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Survey Results

Want to talk about non-game related issues? This is the forum for it.
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Survey Results

Post by Tary » Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:14 am

Link to full results document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KrO ... sp=sharing

My conclusion is at the bottom of the doc, but I will also post it here.
Conclusions and Soapbox
This survey and recent events highlight the need for positive, drastic change to Underlight. These changes must be in all areas: mechanical, communal and content/GM related. Of these three, the mechanical changes are mostly the easiest. While they are time consuming they are possible: code can be written, people with knowledge can be found, updates can be made within the current framework (or within a completely new one although updating the engine/graphics would be an enormous task, it is stll a finite one). Let’s put those aside for a moment.

The levels of toxicity in the community - from GM down to the simplest player - are unsustainable. From GMs of the past that are hurt, to players that instigate, to GMs that act wantonly, to perceived or actual censorship: there have been wrongs committed by everyone. While it is not required that we all like each other, we must all tolerate each other and operate within a framework of mutual respect and understanding. The community is too small for grudges, mud-slinging and the current levels of instigation.

However, it is one thing to say that the levels are unhealthy and another thing to take real, proactive action. I will present a number of recommendations here. These recommendations are my own, based on a number of factors: the results of this survey, my interaction with members of the community, my interaction with GMs and my own personal opinions on where I think Underlight should be. You are free, of course, to draw your own conclusions, just as you are free to conduct your own survey. We are all in this to make the community stronger. Over 90% of us agree that Underlight can be great.

1. Elimination of all Koi- monikers.

GMs should simply be members of the community that also have a GM character. There is no reason for the anonymity, and it only creates more toxicity and more division. The only reason I have ever heard of having a Koi- nick is to avoid people bothering you on your PC. However, that very attitude: the belief that others in our community can’t separate demonstrates a misplaced attitude of superiority. If we work under the assumption that most people can separate, and those that can’t will learn to do so or be ignored, we can move forward.

As it currently stands, the outing and guessing of who is behind a Koi- moniker has become a toxic meta-game in our community. Additionally, there are no secrets: everyone knows who everyone else is, but it is somehow verboten to say so. Let’s eliminate that entirely. The existence of these nicks simply creates a division that should not exist. The Koi- moniker is not an honorific; if we are all truly members of the same community let us not create Out Of Character guilds.

2. Elimination of the “official” Underlight Discord.

Simply put, this communication medium is not something that GMs should have to police. Bannings from the Discord have created conflict where none should exist. Replace it with a player-run Discord with a link from the Underlight website. The only requirement for getting your Discord link on the Announcements forum should be that you must have a disclaimer stating that anything that happens on your server will not be policed by Koi GMs and that any complaints of misbehaviour on said server will need to reported to the server owners.

The Discord server in question should NOT be run by a GM, however GMs can -- and should! -- join it, however GMs will be expected to hold themselves to a higher level of conduct. Whereas non-GM players will not face repercussions in Underlight for poor conduct in player-run Discords, GM players will.

If requirement 1 is enacted then GMs should join the new Discord under their preferred nicks and no Koi- nicks should exist anymore.

3. GM players shall not be entitled to non-GM characters.

I realize this rule is somewhat impractical given the current size of the community, but if the community grows this must be a requirement. Being a GM represents an obligation to the community: you can not run the asylum and be a member of the asylum. You are either GMing or you are not.

4. More GM functions should be granted to the players.

How this happens should be discussed together as a group discussion with the community, however GM-forgeable ornaments, AEs (to some degree), Trip Items and Raw Emotes should be abilities that certain players have, or that players can purchase (with RP points), or abilities that players can use on a limited basis.

There is definitely some concern around the raw emote capability, as any raw emote immediately becomes “canon.” That being said, with oversight, limiting of power, limiting of the audience capable of utilizing various capabilities I am certain that we can reach a compromise around all GM abilities.

5. Advancement overhaul

Advancement depends far too much on the presence of others at a mutually agreed upon time. We need to make it so that:
* MTs can honor all tasks, even for arts they can’t learn, don’t have or capabilities which are currently beyond their level, or
* All teachers can honor any other teacher’s quest, or
* Tasks can be reported and accepted via the quest boards.
Similarly, advancement until orbit 29 should be streamlined such that no sphere tasks are required until sphere 3. This makes sense from a story-perspective as well, since one can not access the rifts until orbit 30. Arts should auto-imp until 29.

6. Advocate Program

This feedback comes directly from Starling:
I think that the marketing and PR team do a great job for the size that they are, but I feel like they could recruit some “advocates” to help spread the word about the game.

These advocates, who are not part of the GM team, could help spread the word by writing reviews on gaming sites, talking about UL on their own social media pages and general gaming chats. Going to gaming events (local to them) with flyers and swag and info on the game. Passing out flyers at game shops. They could have a goal to try to recruit x players per month. They could be rewarded with RP points and/or experience. The advocate with the highest # of recruited players per month could win a prize (T-shirt, tote bag, etc).

Again, advocates don’t need to be part of the GM team, but they would need to be in the KNOW about upcoming changes and updates that would be attractive to potential new players, so a weekly email or newsletter from the PR/Marketing person in charge of the advocates would be a good form of communication to them. Or, a separate section for them on the forums.

7. Connectivity Fixes

This one is pretty tough, but we need to start investigating the cause of these persistent disconnects. There’s a bug somewhere in the server that causes it to deadlock at some point, which creates ghosting/lag.

8. Democratize the GM selection process

Currently known as the “Jade plan.” Allow players to elect their own GMs to serve some term - i.e. 3-6 months. This may still need some work, but at least in this way players can feel involved in the GM selection process as well as in understanding what goes on behind the curtain.

9. Democratize the DEV request process

Players should be free to submit their own game suggestions and requests; perhaps even publicizing the internal “Underlight” project in Gitlab where GMs currently submit tickets for Dev to work on. If players feel like they can submit requests here, and see when they are done, who is working on them, everyone can feel like they are part of the development and enhancement process.

10. Open Source the Client (and maybe the Server)

I will never stop banging this drum. There is no reason to not do this. Literally: NO reason. This needs to happen.
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Re: Survey Results

Post by Harkyn » Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:32 pm

So it's been a week and nobody has responded. All of these sound like good ideas. Maybe Luigi or someone could chime in and let us know if any of these will be done?
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Re: Survey Results

Post by Koi-Wish » Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:11 pm

This is MY personal view on the survey points above and by no means constitutes that these things will, are, or will ever happen. I am just responding to the post as a member of the community, as a player amongst you.

Well lets break some of these down:

1) I don't think it demonstrates a misplaced attitude of superiority. But I think the ability to hide behind the Koi-Name gives some anonymity because players have proven they can't separate and others have proven they can. Then, inevitably it becomes a game show of figuring out who the new Koi is and they get ousted regardless. I, have never hid behind my koi name as my Koi name is apparent as to who I am. However, on a regular basis I couldn't go into the City without a percentage of the population subtly or otherwise, trying to get a message to me OOC. There were plenty who could separate and plenty whom could not. Now that's just me, and I got to the point years ago I didn't care any more. That doesn't mean I don't want to protect those that did want to be able to enter the City as their PC and dream a normal dream. Its been said that if you join the GM team, perhaps you should no longer play your PC - well that's not exactly fair either, why should all of your UnderLight time be only dedicated to volunteering for the project as a whole without any break to just go hunt with your ol' friends without worry of whispers or concerns for how they might treat you different. If any Koi wants to announce whom they are, that's on them, but I don't think we should say you don't deserve to have an alternative option for enjoying the game. If we are going that route, we might as well say players are banned from alts as well....
Final thoughts: If you are a member of Koi and want to remain anonymous as long as you can, then I won't say no. Respecting the volunteers time-off from volunteering and just being able to play is something I would prefer not to demand up front. But, I also don't care if someone joins the team and decides they want to be open and honest about it and whom they are - that's the volunteers choice.

2) Personally I am fine with this one. If it wasn't for the fact that this is how 99% of the community interacts with me, I would have already left Discord. We took a happy medium already with this concept and asked moderators from the community to moderate vs. us taking on that burden which has only gained another avenue of backlash.

3) See #1. If the community were large enough, I would see the argument for this, but its not. 90% of our GM team if not more, are active members on their PCs. Removing them just takes that many more regular players from the City. I also defer to the argument of "downtime" - I think GMs should still be able to art up, sphere, and work their PCs when they aren't under some obligation on the GM side of things. I don't feel strongly about this, but I also think it would suck if say someone had put in years into a PC, just to have them shelved indefinitely because they decide to help on the KoiTeam - A lot of folks have decades of a storyline going.... just to come to a complete halt.

4) I am ok with this. Maybe because RAWs are a Roleplayed "event" occurring, they should perhaps use RP points? The more Roleplaying you do, the more RAWS you could perform? The same functionality could be with ornaments maybe as well. RP points for No-Pickup items or maybe items that last for days instead of minutes? This is a conversation we can have internally and decide what's fair and what's game breaking, but I am ok with this. Other options: Rulers/Guardians/MT/Advisors get abilities outside of players? This can be discussed. I am certainly not on team "No" - the more the players can support themselves the less they will need a Koi person at all.

5) When I first started this project I wanted all players, newlies, alts - etc. to enter the City at Orbit 29/39 (with all arts at that orbit) - yah it doesn't seem fair to the folks who worked hard for it, but its 2018, everyone wants here and now on their game play, which is why Pay to Win is such a money make for lots of Games/Apps, folks are impatient. The mindset of 1997 doesn't work in 2018, and it might not seem fair, but todays NEW players don't want to play 20 years from now, they want to play for the next 2-6 months and have fun and enjoy it now. So, as I was then, I am still now, all about bringing players in at higher orbits as newlies/alts. I am also all about MTs honoring all tasks, teachers honoring all tasks, OR tasks being reported on the quest board and somehow honored as well (if this is feasible thru coding) - The ISSUE we have is Bobs Sphere 4 quest is reported to Susie, and Susie then goes, "Wtf, this is not a reasonable 4th sphere quest" and then in turn won't honor it. Personally, I would honor pretty much anything - that's part of being the station of a teacher - if you want to report it (the original teacher) to an MT or a lead, by all means - lesson learned for the teacher perhaps thru a "talk" - But outside of perception of relative value of the quest to the teacher honoring it, I am all behind this as well, if the community can survive it.

6) I am totally fine with this. The more the community builds UL the more we thrive.

7) This is a big one that obviously is a headache, but that's a Dev, IT headache that I won't dig into on here.

8) We are working out the details for this concept. Funny thing, every time I bring it up in Discord, a few players come out of the woodwork and say its a completely bad idea that will lead to popularity contests. So we are working on a happy medium. We will reveal details as we conclude the concept.

9) We used to have players put posts in the UnderLight forums that if they were "possible" and not game-breaking - they would end up in Git when the Dev perused the list and pulled something over. I don't see why we can't continue this process and have a weekly review of items in that forum - and simply pull them over. If there are questions, or decisions to be made, a simple re-post on the forum post should work just as easily. I think, actually I know, adding everyone to Git would become so noisy that no one would even want to look it over any more.

10) Emails have been sent surrounding this concept - after some legal advice, we are still hoping to do something with this.

The biggest thing we need to do is stop having a US vs. YOU mentality. We are YOU. You are US. There is very little that separates a member of Koi and a member of the non-Koi community. WE all have a responsibility, not just me, not Luigi, not Taryag, not any single person... we ALL have a responsibility to make UnderLight great - don't just wait for us to make that happen. There is no US... there is all of us. I am a player just like you. If you want to make it better.... do whatever you can. Just as we are doing what we can. Its not an US vs. You.... its all of US, wanting to dream. So dream.
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Re: Survey Results

Post by Tary » Wed Jun 27, 2018 5:19 am

Wish, thanks for replying. I realize you're replying as Brian, not as "Bringer of all Wishes Underlight" but I'd like to begin a discourse - specifically around the points where we disagree (obviously! :)).

You mention that Kois should be entitled to anonymity because some people can't separate and that they should be entitled to their own PCs because they're volunteers and they needed downtime.
For the first part: sure, but you and I both know there's no anonymity; everyone knows who everyone else is. It's just a meta-game on top of Underlight at this point. If we are you and you are us as you say - and I believe as well - then let's just be that and not be something else. Some players can't separate, but they'll learn how to do so because I'd say that probably 90% of people do.

But, honestly, it goes hand in hand with #3. Intentionally or not, there is leakage on both sides. We are human and it is impossible for that not to be so. WE know things that happen on the GM side, and so our PCs who should not know them may know them anyway, or may come to know them because their drivers force them to discover it. It's not a nefarious thing, but it happens without a doubt. It happens because nobody is perfect. And once you volunteer to be given all the bells and whistles and controls of Underlight you SHOULD NOT be entitled to play your normal PC anymore. It's the only way to remain unbiased and keep the environment "sterile." Is it feasible now? No, probably not, because a good 20% of the overall active playerbase is comprised of people on the GM team, but it is something I feel we should strive for in the interest of fairness. It is the sacrifice you make when you GM; it is the sacrifice you make when you're a DM in DnD as well. They are one and the same. You can't sit on both sides of the (DM) screen.

Overall on advancement we need to stop nitpicking tasks or making tasks be WORK. Tasks aren't homework. Teachers are the keeper of the keys to make the game fun. Don't make me work. Make me have fun. And don't say, "that's a crap task I won't honor it." If it's REALLY crappy to the point of it being a balance/cheating issue - report it. But 99% of the time nearly ANY task is good enough as long as it's better than "Jump 3 times and spin in a circle" (which may be a fine task for Free Action if you have to do it while a FateSender is paralyzing you).
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Re: Survey Results

Post by Arnaya » Thu Jun 28, 2018 11:26 pm

As with everyone else, this is just my personal views on things. I havn't replied here yet because I don't think it will do any good, and I think it's just going to ruffle a bunch of peoples feathers. But, since we seem to be at the: "Well, if you arn't speaking against it. You agree with it" mentality... okay.

The toxicity is a Huge thing, and has manifested quite a few ways... from quite a few sources. Some of it has been people siding with favored GM's that have been dismissed or left the team for one reason or another (Not even getting into that issue, I don't know enough it to even start into the "This person's right, this person's wrong" thing. If I had to guess, I'd say there's probably a mix of things... some completely legit, some not, and some of the issues likely just the result of dented egos). Some of it has been people holding grudges, and then they've been built up time and again over the subsequent years. Too much of people insisting that they know how this game SHOULD be played, and Everyone SHOULD play it that way. I could be wrong about that, but I've had several OOC conversations with people that pretty much said exactly that. My biggest frustration in game has been the lack of consideration for other PLAYERS, and a lack of effective communication from the GM's (which they have made HUGE strides in addressing with this current PR team, so big Kudo's there. Please keep it up guys and girls :) ).

Flat out, each of us has to decide what type of game we want.
A) Do we want a game where ONLY the ultra-elite roleplayers that have played the game for 10+ years have a place and anyone else has to fight and force their way into. (Which means, we basically have a game with a population of 10 people).
B) Or, do we want a game where people can log in and have fun and play. That welcomes new arrivals, helps teach people who want to develop their roleplaying... and is more about creating interesting stories for everyone to enjoy (which means we have a game with a population potentially a LOT higher than 10) than "Winning".

because right now.... we basically have option A. The angst and crap that goes along with it, does nothing but push people out of the game and block them out of things. So, contrary to the results of the survey.... I honestly believe that WE, as players, have most of the responsibility for the state of the game currently. Assuming others motives, not thinking of the other players (Not out of malice, but instead out of simple self-involvement or limited perspective), and pushing our own agenda's and idea's of how the game Should be (instead of listening to others idea's and honestly evaluating them. Again, not a malice thing... just limited perspective/self-involvement). The GM issues are frustrating for a lot of people, but it's the PLAYER'S that we deal with day in, Day out... on a near constant basis. So their conduct and manner has a much greater impact on a day to day level than the GM's do.

Moving onto the points:

1) Basically, what Wish said. I'll also add a public perception to it. Eliminating the handles also eliminates avenues of approach to effectively handle issues that come up, and makes it harder for people to separate their "Player" from their "Game Master" sides. Having that handle that you log into also naturally involves a certain shift in thinking and presentation. So... my suggestion here is that if a volunteer wants to out who they are, that's up to them... but they should keep the Koi handle (Like Koi-Cipher has done). It also makes it easy for people to figure who to go to with official questions. Since asking a question in general tends to get five different answers (with 6 of them being wrong or incomplete), or no answers at all.

2) Personally, I've seen too many people abusing the f out of the OOC communication channels. I'd have shut down the official discord months ago. Just to wash my hands of crap that's been associated with it. After talking to Koi-scribble though, I understand the Public Relations uses of the channel. And, we've already seen how smoothly independent people operating primary channels works out. That is after all, WHY we have an official channel as I understand.

3) Again, what Wish said with the addition of what I put up for number 1.

4) This one, I'll admit to being torn on. Players already have some ability to use a form of Raw emote... that allows them to do environmental type emotes, while not causing confusion with the "Canon" of a GM's raw emotes. GM Forged items, I'd suggest be Only creatable with direct prime strength cost (This would allow Guilds to make permanent items as well)... and not the full range of items possible. Some additional affects (Regen, maybe a couple of others like that, and Aura's of available arts). I wouldn't suggest Much more.

5) What's meant by the "Can't enter the rifts until 3rd sphere" argument, I don't understand. That basically would further the argument that advancement up to 5th sphere should be without quests... since that opens up the Unknown. I'm against "Free advancement"... but I would support advancement being available for USING the arts during RP's. Demonstrating increased mastery of them, etc. (A GM or player MT granting an art plateau to another player during a roleplay, for good roleplaying/demonstrated skill at using the art during a roleplay). I can't support "Free Sphere's" at all, since too much in the way of story is driven by sphere quests. By contrast, most art plateau's end up coming across as "Busy Work". So, either someone is getting their arts up by being super active and roleplaying their butt in game... or they advance their arts by questing from Teachers/Master Teachers... or a combination of the two.

Suggested teaching changes:
- Any teacher can use "Train Self"
- Master Teachers gain "Master Train"... allowing them to train arts under a sponsoring GM MT. The player MT abuses it, or breaks the trust... they have it stripped. MT's main role, is to teach other teachers.
- Any character can "Support Train" and Quest. This means apprentice halo's would get altered a bit, along with MT Halo's.

6) Sounds like a good idea.

7) Agreed!

8) Strongly opposed. Maybe among the GM team, but not the players. I don't mean any offense by this, but we as a group have proven ourselves about as mature; responsible; reasonable about this sort of thing as the average grade school student. If players think that someone would make a good GM, they can always suggest them to the GM team and the GM's can assess from there. It's not just a matter of being a good roleplayer either... but being able to play well with the rest of the GM's. Doing the election thing, I think would just result in a lot of frustration from all sides and cause more complications/hard feelings.

9) Somewhat agree/oppose. I think that this sort of thing is already generally done, from what I've seen. Quite a few of the changes have resulted from in-game roleplays and activity, and several more from suggestions made on the Suggestions section of the forum. So, I'd suggest that simply be kept up and maybe if the Dev's could chime in about likelihood/possibility? On this note as well, if there are honest objections to something... they need to be voiced, with the exact points that people have concerns about. Just saying: "This is an f-ing stupid idea" doesn't help the devs work anything out. The idea of letting people see where things are on development could be neat... but I'd rather see people actually in game roleplaying than waiting and pestering for the "Next newest shiniest toy"

10) My biggest question here is.... Why? I mean, it MIGHT bring in some help with coding improvements from the players... but from what I keep hearing, the code is a mess already. So, having ten more people adding fragments to it, I don't see as an improvement? I guess it would depend on how it was set up and how much overview of peoples additions was done. I'd be curious to hear why Macobas is so keen on this though, because I don't know what the pro's/con's would really be.
The most important lesson I've learned over this past year, is not to let anyone make you cruel. No matter how badly you want to give the world a taste of it's own bitter medicine, it is never worth losing yourself.
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Re: Survey Results

Post by Tary » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:37 am

Arnaya wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 11:26 pm
10) My biggest question here is.... Why? I mean, it MIGHT bring in some help with coding improvements from the players... but from what I keep hearing, the code is a mess already. So, having ten more people adding fragments to it, I don't see as an improvement? I guess it would depend on how it was set up and how much overview of peoples additions was done. I'd be curious to hear why Macobas is so keen on this though, because I don't know what the pro's/con's would really be.
I'll respond to this one in particular.

Open Source is not the same as "chaos." Linux -- the most popular operating system in the world -- is open source, for example. Chromium (the project that powers Google Chrome) is open source. Many, MANY things are open source. It doesn't mean ANYONE can get their changes in. It means anyone can contribute, but we'd still be the owners of the project in the sense that only we can merge changes back in. So if something seems very wrong with a particular change, we'd simply reject it or comment on why it's wrong. This model is generally the accepted model for large, open source projects -- much larger and much more complex than even Underlight (which, in comparison, is not all that large or complex).

My bias for open sourcing is simple. There's a VERY small group of people in our community right now that posesses the necessary knowledge to make changes to the source. In fact, it's more or less limited to two people. I, personally, have been working on some form of the code for over 15 years. Others have picked it up as they've gone and built up a mastery. The fact is, though, that UNIVERSALLY, there are LOTS of people who understand game development, C++ , et. al. It also is a wise PR move because you publicize that, after 20+ years Underlight has opened its source and welcomes contributions, bug fixes, etc. from the community.

As an example: if we published our ideas for future enhancements, anyone could try to implement it and submit a merge request back into the main line of the project. If their changes are acceptable we'd merge in the changes and the next patch would see those changes implemented.
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Re: Survey Results

Post by Arnaya » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:00 pm

Okay, thank you for responding to that Macobas. I didn't know what the benefits or anything to it would be, or what the limits would be. If you guys are confident about being able to keep control over things and do proper checks of it prior to any implementation, then I don't see an issue with it.
The most important lesson I've learned over this past year, is not to let anyone make you cruel. No matter how badly you want to give the world a taste of it's own bitter medicine, it is never worth losing yourself.
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