Home > Website Development > Why I’m creating the OngoingWorlds website

Why I’m creating the OngoingWorlds website

PlanetOngoing Worlds is a project that’s born out of my love of PBeM games. I’ve been playing online text-based role-playing games since about 1998, when I first got the Internet at home. I loved the total freedom of using my character to inhabit this total virtual world that only existed in peoples imaginations.

I’ve already discussed in this article about how I’ve ran PbEM games before using Yahoo Groups, which does the job reasonably well, although is limited and to be honest starting to look a bit tired and oh so old fashioned.

Yahoo Groups is limited in that it’s trying to suit everyone, and therefore doesn’t provide tools that would really make life easier for the GM of a PbEM game. Of course I could bitch and moan about this all day, but it’s not their fault obviously because they can’t create all the functionality that everyone in the world wants. I chose to use what they created, so it’s my problem not theirs.

I know there are many other great solutions out there for online text-based role-playing games, many people use forums, blogs or wikis to run their game. Each of these solutions I’ve found interesting, but all have their own flaws because the problem is practically the same. They’re using software that wasn’t created for the specific task in hand.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a website tailored specifically to creating the perfect PBeM experience? Yes it would!

So that’s my plan with Ongoing Worlds. I work as a web designer, so thought I’d put my skill to some use here. Ongoing Worlds is going to be a website for people to come to, setup a text-based role-playing game, invite members, and post your ongoing story. Sounds simple enough, but what will make it extra special is that every part of it will be created with the purpose in mind.

The challenge though is incorporating everything that everyone wants into one system. People run their text-based role-playing games very differently, so I want to make sure that this website will fit how you play. Which is why I’ll be needing a lot of feedback! I’ll be posting articles about the progress and asking plenty of questions. If you don’t agree with something, tell me! If you think a feature would be useful, tell me!

I have no delusions of grandeur. I don’t think this website is going to be the next Facebook or Twitter, but what I do hope is that it will be a really useful site for GMs of PbEM games to run their games.

Categories: Website Development
  1. January 11, 2010 at 4:00 am

    I’m working on a framework for a PbEM game myself. Its based on my abiding and everlasting hatred of the punks in EVE Online who suck all the joy out of the game for someone who likes the theme (space travel, science research, and exploration) but likes characters that don’t have to look over their shoulders for super-skilled punks that kill you for no good reason.

    I want to make a game that people can join, play for as long as they enjoy the experience of an unlimited, no borders science-fiction explore the universe, trade, spy, fight, etc game.

    I’ll be watching to see what you do with interest.

    • January 11, 2010 at 3:33 pm

      Hi moriturimax thanks for posting! I used to play EVE back in the good old days when I was looking for a job. Like you say, there’s a big problem with people bullying other members. It seems that someone who has played for longer is always more powerful, whereas I always like to believe there should be a way to kill anything, just by being skillful and using clever tactics (also it makes a cool story when you suceed against all odds!). EVE doesnt seem to allow for that same sort of gameplay though.
      I just had a look at your blog, keep us all informed of your progress! It’s always good to hear from other people doing the same thing, even if you’re my competition!
      So just to clarify, will your site be all focussed on one game? I’m hoping that my system will be used to host many games.
      Will your game be focussed on writing the story, or will it have more game elements like skill points, armour points, inventory etc? There’s a good site you might want to look at for some inspiration which is more based on dicerolls and points, http://myrpg.universeprojects.com – my OngoingWorlds site won’t have any of these and will be all about adding characters and creating a story around them.

  2. MorituriMax
    January 13, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Whoops, missed the email notify till now when I cleared all the spam.

    Yeah, its going to be one game, people can jump in wherever they want and depending on how fast and often they play I will tweak time flow so they don’t get beat up unfairly.

    I really want the game as a whole to sort of lumber on as if you were playing Federation & Empire (strategic), where you deal with the game setting in as abstract a way as you need to to accomodate adventuring on the scale of (100 billion galaxies in the observable universe) a whole potential universe but also able to jump down to RPG (tactical) level for all the adventure hooks, story arcs, and plots that will build up like litter around the path the players take to fame and fortune.

    It needs to be fun over and above all else and able to run with or without the players having to micromanage everything, which is something I definately do NOT want to carry over from EVE.

  3. January 14, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Sounds interesting, keep me informed! I’ll keep an eye on your blog to see your progress. Be prepared for such a big project to take a long time to create if you’re doing it as a bespoke website using a scripting language (what will you be using, PHP?).
    OngoingWorlds has been my pet project since January 2009! Its been a year and I’m only just about to put something online to show people!

  4. January 14, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Well, to tell the truth, right now its all going to be done using word/q10, acrobat to make the pdfs if any are needed, spreadsheets to track things, dice software for double blind dice rolls, dropbox if needed, and I’ll have to work out how to accept and post the final stuff the players see on another blog maybe.

    So far I don’t have any of the mechanics for php or scripting, haven’t really been keeping track of whats out there so I don’t know what would be of any help. I’d like to learn flash, but that’s up in the air too.

    I want to work out the game itself, adapt anything that will let me run the game (alternity, d20, 4e dnd, traveler, gurps, whatever game system I can rip apart and adapt for Adam is fine by me), it needs to be detailed enough to cover whatever comes along, but abstract enough not to bog down the players who may or may not be able to post on any set schedule.

    I’ve got to sit down this weekend and work out the Game Log, which is going to be the core rule, to keep track of everything, and to aid players in scheduling when they do things in the game that aren’t necessary or desirable to do “in character” as it were. Example: scheduling mining missions (what ships, which npc personnel working for them, what system and belt, etc).

    Once I get the Game Log worked out I can start filling out the PC generation (probably a homebrew version of old-school traveler character generation) and the Timeline for everything that has happened in game up till when the game starts.

    Lots of fun!

    PS: A large part of the philosophy of Adam is centered on the notion that you can have your PCs living in the game even when you can’t run them directly, like when you finish an adventure in DnD and assume the next 6 months between adventures is spent training, working on gear, keeping the home fires burning, leveling up, etc.

  5. January 16, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    I’ve decided to use the new Mongoose Publishing Traveler rules as a major source of character creation, planet building, trade, etc, the rules seem simple enough to use via text-back and forth gameplay, won’t get in the way of the story, and I can flesh them out if I need more depth.

    Ran across the core rulebook at Barnes&Noble and am reading through it. I still love the career path concept where you pick a number of 4 year terms in a character class and accumulate experience, money, contacts and possessions through this pre-game character history. It also can be used to provide quite a bit of background history by me since I can see exactly where the PCs have been. PLUS I can use the same thing for NPCs who populate the game.

    Wow.. I am so glad Traveler (the original, not Megatraveller and such) has been redone by another company. It deserved to be reprinted.

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