Lack of faces - how do you check on your game?

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Ry St
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Lack of faces - how do you check on your game?

Post by Ry St »

Something I do in all my games is I watch the players. I keep an eye out if someone's not having fun, add more stuff for their character, try to get them back, keep everybody rolling along.

Of course, on Skype you can't tell if people have drifted off or if they're still there.

How did you keep track of how your players are doing?

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Hawke
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Post by Hawke »

Asking! Don't be afraid to ask later and individually if they were having fun, point out to some specifics "did you like..." "I noticed you were pretty quiet when..." Just make sure not to get defensive if they point something out - you do that once and you can't count on them being honest in the future.

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mrobviousjosh
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Post by mrobviousjosh »

Some games, primarily horror games, you really need to see your player's reactions and even programs like SKYPE don't quite cut it for me. Something like 85% of all communication is nonverbal and asking a player if they're "getting scared" v.s. seeing their reaction to something really isn't the same. It's kind of like I'd MUCH rather hear a full fledged laugh as opposed to reading "lol" when I tell a funny story. Honestly though, yeah just listening/asking is about all you can do with MapTools. At least with programs like SKYPE you can hear the way people say things because that can alter meanings dramatically as well. That's just my two cents. ;)

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Post by Michael Silverbane »

Hawke wrote:Asking! Don't be afraid to ask later and individually if they were having fun, point out to some specifics "did you like..." "I noticed you were pretty quiet when..." Just make sure not to get defensive if they point something out - you do that once and you can't count on them being honest in the future.


QFT. Especially in an online game, where you're not getting that visual feedback (you can't see if your players are leaning forward in their seats, if they're looking off into space, whatever), it is very important to ask them if they're having a good time, or if there were some things that they particularly liked or disliked...

If someone is quiet, I'll check to make sure that they're still engaged, "John, you've been awfully queit, are you still with us?" or the like...

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SDShannonS
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Post by SDShannonS »

On the other hand, web cameras are dirt cheap these days. If it's a significant enough issue, have each of your players get one for $15-$20 and watch them over the web. That will at least give you enough feedback to tell if they're reading a book or seem to be browsing the web during the game.


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mrobviousjosh
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Post by mrobviousjosh »

SDShannonS wrote:On the other hand, web cameras are dirt cheap these days. If it's a significant enough issue, have each of your players get one for $15-$20 and watch them over the web. That will at least give you enough feedback to tell if they're reading a book or seem to be browsing the web during the game.


Shannon

The two problems I've already foreseen with that are this. First, it uses a bit more bandwidth to do that. Couple hosting a server for MapTools with a video conference and your bandwidth will probably be abysmal. The other problem I've encountered, and suspect most other DMs would, is that you have SO MUCH CRAP littering your screen, you're going to be too busy too look at them much. You're describing scenes, rolling die for players (if applicable- I always like to for things like appraise, spot, listen, search, and sense motive), and then you're manipulating things with the RPTools like initiative, enemies, etc. BUT, it is a valid suggestion and if you make it work than others, like myself, probably could (even if that meant hooking up dual monitors for my laptop). ;)

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Post by carpens »

I think that this is probably the greatest challenge for a GM in an online game. The mechanics of the game can be greatly simplified by the tools you use, but pacing and immersion are harder to maintain.

I don't think that in-game metachat is the best way to handle it. A pre-game chat to set up boundaries and expectations for interaction and feedback is good, as is a post-game "female-canine-in-heat session". When you're in the middle of the game, you really have to just go with what you have, and adjust as best as possible to how you read your players.

Ry St
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Post by Ry St »

I'm seriously thinking about setting up something that every 10 minutes or so goes "ding" and asks the players to hit an emoticon.

My game is pretty rules-light so maybe I could ask the players to set up macros 1-5 like this:


:o :) :S :| :(

and every time the thing 'dings' they just need to click a macro.

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RPMiller
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Post by RPMiller »

I think the solution is actually much simpler than you might think.

Here's what we do:

We use Ventrilo (Skype is the embodiment of evil ;) ) for all the roleplaying stuff sans die rolls.
We use the chat window for all Out of Character and Table Talk comments.

What this gets us is the folks who may not be currently involved for whatever reason are able to chat back and forth and make side comments that don't really disturb those that are involved, and if need be the GM or even the players can go to one of the side rooms and run their little side session or just BS without bothering others.

By doing the above, it is pretty easy for the GM to see if folks are paying attention and enjoying themselves or not, by the types of OOC comments and table talk that are going on. It isn't a perfect solution, but it definitely goes pretty far in helping the GM identify who might be unusually silent. At least that is my perception given that I'm only a player and not the GM.
You're just jealous 'cause the voices only talk to me.

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Hawke
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Post by Hawke »

May I also suggest requiring everybody have a two drink minimum... that's my success story as a DM! :wink: :twisted:

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RPMiller
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Post by RPMiller »

Hawke wrote:May I also suggest requiring everybody have a two drink minimum... that's my success story as a DM! :wink: :twisted:

Only if you are buying. 8)
You're just jealous 'cause the voices only talk to me.

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