Posts Tagged ‘OtherSpace’

The Road to World Conquest: Gaming up the MUSH

September 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Dominion‘s going to turn OtherSpace into EVE Online.”

That’s the sentiment someone shared in a discussion on the MUSH the other day. Despite the fact that OtherSpace gaining 450,000 players like the popular multiplayer space sim would be amazingly awesome, this comment wasn’t intended to be complimentary.

Dominion is an extension – call it an expansion pack! – of the basic OtherSpace crafting system, designed to allow players to go beyond simply making personal weapons, armor, and gadgets into the realm of macro-crafting – building on their professions, becoming business moguls, and maybe even shaping their own empires.

To the extent that you can use the system to create corporations, I suppose it is like EVE Online.

But the truth is, it’s not a fair comparison. Honestly, the real comparison that detractors should be making is something that probably will cheese them off even more: Dominion is much more like a Facebook game, such as Empires & Allies or Mafia Wars. You’re using limited but replenishable resources (Saga Points for OS, “energy” in Zynga games) to grow your holdings and you can’t do it all on your own. You need help from other friends who play the game. So, OtherSpace Dominion is much more like shaping a metropolis in Cityville than it is like zooming around the galaxy, blowing people up for fun and profit in EVE.

I don’t consider this a bad thing, either way. Roleplaying MUSHes are a rarity these days. A MUSH that provides a Facebook-style game with a text interface? I think right now that makes OtherSpace one of a kind, and something like Dominion might make our MUSH even more attractive to potential players who fall under the Socializer/Achiever/Explorer quadrants of the gaming archetypes.

We might trick all these Farmville players into joining a *truly* collaborative social online game.

Wouldn’t that be great?


OtherSpace: It’s not for everybody

July 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Games like OtherSpace aren’t for everybody.

They require the sort of person who:

* Likes to read.
* Likes to write.
* Likes to experiment with cause and effect.
* Likes to fly by the seat of their pants, crafting dialogue in real-time.

It’s like a LARP – live action role-playing game – in that participants assume roles that evolve over time. It’s like a tabletop game in that the game’s staffers act as referees or “dungeon masters” for the participants. It’s like theater in that the participants are actors performing roles – sometimes dramatic, sometimes comedic, and sometimes tragic.

But LARPs may meet once a month or so. Tabletop gaming groups might get together once a week. Theater groups may put on one or two shows a season.

OtherSpace is online around the clock every day. Our participants come from all over the world. Events occur in real-time. One day in the real world equals one day in the game. When major story arcs are in progress, missing a few days might result in returning to find the universe fundamentally changed or, at the very least, embroiled in some kind of crisis that potentially affects where your character can travel. So, above all else, you’ll find that OtherSpace differs from all these other forms in that it requires a commitment of attention, creative effort, mental flexibility, patience, and time.

That makes it an acquired taste for a rather limited audience.

However, if you’re willing to make the commitment, it can pay off in the satisfaction of creating a memorable character who experiences epic space opera adventures while making friends with strangers from across the globe.

OtherSpace: 13 for 13

June 26, 2011 Leave a comment

The official 13th anniversary of OtherSpace will be Tuesday night at 8 p.m. Eastern.

However, I’ll be commemorating the occasion for three days, starting Monday and ending Wednesday, with a total of 13 events in honor of 13 years.

The full roster of events, times, and locations can be found on the MUSH at 1790 via +calendar.

I’m not sure yet what all will happen. All I know is that I’ll run activities throughout the anniversary celebration, powered by Sunkist, green tea, and Mountain Dew pound cake courtesy of the lovely Catherine. I also know I’ll have a special badge to honor any player who manages to participate in all 13 events (in some form or another – must make allowances for alternate universe characters). I also expect to give away a $25 gift certificate as prize. And I’ll give out copious quantities of Saga Points every time we get a new backer for the Kickstarter project during the anniversary period. AND there’ll be a PDF of all the events produced sometime later in the week.

Looking forward to the mischief and mayhem to come!

“I’d buy that for a dollar!”

June 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Things that cost more than a $1 contribution to my OtherSpace project on Kickstarter:

* Farmville cash
* Fountain soft drink
* Starbuck’s coffee
* Stripper tips
* Ernest Saves Christmas on pay-per-view
* Movie snacks

Now, granted, the tips are probably helping that stripper through college or maybe feeding her kids. But movie snacks are a ripoff, Ernest films were awful, coffee and Coke rot your teeth and make your hands jittery, and spending gobs of real money to run your fake farm is kind of sad. You should be spending those gobs of money to support a place where you can build your own little star empire for free.

Give just $1 toward this Kickstarter project and you’ll help support ongoing adventures that encourage online socialization with people from all over the world, nurtures creative and imaginative writing skills, and allows for experimentation in cause and effect/actions and consequences.

Support a safe online space for people who wonder “What happens if I push THIS button?”

The Road to World Conquest: Plan A

June 11, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s time to stop putting off Plan A.

When I was a young writer, I admired Harlan Ellison for this gimmick he devised, wherein he would park himself at a typewriter in the display window of a bookstore and spend the day churning out fiction. Sometimes, he’d draw inspiration from a reader for a title or theme. Then he’d just run with it.

I can’t say I’ve ever been comfortable in the skin of a traditional writer who labors best in solitude. So, when I used to ride to high school on the bus, I’d share outlandish stories that I wrote about my friends. When I worked at Walt Disney World, I turned day-to-day task ledgers into collections of creative missives that a friend of mine says he still has in his Tennessee home decades later. Back in the BBS days, I’d post message board epics on Vic DeGiorgio’s Philosopher’s Stone. At Valencia Community College, I partnered with Jeff Stanford and Liz Sentz to write fiction. After college, I became a journalist, putting out stories with a byline day after day after day for thousands of readers of the St. Petersburg Times. When newspapers started a serious decline and the Internet began its meteoric rise, I turned my attention back to creative writing with an audience. Instead of a school bus, though, it was an original-theme space opera MUD with a focus on collaborative storytelling rather than quests and monster-slaying. I called it OtherSpace.

It’s been online since 1998. Save for the occasional server crash, it’s been consistently running for 13 years – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. That’s a lot of history gone by, in game and out. Three U.S. presidents. A madman blowing up a colony world. YouTube. A rift crisis threatening to tear the universe apart. Hulu. Everyone fleeing an invasion force aboard a giant lifeboat called Sanctuary.

OtherSpace outlasted my first marriage. It bridged the gap between my careers as a reporter and computer game designer. It was around before World of Warcraft and EVE Online.

All this time, I’ve rarely had the opportunity to treat OtherSpace as a day job. It’s always been more of a hobby, something done just for fun. It wasn’t practical to call it a job. But, make no mistake, it is work. Some of the best work I’ve done, I think, but it’s still work to pump new energy, new worlds, new characters, new stories into OtherSpace.

Now, I’ve got the chance. Thirteen years later, we’ve got at our disposal. So, I’ve kicked off a fundraising project with an eye toward subsidizing the next major arc project on OtherSpace, which I plan to run from Sept. 1-Nov. 30, 2011.

If we land the funding in the next 30 days, I’ll start working on pre-production for the arc – Across the Multiverse. It will be more ambitious than any that has gone before on OtherSpace, through major events, news articles, and short stories. And I’ll work it like a full-time job during that period, intent on giving every participant a chance to shine and experience an epic adventure that might make their characters into the legends that future players will talk about.

I think the time and the circumstances are ripe to get the support necessary to make this happen.

So, help spread the word and make sure OtherSpace: Across the Multiverse meets that 30-day goal!

OtherSpace: Looking back at the old cast!

April 6, 2011 1 comment

The discovery of an old OtherSpace website incarnation led to the unearthing of this list of characters, from circa 2003. We had a pretty huge group involved in the game way back then. See if you recognize any of the names after the break: Read more…

Rebuilding the Sand Castles

April 2, 2011 3 comments

It started, simply enough, with a question: What might be a draw for veterans of OtherSpace to return?

I thought about Saga Point rewards, but that just smacks everyone who has stuck with the MUSH through thick and thin right in the face.

Handing out special Action Cards occurred to me, but that’s just something else worth Saga Points and, again, would insult everyone else.

So, then I started getting away from thinking about what I should use for bribery and instead I pondered: What drove them away in the first place? Read more…