I talk a lot about Teraum features as I see them, as the admin/dev. I'd like to talk some hypothetical gameplay.

You're a player. Your character is in high standing with the Soapworkers Union, so you've suggested that when the road to the Gyre opens, you be given the supplies needed to explore it. The other players in the Union voted to agree, as did the most of the NPCs. So you gather your supplies and head southeast down the Longroad.


You spend a night in Belcaer, the casino-town, before making it to the checkpoint into the Gyre. Only people approved by their Union are getting in for now - on the condition that they report any anomalies directly to the Red Union. (This is playtesting, integrated into the fiction.)

You show your credentials and are allowed to start walking down the new gravel road that runs through the Gyre, a region few humans have been to.


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You spend some time wandering the area. You're no cartographer, but you keep rough notes so you don't get lost. You dig up unfamliar plants, dig at tree bark, track animals, new strange ones like this elk with a conch shell, which you'll call a "shelk," shelled-elk.

One day you find a wounded shelk. You follow it. It walks by what you've learned they eat with no interest. But burrows its face in another plant.


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It moves on after a bit, lethargically. You examine the plant it's been eating - you note it didn't eat the leaves or stalks at all, but completely ate the roots. You take what's left, and set off in search of another sample. Perhaps you've found a new source of medicine?

You'll need to bring it back to the equipment at the Union Hall and analyse it to know for sure, but it's promising. 4/4

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Now let's look at this as a game designer.

There are reliances on character skills here, for examing plants, conducting field tests. but following the elk? That's a player skill... perhaps taught by the game through exposure, conditioning, and modeling, but, a player skill.

There's a lot of other complex mechanics glossed over here, too: the union voting, travel and camping, the whole, examining the world with a knife and shovel bit, and of course the shelk seeking out medicine.

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Now, this is reliant on new game content.

What's next? Well, there's a lot more research to be done! We still, in the real world, don't really understand the habitat of many common plants. And of course then attempts to cultivate, integration into the existing game economy, and then well, let's say a big storm hits the Gyre and kills most of this plant.

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( : neither the Gyre nor shelks existed before this thread but they both will now.)

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"But emsenn! This sounds a lot like 'early colonialism simulator!' Isn't that like the opposite of what you said you want?"

That's a good point, and you're right! I mostly picked showing how exploring a new area would work because I had the notion of tracking an elk and wanted to share that, but this area doesn't have to be /new/ to require constant re-examination and re-appraisal of the circumstances and thus, how you the player-character should be acting.!

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y'know the more i plan it out it sounds like the skills are going to be things like deduction and observation that will increase just so that new players aren't overwhelmed with detail, and then a GIANT FUCKING TABLE of what characters know about /literally fucking everything/ down to like individual berry bushes. :\

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...omg this means there could be a "daydream" command where your character just free-associates pieces of knowledge

"You picture the shelk you saw last week in the Gyre playing billiards at Sed's inn."

"You picture the shelk drinking some Culthbert cider. You wonder if shelk like cider."

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...and if a character daydreamt the right combo, say...

"You wonder what effect drinking alcohol would have on shelk,"

which is a real game mechanic - say, giving hem alcohol makes their shells develop irridescence -

Then that thought gets "stuck" in your head and every your daydreams and other stuff bring you back to it.

"As you see the patron drink their ale, you can't help but remember your daydream, wondering what drinking alcohol would do to a shelk."


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...Oh shit and this is where my whole "can run MUDs inside MUDs comes in handy!"

Because characters' daydreams /could be discrete MUD engines in which a shelk and cider are quickly made, the shelk drinks the cider, and the shelk pre-cider and post-cider are compared to see if there's a difference, and if so, the daydream-MUD goes "oi!" and the character gets the thought stuck, and then the daydream can shut down whenever it shuts down.

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Like: character daydreams happen inside a MUD that's created just out of their knowledge of the MUD they live in.

I've just blown my own mind with the possibilities!!

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@emsenn instantiating a new MUD process as needed, then exit back to the calling process?

@WanderingBeekeeper Basically, yes - but it isn't necessary to "exit" back to the calling process - the daydream MUD can remain running concurrently with the container MUD.

So like, there's Teraum, the dimension, and in it are player-characters. Each of those player-characters is interacting not with Teraum, but with their own personal dimension, which is created from their observations and understanding of the dimension they're actually in.


So like y'know how a lot of philosophers sya we don't live in the "real world" but in a world created by our senses and self?

Like that, but... the interface for an RPG.

Is it still a MUD if every player exists in side their own facsimile dimension and the only interaction is when they move their simulated meat-bodies around enough to affect one another?

Racket-MUD: the only MUD engine guaranteed to give developers and players at least one existential crisis!

so basically 'algorithmic feeds' but with character skills and knowledge, not ads and magic, determining the order.

@emsenn are you going to have different descriptions based on skill level? So that players who grind up their characters get an informational benefit?


I feel like your phrasing comes with a lot of negative connotation, but yes, more or less: a player-character who just walks into an inn for the first time will see "A feminine human is behind the bar, cleaning glasses." a regular will see "Bre's working; cleaning glasses."

@emsenn sorry, didn't intend negativity, just using gamer slang for focusing on character advancement. But yeah, that's basically what I was after, although in the example with the shelk, where a new character would see a plant, but an advanced character with increased Botany skill might recognize it as being similar to other healing plants known. Basically, a more experienced character has more links to the world to connect to.

@WanderingBeekeeper Indeed, just like that!

With the "saccades" mechanic I talked about, characters with botany knowledge would naturally look around at the plants in their environment more frequently than those without, too!

@WanderingBeekeeper Oh and don't worry I want to make it clear to players how these mechanics are happening, what their raw data points are, and how they can change those - if not allow them to manually change them, situationally.

I don't want a player to feel out of control of their character, just like their character is truly their avatar into this world.

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