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Nova System For Role Playing

Discussion in 'Software & Hosting' started by daenelia, Nov 4, 2011.

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    daenelia Sky Pirate Captain with a Twisted Past

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    I can't find a previous topic on this and I still would like to share this. We came across this while looking for a star trek rpg a couple of weeks ago. Many adverts said 'play by sms' or 'nova' and we could not figure out what that meant. The sites did often have forums, but no roleplay seemed to be happening there. There did seem to be fully written posts, sometimes co-written by multiple characters. We figured they were written offline, maybe through email, and then posted by the site admin.

    But no. Star Trek rp has evolved beyond that. It is a whole system that is somewhere between content management and yahoo group. There are free hosted variants (for star trek rp's only) and you can host the software on your own space. I just installed it to see what makes it tick and then I had to start up a new rp with it.

    Does anyone have any experience with this system by Anodyne, positive or negative?
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    Fluff I'm a redhead, a blond, a cat, a dragon

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    Fascinating. I googled what you mentioned. Never heard of it before.
    http://www.anodyne-productions.com/index.php/main/about
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    daenelia Sky Pirate Captain with a Twisted Past

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    Yep, that is it. I know it is a big leap from using a forum, but it's manageable and written specifically for a type of roleplaying. It just gives you different options than a forum. I only discovered it a month or so ago. But I really like it.
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    onion Member

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    So what kind of options does it give you?
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    daenelia Sky Pirate Captain with a Twisted Past

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    You're right, I was not being very clear about that.

    Fir one thing, what I really like, is that it gives you the option to write joint posts, without having to publish it right away. You save your post, tag another person to add their bit, and continue like this until the post is complete. You can do this one line at a time, if you have the time to work like that. Or you can write a whole chunk of text, giving the other player the option to reply in between your text, and just keep editing it until everyone is happy. Only then do you post it, and can it be read by everyone else.

    That gives each post a very solid feeling, when reading it. Plus you can go back 'in time' to change or add something, if that makes sense. In a series of forum posts you can only go forward, or you get the, imo, awkward way of repeating what someone said five posts ago to add your own answers in. Reads awkwardly, for me.

    From an admin viewpoint, you can create your own biography fields, with dropdown menu's that limit choices, or textfields for longer text. Approving new members is a one-click thing, and the character can immediately be seen and use the system to write a post.

    Of course it can be set to send out email notifications about just anything that happens on the site: from a post being saved, that you're in, to a post being published, new comments added etc. There is also the option to set up a mini wiki integrated into the site. This is very basic, but is great if you want to allow you players to add to the world and write background stories or add to the world lore.

    Then there is the character list and the npc creation. The character list shows what characters are being played, but you can give players the option to create their 'own' npcs and fill in the same bio form as for regular characters. You don't have to go an organize anything, all characters are just sorted nicely in a list, with npc's denoted as being npc's.

    Positions! You can create roles or positions that are available in an rpg. I can see this can be handy for a number of rpg types. And it is easy for an admin to create more roles or set the number of open places for certain roles or positions.

    Ranks are set by the admin. So posting has no effect on getting a higher rank, not immediately. You can decide to never change rank for someone or to 'reward' someone with a different or custom rank. And you can award players with... awards. Hm.

    Well, I don't want to sound like a fangirl, but I have run forum rpg's and yahoo groups, been part of forum rpg's that were very organized, and still I think this is the most interesting way to play-write rp's, that I have found so far. And it does take some fiddling and modifying to make it suit something other than a miltary based scifi rpg, but it can be done. With enough imagination.

    Skinning! Is also possible, and very doable, if you start from scratch.
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    Haymitch's Flask Lets go explore

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    To preface, for many years I was on forum-based ST RPs before I joined my first SMS game.

    ...I wasn't a fan and still am not. It may be because I just haven't found the right game, or maybe because it moves quite slow for me, but there's just something about SMS that i just do not like. Part of me says its because I have yet to find a real community on an SMS game, or maybe its just because those games never take off. Alternately, it could be because some admins just don't use the software to its full potential? But either way, its not a system of RP that I enjoy at all.

    However, I will say that SMS is actually really handy to use as a seperate index site for RPs. However, the same issue comes up that has been mentioned here, especially when it comes to the use of wikis -- is it better to keep al the information on the forum or not? Personal experience says yes. But that's a side point I think.

    Anyways, no, I'm not really a fan of SMS playing. The software is pretty handy though and I'm pretty excited to see someone actually do something original with teh software like you, daenalia.
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    Roswenth Oops.

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    I can set one up for testing, if you all want. I'm kinda curious, too. I am interested to see how it works and what you can do with it...
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    daenelia Sky Pirate Captain with a Twisted Past

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    I think I am only scratching the surface of the possibilities. It has been a serious long time since I last set up a roleplay anywhere, so I am bound to miss out on some obvious features.

    @Domster, I do agree that there is the possibility of not connecting with your members. Or even among members. If Anodyne were to have a simple built-in forum for connecting, other than the messaging system, that would be a plus. However, simply linking to an external forum, or using IM to keep in touch is always an option, And that's what we chose: we have an old forum, it is quite inactive, but we made a little room for posting about the rp and for members to get to know each other occ.

    They are working on a Nova 2, which would be the 3rd incarnation of sms, if I understand it correctly. If this system is used by other rp's than Trek, who knows what features they may choose to built in to accomodate these.

    @Indigo, the truth is in the testing... eh, tasting.
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    Endy Member

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    The ship in my sig is a Nova sim, if you want to come in and poke around at it, I'd love another person in the RP. So you might imagine that in response to your OP, Daenelia, I have both good and bad to say about it. Where shall I start? Let's see... the e-mail. You have to understand the person who created the SMS (Simm Management Service) and Nova apps before you can understand them for what they are. DVS, David van Scott, cut his teeth in fleet-based Play By E-Mail (PBEM) and Yahoo!Groups games; this is important. But the problem is that e-mail sometimes is too decentralized and people wouldn't know the difference between a finished joint post and one still in process. So, in comes this hacked-together mess called SMS. It sends out e-mails, just like the old mailing lists. It also hosts the posts on the site - like the old Y!Groups. But it looks prettier, it can be hosted on one's own server, etc.

    But all in all, it really sucks for anything but the exact kind of Star Trek roleplay we've been talking about in the thread that I posted. The game basically cannot run without missions, though in Nova you can run two missions at once and group missions. All in all, I do tend to prefer forum ST Roleplays, but that's me. I think I'd be more comfortable discussing it honestly in a non-public environment - so PM me.
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    daenelia Sky Pirate Captain with a Twisted Past

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    Well, the steampunk rp i am running, is being run sucessfully so far on nova. [eyes go to sig] granted that the main bulk plays on a sky ship with pirates, but i also have characters in port. Nova is adaptable if you can think outside the box.

    I understand why it attracted me. I started rping with a pbem yahoo based group. We used to switch text files for joint posts, on msn, before we had avatars and fancy things... Ahhh, nostalgia.

    It has limitations, but for me: so do forums. When writing in a group, or as a group, internet is both helpful and limited. But i do like that there are several option out there to accomodate your style of writing and playing.
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    paperfailsnail I really like Hall & Oates.

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    This is very interesting! Something that would (personally) take me a bit of getting used to, but I'd be interested to try it. The level of collaborative writing going on seems to definitely be a step up from the patterns people normally fall into on forums. A lot more narrative based, linear storyline focused, and I think I like that a lot!
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    Zozma What the hell's a quatloon? Some kind of potato?

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    This sounds interesting but the fact that it's just for Star Trek is a turn off as I don't play Star Trek games.

    Definitely sounds like something that could be used for smaller games, though...
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    daenelia Sky Pirate Captain with a Twisted Past

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    Ah ha! But there is the thing! I think it can work for other rpg settings! As for size, we now have around nine members, after one week, so it is still rather small. But right now that is good, because i am still figuring out how to organise things, how to set things up for players. I do wonder how big it can grow...
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    Gossamer ........I've got nothing

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    Huh, that actually looks really interesting. I used to do a bit pbem back in the day, but got out of it when I discovered forums. But the prospect of a linear, ongoing storyline does sound really interesting. That is something I've kind of missed with forum-based roleplaying. I'll admit, I had no idea what the software even was after trying to poke around their site, but this thread is giving me more of an idea. I might have to check it out. Probably starting with your game, Daenelia. :)
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    Roswenth Oops.

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    I think I would like it only with a small group of collaborative writers, not for a larger RP. Much like a tabletop gaming group or something.
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    Drae Member

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    Just had a look at their explanation of the features (http://www.anodyne-productions.com/index.php/nova/index). I'm loving the ability to comment on others' posts and what some of you have mentioned - easier joint posting!

    I'm intrigued about the ranks though that someone mentioned above. Specific to RPGs? Can somebody explain?
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    daenelia Sky Pirate Captain with a Twisted Past

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    Because it is developed for military rpg's, more or less, you can assign ranks to players, independent from the role or position (on board). So in Star Trek you have enlisted crew, ensigns, commanders etc. For Stargate you'd have their specific ranks. Or you can make your own, to fit your rpg. They don't have to be military ranks, I made two that are simply Mister and Mistress. But you can go wild with this and use it in a way it was not meant to be used. Ranks are assigned, not earned through posting, the way you do on a forum (post a minimum of 50 posts and you get a new rank title).

    Does that explain it a little?
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    Drae Member

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    It does, thanks :) I'd happily use this system I think, except for the self-hosting (something that I've always not been comfortable with).
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    It actually seems far more RPG friendly than forums do but I think that was the point of it aha. The only thing that bothered me about it was the lack of a clear, quick means of OOC communication, as said somewhere in here already, and I do have members that either just don't have the CPU to run a messenger or are not allowed to have them. That said, that would be easily gotten around by attaching a forum, or if you know PHP, coding in an in-line guest-book type thing or putting in a cbox.

    I've got a test install on one of my spare hosting accounts, and I'm really liking it thus far. I dunno that I'd want to move one of my RPGs over onto one of those but it's certainly an idea for a future game. Seems really easy to translate into other languages as well, always a bonus with me as I've always got members from other countries.

    I adapted it pretty easily to a Bleach RPG though. But then, Bleach is military-centric so it was pretty easy to do. Though, I can imagine an RPG on this system with silly ranks like "Tea Connoisseur", "Creepy Git", and "Sly Fox". LOL I almost want to do something like that now. I dunno how well one of these would work for a game though just because its probably totally new to most and I bet it'll run into the same issues other forum softwares do, just six times worse because its not even a forum at all.
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    Endy Member

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    I have to agree - OOC communication generally in Nova takes one of two forms: Admin posted news items, or private messages passed back and forth. There's really no means of quick contact - and while you could embed a Cbox on a Wiki page using Thresher, or even create your own page for it, there's no guarantee of anyone using it.

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