Niclas Fredriksson wrote:
> On Tue, 8 Apr 2008, Mark Mielke wrote:
>>> No. It's because reading messages while playing is a skill that is learned. 
>> It must be learned, because it is unnatural and impractical. People 
>> train to make it natural and practical.
> As with all skills of the game. No one started playing netrek thinking 
> "wow, keeping a constant phaser lock while dodging torps is so natural to 
> me, it's like I was born to do this".

We're getting somewhere. You admit that reading messages is hard. :-) 
Reading between the lines, I am picking up that learning to read 
messages is part of the challenge when it comes to comparing the 
performance of a newbie to an expert. I can agree with this. It is hard, 
and that newbies don't read messages, and experts do, is an obvious 
differentiating factor.

The important question, though, is whether reading messages is truly a 
fun part of the game, and whether the learning curve is justified as an 
investment. It's easily observable that Netrek is dying. Would you not 
agree that reason for this include:

   1. The learning curve is too steep.
   2. The presentation is "old school", with new games looking far more
   3. Newbie's often don't realize there IS a message window, and how
      can they become better, if they don't pass this initial hump? 60
      seconds into the game they say "this is crap!" and leave never to

I believe voice has the capability of dealing with all three of these. 
Of course, if people just use it to mock each other, it might back fire.

>>> So what you're saying is that you read slower than you talk. Fine. 
>>> However, that is not true for most people.
>> Not exactly, but essentially, yes. I'm also going to say that taking 
>> your eyes off the tactical/galactic to read messages could easily mean 
>> you miss somebody uncloaking on your 6 which might be enough time for 
>> them to put one more torpedo in you than you can withstand with their 
>> exploding ship destroying you. You have multiple senses. If you are 
>> going to claim that ignoring one of the senses is more efficient - you 
>> have nowhere to go with this, because it makes no sense.
> The thing I've been telling you is that skilled players can read messages, 
> look at the galactic and dogfight at the same time without missing 
> information in any of those three windows. It's a *skill* acquired from 
> years of playing the game.

As with my above paragraph, I can agree with you it is a learned skill, 
but I question the value of the skill, given that it otherwise prevents 
newbie's from participating, and I suspect that even experts would be 
more efficient using voice, even if only to direct the newbies to result 
in a TEAM success, rather than a solo expert fighting the battle on his 
own, insulting his team mates for their incompetence and inability to 
read the message window. I don't value the skill as you do. I can type 
fast and read fast too, but if I could get away with not having to, I 
would in an instant. This very email chain would have been more 
efficient in person over beer. Text messaging is a skill - but this does 
not mean it should be an entry requirement skill for a game that should 
be entertaining.

>> My experience is that experienced players already do voice chat - 
>> whether via VoIP or whether sitting in the same room swearing at each 
>> other for screwing up over a monitor in the same room.
> Please give examples of clued players that use voice chat on a regular 
> basis today.

I would be hard pressed to give you a list of clued players that exist 
today that play on a regular basis. I think you are missing the point.

>> I think your platform is extremely thin, and question why you would 
>> resist that possibility that voice would benefit an experienced person.
> I question it because 1) I am an experienced player and 2) I have tried 
> voice communication in netrek and know its benefits and drawbacks. I 
> question why you, who are not an experienced player and who have probably 
> never even played a clue game with voice communication stubbornly assume 
> that voice communication is better than written dito in netrek.

I find it amusing that you think the above is a compelling argument for 
your case.

I've gone through this process before. People hate change. In an 
organization I am a part of that provided Internet access in text format 
in 1991/1992, before the word was known to most households (although it 
was known to netrek players :-) ). Around 1995 we began switching people 
to PPP. Around 1998 we started to offer services on the WWW only. We 
received hate mail from people who refused to use WWW, claiming that we 
were misguiding the corporation. Not to say you are as ignorant as these 
people, but the result is the same. You didn't try voice - not really. 
You don't know the benefits - as your messages clearly indicate. You 
think I'm stubborn for believing that voice is an effective 
communication mechanism - which is just hilarious.


Mark Mielke <mark at>

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