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tl;dr

KyorkchaKyorkcha Member Posts: 10
edited March 2013 in The Scarlattan Theatre
Or if you may prefer the phrase "Brevity is the soul of wit"

But regardless of what term you may prefer, now that I have your attention, I can explain what it has to do with this post:
Frankly, Long descriptions make my eyes bleed. I literally got a moss tattoo just so I could survive glimpsing at wordy descriptions.

I am mildly dyslexic myself, so while I may have a Math ACT score of 32, and a English/Vocab score of 28, I read at a pace of 180 words per minute, which I assume to be crap-tier among most of the players in this game.
This description, I came across literally filled my screen with around 400 words in JUST the main body of it. Coupled along with 19 items, that I have to have on separate lines so I can actually read and visualize it.
But I'm not requesting that people change their descriptions for people like me.

What I'm asking is whether people here think that a massively long description/wearing more clothes than a Native Alaskin Nun, actually detracts from the value of describing their character?
At a certain point, Descriptions go from being descriptive to making you regret paying attention to their character in the first place.
What would you say is this point? Or is there a point at all?

I say that 5 lines and 10 articles of clothing would be optimal for speed-reading, so that people can easily get to visualize who the are currently around.

On a side note, being able to manually arrange your clothing would help out with this stuff alot, or being able to summarize similar items into a group.
I once came across someone who was one of those aristocratic types that liked to wear about a dozen and a half rings to show their status; I had a difficult time trying to pick out what his actual clothing was.
45 seconds later, it turns out it was just a set of plain brown robes, with some black pants.

Comments

  • NimNim Member Posts: 2,015 @@ - Legendary Achaean

    What I do with clothes is I have the game send them to me on each line, and I have a script that parses these lines, merges them into one line, makes each item an alternating color so I can easily distinguish where one begins and another ends, and attempts to find and underline the core item type (eg "a pair of midnight trousers"). I wish the game did something like this by default.

    What I do with long descriptions is... nothing. I just don't read them.

    I consider any description that's more text than you'd reasonably fit into a single paragraph to be "too long" for this purpose. Ideally, a description should, in 2-4 sentences (maayybbee more, if most of them are short, simple sentences or something), paint a good enough picture of the character that an artist could reasonably draw them in an identifiable way, while perhaps leaving room for interpretation. It's hard to speak about lines, because lines vary based on how many characters can fit into a line.

    Delphinus
  • NellaundraNellaundra Member Posts: 1,556 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Nell started with a very basic description, but she's added on, gotten tattoos, gotten mildly older, etc.  It simply grows as I play the game.  I have no intention of letting it get longer at this point, but it -is- several sentences.  Probably roughly a paragraph and a half or so.
    image
    TasuuXae
  • EldEld Member Posts: 3,946 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited March 2013
    If the person in your example was an aristocratic type, wearing rings to flaunt their status, they'd probably have been wearing more extravagant clothing along with them. Large numbers of rings and the like are often enchantments and/or artefacts. For example, my INFO WORN:

     n/a  scabbard134174      a lacquered ebony scabbard with silver inlay
     n/a  medallion356526     a Year 600 medallion
    [297] ring436958          a plain gold ring (Firelash)
     n/a  brooch85428         a Brooch of the Tempest
    [ 50] ring19381           a plain steel ring (Fire resistance)
     n/a  pendant395766       a fire pendant
     n/a  ring28721           a Mayan ring (Icewall)
    [ 89] backpack188648      an Umbrinite military backpack
     n/a  boots267076         a pair of sturdy wyvernskin boots (Walk on Water)
    [ 64] cloak364759         a hooded cloak of the Black Lotus
    [ 71] gi97364             a silken Lotus Gi
    [ 41] pin194085           a silver lotus blossom pin
    [297] ring129197          a worn marble ring (Firewall)
    [297] ring42045           a plain silver ring (Cold resistance)
    [128] ring409426          a plain steel ring (Electricity resistance)
    [297] ring120527          a plain steel ring (Magic resistance)


    Only the gi, cloak, and boots are "actual clothing" in the sense that you care about, but almost all of the rest (aside from the House pin and the Y600 medallion) is purely functional.
    Nim
  • DelphinusDelphinus Member Posts: 896 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Overlong descriptions are boring, not to mention uncomfortable, and they're something of an epidemic among circles such as these. Economy of words is something they don't teach you in high school, for obvious reasons.

    Clothing and artefacts can be spammy. The problem is that unlike a book, Achaea gives every item (and indeed every line of text) the same weight. In a piece of literature, a description might gloss over a character's jewellery as "a collection of rings and bracelets," but the game will treat every ring, every bracelet, every medallion and diadem and doodad with the same importance as a pair of trousers or a shirt. And that sucks.

    You can hide your own artefacts by buying an orb of concealment (for 400 credits), but as for regular items, I don't know what to say. Gloves will hide the rings, at least.
    Xith
  • NimNim Member Posts: 2,015 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited March 2013

    @Delphinus: For the jewelry thing, a solution might be to just give a vague summary of the character's jewelry (if they're wearing a lot), and require a specific LOOK <character> JEWELRY command for more information, or something like that.

    ETA: Example: "He is wearing 6 rings and other assorted jewelry, and plain gray robes." instead of "He is wearing a red ring, a green ring, a blue ring, an orange ring, plain gray robes, a golden amulet shaped as a bee, 2 white rings, and a gold stud earring." Presumably, it could either list every piece of jewelry by just its base name ("6 rings, an amulet, and an earring"), or, as per the first example, throw every base item which there's only one of into "other assorted jewelry."

    Also, it'd be cool if more things could be enchanted, so that clothes could both be practical and aesthetic, rather than having a set of practical items (rings, artefacts) and a separate set of aesthetic items (actual clothes). A possible artefact idea might be a ring of enchantments, that can hold multiple enchantments at once, or something like that.

    And it sounds like they plan on opening up the artefact system, separating effects from items, or something like that. If that's the case, it might become an enchanted cloak, or magic glasses. (I really hope they do this, and can't wait for it, if they do!)

    Favonius
  • JurixeJurixe Where you least expect itMember Posts: 1,678 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited March 2013
    Edit: Oh never mind just looked at the link, you do know about config clothesline on.

    With regards to descriptions in general, I have to agree that shorter is usually better. It just depends on how good you are with using limited space to convey a certain type of image. The temptation to show off your vocabulary and describe every single one of your features in minute detail can be hard to resist sometimes, but if it's so long and complicated that nobody reads it anyway, that seems to defeat the purpose.
    If you like my stories, you can find them here:
    Stories by Jurixe and Stories by Jurixe 2 

  • KatzchenKatzchen MhaldorMember Posts: 2,000 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited March 2013
    Our house reqs actually says to expect 6-8 lines from Grunts for their interview. (But ony in the novice aide interview scroll, not in the Grunt one) I have never seen a Grunt with this much, and I really only expect 3-4. My own has 6-8 lines (I have it triggered to change on wearing/unwearing certain items - like armour. 95% of the time it has 6 lines) and I think that's plenty.

    Almost all of the items Katz wears are practical. Quiver, scabbards, baldric, scrollcase, kitbag, pack, enchanted rings, falconry glove, armour, waterwalking boots, artefact ring. I think there's only a few items - breeches, shirt, underwear, guild cloak, bracelet, and collar - that aren't.


    Also, an unrelated thank you to this thread for pointing out her breeches are 1 day away from decay. :P


                   Honourable, knight eternal,

                                            Darkly evil, cruel infernal.

                                                                     Necromanctic to the core,

                                                                                             Dance with death forever more.



  • XithXith Member Posts: 2,602 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I loathe overly long descriptions. Happen to be standing on my ship right now, and this is the correct length for a room, as Achaea types it:

    The quarterdeck is the command centre of this small vessel. There is no bridge 
    as such - just a wheel of highly polished brass and shining lacquered wood which 
    stands forward and centre on the deck. The captain and his executive officer do 
    their main work (along with the helmsman) from this place, however cramped it 
    may be for more than those three.

    Too many people who think they're good designers will make clothing, rooms, and descriptions that span 4x this length or more without actually saying anything more. They use flowery language and treat their works like an entry for some competition. They want it to be so special snowflake that it's memorable. But the effect, ironically, is that nobody reads it. So what have you really accomplished?

    The siren in your example went just over the limit in my eyes. It's an improvement from "She is a beautiful Siren. She has eye-catching knockers and a purdy mouth."

    But that one at least I can still fill in with my imagination, whereas with a wall of text, I might pick out an eye color or something but will skip the rest and generally have no idea what you look like. You want to provide a framework and maybe a couple of adjectives for hair colour and eyes. Give readers the skeleton and let them add the muscles and flesh themselves based on the boundaries you've set.

    If you can't keep it brief enough to hold interest while still detailing everything that needs to be, you're doing it wrong.
    I like my steak like I like my Magic cards: mythic rare.
    KatzchenNim
  • DelphinusDelphinus Member Posts: 896 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    @Xith: That's actually rather short for a room description, although ships are meant to be somewhat generic. The ideal length is 6-8 lines at a width of 80 characters.

    Lots of people do try to cram every single detail into a tiny space, though. Budget is a likely factor; at 50 credits a pop, it isn't easy to just make another room.
  • NimNim Member Posts: 2,015 @@ - Legendary Achaean

    @Delphinus: You've basically pointed out my greatest sin.

    Since the game has furniture, I should have gotten furniture for Nim's room. However, furniture decays, and the room is only used in exceptionally rare circumstances. Plus, both Nim and I are not all that wealthy, so getting furniture on a regular basis, or paying to have it be permanent, are both out of the question, especially since it's not even her house. Thus, instead of me actually getting furniture, I have it added into the description. Most of the description's text is furniture.

    And it makes it even longer, and thus uglier.

    I justify this terrible sin I've committed by telling myself that the room is private and seldom used. Someday, I'll cull a few lines, but it's hard to actually fix on a fundamental level, because the room's description is trying to be two separate things at once, while remaining only a single paragraph long.

  • ShirszaeShirszae Santo DomingoMember Posts: 3,264 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited March 2013
    I don't really see the problem with having furniture in room descriptios. Countless rooms have it that way. As for character descriptions... I don't know, its hard to generalize. I know people who have very long descriptions which I enjoy (unlike the one in the OP). But I do tend to agree, short and to the point is preferable when describing characters. Rooms, on the other hand, not so much. 

    And you won't understand the cause of your grief...


    ...But you'll always follow the voices beneath.

    Nim
  • SynbiosSynbios Member Posts: 4,621 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Xith said:
    They want it to be so special snowflake that it's memorable. But the effect, ironically, is that nobody reads it. So what have you really accomplished?


    My guess is that it's for their own satisfaction - for the feeling that 'this is my room'. I'd be more concerned about overly long character descriptions than house-room descriptions, because more people will be looking at you than at your ship docked several islands away, or the home that's tucked away in the thousands of houses in your subdivision.

    NimJiraishin
  • IocunIocun Member Posts: 3,506 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited March 2013
    I actually go through great lengths to reduce my character's appearance to a reasonable reading size. His description is relatively brief (96 words) and at most times, he wears just seven visible items: robes, trousers, a pouch, a waterskin, a bracer, an ivory lily, a ring. Most of these also have very brief and simple short descriptions (like "a canvas pouch" or "modest grey robes"). I bought an orb of suppression to deal with artefacts, and any combat-relevant rings are only worn when I need them (e.g. when I need to raise an icewall, I will wear the icewall ring, point it, remove it again). This also applies to armour, which I only put on when I'm going into combat/hunting.

    I do this partly because simplicity is part of Iocun's character design, but it also has the side purpose of making it easier for the reader to get a complete picture. The only two items of "jewellery" (the lily and ring) are of great importance, signifying his ties to Kastalia and the Mojushai, so I wouldn't wish to "weaken" them by just having them appear as part of many others.

    Iocun's default in-room description (what you see when you just LOOK in a room) is usually very brief as well, as he doesn't have any title, nor typically is shrouded or such, and I try to always unwield my weapons after combat/bashing is over. This leaves the focus to what I want currently to be the most immediately visible thing, e.g. the fact that he's riding his camel.

    I think there are plenty of people who want to display all aspects of their character so much that they end up adding tons of small and unimportant details here and there, ending up with a muddled, unclear general image, which actually ends up making your whole character thoroughly unmemorable. If it's important that people see one thing about yourself, reduce everything that distracts from it.
    DraukaEldMelodieChryenth
  • DraukaDrauka Member Posts: 243 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    I need to work on this. Thanks @Iocun and @Phaestus
  • WysteriaWysteria Member Posts: 1,826 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I've got a crapload of rings I wear because they were gifts from various people, but I wear gloves to cover them for the sole purpose of not have a L WYSTERIA half a screen height long. I'm more than aware it would annoy people if they wanted to see what I was wearing. My description is basic at best and frankly not that big a deal if you're of a class that can transform and therefore override the description anyway (Viridian changes your entire description on LOOK).

    What I want to know is how some clothing or jewellery items can have descriptions than most rooms. I just want to know if the pair of trousers are black and can last longer than 80months, not how the stitching comes from some cotton silk in Prin and is coloured with the blood of a phoenix in some volcano while befitting of a princess warrior at dawn with swords akimbo.
    "Faded away like the stars in the morning,
     Losing their light in the glorious sun,
     Thus would we pass from this earth and its toiling,
     Only remembered for what we have done."

    Exelethril
  • MelodieMelodie Port Saint Lucie, FloridaMember Posts: 5,084 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Melodie's description has gotten a little longer over the years, but still is kept relatively medium - especially with the loss of wings, which took away a whole sentence!

    Clothes, though, are such a bother. Mel is fairly well-reared and formal in appearance, but between gifts and artefacts, it can get nutty. I really, really do wish there was a way to deal with artefacts without paying 400-500 credits that I just can't justify. A way of simplifying some of the more normal things you would wear would be lovely, too.

    Less is definitely more in this case, more often than not.
               My wing tips waltz across naive
                     Wood floors they creak
                  Innocently down the stairs

                          Drag melody
    My percussive feet serve cobweb headaches as a
              Matching set of marching clocks
                The slumbering apparitions
              That they've come to wake up
  • SylvanceSylvance Member Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    Honestly, I don't read people's descriptions, whilst at the same time kidding myself into believing that other people read mine.  I think that the length of each character's description is entirely down to that character; if I were to care enough to read one, I'd be more concerned with the quality of writing than the actual length, although these things are often negatively correlated, I'll concede.

    tl;dr - Like everything else, a character's description should follow the Skirt Theory.
    Tvistor: If that was a troll, it was masterful.
    I take my hat off to you.
  • ChryenthChryenth Member Posts: 1,323 @ - Epic Achaean
    Sylvance said:
    tl;dr - Like everything else, a character's description should follow the Skirt Theory.
    I don't like skirt theory. Brings back bad memories.

    My description is currently six lines. I'm pretty sure no-one has actually read it IG.
    Sylvance
  • KyorkchaKyorkcha Member Posts: 10
    Chryenth said:


    Sylvance said:

    tl;dr - Like everything else, a character's description should follow the Skirt Theory.

    I don't like skirt theory. Brings back bad memories.

    My description is currently six lines. I'm pretty sure no-one has actually read it IG.


    5.2 lines is what I have. Its decent for skimming, but I'm sure some of the more descriptive terms are lost. Unfortunately I need than much to describe the chitin plates, the color/luster of the plates, the underlay of the plates, eyes being all of one color, having mandibles, and describing my thorax. Bugs just have too many parts...

    But what is this skirt theory. Sounds like something I need to know.
    Sylvance
  • ChryenthChryenth Member Posts: 1,323 @ - Epic Achaean
    Long enough to be decent, short enough to be interesting.
    SylvanceKatzchen
  • TaelTael Member Posts: 1,197 @ - Epic Achaean
    Delphinus said:
    Overlong descriptions are boring, not to mention uncomfortable, and they're something of an epidemic among circles such as these. Economy of words is something they don't teach you in high school, for obvious reasons.

    Clothing and artefacts can be spammy. The problem is that unlike a book, Achaea gives every item (and indeed every line of text) the same weight. In a piece of literature, a description might gloss over a character's jewellery as "a collection of rings and bracelets," but the game will treat every ring, every bracelet, every medallion and diadem and doodad with the same importance as a pair of trousers or a shirt. And that sucks.

    You can hide your own artefacts by buying an orb of concealment (for 400 credits), but as for regular items, I don't know what to say. Gloves will hide the rings, at least.
    I purposefully order my worn items so the potentially interesting ones are the first few. I like to think (read: delude myself) that this helps.
    Sylvance
  • XaeXae Member Posts: 452 @ - Epic Achaean
    edited March 2013
    I've tried shortening my desc, but I always feel so plain when I do. She also has family RP stuff (an embedded gem), along with tattoos that she's gotten as she's aged. (It's a 204 word count...) So! In a similar boat as @Nellaundra.

    But without the tattoos/embedded gem, it's a 92 word count. Ha!
    Post edited by Xae on
    I'll probably be shifting over to Starmourn, seeya there!
    discord: aciidwire#5240
    Please check out my new art page!

  • KyorkchaKyorkcha Member Posts: 10
    Xae said:
    I've tried shortening my desc, but I always feel so plain when I do. She also has family RP stuff (an embedded gem), along with tattoos that she's gotten as she's aged. (It's a 204 word count...) So! In a similar boat as @Nellaundra.

    But without the tattoos/embedded gem, it's a 92 word count. Ha!
    How is it set up? Does it describe your face, and then the tattoo on it, and then your torso, and then the tattoo's on it, and then your limbs, and then finally the tattoos. or are the tattoos in a nice and neat little paragraph of their own?
  • XaeXae Member Posts: 452 @ - Epic Achaean
    @Kyorkcha The tattoos are bundled together in their neat little paragraph. Height, body type/color, hair style/color, face/eyes, gem, tattoos.
    I'll probably be shifting over to Starmourn, seeya there!
    discord: aciidwire#5240
    Please check out my new art page!

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