Author Topic: Messaging and Publications System Rework  (Read 3913 times)

De-Legro

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2015, 02:20:12 AM »
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.


Magic is magic. Teleportation between two stones that are linked by the act of touching them together is no more or less fanciful then magic that travels through the air. We are simply removing the touch concept, to replace it with a local area of affect, and aura emitted by the stones that has a limited range.


More to the point there are serious limitations to the system that I think are detrimental. Diplomacy becomes a matter of travel, which always sounds fun and appropriate, but experience would suggest just makes it tedious. Knights on missions are no potentially longer able to talk to their liege, making the knight game even less attractive then it already is. You also tie remaining in the conversation to location. As we have seen with the large scale RP events, most players like to arrive, RP their arrival then leave to pursue other parts of the game rather then remain stationary for the real life days and weeks the RP takes to complete.




 Further I see no reason we cannot name conversations for area ones? The new table simply needs to include the name of the conversation and location it is centered around. A single massive thread for a settlement just makes messaging a chore, particularly if we want to use the system to broadcast info about a settlement.


Area messaging is interesting, and provide potential we lack, but the current suggestion is far too reliant on it as the only message system (outside of realm wide ones) to be effect in more nuanced communication.
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Tom

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2015, 09:23:14 AM »
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.

There would be no more contacts list. This would REPLACE the current messaging system, completely.

Tom

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2015, 09:26:54 AM »
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?

I might have to retcon the Landan Stones part. At the moment, I'm looking for a better messaging system, the fiction around it will follow.

As for the concept behind, it can be magical, but it could also be simply signaling towers. Smoke, mirros and light, flags, whatever. Range would be on the order of 10 miles, so within visual range.

Mookzen

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2015, 09:36:04 AM »
I like the signal tower idea, as long as we have decent local face-to-face group conversation support because that has been missing and players find themselves in those sort of situations all the time, furthermore a text field within the conversation to describe the location/building/environment would be trivial to add but add further value. Sure, the first person to speak can describe the location, but its a good level to added polish for that info to be clear to all who join and displayed separately.

Tom

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2015, 09:38:20 AM »
More to the point there are serious limitations to the system that I think are detrimental. Diplomacy becomes a matter of travel, which always sounds fun and appropriate, but experience would suggest just makes it tedious.

Yes. On the other hand, I see much potential in not being able to quickly send a message to a foreign ruler explaining that border skirmish was an accident.

Quote
Knights on missions are no potentially longer able to talk to their liege, making the knight game even less attractive then it already is.

This is the same problem. Yes, it is a problem. Here are some ideas to solve that, within this system:
  • Allow links between towers, the same way we have trade today. Someone needs to visit the other side and both parties need to agree. After that, you can send messages between these towers, if you are not just in the area, but actually in the building (I plan to make building interactions more prominent anyways). e.g. an equivalent of "long range communication".
  • Allow a limited(!) number of fixed communications between individuals. For starters, I could simply allow vassals and lords to always communicate directly.
  • Don't solve it. People will adapt.
Quote
You also tie remaining in the conversation to location. As we have seen with the large scale RP events, most players like to arrive, RP their arrival then leave to pursue other parts of the game rather then remain stationary for the real life days and weeks the RP takes to complete.

Yes. I am aware of that. I have an idea for this called a conversation. This would be actually named, it would be in a specific location at a specific time period. Basically, someone would set it up and it would last a limited amount of time. Everyone who joins during this time can read and write to the conversation during that time, and then it ends. Here I would adjust the game mechanics to do what people are already doing.

The other solution would be to use this "direkt link" discussed above and allow people to "pick it up" by visiting and then keep it when they leave.


So in essence, maybe the most simple solution would be to allow people to keep a direct link to a low number of towers, irrespective of distance. If you want to keep in touch with someone, both of you simply need to keep a link to the same tower.


Tom

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2015, 01:30:06 PM »
Reworking the idea:
  • Message sending and receiving is limited to towers in your range.
  • Additionally, you can keep a low, limited number of towers on "permanent link", and communicate with it over vast (but not unlimited) distances, i.e. you are considered to be "in range" to these towers not for 10 miles, but for 100 miles (or such, all numbers are subject to change).
  • Towers can reach other towers belonging to the same realm.
  • Messages can be sealed to one character. Such messages can be sent locally or through permanent links (which is the same thing, remember permanent links are considered to be "in range").
  • Messages can also be sealed to one realm. Such messages can be sent locally or broadcasted, where every tower that receives it will re-send it, provided it can unseal it (i.e. is in the same realm).
This way, fragments of realms that are disconnected from the main area are also disconnected for communication. This will be especially harsh on the island realms. I am thinking that maybe towers can also have permanent links, one or two, for such things.


This reduces the complexity of the system and makes it easier to understand, while putting the focus even more strongly on locality. Additionally, it solves the problems of vassals/lords communication (and to make things easier for new players, when you take a knight offer you would also automatically get a link to that settlement) as well as galas and tournaments (everyone simply comes in, establishes a link, and then everyone can talk as they like).


Instead of names communications and such, I am thinking about a different, more flexible way of organising messages: Keywords. A message can have a few (not unlimited, but a couple) keywords, and you can filter by them. Replying to a message copies all its keywords to your new message (but you can edit them).
Obviously, you can simply use unique names to create unique conversations. But you can also use keywords for topics, possibly overlapping. So you can tag everything about bandits with "bandit" or everything about war with "war", or even everything OOC with "ooc". You can use realm names, times - absolutely anything. This allows for the greatest flexibility with the greatest simplicity, and it uses a system that is very easy to understand.


Finally, messages will have limited lifetimes. There will be a flag or switch to allow for "important" messages that will have longer lifetimes, but I'm sure 99% of messages get never looked at again after two weeks, so after 60 in-game days (about two weeks real-time), messages get deleted.



Andrew

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2015, 03:18:50 PM »
I look forward to setting the record for "most distance covered by towers in a single realm" with the many isles of the Grand Fate.

That said, just a few days ago I was pulling up roleplays from several months ago. And I do every so often reference some old message. Mostly when I'm arguing without authority.

For the 60 day mark, is that 60 days from the message being sent, the message being read, the conversation's last message or something else?

If you want to make this even more reliant on knowing how to get around without totally limiting it, add a way for a tower to support a few private links. These would be for like Ruler-Ruler channels or special connections beneath the ruler level.

Also, would it be possible to setup custom message groups with this? I'd love to have one for the 18-or-so characters that will make up the Grand Fate's government, that all of them could read. Maybe even let random people write to it, but not read those messages?
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Foxglove

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2015, 04:25:51 PM »
Reworking the idea:
  • Message sending and receiving is limited to towers in your range.
  • Additionally, you can keep a low, limited number of towers on "permanent link", and communicate with it over vast (but not unlimited) distances, i.e. you are considered to be "in range" to these towers not for 10 miles, but for 100 miles (or such, all numbers are subject to change).
  • Towers can reach other towers belonging to the same realm.
  • Messages can be sealed to one character. Such messages can be sent locally or through permanent links (which is the same thing, remember permanent links are considered to be "in range").
  • Messages can also be sealed to one realm. Such messages can be sent locally or broadcasted, where every tower that receives it will re-send it, provided it can unseal it (i.e. is in the same realm).
This way, fragments of realms that are disconnected from the main area are also disconnected for communication. This will be especially harsh on the island realms. I am thinking that maybe towers can also have permanent links, one or two, for such things.

Etc, etc, etc.

Speaking really bluntly, I absolutely hate this whole concept. We need to make communication easier and more free flowing, not more difficult. The ability to communicate breeds interaction. The more freely people can communicate, the more they do it. The more restrictive communication is, the less they will do it. It's true in the real world, and it's true in a game.

Tom, I know that the idea of location-based, limited ability to communicate has been close to your heart ever since the game was conceived. It might seem like a fantastic idea on paper, but it just doesn't work in a game that has interaction at its core.

De-Legro is completely right when he says this:
More to the point there are serious limitations to the system that I think are detrimental. Diplomacy becomes a matter of travel, which always sounds fun and appropriate, but experience would suggest just makes it tedious. Knights on missions are no potentially longer able to talk to their liege, making the knight game even less attractive then it already is. You also tie remaining in the conversation to location.

Also, the tower idea will mean that to spread a particular message over distances beyond a tower's range, it has to go through a number of 'relays', presumably being received by a character who then has to send it through their tower to broaden the distance it's sent. Again, while this might sound like a fantastic idea on paper, in practice it'll be tedious. You could get around the tedium by automating message relays so that a tower auto-rebroadcasts any messages it receives, but it's just propping up a communication system that isn't ideal anyway.

Additionally, it solves the problems of vassals/lords communication (and to make things easier for new players, when you take a knight offer you would also automatically get a link to that settlement) as well as galas and tournaments (everyone simply comes in, establishes a link, and then everyone can talk as they like).

Yeah, but how do you get people to come to a tournament or gala in the first place? I've attended tournaments and galas that have characters there from all corners of the map. Trying to inform such a widespread group of people that such events are even taking place would be a major task under this new system of localized communication.

As I've said, my take on it is that communication needs to be free-flowing, easy, and uncomplicated. The threaded conversations are an abomination that needs to go. As has been said by people since the game started, 'message mining' to get down through messages in a conversation is a royal pain. I know there are some people who are used to it since it was common in the early days of the internet, but it isn't suited to the modern audience.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - there's no need to reinvent the wheel. I understand the desire to innovate, but all that's really needed here is something more akin to the Battlemaster message system with improved flexibilty. Keep the realm-wide conversation so anyone in a realm can send messages to anyone else, giving the conversations titles so that each one is easy to locate. Also add the 'mark as read for all my characters' button that has been requested ever since the game started.

Keep the contacts list, but allow people to customize it to their own needs by letting them add names to it rather than just making it so people are automatically added. So a character's contacts list would start blank and then the player chooses who to add to the list. That way it stays a manageable length and lists aren't cluttered up with people that a player has never heard of. Then allow people to create conversations between people on their personal contacts list, and allow other people in that conversation to invite others into the conversation. That way, contact spreads in an organic way with characters introducing someone to someone else, and they then decide whether they want to keep in touch with each other by adding them to their personal contacts list.

That way, you have both a broad means of communication (the realm-wide channels), and a more selective and targeted way to create conversations (contacts list).
« Last Edit: November 10, 2015, 04:43:00 PM by Foxglove »
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Ratharing

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #23 on: November 10, 2015, 04:50:17 PM »
Additionally, we could use incentives for becoming independent. A channel that automatically connects all independent rulers, for example, would be very interesting for vassals to desire.

Tom

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #24 on: November 10, 2015, 05:03:46 PM »
Speaking really bluntly, I absolutely hate this whole concept. We need to make communication easier and more free flowing, not more difficult. The ability to communicate breeds interaction. The more freely people can communicate, the more they do it. The more restrictive communication is, the less they will do it. It's true in the real world, and it's true in a game.

That why I post my ideas here even as my thoughts go on. To find out what works and what doesn't.

I want communication to be easy and accessible, but not necessarily free-flowing. There should be some obstacles, where they have the potential to further conflict and prevent the UN scenario that generates everlasting peace (which I would love in the real world, but hate in the game world).


Quote
Yeah, but how do you get people to come to a tournament or gala in the first place? I've attended tournaments and galas that have characters there from all corners of the map. Trying to inform such a widespread group of people that such events are even taking place would be a major task under this new system of localized communication.

True. So it should be possible to broadcast unsealed messages. This way, everyone in your realm and on its edges will receive the message. If it is interesting, those at the edges can send it to their realm, where again it will reach everyone and the neighbours. Like a viral Tweet, it can quickly reach even far corners.


Quote
I've said it before, and I'll say it again - there's no need to reinvent the wheel. I understand the desire to innovate, but all that's really needed here is something more akin to the Battlemaster message system with improved flexibilty. Keep the realm-wide conversation so anyone in a realm can send messages to anyone else, giving the conversations titles so that each one is easy to locate. Also add the 'mark as read for all my characters' button that has been requested ever since the game started.

I understand the desire for evolutionary progress, but I really think the system is so horribly broken that it needs to be completely reworked.

kroack

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2015, 04:53:54 AM »

I agree that the conceit of the game should be easy communications. I realize that Tom is trying to strive for a real feudal experience, but I think any game that tries to staunch communication is going to wither on the vine.

Why not just do it Game of Thrones style. Have a building called an aviary where you can select any estate in the world (or limit its range to your realm and people you've met so you can add the map location to your birdkeeper's map) and have ravens/owls/pigeons carry messages from settlement to settlement. Actions could be added for siege armies to shoot down ravens and intercept messages, cutting off lords. Inclement weather or wars or what not could waylay birds. 


Mass messages could still be sent out, but communications hubs would have to build bigger aviaries or something.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2015, 05:10:58 AM by kroack »

De-Legro

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2015, 05:10:34 AM »
I agree that the conceit of the game should be easy communications. I realize that Tom is trying to strive for a real feudal experience, but I think any game that tries to staunch communication is going to wither on the vine.

Why not just do it Game of Thrones style. Have a building called an aviary where you can select any estate in the world (or limit it's range to your realm and people you've met so you can add the map location to your birdkeeper's map) and have ravens/owls/pigeons carry messages from settlement to settlement. Actions could be added for siege armies to shoot down ravens and intercept messages. Inclement weather or wars or what not could waylay birds. Mass messages could still be sent out, but communications hubs would have to build bigger aviaries or something.


So basically the same as what Tom proposes. Messages are still centered around settlements. Whenever you are not in range you get nothing. Gods help you if you are a lord of mountain regions too small to build even the most basic tower.
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kroack

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2015, 05:14:15 AM »
Oh, maybe it's exactly the same. Whoops. Maybe the aviary also creates a falconer entourage member who can follow you around with birds for messages? If your birdperson is killed in battle you're cut off. And I think even the tiniest hamlet could afford to build what is basically a cage for a bird and a peasant to tend to it.

Tom

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2015, 06:29:04 AM »
So basically the same as what Tom proposes. Messages are still centered around settlements. Whenever you are not in range you get nothing. Gods help you if you are a lord of mountain regions too small to build even the most basic tower.

You will get messages from surrounding settlements. That is precisely why I give them a range in miles, not just "to this region".

I did an experiment with a feature, like watchtowers, but I fear there will be too many soon. I ran a quick test on Erstes Imperium (before Eldamar split off, so at its biggest size) using the existing Watchtowers and there are more than one thousand of them. It took 30 seconds to calculate the area that can be reached. And which characters are reached.

Tom

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Re: Messaging and Publications System Rework
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2015, 03:10:35 PM »
My current concept, written up as a manual page:



The world of Might & Fealty being as political as it is, messages play a very important part. Fortunately, First Ones are not as limited as mortal humans are when it comes to exchanging messages, and it will not take three weeks for a letter to cross an empire.

The lynchpin of communications are the Lendan towers. With a large magical stone raised above the roofs of the settlement, they can receive and broadcast messages from the smaller Lendan stones that First Ones carry around with them. If you have not yet read the fiction section: These magical stones allow communication over big distances, and messages sent through them can be magically sealed to be readable only by specific recipients.

The magical process that allows the sealing of messages also provides a kind of magical signature or authentication, making the forging of messages sent through Lendan stones impossible. At the same time, it also prevents the owner of the Lendan tower from interfering with messages. He can tear the tower down, but he cannot filter messages.



Receiving Messages
------------------
All First Ones automatically receive all messages sent through all Lendan towers in range. The sending range of towers is higher than the receiving range, so you can receive messages that you cannot reply to without getting closer. Your location at the time the message is sent decides if you receive a message or not, so it does not matter when you read your messages.

Many messages that you receive will be magically sealed for others, and you cannot read them. Anyway you will know that there was a message, and your scribes will give you a summary of received, unreadable messages in addition to your own messages. This information can actually be useful, to have an estimate of local messaging activity, especially when it changes suddenly which is often an indicator that something is going on.


Archiving Messages
------------------
The magical stone also stores messages that it received, but only for a limited time. But you can **archive** messages, if you have a scribe. He will copy it to paper and keep it for you as long as you want.


Sending Messages
----------------
You can send messages at any time to any Lendan tower in range. This range is smaller than the range of towers sending messages around, but it is still several miles and you will usually have several towers that you can send to.

When sending a message, you decide if you want to seal it for one particular character, or for all members of a realm. Only these recipients will then be able to read it. However, realm changes also affect readability of messages, so if you join a realm, all previously received messages sealed for that realm become readable to you. If you leave a realm, you lose access to all that realm's messages, except for archived messages.



Broadcasting Messages
---------------------
Lendan towers can also send messages to each other. By marking a message as a **broadcast** for a specific realm, the tower you send it to will also connect to all other towers in range, and if they belong to that realm as well, send it to those, and they will propagate it.
This way, you can effectively send messages to everywhere in your realm, plus some distance across the borders. It allows entire realms to communicate with each other, but also to make announcements to everyone within the realm area.

Note that the message will propagate from tower to tower. A realm with several disconnected land areas or with too few Lendan towers in its settlements could result in a message broadcast in one part of the realm not reaching another part. The people working at the Lendan tower can visualise the area reached with a broadcast message for you. If you are in the field, one helpful rule-of-thumb is that any Lendan towers that you can reach (i.e. send to) can also connect to each other, so there is no advantage in sending the same message to different towers.



Linked Stones
-------------
One additional very important option is that you can enter a Lendan tower and *link* one of your personal stones to the tower stone. This takes a short time after which the stones are synchronised on a magical level and can communicate with each other over very large distances.
This is most useful for keeping a link to your lords esatate, or to one or more of your own estates while you travel abroad, or to the realm capital. But of course you can also use it to attend a tournament and stay in touch while you travel on, or to build a network of important diplomatic contacts that you can always message.

The most important thing about linking stones is that you have only a very limited number of them, so you cannot maintain as many links as you probably want. You will have to make tough decisions about which links to keep and which to sacrifice.


« Last Edit: November 11, 2015, 03:12:28 PM by Tom »