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How-To: Organize your game

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Steel Rat's picture
Steel Rat
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Joined: 10/22/2007

Organizing your game content can be a daunting task. Hopefully this short tutorial will help.

First of all, let's define some of the terminology.

  • Node - A Node is any piece of primary content. This forum topic is a Node. The comments which may be attached to it are not nodes, since they do not stand on their own. When you create a game/group, that's also a node. Any menu item which says "Create xxx" the item you're creating is a node, such as a Page, Blog Entry, Event, Forum topic, etc.
  • Input Format - Normally you won't have access to the Input Format when creating content. But if you're the GM for a game, you may see an Input Format link below the main textarea when creating a Page or other content. Two Input Formats will be visible, Filtered HTML, and Full HTML. Filtered HTML means only certain HTML tags are allowed in order to prevent abuse and destruction of the page layout. Full HTML will allow any HTML, and is therefore not something to be used lightly. So, if you want to insert an html table into a page or other piece of content, you'll need to use the Full HTML input format.
  • Game Thread - The Game Thread content is what you will use to conduct your actual game. You can create as many game threads as needed, such as a thread for each adventure within the game, one for Out-of-character (OOC) discussions, one for each player for private communication, etc. As with any content type, you can Grant access to threads using the Grant tab, thereby making them available to all players or just select individuals. See How-To: Assign Content to Players for more information. Note: In order for your Game Thread activity to show up on the Activity lists outside the game area, you will need to grant access to each player in your game, and do the same for each game thread (or other content which should show to all players in the activity lists. Not doing so will mean the player has to enter the game area to see updates.
  • Character Sheet - This is a specialized piece of content that includes an image upload option to add a character portrait. Otherwise this is very similar to a normal page. When you as a GM create a character sheet it will appear on the right side navigation while you're in your game. Character Sheets will be visible to all group members/players in your game unless you grant access only to specific users.
  • Stat Box - Another specialized piece of content. I use Stat Boxes for keeping quick reference information, such as basic info on each char in a table format (character name, hit points, AC, status, etc), current weather conditions, current party goal, etc. When created, a Stat box link will appear on the right nav menu under its own heading, like Character sheets, so they're always just a click away when you're viewing your game. Stat Boxes by default are always visible to all players in your game. You can make as many as you need. It's also a good place to keep private Gm notes (just use the Grant tab to assign access only to yourself), or in case your party splits, just grant access to the specific players and your parties will be kept in blissful ignorance of the other party's actions.
  • Game Aids - A Game Aid is another simple but specialized content type. Simply click Create Game Aid in your Game Control Panel. When you do so in one of your games, you can use the Game Aids drop-down list. See How-To: Create Game Aids for more information.

See How-To: Assign Content to Players for more information.

When creating a new game, it's also important to enter public information in the Mission Statement section of the game creation form. You should enter a description of your game, whether it will contain mature or adult content, and how many players you're looking for.

Here's a short workflow to go by when creating a new game.

1. See if there is interest by advertising in the main forums.
2. Create your game and invite or otherwise have your players request subscriptions. Your game should always be Moderated, Invite Only, or Closed.
3. Approve subscription requests as they appear in your game navigation menu (visible in your game on the right hand side).
4. Create the Game Threads you'll need as a base for your game.
5. Create character sheets for your subscribed players and Grant access as required. Remember, any character sheet will be visible to all players until you Grant to one or more players, it then becomes private to the creator of the sheet and those granted access.
6. Create Stat Boxes and Game Aids as needed for your game.
7. Enjoy!

As always, post any help requests or feature/enhancement requests in the main public forums so all can benefit from your questions and the answers.

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