If you are not already familiar with the 10 Basic Rules for SIMming (which you should be because there a corner stone in the academy basic SIM guide), please review them. They are extremely important to every SIM, and are included below.
- Creativity is key, creativity gives life to your character.
- Pay attention to detail. Keep up with what others are doing and writing, it just might affect your character
- Be flexible, anything can happen in a SIM
- Remember the Golden Rule. Treat others in your logs the way you would want to be treated in theirs, with respect.
- For every action, there is a reaction. If you put a phaser to your head and fire, chances are, you're dead. Don't do dumb stuff.
- Words are powerful, use them carefully, and write so others understand what you're doing.
- Communicate; talk out of character (OOC) with other crew members in email. It builds cohesion and can add to creativity.
- Stay involved, you can't always be the center of attention... but that doesn't mean your character can't do anything. It is a big station.
- Develop your character. Make sure you use traits about your character in your logs. Don't just write a BIO and then play your character completely different.
- Be consistent, that way others know what to expect of you. Over time it can be like ESP.
The following is grabbed from the UCIP Academy and shamefully adapted for Trek.
Too many people SIM for 'power’, rank, and 'status’. These are intangible items, and while they can make a person feel good, these people often forget about the pride you can feel in creating a well established and well thought out character. Often, they forget to have fun while on their quest for those items, which, to them, are important and mean everything.
Character development happens every time you write a log. Anything you do with your character results in development. Characters are constantly being defined, rewritten, and refined. They evolve, just like their players do, and some of them can be quite complicated.
There are several keys to true character development. One of the first 'rules of the trade’ is that whatever happens -- happens. Adapt. When something bad or totally unexpected happens to or around your character, your character should have a 'natural reaction’. When having trouble figuring out what that 'natural reaction’ would be, ask yourself "How would I feel/react to that if I were that character?" Once you figure that out, the rest should be easy!
Often in adapting your character past these 'bad events’, you may take a few weeks to years for your character to fully assimilate the consequences of whatever the event was. In most cases, it can be hard to see past the moment, past that your plans have been tampered with or altogether ruined. ou need to be able to recover and SIM well from such incidents. If whatever your plans were, were vital to your character’s development, you may have to postpone them, or alter them to fit the situation. Remember, above all, this is SIMming, and the best part about SIMming is you never know what is going to happen next! Even the best laid plans can come to ruin by a simple plot twist or unexpected event happening on your SIM. The best you can do is adapt, and move on. Part of the challenge is being able to adapt, and these unexpected twists, while frustrating, can make the game a lot more fun if you learn to employ them carefully into your own plans! It can be a lot of fun to figure out how to take the current events and figure out a believable and logical way around it to your goals. It is important to remember that whatever happens to your character, it is really happening to your character. This means it is important to remember actions and consequences. If your character breaks a bone, it will be sore for some time afterwards. Remember that at all times when SIMming, you are playing your character, and should react how your character would react, not how you, the SIMmer, would react. Most importantly, consistency is the key to character development. Through character development, you explore aspects of your character, and others come to know your character and are able to reliably expect certain reactions from your character. In time, it can become like ESP. This greatly enhances your ability to be able to SIM well with others, as well as their ability to SIM well with you.
You've been here a while (or maybe not so long!), and you've settled in a little. You will have noticed a few things by now. First, there are story arcs, or plots, going on most of the time.
But there are other plots going on, too, aren't there? Little stories that usually involve only one or two players, maybe one or two NPC’s that have little or no bearing on the main plot. These subplots are usually used for character development, or just as experimentation with situations: Romances, mysteries, long-standing arguments, technical research, and general mischief.
If you have nay ideas like this it is generally a good idea to write it out. It doesn't have to be a formal outline, but you should at least write up a synopsis of who's involved, what actions are going to take place, and what the final outcome will be (if you know already). Also specify if you see this as a short-term or long-running subplot.
Next, show it to the Command Team. They may have suggestions, ideas, or changes they want to make, depending on whether your subplot will interfere with any major plots going on or coming up. Now, generally, for a simple romance or research story, one that doesn't involve a lot of PC's, you don't really NEED Command approval. But it's better to have it in hand, than to get into a subplot and have Command cut it off because of some factor you didn't know anything about.
Then finally the fun bit. Play it out. Get other players involved if you can (playing NPC's, maybe), and have a good time exploring your character.
Enhancing your Logs
It is important to remember that everything you log, and everything that happens in logs you do not write, can or may affect your character on some level. As an example, if you write that your character has gone into the holodeck, and the ship is attacked, the natural result of that might be the holodeck going offline or malfunctioning.
One technique that people like to use for consistency between logs is to paste the last few lines from their last log into the new log, and go from there. Not only does this help the person to focus on writing their own log, but it also helps other people to understand what is happening, and in what order.
Something that needs to be emphasized is attention to detail. Details can make your logs come to life. It can make an otherwise boring log very interesting to read. Below is an example of how a little detail can make a big difference.
Lt Dex walked out of the turbo lift on his way to sick bay. Upon entering sickbay, Dex spoke to the chief, "I have come to get my physical Doctor". The Doctor looked at Lt Dex and began the examination.
As you can see from that small log, there is nothing technically wrong with it. However, it is short, and a log of this length is NEVER acceptable. Now, observe what happens when you add details and emotion to the log:
Lt Dax strutted out of the turbo lift with the doors swooshing closed behind him. He slowly commenced his way down the twisting corridor, nodding slightly as other crew passed by. Dax smiled thinking about dinner with his girlfriend from the night before as he edged closer to sickbay.
Dax smoothly walked into sickbay as the doors politely parted, and then slid closed behind him. Moving quickly, he pounced upon the biobed grinning like a child with candy at the doctor who was now standing there with an eyebrow curiously raised.
"Well Doc", Dax spoke smoothly with a clam and giddy tone, "I’m ready for my physical!"
The Doctor glared at the strangely happy Lieutenant as his eyebrows shifted formation. A small smirk appeared on the Doctor’s brow as he picked up a small scanning device and began taking several standard readings from the rather hyper trill who could not seem to sit still.
Now, compare the two logs. Exactly the same thing has happened in both, however, in the second one, emotion and detail were used to describe the situation more sufficiently, and to create a picture of what was happening in the reader’s mind. It is the little details that make the log come to life, and the emotion that shows the mood.
It’s really quite easy to do this once you get the hang of it. Try it with a few logs yourself. Write something short, and then expand on it. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you pick up this important skill!
Take note that a decent good quality log will be about one to one and a half pages long, sometimes more, and sometimes less. If you notice your log getting longer than two pages, you may want to consider breaking it up into several logs.
Try to balance out your duty and personal logs so you can achieve both character development, and contributing to your SIM’s plots. You can even combine personal and duty into a single log if you wish!
A lot of people like to do joint logs, but not everyone is actually familiar with doing them. A joint log is a great way to bring character interaction. You basically get with one or more of your fellow SIMmers and write a log together with your characters interacting with each other. Not only do you get to work together on one log, but you both will get credit for the log!
Joint logs are extremely useful for mission briefings, big duty tasks, parties, special events, getting to know other characters, and many other opportunities that will present themselves as the SIM progresses.
There are two different ways you can go about writing a joint log, the first, and most popular is by taking 'turns’ writing the log. Simply write your portion and leave a note at the end for the next person. Then send it to them, so they can write their portion. Repeat this cycle until the log is finished, then whoever wrote the last portion post it on the website. Unfortunately, this method can take anywhere from several hours to several days depending on how much time you and the other person have and what time zones you each live in. Patience is a virtue however, and you can make a great joint log with this method!
The second method for writing joint logs is described in the next section of this document.
Using IRC for Joint Logs
In Trek Ops you can find many people on IRC and can usually get on through a sim web site or you can download an IRC client. The most popular Windows IRC client is mIRC, which you can download at <a href="http://www.mirc.com/">www.mirc.com</a>. We’re located on the <a href="http://kdfs.net/">kdfs.net</a> network.
IRC can come in really handy when you need to work your way through complicated events on your SIM. It allows for faster paced action, and you don’t have to wait hours or days for others to respond to what is happening on the SIM. And not to mention it’s a great way to get know the people you SIM with.
Just remember that if you intend to do a joint log on IRC, do NOT send the IRC log. This is considered very unprofessional and is a pet peeve of EMail SIMmers.
Instead, convert your log into paragraph format. Not only does this make it easier to read for everyone, but it also allows you the opportunity to add details that may have been missed, or to edit conflicts that may occur within the IRC session.
This acronym describes four aspects that are very important to any Advanced SIMmer. It stands for: Communication, Adaptability, Respect, and Teamwork.
In character communication is key to the quality of a SIMulation. Everyone on the SIM needs to communicate with each other in order to understand what is going on. This is one of the key purposes of the weekly SIM Report. This is the Command Teams communication to the crew to keep them informed about what is happening. It is also important to communicate with your fellow crewmembers. The more you communicate, the better the SIM will be!
Things will not always go the way you plan for them to go. Surprises can be just around the corner. You must learn to adapt your plans to deal with situations as they arise for your character. This may mean changing your plan completely, or even postponing it for a later date.
It is important that you respect your fellow crewmembers, and their characters. No one likes an abusive person, and being abusive can result in expulsion from your SIM. Remember, that in SIM, you cannot always be the center of attention, sometimes you need to take a role on the side and let others run things.
A SIM that does well, is a SIM where the crew all work together towards a common goal: Having fun. Teamwork is what the other three terms add up to when you put it all together. Work with your other crew mates. Even if you do not like some one, you must be able to work with them, especially when it comes to SIMming. If you are unable to do this, it can create real problems for you, and the SIM you are on.
Using the Weekly SIM Report
The weekly report for your SIM is probably the most important document you will ever receive. This report includes a lot of handy things such as: Awards and promotions, weekly quotes, current mission/order, a plot summary for the last week, log counts, information about new crewmembers and changes happening, places to meet on IRC, etc.
If you read nothing else, read the report. If you are short on time one week, read the report, it will catch you up on whatever major events have happened on the SIM. The report is the Command Team’s tool to bring the SIM together and make sure that the story makes sense. If there are conflicts between logs, they will be resolved in this report. When in doubt about what is happening, read the report, and ALWAYS check with your command team if you are going to write a log that will cause a major change in the course of the plot or what is happening on the SIM. It is better to seek out permission than it is to have your log retracted and have to write an entirely new one.