Author Topic: Messaging and Publications System Rework  (Read 3904 times)

Tom

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Messaging and Publications System Rework
« on: November 03, 2015, 01:07:05 PM »
I'll be the one to say it: The messaging system is a failure, and so is the publications thing.

I had high ambitions, but couldn't make it happen. So it's time to pull the plug and re-think the whole thing. Starting from scratch.

So, before I reveal my thoughts, give me yours, untainted by what I think. Communications in the game, from letters and short-term messages to long-term notices/warnings/postings/announcements - how would a perfect communications system look like in your dreams?


Ratharing

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2015, 03:15:56 AM »
BattleMaster's wasn't bad, if my memory doesn't fail me.

Andrew

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2015, 04:14:03 AM »
I'm not really against either, per se, just feel that they're incomplete.

The message system for instance. If split topics were to include the message they split FROM, would be an improvement. The ability to actually add participants would be great (I'm on like Grand Fate Assembly VII or something now). Tutorials for how to do the more advanced formatting could work as well. The option to identify message types could work as well, though I'm thinking this might be a more conversation-level thing than message-level thing.

Past that, allowing people to manage their own contacts, or at least sort them by realm, rulers, ruler levels, or any/all would be grand.

Publications would be great if they could have a few different types with different setups. Like Notices, Periodicals, and Books.

Notices would be like Periodicals, but have special controls for the realm. These could be used to post laws or beginner information for entire realms, with everyone automatically being subscribed. Limited to Rulers or special positions, most likely.

Periodicals, are like we have now. Make the subscribe feature actually work as intended and distribute new copies though.

Books would be the truly new thing. These would give actual worth to libraries, and people could go around writing and collecting them for their library from other libraries. No subscribing, just taking copies. However, they'd be permanent fixtures in each library, unless the Lord decided to burn them.
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De-Legro

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2015, 05:48:39 AM »
What we need is things like contact management, for example the ability to place contacts in certain groups to reduce the huge lists we end up with at the moment and make it easier to actually locate whom you want. Similarly we need a entry method for selecting contacts similar to those found in email programs. This speed up loading since we aren't loading the list for every message as a default part of the page.


Personally I like the threaded concept for messages, but then I am used to it as I have used it for decades. I find it much easier to locate a specific post then say the Battlemaster system of a single flat list. I would suggest an option to remove the threading within a conversation. I don't think anyone has an issue with the ability to create individual conversations, but some people struggle with drilling down through threaded replies.
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Mookzen

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2015, 10:08:59 AM »
We need the ability to change conversation names because around 80% of the time it ends up being named something undescriptive or the nature of the discussion changes. As it is we are stuck with a godawful list of conversations that are named in a way that's unnecessarily obtuse to navigate, with no way to sort or hide, and to make it worse half of the time we don't even have power over how they are named. If editing topic names breaks some links then by all means keep the original name intact for the back-end but let us change it for convenience on our end. 

Dorian

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2015, 12:43:33 PM »
I am delighted to see this being reorganized.

Battlemaster message system was pretty neat, as it allowed for filtering of messages by tags but we don't have messages by tags here. Perhaps we can introduce them? Not all of them, just maybe the good old red orders and maybe the introduction of the 'event' tag that would understood the recounting of a certain event - a roleplay.

Filtering by day, week and month sounds good to me as well. Currently, if you click on Older Messages you get everything that was ever being shared and this can make it a mess.

I would completely remove the threading. I don't like threading as in bigger conversations that follow a single thread it is impossible re-read it again. I have to click way too many times. Threads are generally very messy if you want to re-read all conversations.

Topics. I like those but I don't like that sub-topics for entire realms for example aren't synced with new character joining after the sub topic has been started. They should be synced.

Allow new characters to be added to existing private conversations. This is an absolute must. Furthermore, allow preview of messages we type, have more advanced text editor so that I can bold anything with one click, allow for 'mark all messages read' for all my characters.

Introduce regional message groups. We have talked about this in the past and the general agreement was that it was good. Let us get in touch with our neighbours. Don't know how to pull it off. Perhaps a combination of roads and inns could define how big a regional group could be, or make game generated areas divided by the existing POI's.

As for libraries, besides making newspapers functional, I would also suggest introducing realm wide bulletins that everyone with the access to a library can put up. There are many things that every new noble asks that could already be provided to him in the bulletins.

Tom

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2015, 01:25:06 PM »
Thank you all for your thoughts. Here are mine:
  • organization of messages and contacts is very important. Maybe a rewrite should start from there, not from the messages themselves.
  • threading is good, but the current one is not. I believe sub-topics are the way to go with threads. Imagine that you could create or split-off sub-topics from any message, but differently from now. You would have the "show sub-topic" button where you have the "show reply" one now, and the whole sub-topic would be loaded in.
  • a similar system should be used for archiving old messages. Group them by, say, month or game-year or something. This way they would still be available, but clicking the "old messages" button would not throw up one thousand of them.
  • yes, some kinds of types or tags are helpful, and the current ones are not being used very much I see.
  • one long-standing issue is that you get everything x times if you have multiple characters in the same realms.
  • we need location-based exchanges.
On a more meta-level, I think it is important to make some different kinds of messaging options:
  • letters - are between two or a small group of recipients, an ongoing conversation
  • proclamations - are from one or a small group of writers to a large group of recipients
  • discussions - or things, or parliaments, or galas or whatever - a room full of people all talking over each other
These might each need different mechanics, or not.

Mookzen

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2015, 05:08:09 PM »
Those suggestions are great, certainly on the right track to improve the whole thing.


Honestly, I would find it much better if the game handled grouping to some extent, what about a list of realms and nobles that the character has talked to, conveniently linked to the in-game info then you can open up a particular noble and see the conversations you've had with him in a way that's easy to navigate, threaded or otherwise, things like where and when, if multiple people were involved then that conversation would show up in full in all involved noble's entries.


Might be problems with the aforementioned but one thing is clear, the ungodly list of unhidable, uneditable conversations for every single character has to be the first thing to be done away with. Maybe even consolidate the messaging system by moving it to a centralized one instead of the unnecessarily obtuse and time-wasting process of clicking on every characters to clear already seen messages and look into their messages. Every character on the account could just be another group at the start of the central message screen, you choose a character and his contact list drops down.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2015, 05:18:04 PM by Mookzen »

Tom

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2015, 03:09:05 PM »
Here is a completely different system that I am thinking about: Localise all communication.

  • Add a constructable building to settlements: Messaging Tower.
    Early build, from somewhere around 500-600 population.
    Advanced building to increase range, for large settlements (around 1500 population).
  • Anyone within range can use the tower, it will send out messages to everyone within twice its range. So it's like a broadcasting station.
  • Messages can be magically sealed (the modern term would be encryption). They can be sealed to a specific realm or to a specific person.
  • Interesting detail: You would be able to see how many messages are being sent that are sealed. That way, you can get a feeling for how active an area is, and also do signal intelligence, if you want.
  • You can also broadcast messages to your entire realm if you are in range to a tower belonging to the realm.
    Later on, I plan to add a diplomacy option for this, so allies can pass messages home to your realm if you are in their range.
This way, we would retain locality, without the tedious contact lists and having to be in range to start a conversation. We would also keep realm conversations, but with limits. People would go out of communication if they go far away, and enemies can interrupt communications by strategic looting (damaging messaging towers).
Most importantly, it would open up communications. You would be able to jump into ongoing conversations in your area, for example.
The system could be used by lords to broadcast information about their settlements to the nearby area as well as for chat between people. Yes, it would be much less organized, instead of the named conversations we have now there would be "messages from the [settlement name] tower". It would probably become necessary to be able to ignore people or towers.

In summary, our options would be:
  • Area message, sealed to individual - if he is in the area, he will get the message. Everyone else will just see that a sealed message was sent.
  • Area message, sealed to realm - everyone in the area who is a member of the realm or a subrealm will get the message. Everyone else just sees the sealed messages counter increasing.
  • Realm message - always sealed to the realm, everyone in the area of any tower belonging to that realm or a subrealm will get either the message (if he belongs to the realm) or just see one sealed message count.

Comments?



FARevolution

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2015, 03:17:57 PM »
To be honest I like it. But will become rather useless once you gain people's contacts, and it would be even more useless if you are part of Ascalon for example, you get the contacts of everyone in the kingdom. So it would only be good to establish contact with neighbors without having to travel there.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2015, 03:28:37 PM by FARevolution »

Weaver

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2015, 10:01:42 PM »
I would honestly 100% stick around as a low ranking trooper Knight, and do SIGINT all day and night, and try to cripple people's communications when at war. That's how much I love this idea.

De-Legro

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2015, 10:08:42 PM »
Here is a completely different system that I am thinking about: Localise all communication.

  • Add a constructable building to settlements: Messaging Tower.
    Early build, from somewhere around 500-600 population.
    Advanced building to increase range, for large settlements (around 1500 population).
  • Anyone within range can use the tower, it will send out messages to everyone within twice its range. So it's like a broadcasting station.
  • Messages can be magically sealed (the modern term would be encryption). They can be sealed to a specific realm or to a specific person.
  • Interesting detail: You would be able to see how many messages are being sent that are sealed. That way, you can get a feeling for how active an area is, and also do signal intelligence, if you want.
  • You can also broadcast messages to your entire realm if you are in range to a tower belonging to the realm.
    Later on, I plan to add a diplomacy option for this, so allies can pass messages home to your realm if you are in their range.
This way, we would retain locality, without the tedious contact lists and having to be in range to start a conversation. We would also keep realm conversations, but with limits. People would go out of communication if they go far away, and enemies can interrupt communications by strategic looting (damaging messaging towers).
Most importantly, it would open up communications. You would be able to jump into ongoing conversations in your area, for example.
The system could be used by lords to broadcast information about their settlements to the nearby area as well as for chat between people. Yes, it would be much less organized, instead of the named conversations we have now there would be "messages from the [settlement name] tower". It would probably become necessary to be able to ignore people or towers.

In summary, our options would be:
  • Area message, sealed to individual - if he is in the area, he will get the message. Everyone else will just see that a sealed message was sent.
  • Area message, sealed to realm - everyone in the area who is a member of the realm or a subrealm will get the message. Everyone else just sees the sealed messages counter increasing.
  • Realm message - always sealed to the realm, everyone in the area of any tower belonging to that realm or a subrealm will get either the message (if he belongs to the realm) or just see one sealed message count.
Comments?


Sounds interesting. Some of the large mountain ranges would possibly inhibit messages and create black spots.
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Ratharing

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2015, 10:15:29 PM »
I'm a little bit worried about the telecommunications parallels drawn in here, on a medieval setting. If it was a tower of ravens, though, as fantastic as that is, it would be better. Or something that made sense in the context of Lendan stones. Maybe a large Lendan stone that needs height, possibly proximity to the sun (medieval times, and later, had some very unscientific theories), to work?

De-Legro

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2015, 10:38:17 PM »
I'm a little bit worried about the telecommunications parallels drawn in here, on a medieval setting. If it was a tower of ravens, though, as fantastic as that is, it would be better. Or something that made sense in the context of Lendan stones. Maybe a large Lendan stone that needs height, possibly proximity to the sun (medieval times, and later, had some very unscientific theories), to work?


As opposed to magical stones, which can be placed in a single location to allow for large scale messaging, like you know telephone exchanges? At least with this concept we move things to an actual in game building.
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Ratharing

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2015, 02:06:44 AM »
As opposed to magical stones, which can be placed in a single location to allow for large scale messaging, like you know telephone exchanges? At least with this concept we move things to an actual in game building.

Unlike satellite and wire telephones, the stones work on a more fantastic logic of having to touch each other. and whatnot. I'd rather see this other logic explored, rather than draw too many parallels with modern telecoms.