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Game Lore & Continuity
Consistency in the Face of Regular Changes

Hi all,

This is a post I've been thinking about for a bit now, and it took me some time to figure out my feelings on things. I think the game at the moment has an issue with tech and feature creep that isn't being well represented in the established lore, and I don't know how exactly to address it both from a OOC and IC standpoint. I wanted to see if there was the same impression with others in the community, and workshop ideas on how we could perhaps resolve the issue I've been seeing.

In years previous, there were stretches of time where it felt like not a heck of a lot of content development for the game was going on. I think part of that changed in the past few years with the introduction of the changelogs and the huge curtain reveal that was seeing all the stuff staff was working on, as well as the game growing it's staff pool and talent. It seems pretty commonplace now that there's fairly regular, sizable content additions to the game, as well as balance changes taking place. Sometimes we get some IC blurbs or a post on the boards to explain the context or reasoning behind changes, but it seems like we're retconning the existence of new technologies, businesses, hell, even entire career paths fairly regularly.

THIS IS NOT A CRITICISM OF CONTENT BEING ADDED. WE LOVE IT. MOAR. MOAR!

Retcons become a big issue for older and more established characters as well as players when we have a major business added or a whole new technology, and everyone is either completely clueless on it. This includes characters that should NOT be clueless, or we're having to ask NPC's for info, which wastes GM time, or we're just recycling a paragraph or sentence off a forum or info board. The only solution that I can see to this is that maybe when introducing new content that's supposed to have been canon, we could perhaps get a more significant post about the lore, background, history of the tech/field, etc that we can refer back to? Otherwise the cycle of continuity errors is prone to repeat when jimjoebob says on pubsic he's worked for X retconned company for 57 years and then a puppet gets on and says something along the lines of 'we were incorporated 10 years ago, this dudes a whackjob.' (This is purely a random example, I don't have any actual IC experience here to go off from.)

The second thing I wanted to discuss with the community is that I've had a growing perception that technology has significantly advanced in the past 1-3 IC years, and we don't seem to have any timeline, forums or really any explanation at all. I recently came back from a break and saw all the awesome new features and content added to the game and was like, totally dumbstruck with how awesome it all was. But then I started thinking about how much of an incongruity there is between people having exoskeletons, brain-scanning technology, full cyberbrains and literal exo power armor... and then said characters pulling out... a wood bat to fight with.

Again, I'm not saying this is a bad thing, if we want to have some kind of unique setting like in other media where there was 20 meter walking tank robots in WW2, people digging trenches and using M1's next to O.G. Gundam suits, I'm all for it. It's just that there seems to have been a significant leap forwards in dome technology in a lot of areas, and yet there's still unga bunga caveman basic stuff in others- and it's not simply an issue of "the divide" or "Haves and have nots." I don't know how to reconcile the progia-11 being this state of the art super masterpiece of wireless technology, then we have someone using a cyberbrain and remote piloting literal flying robots in the same room as each other.

I think there's growing incongruities and gaps forming in our lore as we add cool (and genuinely, amazingly CP things and things I wish we'd had 5+ years ago) content. My solution proposed is what I feel like is the minimum lift, to post up some little blurbs explaining things, possibly even outsourced to the community and reviewed by lore experts on staff. In a best case scenario, I'd really like to see this trend continued and us starting to phase out some of the unga-bunga gear. We could drop current "high tech" (Old content) weapons and armor down a tier or three, as far as 'mechanical scaling' and 'stats' are concerned and then add back newer content as the replacements for older tier gear.

Thanks for reading. I'd really like to hear everyone's thoughts on this.

I have been meaning to write something along the lines of this for a long time, but could never really narrow it down to a concise format like TalonCzar has. One of maybe two or three gripes with SD over the near two years of playing is the difficulty supposed IC experts have gaining knowledge of what they are experts in.

Working in a place for close to a year and a half, rising up the rainks in a respective field, it should not this hard to get information upon new tech to distribute to the masses. This has been particularly harsh for things like custom chrome were mistakes are very unforgiving, and some of these mistakes you cannot see till the gear is installed within the body.

This paired with a lot of information that is built by the player base due to knowledge being unavailable IC due to feedback or certain information being obferscated when it really shouldn't. Examples like how to RP cyberware that replaces body parts, as currently there is no installation feedback to direct this, this is the same as bio-mods too.

I get that there is a mystery and discovery element to all this, but surely you want this done in RP between PC's not having some poor sod invest chy and time hidden away smacking their head against a system in frustration till they work this stuff out.

I know you can ask NPC's but when things come thick and fast and questions that you don't even think of get presented to you, is it really the best option to have constant puppet-requests open to get answers all the time?

When something new hits the world, why not look to distribute information to prominant PC's in the field, in the way we get patch notes.

Like a gridmail, or leaflet, or just something that gives a 'This new shit, we want it to work like this in the game world'.

It should hopefully reduce the lost feeling an expert might get when they have to answer a question from another PC and say 'Well I have no idea.. I know I am an expert of ten years, but I have no idea what this will do when I install it into you.'

Sometimes we do actually want a poor sod to slam their head in frustration against a wall and spend chy to figure systems out. Not always. But sometimes. There are players who enjoy that discovery and process.

This has been a problem staff side since I've come on to staff, usually the GMs have little more information than players when new content is released and we're still figuring out how to solve it. We've done a couple things here and with a little success sometimes. But it is not a solved problem.

Sindome (the game) really doesn't have a complete support network in place staff side for the rate of change that is happening, and as they say, shit rolls downhill. We've put some systems in place to leapfrog that communication change (like billboards and price charts), but it's not perfect.

It is incredibly comforting to know that this is actually an issue and is being looked at and concidered. The billboards and price charts are a huge improvement, and I should have mentioned them in my previous post.

I obviously know little about the inner workings of the staff here, but during the QA/testing phase for these improvements and changes. Could the GM or lore team not be invovled at that stage just to write up an IC blurb or patchnote that can be used as either a canned response by NPC's or actually distributed during or shortly after a release of a change?

I would love to see experts, actually be experts when new things come out, and be able to guide IC the new changes in game, PC to PC.

Thank you for all the hard work you guys do, and that things like this bubble under the surface all the time. It is a big reason I am still here.

There is no QA/testing phase beyond me smoke testing features myself, and if a change is risky, I may test on a couple players or use my staff testing bit. Sometimes a justice may review my code if it touches like the base exit generic or I want an extra pair of eyes.

GMs find out about most features during our weekly staff meeting, if they attend, which not everyone is capable of doing every week, and GMs don't have the time or bandwidth to (with quick turnaround) write a documentation sheet on every new feature.

I am *really* not trying to brag, so I hope it doesn't come off like this, but in times like the last couple weeks, I am adding *so much content* that I could easily fill the full time of like 3 GMs only writing documentation and propagating that info, and we just don't have that bandwidth. The only option would be to slow changes down (which I am heavily against.)

Perhaps then a new staff position, the ying to your yang as it were? Someone who is in a position to offer up an IC blurb to distribute in the game for changes that need it, because not every change does. Or have a rota for that position. I think it could serve to safe GM time for those having to adhoc answer the same or similar questions over and over.

Obviously I have no oversight of the issue, so I can only offer from a limited position of knowledge and prvilige and hope it sparks thought process for you guys :)

It's not a bad idea. I've had the same thought. I don't know if that's realistic or not.
You would just have to see if the workload to get this information into the IC world in the firstplace is more or less work that adhoc interactions over all for both staff and players. Which in my limited capacity think it would be in the long run. It could also be a new tool to plant seeds and plot hooks more naturally, if it is something that players grow to expect.

Maybe a more managable thing could be for corporations and select work places to have a weekly or monthly news letter, that goes out to certain ranks of staff within that corp and can be distributed via PC means. While the information would not drop as soon as the changes or things are made, it would give a sense that the answers are coming. You could than have more of a handle upon on that particular work load, and it feels more natural in the game world.