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  1. #1

    OCP - Overall Structure

    Hello again everybody,

    Hopefully by now everyone has had some time to look over the things I
    posted to the list. I have received submissions of interest for the
    steering committee from about 10 people so far. If you are still
    interested, then mail me.

    I want to give you all an outline of what I believe is a very good
    structure for the project. I must give credit for most, if not all, of this
    to Bryan (thanks!). The first time I saw this structure, I didn't like it.
    But I read it again a few times, thought about it, and then something
    clicked. It is *very* workable, and makes a lot of sense. My point is,
    think about things a little while and consider the big picture before

    So here's the idea:

    We keep the suggested (revised) structure, and, initially, combine the two
    magic groups into one, and also combine the law/govt and the
    defence/military groups. I stress this is only to start with. This system
    has the flexibility to split them later, if the workload for either becomes
    too high. I don't think this will become necessary for the magic group
    (there are not that many designs, though they are very detailed), but
    possibly will for the other combined group.

    The basic idea of this scheme is that designs are thrown around within each
    group, until they are ready for a preliminary submission to the Steering
    Committee (SC). The designs will be submitted to the steering comittee, who
    will either accept/reject the idea. If accepted, the design will go 'on
    display' on the web-page for all to see. Everyone in the project now has
    the chance to add their comments on the design. Once this has happened, the
    design goes back to the group, to be reworked (the amount of reworking will
    obviously depend on the comments). Then a final submission will be made to
    the SC, following which the idea will either be accepted/rejected. When I
    say rejected, the idea will not be thrown in the bin, but sent back for
    further work.

    Okay, got the gist of this? Well, onto the details. Each group will have a
    single 'steering committee' member, who I am going to call the Head of
    Department (HOD). This person will *represent* the group on the SC. Thus,
    each HOD will present the designs of their own group to the SC, for
    discussion. This will give a the SC a balanced view.

    The steering comittee will be responsible for developing guidelines for any
    submissions. This includes things that have been discussed on the list
    previously, such as magic level, NPC level, population. As Bryan put it to
    me "I am referring to basic beliefs or foundational concepts that must be
    used by all contributors". I would really like to avoid having to develop
    rigid rules, like the number of NPC's of level X which can exist in the
    city. As long as everyone is sensible this should be possible to avoid.
    However, some guidelines must exist.

    Okay, still with me on this? It is proposed to split each group up into two
    'teams'. One team will work on the structure of the organisation (eg,
    ranks, titles, characters & their items, responsibilities) and the other on
    the material possessions ofthe organisation (eg, temples, businesses,
    buildings, assets). Why would we want to do this? several reasons. First,
    it allows the HOD to more efficiently use the various 'specialties' of
    their teams and/or group members. Secondly, because designers are working
    on similar things all of the time (though for completely different
    designs), they themselves can keep track of things like NPC levels, magical
    items etc. The benefit of this is that the HOD does not have to keep track
    of these things, and can concentrate on other things (like their SC

    Now if you have been thinking of this thing as I had intially, then you
    might be saying things like "the amount of back-and-forth traffic is going
    to be huge", "There will be too many submissions to the SC ". But, here is
    the trick to all of this. Instead of each member of a group working on a
    different submission, each group works on ONLY ONE submission at a time.
    There are some huge benefits of this. The feedback on the idea can be
    internal to the group (initially, up until a preliminary submission is made
    when everyone else can join in) and stimulate ideas. It keeps everyone's
    mind on track, in that they are thinking about the same subject as others
    (ie. when somebody says something about Grunach Veltmoor, the other
    designers know exactly what they are talking about). More importantly, this
    mechanism will act as a 'buffer' at two stages. The first buffer will be
    between the group and the SC. Basically, by working on one idea at a time,
    a lot more detail will go into it, and it will mean that only one idea is
    submitted to the SC at a time (per group, of course). This means that the
    SC will not be inundated with design submissions. Secondly, it will act as
    a buffer between the SC and the web-page maintainers. Since only one idea
    at a time will go through the SC, only one idea at a time will go to the
    web-page maintainer. Since the volume from each idea is likely to be quite
    significant, this would free the hompage maintainer (Darkstar) to do other
    things, rather than spending all his time cutting-and-pasting.

    Okay, now the downside of this idea, as some people will see it, is that
    designers will 'belong' to a certain group. We certainly do not want to
    force anyone into a certain group, though. I think that many contributors
    will be equally happy working in any group, as long as they can really add
    to the final product. Others, however, will want to have an impact on their
    favourite areas. But, having said this, I am hopeful that once this gets to
    the stage where people can nominate which group they would like to
    participate in, we will see a reasonably even spread of designers, such
    that no groups are really starved. From the steering committee nominations
    I have received, there seems to be interest in all of the groups, even
    though some people obviously have their preferences. So, hopefully this
    will translate to the rest of the project members. This information (who is
    on what group/team), once collected, will be very helpful. For example,
    people can be easily 're-assigned' (with consent, of course) to a different
    group, where extra input is needed. Similarly, those people who have their
    pet projects (the Imperial Heralds are a good example), can be easily
    re-assigned to a different group for that project alone (assuming they are
    not part of that group to begin with). Also, the collated information can
    be used to create new groups (for example to create the city map) since we
    will know the expertise and resources of each group/team/member. Also, each
    group could have their own editorial board (or a as a completely separate
    group) so that designs can arrive at the SC (and the homepage) without the
    need for any corrections to be made.

    One interesting feature of this system which Bryan pointed out, is that a
    high degree of flexibility can be built into the project. To quote him:

    >Although we are designing this project for the Imperial City we could
    >develop the final product with a high degree of flexibility allowing
    >usage for other cities. For example, the law aspect of the Imperial
    >City could be very tricky. You have chamberlain who's the caretaker of
    >the throne and also has a good deal of influence over internal
    >governance. Then you have the regent of Avanil who wants to muscle in
    >with his authority. If you only use the information in the original
    >materials, the form of government for the city, if there is any, has
    >never been clarified. What we could do is develop products that give
    >more than one option. We could have magical organizations represented
    >by a low, medium, or high powered organization. We could also have the
    >legal governance represented by a council, a mayor, etc. By developing
    >more than one option we would allow usage of the materials in cities and
    >situations other than just the Imperial City.

    This allows each GM to adapt the city as they see it, but is something we
    can look at further down the track.

    Well, that's it. What does everyone think of this idea?


  2. #2
    Mark A Vandermeulen

    OCP - Overall Structure

    On Thu, 12 Feb 1998, Simon Graindorge wrote:

    > Well, that's it. What does everyone think of this idea?

    (See Simon's post for details, its too big to quote here.)

    I think this is an excellent plan. It looks like it may do a good job of
    addressing the cheif problem I forsee in this process: the chaos of posts
    and counter-posts working at cross-purposes, so nothing actually gets
    done. I like the idea of working on one thing at a time per group: this
    should help maximize the creative input and ensure the high quality of our
    product. Plus it allows the membership of the group to change over time
    (as will inevitably occur) and still retain a certain amount of
    continuity. I cast a vote strenuously in favor of this scheme.

    Mark VanderMeulen

  3. #3

    OCP - overall structure

    In a message dated 98-02-15 22:01:05 EST, you write:


    I think the overall structure and plan for submissions, steering committee,
    etc. is very good. I have submitted my area of interest as instructed in your
    previous post. I just have two comments/questions:

    1) I recommend we add a sub-category to the OTHER group, namely "Monsters and
    Awnsheghlien", since it seems likely that people will be coming up with lots
    of nasties lurking about the city (like one I'm currently working on for the
    sewers...). These beasties always make good adventure hooks for this type of
    resource. And speaking of which, does anyone think we need a sub-category
    "Adventure Hooks", or will these be built in to the individual areas by the
    contributors? Just a thought.

    2) My first area of interest is in the LAW/GOVERNMENT area (the Imperial
    Heralds being my "pet project") but I was wondering if its possible to "free
    lance" and contribute ideas to other areas if I happen to get inspired? This
    may have been mentioned in one of the lengthy posts, but I can't remember if a
    definitive decision has been made.

    All in all I think the structure is shaping up nicely, and I like the new look
    to the web page too. Well done, Simon and Darkstar!

    Kevin M.

    "The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."

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