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Thread: [What's this for?] - The Anatomy of a Full-Featured Game

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    Mar 2011

    [What's this for?] - The Anatomy of a Full-Featured Game

    So you’ve created your first game or have joined your first game - congratulations! But if this is your first time using WTF RPG, you may not know what everything does. Don’t worry, most of it’s pretty straight-forward and the rest is easy enough to explain! Pretty soon, you’ll be explaining this to someone who doesn’t like to read guides and grousing about whippersnappers on your lawn. (Newbies today, right? Back in your day, newbies read guides!)

    For this, let’s use the WTF Multiverse game as our guide to showing you the bits and pieces of a full-featured rpg!

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    The Opening Block
    This section is the same as you’ll see when you’re looking for a new game.

    As you can see from the screen grab, it starts out with the title (in bold) with the icon to the left and the short description in italics underneath.

    Below that are the tags used for the game. If a tag looks interesting to you, you can always click it and see what other games with the same tag are out there. Mostly they’re there to give users a good idea of what the game is about.

    To the right is a blue box with further information:
    Character Approval (Does this game require bios for new characters be approved?) - As you can see, the WTF Multiverse does not require bio approval, so you can start playing immediately.

    Player Level (What is the minimum required level to play?) - The WTF Multiverse is very accepting - it accepts players of all levels.

    New Players (Can new players join?) - Because the WTF Multiverse is designed to be a sort of persistent world of chaos, it’s always open to new players.

    Creator (Who is the game host?) - This is the person whose authority trumps all (except, y’know, staff of the site... they can’t tell you it’s okay to do something that’s against site rules, after all).

    Created (When did the game host start the game?) - It’s pretty specific. But allows you to celebrate the game’s anniversaries down to the minute!

    ---> If you’re the game host, you’ll also have a handy dandy EDIT button. This allows you to change or update any information about your game at any time.

    ---> You will also see an awesome SUBSCRIBE button. This allows you to subscribe to all posts within the game, if you want, just the same as a regular thread.

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    The Tabs
    Here’s where you get to the good stuff - the things that really draw you to your game! This is where most of the information will be stored and most of the storytelling (gaming or roleplaying) goes on.

    There are currently seven tabs, each of which will be covered in its own section below:

    - Overview Tab
    - Characters Tab
    - Game World Tab
    - Game Log Tab & Recent Posts Tab
    - Journals Tab
    - OOC Tab

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    Overview Tab
    This is where the game host should store the information a player needs to complete a bio, or players may refer back to if they have questions. Hopefully the game host has organized it in a way that’s easy to find the information! If not, that’s what PMs (private messages) to the game host or questions posted in an OOC thread are for, right?

    There are four sections in the Overview:

    - Introduction - For sort of the general introduction to the game. This is supposed to give players the general plot of the game and feel for the setting.

    - Rules - Any rules the game host has for the game that players are meant to follow. In general, this concerns how you apply to play and what requirements the host has as far as posting and content.

    ---> So as not to intimidate prospective players with a whole mess of information they’re not sure if they want to read, the second two sections are hidden behind a “cut”.

    - Background - This is where the game host hopefully goes into whatever else you need to know to play in the game. For example, the brief history of how group A and group B have been at war for so many years. Or perhaps how this world is exactly like the world as it is today, only in the last six months a new virus called the Blueberry Virus is turning people various shades of blue. You know, the usual.

    - Characters - This is information players need to know about characters themselves. For example, if someone has the Blueberry Virus, what information does a player of an infected character have to know? Are there special rules for different races or professions?

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    Characters Tab
    Now that you have a good idea what the game is about, it’s time to see what sort of characters have been created for the game already.

    This is where you can create a New Character for the game, if you’re hoping to apply. Just click the button underneath the tabs, towards the right next to the drop-down menu. For more information on creating characters, visit the Creating Characters guide.

    If there are a lot of characters, the “Select Characters” drop-down menu will come in handy. It allows you to sort characters in several different ways:

    (all) - Reassuringly enough, this is the default setting. It will show all enabled characters in the game.

    approved - This will show only the characters that the host or any co-hosts with bio approval have green lighted for the game.

    pending - This will show only the characters that have been submitted to the game, but not yet approved.

    orphaned - This will show only the characters that are “orphaned”, which is to say, a bio is created for the character, but there is currently no player. Anyone may apply for an orphaned character (it is not restricted to players who already have an approved character in the game). If the game does not have character approval, the first applicant for an orphaned character gets the character. If the game has character approval, a host or co-host with approval powers will need to verify a player’s claim on an orphaned character.

    This may be the point to mention that if you leave a game, any characters you have created for the game will automatically become “orphans”, subject to the game’s rules on orphans.

    private - This will show only characters controlled by a single player. Most players will want to set their characters as “private” characters.

    public - This will show only characters able to be controlled by any approved player in the game. In most cases, these characters will be “NPCs” (non-player characters) like servants, police officers, random citizens and so forth that are used to move the plot forward.

    Now that you’ve sorted the characters in the game, we’ll break down what the information provided in brief means.

    You’ll see the character’s avatar to the left, the character name bolded and linked at the top (clicking on it sends you to the full biography for the character), and the name of the player in parentheses (clicking on the player name takes you to the player’s profile).

    Underneath this information is a character synopsis (a short introduction to the character, often a summary of their personality or role in the game and sometimes a quote that applies to the character) in italics.

    Below the synopsis is a table of information:

    Public/Private - Can the character be played by all members of the game, or does it belong only to the player who created them?

    Enabled - If you see the character at all, it’s ‘enabled’. (Disabled characters are only available under Manage Roleplays to the host or co-hosts that have the appropriate powers.)

    Approved/Pending - Is the character an ‘official’ character of the game, or waiting for approval from the game host/co-host(s)?

    Owned/Orphaned - Is the character an Orphan? If so, you can apply to take over this character, depending on the rules of the game. (Click the “Adopt” button below.)

    The “Posts” button allows you to view all the posts made by this character in the game so far.

    If you are the player of a character, you can click the:
    - “Disown” button to Orphan your character. So sad.
    - “Clone” button to make a “clone” of your character to play in another game.

    If you are a host (or co-host with certain duties), you may have other buttons below the characters.
    - Edit - If necessary, you can edit this character. For the most part, you’ll want to use this sparingly or state up-front that you may do this in your game rules.
    - Delete - Not right for the game? No need to find the Manage Characters screen. You can delete them right here.
    - Approve - Have a pending character? If it looks good to go, you can approve it from this screen rather than going to the Manage Characters screen.

  6. #6
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    Game World Tab
    Welcome to the game world! If your game is using all of the features of the full-feature rpg system, this is where role-playing will largely take place. Each “location” is a different area of the “Game World”.

    Game hosts are can click the “New Place” button and create a new location in the game. For more information and tips on creating your Game World, visit the Locations and Layouts guide.

    At the top of this section, you can see the number of locations in the Game World. The WTF Multiverse has a load of locations to explore and play in. If there are multiple pages of game locations, you can click on the “page one of x” section and jump directly to whichever page of locations you need to. Alternately, you can click on the page number, or use the arrow button to move forward (or the “Last” button to move directly to the last page of locations). Currently, there are 15 locations shown on each page. (Most games will not need multiple pages of locations.)

    Let’s look at the set-up for a location.

    As usual, the location’s avatar/icon is displayed to the left. The top has the name of the location as a clickable link (clicking sends you to the posts for just that location, and is where you may go to post specifically for that location), and it displays how many posts are in just this location. If the location has a key, a red “Locked” will appear between the title and number of posts. This will serve as a reminder that this location is not accessible by the average character.

    Below that information, in italics, is a brief description of the location. Below the description, if the game is a “Locked” location, it will give you information related to it. For example, it will be red and say “You do not have a key for this place.” if you don’t have one, or green with “You have a key for this place.” if you do. You should consult with your game host or co-host(s) as to the rules for keys if they didn’t tell you already. It should be noted that some locations are “Visible Locked” and some are “Invisible Locked”, meaning that you will only know about a location, as a player, if it’s visible or if you have a key for it. You will not be able to read the logs or post in a keyed location unless you have the key for it.

    Game hosts will find two buttons below the description (and key status): Edit (to change anything about the location, including its icon or placement in the list) and Delete (to delete the location and all posts within it).

    Locations are stacked in order of creation and nested within each other. For example, in the WTF Multiverse, “-The Lobby-” was created first, so it’s on top. Below it, “The Blue Sea” (created second) is second, with the sub-locations of “The Lonely Beach” (which has “The Sea Cave” nested in it), “The Pirate Ship” and “The Tropical Island” nested underneath it.

    Please consult your game host (or co-host(s)) about any particular ‘rules’ about locations. (For example, some games may require you “play through” to nested locations, even if it’s a brief post about “walking on the sand of the Lonely Beach before diving into the water and swimming to the Sea Cave” before you posted at the second location. Whereas other games, like the WTF Multiverse, may be fine with you inferring that you passed through a location - or teleport directly to it.)

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    Game Log Tab - and - Recent Posts Tab
    These two tabs do essentially the same thing, only opposite of each other. Both are useful for catching up in a game - it comes down to what style of listing you prefer.

    The Game Log Tab shows all of the posts in the game, from the first post to the most recent (as long as you have access to the location a post is posted in).

    The Recent Posts Tab shows the latest 20 posts in the game, from the most recent post back (as long as you have access to the location a post is posted in).

    You may make a post directly to the game this way by clicking the “Make a post” button at the top or bottom of the posting area.

    A post is broken down in the following manner:

    The Game World location that the action took place in. (With a link to the location, if you wanted to read it in-context.)

    The real-world date and time the post was made.

    The player who made the post. (With a link to see the player’s profile.)

    Then there is the body of the post below that information.

    To the right are thumbnail avatars of the characters involved in the post. Hovering the mouse over the avatar will show the character’s name. Clicking on the avatar will take you to the character’s full biography.

    Below all of this is where you can edit the post (if you’re the person who made the post).

    You can also report the post to the site staff (not the game host!) if this post is against the site rules or needs to be deleted. If you want to report a post to the game host, you will need to send a PM to the game host directly. They will not be able to delete the post in question.

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    Journals Tab
    This is where in-character journals or threads go! In short - this is where you can make in-character threads that don’t pertain to the overall plot (though it may affect and change it). Game hosts should make clear (if they have preferences) what the journals are used for and what should be played out in the official locations, if necessary.

    Journals will sort left to right, top to bottom with the journal updated most recently. They will also show how many posts have been made to the thread (not counting the first post).

    Let’s say that your character keeps a diary. This is where you go to make that character’s diary, if you wanted to write in-character about what’s going on in the game. Journals can also be used for multiple characters. For example, let’s say you have a Thieves Guild in the game. Maybe they have to log what they’ve stolen, ex: “Thief Harold: Stole a saddlebag from the king’s horse today during the parade. Saddlebag contained a letter (handed to Guildmaster Sally) and three gold coins.” Or maybe there’s a special chatroom that your characters visit or they want to send emails back and forth.

    Only players who have an approved character in the game can create a journal. Simply click, “New Journal Thread”. It will give you a text space to title the journal. You can technically title this whatever you like, though see if your game host has rules about this. (For example, they may require you put the game’s name in the title and link to the game in your first post.) When you’ve got the title you like, click “Save Journal”. Now your journal will show up with the others, the most recently posted to first. To visit your journal, click on the title. You’ll see an auto-generated first post was created and that you’re now in the regular forums!

    Keep in mind that only the journals created through the Journals tab will show up in the Journals tab. If you create a character journal in the forums directly, it will float on its own.

    If the game is deleted, character journals/guild journals/etc will remain in the forums only if they have multiple posts in them, so don’t worry too much about losing your hard work. Many players may wish to use a post to store a back-up of their character’s bio, though hopefully that is not necessary!

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    OOC Tab
    In many ways, the OOC (Out Of Character) tab is like the Journals tab. But unlike the Journals tab, the threads made here are not for in-character posting, but for conversations between players. Only game hosts may make a new OOC thread. A default OOC thread is created for each new game and can be edited as desired.

    Through technically a game is not limited in how many OOC threads they can make, each thread should have a purpose. For example, the host may choose to make the default OOC thread their game’s “Chatter” thread for everyday shooting the breeze and an “Announcements” thread to announce new characters, new players, going on vacation; etc so that these important things won’t get lost amongst player conversations. They may also wish to give each “faction” or group in the game their own OOC thread (for example, an OOC thread just for the Thieves Guild players so they can plan and coordinate without having to flood each others’ inbox with PMs or drown out conversations with other players).

    As with the Journals tab, to create a new OOC thread, the game host should click the “New OOC Thread” button. It will give a text space to title the thread. After you “Save OOC”, the new thread will show up in order of the most recent post in the game’s OOC threads. Clicking on the title will take you to the thread in the OOC Forum. The first post has an auto-generated first post that can be edited as necessary.

    If the game is deleted, OOC threads will remain in the forums only if the threads have multiple posts in them. This is a precautionary measure and courtesy to “orphaned players” in case the game host (for example) transferred ownership of the game to another player who decided to delete the game rather than take care of it. While in this case there’s nothing that the staff can do for the orphaned players, they may choose to use the thread to organize a new game amongst themselves before moving on.

    As before, if the game host or a player creates an OOC thread in the forum itself without going through the OOC tab, it will not attach itself to the game. Only OOC threads created in the OOC tab will show in the OOC tab.
    Please do not send this account PMs/etc. It is not monitored daily by staff and does not accept PMs/etc.

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