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In-game journal writing

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

Discussion in another suggestion post (actually, this post!) reminded me how sort of OOC the actual mechanical act of writing in journals/letters/etc. is, given that it literally removes you from the game world.

Thus, I suggest that, in order to allow writing to become a more IC action, that players ought to be able to perform line-editing commands without going into the composer, so that they can literally write while, say, drinking kawhe or talking with someone. This could also potentially be streamlined in some way for clients to take advantage of, although I'm still a bit uncertain how to approach that issue (part of me thinks it'd be cool if your character wrote in the journal while you write in a text editor, but that might get a little messy or weird with certain things, and maybe not everyone would like that sort of attachment).

I'd also like for this to extend to letters, but I'm a bit unsure how that ought to be handled. Maybe letters could become a no-erasing style object, and when you write on a line that already has characters, the old and new lines are sort of combined (eg. space + space = space; space + non-space = non-space; non-space + non-space = scribbled mess). If this is the case, I suggest that the line-editing command not only allow you to provide a line offset, but also a character offset, to let people actually scribble out words if they wanted to. (That, or literally let people scribble out words via something like SCRIBBLE ON LINE <linenumber> WORDS <start> TO <end> or something like that). There are probably other issues regarding letters to be considered though.



  • CesarinaCesarina Member Posts: 125 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Let me start by saying I really, really like this idea... But... From a coding perspective I don't know if changing the way this works would be very doable? I would love to see this happen, since when I am writing for house requirements I want to be able to talk with housemates and such, not teleport away and write and unjournal to ask questions... It'd be very nice. I give my +1 and my best wishes for it happening, with a little cynical "probably won't" sprinkled on top.
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  • SenaSena Member Posts: 3,957 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    If you want to write without entering the editor, there are wax writing tablets you can buy that you write on with TOUCH TABLET <text> and erase with PUSH TABLET.

    I agree it would be nice to be able to do all the current editor things without actually disappearing into the editor though.
  • NimNim Member Posts: 2,015 @@ - Legendary Achaean

    @Cesarina: I dislike taking code-related difficulties into account, unless it's a general thing not specific at all to Achaea (eg. "linked lists are bad for random access" sort of stuff), because unless they gave me Achaea's codebase, I would have no way of personally knowing about any Achaea-specific difficulties. (and if they actually did give me Achaea's codebase, I could just code it in myself, difficulties or not!)

    That aside, if this is actually a problem for you, the solution (workaround?) most people do is to write things down in a local file, and just c/p it in later. My bigger problem with the current system is that it always involves this awkward disconnect from the game, whether you do it right away or later on.

  • SilasSilas Member Posts: 2,607 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    They already have slates and sketches that you can write on without the editor. Moving more of that away from the editor would be a good thing, though I'm not sure how you'd handle paragraphs. Add a 'write x newline' command, perhaps? Maybe make it so that you can write out drafts of letters/posts, then 'submit x letter#' or 'submit x section' in the newsroom for posts? Something like that would be very cool.

    I think I submitted an idea like this before, but I don't remember what became of it.

  • KyrraKyrra AustraliaMember Posts: 4,924 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Working with crafting designs does something similar up to a degree. You fill out sketches without having to go into an editor but it doesn't do paragraphs.
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  • KatzchenKatzchen MhaldorMember Posts: 2,000 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited June 2013
    Does it -have- to send you out of the game when it opens the editor? Any reason why they couldn't change the code that does this? Why can't you be expected to find somewhere quiet, and keep an eye on what's happening IG while you write, and have achaea running normally, and the editor for text open at the same time.

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  • TrevizeTrevize Member Posts: 1,517 @ - Epic Achaean
    Sounds great, actually.
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  • NimNim Member Posts: 2,015 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Silas said:
    They already have slates and sketches that you can write on without the editor. Moving more of that away from the editor would be a good thing, though I'm not sure how you'd handle paragraphs. Add a 'write x newline' command, perhaps?

    To clarify, I was imagining commands of the nature of:

    • Inserting a line into a text (shunting everything forward)
    • Overwriting a line of text with something else
    • Appending to a line of text (potentially in the middle of that line too)
    • Potentially overwriting just part of a line (eg you notice a spelling mistake, so you figure out which word it is, and do something like OVERWRITE LINE 3 WORD 5 WITH <correction>, or OVERWRITE LINE 3 WORD 5 TO WORD 7 WITH <correction> for a range.

    I sort of imagined this system having some primitive selectors (eg LINE #, WORD #, LETTER/CHAR[ACTER] #) that could be stacked (eg LINE 4 WORD 7 CHAR 2 would refer to the second character following the seventh word on the fourth line).

    This all might be a bit too complicated, of course, but ideally common-use things (like appending to the end of a document) should have the simplest syntax.

  • VadimusesVadimuses Member Posts: 1,128 @ - Epic Achaean
    The GMCP editor doesn't require taking you out of the game world, Achaea is doing that voluntary. They could send the relevant commands to spawn the Composer window on a client while keeping you in-game (and still letting you a decent editing interface. I don't think a convoluted system with overly specific commands would be very nice to use).
  • SilasSilas Member Posts: 2,607 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited June 2013
    Those commands seem incredibly unwieldy.

    ETA: The editor obviously has to just run what you wrote through whatever scripts are set up to convert it into a journal entry/news post/letter/whatever, so you obviously don't need to be taken out of the game to do that. Given that, it seems a pretty simple matter to allow either, as Vadi says, the editor to be opened and keep you IC, or to give us some sort of drafting paper with a couple of additional commands.
    Post edited by Silas on

  • DelphinusDelphinus Member Posts: 896 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited June 2013
    @Vadimuses: It doesn't have to be more specific than our current system.

    The composer commands are: *help,  *quit,  *save,  *more,  *echo,  *clear, *line, *insertline, *deleteline, *overwrite, *insert, *replace. Just replace most of those with a fitting syntax, and add a command that displays the editor content in real-time Achaea.

    • WRITE <item>: Starts working on a document. You must WRITE QUIT/EXIT the current page before starting on a new one.
    • WRITE TO <item> <text>: Adds text to a document.
    • WRITE SAVE: Saves the current session to the document.
    • WRITE QUIT or WRITE EXIT: Exits the session.
    • WRITE INSERTLINE: Inserts a blank line before the current line.
    • WRITE DELETELINE [<line>]: Permanently deletes the current line (or the line specified).
    • WRITE LINE <line>: Sets the current editing line to the line specified.  <line> may be the number of the line to go to, or one of the words "start" or "end."
    • WRITE CLEAR: Erases all text in the current session.
    • WRITE MODE <INSERT or OVERWRITE>: Changes the mode to write new text, or
    • WRITE REPLACE <line> <text>: Replaces a line with the given text.
    • WRITE REVIEW/SHOW: Shows the current session.
    • WRITE AUTOSAVE ON/OFF: When enabled, saves all changes as they occur. SAVE and EXIT are not necessary.
    • *help is replaced by a regular help file, probably HELP WRITING.
    • *more is replaced by a standard "Type MORE" prompt.
    • Plus a few caveats. The composer quits without saving on disconnect, etc.

    No, the design seems easy enough. If anything would prevent this, it's likely a laundry list of technical issues, the time required, and where it all fits on the development roadmap. (Think about how the composer is integrated with the web client, for example.)

    Whatever happens, though, don't just add this on top of the current composer. Achaea is confusing enough; redundancy is the last thing it needs.
  • NimNim Member Posts: 2,015 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited June 2013

    @Vadimuses: Yeah, that was my other thought. I still think it should be doable via in-game commands, though.

    @Silas: Regarding line editors, there's always trade offs regarding capability vs complexity, and natural syntax vs difficult-to-remember syntax. The latter is solvable by just having aliases (eg "WRITE INTO JOURNAL123 AFTER LINE 7 Silas was here! Nim is a loser!" could be equivalent to "ED 123;WR L7+ Silas was here! Nim is a loser!" assuming ED was some command to make all future commands work with that journal).

    Still, it would be hard to beat a GMCP interface with your personal editor of choice no matter how well designed it was.

  • XithXith Member Posts: 2,602 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Sounds coding hefty, but a definite to-do. Low-priority of course.
    Would be great to combine the now-balanceless emote possibilities with a silent entry to a journal.
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  • LynaraLynara Member Posts: 39 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    This would be amazing to see.
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  • AchimrstAchimrst NatureMember Posts: 3,608 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    If they do add this I only want one thing with it. I want the ability to spill your tea on the page and ruin what you just wrote.
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