OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers

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Welcoming Blue Dwarf to OngoingWorlds

Blue Dwarf

Last week a new game was created on OngoingWorlds that is a big deal for me. It’s technically not a new game at all, it’s a game that’s over 11 years old, a game I created and have been running for over 11 years.

The Blue Dwarf is a game based on a comedy scifi TV show called Red Dwarf which has been a favourite of mine since I was a teenager. I wanted to extend the world of the show, but knew I didn’t want to involve the small number of original characters because we’d never be able to write them as well as the original writers. There was a lot of scope in Red Dwarf’s universe, mostly because it was hardly explored which meant that anything we wrote couldn’t be proved wrong. Mainly it was the spirit of Red Dwarf that I wanted to continue, even if it wasn’t about the original characters.

Leaving Yahoo Groups behind

So the Blue Dwarf play-by-post game has been going for all this time, and to be honest was one of the main reasons for creating OngoingWorlds.com. Blue Dwarf was run in a Yahoo Group, which hasn’t always been a perfect experience. Occasionally posts you submit go missing, and either turn up a day later or never. This is mainly a problem when a player moves the story forward, but someone else doesn’t get to see it, posts in the same time frame and unknowingly undoes the events of the first post. Very frustrating, and can lead to arguments over whose post should get priority, and which is ignored.

Coupled with other minor annoyances, I decided that Yahoo Groups isn’t the best place for roleplaying games, despite it being really popular. I wanted a decent place to keep character biographies, and with Blue Dwarf created a separate website for members to be able to keep these. But it always felt so far away, and very few people made the arduous 1 or 2 click journey away from the Yahoo Group onto the website to look at the character biographies. I thought there must be a better way and searched for a decent system for roleplaying games, and when I found they all shared similar problems that’s when I decided to make my own.

Moving everything across

So Blue Dwarf has a firm place in OngoingWorld’s creation, and I’m glad this week that I’ve moved it across. It wasn’t easy to copy all the posts across however, I had to create a script that did this (Yahoo were unhelpful, they don’t provide any means of exporting your game!) and pulled the text into the OngoingWorlds database. Blue Dwarf has been running for over 11 years, which means a hell of a lot of posts. With over 12,000 posts, Blue Dwarf is now the biggest game on OngoingWorlds, the current second place is Terrifyingly Yourswith over 170.

Members of Blue Dwarf will have to register on OngoingWorlds, and recreate their character biographies. This is a little bit of work, but not such a bad thing. Many of the biographies were in need of updating so this gives everyone a good opportunity to recreate them, and take into account current events and changes their character has gone through.

Benefits of OngoingWorlds

OngoingWorlds has many benefits for the members of Blue Dwarf, including the added control they have over their character profiles, and also the added perks like the ability to rate each other’s posts, and receive awards. The latter is important, many years ago we used to have an annual awards ceremony which we called the “Longwoods”, (named after a member of Blue Dwarf who sadly died). We haven’t done the awards for a few years due to it taking up a bit too much time, but it would be easy to start them up again using OngoingWorlds’ awards, allowing each character to get the award added to their profile for all to see, and so they never forget.

A new start for Blue Dwarf

I’ve got many ideas for the storyline of Blue Dwarf, and now that I’ve combined my two favourite hobbies, I’ll have more time for Blue Dwarf, and also it might lead to new development for OngoingWorlds as I’ll be spending more time as a player than just a developer.

Don’t be scared of the 12,000 posts of backstory in Blue Dwarf, we’re a welcoming group and would like to accept new members. You can join the Blue Dwarf game here.

  • White Wolf

    Hey Onion!
    Can you modify that script you mentioned above to pull another Yahoo Groups messages into a text or HMTL format? The reason why I ask is because I’d love to yank down my World of Cendri RPG’s game postings for sticking into a informational Wiki that I’m using for my game.

    Thanks,
    – WW

    • http://ongoingworlds.wordpress.com Onion

      Hey Tim, yeah the script is actually in 2 parts.The first will crawl the Yahoo group and download each page as a html file. If Yahoo notice you doing this they’ll temporarily ban you after a few 100 posts, so my script checks back every 30 minutes to see if the ban has been lifted, and continue downloading more. That’s probably the script you’ll need. My 2nd script goes through these html files and pulls out the correct information to put into a database – this one is a bit more specific to my database so might not be as useful to you.

      I’ll send you a private message through FB about it.

  • http://www.scifiideas.com Mark Ball

    I’m surprised you haven’t moved it to OGW before – as an example to others. Welcome Blue Dwarf. Big Rimmer salute. And as they say in the Space Scouts “pinkle squirmy blip blap blup”

    • http://www.ongoingworlds.com onion

      Yes you’re right I should have moved it earlier, but it took me a long while to figure out how to copy all the posts from yahoo groups

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