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MoonHunter Sayeth 20170917


Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Writer's Block and The Realm

I tend to have writer's block. I tend to get angry when various projects don't "go". I have a feel for the "perfect path" of the project. When the flow ends, I would just sit there and do nothing. The only option I have is to go on and do another projects. The energy I get working on a project that is going, helps me. Usually the back of my head works out the problem that is blocking my work on the project. So as a project goes forward, it often brings other things with it. Sometimes those projects block... and I move on or move back to the core project.

So I have my Magnus Opus, an RPG, Convergence Point (the Rewrite of Continuum - not C0ntinuum). I have a few dozens of settings written up for the game system. Like seven dozen. Every time I got blocked on the game, I would start in on a setting for it. (I have some of them written to the standard of the rewrite... haven't finish the game, but the settings match it.) I have some side system projects floating around there.

So I bounce back and forth between big projects and small ones. Heck I just bounce. Sometimes I get blocked on a side project... so I move on to another. However, sometimes.. Ping.. I have the solution. I quickly go to fix that project. Now I would hope it would be the big project, but sometimes it is not.

Now the Core Setting for Convergence Point is a Transdimensional Travel game, thus allowing you to use all those rules for any genre/ setting in one game. There were two other core settings. One contender was the Action Movie/ Studio background - like HKAT!. The other contender was The Realms... Dreampark-esk, but using VR. Again, you would be able to use all the rules for all the genres.

So this weekend.... The Realms went Ding... I have learned never to ignore the ding. I started to write on it again.

The Realms
A Dream Park inspired generic systemless setting. Also can be a homage to Worlds of Wonder

In a world like Tomorrow, you need to take some time out with your friends and just enjoy yourself. Amusement parks have made a comeback. However, since Tomorrow can be such a complicated and dangerous place, they are all virtual. Hooked into the Webs via Diadems, you can experience other times and places. However, The Realms is one of the finest Virtual Constructs ever conceived. For the moment, it really “the only place to be.”

Sidenote: The world of Tomorrow is a place of sad and broken people. It has been battered biologically (nova polio, genetic disruptions from complex interactions of artificial ingredients), meteorologically (super storms, weather shift, PH shift), economically (economic shift, production shift), and socially (too numerous to say). It has such a heavy feeling of ennui, that even the amazing advances in political cooperation, science, solutions in engineering, reaching of other planets, have yet to bring the people of Tomorrow into a brighter place. That is why the people in Tomorrow are looking to other times and places to live, for The Past is so much better than the Tomorrow they live in.

Sidenote: Tomorrow is just what we, 21st century gamers call that future world line our players/characters/avatars exist in. They would call it Earth, Tierra, Terre, Erde, 地球, or whatever it is in their language.

VR can be done with any level of gear though neural harmonics. Some kind of head piece is used to connect the user to a VRT. Wireless connections are possible, but very glitchy. Round Cords plugging in are the only things that can handle the load. The better the base scan used and the better tuned the receiver, the better the results. (You can use a public machine without any additional scans for fuzzy and minimal VR work. However, if you plug your own good quality scan in, the resolution will improve. Your own diadem (head piece) plugged into a NetCafe will give you fairly good results. However, if you can hire out one of their round connects, you can get perfect sensory stimulation). The Software of your destination is also a great modifier. (Reality ratings from 10 to 98 are generally possible).

VR Avatars are what the Player uses in VR. It is the foundation that all other things, appearance and virtual skills, are based. Things are added to or deleted from the Avatar. They are the sensory anchor (you perceive everything they do) as well as a contact focal (the place where everything you do in VR happens). VR avatars will also give you biofeedback, so if you exert yourself you will feel (heart rate, body temp, sweat) and that will be reflected in your real life body (unless you have your sensory shielding turned up).

VR ideally should be completely immersive, as if you were there. There is a “barrier” called the Experiential barrier. It is how close the VR experience comes to “being there”. Once the resolution issues (the fidelity of sensory input) have begun to be resolved, much of the experiential barrier has to do with lag and bridging.

Most VR experiences do not displace the person (people are aware they both in real life and virtual life). (There are some isolating experiences that lock people, but there are dangers to doing that… so most people will not for a recreational experience.) Even if they isolate the experiences, there are menus and “taps” (actions or throughts that are the virtual equivalent of press a button or set of buttons) that are used to manipulate the experience (and adjust the avatar, skill softs, or various action sequences.) Most of the V-Net is set to a 7 with limited sensory ranges. The Realms is an 8.5+. It is 9 to 9.3 sensory quality, but there are so many menus and action triggers, that it has the the new hybrid (+) rating. Being close to the experiential barrier and being accessible with normal equipment is the appeal of The Realms (and the Regions that are using the hybrid technology). Technology might evolve beyond this hybrid technology, but that is something a decade or three in the future.

The Realms Design Consideration______________________________________________________________
When in doubt, think about The Most Famous Theme Park in History that happens to exists in California. It is not the first theme park or amusement park, but it is the one that popularized the idea. Everything from the design of The Park aspects of The Realms to the way things are put together all comes from The Most Famous.

Aside: There are a lot of things here for kids. True, most serious gamers will be late teens or older, the park caters to younger members and their parent/guardians. Why you ask? Because munchkins pay the bills. The more people through the gates and connected, the more revenue The Realm’s generates. The more revenue, the more servers. The more servers, the more realms and the better the experiences. In addition those munchkins in the cheap gear today become the gamers of the future. Parents are more likely to let their children come back to a “safe place” like The Realms by themselves when they get a little older. If they are used to playing here, they will come back and do it later.

Realms- An Explanation_____________________________________
Each Realm is a “setting” for action and adventure, providing a genre and theme for the virtual region. These Realms match traditional and expected adventure fiction settings. The “Set Pieces” match the genre, theme, and technology level.

Front of Park_____________________________________
Starting at the Park, Rail Station, Icon Plaza aka Initial Plaza, First Plaza, The Jump, Star City_(The first Half Realm)

To Dream Avenue______________________________
Castle Zone, Grand Fountain, Garden of Gates,

To Dream Realms (Fantasy)______________________
Elizabethan England, Tudor England, Medieval England, The Realm of Avalon, The Realm of Camelot, The Realm of Kerren, the Land of Dragons, The Realm of Wild Green, The Realm of Good King Tom, Dragons of the Cathai (links to Blue Plaza),

To Infinity Realms (Science Fiction/Fantasy)__________
Atomic Future, METRO CITY (spies and super heroes), Golden Metro (half), Metro at night (half), High Ground, Red Frontier, Steam Victoria (tentative) Steampunk, The Realm of Stellar Conflict (SW), The Realm of Stellar Voyage (ST), Neon City (Cyberpunk), Realm of Klink, City Dome (sub realm),

To Adventure (Historicals)___________________________
Dicken’s England, Honor and Steel. Rome, One of the end ones is the Arabian Nights Adventure, Pirates of the Golden Main, Grand Western: American “Wild” West:, Wilderness Trail (half), Mountains Majesty (half), Time Canyon (half), Mists of time, Great Battles, Sands of Time: Egypt I: More historical and museum than adventure, Sands of Adventure: Egypt II: Somebody watched too much Indian Jones and Mummy entertainments. This is the pulp version of Egypt in the 30s, Flower City: ✲

The easiest to access areas keep the amusement park feel (Zone 1). This is the main paths through the region or along the various paths/streets. Along these paths are the general park mix of food, entertainment, experiences, and commercial. Most of it matches the Realm, but it some of it can be odd or different. Just a few steps off or down side paths are Zone 2 experiences. These are more dedicated experiences, commercial, and stops. They are more strongly in line with the genre/theme of the region. The Buildings, Props, and Virts are all in line with that realm’s genre/style sheets. There is little in the way of theme park here, except for some shops that sell virtual goods that fit the realm. To enter the more interesting places and experiences, the Avatar needs to fit in with the region to some degree. This can be via dress, gear, dedicated softs, and so on. Example: A Cat-Girl wearing region appropriate clothes would work. An Elf in the historical fantasy, but dressed appropriately for the historical side. would work. An avatar will have a rating of how compliant they are with a region on a 1-10 scale. Many experiences and clubs will have minimum ratings to enter. Still after one passes through Zone 2, they can reach the Zone 3 - fully in genre. In fact avatars that are not fully in genre will not be able to see the entrance (or pass through it if they can see it) to Zone 3 areas. Zone 3 is full of short episode Sits, Events, and Adventures, all framed by in setting buildings, virts, and props. It is like you are there. However, these are low continuity areas, so it fits in for the “periodic game”. The regular players might maintain more “continuity”, but The Park does not enforce it. That is, until you get into zone 4. You can only get there via a few spots from zone 3 or via the train which stops only in zone 4 if a qualified individual wants to get off . (The Train drops off to zone 2 near the zone 1 border in one or more places for the rest of the population). Zone 4 is In Genre, In Persona only. This is where longer term adventures and events take place. Characters can spend days here finishing quests or “just sucking up atmosphere” (the term for living virtual in a genre/themed region).

Aside: I can only find it where?
You might notice that certain resources are only available or only easily available in certain areas of The Realm. This is on purpose. It forces more regular players to frequent all parts of The Realms, instead of just their “regular areas”.

Aside: Locations are important:
Locations listed in each Realm listing are more than just a “utility list” of things to buy. A listed location adds something to the game. Certain locations are listed to explain some aspect of the game/setting. This is the case with most of the Concourse entries, they are there to help give you a feel for what is “there” in the park. A listed location normally adds something to the setting in terms of personalities, explanation for types of things/events, or bits of useful color to make the setting come alive.

The Front of the Park____________________________________________________

Starting at the Park_______________________________________________________
The Experience starts out “In the Parking Lot”. There is a confirmation (and fee) for each full VR connection. This is performed with The Parking experience. You appear in the car, and stop for a parking permit. This gathers the confirmation connection and gives an in-experience aspect to the confirmation and fee process.

Several people can go together for dedicated connections, so you can drive in and park with some friends (up to six).

The Virtual Experience is to bring the everyday with you. Most people will come in wearing basic pieces (generic modern) and change into Realms Approved Basics or Items once here. Many people come in costumes (however you can only bring in approved (licensed) materials). Some people will bring approved pieces in a Realm or Icon detailed bag (representing a saved file they purchased.)

“You carried those humungous wings into The Park in that little Icon Clutch?”
“Yes. Isn’t VR wonderful?”

They will take their stuff to a changing areas near their destination.

Many unapproved items will begin to disappear as they cross the turnstiles. The most common this is their avatar framework. It will look like a blank mannequin with some basic clothes, as various parts are disqualified by the system. For people who are “in the scene” for the virtual worlds, this is a major gaff and a source of teasing and embarrassment for years.

Icons, the generic Realms Avi, is the foundation under each visitor. Everything is built upon that. In the defaults, it is very blank and smooth, of average height and skin tone. There is the Brett and Gidget (the couple of the moment) defaults you can slap on, but most people who are not total tourists will not want the same defaults as everyone else. Shopping for “great things” for your Avi is something a lot of people really enjoy doing.

Note: Most people have purchased passes and currency before they come to The Realms. For those that haven’t, this is done “in-experience” via the various outer kiosks and ticket booths. The final connection is confirmed when they go through the ticket turnstile.

Rail Station____________________________________________
You exit the parking lot to the turnstiles, it is a set of places where avatars are quickly processed and enter into the park. You begin with a broad walkway taking you either left, right or to the Train Station.

The Rail Station supports an authentic feeling 1860s Steam Train. This train will go through most of its trip with this theme. It will shift over to various other themes when it arrives in various Zones. (One side note: Some of the passengers are Virts, so they change when the theme changes as well. It adds a great deal to the transformation effect.) The train station is slightly raised, and you walk under the tressels in a short tunnel to get into The Park.

The Train is the only convenient way to reach the other two Plazas Each Plaza has a color. The Plaza’s color is the color of the “trim” and ancillary items in the various plazas). The “other plazas” are Blue and Yellow, with Red being used on the Main Plaza at the end of The Concourse. Going Blue is a tram term for taking the counter clockwise train that goes to To Infinity Way then to the Blue Plaza Going Yellow is a tram term for taking the clockwise train that goes To Adventure (and sometimes To Dreams) , then to Yellow Plaza. (Going Front is the return trip.) There are often “Local Trams” or “Express Trams” that go to a specific regions or plaza only.

Bathrooms: There are bathrooms on either side, near the entrances to the Initial Plaza. Bathrooms are where people put their avis on hold and do things in the real world…. like go to the bathroom. (It is considered rude to abandon your avi for anything more than a sneeze or sip. It is a virtual society faux pas to be a statue, just like it is to change your avi in public view.)

On the left side (west) is a Sharp Image Shop, for all your image needs (processing, printing, manipulation, and delivery).

On the right side (east) is The Changeling Zone. It is a public small data locker (where you can stash non-approved codes so you can put them back on on your way out of the park). This is experienced as several banks of “bus station lockers” and changing areas (where you can put on your approved materials that you have in locker or carried with you in a licensed “Bag”). Note: There is a Changeling Zone at the far end of the Concourse by the Main Plaza… and tucked away in various areas around The Park.

Icon Plaza aka Initial Plaza_________________________________________
The Icon Plaza is just a gathering area with a large statue of The Icon (which looks a lot like an oscar, the statue for the Academy Awards) in the center. The statue is surrounded by a walkway circle with benches and the flags of every nation currently represented in The Park. (As a practice most big nations have their flags there all the time, with smaller locations appearing as they hit the turnstyle.) (**An interesting side note will allow for national holidays (4th of July, Confederation Day, Bastille Day, will have a ring of state/ county/ canton/ region flags inside the national flags.) Most people are milling around on the streets and in the circular mini-park. There is also a tram bus (English Red Double Decker) that goes up the Concourse taking you to the First Plaza also known as the Red Plaza. It is amazing that it does not run anyone over given the apparent crowds.

Off the Icon Plaza, on the left hand side, is the C/C office. It appears to be a brownstone bank. At the C/C office you can get support help, ask questions, and even give comments. C/C is also where The Manager of Cross Time Affairs is. This is the person who approves and schedules cross realm events or adventures. If Stellar Voyagers want to enter the Elizabethan Realm as a landing party to explore a world seeded with Earth Culture, the manager (and the staff as it seems several people inhabit the manager’s avatar). They arrange for an appropriate time and place that will not disturb the local guild/ setting too much. (Note: There will be signs at the gateway of every realm that will tell you if any anachronism will be “in play” at a given time.) There are several guilds (Children of the Pattern, various Time Travel, Crosstime Guardians) that do nothing but play “crossrealm” games. Technically, there is continuous cross realm play in The Realms. If they can keep their activities within the style and rules of the realm, they are just another set of level 3/ level 4 roleplayers. (As long as you don’t (or can’t) ruin the fun of others, you can have fun any way you want. It is one of the VGC’s basic rules.)

On the right hand side (east) is the Icon Theatre. It shows hi rez media entertainment. Everyday they show full recordings of popular current entertainments and re-inactings of classic entertainments. Tucked to the right of that, between the theatre and the walkway, is a “U” shop (a Full Body Shop). You can get a full Avatar here (or an Icon - a special The Realms blank Avi), changing from the one you have to a new one. Normally you would have to logout and log back in, but they can work special connections and make it change while you are connected. So the big changes can be done right there. (And it is cheaper than “reparking”.) Your Outside avi you used to get in is stored at the Changeling Zone by the gate.

The Shop of The Realms: Back on the left hand side (west) next to the C/C office is a huge Icon/ Realms based gift shop. The Shop of The Realms holds a lot of general merchandise that fits The Park theme. Many of these items have real world equivalents that you can order for the real world (delivery is mostly free). It is linked to the first tiny shop on the Concourse, Mesmero’s Mind Tricks.

Once you get past the Icon Plaza, your connection and resolution will be glitchy unless you are using a proprietary avatar. It is worse than normal, as others can see you as glitchy and stutter movement. (To make such a social faux pas in virtual space over the age of 5 would be embarrassing… so nobody who is not a total tourist does it.). It is at this point that those people who haven’t gotten Realm’s Avatar (an Icon in its defaults), will usually do so.

Main Concourse__________________________________________________

Main Concourse has a Midway Carnival feeling, with visual cues from a board walk (the sidewalks are boardwalks.) . There are various virtual restaurants and shops, as well as the expected carney games. There is the ever popular bumper cars, in the middle of the Concourse on the left hand side. It all follows the generic style sheet for the area, a partial 50s look with clean cut modern defaults. There is a little themed stuff hidden in the back of various shops.
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