Your First Cantr Day
Many players are quickly discouraged when playing Cantr because of a somewhat steep learning curve and a possibly harsh first few days. This little text will help you through them.
Once your account is accepted, and you log in for the first time, you will see on the player page a list of your characters. You can access your character by clicking on the little icon in front of his or her name:
This will bring you to the events page, where you can see what has happened since you spawned in this town. The icon will change depending on if you're outdoors, indoors, in a vehicle, on a ship, or traveling.
People and events
The first time you log in, the character's events page will probably be mostly empty. The first day, the events page is sometimes very boring. Depending on the population size and the activity level of the town it may take a day or more for interesting events to begin to appear. Reading this events page is the best way to understand the basic mechanism of the game as well as the people and activities of the town.
You might see things like "You see a man in his twenties talking to a woman in her thirties." You can't hear what they're saying because it's in private. Also you don't know much about them save for the gender and approximate age. But if you click on the short description ("a man in his twenties"), it opens the character description page where you can see various information about the particular character, some buttons for interacting with them and the naming box.
Note that none of the people at that location - of which you can see a list by clicking on the people page link - is an artificial character; each and every one of them is played by a real player, just as your character is.
You could actually write anything you want for the character's name, since this only affects how you see them displayed in events and on the people page, but generally people tend to wait until the character introduces him or herself, then copy-paste that name to the form. Likewise other people don't know what to call you until you introduce yourself. That's why it's generally appreciated when your character gives his or her name on the first day, since all others will see you as 'a woman in her twenties' or the masculine equivalent of that.
Talking to others
A very good start is for your character to say his or her name and that they have just arrived there. Use the little form on top of the events list, type in the words of your character, and press the 'Talk to all' button. Everybody at that location will now be able to read what your character has said once they log in (most likely not immediately, since players are often not online at the same time). When you check the events page next time, you are likely to see some response.
If you want to talk to someone in specific, you can click on their name (or the short description if you haven't named them yet) and click on the icon with a speech bubble. This opens a form where you can write your message. This is often called whispering since outsiders cannot hear what you're saying, and extensive private conversations may be considered impolite or suspicious. So unless it's a very busy location, or you're discussing private matters, it's often better to just "talk to all" and address the target by name.
- Always stay in character
When your character speaks, keep in mind that you are always writing from the perspective of your character - it is not you (the player) talking, but your character. Don't refer to the world outside the game when your character talks. Your character knows only what he or she has directly and personally encountered in Cantr. So things like "Is anyone online" or "How do you play this game" should strictly be avoided or clearly marked as OOC if you really have to say it.
- Emote with style
Also, remember that communication in Cantr is not instant. The result of this is that smilies and abbreviations such as "lol" are usually frowned upon. There is no hurry, so you might as well use full words or even sentences. If you wish to express an action, rather than words, the custom is to enclose the action with asterisks. (Example: Hello. *smiles*) As with everything else, there is a point where this gets overused.
Dealing with objects
When you click on 'objects' you enter the objects page, where you can see all objects which are laying on the ground. Everybody at that location can also see those objects.
You can read notes that are there by clicking on the eye button:
It is strongly advised that you read the notes on the ground before doing anything else at that location. Often among these notes is a set of laws or rules that have been established for that region and in some places you will be dealt with harshly if you ignore those laws. Laws may exist on whether hunting is allowed, whether you can gather your own food or resources, whether you can whisper to others, whether you are allowed to leave the town, etc. - laws can exist on any possible behaviour. Those laws are not defined by the game designer, but by the characters at that location. Your character is, in the beginning, very vulnerable - he or she has no food, no clothes, no weapons - so the actions and choices your character makes will greatly affect his or her present and future life!
Unlike conventions in many other games, things on the ground in Cantr are not necessarily free for anyone who wants them. Objects may be on the ground temporarily for various reasons, and the owners will consider taking those objects to be theft. In a similar vein, just because you are physically able to enter a building does not mean that you will be welcome to do so by the building's owner. Again, be sure to read each town's rules.
In the past a character had to pick up a note before being able to copy it, but nowadays you can just click on the copy button
which appears next to the note title on the objects page. The copy will then appear in your character's inventory. You can also make copies of notes that are already in your inventory by using the similar button there. However it's currently not possible to destroy notes so if you create one, the only way of getting rid of it is by stuffing it in an envelope or dropping it (which will eventually make the objects page look messy and someone might eventually get irritated by it and shove them in a trash envelope). Some notes may be uneditable which means you cannot alter their contents, and also each copy of them will automatically be made uneditable. Regular notes can be edited, wiped and recycled without limitations.
How to take things
You will see arrow buttons next to the objects on the ground. Logically the up arrow
means "take this object". When you click on it, the item will be moved into your character's inventory. (If it's a resource then you need to specify how many grams to pick up as well.) However you should note that just because something is laying on the ground, it isn't necessarily abandoned. So generally it's wise to ask if it's OK before taking anything, or your character might risk being accused of thievery. Even taking notes may count if it's the last copy, because then others cannot see it.
To drop something from your inventory, click on the icon with an arrow that points down:
One of the first things to worry about is food. In some locations, you are free to gather this yourself. Just go to the location page, and click on the pictogram in front of any of the edible resources on that location. Once you gathered some food, your character will automatically eat on a daily basis (if the food is edible without being cooked or processed). Some foods are for healing only and cannot be used for daily nourishment. But, as said, read the notes on the ground first! In some locations, gathering food for yourself is forbidden or limited, because there is a limit on how many people can be gathering resources at once. Some locations also have free food available for newspawns or special work programs for them. Find this out first if you want your character to avoid jail or even mob execution.
This should help you out to avoid disappointment when your character is immediately imprisoned or killed for breaking the law. Because there is no special protection for the characters of new players in Cantr, you may want to be conservative in your character's actions at first.
Additional sources of information
For helpful information on how to create a good Cantr character, see this Webzine article on character development. Also definitely check out the page on the rules of thumb for playing Cantr. To learn more about buttons and technical game mechanics, check out this page describing the basic game mechanics (including the interface guide), and a text on the dynamics of the game, which will explain to you the basic idea of how to play.
Finally, don't forget to check out the discussion forum, which forms the backbone of the Cantr players community and where you can find all the help you need when parts of the game are unclear to you.
I hope this will help your characters survive the first few days, which are somewhat tough to get through, but after which you are likely to be fascinated by the (almost) limitless possibilities of your characters lives in Cantr! Have fun!