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Thread: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

  1. #1
    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    New stories are almost always good, so thanks for that.

    However, a few things need to be said (and understood).

    1. Interactive Histories take a lot of time!
    Do not just begin one if you have a nice first chapter. Be ready to put in a great deal of work after the first few chapters, as it gets harder the further you get from the startingposition. Take the time needed for each chapter.

    2. Research, research, research...
    It can't be said enough.
    The human imagination is great, but it can only carry you so far. Often you have to fall back on historical situations that are similar, if only for inspiration. Often the research gives you a good chance to 'predict' the outcome of a given situation, so that it seems more likely to the general public. And believeability is hugely important to something that aspires to be akin to history rewritten.

    3. People aren't predictable.
    One of my first mistakes was to expect people to pick my choice most of the time. When they tended not to, I became frustrated. I had worked 'my' choice over and over, and perfected it really. All that was wasted then. Then I began making other mistakes related to that. At first I tried making the 'right' (read 'my') choice more obvious, that is of course very wrong, as where is the fun of a predictable or always perfect choice? It would not be fun without the mistakes that are made. It took time for me to learn that, and in the meanwhile I was tempted to force 'my' choice through. That is even worse, as the story then becomes no more than a shell of an interactive storyline. So don't ever do that.

    4. Be ruthless.
    If people have chosen the wrong choice, punish them in the story! If they have done it repeatedly, then it might be time to really lay the smackdown, here I refer to IH III Antiochus' Dilemma. If they then continue, kill them.

    5. Be persistent.
    If you are running out of will or imagination, take a break from the story. Do something else entirely for a while, then return. It is well worth it. It is far better to take a break than burn out and abandon a great story just when it is reaching a high point (here I'm refering to the great but failed Michael's Crucible). When taking abreak it might be best to tell people that they migth have to wait a bit longer for an update. I managed to hold onto a nice little crowd for more than two months with no updates, by informing them I couldn't just yet post any chapters. Maybe it went that well because it was the truth and I intended to return, but it is only fair to tell people anyway.

    6. Don't rush.
    It is terribly tempting to rush people into all those nice situations you have thought up (and you can't deny you have planned a nice few of them). But don't do that. Save the most juicy situations as far as you can for two reasons. It spreads out the best you can dish up with, and it forces you to deal with the problems of not having a ready solution at hand (but with the safety of actually having one, which makes it easier on you to make up new things).

    7. Don't rush mk2.
    If you feel like writing chapters fast and hurried, then do so. But be aware that you will get tired at some point. Better to not have wasted yourself early.
    Besides, most people like to think things over, discuss them and some might not even be able to check up every three days or so. Don't limit yourself to those who have the time to do hourly checks if you can gain a larger crowd by going a bit slower.

    8. If you decide to quit the story.
    Then say so, either to me or preferably in the thread itself. Just don't be hasty about it.
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


  2. #2
    Kanto Kanrei Member Marshal Murat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    Yes, personal experiance talking here.
    I came up with three interactives, and some were pretty awesome. It takes commitment however, and I just didn't have it. La Florida was an okay one, drummed up support, but it seemed to become more generic and I hated it.
    In the end, I hated every single one I started.
    I want them deleted please.

    Amen to Kraxis, he has nearly five or six interactives backing him up.
    Hannibals 2, Antiochus, Manstein, and then the WW1 Naval Interactive.

    I'll share my rotten fruits of rotten stories.
    Find something that is interesting, and if you have a wild imagination, take something that is a little obscure. These could be Ancient, Dark Ages, or something so twisted by events that it is almost unrecognizable to the reader.
    However, if you want to pair some heavy hitters and want to see it as a book, story, etc, then do your research. Figure out who, what where, when, why, and personalities.

    Clearly define rules. Here is a great forum for discussion of rules.
    1.First Come-First Serve. The first person to post gets the right to chose what course to take. This often resulted in hasty decisions, and discussion is encouraged.
    2.Majority. The majority of posters decide what direction to take, swaying with persuasion and historical data.
    3.Author defined. Red Flood is a great example, where the author gives choices, and then has needs. Find out troop numbers, equipment, where, when, why, etc. Great background and thorough.
    "Nietzsche is dead" - God

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    Guest Stig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    Aye and if you decide to make one, and it will be your first one (like I have) it might be better for you to choose a subject you know more about. It's pretty difficult if you already have less time to also do research to make the chapter accurate, in those occasions it might be better to choose something you know lots about (in my case Market-Garden) and make a story after that

  4. #4
    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    Quote Originally Posted by Kraxis

    1. Interactive Histories take a lot of time!
    Do not just begin one if you have a nice first chapter. Be ready to put in a great deal of work after the first few chapters, as it gets harder the further you get from the startingposition. Take the time needed for each chapter.
    I cannot emphasise this point heavily enough. I have been writing an interactive history for almost a year now (the longest running IH so far, I believe) and I my story has advanced about as far as an asthmatic ant with heavy shopping, simply because a) I don't have that much time (and some chapters do take a lot of time) and b) I just run out of inspiration sometimes (it comes in waves. I am told that Da Vinci was the same, so I'm in good company).
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    Humanist Senior Member Franconicus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    1. Interactive Histories take a lot of time!
    Do not just begin one if you have a nice first chapter. Be ready to put in a great deal of work after the first few chapters, as it gets harder the further you get from the startingposition. Take the time needed for each chapter.

    True. You must have a story for the first chapters and an agenda for the whole.

    2. Research, research, research...
    It can't be said enough.

    3. People aren't predictable.
    That is right! I my Manstein story, I used to give three options, a best one, a bad one and a silly one. Guess what people chose most of the time? Then you have to adjust your story.
    In Red Flood I was led by the impressions of Kraxis' naval story, where people tried to give new innovatives ideas, that were quiet difficult tp integrate. Therfore I tried to give the players some more room to influence the story. However, it failed. There were hardly any real new and innovative ideas for a new strategy. Therefore: expect that the players do exactly what you do not want them to do!


    4. Be ruthless.
    If people have chosen the wrong choice, punish them in the story! If they have done it repeatedly, then it might be time to really lay the smackdown, here I refer to IH III Antiochus' Dilemma. If they then continue, kill them.
    Yes, punish them. I even defeated a big Soviet army led by Kraxis et al.

    5. Be persistent.
    If you are running out of will or imagination, take a break from the story. Do something else entirely for a while, then return. It is well worth it.

    So true! By the way, Red Flood is still running. You better watch out!

    Additionally:
    If you start a new one, please be careful, when you do it. There are times when no story is running at all, and there are times when there are 5 or more. There are some interesting ones I would have loved to participate - but I was already involved in too many.


    To the silent watchers:
    I noticed that there are far more people watching the stories than participating. Please get out of the fog and say your opinion. Even if you feel incompetent, you can at least say if you like a story or not. Worst thing for a writer is if he does not get any feedback. I think all writers can stand negative feedbacxk like real men (or real women, or real aliens or whatsoever). So do not hesitate!
    Last edited by Franconicus; 11-09-2006 at 10:47.

  6. #6
    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    Quote Originally Posted by Franconicus
    To the silent watchers:
    I noticed that there are far more people watching the stories than participating. Please get out of the fog and say your opinion. Even if you feel incompetent, you can at least say if you like a story or not. Worst thing for a writer is if he does not get any feedback. I think all writers can stand negative feedbacxk like real men (or real women, or real aliens or whatsoever). So do not hesitate!
    Oh yes... Please come out and tag along... even if only for a few chapters. Or even if it is only for saying that you agree with other posters. The more that joins in the more incentive the writer has to write.

    If you are afraid of being being knowledgeable enough, do not fear. You don't have to argue for your choices. You only argue to get others to further your choice (so others pick that too). But in the end all choices are equal.
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


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    Guest Stig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    Aye I think it would be good fun to don't have people who already know loads about it. It makes sure you get more normal "votes", not historically based ones.

  8. #8
    One easily trifled with Member Target Champion Motep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    How exactly do you make one? I have been contemplating one for a while, but have no idea how to make one.
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    Kanto Kanrei Member Marshal Murat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    1:Identify a time period
    2:Identify main characters and conflict
    3:Consider strategic and tactical objectives
    4:Provide information on conflict and characters, objectives, conflicts, and forces to deal with conflict.
    5:Provide options that can deal with a problem.
    "Nietzsche is dead" - God

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    Re: Pursuit of happiness
    Have you just been dumped?

    I ask because it's usually something like that which causes outbursts like this, needless to say I dissagree completely.

  10. #10
    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    I usually use some time thinking on a subject, something I like and find interesting (very important).
    Then when I have decided I look up sources.

    The writing sort of does itself in the beginning, I have thoguht so much about it that I have the first chapter in my head. But the choices people has to make might be the hardest part. You have to build into the story plausible 'forks' in the road. And each choice has to have consequences, meaning you mustn't get the same result for different choices (unless it is long term choices which you must state for the sake of people understanding).

    But generally, write it as you would any short story, but give people a chance to affect how the story goes.
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


  11. #11
    Guest Stig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    Do good and enough research, that's important, no-one is waiting for a story that starts with William the Conqueror conquering England in 1387.
    I myself use a couple of books to help me. I use "De slag bij Arnhem" to do the German movements, as they are well descriped in it. I use books as "Arnhem" by Christopher Hibbert to do the British movements you don't do ... Hibbert describes the "thinking-pattern" of the more important British leaders very well

    Next to that I own some other books about the subject which help me writing it.

  12. #12
    Humanist Senior Member Franconicus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    Quote Originally Posted by Marshal Murat
    1:Identify a time period
    2:Identify main characters and conflict
    3:Consider strategic and tactical objectives
    4:Provide information on conflict and characters, objectives, conflicts, and forces to deal with conflict.
    5:Provide options that can deal with a problem.
    If you plan to do an interactive in the classic Kraxis' style (not a multi-player stuff) then you must look for something where a small deviation in history could have started something else. It may not be too big (like Germany had a nuclear bomb in 1940), because then you loose the historical ground immediately. The outcome of the change may not be too obvious. For example if you want to rerun a historical battle and everybody knows from the book what was wrong and what would have been right, then there is no challange.

    P.S.: If you cannot find the right topic or if you cannot find enough sources then discuss this topic in the Monastery. You will be surprised!

  13. #13
    Guest Stig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    Also don't over do it, you might want to start 20 IH, but it's impossible to keep up with them (atleast when you have something else to do too), I now try to write 1 chapter per week, which can be hard. If you have 5 running that will be far harder, especially when you want to write good and entertaining chapters, like Kraxis or Franconicus. Don't overdo things, stick with 1 IH and make sure that one is entirely correct, the faster you can do updates, the faster you can start a new one if you like.

  14. #14
    One easily trifled with Member Target Champion Motep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    Thank you for the advice, it is very musch appreciated. Im in the middle of a couple interactives, and hardly have the time at the moment to start one. You will se one by me over the holidays though.
    TosaInu shall never be forgotten.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    I think all of the IH's are dead...

  16. #16
    Honorary Argentinian Senior Member Gyroball Champion, Karts Champion Caius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    Its not possible to run one nowadays.




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    Default Re: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    Quote Originally Posted by Caius View Post
    Its not possible to run one nowadays.
    I must disagree. The times haven't changed, but sadly the concept of a multiplayer IH is more of an ambitious dream than something that would work in reality. On the other hand a well written Kraxis style IH could very well succeed if the author was active enough.
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  18. #18
    Honorary Argentinian Senior Member Gyroball Champion, Karts Champion Caius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    Quote Originally Posted by AggonyDuck View Post
    I must disagree. The times haven't changed, but sadly the concept of a multiplayer IH is more of an ambitious dream than something that would work in reality. On the other hand a well written Kraxis style IH could very well succeed if the author was active enough.
    I have to disagree. If you make a list with all the players and their posts in this subforum, you will notice that there are few people to make one. A lot of hosts are now gone, come back with ideas and new IH's and then dissapear again.




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  19. #19
    Banned ELITEofWARMANGINGERYBREADMEN88's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    Not Enough Active People, Or, The People keep getting their orders in late or the Host Have Time for so long, then have to stop due to RL problems. Sad Really.

  20. #20
    Kanto Kanrei Member Marshal Murat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    Alert

    I am planning out a Peloponnesian War interactive. I've narrowed it down to a couple different options, still deciding. It will, however, be a Single-Character interactive. What to look for...

    1. Brasidias vs. Amphipolis
    2. Periculian Naval Assault on Sparta
    3. Syracusan Invasion


    I'm also debating on whether I should do Jason of Pherae. I'm currently reading Thucydides, Donald Kagan, Steven Pressfield, and two books on Greek warfare and culture. If you have any suggested authors, feel free to PM me. I'll be deciding within a couple days, and then I will be posting the exposition. See if I can re-invigorate this awesome forum/agora.
    "Nietzsche is dead" - God

    "I agree, although I support China I support anyone discovering things for Science and humanity." - lenin96

    Re: Pursuit of happiness
    Have you just been dumped?

    I ask because it's usually something like that which causes outbursts like this, needless to say I dissagree completely.

  21. #21
    Member Member Ferret's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning an Interactive History? Look here first

    Yeah it is sad, I'm thinking about how to get around the inactivity problems and if my WWI one doesn't reignite within a week I'll put them in action.

    I was thinking of having far fewer factions, like just the major powers in WWI, and having 3 or 4 players per faction. These players would be ranked in order of signing up and the highest ranked one would make the final orders but take advice from the others but if they miss the turn they will drop to the bottom and so the others will still be there to make the decisions. I think we have enough active players to make that work.

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