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TriadCity - Text-based Virtual World Game

  • Synopsis: Published: 2012-09-25 - Review of TriadCity an advanced text based virtual world game with a literary orientation where you read and type in order to play - Wendy Taormina-Weiss.

Main Document

TriadCity is an advanced and text-based virtual world with a literary orientation. While a number of games available today have a focus on adventures where characters pursue and destroy monsters of various types, TriadCity explores themes which have been central to Western culture such as city and country, good and evil, personal and collective identities, nature and civilization, freedom and slavery, as well as violence and nonviolence. By, text-based, the game means you both read and type in order to play.

TriadCity is not a 3-D graphical environment such as Second Life or World of Warcraft. The creators and players of TriadCity find the rather, 'cartoonish,' nature of these games to be rather, 'off-putting.' For members of TriadCity, it is their own ability to form exceptional pictures in their imaginations that is much more fulfilling to them. A number of people agree; TriadCity has drawn many players from other, more cartoonish game environments.

The literary orientation of TriadCity means players use narrative techniques from novel and other traditions, incorporating them to play the game. As an example, numerous forms of player subjectivity are imposed - some of which are relative, while others are radical. The result is character histories and views of the TriadCity world which are potentially unique to each person who is playing the game.

The creators of TriadCity are not aware of any other game environment where the ability to create such a level of unique character development has been accomplished. The games literary merits have been cited widely, to include in The Cambridge Companion to Postmodernism which notes TriadCity as its culminating example of literary Postmodernism. The game is very large, stable, and constructed to the point where people playing it can see how it all fits together. The creators of TriadCity are proud to stress that the game is friendly to many populations of people; in fact - there are more women players than male ones. Four of the top five players at TriadCity are women.

Various types of online interactive role-playing games have existed since the Internet itself first began. While the creators of TriadCity understand these games may be enjoyable, they are not really interested in them. Instead, the creators of TriadCity desire to systematically explore the idea that games can be stretched into something that is similar yet different - new forms of fiction with their own structures, character idioms, and techniques.

The creators of TriadCity have taken on the role of inventors of these structures, idioms, and techniques, assisted by friends who work with them to code the technologies which underlie the fabric of the TriadCity universe. The work on TriadCity began nearly five years ago and since then the game has grown immensely.

The Difference between TriadCity and Other Multi-Player Role-Playing Games

The first, and perhaps most notable difference, between TriadCity and other role-playing games is that TriadCity is really, truly big. In TriadCity the utter scope of potential player experience is far larger than the majority of imaginary environments that came before it. While a large adventure-style game may have 10,000 rooms, TriadCity will have greater than 100,000 when it is completed, along with tens of thousands of automated and non-automated characters interacting. The number mentioned includes only the world inside of the city walls - there is a potentially infinite world awaiting players outside of those walls.

The creators of TriadCity state there is really no limit, in principle, to future growth of the game; something that is referred to as, 'scalability.' The server architecture of TriadCity and its related technologies permit the creation of a game world that can grow without technology-induced constraint. The people who have created TriadCity say it is even possible to seamlessly link other game worlds running on multiple servers, enabling the integration of gaming worlds authored by creators who have different visions. The creators of TriadCity believe this ability will be one of the defining characteristics of the TriadCity platform as the game becomes more mature.

TriadCity's Urban Environment

'Kill the dragon,' style adventure games appear to come in only two varieties of settings. The first involves an underground maze, while the second involves an above ground setting in a rural environment populated by two or three rather small towns. TriadCity is very different in that it presents an emphatically urban environment with all of the economic, cultural, environmental, as well as emotional differences such an environment implies.

TriadCity has no Limits to Character Attributes or Experiences

Many games in existence assign arbitrary ceilings to a character's key quantitative attributes. For example, a game may set an upper limit of twenty-five to a character's wisdom, intelligence, dexterity, or other characteristics. TriadCity; however, does not impose any such ceiling to the attributes of your character. Your character can continue to grow increasing smart, or gain more levels indefinitely.

TriadCity has Many Highly-Individualized Automated Characters

The creators of TriadCity have gone to great lengths to provide large numbers of highly-individualized automated characters for players to interact with. Players will certainly encounter automated characters such as:

  • EvieTriadCity logo
  • Justine
  • Tiresias
  • The Duck
  • The Waiter

As well as many other automated characters, all with distinct personalities and capabilities. The creators of TriadCity believe that per capita, the game is populated with far higher numbers of extremely specified automated characters than you will find in any other game. More automated characters are being added to TriadCity all the time.

One of the reasons the incredible variety of automated characters in TriadCity exist is because of the game's authoring tool set, which makes an enormous number of specialized behaviors available to the game's authors. Automated characters are individualized in part by giving them unique combinations of behaviors, both event-driven and scripted. The behaviors can in turn be comprised of sub-behaviors, which imply a nearly infinite and rich variety of possibilities for characterization.

In addition, the creators of TriadCity are spending a considerable amount of time and effort into making the behaviors of automated characters as intelligent as possible. Even at this point, the creators of the game of included a number of very interesting artificial intelligence techniques throughout the game's vocabulary of automated behaviors. As the game continues to develop and progress, the creators intend for these artificial intelligence-based techniques to become increasingly powerful and sophisticated. They also plan to dedicate a considerable amount of computing power to realizing these abilities.

Tips for New Players

Read the Players' Guide: The Players' Guide is not overly-long and include a good amount of material you will want to master to play TriadCity.

Learn the Basic Commands: The game has about twenty basic commands and they are easy to get used to. The commands are the ones you will need in order to get around in the game and start interacting with other players.

Stay in Character: Your character is the creativity you contribute to the fiction of the TriadCity game world. It is your share of the collective authorship and you should focus on your character.

Use the Description Command to Tell the World what your Character Looks Like: Also use the title command to provide a short, yet interesting, tag for display by the who command and the, 'Who's On,' page. These steps are the beginning process for individualization of your character.

While you Explore TriadCity, 'Look,' at Everything: 'Look,' at all of the characters you find, the items in every room and so forth. Make sure you, 'look,' up and down, north and south, east and west. Make sure you, 'look,' at every notice, sign, label, placard and so on. The, 'look,' command is your friend - use it constantly.

Use All of Your Senses: At times the most important thing you can do is, 'smell,' something; however, be sensible. It does not necessarily pay to, 'taste,' a bottle of arsenic.

Get Some Clothing: Characters that are naked are embarrassing! You can usually find free clothing inside the Donation Room on Sanctuary Island, and the Monk at the Origin Stone will provide you with a free robe if she has one.

Pay Attention to your Character's Changing Quantity of Experience: While you are playing the tab labeled, 'Exp, Align, $,' will show you how much Experience you have at the moment and how much you need to rise to the next level. If you watch your amount of Experience closely you will begin to learn what kinds of activities increase your Experience. The reason you want to do this is because gaining levels quickly will help your character to increase in health and energy, as well as to achieve access to more commands.

Level Soon and Often: The sooner you level after you accumulate enough Experience to do so the better.

Chat with Other Players: Don't be shy! Ask questions, ask for suggestions, and ask for help. Higher-level players at TriadCity are expected to assist other players.

Take the time to read the materials available to you on the TriadCity web site. In particular, read the Message of the Day and the bulletin boards on a regular basis, such as each time you play the game. The materials on the web site are your best sources of information and suggestions about new game features, changes to old ones and more. It is always a good idea to read through the FAQ as well. More than anything have fun!

Visit TriadCity -www.smartmonsters.com/TriadCity/Players/index.jsp

How to Play TriadCity - www.smartmonsters.com/TriadCity/PlayerGuide/index.jsp

Player Command Reference - www.smartmonsters.com/TriadCity/PlayerGuide/Game/Commands/index.jsp

SmartMonsters' Bulletin Boards - www.smartmonsters.com/Fora/recentTopics/list.page

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