Surviving Big Scenes
Arx is a big game, which means that public +events often get pretty huge! This can make scenes pretty spammy and dense and difficult to keep up with. This guide is mostly an attempt to share some tips and tricks for surviving giant scenes.
Pretty much every MU* client has the ability to highlight specific words or strings. I strongly suggest setting up a highlight for your character's name (and nicknames, if they have them). You can also make a highlight that should catch the beginning of tabletalk poses, which is extremely helpful.
Highlights on Atlantis are pretty simple. Go to your Address Book and select the world (or character, but I generally set them at the world level) you want to see your highlights in. Go to the Highlights tab, and click the button to Add Highlight.
I generally use the matches regexp match type, which allows me to put in multiple highlights in one entry. For instance, I have a highlight for Valkieri|Valk|Rubino. The pipe character (|) serves as an or operator, so it highlights anything that matches Valkieri, Valk, or Rubino. Then you can select your colors: you can change the foreground color (which is the text), the background color, or both. Just check the boxes you want and click the color box to change them.
I also like to highlight the names of characters who are important to mine so that their names also stand out. Just add another highlight!
For tabletalk and whisper highlights, do another regexp highlight with the text (^At the [\w\s]*,|^Discreetly,|^You posed to). This may cause some occasional false positives outside of tabletalk, but very rarely in my experience, so it's totally worth it. (And you could always deactivate it when you're not in a big event if it causes trouble!)
Someone should fill this in! There are some instructions for Potato's Event system here in their helpfiles for the time being, though.
There is a dropboxed guide with printscreens available here as well, which also includes how to highlight places in addition to a character's name.
Even if you don't set up highlights yourself -- but especially if you do! -- it's really helpful to pose in such a way that pings people's highlights and/or just makes it really clear who you are and who you're talking to. It's fine to identify your character by titles and whatnot in a one-on-one scene, because there's no confusion there, but it's really important to keep things clear in big scenes when there's a lot of posing going on. So a couple of tips:
- Always tag your pose. That just means make sure that your character's name is in it.
- Always tag the people you're talking to, looking at, interacting with, etc. Phrases like, "She laughs at the Duke," are a lot more unclear when there are tons of people in a room. People are generally going to be looking for their names, so make sure you use them.
- Keep poses on the briefer end. Again, it's not a big deal to drop a more eloquent paragraph or two in a small scene, but in big scenes it helps with pose volume to err on the side of brevity a bit more.
- Don't try to respond to everything single thing going on around you. It can quickly become unwieldy for all involved. Consider how parties work in real life: people mostly go in between small knots of people, and certainly no one is responding to every single person around them at all times.
- Use places and tabletalk! More on that now...
Places are private areas within rooms that characters can join and depart at will. If there are places set in a room, they'll appear when you look at it in their own labeled line, like so:
Arx - Ward of the Crown - Queensrest Inn - Main Room Some establishments are as comfortable serving a high lord as they are a beggar, sublimely confident in their own standing so that the class of their clientele is not an undue reflection upon their own prestige. And then there's the Queensrest Inn, which some commoners firmly believe that the staff must be stolen away at birth and then conditioned relentlessly in order to produce the most arrogant and pompous employees in existence. While someone below the rank of high lord might actually have the innkeeper deign to take notice of them with a snide sniff of disapproval, it's unlikely they'd receive more than a patronizingly helpful tone to suggest more suitable accommodations across the city for 'their sort of person'. Fortunately for the Queensrest, they receive ample business from foreign envoys hailing from locales such as Cardia or distant Eurus who either don't notice or pretend not to notice the demeanor of the staff. The area is abuzz with rumors and gossip. (See 'help rumors' and 'help gossip'.) Places: Bar, Dark Corner Table, Banquet Table, Intimate Booth Exits: Upstairs <U>, Out <O>
You can see a current list of places, each place's assigned number ID, the number of seats available (literal or figurative), and the current occupants with the places command. Like so:
Places here: ------------ Bar (#1) : 6 empty spaces -Occupants: Valkieri and Orazio Dark Corner Table (#2) : 4 empty spaces Banquet Table (#3) : 12 empty spaces Intimate Booth (#4) : 2 empty spaces
To join a place, type join ##, where ## is the number ID of the place. In this example, join 1 would join Valkieri and Orazio at the Bar. To leave a place, just type depart.
Once you've joined a place, you now have access to the tabletalk, or tt, command. This allows you to pose/emote to only the people currently at the same place as you. Simply use tt :, tt ;, or tt | to pose with tabletalk. You can also use tt/ooc to send an OOC message to just those at your place if you need to.
Places and tabletalk are, to put it lightly, imperative for surviving a giant scene, but they only work if everyone agrees to use them (and use them both). A good rule of thumb for a big scene is to join a place as soon as it makes sense and to keep your poses to tabletalk the vast majority of the time. Non-tabletalk poses are useful if you're taking action that everyone would be able to see, addressing the whole room, or to indicate a notable action that might be visible to those outside your immediate vicinity.
In practice, if people cluster in places and use tabletalk regularly, players can move from circle to circle within the scene and only have to manage reading and responding to small clusters of players instead of 10-20 (or more!) other people. However, if enough people don't use places, or if they use places but not tabletalk, then the benefits are quickly reduced or eliminated. So if you're not familiar with the commands yet, it's a great idea to take a look and try it out in your next big scene!