Why do Play by Post & Play by Email game fall apart?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 5, 2016 - 11:34am
I'm curious what the reasons for a game to stagnate and fall apart and what can be done to solve the problem?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!
Comments:

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 5, 2016 - 12:00pm
#1 thing that I've seen is referee fatigue- needs a break or schedule changes nix time for game play. I've seen this from both sides of being the player and the referee . 

I think the solution might be a team of referees keeping the game going. They would need a forum for private discussion and one benefit would be each could run a PC especially if there was a split team PCs 1-3 are over here doing stuff and refereed by reff A while PCs 5-6 are over here being referred by reff B. Groups can combine and split apart at need. Story movement is paramount. 

Another problem is if the game platform doesn't keep the game in the player's face with email notification: life happens and you can get distracted and forget to log into a forum. I've done this. Solution is email notification as an automatic feature of the game platform or forum. May be worth while for reffs to manually make a group email reminding people to tune in. 

Another problem might be player fatigue from slow moving game, or inability of player to move action along on their own initiative. I encountered this once and in wrote my game move and wrote 3 possible NPC responses for the reff because the post would need the immediate reaction of my PC which depended on NPC reaction, reff was not offended and liked my favored response and reaction though he did leave me in the dark as to what his decision was till the official game post 6 days latter.  One solution is clearly letting payers move the story/game along providing they don't do too much violence to the game or story, like claiming to detect the presence of the obelisk on Volturnus while on the Sereana Dawn's bridge or killing an NPc everyone knows shouldn't be killed or claiming to have a love affair with another PC without that player's response. 

Another solution to moving a game along that I used to get a PC caught up and integrated into a game would be rapid email- back and forth between reff and player or even player and player to handle a conversation or negotiation. If a player's move is to hack a robot you wouldn't want his move to just be I list the robot's mission. And have to wait till next week for changing some of the functions.hacking a robot or computer might be best handled by a back and forth email conversation that would then become an official game post for the week. 
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 5, 2016 - 2:10pm
I blame the current social trend of instant gratification. 

For starters, facebook has completely removed the need for actual communication by utilizing the "like" button. Put into perspective, jedion spent almost a half hour concocting theories in his second post. Had this been on facebook, he would have gotten a "like" instead of the thought out response I am making now. Thanks to facebook, the need for conversation has been significantly quelled. All they need now is a "dislike" button and the need for conversation will be deleted, because that is the only source of back-and-forth available on facebook: disagreement. Take that out of the equation with a button and the only thing left to do is figure out a way to make opening posts without the pesky thought process (which, half the time, is accomplished by posting/sharing memes and copy/cut/pasted sound bytes).

This has killed forum traffic on a wholesale level. Not just play by post forums, not just Star Frontiers or D&D forums, not just motorcycle forums, not just (insert any topic here)-based forums, but ALL forums. See, a forum can't offer the instant gratification like facebook does, more so in light of the fact that it is no longer the widely accepted format anymore. For example, there are a handful of regulars here at SF.us and we probably log in here once or twice a day at best (or as is the case of those who stay logged in, actually "check in" once or twice a day). We have to browse the various threads that pique our interest, read through each and every existing post, and when something grabs our attention we may feel compelled to write out a response.

You know, in lieu of clicking on a "like" button.

Meanwhile the bulk of that forum traffic has now moved to facebook etc, where everything is written in immature/ignorant text-speak and gets immediate attention. Forums just can't compete with that. Granted there are some members at some forums that will text-speak their posts, but most active and semi-active boards today reject and discourage that because, well...they tend to be populated by the minority of more intelligent people.

Also noteworthy is the short attention span of the general public. Sound bytes are so popular in the media because it's the best way to reach the lowest common denominator. This response is already well past the standard dozen word byte and as such any of the lowest common denominator representatives have not made it this far. So if youre still reading, congrats! You are NOT a mindless idiot. Welcome to the minority. ;)

Sad to say our society has become severely dumbed down. What's worse is the social trend of justification: we no longer need to present facts to incite truth. That lowest common denominator simply covers their ears, eyes, mouth, or whatever other orifice it takes to completely blot out the hard science and facts behind any topic. After all, by utilizing facts and science, that would take more than the standard 12 words to compose a sound byte. Nay, all they need to justify their point of view is the simple fact that someone else out there AGREES with them. Yes, some mouth breathing moron out there whom I've never interacted with before says I am CORRECT! Actually they never realy claim that the person is correct, they simply agree with them, and that's all it takes: clicking the like button. It's truly pathetic, and you can see this behavior in any facebook (actual) discussion where two people are disagreeing...it will usually boil down to one of them claiming "317 (dim-witted like-minded mouth breathing moronic) likes to your one, I'm RIGHT and you're WRONG!!!" Seriously, I imagine if facebook ever did implement a "dislike" button all of these knot-heads would delete their own posts any time the dislikes outweighted the likes.

So here's what happens: someone comes across Star Frontiers, be it a wild google search or whatever. Ten years ago that person would have subsequently started googling "Star Frontiers discussion groups" and eventually found their way to an interactive board like this one. They would browse through it, and most likely register/log in and pop an opening post with "Hey, I just found this game on the net and am interested in it. What can you folks tell me about it?" And within a few days they would have a fair array of responses with some back and forth participation with said new person and board members at large. Instead, the current generation goes straight to myspace or facebook or twitter (with the root of that site being the truth, "twit") or whatever trendy social network they use and update their page with a post that reads n e 1 no bout  dis game clld ''Star Frontiers"? Afterwards some of their few hundred "friends" that happen to be logged in at the same time will see it and hit the "like" button.

And that's it. On rare occasion, one of their "friends" might type out a well thought out response like "dood" or "wurd" or "Ya cuz". But that's it, that's all it really takes: "Someone out there likes it, someone thinks it's cool! I am so buying this game now!" Afterwards then they receive it, realize that it's a couple of books that need reading, hence those books will fail to capture their limited 12 word sound byte attention span, and then it gets discarded. On even more rare occasion, that person might actually READ the books from cover to cover, or at least peruse some of the pertinent info within, and pique his/her curiosity enough to google Star Frontiers and/or discussion groups to glean more info. It's possible, just not likely. 

And of course there's the other possibility: nobody hits the like button to that post within five minutes. That's it, this game sucks. And that is the reason forums have been dying on a wholesale level: those few who actually make their way to them don't receive a response right away and their attention span is done and gone. I see it far too often at various forums: a new member logs in and posts a question, an hour later the same person posts "well gee, this is a dead end place I'll just go elsewhere to glean information."

Ultimately, it's the "like" button. The most anti-social means of communication available, and it could only be brought to you by modern social media.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
January 5, 2016 - 2:38pm
I think you're overstating your case, Shadow.  Plenty of forums have a "Like", or a "Recommend" button or whatever that still have some pretty vigorous debate at a serious level.  Places like Daily Kos come to mind in that respect.

I do think that there's some validity to the charge of "shortening attention span", but I think that's more a feature of the Internet itself than the fault of the ability to "Like" posts in specific.  Plenty of information scientists have noted that while the volume of information and interaction online has exploded, the quality of both have seriously declined.  The FB phenomenon you note is one symptom of this.  So is the "This must be true!  I read it on this website!"/"That's just some nutjob's website.  People can say anything on a website." back-and-forth argument whenever a disputed claim is made.  But that's getting off topic a bit.

What I really think kills E-mail and PBP games  is the lack of immediacy.  You can't get or keep momentum when you have to wait not just between sessions, but between individual exchanges, sometimes for days.  Then there's the problem of cross-posting/"ninja" posting, etc.  It makes the game feel slow and disjointed.  (Because it is slow and disjointed.)

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 5, 2016 - 3:41pm
ChrisDonovan wrote:
 Plenty of forums have a "Like", or a "Recommend" button or whatever that still have some pretty vigorous debate at a serious level. 

It's not that forums lack the like button, it's the fact that the like button itself deters conversation. Of the numerous forums I frequent, only one of them has such a feature (and it was only added in recent months). The trend so far is exactly like it is on facebook: the person hitting the button says nothing in response. The fact that forums still have conversation despite sporting a like button isn't because of the presence of a like button, rather because it's a forum populated by members that are still fluent in the art of conversation. For everyone else, there's facebook.

ChrisDonovan wrote:
What I really think kills E-mail and PBP games  is the lack of immediacy.

re: "instant gratification" Wink

Granted you are correct in the sense that a forum can not resolve actions as quickly as some situations mandate (such as combat). If you can avoid combat a PbP game can run quite smoothly at a post per week...shoot, before PbP games it was play by email where players were completely oblivious to other players' actions and those went smoothly at a "post per week". But the simple fact remains that a four hour live/tabletop session would easily take a half a year on a PbP forum, even at a post per day (3-4e AD&D being the exception, PbP might actually speed that up). The other simple fact is that those aforementioned play by email games of yore were quite successful without the instant gratification factor.

I have to say, even as one who does not subscribe to the modern social trend, I have been shying away fom PbP for the simple premise of "there has to be a more efficient format". I can also stake a claim at having stuck out every PbP game I entered with very few exceptions (one being health related) and watched each one die their slow death...and I can also say this as a recent convert from dial-up: as of mid-2011 I joined the high speed modem world, yes...I hosted many a PbP game using a dial-up conection (and coincidentally, MS Paint for mapping). I can't even recall participating in a PbP game since I left dial-up.

So as one who had the patience to endure PbP via such primitive means, the instant gratification definitely wasn't a factor for me. But even as such I could see the need for improved efficiency.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
January 5, 2016 - 5:09pm
Shadow Shack wrote:
Quote:
 Plenty of forums have a "Like", or a "Recommend" button or whatever that still have some pretty vigorous debate at a serious level.

It's not that forums lack the like button, it's the fact that the like button itself deters conversation. Of the numerous forums I frequent, only one of them has such a feature (and it was only added in recent months). The trend so far is exactly like it is on facebook: the person hitting the button says nothing in response. The fact that forums still have conversation despite sporting a like button isn't because of the presence of a like button, rather because it's a forum populated by members that are still fluent in the art of conversation. For everyone else, there's facebook.


Maybe.  I don't think I entirely agree, but I can see where you're coming from.

Quote:
re: "instant gratification"


"Instant gratification" carries overtones and implications that are not appropriate in this context.

It isn't about spoiled people who selfishly want it "now now NOW".  It's about the psychological and physiological responses of the human brain, conditioned by untold generations of face to face communication.  When we communicate in person, the content of the communication is not found solely in the words themselves.  There is a broad array of other informational cues: body posture, tone of voice, facial expressions, etc that shape how we interpret the raw data that the words represent.

All of that context is lost in written communications.  They're completely different media.  To use written media for purposes better served by verbal media is always going to come off as just not quite right.

Related to that is the inherently social nature of humans.  We're pack/tribe creatures.  Our brains and minds developed to facilitate us living in groups that share direct physical contact/association.  The "virtual campfire" (PBEM) is never going to satisfy our need to see and hear and smell each other and know we are not alone in the way that actually gathering around an actual campfire (regular gaming) does.

Add those factors on top of the inherent inefficiencies of PBEM that you already noted (weeks/months to describe/decide events that would be done in minutes face to face), and it's no wonder PBEMs fall apart.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 5, 2016 - 7:27pm
I always come back to the fact that I seriously enjoyed playing in my first SF Bbem till it fell apart. Anxiously awaiting the official game post to come out Sunday morning, it was like having a pen pal (something I never had) though in some ways forums such as these are like pen pal conversations. Despite never meeting any of you over time you get a feel for individuals as a person. Iggy is distinctly different from Terl Obar who is very different from shadowshack. There is an enjoyment to be had in this activity. I suppose it's like any hobby, some people get it and share your enthusiasm but many more don't. 

Shadow said something about combat and avoiding it to move the game forward. Does a referee need to control the combat? Why not let the player run some of the combat? 

Could combat be handled differently since PbP and PbEm are really different formats from table top gaming anyway? Do we lose too much of the game by crossing over to more story telling?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
January 5, 2016 - 8:15pm
I'm not saying PBEM is bad per se.  I would certainly never discourage someone from trying it out.  I'm just pointing out that it isn't a substitute for actually getting together with your friends and eating chips out of a communal bowl, watching each other do their little dice rituals, etc.  Communicating the way man has done since before he figured out fire was a going proposition.

Creepiest thing I've seen in my life was a commercial where a bunch of kids were sitting around in a room IM chatting with each other.  In the same room.  Nothing but the faint clicking of keys to be heard.

Maybe it's generational, to an extent.  I'm 46, and part of what could arguably be called an "end of age" generation.  Gen Y/Millenials grew up in a radically different society, and the Millenial + generations (whatever name they've gotten tagged with) even more different than that.  Go to Yout Tube some time and watch the "kids react to" videos.  It's eye-opening, and not always in a good way.

Applied to this conversation, I can easily see a time not to long from now when someone could start talking about Tabletop RPG and be told "You mean you actually met up?  As in got together in the same place?  And you had these "dice" things?  You didn't have an app for that?"

Honestly, that day scares me a little.  The world of H. Cyberneticus Interneti is looking more and more like a world that will have little room for plain old H. Sapiens Sapiens.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 5, 2016 - 8:40pm
Alright, there seems to be consensus that shifts in technology and society put a negative pressure on this form of gaming. But most prospective players are over a certain age. What ways can these game formats evolve to breathe more life into them?

Should we be talking about play by text? Play by snap chat?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
January 5, 2016 - 9:23pm
Well, play by chat I would think would be a step in the right direction, as it retains more of the immediacy and intimacy of original TRPGing. You know everyone is right there at that moment, and can react in mostly "real time".

iggy's picture
iggy
January 5, 2016 - 10:20pm
OK, my biggest obsticle to reliable internet role playing is not the tech but my personal life and responsibilities.  I have wife, kids, relatives, work, church, scouts, etc. that capitalize my time and are irratic at staying on the same schedule.  One of them always changes and everything has to re-sync.  Thus my hobbies fall dead last.  I monitor SF.us daily because it is a quick brake and I gave up TV when reality TV took over.  Tongue out

My preference to internet role playing is a Google hangout video conference.  I have always wanted to test out one of the RPG apps that controls the maps and character chits and use it with a Google hangout but that has never developed into a game because the hobby stuff gets trumped with life responsibilities.

What I miss is when chat worked on this site and we would have impromtu discussions in chat here.  I know that could happen in the Google+ SF group but I am afraid I do not find it as engaging and here on SF.us because it is structured to operate too much like the social media that ShadoShack is talkking about.  It caters to quick random posts and not long discussions.  I hate trying to dig down into the comments on a Google+ or Facebook post.  They are not as easy on the eyes to read in their little "read more" truncated posts than seeing the whole thread like here where I can skim and speed read and not click "read more" for each long post.  The mouse wheel is way more powerful that "read more" clicks.

I love the winter on SF.us because that is the time the site get real active.  New people show up and old people you have not seen post in years reappear.  I believe that this seasonal activity here happens because we each have personal lives with relationships and responsibilities.  In the winter we enjoy more time at home with less day light and colder temperatures keep us in so many of the social responsibilities deminish or change to home bound activities.

This same seasonal factor hurts internet role playing.  Summer easily kills internet games.  Interestingly the opposite was true for face to face role playing when I was a teenager, we were most active in the summer and least active in the winter.  Again the root cause was responsibilities.  My summers were free then with no school.  However, now as an adult the face to face games happen only with my kids and brother and are mostly winter driven.  They typically start with a holiday and die a few months later when responsibilities take over.

I have rambled it formulating my feelings above, but I feel that internet role playing sessions struggle due to our responsibilities trumping our hobbies.
-iggy

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
January 5, 2016 - 10:46pm
Yeah, RL is always a drag.

IM chats could be done with programs like GTalk, Pidgin, etc.  I don't think FB chat allows for group chats (just 1 person on each pop up bar).

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 5, 2016 - 11:52pm
ChrisDonovan wrote:
"Instant gratification" carries overtones and implications that are not appropriate in this context.

I was merely cracking wise with that, and I agree as is evident by everything that followed said wise crack.

Like I said, I used to both host and participate in those PbP forum game formats with a dial up connection. In that regard I was probably considered the furthest from the "instant gratification" camp. And even with that kind of patience & tolerance, I saw plenty of room for improvements that the format simply couldn't offer.

I later found live chat w/dice roller software (we actually used to have such software here but it got buggy) but for the most part games were hosted on weekends, and at the time I worked the hospitality industry where even senior workers didn't have weekends off...but the few I participated in --- including the one that was here --- were huge improvements. 

The downside being some didn't offer a visual display for SF maps & counters although others did, and it as rather clunky for the most part. But for anyone used to hosting a D&D game it really wasn't an issue...that and I could always have a map and counters handy for the games I hosted here to keep better track versus constant scrolling up and down in the text box.

In the end, nothing can beat a live tabletop game. To date those live text/dice roller formats have come closest, more so if you had the ability to connect a microphone/speakers to the game...but it still lacked the visual emotions etc that only live gaming can provide.
Quote:
Creepiest thing I've seen in my life was a commercial where a bunch of kids were sitting around in a room IM chatting with each other.  In the same room.  Nothing but the faint clicking of keys to be heard.

Must...resist...the...urge...



...I can't.

This is hands down the most asinine and ignorant use of technology available. I was once convinced --- after much resistance to the idea, mind you --- to attend a luncheon with a couple guys and their kids. It wasn't because I have no kids and would have felt out of place as such, I just know how today's kids are when it comes to their devices.

At which point I discovered where these kids get it from: the parents.

The entire luncheon was spent with everyone finger-banging away on their phones and I-pads etc, some doing so with multiple devices. Myself excluded as I merely own a basic flip phone/no camera. I never felt more awkward or out of place in my life. Frankly I would have been more comfortable if they all started drooling like mongoloids, because at least a mongoloid can hold a conversation. Honestly I had more fun at an Asian party where I was the only one who spoke English, which until this luncheon was my worst and most painful idea of a social gathering. Seriously, I was ready to shove a pipe cleaner up my nostrils to clear my brain of this "social display".

The entire concept of this luncheon was lost on me. Everyone, myself included, would have benefitted much more had we all stayed home and ordered delivery. At least I could have been entertained by one of SyFy channel's Shark/dinosaur/insect/crocodile hybrid monster movies, something I discovered requires much a smaller doseage of brain bleach than the luncheon I suffered.
Quote:
I don't think FB chat allows for group chats (just 1 person on each pop up bar).

Last I checked you can add multiple people to facebook chat. It's not something I participate in, my facebook account exists mostly for the facebook game and the vast majority of my "friends" are from said games. Anyone that plays a facebook game might realize that most of them require a vast array of friends in order to get anywhere in said games...not to mention a generous credit card also helps, now there's a market I need to get into: trading pixels for money. Alas I merely play on the premise of "friends" alone. 

Alas I don't use that account much these days, I grew bored of the games and their constant bugs and the occasional game that simply drops off the net. Like I said, money for pixels, I really need to get in on that racket.

Anyways I started a new account for friends and family (actual friends that I have contact with outside of facebook) and on occasion I'll use the chat for the family. I've seen an option for adding other friends to chat, but have never actually tried it out. Of noteworthy mention, also as mentioned earlier in this thread, there will be a lot of scrolling. If you have five people and each one types in anything more than a five word sentence, you are going to be scrolling to read the posts that fall off the tiny window. Granted you also have the option of enlarging it to a new window, but even so it's merely a larger scale of the small window...four or five posts and you're scrolling.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 6, 2016 - 12:01am
iggy wrote:
I love the winter on SF.us because that is the time the site get real active.  New people show up and old people you have not seen post in years reappear. 

It has been abnormally active here lately, even for winter. I'm actually thankful for it, I've been laid up/bed bound since the week of Thanksgiving and other winter active boards I frequent aren't active at all. I mean I haven't been able to ride my motorcycles since Spetember due to a work related injury (re: the reason behind being laid up), and we have perfect riding weather right now. Meanwhile half of my motorcycle boards, board that are populated with members of which the majority live in areas that actually do have something resembling winter, are clinically dead. Winter is typically the time where the riders are stuck talking about bikes and riding and that's just not happening, instead I'm seeing the occasional post every two or three days whereas historically in winter they used to be nearly as active as a chat room discussion in the way of posting frequency.

Like I said, the discussion board format is a dying breed.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
January 6, 2016 - 12:21am
Well, Shadow, that response to me kind'a proved a bit of my point.  I was taking your reply at face value.  Even using an emoji didn't necessarily have the effect intended because of the way emoji have acquired secondary meanings that aren't what the original use intended. :) (sincere smile, btw)

I completely get what you are saying about "gadget" people.  As an aside: another side effect of the internet is the death of penmanship.  Some places are dropping cursive altogether, and many more have lowered their standard for block printing to (as long as you can read it), assuming that even older grade school kids are going to be using word processors and printers for homework.

Lastly, if this is active...I'm gonna be in for real dissapointment come spring/summer then.  Of course, SF is such a niche that it really isn't fair to extrapolate much from the traffic here.  I can point out a number of boards and forums that are very active all year round, like the Jedi Forums, TrekBBS, and Comic Book Resources.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 6, 2016 - 8:24am
ChrisDonovan wrote:
Lastly, if this is active...I'm gonna be in for real dissapointment come spring/summer then.  Of course, SF is such a niche that it really isn't fair to extrapolate much from the traffic here.

Also in the interest of being fair, there really isn't a whole lot to discuss about the game either. The rules are simple for the interest of ease in play (at least any rule outside of Zeb's Guide that is), and beyond the usual "let's try to apply logic/physics/math" to a given rule in an attempt to make more sense out of it, it's actually a bit difficult to come up with a fresh topic for game/rules related discussion.

For example, this isn't the first time we've discussed how to make improvements on PbP games. While this is a repeat topic that was discussed a few years back, it's always refreshing to get feedback from newer members that weren't around the last time. Stick around long enough and you'll start to see more older topics revived with newer members.

It probably doesn't help matters that the game is "dead" either. Technically the same could be said for the D&D boxed sets, but WOTC still produces D&D product and from general reviews, the latest AD&D sounds like it is a return to 1e roots, so there's still plenty of current interest and promotion in the game to spark interest for earlier versions.

Lastly, I would postulate the clunky nature of this board can drive away members. To date it's the only site that I never saw any advantages with my new high speed connection...it was just as slow on dial up. Still, it's about the only truly active board I've found for Star Frontiers, everything else I've found has a post per week or month at best or otherwise regurgitates info from this board.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

iggy's picture
iggy
January 6, 2016 - 9:20am
Though we don't debate rules much now due to the past debates, we are not against new discussions. 

One of the things I like about this site is that we discuss setting and story  (adventure) ideas a lot.  There are a lot of creature posts and item posts and posts about worlds, governments, companies, that can be used as campaign material. 
-iggy

iggy's picture
iggy
January 6, 2016 - 9:31am
I've noticed that the longer a discussion thread gets the slower the page loads get.
-iggy

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
January 6, 2016 - 9:50am
For whatever reason, this page loads slow period, at least for me.  Sometimes as in "start the page load and go do something on another tab while it processes" slow.

I'd also noticed the age of a lot of the threads.  Honestly, at first I was a little afraid to reply, even where I thought I had something to add, simply because most places hate necroposting.

iggy's picture
iggy
January 6, 2016 - 12:05pm
There is not really a concern about necroposting.  When someone posts on an old thread it brings a discussion back to life sometimes.  As you noticed, SF is not main stream like Star Trek or Star Wars so we are more interested in getting discussion than nit picking about necroposting. 
-iggy

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 6, 2016 - 5:12pm
iggy wrote:
Though we don't debate rules much now due to the past debates, we are not against new discussions. 

One of the things I like about this site is that we discuss setting and story  (adventure) ideas a lot.  There are a lot of creature posts and item posts and posts about worlds, governments, companies, that can be used as campaign material. 

Yes, and therein lies the beauty of this page. WHile rules discussions can get hashed andrehashed, it's the brainstorming for campaign material that sparks all the interest. 

Cool


ChrisDonovan wrote:
For whatever reason, this page loads slow period, at least for me.  Sometimes as in "start the page load and go do something on another tab while it processes" slow.

It's actually ironic. We had a lengthy thread about that many years ago where one guy was really getting his undies in a bind over the slow load times on this site. One post I recall he actually timed how long it took to log in, how long it took to open his "activities" tab, how long it took to open the aforementioned thread, and how long it took to post after hitting submit. IIRC the total elapsed time for all of it was something just a little over a minute. I, being on dial up at the time and not fathoming how quickly other sites load by comparison, could only come up with the response "Gee, if you have something more important to do with all of that time, log off the computer." But I recall one thing that came out of that multi-page rant thread: when I mentioned I was on dial-up the undie-twister exclaimed "That's it! It's like I'm on dial-up!"

Years later I made the switch from dial up and noticed what all the hub bub was really about...as I said earlier I saw no change in the site...it was like I never left dial up. Even so, I fail to see what the issue was because, as you surpmised, you can always open a tab to another page you want to view in that brief pause while this one loads. To me it's more of a trivial inconvenience that can be used for a punch line than an actual issue.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
January 6, 2016 - 5:22pm
@ Iggy: True.  And I figured that out pretty quickly. :D

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 6, 2016 - 5:30pm
iggy wrote:
There is not really a concern about necroposting.  

Not anymore. We did have a member here that would go off about using the search feature when old topics were resurrected, but I haven't seen him post in a while now.

Granted the serch feature really is something for folks that have time to kill, re: it takes a while for that one to load.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
January 6, 2016 - 6:03pm
Just getting to this thread and most of anything I would have said has already been mentioned but here's my 0.02 Cr.

For the games I ran, it was RL getting in the way.  Invariably something would come up, the flow of the game would get disrupted and we could never get back into it.  The same was usually true when I was a player.  Although in one case, I just couldn't stand the GM's style and bowed out.

Jedi's comment on notification was definitely an issue.  On the starfrontiers.info forums I specifically enabled the functionality to "subscribe" to a forum and make a point to explain that to players so that they could get those e-mail notifications.  BTW, the chat with die roller feature on that site still works.  Maybe I should just link to it from the chat button here, although the little color indicator ball probably wouldn't work.

Speaking of this site, for Chris's edification, he should probably know the history.  It's a long story but here's the short version.  The site was created in 2006-2007 by Bill Logan (CleanCutRogue here on the forums).  It was his first website using the content management system that it runs on and because of some design choices it has performance issues.  I started hosting it on my servers in 2011 which gave it a speed boost but it since then has degraded more.  Bill hasn't really been involved for several years and it offically became my site just a year or so ago.  Because of the original design choices it's not really easy to upgrade the underlying system.  It's something I want to do but haven't had the time to look into it.  Some day it will get an overhaul but until then, it will just be slow.

Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
January 6, 2016 - 7:33pm
^Which is absolutely fine with me.  I'd rather have a slow board and get the content than not have the board! :D

I was just stating my experience.

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
January 6, 2016 - 8:47pm
Yeah, although sometimes I wonder if it is a bit of a turn-off for new people.  Another aspect is that I only have 5Mbps outbound (which is up from the 1.5 Mbps I had a couple of years ago) but that's more than capable of handling the load unless lots of people are downloading big files all at the same time.  I can tell when the site is busy (if I'm working) as I can see the CPU usage peg for the web server whenever someone does a query.  (the server is also my main workstation at home).

Anyway, enough of the thread hijacking.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 7, 2016 - 5:35am
So to sum up: 

Technology and societal changes that encourage instant gratification in potential game consumers is a concern for running PbP and PbEM. Societal and cultural changes are not things we can tackle in running a game but technology could be. New and innovative use of technology might help in running a game but as Shadow pointed out the trends in social media are part of the problem so perhaps not. 

However, the growing ubiquitousness of smart phones and tablets could be a boon to this type of gaming especially if there was the audio cue that someone had posted, texted or emailed. I answers important text msg while sitting at a stop light, riding an elevator or other financial for moments. Phone vibes or audio cues for email or text so... This tech may help.

Text and email notification or both should be employed to keep everyone on board.

Team refereeing, tag team refereeing, committee refereeing could keep a game going and prevent it from falling apart due to a reff bowing out. 

Speed of game issues : this might require adjustment of the way the posting moves/turns are handled , perhaps more leeway for the player to drive action. Reff might also pose options to players like those in the endless quests booke (this would prevent a "wasted" turn just because no one thought of something to do and it would not preclude the players from doing something the referee did not think of).

Combat needs to be sped up. Mooks rule could be invoked: mooks out of battle with one hit which would have the benefit of being more cinematic. In a one turn/ week game combat could be handled via email if everyone checked and responded once or twice per day . 

It also occurs to me that record keeping is a pain- updating a character sheet is a pain. SF has always been a game with an element of resource management. Either that's ignored or the ability for reff and player to update character sheets needs to be easy. 

Official game posts or just let the game forum be a conversation? Official posts give reff an element of control and veto but can slow speed of game. 


I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
January 7, 2016 - 9:37am
Slight diversion: I broke down and installed a dice app on my smartphone...I feel like such a sell-out...Undecided

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 7, 2016 - 11:51am
ChrisDonovan wrote:
Slight diversion: I broke down and installed a dice app on my smartphone...I feel like such a sell-out...Undecided
Your a nerd just own it, good news is since Big Bang Theory and the main streaming of Comic Con, geek is now sheikh. 
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
January 7, 2016 - 7:46pm
That's okay, I've had one on my phone for ages.  Comes in handy when I'm not near my dice bag (although that was often in my backpack as well.)  I'm so unnerdy that I all of the dice I own basically fit in a single small bag.  Unlike many in the hobby, I don't have bags and bags of dice.  I think my total dice count is less than 40.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 7, 2016 - 7:54pm
Terl, your nerd status is safe if a Crown Royal bag is storing your dice.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website