focus in a blog soon enough, but a condensed-for-the-forum version goes like this:

    Our 'Panopticon' toolset reports an enormous flood of world metrics, we can see literally everything. From this sea of data, the team will mine trends, watch what happens to particular objects in the world, and keep an eye on certain player/NPC interactions. Informed by this data, our observations of the playerbase, and the word on the forums, the Writer's Room will run ahead of the rest of the ST to direct the next leg of the storyline. The art and content teams will build out any pieces that we don't have, and the ST will be constantly implementing that content in accord with the evolving content plan.

    In addition to mere ideation, however, all of my ST team will be required to operate 'on-shard' for a given number of hours per shift to forward our agendas, foment activity on all sides of the moral coin, and in general turn the wheels of Theleston. These activities require a head for technical design tools, an understanding of the potential impacts of different types of interaction, and a touch of the theatrical. On top of those three qualities, we will require that our storytellers remain neutral with regard to the success or failure of players, and will accept the level of surveillance that we will impose upon them to ensure that no-one is secretly granting extra powers to their guildmates. Which brings me to probably one of the most important traits that I will be looking for in my ST's:

    Storytellers need to be able to understand that the world exists for the players, not for the glory of Lord VonStruhd, or whomever they are behind the wheel of for that day. The ST team needs to work together very well to present a unified and complete experience both behind the scenes, and on the streets and fields of Theleston. They need to be cast members, just as much as technically-savvy content designers, and they need to be able to work closely together to put the story, the characters, and most importantly the player experience, first. All of Theleston may be a stage, but it's the players who get to be the real stars.
    Ombwah
    C. Holtorf
    Loremaster, Small and Petty God
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