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The Howling Chimeras
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MikeSands



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
Posts: 1406
Location: RV Steadfast, bearing west

PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:02 pm    Post subject: The Howling Chimeras Reply with quote

Me, Steve and Gino tried an experiment in online gaming last night, using skype and a web-based diceroller to play 3:16. The Cowenses were planning to join us too, but were unable to join in.

Steve wanted to dissect how things went a bit, so this thread's mainly for that. However if anyone else has any thoughts/questions, you're welcome to throw them in.

Overall, the game went pretty damn well. Platoon C "Howling Chimeras" kicked a fair amount of alien ass, despite their platoon motto ("Everyone makes mistakes").

Problems (from my point of view):
1. Skype breaking up now and then. Probably this was due to crappy Telecom DSL connections with low up-speed. If anyone has a faster connection, they should host next time and see if that works better. Alternatively, we could try Ventrilo or something (I used that for a great deal of World of Warcraft, with nothing like the problems we had last night. I wasn't hosting that server, though, so it might be the same in practise).

2. Diceroller was a little slow. Maybe we could try an alternative - one of the systems where the GM hosts and others connect? Might speed things up, anyhow. Plus a guy on Story Games made a 3:16 board with counters and the encounter board, so that would be a little easier to visualize.

3. Lack of cues as to when people stop talking - this led to a bunch of talking over each other. Not sure if that's solvable?
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MikeSands



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

4. When shall we have another go? Hopefully with Matt & Debbie there so that the aliens have a better chance against you all Smile
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hix



Joined: 25 Jan 2006
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Location: Poison'd

PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Goddamn, I want to play again.

The experience was interesting. Despite not being able to see either of you, I was able to form a strong picture in my imagination of the world, the battle-fields, and what each character was doing.

The talking-over each other is a bit of a problem. I would hope that it's solvable through combining:

- a connection that's less prone to breaking up
- addressing each other by name
- a lot of considerate listening
- other stuff

I actually felt there was a lot of good listening going on last night. For my part, I had to exercise a lot of discipline - I'm susceptible to going off on tangents, and several times I had to reign myself in because I felt that it our time was better served by playing than by me making an observation or asking an only-slightly related question.
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hix



Joined: 25 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And yeah, bring on Matt and Debz. This game can only turn into a more massively enjoyable cluster-frak if we introduce more PCs of different ranks.
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MikeSands



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hix wrote:
The talking-over each other is a bit of a problem. I would hope that it's solvable through combining:

- a connection that's less prone to breaking up
- addressing each other by name
- a lot of considerate listening
- other stuff


I think it is, because I noticed that we were doing this naturally as the game went on.

Another side of using Ventrilo instead of Skype is that it is generally used with push-to-talk... i.e. you have to decide to talk and press a key before you start.
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MikeSands



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hix wrote:
Goddamn, I want to play again.


Okay people, who would like to try for another night some time in the next week or so?

Note that 3:16 works fine with characters dropping in and out (you can just be on some vaguely defined other duties that session), so it might be worth going ahead an scheduling a night, and playing with whoever has the time.

I guess the other thing is that it's pretty low stress to set up a time and just play if there's enough people - if not, we can just chat for a bit or something.
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sophmelc



Joined: 10 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've also recently started playing 3: 16 by Skype with my brother in Melbourne and a friend in London. It worked amazingly well. It will no doubt have helped that we used to game together every week for a good year and a half, but still the distances were hardly noticed!

If you need another player I'm very keen to try my hand at playing the game rather than just reading it and running the odd session.
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MikeSands



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sophie: No weird dropouts for you then? Might just be my connection - someone else should probably host next time and see if it works better.

We can bear you in mind for the future but at this stage I'm finding it enough to cope with working out how to GM via the internet without bringing more players in.

I noticed on your blog that you mentioned the Maptools application and the 3:16 addon for it - how have you found it? Specifically, is it hard to set up for the GM? Players? And how does it work in play?
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sophmelc



Joined: 10 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MikeSands wrote:
Sophie: No weird dropouts for you then? Might just be my connection - someone else should probably host next time and see if it works better.


Nope no drop outs at all. We did have a little bit of weird static, but that was one of the other people's connection.

MikeSands wrote:
I noticed on your blog that you mentioned the Maptools application and the 3:16 addon for it - how have you found it? Specifically, is it hard to set up for the GM? Players? And how does it work in play?


Not hard to set up and the instructions on the Maptools are really clear. We didn't end up using it as we had limited time and just wanted to jump in. Have fun!
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Anarchangel



Joined: 25 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a lot of experience with Skype, but not of gaming with it.

Problem 1 may vary from session to session. Sometimes Skype makes a good connection, sometimes it drops and statics a lot.

I haven't used an online dice roller. Would just rolling dice not be quicker?

Problem 3 is really a matter of practice and should improve as you go on.


Did you make use of Skype's chat function at all? If so, for what? Was there a clear division between what you used chat for and what you said over the voice channel?
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thad



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm gaming over Skype. Really does depend on who makes the connection (should be the person with the best internet connection).

Our gaming tool is OpenRPG, on which you can either host a server or use one of the available ones. Allows posting of pictures (aka minis, but we use it for general pictures), roll dice and can use macros, write private messages to the GM or other players, and even draw for those with talent.

(Also looking at GameTable, but not really enamoured of it.)
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MikeSands



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anarchangel wrote:
I haven't used an online dice roller. Would just rolling dice not be quicker?


Quicker, sure, but in 3:16 you need to see what everyone else rolled before you decide on your tactics each round.

Anarchangel wrote:
Did you make use of Skype's chat function at all? If so, for what? Was there a clear division between what you used chat for and what you said over the voice channel?


We used the chat for reference updates: names of NPCs, state of the combat, etc. So yes, a clear division.
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Anarchangel



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MikeSands wrote:
Anarchangel wrote:
I haven't used an online dice roller. Would just rolling dice not be quicker?


Quicker, sure, but in 3:16 you need to see what everyone else rolled before you decide on your tactics each round.


Eh? Tactics? Do you mean narration?
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MikeSands



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anarchangel wrote:
Eh? Tactics? Do you mean narration?


No, I mean tactics.

You can't decide best when to use cancels, flashbacks, and some alien powers until you see how the dice fall
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Anarchangel



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MikeSands wrote:
Anarchangel wrote:
Eh? Tactics? Do you mean narration?


No, I mean tactics.

You can't decide best when to use cancels, flashbacks, and some alien powers until you see how the dice fall


Oh I see what you mean. My first thought with "tactics" is always the military sense.

In that case the dice roller would have to be pretty slow to be slower than dice rolls plus entry time and the inevitable human errors and distractions that enter the equation. But wouldn't that be about the same speed as everyone rolling then reporting their scores in tabletop anyway?
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