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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 08:23pm on 09/06/2010 under
I appear to have gotten [ profile] esrblog really hooked on Echo Bazaar. These days, as often as not, when I ask him what he's doing, he's "waiting for my next action." And he's forever asking me for strategic advice or telling me about the new storylets he's opened.

I'm used to him developing fascinations with new computer-related games, but usually he ends up joining the design team before long. I wonder if the folk at Failbetter Games would be interested in a long-distance contributor.
Mood:: 'bemused' bemused
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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 10:41pm on 23/05/2010 under ,
One of the things I like about Echo Bazaar, the on-line MUD/interactive story game I've been playing is that in some ways it feels a lot like real life.

In Echo Bazaar, every storylet (a challenge that requires a decision from the player) affects attributes associated with your character called "qualities". These qualities can describe traits (e.g., Dangerous), connections with factions (e.g., Criminals), minor characteristics (e.g., Magnanimous), or even the completion of earlier storylets (e.g., Hosting an Inconvenient Aunt).

The four main "qualities" cover most of the types of statistics involved in making a RPG or LARP character. They are labeled as adjectives, not nouns, for the two main qualities with the greatest numbers are used to describe the player to others in the game. The qualities are Dangerous, Watchful, Persuasive, and Shadowy.

Dangerous applies to your ability to use physical strength against human and non-human attackers (including vermin, some of which are more dangerous than some of the humans). Watchful is a stand-in for the old AD&D "intelligence" statistic, but in general applies to the character's ability to observe and make deductions. Persuasive is, in part, a stand-in for the old AD&D "charisma," but it generally covers all kinds of techniques one can use to get people to do what you want them to do that do not involve physical coercion. Finally, Shadowy arguably includes the old "dexterity" statistic, but applies generally to physical abilities that are typically used for committing crimes (picking pockets, burglary, deceptions).

At present, my highest statistics are Persuasive and Watchful, so I am described by the game as a "captivating (persuasive) and shrewd (watchful) lady."

You start the game with 1 point in each of the four main statistics. To get to the next point level, you need to earn a number of change points equivalent to the new level. For example, to move from level 1 to level 2 on Persuasive, you need to earn 2 change points from Persuasive challenges. To go from 2 to 3, you need 3 points, and so on as you play the game.

How likely you are to succeed at a storylet that challenges a particular statistic depends on the level of the statistic, though the game takes pains to remind the player that there is never 100% certainty about any challenge. The storylets give you a rough idea how likely you are to succeed by the words they use to describe each challenge. From easiest to hardest, these are: straightforward, low-risk, modest, chancy, high-risk, and almost impossible. A straightforward challenge will generally end in success, and an almost impossible one in failure (though, again, not always).

All of this explanation is so that I can occasionally use the game framework of Echo Bazaar as a metaphor for describing events in my life.

Anyway, last week I was trying to complete a legal brief for one of my bosses. He and I clearly could not see eye-to-eye on how to revise the thing. I last heard that he had passed the project off to a junior attorney for the addition of case law that I didn't think the brief needed.

Clearly, I had muffed a modest challenge for my Persuasive quality!
Mood:: 'geeky' geeky
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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 09:13pm on 12/05/2010 under ,
I recently decided to use a service that will post my Tweets on this LiveJournal.

However (as alert readers will undoubtedly have noticed), many of my Tweets nowadays are cryptic messages of the following type:
The Starveling Cat! The Starveling Cat! Jumped down the well for a good long chat!

These mysterious entries are artifacts of my fascination with a new computer game called Echo Bazaar. Echo Bazaar is a cross between a MUD, a role-playing game, and one of the old Infocom text games. It is free (as in beer; don't know whether it runs on open source software or not), and is played through a browser pointed at the Echo Bazaar site, which is maintained by a small British company called FailbetterGames. It is set in London in an alternate 1880s--a London which has been mysteriously kidnapped and drawn into an underground cavern just down the road from Hell. Literally. It has a bit of a steampunk feel, though there's relatively little weird science involved (although they do have dirigibles). You start out in prison, and your basic task is to break out, survive, and make something of yourself by whatever means you can and wish to--in that order.

I could try to explain the game play, but this game review does a better job of that than I could, so it would just be simpler for you to check out the review.

The site uses Twitter to permit players to enjoy a kind of interaction with other Twitter users who are in the game. Once a day, you can gain ten extra game actions by broadcasting a random Tweet about Fallen London, as the setting of the game is called. Hence the strange messages from my Twitter feed.

If any of this sounds interesting to you, you may wish to check out the game, or at least read through the Wiki here.
Mood:: 'geeky' geeky


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