De-trolling is our pet name for all that DS that prevents curious, bored, and annoying players from making your Dream less fun for others. Well over half of the DS on main maps is actually de-trolling DS! Visitors to your Dream are a lot like cats, and cats follow a set of basic rules.
- Anything not nailed down is a cat toy,
- Anything the cat can pry up with a crowbar is not nailed down,
- Anything that is nailed down is a scratching post,
- And anything edible is food.
You can apply this to your own Dream with the following thoughts in mind:
- If it's a walkable square, they will walk there, even if you don't want them to.
- If you don't have DS to say otherwise, players will sit/lay/chat wherever they please, even in doorways, narrow corridors, and in front of the watercooler.
However, this isn't because players want to cause problems. But how can you protect your Dream and have it running the way you want? Well, there's a few common areas that need attention in any busy Dream, and some specific types of DS that can be applied to busy Dreams in general to make them flow more smoothly. Once these have been covered, there will also be a few tips on managing Staff-only areas of your Dream.
There are several high traffic areas of your Dream that players block which make travel difficult for other visitors around them. The most common of these are footways, major roads, and landing areas (start areas and teleports).
Doorways are obvious choke points in any Dream. They don't have to be an actual door: the bottom (or top) of a stairway, bridges, a narrow archway or gate in a wall, and a narrow alley between two buildings act much the same when it comes to the flow of traffic.
In general, doorways cause problems because they provide a spot where just a few players can impede the movement of everyone else traveling through that area (whether intentionally or unintentionally). Although this can be alleviated by making your doorways at least 3 spaces wide, this only goes so far.
The space directly in front of a door, and sometimes the spaces on each side of it, should be reserved as a no-idling zone. Something as simple as moving everyone out of that area every minute or two (be nice, move them someplace within sight) can keep traffic flowing in your Dream with little to no attention from your staff.
Paths and landing spots themselves sometimes need to be cleared so that players wishing to travel quickly from place to place don't trip over them. But be careful about moving idle players in popular chat areas because they may get upset about being moved. Many players enjoy "sleeping" next to their friends and reading back over chat logs so they don't feel like they missed anything.
Another common, but slightly more complex way of dealing with players 'in the way' is by equipping areas of your Dream with 'walkthrough DS'. This handy type of DS allows players bumping into others to teleport through people in the way.
A word of caution however: only certain areas of your Dream should have walkthrough DS, as carelessly scripted walkthrough DS can lead to players breaking quests, getting to areas they should not be, and generally being more of a nuisance than they were just standing around.
So what do you do with players that you want to have to standing around? Lines and queues are a vital nuisance when it comes to rides and other related activities, but an inattentive player at the wrong time can lead to players' tempers flaring.
These situations can be alleviated or avoided altogether by designing DS that moves players in line up automatically when the person at the front of the line gets to the front.
Another important area of any public or large Dream is speaking areas. Furcadia is a forum for open debate, chatting, and generally a place where many players talk to each other simultaneously. Auditoriums, stages, and other similar spots which have just one or a few players talking to a larger audience often invite unwanted comments from the onlookers. Proper use of the Silence DS with Regions can solve this problem, but it is a powerful tool that must be used carefully.
There are a few things to keep in mind with Silence DS:
- Silence DS affects everyone on that region, even you are the Dream owner.
- If you use a verbal command to turn off your silence DS it won't work if you're currently in a silenced area!
- Make sure your stage/podium/throne is not in the silence zone so those presenting can speak.
- Being able to turn off the silence zone to allow for applause, questions, or comments can make the audience feel more involved and less like captives.
What do you do with a teleport that you don't want people to be able to block, but it's too important of a landing position to leave open to the 'or someplace nearby' triggers?
The best thing to do is stack several 'move them to this position unless there's someone nearby' triggers. If done properly the player will end up in one of a small number of 'approved' landing positions, but the multiple positions means it's harder to overwhelm them all. Just remember to clear this sort of landing area frequently!
Another important topic to deal with in public Dreams is the subject of gettable objects. Any object that can be picked up can also be placed somewhere else in your Dream, or just held in someone's paws for days at a time. Keep this in mind when looking over your patches and placing objects, although you can change the objects' properties to make them ungettable in the Fox Editor. If you still want the objects to be gettable in some cases, you can either make a copy of it which is gettable or use a region to prevent people from moving the item.
There are also DS lines which can take the object right out of someone's paws if you don't want them to have it any longer. Consider periodically sweeping quest items out of players paws who are not currently in quest areas, and make dropped quest items outside of designated areas instantly disappear to foil cheaters.
This should be combined with general cleanup DS to keep your Dream tidy. Beware object generators, which is essentially DS that can make endless streams of objects that bored players can carpet your Dream with. These can be halted by cleaning up excess objects every few minutes, or using regions which don't allow players to drop objects except where they're meant to be dropped.
Similar to object cleanups, make sure that quests or puzzles in your Dream have a way to reset without having to reupload the Dream. Especially in contest Dreams, they need to be able to reset without you even being there!
Some very awesome contest Dreams have lost points because by the time the judge got there, someone else had finished the quest, lost the key item, or broken something unintentionally and ruined the Dream! A good quest not only works the first time, but also the 12th time, 24th time, and the 60th time. This requires a lot of testing.
Any square that contains both a walkable object and a walkable floor tile will be walked on unless you make those unwalkable or use an unwalkable region. Don't assume just because it's behind a wall, or protected by DS, or far in the back of your Dream that it's safe. Regions are your friend here!
So what about the back areas that are walkable, but that you want to protect, like staff areas? These are best served by specialized DS. Unfortunately, too many Dreams put a password or 'key item' lock on the main teleport to the staff area and leave it at that, or worse yet, only allow shared players into staff areas. This means that every single staff has to have share! Yikes!
An entry code lock does everything a share lock can do, plus more! Depending on your entry code, you can allow certain players into certain areas, allow some players to eject but not others, and all sorts of other levels and divisions.
The most secure type of lock is the name lock. It's next to impossible to circumvent, because only the person with that name can satisfy the lock's requirements. However, this can only be changed on Dream upload, and might require a lot of redundant DS code for all the different named players.