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[MAJOR] New 'appear' command
Change how your character is presenting themselves

INTRO

We have been looking for ways to reduce meta around disguise, and also increase the ability for players to present their characters to others in our coded systems the same way they are presenting them in roleplay with other characters.

As such, we spent a fair amount of time scoping out and discussing a system for changing your physical appearance and presentation so that things like your gender or your short description were more fluid based on the roleplay you were taking part in, or how your character has been developing.

DISCLAIMER

This code is still very new and may have some bugs or issues. Please report these over xhelp and submit an @bug if you encounter any issues.

We are actively seeking feedback on this code (please feel free to reply to this thread). This code will EVOLVE over time as we identify places to better it, places where we may need to further gate appearance changes behind skill of item checks, or where we see people abusing or misusing the code. We will make improvements and changes based on feedback!

Syntax: appear / appear (option)

The 'appear' command is used to slightly alter your appearance and demeanor. It is an IC command that you can use when your character is affecting a physical change such as hunching, trying to appear taller, sucking in their tummy to appear skinnier, pushing out their belly to appear fatter, or appearing more feminine, masculine, or androgynous than they typically are.

Appear is available to everyone, but some of the abilities it offers are only available when the character has a high enough disguise skill. Appear is a powerful command that can enhance your roleplay in a variety of ways. It can be coupled with disguises to make you increasingly unrecognizable amongst the sea of people in Withmore City.

Appear physically changes how your character is presenting themselves to the world. If you appear taller, your short description will change. If you appear shorter, your short description will change. The same goes for your gender.

Below you will find a more detailed explanation of some of what you can do.

APPEAR

Simply typing the command with no options will show you a list of what you can do. This will change as you increase your disguise.

APPEARING

This will show you the appearances you are currently affecting.

APPEAR TALLER

You straighten your back, adjust your shoes (possibly putting in some lifts) and you appear taller. If you were previously short, you would now appear average. You must be wearing shoes for this to work.

APPEAR SHORTER

You adopt a hunch, and appear shorter. Your short description will go down a level (if possible).

APPEAR FATTER

You push out your belly and appear fatter than you are. You must be covering your abdomen with clothing for this to work.

APPEAR SKINNIER

You suck in your belly and appear skinnier. You must be covering your abdomen for this to work.

APPEAR

You can appear as a short description that is not your physical gender (if you want to change your physical gender short desc you still use @shortdesc change). For example if you are masculine, you can 'appear hag' to change your characters pronouns to the feminine, and appear as a 'hag' in your short description. Your characters ACTUAL pronouns will change.

STOP APPEARING

At any point you can choose to 'stop appearing

WHAT BREAKS APPEARANCE?

Unlike disguise, the appearance your character is presenting will not 'break' over time based on things you say or do. The exception here is if you remove certain articles of clothing that are allowing your appearance to not be broken. For appearing taller, this is your shoes. For appearing masculine/feminine/etc it is your groin being covered.

HOW BIG ARE THESE APPEARANCE CHANGES

You can't go from a midget to tall or tall to a midget. You can't go from skinny to fat. You can only 'go up a level' or 'go down a level' so to speak.

CAVEATS

If you are already tall, your short description is not going to change. If you are already midget, it won't change. If you are already feminine, you can't be more feminine, or masculine more masculine. This applies across the board to the different options.

Another caveat is that your characters @voice will NOT change. You will have to change this manually as you see fit.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO WHEN PRESENTING A DIFFERENT APPEARANCE

You must ROLEPLAY the appearance you are affecting. If you are affecting the appearance of a hag, you should roleplay as such. If you are affecting the appearance of a bro, when your character typically presents themselves as dainty and feminine, you should be roleplaying your character moving and talking like a bro.

SOMEONE IS PRESENTING AS TALLER OR MASCULINE BUT MY CHARACTER CAN TELL THEY AREN'T REALLY

Then your character believes they aren't tall or masculine. If you notice someone with their back straight attempting to appear taller than they are YOU NOTICE IT ICly. If you notice someone using masculine pronouns where they used to have feminine ones, that is your character noticing the person is presenting themselves as masculine where they previously presented as feminine or androgynous. This is the cyberpunk future, and gender is fluid here.

HOW WILL THIS AFFECT THE GAME?

As of now, with minimal effort you can change your / height / weight / gender as presented in short description and in pronouns used when other people look at your character. This means that there no longer has to be one 'puny man' or 'short hag' in the game walking around disguised making it easy to pick out who they are from a meta stand point.

My goal with disguise has always been to make it so that if you can guess who someone is, you know who they are. That way the GMs do not have to ever deal with complaints of people being meta about disguise because everyone has within their power the ability to increase their disguise skill, and then take the time to write a new description, change their @voice, change their mannerisms and clothes and weapons, and be unrecognizable in a city of 65+ million people. That is the goal. This is a step in that direction.

Another change to this is that gender can be more fluid and up to the person roleplaying. This does NOT mean that presenting yourself as female means you do not have male genitalia or vice versa. It means you are presenting yourself as feminine or masculine. Cyberpunk future. Gender fluid.

COMPLAINTS & CONFUSION

A change like this is sure to garner some complaints and confusion. I welcome the opportunity to hear other peoples points of view on this, and to potentially adjust the code to be more straight forward, or themely. However, please remember that we aren't trying to tackle real world issues of gender here. We are creating systems with which players can better represent to the game world how they are playing their character, and to allow people leeway in their characters short descriptions to reduce meta & means of identifying people that would not be present if we truly had 65 million people in the city.

Keep your comments on topic!

-- S

(Edited by Slither at 3:50 pm on 2/9/2020)



COOLDOWN

There is a cooldown on how quickly you can change your appearance. This cooldown is dependent on your skill level. As it goes higher, the cooldown goes down.

(Edited by Slither at 4:31 pm on 2/9/2020)


DISGUISES

If you are disguised and you change your appearance, your gender will change but you will need to re-disguise to have your short description update. This is PURPOSEFUL as you need to prepare/plan before you start disguising up.

(Edited by Slither at 4:41 pm on 2/9/2020)

This is a very cool improvement and I'm happy to see it! Whether your character's trying to put on a more meta-proof disguise, or changing their presented gender for any other reason, this feature's really useful.

I sent a bug report in (MOO-8192) related to "stop appearing" (it changes you to something on the wrong shortdesc list) but in the meantime the workaround is straightforward: just do another shortdesc change manually and you're good.

STOP APPEARING

You can now 'stop appearing' or 'stop app' to stop all affected appearances.

MOO-8192 is fixed, thanks Fengshui!
BIOLOGICAL SEX

Use @born-sex me to define your character's sex as it was designated when they were born. For many characters, this may be the same as the character's present day gender. You don't have to set this if it doesn't apply to you, but you are welcome to do so.

This will be expressed in blood work, though its not going to show up in old blood samples. If you'd like specific karyotypes as part of your character's back story to show up in your blood as part of your biological sex, we can support this via a custom BIOLOGICAL-SEX-CHROMASOMES rp info flag staff can set if you file a @service-request.

With the new change, using pronouns in description/nakeds has become more important, and I've noticed that some descriptions use gendered terms. Suggestion: we could add a substitution % for shortdesc and list it in "help pronouns."

So "The thin %c's sharp cheekbones" becomes "The thin gentleman's sharp cheekbones" depending on shortdesc (or appear, if active).

I'm blown away.

I've been wanting to be able to codedly stuff pillows in my shirt or wear lifts for disguising for so long, this is amazing. Big props to the team!

Yeah, this is all incredible, and huge, for characters investing into this and trying to engage more in subterfuge. Really interesting addition, I can't wait to see how it plays out, gets tweaked, etc. My knee-jerk reaction is that disguise might go from kinda meh-okay to WHOA TOO GOOD, which is actually exciting! Really cool, fantastic work staff!
This is a good change for the game because people will be less meta.

It is also broken in its current presentation. In the form of being incredibly overpowered.

Nothing breaks my immersion more than having a tiny dude randomly become a curvy gal in an instant when they walk into bars. People will begin using this in the most absurd ways just so that they NEVER get identified on the streets no matter what they do and to always get away with everything.

I am proposing a change where working towards a new appear combination takes a period of time. That forces you to plan your identities ahead of time and prevents abusive use of this system. It may be a few hours or days, a value determined by the difficulty of assuming your new identity (e.g. the delta of current vs desired).

Also there should be a hard cap on whether you can combine different attributes. Sure you may try to appear taller but not fatter or the opposite gender all at the same time! Maybe only one different adjective would be more balanced.

Otherwise I can become a puny dude, stroll in with a shroud, kill Johnny McGraw, change myself to average dyke, over and over, in a matter of a couple commands.

APPEAR CITIZEN

A bunch of androgynous/ambiguous short descriptions are available when using the new APPEAR command.

person, kid, urchin, human, citizen, elder, fossil, fleshbag, denizen, queer, neut, urchin, snack, walker, chum, charmer, star, walker, mate, smoker, meatsicle, punk, clone, fleshbag, wageslave, androog

I am outright taken aback I am so impressed with all of these amazing additions.

These are not only fantastic gameplay improvements, they're great expansions on character presentation and identity.

Clothes sometimes have "% is" descriptions, and there may need to be new support for "they are wearing..." when using the singular-they.
This is even better than I could have imagined. Every single part of this change is fantastic. Thanks so much.

10/10, would appear again.

I personally am worried that enhanced disguises and appear have beefed disguise so much without good IC means of breaking through disguises without being meta have not really been introduced at the same rate.

I am 1005 against being meta when it comes to disguises but I am would really like to see new ways for forensics and cyber ware and perception to be used to help people overcome super-duper disguised people.

I don't want to go into details on how this could be done as this is not the place for it but I do want to express my concern that we have been really empowering disguises a lot and I don't feel we've done enough to help people deal with this ICly.

All that aside, super cool changes and enhancements! Very awesome!

Love, love, love this. All of it. 10/10. Any updates to balance this out and prevent people from abusing it are also appreciated.
The counter is clearly social intuition. If someone's walking in to a corp saying they're a new-hire, it's up to you to have them vetted before you give out the employment key.

If someone does an @social in a uniquely behavioral way, that's a good hint.

If someone neglects to change their @voice before or after, that's a good hint.

If you notice a familiar @naked or @describe, there's another hint.

There are a -ton- of additional hints. @smell, word choices, weapon preference, etc.

To be able to disguise convincingly, you need to do a -lot- of prep work and post-work.

...

Now if you're just upset about not being able to identify a killer, well, you shouldn't be able to identify based on a professional shroud-wearer anyway, and this seems to be excellent for anti-meta guesswork. 😊

I see a lot of people using appear and then not updating their @nakeds or @describe with %pronouns, which I don't even know how to react to. Fix your shit chummers!
GENDER BUG

I fixed the issue that was causing peoples genders to get messed up. Sorry about that! I updated everyone back to their original gender. If you were missed or I got it wrong, put in a service request.

There was a huge brainstorm in OOC-Chat about a gender-neutral @shortdesc list. Among the many, many great ideas, "Chen" came up as the corollary to "Chola" and "Cholo" on the male and female @shortdesc options.

With this in mind, and in the interest of eliminating one of the only roles represented in the game which appears gender-limited, I have an @idea slash Theme topic about Deathball players.

It's not 100% mine, one person in the XOOC said "I think Chen changing IC for the term to work would be great." I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this. But I'll put it in Theme and afterwards see if I come up with some specific @idea topic for making these things ICly clear.

It seems like we are quickly approaching the point of having so many different tag variations that we might as well just let people come up with their own.

Where does it stop? Droog, Droogette, Droogx?

The list that Johnny shared on 2/9 was at least 80% gender neutral.

It seems that people using non-gendered appearances die as “ corpse” rather than “male corpse” or “female corpse”. While I haven’t looked into it hard enough, I’d wonder if a man appearing as a woman died, the corpse would be a “female corpse”.

When you die I don’t think you have a demeanor anymore - so your corpse should revert to whichever type of gender you are without use of appear. This would also stop the “ corpses”.

Alternatively all corpses are genderless by naming convention.
Why? Why get rid of a perfectly good description for no reason?
Because the corpse is still nondescript until its groin is exposed.
Now that I have had a few days to work with this I can fully appreciate the magnitude of this change.

This is AMAZING!

Thank you to everyone who identified the need for this, conceptualized the solution, and the did the actual hard work with the implementation and coding.

I am not going to proclaim that this fully eliminates a lot of the small worlding around disguise meta. But it does make such things extremely less likely if people who are disguising themselves take the time to adjust their APPEARance as well.

Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

If you appear as a different gender your xooc gender even changes to match! Not sure if that's a bug or a feature but it's cool!

(discovered by ripping crashdown's face off.)

I've noticed that the appear command is possibly messing with poses. Anyone else? I was using using the appear chum one and it wasn't adding an s to verbs.

So .watche the TV was:

A lithe chum watche the TV.

I turned it off and just had chum as my shortdesc and it started working. Not sure what I did or if it's a known issue but I figured I'd pop it in here in case staff weren't aware.

Still super pumped about the changes!

@floored: That is intended for grammar reasons I'm pretty sure.

.watche the TV, "This show is shite.." I .point at the bad effects on screen with a sneer.

A lithe chum watche the TV, "This show is shite.." they point at the bad effects on screen with a sneer.

So it is now required to put an 's' at the end of your first .pose if you want it to look right.

Honestly, I feel like it's a tad OP, feel like this needs to have more of the disguise skill put into it to actually properly work.
It does. You can change your gender without any disguise skill at all.

I think that serves a useful purpose for characters who present as a gender different than their biological sex, but it is a very powerful disguise skill. Maybe limiting gender changes via “appear” to once every 24 hours without the disguise skill would be helpful. Right now, changing your gender is the first thing anyone does when they put on a hood.
Personally, I don't think the groin being exposed should "reveal" someone's "true" gender in the future of 2105, but I get why it works like that for code reasons to prevent it from being completely OP.
Revealing the groin does not change the gender of a corpse, interestingly. I’m not sure what that says about the world.
I think maybe changing your appeared gender should have a chance to fail when you're disguised, since a lot of people use it when they are disguised, to further complicate their disguise. Just about anyone, no matter how masculine/feminine uses it when they disguise themselves now, is something I've noticed. Just pondering on how to prevent this from being overly abused. Sure, if a trans person disguised themselves, this would make it harder for them to appear as the other gender, if this fix was made. So maybe there is a better solution I haven't thought about. Just throwing ideas out there.
Can we get some underlined policy on using this feature as a joke as well?

I've been hearing SIC chatter of people "making themselves appear like X/Y/Z" in some... hamfisted ways and it's rather gamey. The whole purpose of this feature was to enrich the disguise system, not to be a shapeshifting blob in front of your friends.
Does this make your disguise degrade faster if you have more layers of disguise on you? If not this should be considered. As others have said, it's a bit OP.