Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

Game Tracking

The most popular of the proposed game methods was PBEM/Forum, so my current plan is to go with that. I need to poke at Google Groups again and see if I like it better than Yahoo Groups. The features I value are:

* Easy to use either by email or by forum, and seamless (ie, makes no difference to other users whether your posts and replies were sent via web form or email.)
* Convenient file-upload space
* Convenient image storage space
* Searchable (Yahoo is bad for this; bard_bloom set up a GMail account for archival and search purposes)
* Threading (Yahoo's threading is bad, too, but in theory I'd like good threading.)
* Database: Yahoo Groups has a little database tool, which I like in theory but which, in practice, is a little clunky to maintain.

It looks like Google Groups has all the features but the database one. I'm tempted to try it, given some of the technical glitches we've had with Yahoo. My most common everyday complaint is formating: the angle brackets (>) that denote replied text format wonkily in Yahoo. Google handled it better. A minor aesthetic, granted, but still. Yahoo also suffered from delays in delivering mail, a few outages, and the infamous duplicate message bug -- where every single message sent to the group got sent out ten or twenty or more times. Oy. That may all be in the past now, but the temptation to look at alternatives remains. Also, I don't think Google has banner ads yet.

Anyone have a bias?

One wish-list item would be an *easy* way to filter people out, so that messages would be visible to certain people and not others. The key word here is 'easy'; I don't want an awkward method or one that requires effort for the GM to track.

On a related note: anything which makes bookkeeping easier is a Good Thing. We used the databases to keep track of things like active spells and NPC names (the last is especially handy for those pesky minor NPCs.) The databases were nice when they were up-to-date, but updating them was still an extra step that people had to remember to take. The biggest advantages of the databases over a file was that (a) anyone could update it and (b) no messing with uploading it.

But in my ideal world, some programmed feep would make the database for me, by combing through posts, detecting NPC names and descriptions, and compiling them. :) I could ask for keywords on posts that have certain types of information, like :desc: the first time a character is described, or :name: the first time one gets named, etc. But that's not as useful as a database, and I'm not sure it's enough easier that it'd be worth doing. Also, I can forget to include a keyword as easily as I can forget to update a database. :P

Bard gave out occasional exp bonuses to incentivize players to do bookkeeping, which I thought was rather a nifty way to get work done. But there are still disadvantages to that, not the least of which is 'someone still has to do it'. And bookkeeping can apply to a range of continuity things: GM rulings on the way things work, setting descriptions, object descriptions, plot points, information revealed and who it's revealed to, etc. Anyone else have ideas on how to handle bookkeeping?
Tags: gaming, gaming methodology
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