Random thoughts on sub-categories/tags (again)

Discussion in 'All Things LitRPG' started by Windfall, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    TAGS (version 1.3)

    LitRPG-specific tags
    World type: [COMMERCIAL GAME] [COMMERCIAL GAME GONE WRONG] [DIGITAL REALM] [REAL WORLD WITH GAME RULES]
    Trappings: [FANTASY] [MEDIEVAL] [SCI-FI] [SPACE] [MILITARY] [MODERN DAY] [CYBERPUNK] [STEAMPUNK] [HISTORICAL] [OTHER CULTURES] [POST-APOCALYPSE] [ZOMBIES] [MULTI-WORLD]
    Core activities:
    [OPEN-WORLD PVE] [OPEN-WORLD PVP] [ARENA/TOURNAMENT] [QUESTING] [DUNGEON] [RAID] [WAR] [CRAFTING] [GEAR-CRAFTING] [SPELL-CRAFTING] [SETTLEMENT-BUILDING] [DUNGEON DESIGN] [TOWER DEFENSE] [GROUP-BUILDING] [FORM-MORPHING] [PUZZLES]
    MC class/role: [MAGIC] [UNARMED COMBAT] [SWORD] [SPELLSWORD] [GUN] [ARCHER] [BARD] [ROGUE] [PET MASTER] [SUMMONER] [DARK MAGIC] [ELEMENTAL MAGIC] [SHAPE-SHIFTER] [MULTI-CLASS] [DAMAGE] [MELEE] [HEALER] [SUPPORT] [TANK] [CRAFTER] [DUNGEON CORE] [NPC] [MONSTER]
    Story elements: [TRAPPED] [PORTAL/PERMANENT UPLOAD] [REAL WORLD GAINS STATS] [SENTIENT AI] [LOG-OUT SCENES] [LOW-STAKE DEATH] [PERMADEATH] [DEATH GAME] [SENTIENT AI] [FAMILIAR] [HAREM] [SOLO PLAY] [GROUP PLAY] [FACTION LEADER] [UNIQUE CLASS/ABILITIES] [REALISTIC COMBAT] [SLOW LEVELING] [OP MC] [MORAL MC]
    Game type: [MMORPG] [OPEN-WORLD RPG] [TABLETOP] [ROGUELIKE] [RESOURCE-MANAGEMENT] [MOBA] [FPS] [RTS] [OTHER]
    Game text: [NONE] [LIGHT] [MEDIUM] [HEAVY]

    Literature & book tags
    POV: [MALE] [FEMALE] [OTHER GENDER] [SINGLE] [MULTIPLE] [1st PERSON] [3rd PERSON] [TEENAGE] [NON-HUMAN MC]
    Tone, themes and genres: [ACTION] [ADVENTURE] [EXPERIMENT] [COMEDY] [HORROR] [HERO'S JOURNEY] [COMING-OF-AGE] [SLICE-OF-LIFE] [INTRIGUE] [MYSTERY] [CONSPIRACY] [TEAM/FRIENDSHIP] [REVENGE] [ROMANCE] [EROTICA] [WISH-FULFILLMENT] [SELF-AWARE] [LIGHT] [SERIOUS] [HEAVY] [EMOTIONAL] [STRATEGY]
    Series status: [SERIES] [ONGOING] [COMPLETE] [FIRST BOOK] [BOOK IN A SERIES] [STAND-ALONE] [SIDE STORY]
    Availability: [WEB SERIAL] [E-BOOK] [KU] [PRINT] [AUDIO]
    Content warning: [EXPLICIT SEXUAL CONTENT] [SUGGESTIVE SEXUAL CONTENT] [NUDITY] [STRONG LANGUAGE] [MILD LANGUAGE] [GRAPHIC VIOLENCE] [AMORAL TONE]

    World type:
    • Commercial game
      Includes games that are 'seemingly' commercial at first, even when there's actually some secret evil intent behind them that characters discover as the plot progresses, and also includes games where only the MC is trapped (like they die when they're connected to the VR and now their consciousness is trapped). The premise of this category is that the game still functions like a commercial game.
    • Commercial game gone wrong
      AI-gone-rogue, or glitch-kills-people, or hacker-traps-everybody. The premise is that there's something seriously wrong with the core game code that puts the characters in that situation.
    • Digital realm that exists for some other purpose
      Gamified digital realms that exist for... military training, prison, education, be an afterlife, etc.
    • Real world with game rules
      Includes all portal fantasy, or when the world suddenly gains stats for any reason, or when the MC dies and is reincarnated as a character in a world just like the game he happens to be playing before death (but which is no longer a 'videogame')
    Trappings:
    • Fantasy
    • Medieval (to differentiate between finer shades of fantasy)
    • Sci-fi (laser guns, scanning goggles and stuff)
    • Space (spaceships, different planets!)
    • Military
    • Cyberpunk
    • Steampunk
    • Modern Day (real world gains game stats)
    • Historical (Regency LitRPG? Victorian LitRPG?)
    • Other cultures
    • Post-apocalypse (something bad has happened to the world)
    • Zombies!
    • Multi-world
    Core Activities: (Can pick more than one)
    • Open-world PVE
      Wandering around killing monsters, saving villages, fetching stuff for NPCs, etc.
    • Open-world PVP
      Faction politics, clan wars
    • Arena/tournament
      Basically PVP games
    • Questing
      Quest-driven plot, where people get quests, complete quests, leading to quests getting more and more complicated and difficult
    • Dungeon
      Find cave, enter cave, kill trash mobs, kill boss, loot!
    • Crafting
      Gathering stuff, making stuff
    • Equipment-crafting
      Lots of focus given to upgrading sword/magic armor/etc.
    • Settlement-building
      Here's your village/city/town/castle -- develop it
    • Dungeon design
      This is pretty much self-explanatory
    • Tower defense
      Stop waves of NPCs from invading your home
    • Group-building
      Main character(s) meet(s) and collect(s) group members and they go adventuring. Technically, harem-building will kinda fall into this category?
    Story elements: (Can pick more than one)
    • Trapped
      Players cannot leave game / playing against their will
    • Sentient AI
      Self-explanatory, I think
    • Log-out Scenes
      'Y' when a story features a significant real life story line, 'N' when offline scenes are not shown, are only alluded to, or if it's just one long play-through
    • Permadeath
      In-game character can die permanently
    • Death Game
      Die in-game, die in real life, or if the penalty for losing results in real-life death
    • Harem
      MC is disproportionately surrounded by side characters who are attracted to them
    • Romance
      Significant focus on love/relationship
    • Erotica
      Significant focus on sexual encounters
    • Solo Play
      MC is solo most of the time
    • Group Play
      Focus on group dynamics
    • Unique Class/Abilities
      MC gets a rare/hidden/unique build
    • Realistic Combat
      Laws of physics apply as in real life, no HP system
    • Young Adult
      (Not sure what qualifies...)

    All tags can be clicked on to filter only stories tagged with those tags, or clicked on twice to exclude stories tagged with those tags.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
  2. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Users
    > Users create personal review accounts
    > Users can 'follow' other users

    Reviews
    For simplicity's sake (copied from Wyvern's review system and LitRPG Reads' star-rating system), users are asked to rate a book based on:

    • Overall
    • 1 star -- don't bother
    • 2 stars -- passable, if you have nothing else to read
    • 3 stars -- okay to quite good
    • 4 stars -- well-done, very enjoyable
    • 5 stars -- extremely high quality, deserves to be representative of the genre
    Optional: They can also choose to break down their ratings further:
    • Overall story concept
      • 1 star -- flimsy, makes no sense
      • 2 stars -- cliched, nothing really new
      • 3 stars -- solid, some nice ideas
      • 4 stars -- very interesting
      • 5 stars -- unique and extremely well thought out
    • World/game mechanics
      • 1 star -- flimsy, makes no sense
      • 2 stars -- cliched, nothing really new
      • 3 stars -- solid, some nice ideas
      • 4 stars -- very interesting
      • 5 stars -- unique and extremely well thought out
    • Writing
      • 1 star -- google translated? rough to read
      • 2 stars -- fanfiction-level, inconsistent
      • 3 stars -- good, smooth, might have a few minor issues
      • 4 stars -- great, solid prose, natural dialogue
      • 5 stars -- give the author a literature award!
    • Characters
      • 1 star -- die!
      • 2 stars -- cardboard, act out of character, bland
      • 3 stars -- okay, maybe trope-y, maybe a little inconsistent
      • 4 stars -- good, solid, believable
      • 5 stars -- strong, unique, three-dimensional characters
    • Personal preference
      • 1 star -- hated it, found it offensive
      • 2 stars -- didn't like it, not impressed
      • 3 stars -- I can see why some people might like it, but it's not for me
      • 4 stars -- liked it a fair bit
      • 5 stars -- one of my favorites!
    Then (using ideas from Uber ratings and the johari window) they are asked to name three good things from the following tags:

    Best thing about the book: (pick three)
    [clever plot] [good plot twist] [good world-building] [interesting idea] [combat system]
    [relatable characters] [good character dynamics] [good character development] [action-packed]
    [great prose] [fast-paced] [exciting] [moving]
    (Or write your own)

    Things you didn't like: (pick three)
    [amateurish prose] [bland characters] [slow] [confusing] [too much info dump] [lacks direction]
    (Or write your own)



    [CLICKABLE / FILTERABLE TAGS]

    (filtered list)
    SORT BY | RELEASE DATE (OLDEST/NEWEST) | AVERAGE RATING (ALL/REVIEWERS I FOLLOW) | POPULARITY (HIGHEST/LOWEST)
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [Cover photo]
    Book title:
    Book {X} of {SERIES}
    Author:
    Short blurb:

    Tags:


    Average rating: .....
    (ALL REVIEWERS | REVIEWERS I FOLLOW)

    MORE DETAILS >>
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [Cover photo]
    Book title:
    Book {X} of {SERIES}
    Author:
    Short blurb:

    Tags:


    Average rating: .....
    (ALL REVIEWERS | REVIEWERS I FOLLOW)

    MORE DETAILS >>
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    "More Details" links to the book's own page, with all reviews listed (still filterable by "all reviewers" and "reviewers I follow").


    (I'm a real noob at this, so forgive me)

    Table: Books
    ItemID: autoid
    Title: text
    Type: book/series
    Image: text
    Short blurb:
    Commercial blurb:
    Author(s):

    Table: Authors
    AuthorID:


    Table: Tags -- all tags have the value of 'Y' (yes), 'N' (no), or 'U' (unassigned)
    Item: ItemID
    TagID: Y/U/N
    TagID: Y/U/N
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
  3. Herko Kerghans

    Herko Kerghans Random Hurler of 2-Cents LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Hum... interesting conundrum, above all since it's perfectly possible to have some "Can't log out" scenario while also having an out-of-game plot (everything from "what happened before I logged in", to the sub-plot of those trying to stop the AI/Hacker/Glitch that is preventing those logged in to log-off). In other words, both tags can coexist, so I'd go:
    > [Trapped In Game] (alternatively Cannot Log Out)
    > [No Out-Of-Game Plot] (which probably will need to have a bit of leeway when there's just a few introductory pages out of game and then it's all in game)

    Humm... dunno. They sort of work, but can't say they sound great, above all "Death Game"; but can't think of a short tag for it, so yeah, they do work methinks. =)


    IMHO, definitely by book, and let the reader decide.

    Imagine there's a 5-book series that, from book 2 and onwards, includes some Tag you don't like (say, author decided that Alien Vampire are cool, so there are AVs in books 2, 3, 4 & 5, buy you happen to loathe AVs), but book 1 may still check all the boxes you do like; if tags are by book, you may give book 1 a shot (and you'll know what you are getting into if you afterwards decide to go for book 2)

    Gotta say, I agree here... maybe it's not even a Tag that is needed, perhaps?

    Genre seems important by itself, IMHO. "Style" could be an interesting Tag, methinks, above all to put things like "Humor" (lots of folks may be interested in that tag).

    If everything elses fail, there's always "Misc" as a category, too! =)
     
  4. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I like [Trapped In Game] -- but I wonder if this includes 'portal' or when they die

    So if I update:
    [TRAPPED IN GAME]
    [PORTAL]
    (includes 'permanent uploads', like if a character dies and their consciousness is uploaded into the game)
    [REAL WORLD GAINS STATS]

    How about [NO OFFLINE SCENES] instead of "no out-of-game plot" -- because sometimes there is an offline plot (like .hack), but it's never shown, but only alluded to, which I think is a very interesting way to present it. The camera doesn't ever leave the game.



    I agree. Both terms I got from various posters asking for recommendations, but they're not very clear.


    Good point!


    Good idea :p

    I can think of a lot of things that people specifically ask for that don't fit anywhere, so maybe I'll go with Misc!
     
  5. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    *Note: these things in spoiler tags are me talking myself through my own thoughts, but please feel free to read/comment if you feel like it. I love opinions!

    TAGS (version 1.4)

    LitRPG-specific tags
    World type: [COMMERCIAL GAME] [COMMERCIAL GAME GONE WRONG] [GAMIFIED DIGITAL REALM] [REAL WORLD WITH GAME RULES]
    Trappings: [FANTASY] [MEDIEVAL] [SCI-FI] [SPACE] [MILITARY] [MODERN DAY] [CYBERPUNK] [STEAMPUNK] [HISTORICAL] [OTHER CULTURES] [POST-APOCALYPSE] [ZOMBIES] [MULTI-WORLD]
    Core activities:
    [OPEN-WORLD PVE] [OPEN-WORLD PVP] [ARENA/TOURNAMENT] [QUESTING] [DUNGEON] [RAID] [WAR] [CRAFTING] [GEAR-CRAFTING] [SPELL-CRAFTING] [SETTLEMENT-BUILDING] [DUNGEON DESIGN] [TOWER DEFENSE] [GROUP-BUILDING] [FORM-MORPHING] [PUZZLES]
    MC class/role: [MAGIC] [UNARMED COMBAT] [SWORD] [SPELLSWORD] [GUN] [ARCHER] [BARD] [ROGUE] [PET MASTER] [SUMMONER] [HOLY MAGIC] [DARK MAGIC] [ELEMENTAL MAGIC] [NATURE MAGIC] [SHAPE-SHIFTER] [MULTI-CLASS] [DAMAGE] [MELEE] [HEALER] [SUPPORT] [TANK] [CRAFTER] [DUNGEON CORE] [NPC] [MONSTER]
    Story elements: [TRAPPED IN GAME] [PORTAL] [REAL WORLD GAINS STATS] [SENTIENT AI] [OFFLINE SCENES] [LOW-STAKE DEATH] [PERMADEATH] [DEATH GAME] [FAMILIAR] [HAREM] [SOLO PLAY] [GROUP PLAY] [FACTION LEADER] [UNIQUE CLASS/ABILITIES] [REALISTIC COMBAT] [SLOW LEVELING] [OP MC] [MORAL MC]
    Genre: [ACTION] [ADVENTURE] [EXPERIMENT] [COMEDY] [HORROR] [SATIRE] [HERO'S JOURNEY] [COMING-OF-AGE] [SLICE-OF-LIFE] [REVENGE] [INTRIGUE] [MYSTERY] [CONSPIRACY] [ROMANCE] [EROTICA] [WISH-FULFILLMENT]
    Tone: [LIGHT] [SERIOUS] [HEAVY] [EMOTIONAL] [LITERARY] [SELF-AWARE]
    Game type: [MMORPG] [OPEN-WORLD RPG] [TABLETOP] [ROGUELIKE] [RESOURCE-MANAGEMENT] [MOBA] [FPS] [RTS] [OTHER]
    Game text: [NONE] [LIGHT] [MEDIUM] [HEAVY]

    Literature & book tags
    POV: [MALE] [FEMALE] [OTHER] [GENDER BENDER] [SINGLE] [MULTIPLE] [1st PERSON] [3rd PERSON] [TEENAGE] [NON-HUMAN MC]
    Series status: [SERIES] [ONGOING] [COMPLETE] [FIRST BOOK] [BOOK IN A SERIES] [STAND-ALONE] [SIDE STORY]
    Availability: [WEB SERIAL] [E-BOOK] [KU] [PRINT] [AUDIO]
    Content warning: [EXPLICIT SEXUAL CONTENT] [SUGGESTIVE SEXUAL CONTENT] [NUDITY] [STRONG LANGUAGE] [MILD LANGUAGE] [GRAPHIC VIOLENCE] [AMORAL TONE]

    World type:
    • Commercial game
      Includes games that are 'seemingly' commercial at first, even when there's actually some secret evil intent behind them that characters discover as the plot progresses, and also includes games where only the MC is trapped (like they die when they're connected to the VR and now their consciousness is trapped). The premise of this category is that the game still functions like a commercial game.
    • Commercial game gone wrong
      AI-gone-rogue, or glitch-kills-people, or hacker-traps-everybody. The premise is that there's something seriously wrong with the core game code that puts the characters in that situation.
    • Digital realm that exists for some other purpose
      Gamified digital realms that exist for... military training, prison, education, be an afterlife, etc.
    • Real world with game rules
      Includes all portal fantasy, or when the world suddenly gains stats for any reason, or when the MC dies and is reincarnated as a character in a world just like the game he happens to be playing before death (but which is no longer a 'videogame')
    Trappings:
    • Fantasy
    • Medieval (to differentiate between finer shades of fantasy)
    • Sci-fi (laser guns, scanning goggles and stuff)
    • Space (spaceships, different planets!)
    • Military
    • Cyberpunk
    • Steampunk
    • Modern Day (real world gains game stats)
    • Historical (Regency LitRPG? Victorian LitRPG?)
    • Other cultures
    • Post-apocalypse (something bad has happened to the world)
    • Zombies!
    • Multi-world
    Core Activities: (Can pick more than one)
    • Open-world PVE
      Wandering around killing monsters, saving villages, fetching stuff for NPCs, etc.
    • Open-world PVP
      Faction politics, clan wars
    • Arena/tournament
      Basically PVP games
    • Questing
      Quest-driven plot, where people get quests, complete quests, leading to quests getting more and more complicated and difficult
    • Dungeon
      Find cave, enter cave, kill trash mobs, kill boss, loot!
    • Crafting
      Gathering stuff, making stuff
    • Equipment-crafting
      Lots of focus given to upgrading sword/magic armor/etc.
    • Settlement-building
      Here's your village/city/town/castle -- develop it
    • Dungeon design
      This is pretty much self-explanatory
    • Tower defense
      Stop waves of NPCs from invading your home
    • Group-building
      Main character(s) meet(s) and collect(s) group members and they go adventuring. Technically, harem-building will kinda fall into this category?
    Story elements: (Can pick more than one)
    • Trapped
      Players cannot leave game / playing against their will
    • Sentient AI
      Self-explanatory, I think
    • Log-out Scenes
      'Y' when a story features a significant real life story line, 'N' when offline scenes are not shown, are only alluded to, or if it's just one long play-through
    • Permadeath
      In-game character can die permanently
    • Death Game
      Die in-game, die in real life, or if the penalty for losing results in real-life death
    • Harem
      MC is disproportionately surrounded by side characters who are attracted to them
    • Romance
      Significant focus on love/relationship
    • Erotica
      Significant focus on sexual encounters
    • Solo Play
      MC is solo most of the time
    • Group Play
      Focus on group dynamics
    • Unique Class/Abilities
      MC gets a rare/hidden/unique build
    • Realistic Combat
      Laws of physics apply as in real life, no HP system
    • Young Adult
      (Not sure what qualifies...)

    All tags can be clicked on to filter only stories tagged with those tags, or clicked on twice to exclude stories tagged with those tags.


    Several ideas:
    - Tags are submitted by the authors as they submit their book -- with a 'reviewing committee' overseeing it to make sure they are fairly accurate.
    - A team of volunteers (recruited from here) submit the initial entries (aim for 100 books to start with so the database will have something?)
    - Authors of those 100 books can ask to change the tags.
    - Reviewer Accounts have to be... 'accountable', to avoid bots/vengeful or overzealous street teams, so reviewer accounts will need to be verified people (like maybe start with only people on here?) -- Since this is going to be Paul's website, I'm sure this can be made to work. Accounts may be anonymous (screen handles, etc.) as long as Paul or the Reviewer Committee know they're a real person.
    - Normal Accounts are for personal use -- and no one else sees their reviews until they have reviewed at least (5, 10, 20 books?) Then they can submit their application to become a Reviewer Account.
    - We want normal 'good' stories to be at 3-4 stars, and exceptional ones at 5 stars. We don't want a situation where everything readable is given 5 stars. It's not Amazon where everything below 5 stars is a negative.
    - Readers can filter to see only aggregated reviews from reviewers they like and trust. This will help with the matter of 'taste' -- like if someone really hates harem, and the harem books are reviewed by people who love harem, then the star rating means nothing. I actually felt this when I looked at GameLitCrit -- where the reviews are 'anonymous' -- which seems like a good idea, but there must be a way to tag the reviewer somehow, since everyone has different preferences.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
  6. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    (I'm a real noob at this, so forgive me)

    Table: Entries (book or series)
    Note: Series are treated like just another book entry (the thinking behind this is "how would you tag this if you put all the books together into one HUGE book")
    EntryID:
    Title: (text) title of book or series
    Series: (y/n)
    Series: (text) title of series
    Short description: (text) a quick overview of the story
    Blurb: (text) official blurb -- can be pulled from Amazon?
    Cover photo: (image link) -- can also be pulled from Amazon?
    Author: AuthorID -- what about 'more than 1 author?'

    Table: Tags
    TagID:
    Tag name: (text)
    Tag definitions: (text)

    Table: Entries + Tags
    (columns populated by all existing TagIDs)
    (the auto-value for the tags = 'U' (unknown/unassigned))
    (the values can be "yes" -- this story has this element, "no" -- this story does not have this element, or "unknown/unassigned")

    EntryID | Tag1 | Tag2 | Tag3 | Tag4
    E19293 | Y | N | U | U
    E19294 | N | U | Y | Y


    Table: Authors
    AuthorID:
    Author name:
    Author avatar:
    Author details:
    Author homepage:
    Author Patreon:
    Author Facebook:
    Author Reddit:
    Author Twitter:
    Author Amazon:
    Author Goodreads:
    Author LitRPG Forum:

    Table: Users
    UserID
    User name:
    User avatar:
    User details:
    Public Reviewer: (y/n)


    Table: Reviews
    ReviewID:
    EntryID: which book/series is being reviewed
    UserID: who reviewed it
    Star ratings:
    (sub-ratings):
    (sub-ratings):
    (sub-ratings):
    Review text:
    Review date:


    Table: Followed reviewers
    (columns populated by all existing UserID)
    (values are "y" = followed/reviews always show, "u" = not followed/reviews show in 'view all reviews', "n" = ignored/reviews never show)
    UserID | user1 | user2 | user3 | user4
    Me123 | Y | U | U | U
    Otherperson | Y | U | N | N
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
  7. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Tag Category Exploration (1): World Type - invitation for discussion

    I'm now trying to finalize each category, so I'm asking for feedback if everyone who has been reading so far is happy with this. We'll start with World Type as the starting 'flavor' for each LitRPG story.


    ____________________________________________________________

    World type:

    [COMMERCIAL GAME] - Stories that feature characters playing a commercial game, meaning a game that aims to make money in some way or another. This includes games that are seemingly commercial at first, even when the characters later on stumble upon hidden agendas or conspiracies. The core concept of this category is that the game should generally function like games we have nowadays.

    Core aesthetics:

    • Generally has lower stakes
    • Lower chance of the game having extremely punishing features, like permadeath
    • Lends itself more to a fun, light tone, without lasting consequences
    • Closer the experience we currently have as gamers
    • Has a higher tendency to be self-aware
    Potential pitfalls:
    • May lack direction and tension
    • To build up tension, the story may resort to unbelievable and contrived real-world plots, like playing the game for money to support dying relatives

    [GAME GONE WRONG] - Stories that feature characters playing a game that has been corrupted in some way. The core concept of this category is that there is something seriously wrong with the game code, which might be the result of a glitch, hacking, or rogue AI.

    Core aesthetics:

    • A disaster scenario, where characters often find themselves trapped
    • Higher stakes
    • Concrete motivation and challenges to overcome, such as beating the game in order to log out
    Potential pitfalls:



      • The trapped concept has been used to death
      • The reason the characters become trapped in the game is often unrealistic
      • The story section before the characters become trapped is often predictable
    [GAMIFIED DIGITAL REALM] - Stories that take place in a digital realm built for other purposes, for example, military training, rehabilitation or punishment of prisoners, education, or to store the human consciousness after their death. The core concept is that the realms are designed for other purpose.

    Core aesthetics:

    • A wide variety of settings based on the intended function of the digital realm, allowing for creative premises for the story
    • Often includes disaster scenarios, where characters are trapped
    • Generally has higher stakes
    • More room for game-like elements that are not viable in commercial games
    Potential pitfalls



      • Unrealistic realm design and premise for getting characters into the realm in the first place
    [REAL WORLD WITH GAME RULES] - Stories that take place where the game world becomes the character's reality. This includes all portal fantasy, where characters are transported to a game-like world, or when the real world is transformed to include game rules, or when characters suddenly gain the ability to see stats in the real world. The core concept is that characters are in a fantasy world with explicit stats.

    Core aesthetics:

    • Closer to general fantasy
    • Tends to be more immersive
    • Generally has higher stakes, and usually real-life threats like pain and real death
    • Less focus on balanced game design, often allowing for more fantasy-style freedom of skills, and for characters to become unique or special
    Potential pitfalls



      • Some stories have no need to be LitRPG and would work better as straight fantasy or sci-fi
      • Less focus on game design may result in sloppy mechanics

    ____________________________________________________________

    These are not rigid categories. Each category offers different aesthetics and tropes, so it might be better to think of the overall feeling of the setting rather than the actual definitions.

    For example, a story where a character is forever trapped in a commercial game and therefore the game becomes their real world might match [REAL WORLD WITH GAME RULES] better than [GAME GONE WRONG]. Or a story with a character trapped in a commercial game, but the tone is light and low-stakes, might actually match [COMMERCIAL GAME] better than [GAME GONE WRONG].

    A story where a character is forced to play a game against their will (like a hacker trapping only the MC) might match the aesthetics of [GAME GONE WRONG] but if the MC happens to die while playing and therefore is trapped, but it's a commercial game, it might be better tagged [COMMERCIAL GAME].


    Some musings:

    • Now that I've thought about it, I cut the 'commercial' bit out of [GAME GONE WRONG] for the second tag, since I believe the core aesthetics of such stories is "disaster situation and what you do with it" The focus is on the 'gone wrong' bit and that serves as the main motivation/driving force for the story.
    • To be clear, I believe readers look for these common aesthetics in all LitRPGs:
      - highly-systemized skills and rules
      - stylized encounters
      - creative world design, since LitRPG generally allows a higher degree of creative freedom than traditional fantasy/sci-fi in terms of 'realistic' magic systems, economy, politics, and all-rounded world-building
    • At the very core, the differentiating features between each of these world types are:
      [COMMERCIAL GAME] - the reader's main interest is in the 1) realistic game design, 2) gaming references/nostalgia
      [GAME GONE WRONG] - the reader's main interest is in the 1) disaster situation and the challenges it presents
      [DIGITAL REALM] - the reader's main interest is in the 1) believability of the premise and world
      [REAL WORLD WITH GAME RULES] - the reader's main interest is in 1) immersion in the fantasy of the story
    • Maybe I will need to add the tag "Unwilling" to the misc category as well?
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  8. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Separate question -- how many tags are too many? >_<''''
     
  9. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I'm moving the above post to a different thread to kick off more focused discussions :)
     
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  10. Herko Kerghans

    Herko Kerghans Random Hurler of 2-Cents LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Methinks that's a veeeery wise strat!! =)
     
  11. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Jotting down what we've got so far

    Tags 1.7 update notes:

    [Permadeath] changed to [Character Permadeath] for clarity.
    [Death Game] changed to [Death Stake for Player] for clarity.




    TAGS (version 1.7)


    LitRPG-specific tags
    World type: [COMMERCIAL GAME] [GAME GONE WRONG] [GAMIFIED DIGITAL REALM] [REAL WORLD WITH GAME RULES]
    Trappings: [FANTASY] [MEDIEVAL] [SCI-FI] [SPACE] [MILITARY] [MODERN DAY] [SUPERHERO] [CYBERPUNK] [STEAMPUNK] [DIESELPUNK] [HISTORICAL] [OTHER CULTURES] [POST-APOCALYPSE] [ZOMBIES] [MULTI-WORLD]
    Main activities:
    [OPEN-WORLD PVE] [OPEN-WORLD PVP] [QUESTING] [DUNGEON] [LEVEL-CLEARING] [ZONE CONQUEST] [ARENA/TOURNAMENT] [RAID] [WAR] [CRAFTING] [GEAR-CRAFTING] [SPELL-CRAFTING] [SETTLEMENT-BUILDING] [DUNGEON DESIGN] [TOWER DEFENSE] [GROUP-BUILDING] [EVOLUTION] [PUZZLES]
    MC class/role: [MAGIC] [UNARMED COMBAT] [SWORD] [SPELLSWORD] [GUN] [ARCHER] [BARD] [ROGUE] [PET MASTER] [SUMMONER] [HOLY MAGIC] [DARK MAGIC] [ELEMENTAL MAGIC] [NATURE MAGIC] [SHAPE-SHIFTER] [MULTI-CLASS] [DAMAGE] [MELEE] [HEALER] [SUPPORT] [TANK] [CRAFTER] [DUNGEON CORE] [NPC] [MONSTER]
    Story elements: [TRAPPED IN GAME] [PORTAL] [REAL WORLD GAINS STATS] [SENTIENT AI] [OFFLINE SCENES] [LOW-STAKE DEATH] [CHARACTER PERMADEATH] [DEATH STAKE FOR PLAYER] [FAMILIAR] [HAREM] [NON-HUMAN PARTNERS] [SOLO PLAY] [GROUP PLAY] [FACTION LEADER] [UNIQUE CLASS/ABILITIES] [REALISTIC COMBAT] [SLOW LEVELING] [OP MC] [MORAL MC]
    Genre: [ACTION] [ADVENTURE] [EXPERIMENT] [COMEDY] [HORROR] [SATIRE] [SLICE-OF-LIFE] [REVENGE] [INTRIGUE] [MYSTERY] [CONSPIRACY] [ROMANCE] [EROTICA] [WISH-FULFILLMENT]
    Theme: [HERO'S JOURNEY] [INCIDENTAL HERO] [POWER FANTASY] [COMING-OF-AGE] [TRANSHUMANISM] [HUMAN BONDS] [LOVE] [DISCOVERY] [SOCIAL COMMENTARY] [INTERNAL STRUGGLE] [MORALITY]
    Tone: [LIGHT] [SERIOUS] [HEAVY] [EMOTIONAL] [LITERARY] [INFORMAL] [SELF-AWARE]
    Game type: [MMORPG] [OPEN-WORLD RPG] [TABLETOP] [ROGUELIKE] [RESOURCE-MANAGEMENT] [MOBA] [FPS] [RTS] [OTHER]
    Game text: [NONE] [LIGHT] [MEDIUM] [HEAVY]

    Literature & book tags
    POV: [MALE] [FEMALE] [OTHER] [GENDER BENDER] [SINGLE] [MULTIPLE] [1st PERSON] [3rd PERSON] [TEENAGE] [NON-HUMAN MC]
    Series status: [SERIES] [ONGOING] [COMPLETE] [FIRST BOOK] [BOOK IN A SERIES] [STAND-ALONE] [SIDE STORY]
    Availability: [WEB SERIAL] [E-BOOK] [KU] [PRINT] [AUDIO] [FREE]
    Content warning: [EXPLICIT SEXUAL CONTENT] [SUGGESTIVE SEXUAL CONTENT] [NUDITY] [STRONG LANGUAGE] [MILD LANGUAGE] [GRAPHIC VIOLENCE] [AMORAL TONE]

    I'm starting to think that for each "TAG" there should be a:
    Y: yes, the story has this element
    N: no, the story does not have this element
    U: unknown, unassigned
    M: mild -- the story has a bit of this element


    I'm also starting to think that each entry will have:


    -------------------------------------------------
    Cover photo: linked from Amazon
    Title:
    Author:

    (Then a strip of sample texts, which include:)
    - Short description: 'the skinny'
    - Commercial blurb:
    - First page:
    - Random page:
    - Combat scene:

    (Then tags)

    (Then reviews)

    -------------------------------------------------

    Short description: an objective 'meta' 'give-it-to-me-straight' description of the story. "Rebellious teen girl obtains a hack code and blackmails classmates into joining her quest to turn the school's educational VR system into a VRMMORPG. Hilarity ensues."
    Commercial blurb: from Amazon
    First page: like the 'look inside' feature -- maybe the first 800 words?
    Random page: authors can select any 800 words from their book (like a "look in the middle" feature)
    Combat scene: a sample of how combat is handled
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018
  12. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Someone on reddit just asked for a "powerful competent male protagonist (who aren't afraid to rough people up when needed)".

    And someone suggested Life in the North, and even when I haven't read it (it's on my reading list) I kinda knew that's not what the person was looking for. And I was right, the poster didn't like the book.

    What they're actually looking for is "badass" -- and I agree there's a certain flavor that comes with it, and this would fall into [Power Fantasy] in my books. So I'm not surprised Ascend Online doesn't fit, because I wouldn't classify it as [Power Fantasy]. Awaken Online, on the other hand, gives a bit of that flavor.

    I think the main issue here is the MC's vulnerability. It's a feeling. Some people really don't like it, and that's why they react strongly against things like Life in the North, where (from what I've heard), the MC is going through emotional issues. I've also seen people react strongly to emotional turmoils in Alpha World and Continue Online -- I haven't read any of these series, but I'm going to. The funny thing is, the reaction is usually not 'meh, it wasn't for me' -- the reaction is often rage. It's the same kind of rage people have when they say things like "I didn't sign up to read gay stuff". I've also noticed rather vehement reactions when the MC doesn't "win" (especially at the end of a book, where people really go "I'm done with this series!") Heroic sacrifices that lead to bad results are often labeled "stupid". But didn't people get really pissed at The Empire Strikes Back when it came out for the same reason?
     
  13. Herko Kerghans

    Herko Kerghans Random Hurler of 2-Cents LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Well... I guess some times we want to read (or play games, or watch TV, etc) just light stuff, and some times we want something that pushes us out of our comfort zones a bit (and then mileage varies a lot for each of us). And that may be part of the growing pain of the genre (and why some may want tags, by the way! =) as in some folks may approach it as "comfort reads", sort to speak, and then have a bad reaction when the read in question is not so comfortable.

    That's not to say such push-me-a-bit wouldn't be welcome had we knew it was coming; but when it catches us off-guard it may be a bit unpleasant, I guess.

    Another tag, perhaps? Comforting Read // Pushes out of Comfort Zone?
     
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  14. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    (My brain is totally not working right now, but here goes :p)

    Yep. You're totally right, and I really want something like this. Personally, I think [feel good] is a good tag, since it's rather positive-sounding, and if the author set out to make you feel good, it's probably not going to challenge you too much.

    But when I think about it this is a rather dangerous tag -- since a lot of guy-centric 'feel-good comfort reads' actually make me feel uncomfortable as a female reader. Really, sometimes I want a blatant tag that says [Female reader friendly] -- because growing up I've read so many series with glowing reviews that came "highly recommended" only to find that it's harem or riddled with veiled sexism. The sad thing is... even female readers recommend these stories (because if you're a girl who reads action novels, you're in the minority) -- and you're kinda used to just shrugging these things off and trying to enjoy the story any way.

    But then again it's a complicated issue. For example, it's completely normal for the MC or the 'good guys' in a shounen manga or anime to... grope girls, you know -- it's even seen as a sign of compliment. Even in relatively kids-safe shows, like Trigun, Vash the MC spies on girls in showers, and while this is a persona he puts on and even when he always gets slapped as a result, it makes you wonder why this is acceptable. However, if you ask me, it's still one of my favorite shows and I will always wholeheartedly recommend it. I'd actually even tag it as [female reader friendly] if such a ridiculous tag exists, since all characters are treated with respect, and there's absolutely no icky, rapey feel, no sense at all that women are in any way inferior to men. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that there's something in the tone/attitude of the author that comes through in the writing. In the exact same way, there's a lot of 'chick-lit' that's downright hostile to males, which I think is equally bad. But this is super flimsy and subjective and there's no way to tag it properly.

    Another thing is... I like negative feelings. Not a lot of people do. So negative feelings are in my comfort zone, but not for other people.

    So... this is why I came up with this super-difficult-to-implement-but-which-would-be-interesting in that we avoid having to tag this specifically, but readers can choose to filter review ratings "by reviewers I follow only" -- so you 'like' individual reviewers and the scores that are shown on your results page are based on the average scores of reviewers you have decided to trust.
     
  15. Herko Kerghans

    Herko Kerghans Random Hurler of 2-Cents LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Yyyep. A bit like mentioned in the other thread, methinks that there's a point/line (certainly blurry, no doubt!) in which tags become the wrong tool for the job, so to speak: when trying to capture subtlety, nuance and subjectivity, IMHO reviews are what matter.

    Indeed! =)

    Tags work really well as broad filters, but there comes a point in which, to avoid being disappointed (or downright annoyed) by a book mid-way, methinks readers are better served by reviews (by other readers and/or curators) than by a super-fine-grained tag system.

    Probably what tags do better than any other tool I can think of is to remove the risk of spoilers (technically speaking, a tag such as "Happily Ever After", as used in romance, is indeed a spoiler since it tells you how the book will end; but I'd say that readers looking for such tag wouldn't call it a spoiler as much as a genre convention they are actively interested in).

    Reviews, on the other hand, always have the risk of spoiling something about the plot... but reviews (and specifically NEGATIVE reviews) can convey the sort of warnings (just like you say, "I got into this book because it was highly recommended, didn't expect the MC to treat women like nothing more as male fantasy fullfillment!") to avoid being disappointed in books we are initially invested in, which methinks is what sometimes triggers passionate hate among some readers (as in a previous "I didn't sign up for a gay ride!" example)

    So, all in all, I'd focus on tags making sense as broad filters, and let some review system take care of the nuances. =)

    Well... way, waaaaay back in the Age of Dinosaurs (as in, Asimov and Clarke and Heinlein), Heinlein once revealed mid-book that some character (usually one easily to identify with) was actually black; and did so simply by not describing skin color up to that point (as in, in the book skin color didn't matter), which did piss off some folks back at the time (and, sadly, may even piss folks nowadays), and which certainly was Heinlein's point all along.

    And folks like Ellison did things like that all the time, so I guess it could be argued sci-fi has a well-established tradition in trying to poke you out of our comfort zones a bit some of the time (or a lot and all of the time, in Philip K. Dick's case! =)

    That being said... Fantasy tends to be a lot more comforting (which is perfectly cool!), and perhaps LitRPG tends to that too?

    (as in: maybe the "default" of LitRPG is "feel good", even if just "feel good" for a specific niche, so the trick about tagging is to determine which niche it aims to make feel good? And "non-default" LitRPG should therefore always have some sort of outta-comfort-zone warning?)

    Hey, that's totally MY excuse!!! :p
     
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  16. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    You're right! I think you just saved my sanity there. I don't need to make sure these tags will cover everything, and if the readers still don't read the reviews and whine about how it's not what they're looking for it's probably their own dang fault. And I'm pretty happy with the tags we've got at the moment. I'm sure we're still missing a few major ones, but I think we can always add.

    I'm also still toying with the idea that at the end of a review, there's another section that says: pick (or write) three reasons why you enjoyed this book / pick (or write) three reasons why you think people might not enjoy this book, then you'd get stuff like "great plot" "poor writing quality" "lots of typos" "MC is a jerk" "too much focus on romance" "slow pacing" etc.



    Hmmm... very good point. I think LitRPG has its roots in web-novels, which are usually feel-good power trips, so a "This is not your usual feel-good LitRPG" tag sounds like a good idea. Maybe a [Thought-Provoking] tag? It sounds a bit too high-horse-y though...
     
  17. Herko Kerghans

    Herko Kerghans Random Hurler of 2-Cents LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Yyyyep... like spoons and forks and knives, right? Don't try to eat your soup with the knife, nor try to cut the steak with the spoon, that sort of thing I guess! :D


    Yeah... hard to find neutral-sounding words for everything. =)

    Perhaps just "provoking"? (As in "Comforting/Provoking"?)

    Again it probably depends on whether or not these are done by readers or writers, but yeah... I guess the feeling I get is that, at least right now, LitRPG is in its majority somewhere in the "Comforting" side of things (at least for the niche the particular book targets), and as you say, somebody's comforting fun may be somebody else's hell, so dunno.
     
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  18. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I like it! I'll add a [Provoking] tag somewhere -- maybe under 'Themes' :)
     
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  19. LWFlouisa

    LWFlouisa Level 9 (Burgler) Roleplaying LitRPG Author Citizen

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    World Type: [DIGITAL REALM GONE WRONG]
    Trappings: [HISTORICAL][SCI-FI][POST-APOCALYPSE][OTHER CULTURES]
    Core Activities: [OPEN-WORLD PVE][QUESTING]
    MC Class-Role: [UNARMED COMBAT]
    ELEMENTS: [TRAPPED][SENTIENT AI][GROUP PLAY]
    GAME TYPE: [JRPG]

    POV: [1st PERSON][FEMALE]
    TONES: [SLICE-OF-LIFE][CONSPIRACY][ROMANCE][SERIOUS]
    AVAILABILITY: [WEB SERIAL]
    CONTENT WARNING: [GRAPHIC VIOLENCE][SUGGESTIVE SEXUAL CONTENT]

    This probably comes the closet for me.

    Digital realm gone wrong comes the closest, that flows like a game. Even then, it's more like gamified Lucid Dreaming.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
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  20. Windfall

    Windfall Level 17 (Theurgist) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Thanks for playing!

    I'm actually thinking about splitting the [GONE WRONG] bit to its own thing, so you can have [COMMERCIAL GAME] [GONE WRONG] or [DIGITAL REALM] [GONE WRONG].

    Do you think this tag system gives a decent snapshot of your story? Or is something missing? I know it doesn't capture any of the nuances at all, but can give readers a rough idea of what to expect.
     




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