Thursday, November 18, 2010

Social Sub-Networks, for characters from different genres

One of the main points of the Magus Device is to have in-character profiles, allowing comrades-in-arms to have conversations, privately or in public, while away from their players' standard gameplay environment (gaming table, LARP meeting place, or logged into the server). To that end, I will be creating subnets for each genre of character, to create a "plausible" social network that your character has joined. Each subnet will have its own style and color scheme, not to mention it's own name.

I am looking for suggestions for names for the various subnets, and the genres they will cover. Possible genres that have occurred to me are: High-Magic Fantasy, Space Opera, Hard Sci-Fi, Near-Future "Gritty", Cyberprep, Steampunk, Gaslight Fantasy, Modern-day Creatures of the Night.

Any ideas for other genres to cover, or names for any of these subnets, would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Why Make the Magus Device a reality?

I have another reason to create The Magus Device: I'm trying to save a hobby.

When you talk about role-playing games today, most people with an interest in it will assume you are talking about online games like World of Warcraft or City of Heroes. Ten years ago, if you mentioned role-playing games, those (few) who knew what you were talking about assumed you were referring to either tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons or Champions, or live-action role-playing games (LARPs) like Vampire: the Masquerade. Twenty years ago, those (far fewer) who knew what RPGs were mainly thought about them in terms of tabletop games. There is a humorous T-shirt graphic from this time showing a nerdy gamer saying, "Let me tell you about my magic-user".

In LARPs and tabletop games, players seemed to have more emotional investment in their characters than the online gamers of today. Of course, one could argue that the former types had put more work into their characters than the latter: pouring through rulebooks, scribbling info on a character and then (most importantly) scheduling time to actually meet with your gaming group and play an adventure! THAT'S the part that a lot of tabletop and LARP gamers are missing: actual face-to-face interaction! The social aspect has always been a key part of role-playing.

But, of course, the hustle and rush-rush-rush of everyday life, friends grow apart. Gaming groups get harder and harder to make meeting times. The social aspects become more difficult to manage. So, we need a tool to help facilitate those aspects. There are already social networks to help organise your relationships, I want the Magus Device to help organise your characters' relationships.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A social network for your RPG characters

Have you ever thought about what a social network profile for your favorite role-playing game character would look like? Sure, that would seem like a non sequitur: only a tiny fraction of RPG characters are from Earth, and only a small fraction of those exist in settings set in the early twenty-first century. But still, the profile page has become a way to present one's identity on the 'net, making one for a character seems like a pretty good way of fleshing him or her out.

Back in the 1980s and 90s, in a world-spanning role-playing campaign (which spanned worlds, genres, and game systems), one of my characters, a mage named Czarzhan, created a self-sustaining magical computer network, called the Magus Device. The Magus Device had two primary functions:
  • to gather as much information as possible about the worlds its peripheral devices (called Eye-Os) explored, and

  • to facilitate communication between users ("Users" originally meaning magic-using types, but it was later expanded to include those who often had interaction with magic or unusual phenomena: i.e. adventurers).
I wrote an article on the Magus Device in All Of The Above #34, a GURPS amateur press association magazine, back in 1998 for GURPS 3rd edition. It has been reproduced here. I want to create an incarnation of the Magus Device on the net to allow players to create profile pages for their characters for real.

Of course, what would a profile page on a social network be without connections to friends and the interactions with their pages? Further, most people who play RPGs have more than one character. Trying to maintain a full account, with separate email addresses and forms of identification, for each character would be ludicrous. It would make more sense to have one user log-in for each physical person, and then profile pages for each of the characters which are linked back to that user.

I plan on creating sub-networks for different genre characters (modern, fastasy, supers, sci-fi, others), and eventually adding other functionality to facilitate game play as well: online game rooms, Google Maps-style fantasy maps, etc..

I'm going to make the Magus Device blog the headquarters for updates on the status of this project.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Has anyone ever created a philosophy that didn't completely fail to take into account that humanity as a species works BECAUSE of its flaws?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

They say the only things that are certain are death and taxes. In broadcasting, the only things that are certain are weather and traffic.

Monday, January 26, 2009

So I watched the first disk of ALEXANDER REVISITED yesterday. That's right, the FIRST disk. I think Stone just couldn't bear to cut ANYTHING

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Is trying out to post to Twitter, LJ, Blogger and Facebook (all from my iGoogle homepage). Let's see if this works...