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The SuperStruct 2020 Times et al

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:34 pm    Post subject: The SuperStruct 2020 Times et al Reply with quote

While I didn't find it objectionable, several people I talked to
expressed that limitations in the user-interface for superstruct 2019
were enough to discourage them from participating more.

A remarkable number of parallel sites emerged during the play
of the game, each offering different angles and ways of accessing
the player-created content. As a player, I made use of these,
even to the point of debugging a glitch in the main website that led to
a superstruct I proposed being in a kind of nomination limbo.
I did it by exploring the underlying database via an SQL interface.
Yes, I know. Believe me, I *am* embarrassed. Still...

As play went on, more deficiencies of the site became apparent,
including the need to load all player names before proceeding to
other tasks.

The point: that everyone who played even the slightest amount
had a good chance to understand that a better website was needed.
Having access to a generic content management system, I know that
more is very possible.

While considering what shape the superstruct 2020 website should
be like, I'd like to make a, somewhat corny, proposal. That the
website should be structured as a collection of online 'newspapers"
or 'magazines'.

I say corny, and I propose this with more than a little trepidation
because even brick and mortar newspapers have pretty much
abandoned the "website as simulated newspaper" metaphor.

Still, consider the advantages: one of the weaknesses of SS2019
was that the progression of story plotlines over time was obscure
and muddied. Having a newspaper format allows those plot lines
to take their proper prominence, and to give a feeling of the
unfolding over time of stories. Drama.

Moreover, the newspaper metaphor offers a wealth of useful
constructs or idioms. I'll just barely mention a few and let
you use your own imagination, that is, until I feel compelled to
write more: columnists, newsfeeds, beats, classifieds, discussion
as editorial, front page, sections, graphs, maps, the "weather"(!),
magazines, "lifestyle", etc.

Of course, nowadays, users can tailor news sources to include
those features or topics that especially interest them. While
ultimately every player might have a different view into the game
(different sections highlighted, articles or editorials referring to
a given keyword included or excluded, etc) there may still be
a set of universal elements for all players.

In short, I propose that the SS2020 website be structured as
a small set of "publications" that mirror the kinds of publications
that we are already familiar with: the daily paper, the weekly
magazine supplement, and the monthly magazine. Of course,
following the lesson of SS2019, players may want to make alternate
interfaces, and that should be encouraged.
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