You seem to have javascript disabled, or your browser is failing to execute it properly. Much of Fimfiction's functionality requires javascript so we suggest you turn it on! If this message goes away after a few seconds, ignore it, javascript support sometimes takes a few seconds to detect.

Featured In23

Blog Posts2

  • 52w, 1d
    Anyone want to play Pokemon?

    My friend code is 2595 - 1224 - 6063.

    Please leave your friend code in the comments if you add me, so I can add you back. I don't know what type I'll show up in your Friend Safari.

    7 comments · 294 views
  • 67w, 2d
    Pony Fiction Vault

    10 comments · 486 views
  • ...
 1,751
 32,737
Click a paragraph to save bookmark

James looked skeptically at his friend David as he sat down at computer #12.

David had won the Hasbro raffle for one of fifteen all-expenses-paid trips for two to Pawtucket, Rhode Island to play the first alpha build of the official My Little Pony MMO: Equestria Online. Hasbro had claimed that a game that revolved so heavily around friendship needed actual friends to test properly.

“Look, I’m glad you invited me,” James said as he picked up his head set. “And it’s cool that I get to try something before anyone else. But I’m still not sure I really want to play a game that’s so...so...pink and purple.”

David scoffed. “I know you. What was that Korean MMO with the little girls that you were so into?  You’ll be running dungeons over and over again, just like you always do with every MMO that comes out. But me?” David gave the widest smile possible. “I’m here for the ponies. We both get what we want!”

“But that’s the thing. There’s no way this can be good. This is a licensed game which has only had a single year of development,” James said, shaking his head. “This has to be shovelware. You can’t do good game or interaction design in such a short time, not to mention art and sound assets.”

“How about we make a bet?” asked David. “If the game impresses you, even just a little bit, I’ll spend up to $50 buying you a copy of it, but in turn you’ll have to play it for at least three months.”

“That isn’t actually a bet, David,” said James. “That deal mostly benefits me. What do you get out of it, anyway?”

“I get to play the same video game with my best friend,” David said. “By the time I rolled a character in World of Warcraft, you had already moved on to Aion. It’d be nice to level ponies together.”

James looked at his friend for several moments and turned away. He quietly said, “Deal.” It was a few moments before he focused on his computer. His screen had some sort of questionnaire to fill out. What’s your favorite color? What’s your favorite food? What’s your favorite thing in the world? James wondered why they were asking all these annoying questions. His favorite food was pepper-jack cheese, but there was no way that could be relevant in Equestria. He took a peek to his right at David’s monitor. He didn’t have a personality test and already had a pony on screen.

Eighteen questions later, the screen faded to black. He was shown the banners for Earth, Pegasus, and Unicorn ponies, and told to choose one. When he had played World of Warcraft, he was one of his guild’s tanks and also one of the alchemists who made potions for their raids. He knew he liked running around zones looking for herbs. The description of Earth ponies mentioned that they were the toughest class and that they were good with plants.

David said that every piece of marketing material had stressed that Equestria Online was not a traditional MMO. There would be little, if any, combat. James didn’t believe that for a moment. He clicked on the Earth pony banner. He was going to be a tank. Whatever the marketers said, if David somehow convinced him to play this pink monstrosity for real, he knew he was going to spend months of his life playing the endgame content over and over and over again until he got his Epic Saddle of Protection.

The next scene faded in on his monitor. A gray earth pony with navy blue hair lay on a bed of straw. The pony turned his head and looked straight at him through the monitor...and the pony felt familiar.

James heard David’s surprised voice over his headset say, “Look at this!” A blue unicorn walked on scene. “It’s me! As a pony!” said the excited unicorn in David’s voice, with perfect lip-synching. James turned away from his screen and looked at his friend. David grinned and said, “No, look at the screen.” The unicorn started making funny faces.

And then James noticed that his pony had an astonished expression on his face. He raised a hand to scratch his head, and his pony raised his hoof. For the first time, James noticed that the flat panel monitor had an embedded webcam.  He started making faces at the camera and his pony on screen mimicked his expression. He heard his friend laugh over his headphones.

James realized why his pony felt familiar. He had said his favorite color was navy blue. The manestyle was similar to his hairstyle, perhaps a little longer. He realized that was supposed to be his face, modified extensively.

“Okay, that’s kind of cool, I guess,” he said, “but I don’t see how you’re going to build a game around it.”

“Howdy,” said a voice. The camera zoomed out from focusing on James and David’s ponies to reveal a red earth pony mare, who gave a small bow. “My name’s Honeycrisp. So, I beg your pardon, but are y’all those new ponies we’ve been hearin’ all about?”

“Uh,” James mubbled.

“Why yes we are!” said David’s blue unicorn. “We just came to Equestria! What do we do now?”

Honeycrisp gave a hearty laugh, and she trotted up to James’ pony. “It’s alright. I won’t hurt ya. So I reckon you don’t have a ponyname yet?”

“Wait, you can understand us?” James asked incredulously.

“I sure can, sugarcube,” she said with a snort.

“Your name is...Honeycrisp?” James repeated.

“Sure is! I take care of the farm. Whelp, the two of ya’ better get started. You gotta get along to Canterlot. Don’t worry, Princess Celestia will give y’all pretty ponynames. Can’t be walkin’ round these parts callin’ yourself ‘James’ and ‘David’ now, can ya?”

“Wait, how did you know my name?” James asked, and pulled the right headphone cup off his ear so he could listen to the room.

“Of course they know our names,” laughed David. “We filled out those forms at the front desk to get our accounts.” James heard David’s voice over his left headphone, and his uncovered right ear.

Honeycrisp gave a hearty laugh. “Oh, you’ll find that Princess Celestia knows all ‘bout y’all new pony folk who’ve been comin’ to these parts. I was givin’ a list of names and got lucky.”

And as he was listening to Honeycrisp with his left ear, all James could hear with his right were a few people in the room reacting incredulously. “Wait, you can understand me?” he heard a female voice ask. What James didn’t hear was anyone talking in a southern drawl. He put the headphone cup back over his right ear.

“So how do we get to this...Canterlot place?” James asked.

“Go right out this door and through the forest. There ain’t any monsters round these parts. Just follow the path and you’ll be on the main road to Canterlot,” replied Honeycrisp.

“Thank you,” said James, and his pony gave a little bow. James blinked. He hadn’t told his pony to bow. He didn’t even know what key he’d press to make his pony bow.

Whatever. James moved his gray earth pony out the open barn door and into the night, with David following slightly behind. The art style of the game looked like the few clips of the show that David had shown him, except with much more detail. As the two ponies approached the edge of the forest, he noticed that the plants weren’t copy/pasted. Each tree had a unique branch structure. There was something almost natural about the placement of rocks and rotten logs. The path itself was well worn, but it was not perfectly straight and had irregular growth of plants on it. He didn’t want to even imagine how much time had been spent crafting this forest.

James’ light gray pony turned to his unicorn friend. “Man, I’ll give you one thing: the production values are through the roof. Still, this looks like it’s turning into a standard RPG. Quest giving NPC tells us to go from point A to B.”

“Except we had to actually talk to the quest giving NPC,” said the little blue unicorn next to him. “In a normal MMO, we’d have clicked on the pony with the exclamation point above its head, and then clicked on the accept button. But here, the game mechanic seems to be talking. All the face mapping makes sense if this game is about conversation.”

James’ mouth opened and closed a few times.

“Also, I don’t see an action bar along the bottom of the screen. If you press ‘1’ on your keyboard, I bet nothing happens.”

The two of them continued through the forest, staying on the well marked path until they came into a small clearing. The path only passed through the edge and continued on into the woods. But on the other side of the clearing was some sort of hut, with light pouring out of it. Obviously the level designers were trying to draw their attention to it, so James trotted over and David followed behind him.

Outside of the hut, a zebra sat on her hind legs while she slowly moved herbs and flowers from sorted piles on a low table to the bubbling iron cauldron, its contents a deep aquamarine. The zebra looked up from her work and peered into the darkness.

“Ponies trotting through the night. Would you care to step into the light?” said the zebra through James’ headset. James moved his up to the zebra’s hovel.

“Obsidian Stripe tends to her flame. My little ponies, what are your names?”

“My name is James,” he said, just because Honeycrisp had told him that that was no name for a pony.

“I’m sure out there you have great fame. But while in here, speak not that name,” said Obsidian Stripe, in a very serious tone.

James watched David’s blue unicorn butt in and say “We don’t have ponynames yet.”

Obsidian Stripe nodded, as if to herself. “Two ponies on a midnight trot. Do you make for Canterlot?”

“Yes, I’m going through the introductory quest chain,” James said.

Obsidian Stripe tilted her head as if the pony in front of her had gone crazy. “I know you see me through a frame, but from this side, this is no game.”

“What my friend meant to say,” said David, “is that the two of us are going to Canterlot so Princess Celestia can give us our ponynames.”

Obsidian Stripe nodded at the unicorn, and then turned back to the gray stallion. “I trust the princess will name you well, but I also have my secrets to tell. You may come closer, do not cower. I see you have been eyeing my flowers.”

“I’ve seen those pink flowers all around the forest. Can I gather them and do something with them?” asked James.

“This is the pinkdaisy, fragrant and fair. Pinkdaisy grows just about everywhere. In the forest and the field, you will have a bountiful yield,” said Obsidian, pointing to a large pile of destemmed pink flowers on the side of the workbench farthest from the cauldron. “My brew must cook with a slow burn. I have some time to help you learn. Do not worry; you do not disturb. Would you like to learn the simple herbs?”

“Yes, please train me in herbalism,” James said emphatically. Maybe he’d even have a stack to sell on the auction house by the time he got to Canterlot! Assuming there was a player-to-player economy. He reminded himself to not put the cart before the pony.

Obsidian Stripe laughed. “Please focus on the here and now. We do not aim to awe and wow.” The zebra continued, introducing queensfoil, thyme, mint and blueshroom one by one. James and David were invited to click on each pile, looting a sample which went into their saddlebags.

“And how do I combine them into potions like you’re making?” asked James, once he had reached the last of the five piles.

“How to brew will remain unsaid. First learn to gather plants instead.”

James nodded, an action mirrored by his gray earth pony with navy hair. “Okay, sure. Thanks.” James started to walk back to the forest, but looked back at the zebra.

“Though I will sit here and remain, I hope you find your ponynames.” Obsidian gave them a small wave and went back to stirring. “Oh dear, oh my. This will not do. I must add more thyme to the brew,” she muttered to herself.

The earth pony and the unicorn walked through the forest in silence for almost a minute. James kept thinking about Honeycrisp and Obsidian Stripe. “What the hell,” he muttered to himself.

“What’s wrong?” asked the unicorn.

“Honeycrisp’s dialog was basic enough to be scripted,” said James, as his pony turned to face David’s unicorn. “But Obsidian Stripe reacted to what we were saying. She even made a subtle jab at Warcraft after I mentioned ‘herbalism.’ She was able to keep track of topic changes. If that zebra was an NPC, the Turing test has been solved.”

“And? You’ve played The Fall of Asgard. Hofvarpnir Studios is just really good at what they do.”

“No,” James said and his little pony shook his head emphatically. “Asgard had really good AI for the enemies, but it was still fundamentally a first person action game. This is something totally new. I can’t think of any games based on completely free-form conversation. You don’t just invent a completely new genre with only a year of development. And one of the reasons we have genres is because it lets us find works we’d like easier. Will anyone want to play this? Conversation is nice, but what’s it going to do for my stats?”

David’s unicorn rolled his eyes. “Says the party animal to the guy who doesn’t get out much. And I’d love to see my numbers go up, but being among ponies is sort of a dream come true for me.”

“Okay, forget about all that. If they’ve created software that can pass the Turing Test, why are they wasting the technology on a My Little Pony video game? I can think of vastly more profitable ways to use a conversational agent that can pass a Turing Test! Something is weird here. Aren’t you at least a bit curious about how this happened? Doesn’t any of this surprise you?”

#1 · 105w, 5d ago · 6 · ·

While I could continue to endlessly tweak it, I have been reminded that Real Artists Ship, and therefore declare Friendship is Optimal complete. It will be posted on the following schedule:

Tuesday (Nov. 13th): Prologue, Chapter 1 - 3

Friday (Nov. 16th): Chapter 4 - 5

Monday (Nov. 19th): Chapter 6 - 7

Thursday (Nov. 22th): Chapter 8 - 9

Sunday (Nov. 25th): Chapter 10 - 11, Author's Afterword

#2 · 105w, 4d ago · · ·

> Hofvarpnir

The horse who crosses between worlds.  I see what you did there.  :trollestia:

Interesting premise.  The first chapter -- and the mythological reference -- has convinced me that you've got the chops to seal the deal.  I'm knee-deep in writing for NaNoWriMo, but I'll definitely be coming back to this one once I have more reading time.

#3 · 105w, 4d ago · 2 · ·

Hooked from the prologue.  This... This is an amazing premise, and a fantastic sci-fi mystery with at least enough tech-savvy to make it work.  Its like you took MLP and mixed in a dash of Neil Stephenson - the results can only be awesome.  :raritywink::yay::pinkiehappy:

#4 · 105w, 4d ago · · ·

Never knew about hofvapnir, but the idea and premise is easily enough for a first chapter favorite. You have a good idea, good premise, and creative approach to this.

#5 · 105w, 3d ago · · 5 ·

>>1608775 hmm you lost me at "Real Artists Ship" with that comment... makes me wonderwhat that implies

also, james sounds like a whiny noob imo >.> just saying

#6 · 105w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

The camera zoomed out from focusing on James and David’s ponies to reveal a red earth pony mare, who gave a small bow.

What's her cutie mark? Better question, what's THEIR cutie mark? Or is that decided by actions in the starting area?

So the mane color is decided by favorite color. You think that would be coat for favorite. But that leaves eyes and coat to be decided.

The question is HOW where they able to put this much complexity into a license game (or at least this complex a script or AI), in particular when its in ALPHA!

So is Honeycrisp simply very carefully scripted? Or does the game's AI use her as a puppet, or is she given enough complexity to coax in players? How much does she know 'in game' context' and 'out of game' context? Or, as I said, is she just carefully scripted? Or, in reality, she's is she a PC of one of the Admins?

So there are fifteen people playing this game. That's an odd number. So one went to a trio of friends? Or is one a loner as a control group?

James blinked. He hadn’t told his pony to bow. He didn’t even know what key he’d press to make his pony bow.

Could get annoying to players if that's an auto action. Players LIVE FOR having as much control of their avatars as possible.

As the two ponies approached the edge of the forest, he noticed that the plants weren’t copy/pasted. Each tree had a unique branch structure. There was something almost natural about the placement of rocks and rotten logs. The path itself was well worn, but it was not perfectly straight and had irregular growth of plants on it. He didn’t want to even imagine how much time had been spent crafting this forest.

This reminds me of a .hack//Roots fanfic. Where Ovan was showing just how much detail and uniqueness was IN The World MMO (such as the pattern of dirt falling from a rock taken out of place or the spider web between Ovan's fingers), and Haseo openly wondered what was keeping this variable infested game from collapsing in on itself! Of course in .hack//Roots, the entire game is an AI in disguise.

“Obsidian Stripe tends to her flame. My little ponies, what are your names?”

Either a Admin with a verse dictionary on hand, or hundreds of hours to program a script dialogue tree this complex. Or an AI complex enough to do verse on a dime? I wonder if they copied over someone's psyche to save some of the more challenging programming when it comes to AIs.

“I’m sure out there you have great fame. But while in here, speak not that name,”

Again, admin user, or created with metta-knowledge.

Either way, it's clear that this test server is HEAVY on staying 'in-character.'

“I know you see me through a frame, but from this side, this is no game.”

You think James would pick up already that this is an Role-Play server. Which you gotta admit IS rather strange for an Alpha testing server intended for just fifteen users.

“Yes, please train me in herbalism,” James said emphatically.

Given the style of gameplay so far, I'm guessing that you're given ACTUAL information on how to manipulate objects and materials like in Minecraft rather than simply increasing your alchemy skill percentage.

He reminded himself to not put the cart before the pony.

Heh. Now he's getting it.

We do not aim to awe and wow.”

What she mean by that one?

So what is Obsidian Stripe, OS's cutie mark?

James and David were invited to click on each pile, looting a sample which went into their saddlebags.

So they control their pony's motions with the keyboard still? Given the SHEER DETAIL here, I'm actually a little surprised they kept something as traditional as the huge internal inventory a player can carry in most MMOs and that they still have a mouse cursor TO interact with things. Though it WOULD get annoying to physically pick something up and place it in your inventory.

“What the hell,” he muttered to himself.

Heh. Guess they don't have a dialogue filter (Hell to Tartarus or Pony Hell), but I can imagine how they would inspire players simply to rebel against it.

She even made a subtle jab at Warcraft after I mentioned ‘herbalism.

Heh. Copyright wolves, watch out.

Hofvarpnir is the name of a mythological horse according to Wiki. Not THAT odd a name for a game company. But surprising.

So Hofvarpnir has produced other games?

Aren’t you at least a bit curious about how this happened? Doesn’t any of this surprise to you?”

Very weird place to end the chapter.

but what’s it going to do for my stats?”

Indeed. 'MORE PLUSES!' is the name of the game for Munchkins in Table Top Role playing games, and the rule of the game for MMOs. But what direction are they taking it here?

#7 · 105w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

Oh AI I've been on to you but know you decide to strike as ponies? That too far. You, AI, are the enemy why do you diguise yourself as the friend?

#8 · 104w, 6d ago · · ·

I'm five paragraphs in and I have to ask... WHEN IS THAT GAME COMING OUT!?:pinkiegasp:  Do want that.

If only real life had a good V.I. Program.

#9 · 104w, 20h ago · · ·

I can’t think of any games based on completely free-form conversation.
While it obviously didn't have a true AI, Starship Titanic for Windows 95 used an impressively robust conversation engine for interaction with the NPCs. There were no dialogue trees; the player typed phrases to say to the NPC, and the conversation engine would process it. It wasn't perfect (remember, this was Windows 95), but for just about anything you could say that was in-universe*, the NPCs had a sensible answer. (Hell, most of their useless answers were because you hadn't solved enough of the puzzle yet, not because the conversation engine had failed.)

The fact that most of the NPCs were damaged robots also helped.

* Starship Titanic is set in the same universe as the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. The entire game was created based on a couple sentences from one of the books, and then a book was published based on the game.

#10 · 103w, 6d ago · 2 · 1 ·

So far this is intriguing, to say the least. This is tearing me away from XCOM, and that's saying something, as it's my new 'drug'.

Each year, computers get a little smarter (though their users seem to be getting dumber), data-storage gets a little bigger, and AI get a tiny bit smarter. I have to wonder how long it will take for someone to make an AI that can actually THINK and ADAPT to a situation and even conduct its own research in order to further it's understanding toward a goal.

If that happens, it could, potentially, make the most epic game ever...or hack every game system on the planet, inter-connect them and have Halo players go to war with COD players (which would STILL be fun).

#11 · 103w, 6d ago · · ·

>>1618461

Ship as in "shipping date", not the fandom usage.

http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?RealArtistsShip

#12 · 103w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

Did you just reference GrandChase?

#13 · 103w, 2d ago · · ·

Do want this game.

#14 · 101w, 3d ago · · ·

Finally got around to reading this, I must say, I'm really interested to see what happens next :pinkiehappy:

#15 · 101w, 2d ago · · ·

>>1684867

Or the inevitable war between STO and SWTOR.

Also, for some reason, this is making me think of Dreamfall.

#16 · 101w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

I found this story through Chatoyance.  It looks promising, but I noticed an error, "Doesn’t any of this surprise to you?”

#17 · 101w, 7h ago · · ·

Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Oh god, I live right near Hasbro and haven't realized it until now...

#18 · 100w, 6d ago · 1 · ·

Looks real nice, I'm gonna read it all!!!

With me, i'd personally stop playing a game the exact moment the line between a game and a... life experience, became fuzzy.

If you can think about what you've accomplished and then not feel just slightly guilty about the fact that none of it was real, you've crossed that line.

Edit: The screen, or an analog for it, is usually a good physical representation of that line.

#19 · 99w, 4d ago · · ·

Yup, this grabbed me. I won't be surprised if I read the whole thing tonight.

#20 · 99w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

dang so far if this game were real i would definitely play it.

:pinkiehappy::raritywink::scootangel::twilightsmile:

#21 · 99w, 19h ago · · ·

Very interesting start, I do believe that I will be reading more of this.

#22 · 96w, 3d ago · · ·

His favorite food was pepper-jack cheese, but there was no way that could be relevant in Equestria.  :rainbowlaugh:

Very cool story so far, instant fav - especially with the shared universe.

#23 · 91w, 5d ago · · ·

Faved :pinkiehappy: reading time:rainbowkiss:

#24 · 80w, 3d ago · · ·

Very nice hook. You've got me invested. The subtle hint of an AI moving beyond its programming? I've always loved growth stories such as that, the capability of becoming something greater. This shall be read and enjoyed.

#25 · 79w, 4d ago · 1 · 5 ·

No alicorn selection. That's a scam for a MLP game. Still, I guess a unicorn can go through the same transformation into an alicorn. And before someone says, "This is a fake story," I KNOW! Just getting a little hint to what would be a great story for this universe.

#26 · 76w, 9h ago · 3 · ·

>>2583175

There shouldn't be any alicorn selection. Alicorn is OP and has no place in MMO. I think I'll make an MMO about MLP, and include a selection for alicorn. The twist is that the alicorn is laughably weak and I'll make leveling it so tedious, no one wants to play it.

#27 · 75w, 6d ago · 3 · ·

Welp. I finally got around to reading this. It's been in my To Read list for ages, and I even saved all chapters to my usb drive months ago... so let's get crackin'!

This is a magnificent premise. I'm expecting some .hack//SIGN situations, here :pinkiehappy:

“Yes, I’m going through the introductory quest chain,” James said.

Dude! Not cool! Stay in character when talking to NPCs! :rainbowwild:

One remark, which seems to be applicable to all chapters:

> this...Canterlot place

Small hint: always add a space behind an ellipsis, to allow line splitting. An ellipsis without space behind it connects two words to one unsplittable block, which looks weird whenever it is supposed to split.

#28 · 61w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

Is there a reason that the zebra James & David encountered en-route to Canterlot was named 'Obsidian Stripe' and not Zecora? Seems like it would be simpler to use her instead of coming up with a name for a one-scene character.

#29 · 61w, 5h ago · 1 · ·

>>3232044 One thing. For one, it does not specifically state that the forest they are walking through is the everfree forest, It's far more likely to be whitetail woods due to the fact that the everfree is monster infested and either honeycrisp or obsidian stripe--i cant remember which--said there werent many monsters in the woods, and we know for a fact that the everfree forest is riddled with monsters --pardon repeating-- so that leaves the only possibility as them going through whitetail woods, which is the polar opposite to the everfree. And who said that Zecora was the only Zebra in the forests? Just because the show only showed Zecora, doesn't mean there aren't more zebras in the forests. And whats wrong with making up a new charecter? If you ask me it's enjoyable.

Okay, lecture mode De-activated:twilightsmile:. Now... PONDER IT OR ELSE.:pinkiecrazy:

EDIT: OOh, you didnt mention anything about forests, just "En-route to canterlot" but you did imply it when you said "Why not Zecora?" And due to the forest they're in, and them actually stumbling across Obsidian at her house and not just somewhere in the Monster. free. forest., It kind of ruled out everfree and Zecora in many different ways.

#30 · 59w, 6d ago · 6 · ·

I for one cannot think of a better use for a genuinely intelligent AI than pony.

#31 · 53w, 23h ago · 2 · ·

>>2698310 So: How about in a while after leveling to ~level 1000 when any of the three pony kinds, you get to become an Alicorn, but you're only good at the thing you were good at before, but you can only learn a little bit of the other two kinds' magic?

#32 · 41w, 1d ago · · ·

Hmm think I'll see where this gos.

#33 · 35w, 1d ago · 3 · ·

So, this story seems to have a certain amount of cultural significance lately. I guess I'd best move it up my to-read list.

Hasbro had claimed that a game that revolved so heavily around friendship needed actual friends to test properly.

Cute.

“Look, I’m glad you invited me,” James said as he picked up his head set. “And it’s cool that I get to try something before anyone else. But I’m still not sure I really want to play a game that’s so...so...pink and purple.”

You dragged along your non-brony best friend? That's bold. Especially given that we know an official game won't be any good.

Nah, I kid, I kid. Hasbro knows I kid.

“But that’s the thing. There’s no way this can be good. This is a licensed game which has only had a single year of development,” James said, shaking his head. “This has to be shovelware. You can’t do good game or interaction design in such a short time, not to mention art and sound assets.”

James, on the other hand, does not know I kid.

He took a peek to his right at David’s monitor. He didn’t have a personality test and already had a pony on screen.

David, I know you've wanted to be Mayor Mare Flash Sentry Spike for years, but you should still go through the test to get a pony who fits your personality.

Also, just FYI, Spike's not a pony.

David said that every piece of marketing material had stressed that Equestria Online was not a traditional MMO. There would be little, if any, combat. James didn’t believe that for a moment.

I'm sure you can join the Royal Guard, or take up residence deep in the Everfree Forest (this was written before season 4 premiered and the Everfree got all Tree-of-Harmonied, right? Yes, long before.) or something if you really want to. And then you can die.

And then James noticed that his pony had an astonished expression on his face. He raised a hand to scratch his head, and his pony raised his hoof. For the first time, James noticed that the flat panel monitor had an embedded webcam.  He started making faces at the camera and his pony on screen mimicked his expression. He heard his friend laugh over his headphones.

Well that's pretty sweet. Either there is no content beyond that functionality, or Hasbro has some sort of time anomaly that allowed far more than a year of work to be put into this in only a year.

“Wait, you can understand us?” James asked incredulously.

“I sure can, sugarcube,” she said with a snort.

Okay, I can't be continually commenting on the technology. It's very cool and high-tech and AI (it did say on the tin that there would be AI, after all). Henceforth, if I say nothing, that's what it means. And if I say something, and that's still what it means, please reprimand me. You've hit the "gee-whiz" sweet spot of slightly futuristic technology, at least as far as I'm concerned, but I shouldn't be letting that bog down my reading in constant repetitive comments. I'm sure I'll have plenty to say either way.

If you've never run into me before, you're about to learn: having plenty to say about stories is kind of my thing.

Outside of the hut, a zebra sat on her hind legs while she slowly moved herbs and flowers from sorted piles on a low table to the bubbling iron cauldron, its contents a deep aquamarine. The zebra looked up from her work and peered into the darkness.

Does Zecora keep this part of the Everfree safe for MMO newbies? And why is Honeycrisp even sending you through the forest when you're presumably coming from Sweet Apple Acres?

Also, I want you to appreciate the restraint I showed in not speculating about the code required to programmatically generate a forest's worth (or, really, a world's worth I'm sure) of distinct plants. Because, seriously, wow.

“Obsidian Stripe tends to her flame. My little ponies, what are your names?”

Don't confuse me with the facts.

Obsidian Stripe tilted her head as if the pony in front of her had gone crazy. “I know you see me through a frame, but from this side, this is no game.”

Listen well, James. You too, Dave, if you weren't already paying attention. This is highly plot-relevant exposition here. If it were in text, it would be bolded or in a different color or something like that.

He reminded himself to not put the cart before the pony.

Yesssss . . . let the pony puns wash over you. Let them bury you until you are the pony puns. Join us.

“Honeycrisp’s dialog was basic enough to be scripted,” said James, as his pony turned to face David’s unicorn. “But Obsidian Stripe reacted to what we were saying. She even made a subtle jab at Warcraft after I mentioned ‘herbalism.’ She was able to keep track of topic changes. If that zebra was an NPC, the Turing test has been solved.”

You just noticed?

Oy! I am still allowed to insult characters in manners related to the unreasonable sophistication of the game. It is a valid excuse.

>>1619650 Why hello there. It's nice to meet you. It is far too seldom I see another extensive commenter.

#34 · 32w, 4d ago · 2 · ·

I am pretty certain that I wouldn't recognize my ponysona. Or if I did, in such circunstances, I wouldn't be very pleased, uncanny valley and all that jazz :rainbowhuh:

Maybe it's too early to mention it, but this kind of reminds me of "Her" (I have some information in advance via TV Tropes:twilightsheepish:). No spoilers about the movie, but the conclusion apparentely will be very different.:applejackunsure:

And, by a chance, Iceman, are your nick related to a certain Sandra Bullock's movie?

#35 · 16w, 5d ago · · ·

This is an excellent start. I have very high hopes for this story.

#36 · 5w, 6d ago · · ·

That's a.... weird way to end a chapter. :rainbowhuh: Very abrupt.

Login or register to comment