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Zoning out
What? I was AFK-- I mean, I was zoning out.

There was a thread about sleep deprivation to combat idling a while back, and I suggested another solution in which idle players zone out after a certain amount of time.

Have all SICs come across as encrypted. Make messages about cameras, the world around your character, and people speaking come off as vague. Player names no longer show, only short descriptions as if they were disguised.

The world begins to blur as you escape into your own mind.

The world begins to blur as you escape into your own mind.

joebakajoebaka >> 7 tsAd Yrw oh

joebakajoebaka => ot 5tj w9 p h+

You see a shabby hulking femboy do something...

A shabby hulking femboy says something...

A shabby hulking femboy says something to you...

There is a loud noise from nearby...

You hear someone shouting nearby...

joebakajoebaka => ijk 64 G9 4gk

You see motion on [surveillance device] but you're not paying attention...

As you regain your focus, the world clarifies itself before you.

For some reason this stuff didn't post as part of the main topic. Second try.

This sounds good, but what'd make it better would be if whenever your character's name was mentioned, it shows up in bold and pings you. Because, like in real life, when someone says your name while you're zoned out, it tends to grab your attention immediately. It does for me, anyway.
Definitely like this idea. What would conditions be for it to begin and end?

1hr idle?

Potentially getting up and moving around? Drinking coffee? Popping an everup?

Probably just a 15 minute idle, and just doing anything would snap you out of it. Getting hit by something, having your name said, etc, could also snap you out of it, but if you're AFK, you'll likely just go back into zoning out in 15 minutes again.
15 minutes seems a bit short to me, personally. I would prefer a much higher threshold if this is aimed to curtail idle/monitor abuse. I don't really want to be glued to my screen all the time, or forced to type in commands while just watching two people having a conversation in a bar or other sorts of activities where I'm playing but not necessarily taking action.
I think I still like the notion of not showing you /any/ sic messages or messages from security systems, radios, tvs. We'd leave things occurring in the room you're in alone. You'd still see people entering the room according to perception, for example.

And something like an hour seems about where I might make this start happening. I take some long shits, so you might too. :-D

I wonder how much this would affect server load? Would it increase or decrease the amount of work the server must do?

That being said, I love the idea of removing the time-machine ability that is seemingly granted de-facto by simply idling in a location to be able to see what is happening.

I would say I occasionally have times where I am very much actively playing and parsing feedback from the game, not focused on any other task, but have gone 15 minutes without issuing a command.

Usually watching busy events or watching cameras or television programs or listening to a long stretch of SIC conversation.

I've rarely ever gone an hour without issuing a command unless it was because I was working through a grid window reading or writing, I don't know if grid use resets idle timers.

I would tend to agree that if someone hasn't issued any commands or used the grid in an hour, it's questionable if they're actively playing at that point.

Beyond two hours it's definitely just soaking information passively, which drives me crazy, and players who just spend hours idling their characters with 'sleeping' ctags are really pushing the boundaries of what should be enabled in my opinion.

We discussed this at length last night. The rough consensus among insomniacs and early birds was that the timeout for 'zoning out' should be closer to 40 minutes or an hour. Additionally, we agreed it should feature a 10-minute warning e-mote similiar to 'The world begins to blur as you escape into your own mind.' giving the player an opportunity to not be subject to 'zoning out' by resetting their idle timer.
I think I suggested something similar once in a thread about people sitting in front of security cams for hours, in regards to the messages stopping if one remains idle for too long.

Recalling from that time I'd like to recommend that an interaction such as sipping coffee is suitable to reset the timer, or potentially extend it (giving a distinct use to coffee's caffeine boost). It's also very thematic for Joe Security to have to sit there for hours and subsist on sipping coffee alone to remain at attention.

Any input you enter would reset the idle timer...even if it wasn't a command. It's not a forced prompt. You just get a warning to no longer be idle.

My bad for forgetting to link the prior posts - I meant to do that.

Threads for reference:

I like the idea.

Is it worth the effort though?

Every client out there has the ability to fire off timed triggers.

What prevents this from turning into a game of wack a mole for the staff as they hunt for people using timers?

Why not just set a hard disconnect at 60 minutes?

Again, it suffers from the same challenge of clients auto-connecting. But at least it doesn't require a bunch of coding to implement.

Triggers are explicitly against the rules. I considered mentioning it in my post, but it seemed unnecessary. People caught using triggers to stay active while away from their computers aren't going to have a great time.
I generally like the idea of 'zoning out' code, but Hek's suggestion of a hard disconnect at 1 hour would cause a riot when there are consequences for being the baka who falls asleep at the bar.

I know that triggers are against the rules.

My understanding that idling and sponging UE is also against the rules.

What I felt was implicit in my post is that people who are going to break the rules are going to break the rules. Then it is going to be up to staff to have to find them.

Given that at some point staff is going to have to identify and find people who are breaking the rules, why put in the effort to code up a whole bunch of cool zoning out code that some people are just going to come up with an out-of-bounds strategy to circumvent?

From my perspective I would appreciate a hard disconnect after 60 minutes. I've lost track of the number of times that I've gotten distracted by work and come back a few hours later to find the window open. Or gotten distracted before bed and forget that I was logged in and go back 12 hours later to find out I'm still connected.

In those situations I self police. I do not go in there and look through my back scroll. But apparently there are enough players on the game who are passively sponging information that this is a concern. I tend to agree that it is a concern. I think the people who set their ctag as sleeping and stay connected are really stretching if not outright breaking the rules. I feel like staff should be extremely stringent with anyone who has a surveillance Network who also has over 30 minutes of idle time on any sort of regular basis.

I'm assuming that this hour-long disconnect is only for @IC idling and not for time spent @OOC? Because that could be a disaster.
It would be @IC idling of a character. @rules allow for 24 hours of idling which makes complete sense if some of that is @OOC time.

I actually don't think the number of characters who are idling in permanent wakefulness is an issue in the sense that enough people are doing it that it's a problem, and I don't know of any characters who could be doing it for a gameplay advantage right now, it's just an annoyance of mine because of how unrealistic it is for a character to never sleep -- even for benign reasons.

1. We used to have a 1 hour idle disconnection timer. People prefer it as it is now. It isn't likely to change. When it was 1 hour, all anyone could talk about was removing it.

2. We don't not make features just because there are cheaters in the world.

3. It is surprisingly easy to catch UE spongers, and people using automated triggers. Not only do we have systems that do it for us, but humans are good at pattern matching. GMs notice things like this easily enough.

To clarify why you hear about UE spongeing a lot, is because we make it a point that everyone understands it is against the rules and that when caught you risk losing ALL your UE. It's a big punishment and we want to make sure everyone is aware of how seriously we take it. So we make a big deal out of it. The number of people we actually have to come down on for it is vanishingly slim because the risk of losing all your accumulated UE is very high. It is a good deterrent.

(Edited by Slither at 8:42 am on 10/16/2020)

I often 'idle' for a good amount of time, but not what I'd consider excessive amounts of time (2+ hours.) I say idle with hesitation, though, because while I am technically idle as far as the MOO is concerned, I'm almost always present at the keyboard and actively monitoring what's what in the game world. That's where I draw the distinction, personally, between idle and away as statuses- not that it's something codedly possible to derive.

I suspect some others are as well, but to what extent this is true, I have no idea. I've never been a fan of idle timers, as you stated Slither, and I'd probably be one of the people getting annoyed by getting disconnected during writing work emails or being in a conference call. I understand these timers, but I think a lot of the commonly-raised concerns in the world of idle timers (things such as blocking server queues up, wasting bandwidth in realtime games, achievement/epeen farming, etc don't really apply to SD or MU* in general.

I get where Hek is coming from, in saying that people are just going to game the system. I won't even make the claim that they'll use rules-breaking methods, but rather just whacking the look command or something every thirty minutes or whenever the fancy strikes, and never having this idle system trigger.

What I don't understand is why make code changes for what seems like a pretty straightforward and easy-to-ID rules infraction? If JoeStaffer runs a @who and sees someone's idle X hours, shouldn't the policy be to just @boot/disconnect them and leave an internal note that the player was found to be idling? I guess code would be a staff QOL update on this, but it just seems like more timer/tick based overhead for the server to track and manage for what I assume is probably only a handful of people regularly 'abusing' this.

Just my two chyen.

I get what @Slither is saying.

I'm not a very good programmer and even I can think of a couple of ways to track and alert on some of the most common strategies that would be used to circumvent an idle timer.

I trust that the staff is aware of and policing this.