OT Creativity

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OT Creativity

Postby Won-Tolla on Mon Apr 21, 2003 6:47 am

Since various others have been showing off more or less OT creations of theirs here (sure, blame it on them...) I thought I'd celebrate my new status (see left margin) by dusting off an old project of mine.

To repeat some information from the page I'm about to link to, I don't know if anyone here is familiar with the kind of "DIY" story where you skip to a new page at the end of each chapter depending on what you want the hero to do. Well, they used to be fairly popular once, and I've been experimenting a bit with transferring the concept to a digital medium (which of course has the advantage that you don't see the hidden choices and can't cheat by turning back to the page you came from). The result so far (or rather up to a couple of years back) is a handful of loosely joined chapters that go by the name of Star of the Stars.
On the page that link leads to you can read a bit about the project and have a look at the opening chapter. There is also a couple of hints about a "hidden" section with more pages. If you'd like to explore that just add "dev/" to the end of the address above.
Note that even though the project may become revived, this particular site is not going to change. It's the site I got from my old ISP, and I've only got read access to it now, same as everyone else. In particular the mail links lead to my old email address, so don't waste your time trying any of those. My current email is in my profile.
I'm just putting this here to show if off a bit, but with enough comments and suggestions the project may just start growing again (soon as I get another site for it anyway).
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Postby TKarrde98 on Mon Apr 21, 2003 7:24 am

Welcome to Despotism!!! Wanna build a railroad from here to Turkey? We can take over and exploit it's oil reserves. :-D

Pretty interesting story start. I like the button in particular.

-=TK
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Postby IAmMe UK on Mon Apr 21, 2003 3:11 pm

Congrats on 1000 posts!

I used to get books like that, I may still have one or two if I look....
I've seen a few oplaces where people have had a go at stuff like that on line, the problem being they used plain html pages so you could still cheat with the "back" button, If you can stop that it could be good......

I'ts got a very good start, If you're going to revive it I'd be very interested in how it progresses.
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Postby Won-Tolla on Fri Apr 25, 2003 12:45 pm

Bumping time...

The finished (?) version wouldn't be a static (or even semidynamic) website (like the current sample. BTW, has anyone explored further than the opening chapter yet?). To reiterate a bit again for those who still haven't checked out the site, the concept started as an offline PBM where players would send in moves somehow and a computer would then generate "different" pages for different players and different points in the game (unlike the standard method of copying premade pages).
While it could theoretically become a fully online game with swift responses to every move (except when someone tries using the "none of the above" option), the current idea (well a couple of years back) is to make it a PBEM (Play By EMail) where players either get HTML pages mailed to them, or each player gets each chapter from the same location (say server.com/player8982/index.html or server.com/player9272.html), which means only the last chapter for each player is online, and if you want a running record you have to save the pages (under different names of course) on your own system.
So you couldn't cheat by going to a particular page you didn't have access to, simply because that page wouldn't be online. Of course players can still try to reload an old saved page and try to use the order form for that one (The idea is to put a costumized order form - with some hidden fields containing player information and such - at the end of each chapter. More flexible than a standard form, and easier than having it on a separate page.) but this could perhaps be handled by having some secret fields containing the turn number and such. So if the server got a new set of orders for a past turn it would just reject them.
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Postby Won-Tolla on Fri Apr 25, 2003 1:05 pm

BTW, two reasons not to make it a fully automated online game:
- People would go through the whole thing in one session and then lose interest. With a game that generates new turns once or maybe twice a day I would at least have a snowball's chance in hell to keep up by adding new stuff.
- The response time for "none of the above" would be closer to that of a normal turn. I somehow doubt that players would be very eager to try "freestyle" playing and wait for the creator (me) to come up with a new chapter, when the alternative is to pick a standard option and get the response right ahead.

Speaking of responses, some years ago I was working on a game with some other guy. This was before either of us got on the net, and we spent a lot of postage exchanging piles of thick letters going through all kind of details and stuff. That's when I realized I'm most creative when I have someone to discuss a project with and get both feedback and independent ideas from. (For that matter, it looks like the Watering Hole Project runs best when there's discussion on the thread as well...)
This is basically the reason I mentioned the project here in the first place; I'm hoping to attract the attention of someone who can help it along by providing some semi-continuous inspiration (not necessarily here on the SJ forum, if there's enough interest we could try to work something else out). And if you have something to say that would work as a spoiler for someone who hasn't been to the site yet, feel free to PM or mail me.
On the other paw, if you've got a comment that would make people more curious about the project, by all means post it here! ;)
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Postby Won-Tolla on Sat Jul 05, 2003 8:05 pm

So... how many of you actually went to the backstage area and explored the "rest" of the scenario?

Anyway, that's not really what I'm going to write about this time. Another story type that became more popular when the Net started spreading, is the round robin story, where different people take turns writing chapters of varying length.
Some times, in various places, people have tried combining the two forms. What happens when you go to a site like that is that you start reading a multiple choice story, and when you reach a dead end you get to write the next chapter (with more choices at the end).
I discovered one of these places a couple of years ago, and after writing a couple dozen chapters branching off different points, my interest (and inspiration) dwindled again, and I spent the next handful of months just checking my loose ends for additions by others. Once in a while someone would pick up one of said ends and bring the story a little further, but not much. Most of my branches are still open.
Then last night it all changed. I was scanning the list of new chapters when one of the titles rung a bell. I looked up the new chapter, and after a lot of backtracking I found my own story fragment at the other end of the storyline. Someone else had not just taken my plot and run with it, they had run a marathon and written a small novel!
You probably expected this to end with a link to where you can read the whole story and maybe some of my other works on that site as well. Unfortunately the open nature of this 'game' means the database contains quite a lot of material that makes it unsuitable for linking from a family forum. In fact some of my own contributions are like that! So if you want the link you'll have to PM me.
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Postby Won-Tolla on Wed Sep 22, 2004 5:45 am

My own projects have not made any progress, but I have been contributing a bit to the story site mentioned in the last post again.
One thing that can happen with sites like this is that people use the most unexpected things as a springboard for taking off in a new direction. To sidetrack a bit, there are several places in the database where someone has given up on the old story and started a new one with different characters. One of these new branches stars a couple named Chris and Barbara, but one of the writers got it wrong and started calling the woman Brenda instead.
The next writer (who's quite an active one BTW) pointed out the mistake and included an option at the end that said "Brenda...who was there somehow...interrupted." Probably just meant as a joke, but I picked up on it and wrote a short chapter where Brenda is exposed as a stalker trying to take over Barbara's identity, and signed the mess with "I am She as You are She as You are Me and we are all paraphrasing The Beatles". Now there's a pretty unique search string if you want to try to find the site on your own. (BTW, I found it in the first place by seraching for the name of one of my MUCK characters...)
(All submissions to the site are made anonymously, and you can sign (or not sign) with whatever you like. Many writers use only one handle, I use different ones depending on what I'm writing...)
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Postby Won-Tolla on Sat Nov 13, 2004 11:04 pm

A little note on what I said about finding that story site with a search engine. According to what I read on the site's forum, it is now blocked against search engines, so you can't find it that way. One reason is that many of the writers use copyrighted characters or RL celebrities in their stories.

On another note, I copied one of my last contributions to my own site to show it to various people, so I might as well link it here too. Because it's not in its original place, the links at the bottom don't work. (But there should be enough exposition in the text to figure stuff out.)

And yes, that's a Freefall reference...
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