Last weekend StarBase 118 was one of many sims participating in the online convention SciWorld. Running from Thursday to Sunday over two Internet Relay Chat (IRC) rooms, the convention featured multiple events from online simming demonstrations, discussions on character building, to how to incorporate crossover in games.
Session topics included a workshop on website and wiki building, blogging strategies, how to build your writing skills and how to deal with problem players in a game. Other activities included open chat-based simming, a Family Feud style game based on Star Trek trivia and plenty of humorous reminiscing. I even heard that Lt. Commander James got to blow up a starship in an open sim!
Sessions were hosted by representatives from over a dozen sims, including our very own Fleet Captain Diego Herrera and Captain Grier Reinard who led sessions on character development and building character relationships.
One of the things this reporter found most fascinating about the convention was discussing character and story ideas with simmers who did not come from Star trek based sims. The convention is open to all science-fiction based sims. Representatives of Serenity/Firefly, Stargate, Red Dwarf, Battlestar Galactica, even zombie and post-apocalyptic sims were present. For those who had the chance to attend, it was a great opportunity to get a fresh perspective on simming and new ideas of how to move forward with your own character’s plots and stories.
Some of the highlights of the sessions I attended included a talk from a veteran player who admitted they had played up to 34 characters over 29 sims at one point! The session was ‘breaking free from your comfort zone’ and the guest speaker encouraged players to say ‘yes’ when other players throw unusual ideas at them. Instead of always keeping your character in a safe zone, why not run with an unusual idea or a new experience. When creating new characters try subverting archetypes or pinpointing just one character trait you always fall back on and changing it. Don’t change too much at once – you might end up with a character you dislike, but small changes can promote interesting new territory to write about.
Another interesting session focused on the importance of editing and grammar in sims. Sometimes typos and mistakes can put your fellow players in a difficult position – do I react to what I think the player meant to say or what they actually said? Talking with players who are struggling with grammar and style and encouraging them to improve can create a better sim for everyone involved. Positive improvement and player communication was an ongoing theme across the convention, and it was great to see so many simmers on the same page trying to improve their games and their craft of writing.
There will be another online convention coming up in fall! I encourage simmers new and old to join in – you might learn something new, or maybe meet new friends and reconnect to old ones you haven’t talked to in a while! Try the open sims for a taste of what different styles are like, and it will be a memorable experience for all involved.