Open and Private Scene Displays

Hello, I’m on an Ares game again so that means you get to hear my feedback once more! (I actually did keep reading this forum even for the year or two I wasn’t on an Ares game, just cause I think Ares is super cool.)

OKAY SO. Right now the clear default for scene lists is “show me everything.” The scene command on-game shows you all the active scenes, and the Active Scenes page on the portal does likewise. This, to me, feels a bit cluttered (and even overwhelming for active games) and slightly askew in what I see as the primary purpose of a scene list for a player.

From my perspective, the primary purpose of scene listing that I anticipate is “what RP can I participate in?” At first I actually thought so far as “What purpose does even being able to see what private scenes are happening serve other than making a route for bad actors to kind of be weird about watching who their targets are RPing with?” HOWEVER, after chatting casually with others, I accept that people being able to see and anticipate scenes is part of their game excitement in a totally wholesome way! So I set aside ideas of “why should private scenes ever be visible apart from maybe just indicating a number of them currently in progress” and now come to: “Can things default to only show me scenes I can RP in?”

For me, it seems the best route for that would be:

  • Adjust scenes to only show open scenes or private scenes you have access to. Similar to scenes/open, except that command doesn’t show you private scenes you’re in/invited to.
  • Make a command switch to allow people to see all currently active scenes, open and private, as scenes does currently. I see that scenes/all is currently in use, although I’m not sure how much it’s used. (It looks like it displays every active or finished scene from the game you have access to?)
  • In the portal, maybe offer some sort of functionality either with having two tabs with open scenes+your own scenes on the default front tab, and other private scenes in the second tab. Or having the private scene listing be collapsible and default to collapsed?

From a function philosophy standpoint, my overall feeling is that the primary function I look for when using commands or pages to find active scenes is that it’s a tool for seeing what RP is accessible to me. Seeing what private scenes are there in progress can have a legitimate function for users, but I think it’s a secondary function, and by having the default displays put everything together, it actually makes the primary function (at least as I see it) more difficult to utilize.

So those are my thoughts! Thank you for coming to my TED Talk. And, for the record, after dropping off an Ares game for a year and a half and coming back, it’s still legitimately awesome seeing all the features and improvements that have happened in the meantime. Kudos forever.


Agree with the, ‘I mostly use ‘scenes’ to find RP’ bit particularly. On Ares games I tend to use it a bit like I default to ‘where’ elsewhere, to get a sense of what’s ongoing on the grid I can fall into. The huge list of ongoing private scenes isn’t a big deal on the webportal, but the scroll can get to be a bit much in a MU client, where I still check a good portion of the time. ‘scenes/all’ isn’t the command functionality I usually want first and foremost, though I appreciate it as an option.

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I also think a clearer prioritizing of scenes you are in/have access to would be nice, both game-side and on the portal. Existing on a game now that can have 30 scenes running can make the full list feel overwhelming.

Ideally I’d love to see your scenes and open scenes ‘above a fold’ on the portal, with a ‘see all scenes’ collapsible maybe.

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Thanks for the feedback.

Personally, I like seeing the private scenes by default. I mostly play with friends rather than gravitating towards open scenes with a half-dozen players. So while I appreciate the desire to focus on the open scenes (and they are indeed prioritized in the list), I think it’s important to remember that not everybody plays the same way and the default display needs to accommodate everyone.

That said, I can understand the complaint that it’s too spammy, especially in-game, and I can explore some different display options.

Hm, I’m not sure where your own preferences wouldn’t be met there, as I definitely think that “private scenes the viewer has access to” should be included in any default displays. So it’s really about “scenes accessible to the player” rather than defaulting to only open scenes. (I also think that a list of “open scenes but not private scenes you’re in” would be unhelpful.)

Are you talking about a use case in which people look at the current private scenes they don’t have access to and then ask to join them?

ETA: Just to use better words, I’ll say that I’m proposing making accessible scenes the default view (open and private that you have access to), not just open scenes.

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That’s one possibility, but not the only one.

I view the active scenes list as an equivalent to the old-school MU +where. It’s a gauge of what’s going on in the game. You won’t necessarily be able to join in on all of those things, but that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable to see them.

I’ll admit I’ve never asked to join someone’s ongoing private scene, and I wouldn’t really consider doing it. This maybe a game culture thing, but I’m more inclined to ask someone one-on-one if they can RP. I find private scene numbers sometimes an OK gauge of activity, but I don’t really get much else from them.

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I play on a game with 30+ open scenes and maybe 2-3 of them are accessible to me. It’s a giant scrolling list of vignettes and chaos, with dozens of slow moving ancient private scenes above active new smaller private scenes. There’s no sorting or filtering to make sense of it.

An option to collapse things I can’t join would be incredibly useful without sacrificing the option to look at things.


In the game, you can use scenes/open if you prefer to only see the open ones.

On the web portal, the ones that are open or you’ve been invited to are prioritized at the top of the list.

So there is some sorting and filtering in place already. You shouldn’t need to scroll through the entire list if you don’t want to.

I’m sure game culture plays a part. To me it’s no different than seeing two players in a not-quite-free-for-all room on the IC grid. If I know them well, I may ask if there’s room for another. But more often it goes something like: “Hey, I see you’re already in a scene with Bob, but if you free up later or want to multi-scene and do something, lemme know.” “Oh, we’re just playing cards in the lounge if you wanted to join us.”

I have also never asked (nor would I ask) to join a scene marked private, and I’ve never had anyone ask me to join one - either as a player or a game admin. I have invited a few people into private scenes and been invited to a few, but I wouldn’t ask to join one.

I get that the goal was to use scenes the same as where on a typical MUSH, but the equivalency isn’t there. It’s not like paging people playing in public but possibly alone; it’s more like paging people in a private room on a MUSH and asking to join their scene.

They went to the trouble of the Ares-equivalent of moving to a private room: they marked it private. The message is pretty clear.

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This is done with fair frequency on games I’ve been on among friends. YMMV.

There are only two options, “open to every one and all” and “private”. Many people, including myself, mark a scene private just because we don’t want everyone and their mother to join. That doesn’t mean nobody can join, and I and some others have no issue with our friends asking to do so.

Nevertheless, most games do, in fact, display private places on +where, even if there’s an expectation that you won’t go there unless invited. There is an equivalency on the display front.

I get where y’all are coming from, but I’m not entertaining the notion of somehow hiding private scenes entirely by default. There are valid reasons why some people want to see them, even if not everyone does. But as I said, I do appreciate the feedback and will explore alternate display options in consideration of folks who wish for a less cluttered display.

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I’ve found the Notes field really useful for denoting a scene that people can join but that has limitations. Like ‘Open, will set private if this goes past 5 PCs’ or ‘for Law/Medical PCs’ and so on. That’s something I’ve seen adopted across a handful of games and I think allows for focusing of scenes that are still easily joinable.