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 How do you feel about technobabble vs acronyms vs gamer terminology?
 Give me more technobabble! I like vigoranium nodules and carapaction coils because it's like Star Trek! 6 50%
 Give me more acronyms, like the real US military! It doesn't matter if I know the difference between a Skaraan's HET ability, a Dragon's MVR level, and a PCC found in a wrecked starship. Technobabble is for whimpy scientists and acronyms are for blowing stuff up. Artemis is about blowing stuff up! 1 8%
 I only want acronyms if you give me an in-game lexicon, e.g.: "MVR = Metabolic Vitality Rate; a monster's remaining hit points." 5 41%
 Forget immersion! Artemis is about winning! I don't want to feel like a character on a starship bridge or a real military officer - I am a GAMER efficiently winning a game! Give me GAMER terminology. Call them shield buff, coolant buff, hit points, etc.. 0 0%
Total votes: 12   Please or sign up to vote.


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Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #1 
Because next spring's big Artemis event will be called Artemis Armada IV: The One With the Whales you can expect that whales and other monsters will be fleshed out to be more fun, interactive, and engaging. This will involve a bigger role for Science and Communications, allowing Science to contribute more "scientifically" to the game.

Of course deeper, more interesting monsters means more words that Science and Communications must read. This creates two forces in conflict with each other:
  1. Players want immersion that makes them feel like they are a starship crew.
  2. Players want to communicate efficiently with their crew mates toward the overarching goal of blowing up bad guys.
About 3 years ago the core game adopted features that Thom had added for The Forge at Gencon, making them available to all players. Thus we got pickups like vigoranium nodules, tauron focusers, carapaction coils, and cetrocite crystals. Brian Johnson and I carefully crafted these terms so players who said them would sound like a starship crew. We followed in the tradition of gaming terms like plasmids, vespene gas, slipspace and element zero.

Technobabble is fine when spoken by actors or when it just appears as words on a screen to describe a maguffin (as in Starcraft, Halo, Bioshock, etc.). But in Artemis players need to speak out loud about the things they communicate with and scan. Do players really like saying technobabble to their shipmates?

Space Opera science fiction, especially Star Trek, makes characters say a lot of technobabble! This engages a science friendly audience.

But the real military, at least in this country, uses very little technobabble. Instead they use acronyms. Star Trek gave us EPS conduits and that's about it.

Re-imagined Battlestar Galactica used a lot less technobabble but a lot more acronyms. Examples include DRADIS, CBDR, ECO, SAR, EMI, CIC, etc.. This feels a lot less like you've joined Star Trek's Starfleet and a lot more like you've been drafted into the US Navy.

Which is more fun?

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ogremasch

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Reply with quote  #2 
The technobabble is great and maybe a combination should be applied? When science scans a life form it could read out that it's Metabolic Vitality Rate is such and such but if the text has the abbreviation behind it the science officer could chose to abbreviate it or not as needed for that player's liking. and if they did abbreviate it the term would be there for explanation and to allow the science officer to be able to quickly answer a captain who says "what the heck is MVR?"

Text could read:

"Space Dragon,
Scientific name:  Drogonus Spacious

This creature is a space dwelling dragon discovered to be immune to taunts and enjoys the taste of starship warp cores.

Metabolic Vitality Rate(MVR): 1600
Stage: 2"

Or some other read out information but the point is that the abbreviation should go behind the thing it is abbreviating.
ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #3 

The thing is, I suspect if you were to spell out the acronyms, they would turn out to be technobabble. So that may be a way to combine the two. The military powergamer types can use the shorter and more precise acronyms, but the technobabble is still there to flesh out the universe and give it "depth". Made up depth, but still depth.

I like the Vigoranium Nodules, Hi-Dens Power Cells and Infusion P-Coils. I use those terms when referring to the technology in the wiki. But you could easily turn them into abbreviations VHN (Vigoranium Health Nodules) HDPC and IPC so your crew doesn't sound so "silly" referring to them.

Figuring out how to display them on screen is another issue. Displaying the name followed by the abbreviation as ogremasch suggested is a good compromise, but takes up a bit more space.

Just FYI, the Space Dragon already has an official scientific name, Draconis Colligator. [biggrin] I like the monster names, too, as well as the "slang" names that crews supposedly normally call them. If you saw a space bug, I think you'd call it a Space Bug whether it had a scientific name or not.

I'm still trying to figure out what PIRA and NSECT stand for. Both need to be an appropriately silly acronym. [biggrin] The best I've been able to come up with is Predatory Interplanetary Ravenous something for the first and my mind's a blank on the second.

Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #4 
PIRA is piranha and NSECT is insect - a space bug. I guess Thom didn't want players to see BUG displayed by his software.

Suppose the Science scan showed things like this:

Space Dragon
Scientific name: Draconis Colligator
Mass: 67 kt
Speed: 1.5
RAM: .047
MVR: 105

Different Space Dragons might have different stats depending on age, health, and other conditions (e.g. a Dragon might be sick or starving or enraged or pregnant).

Further suppose the Help screen included a lexicon with terms like this:

EMP - ElectroMagnetic Pulse - a type of torpedo warhead that affects the shields of all ships in the area of detonation
HDPC - High Density Power Cell - a fully charged energy storage unit usable by starships
HET -High Energy Turn - a starship's ability to instantly change directional facing
IPC - Infusion Plasma Coil - an expendable device that can temporarily boost a starship's propulsion
MVR - Metabolic Vitality Rate - a space organism's life strength or "hit points"
PCC - Portable Carapaction Coil - a consumable device that temporarily allows a ship's shields to absorb more damage
RAM - Rate of Agile Maneuvers - a space organism's rate of turning
VHN - Vigoranium Health Nodule - an extremely rare item that can instantly restore health to injured crew members

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ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Substelny
PIRA is piranha and NSECT is insect - a space bug. I guess Thom didn't want players to see BUG displayed by his software.


*snicker*

I meant that I didn't know what PIRA and NSECT stand for as acronyms. Obviously PIRA is short for Piranha but I think it's funnier if it actually means something as PIRA. Most of the monsters have full names, though, WHALE, DRAGON, SHARK and CHARYBDIS.

Quote:

Suppose the Science scan showed things like this:

Space Dragon
Scientific name: Draconis Colligator
Mass: 67 kt
Speed: 1.5
RAM: .047
MVR: 105

Different Space Dragons might have different stats depending on age, health, and other conditions (e.g. a Dragon might be sick or starving or enraged or pregnant).


I like that idea. The Science scan could also report what resources the monster will drop, much the same way as you can scan Anomalies to find out what Upgrade they contain. For now, you'd just list Upgrades, but once you have resources for trade and building in the game...

Quote:

Further suppose the Help screen included a lexicon with terms like this:

EMP - ElectroMagnetic Pulse - a type of torpedo warhead that affects the shields of all ships in the area of detonation
HDPC - High Density Power Cell - a fully charged energy storage unit usable by starships
HET -High Energy Turn - a starship's ability to instantly change directional facing
IPC - Infusion Plasma Coil - an expendable device that can temporarily boost a starship's propulsion
MVR - Metabolic Vitality Rate - a space organism's life strength or "hit points"
PCC - Portable Carapaction Coil - a consumable device that temporarily allows a ship's shields to absorb more damage
RAM - Rate of Agile Maneuvers - a space organism's rate of turning
VHN - Vigoranium Health Nodule - an extremely rare item that can instantly restore health to injured crew members


I like that idea, or a popup on the Science screen that can identify acronyms and possibly offer more information on the races and their ships. Sort of the idea others have suggested of a Library Computer function.

I definitely like the idea of monsters having more variety within their given subtype. So not all Dragons are the same and so forth. And age features (similar to BioMechs?) would be interesting.

ogremasch

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Reply with quote  #6 

PIRA - Predatory Interplanetary Ravenous Alien
          Pack-based Intelligent Roaming Animal

NSECT - Native Space Electro Cephelapodic Traveller

 

Jokes aside Science having a collapsible library screen would give that position quite a nice option, I don't know but to me it seems like something that opens and closes from the right side of the screen when the hotkey or the right button is clicked (maybe even the acronym being a link to more info) would be great.

LawsonThompson

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Substelny

Suppose the Science scan showed things like this:

Space Dragon
Scientific name: Draconis Colligator
Mass: 67 kt
Speed: 1.5
RAM: .047
MVR: 105

Different Space Dragons might have different stats depending on age, health, and other conditions (e.g. a Dragon might be sick or starving or enraged or pregnant).

Further suppose the Help screen included a lexicon with terms like this:

EMP - ElectroMagnetic Pulse - a type of torpedo warhead that affects the shields of all ships in the area of detonation
...
RAM - Rate of Agile Maneuvers - a space organism's rate of turning


My use-case for Artemis is convention focused with MANY newbie players who play a single 30 to 60 minute mission. Jargon gets in the way in that situation. Given the space dragon description above, I'd rather see Mass, Speed, Agility, and Stamina a-la RPG-flavored stats.

As for more experienced players--jargon it up! I like the idea of Artemis developing its own vocabulary.

With all due respect, and a dose of snark... given the fact the v2.6 Help screens are still kinda sub-par, including unresolved mis-spellings and omissions, I'm not entirely optimistic about their use for lexicon reference.

Also, in an all touchscreen bridge, how is the Help triggered?

This gives me an idea for another console, which I'll post under Development...

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U.E. Admiral

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Reply with quote  #8 
Let acronyms come about spontaneously from the playerbase and stick to the technobabble in the display. Gamers have a rich history of making up their own words for objects or combinations that would otherwise be more clumsy when using the game's own language. Have faith that the trend will continue; if the players don't like the technobabble they'll invent their own terminology. Were more acronyms to be added to Artemis, an in-game lexicon would be a must.

The ONLY change that I would suggest to address this topic is for the science infobox text to indicate what an anomaly does in addition to the anomaly's name once identified and selected. Currently, a scanned anomaly selected by the science screen or captain's map just reads "Tauron Focusers". There's all the space in the world to add some text--technobabble or otherwise--to indicate its function: "Tauron Focusers. Fragile lens increases beam intensity for a short time before shattering."

And if the players prefer to call them T-Fucs, let them! =D
Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by U.E. Admiral
Let acronyms come about spontaneously from the playerbase and stick to the technobabble in the display. Gamers have a rich history of making up their own words for objects or combinations that would otherwise be more clumsy when using the game's own language. Have faith that the trend will continue; if the players don't like the technobabble they'll invent their own terminology.


The lingering problem is that the technobabble still alienates newbie crews. Over and over I see newbie crews assign their youngest players to be Comms and/or Science, especially at conventions. I know that 8-year-olds are capable of reading things like "The Captain is unmarried" and "You're so ugly your wife will thank me for killing you!" But it's hard for them to sound out technobabble like tauron focuser, carapaction coil, or cetrocite crystal.

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Efil1010

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Reply with quote  #10 
Having both the technobabble and the short hand doesnt take up much space at all on the science screen and gives players the option. In the pre game chat you can tell the newbies something like “we use the acronym in brackets for speed.” So they know they dont have to say cetrocite and can just use the (CC) instead. Experienced groups will ignore the suggested abbreviations and will make their own anyways. But having a standardized abbreviation will help when experienced players play with different groups.

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