Talk:Play command

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PLAY: Instrumental Performances

 To stop playing a song, use STOP PLAY.
 Syntax:  () indicates a required field.  {} indicates an optional field.
   PLAY (song) {mood} {ON} {instrument}
   PLAY (Song) {mood} {ON} {instrument} FOR (TARGET)
   PLAY /PERFORM (message)
       To use this option, you must be already successfully playing a song.
       If you aren't skillful enough for that song, /perform will not work.
              --- BARD ONLY OPTIONS ---
   PLAY (Enchante Name)             --  You will need to know the enchante.
       May be used to accompany an Enchante.
   PLAY /DANCE (Song) {mood} {ON (instrument)} {FOR (TARGET)}
       This will make any PLAYACT area into a temporary dance floor.
       To use special dance moves on these temporary dance floors,
       -- use DANCE (person) (dance move) where the move can be...
                TAP, TURN, DANCE, DIP, and more!
              --- CLERIC/PALADIN OPTIONS ---
   PLAY (song) {mood} {ON} {instrument} FOR (Immortal)
        Can be used to appease the Immortals.
        Of course, you'll want to play well, and in appropriate areas.

Available Song types (from easiest to hardest): scales (ruff), arpeggios (rudiments), ditty, folk, ballad, waltz, lullaby, march, jig, lament, wedding, hymn, rumba, polka, battle, reel, elegy, serenade, minuet, psalm, dirge, gavotte, tango, tarantella, bolero, nocturne, requiem, fantasia, rondo, aria, sonata, and concerto.

Note: For percussions, ruff and rudiments replace scales and arpeggios. You may use either version -- it will default to the correct type for the instrument.

Available Styles/Moods: off-key, halting, confident, masterful, slow, loud, quiet, quick, fierce, flashy, playful, solemn, mournful, wistful, excited, haunting, romantic, and cheerful.

Off-key and halting styles will make all songs easier to play. Confident and masterful styles will make all songs more difficult to play.

Please be aware that not all 'moods' are compatible with all song types, and some combinations may result in unexpected play styles. In addition, certain combinations can make a particular song easier or more difficult to play. Except as noted above, this varies from song to song.

Release post from GM GM Dartenian


As of now, the new PLAY is live and undergoing testing in Platinum. If all goes well, I'll be moving it to Prime for additional testing either later tonight, or sometime tomorrow, with the latter being more likely.

What all has changed? Well, basically everything.

The old play system was one of the few remaining major systems that has seen very little change since its creation. As many bards could tell you, learning started dropping off past 300, and getting past 350 became a serious struggle. In addition, play was resource-intensive, and produced a lot of scroll. These issues in particular prompted the rewrite, although there were many others.

A few key changes:

(1) Play will now teach past 1500 ranks in all instruments, a bit up from the previous caps. Learning rates are now based on (instrument difficulty + song difficulty), rather than just instrument difficulty. This should allow people to learn from their favorite insruments much longer. Before any youngsters panic, there are a few song types that make an instrument a bit easier to play.

(2) Play experience timer is gone. Instead, Play will pulse like enchantes, and the longer you play a song, the more experience you'll gain per pulse. All songs last 2 minutes, or until stopped. Experience over a two-minute period should be roughly what it was before for most people. For very high instrument skills, it should be better.

(3) Support has been added for various instrument-based feats. For this release, there will be one for Bards, one for Clerics and Paladins, and one for everyone (see below). Once things are tested and debugged, I'll start looking into adding more feats to the system.

(4) Actions while playing are restricted, but you can do more while playing now than you could previously.

(5) Support has been added to allow for playing worn instruments and ground-based instruments. Right now, instrument like drums and certain harps can now be played on the ground as long as you have the right tools. Eventually this will allow freestanding instruments like floor harps and harpsichords. Speaking of the latter, support for keyboard instruments has been included.

(6) It is now possible to play a song FOR someone or something. While support for this is currently limited to just messaging, this allows a lot of new possibilities, such as having NPCs or critters react to music, or having things like musical locks.

(7) Syntax is both more complicated and far easier. More specifically, now you only need to type PLAY (SONGTYPE) to play a song. Specifying instrument is totally optional, and there is no longer any need to specify just need to have them.

Some examples:

PLAY WALTZ will play a basic waltz on whatever instrument you are holding. Fairly simple.

PLAY WALTZ ROMANTIC will play a romantic waltz on your instrument. The style may change the difficulty of the song. Except as noted in PLAY help, this varies from song to song.

PLAY WALTZ ROMANTIC ON HARP will play a romantic waltz on a harp. If you don't have one in your hands, it'll check to see if there is an unplayed harp on the floor, and if so, you may be able to play it!

PLAY HYMN CONFIDENTLY FOR FAENELLA will play a confident hymn in honor of Faenella. While anyone can do it, if a Cleric or Paladin do it in a suitable location, they may gain soulstate or devotion. As with most soulstate and devotion modifiers, there is a timer involved.

PLAY /DANCE WALTZ will play a basic waltz just like PLAY WALTZ. However, if a Bard does this in a playact designated room, it will turn the room into a temporary dance floor for as long as they play, and a short time thereafter. To use the temp dance verbs, you need to use DANCE <target> <dance move>. The list of dance floor moves should be available on the website under the dance listing.

PLAY /PERFORM A RAPID SERIES OF ARPEGGIOS AS HE BRIDGES FROM THE VERSE TO THE REFRAIN. will message the room "Dartenian performs a rapid series of arpeggios as he bridges from the verse to the refrain." It works exactly like custom SMILE or PONDER. This allows custom performance messaging (assuming you are playing at least passably well), but as always remember to keep it IC and clean. All the normal rules apply, and misusing this feature can result in cautions or warnings.

Again, this is now live in Platinum. Prime will see it later tonight, or more probably midday tomorrow. Once I'm sure there are no major bugs, we'll move it to TF as well.

- GM Dartenian "You ain't seen nothin' yet!" - Al Jolson


Because the new play system is fairly large, I wanted to go over some of the more common questions I've been getting from Platinum and Prime.

Question: What is the best way to learn?

Answer: Experience is based primarily on two factors -- how challenging the music is for you, and how long you play the song. For best training, you want to find a song that provides just the right challenge. How do you know what this is? The start-up messaging is the best guide. If you are fumbling, you need to find something easier. If you are sounding very good, you need something harder.

Question: Okay, so I need something easier/harder. How do I know what is harder and what is easier?

Answer: Assuming you are staying on the same instrument, finding the 'sweet spot' for learning isn't hard. The song types are in order for easiest to hardest. Play them -without- any styles/moods. If you are struggling, drop down a notch. If you sound too good, step up one. This will let you pin down

which one teaches you best.

Question: What about moods/styles? Are those in order from easiest to hardest too?

Answer: Unfortunately, no. Why? Because a style that makes a dirge easier may make a jig harder. Most of the song / style combos are going to be PAFO, and are mostly for performance and role- playing, but if you have a favorite song type you want to train with, you can probably extend it if you find the right styles for your skill.

Question: What about off-key, halting, confident, and masterful?

Answer: These are the exception to the rule above. Off-key and halting both reduce the difficulty of a song, off-key more than halting. Confident and masterful, on the other hand, always increase the difficulty. You can always count on these four if you want to play around with pushing difficulty up or down and are too lazy to test all the various options.

Question: What are the requirements for being able to make an area into a dance floor?

Answer: You must be a Bard, first of all. The area must be an area designated for Playact use. You will also need a minimum amount of Music Theory skill. How much skill? Not going to say, except to say that it's under 200 ranks.

Question: How does the experience work? I've been playing for 3 pulses, and haven't learned much at all.

Answer: Assuming you are playing something that is reasonably challenging for you, you will gain some experience for each pulse after the start-up message. However, instead of the old timer that cut off experience completely after a certain number of tries, the new system uses ramping experience. Each pulse will teach more than the last, until it hits a cap or the song ends. This means that it is in your better interest to play the song to the end if you are trying to train.

Question: Okay, I understand that, but why do it that way?

Answer: It is in everyone's better interest to keep people from restarting songs as much as possible, since each time someone starts a song, it checks their injuries, their armor, their instrument condition, the weather, and a bazillion other things. The old system had people training music restarting songs every 10 seconds on average, which put a lot of stress on the game. By switching to the new system that only requires restarting a song every 2 minutes, a lot of that stress should be relieved, and by making the experience ramp, it should encourage people to play the song through to the finish rather than try to start-stop after each pulse. The secondary benefit here is that the room now only gets one message per musician every 30 seconds, instead of two (start/stop) every 10-15 seconds on average. This should reduce scroll issues a bit, especially in bard hangouts. Last but not least, this makes people have to put some time into training instruments while allowing me to remove the former experience timer so that folks with higher mentals or skills can continue to train effectively.

Question: I can't get the new dance verbs to work. Whassup?

Answer: To use the DANCE options, you need to have someone successfully playing a dance song in a playact area. The syntax is... DANCE <NAME> <ACTION> To initiate dancing with a partner, you need to DANCE <name> DANCE first. Sorry, but due to the way dance floor mechs work, this was necessary, at least for now. Once the invitation is given, you can use normal dance floor verbs as your action. For example... DANCE <NAME> PUSH or DANCE <NAME> TURN A full list should be available on the verb list under Dance. If not, I'll see about getting it there. Yes, you can dance with yourself for some neat messaging as well -- ie DANCE DARTENIAN BOP.

Question: How much skill does my cleric need to play a Hymn or Psalm for devotion?

Answer: If you are playing on the easiest instruments, you will probably need somewhere around 100 ranks in that instrument to play well enough. Exactly how much you need depends on certain stats, the condition of the instrument, your own health, and various other minor variables, as well as your choice of styles, if any. The key thing is that you need to be able to play the hymn/psalm at least fairly well, and you can't use Off-key or Halting -- the gods aren't impressed by bad music played in their honor. Psalms are much harder than hymns, and will take a significent investment in music skill to master.

Question: Why didn't my guild get any neat special perks?

Answer: Because there are bards (and a few non-bards) in all three instances that were at the learning caps for instrumental skills (learning pretty much dropped off around 350 ranks previously), and bards at least have minimum music reqs. While I wanted to make this as cool as possible, I had to draw a line and just get it done so people could start learning again. With that said, I very much want to include several more music-based feats like gaining devotion or making dance floors. I've got a couple more approved and on the drawing board, and have been negotiating with two guilds for some more fancy guild-based feats. If you have ideas of neat things your guild might do with music, feel free to post 'em! The goal is to give some small perks for investing some time in training music skills. Nothing particularly fancy, but cool things your non-musical friends won't be able to do.

I'm sure I'll have more Q&A in the next day or two, but this is a start. Thanks for the feedback and testing, folks!

- GM Dartenian

"You ain't seen nothin' yet!" - Al Jolson