Series Info...#10: Not a Turkey in Sight!

by Shannon Appelcline

November 22, 2000 – We've been verbized! It's been going on for a few weeks without me realizing, and then Monday night it hit me. Verbized!

Verbization, for those of you not in the linguistic loop, is the art of turning a noun into a verb. It happens all the time, particular in the world of business memos gone terribly wrong. Now we have joined those sordid ranks.

In case I'm not being clear enough here, I'm taking about Marrach. Kimberly and I have often talked about her "Marraching". I'm sure we're not the only ones.

Marrach (mâr-ak) v. marrached, marraching, marrachs -tr. 1. To engage in a fun online roleplaying experience within Castle Marrach 2. To engage in a number of activities related to Castle Marrach, such as reading forums, exchanging email, or constructing web pages.

Verbization. Wow.

Turkey Time

It's nearly Thanksgiving as I write this, so I've decided to keep this week's column short and sweet: no long introspectives, no lengthy bug discussions. Just a few things to ponder this week, and I'm out of here.

It being the season of giving thanks and all, I'd like to tell you all one of the things that all of us folks at Skotos are pretty thankful about right now. It's pretty simple: Castle Marrach appears to be successful.

It was a very different world for us, three months ago, when we had a neat product that we were doggedly working on. We didn't know how it would be received. We didn't know if anyone would join the game. We didn't know if people would be more interested in actually interacting and roleplaying than seeing blood splattered across computer screens with increasing number of polygons.

But they did come. You did come. As of Tuesday afternoon 1,302 of you had come. Not everyone stays, and not everyone will be interested in paying for Marrach (and the rest of our games) when January rolls around, but it sounds like a great start to me.

So that's what we're thankful for: that Castle Marrach isn't a turkey.

Wishes for the Future

A few weeks ago I outlined my Castle Marrach wish list: a set of mechanical things that would make the Castle more fun. We're not there yet, but as of this week, we're on our way.

In the last couple of weeks, our programmers have been working very hard to provide our game developers with systems that will allow them to create objects that do things – objects that can have special effects when manipulated. Musical instruments that can be played, that sort of thing, for a start.

In December and January watch for a slowly increasing number of cool things in the Castle.

Thoughts for the Future

As I said, I wanted to keep things short this week, so this time around, I just have a pile of unanswered questions – queries for both StoryTellers and StoryBuilders whose answers could lead to better games. I'm not going to try and answer them this week; they'll be topics for future columns.

Some questions for StoryTellers:

  • How do you create an environments that's fun for both new and old players? (I cross reference Sam Witt's most recent article, which provides a great example of involving newbies and veterans alike.)
  • How do you segregate IC and OOC knowledge?
  • How do you avoid upsetting players OOC based on IC discussions?
  • How can you involve the most players in a StoryTeller plot?
  • How do you get players to help lead plots?
Some questions for StoryBuilders:
  • How do you build games that stand up to constant replaying?
  • How do you build games that stand up to a variety of types of gameplay?
  • How can StoryBuilding in advance decrease the need for StoryTelling in the moment?
  • How can you coordinate multiple StoryBuilders?
  • How can you incorporate community input into your StoryBuilding, and do you want to?
Food for thought? Grist for future columns. Tell me what interests you!

In the meantime, enjoy your turkeys this weekend.

your opinion...