Shining Dodecahedron

One geek's views on role-playing and games in general.

This place is all about discussing paper-and-pencil roleplaying games. I'm Jay, and I run this joint, but that doesn't make me smarter than you. This will all work best if I say things, and you say what you think about them, lather, rinse, repeat. With luck we can all understand the hobby a little better. If you have a topic that you would like me to start a thread about, post a comment here. If you've got something to say about characters (my ongoing topic du jour), post a comment here.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

[Plotlines] Currency Schmurrency

I don't yet have a name for my plotline-driven game that I started talking about yesterday--so I'll continue to call it Plotlines until a better name rises to the surface.

So you need currency for these things:

  • Investing in your own plotlines (though maybe this just happens when you need it to--more on this later)
  • Investing in situations. So this means you are saying that not only will there be a situation in the future but that it matters to you as a player enough that you want control over it. So if we were playing Star Wars (original trilogy, thanks very much) and I was playing Luke, pretty early on I would write on a 3x5 card (confront Vader) and then I'd start investing in that situation like nobody's business. Then, when I actually get to the duel at the end of episode 5, I have extra resources to help out during that scene.
  • Giving to other players when they do something cool
  • Getting from the GM as a reward for playing along on his plotlines
And maybe more stuff as well.

So I'm not sure that all of these things are the same currency (though I tend to think that it is). And I have no resolution mechanic, so I can't start figuring out how it all works quite yet.

Much to think on.


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Blogger Bankuei said...

Hi Jay,

Is this something you need for this game in particular, or something you think is needed in general for this game to happen?

Because if it is the latter, there's quite a few games that get emotional investment without direct currency connections (Trollbabe, Sorcerer, Dogs in the Vineyard, etc.).

If it's the former, I can easily see some form of gift/bonus dice wrapping up the latter two concerns in one go. Also, a quick look at Universalis or Capes might give you a good feeling for literally "investing" into story, if you haven't already looked :)


Thursday, September 08, 2005 8:28:00 AM  
Blogger Jay Loomis said...


I wasn't clear--I did mean needed just for this game.

I have played Capes, but haven't gotten around to buying a copy of Universalis. I should check it out.

Anyway, I'm not saying that the solution will be hard. I'm just posting my design process as it happens. :-)

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Blogger blog said...

Computer news

analysis: Microsoft, Yahoo Take Aim At IM Competition

Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. on Wednesday said they would let instant-messaging subscribers communicate across their networks for the first time, a move seen as a response to competitive pressures building from market leader America Online Inc., EBay Inc. and Google Inc.

Microsoft and Yahoo said they would provide customers in the second quarter of next year with the basic communication services of text communication, computer-to-computer voice calls and presence, which is the ability to see who is available on the network. The deal does not apply to higher-level services, such as tying IM to search, online music or photo sharing; nor do the companies plan to enter an advertising agreement.

Instead the deal focuses on providing consumers with the ability to communicate across two of the top three instant-messaging networks. Instant-messaging subscribers have long complained about the inability to chat across networks, unless someone is willing to join multiple services.

"It's about providing a service that users really want," Dan Rosensweig, chief operating office for Yahoo, said in joint news conference with Microsoft.

As to why the companies didn't provide interoperability sooner, the complexity of linking two networks with 10s of millions of subscribers was one hampering factor, as well as the business implications of opening up a network of customers to a competitor, the companies said.

Keeping customers on a closed network creates a captured audience for online advertising and makes it easier to lure subscribers to other services.

Nevertheless, company officials insisted that more open instant messaging has been a longtime desire by Microsoft and Yahoo, which expect the combined network to make their IM services more valuable to each other and customers.

"This is a situation were one and one will equal three," Blake Irving, corporate vice president for Microsoft MSN communication services, said.

Nevertheless, the deal is seen more as a result of a changing market in Internet communications. For one, AOL, a division of Time Warner Inc., is firmly established as the market leader in instant messaging in the United States, which is the world's largest consumer market, with 49.2 million subscribers in August, according to web metrics firm ComScore Networks. MSN was second with 24.4 million and Yahoo third with 22 million.

In addition, online auctioneer EBay has agreed to acquire Internet telephony vendor Skype Technologies SA for $2.6 billion. Skype's voice over Internet protocol software has been downloaded 163 million times worldwide. EBay competes with Yahoo and Microsoft in online retail.

Google, on the other hand, launched in August its own instant-messaging service Google Talk, which includes PC-to-PC voice calls. As the new kid on the block, Google has a tiny portion of the IM market. Nevertheless, Microsoft has identified Google as a top competitor on the Internet.

"The most important objective for an Internet portal is to make itself attractive to advertisers: the bigger your base of registered users, the bigger is the audience that you can offer to advertisers," John Delaney, analyst for market researcher Ovum, said in a research note. "By combining their IM user bases, MSN and Yahoo ‘raise the bar’ that Google would need to clear to establish dominance as an IM provider, to a very high level."

With all the major web portals offering web mail, Internet telephony and instant messaging, experts also believe they are gradually building a communications platform that could one day seamlessly integrate email, voicemail and IM, making it all accessible through multiple devices.

The heart of such a communications hub would be the contacts directory, experts say. Besides grouping people by their relationship with the IM subscriber, such as a family member, friend or colleague, the directory also establishes whether they are reachable. That could one day be expanded to add how the person wants to be reached, by PC, cellular phone or some other device.

Knowing whether people are available, how to reach them and where they are could one day open up a lucrative advertising market.

Microsoft and Yahoo, however, appear to be taking a cautious approach, since the deal does not go beyond basic services. Also, the deal essentially creates a larger proprietary network, and will not, on its own, lead to an open system, such as email.

"I would not say this is a sign of great openness," Joe Wilcox, analyst for JupiterResearch, said. "It's more like establishing diplomatic relations between two countries, rather than opening borders."

As the market leader, AOL's next move is important. The company has refused to open its IM network in the past, but is also in talks with Microsoft to combine their Internet operations, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"Assuming there may have been, or may be, talks between AOL and Microsoft, the timing of the (Yahoo-Microsoft) announcement may have been intentional to influence those presumed discussions," Wilcox said. "AOL has to decide does it want to work with the Microsoft camp, go its own way or form a strategic alliance with someone else."

AOL did not return calls for comment.

Customers of Yahoo and Microsoft are expected to be able to sign in with one user ID and password for either network, and automatically have access to subscribers of both companies. The combined service is expected to use session initiation protocol, or SIP, a protocol for real-time communications.

Security on the larger network, however, is expected to be more problematic, since the two companies would not have the same level of control as with their own networks, Jon Sakoda, chief technology officer for IM security firm IMlogic, said. With the combined networks, virus writers will have an easier path in reaching more people.

"These are real-time communication networks that are on disparate technology standards," Sakoda said. "There are some significant challenges."

About the Author: By Antone Gonsalves, TechWeb News
Copyright © - 2005 Entireweb


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoa - comment spam!

Sorry about the late comment (only just found this blog): what about players giving each other currency for their plotlines? What about supporting tying the plotlines together?

E.g. player 1 creates a cool plotline about the Death Star, player 2 lends them some currency to help them out? Or even creates their own, linked plotline?

Thursday, December 08, 2005 5:07:00 PM  
Blogger Jay Loomis said...

Hey, Luke! Thanks for commenting on this old post. What you're talking about is exactly the sort of thing I'm trying to promote. I want the game to reward players for investing in shared plotlines.

I'm not active on this game's design right now, but I am starting to talk about gaming stuff again at my new LiveJournal blog (

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