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Robot Messaging
An Excess of Text

Although robots got a lot of cool additions, one of the issues I've found when working with them is that everything to do with them is very feedback heavy compared to other activities. There is a feedback message to the room for every single command issued on a controller, there is a feedback message preceding every action a robot takes in addition to the action messages themselves, and there is five feedback messages in a script for every single part install/uninstall (I think six if it fails) which gets to be quite a lot because even the most basic bot has minimum 14 parts.

While the installation messaging is often only a screens-filling issue for the robo-mechanic, I feel like the action messaging on controller use and robot action initiation really limit the appeal of using either in roleplay. There is a ton of canned messaging spam for every minor action, it would be akin to a decker filling a room up with actions for their fingers flying across keys with every action on a grid terminal.

These are the feedback messages that I think are especially detracting from roleplay:

%N's fingers fly across the %controller, typing in a command.

%N wrestles with %p %controller momentarily as %s assumes control of a remote device.

%N begins to move suddenly with the click and whine of servos.

There is precedent already for electronic devices to be used with only a minimum of action messaging, and controllers must be held to be used so it's not as if this can be done secretly to begin with, so I think it would be a big improvement to clip some of the stock messaging so robots and riggers don't produce so much text spam in rooms.

Hmm. This does sound a bit spammy. What if we added a cooldown or something on these so you only saw them once every minute or two?

I think it's important that people in the room know you're doing stuff with your controller. We use this pattern elsewhere, obviously, but if these are very command intensive I can understand the feedback.

Yes, testing other hand-held electronic devices now I do see there is feedback for all the various kinds of menu access and verbs on the devices. I suppose it's because of the volume of commands that get used on hand controllers that makes it more noticeable. A scanner might have three commands to do something, a controller might have dozens or hundreds. I'm pretty used to parsing a lot of text at once and I found it impossible to use a robot in a public place because every command issued created seven lines of feedback.


1. Your fingers fly across the %controller, typing in a command.

2. The controller shows: [r-00000] %N's fingers fly across the %controller, typing in a command.

3. [=] [r-00000] received >> . pose.

4. [=] [r-00000] You begin to move suddenly with the click and whine of servos.

5. [=] [r-00000] You pose.

6. %Robot begins to move suddenly with the click and whine of servos.

7. %Robot poses.

Possible solutions:

I'd say the '%N begins to move suddenly with the click and whine of servos.' is the one of those three common ones that imparts the least novel information, since it prefixes a robot taking an action or posing, both of which have feedback themselves. In situations where a rigger is roleplaying with a robot in the same room as them, pruning this one reduces the amount of room feedback messages per action/pose from 3 to 2, and from 7 to 5 for the rigger if they're present.

As far as the controller operating feedback: It's really just posing that gets especially spammy. It would be a bit arbitrary from an IC perspective, but pose commands being 'silent' to the room would let riggers roleplay with their bots a bit more seamlessly. Since in this scenario the rigger is in the room with the bot, and they have to be holding the controller to use it.

Alternatively all operating messages could make a stealth check! Then sneaky operators could stealthy run their bots from the crowd and combat riggers could range out with their warbots without spamming their allies.

In the same vein of excessive robot verbosity, part names are often extremely wordy and don't seem to ever alias to anything more manageable. It seems like if parts get installed in the right (or wrong) order, they interfere with their own targeting for uninstall verbs because there's like twenty parts with almost identical names and the parts that differ are not aliases.

I've been struggling to interact with them at all because simple short forms (right backleg) just don't work, and even full forms are hit and miss. Some more typing friendly aliases for them would really help.

We could put a cooldown on the click and whine of servos, but the rest of the example lines are important feedback for both the controller and the potential other viewers of the robot feed.