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What makes a site a Sandbox?

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As far as I know, there are 2 different definitions. One is a place without a plot - it provides a setting, only, and it is up to the writers to make their own stories how they like, how you can play and make all kind of shapes in a sandbox. One is a site without dice, game master, etc. Again, everyone can play how they want. 



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The definition of sandbox I'm used to is one where you can play in any world you want on one site. It's basically a whole bunch of plots in one place where you don't get a face claim or anything, and several people can play the same character in different plots.





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To me a sandbox is a site that shares one world/universe/location but doesn't necessarily have any particular plot. All the characters that are there exist in the same location and can interact with each other.


Once there are distinct games going on with different universes that aren't connected then it becomes a multi-genre (or at least a multi-game if they're all similar genre but different games. EX- a sci-fi site but one that has Star Trek, Star Wars, Bioshock and Battlestar Galactica. )

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"There are three sides to every story... Your side, their side, and then somewhere in the middle is the truth."
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On this note..... I think if we first look at Video-Game-Sandboxes, I haven't played many, arguably, but I think the GTA series, the Saint's Row Series, and Skyrim, or the Elder Scroll series, are all really good examples of Sandbox Games that could translate into a decent potential RP. I select these all because of these features:

1. They have a setting, with boundaries into "other places" that can't be accessed for some reason or another
2. They have a backstory, not necessarily a "plot" but things that are leading up to the point of the site "opening" that predate the site's "opening" (is that able to be understood? Not sure.)
3. It's not just the backstory of how NPC's are interacting with each other to get to the point of why the site exists/its arguable "plot", but also the setting itself that has a "history", like ancient ruins, legendary heroes, myths, legends.....
4 Each setting, while it does allow for pretty open character customization, also sets specific parameters on how each setup works. In ES5S, for example, different races, each with different abilities; in GTA and SR series, just different appearances, and then as the game goes on, you can customize them more and more until no two games are ever alike.
5. These games do still have "plots", but nobody actually has to pay attention to them. While new things do show up and get "unlocked" if you do the main plot, it is entirely optional- the site doesn't even care.
6. In addition to the "main plot" there are also "Main plot-style sub-plots", "subplot-style subplots", "mini-plot style sidequest plots", and "user-created plots". If that makes sense. Plus so many things to draw from in the past in some games for almost potentially limitless plots and ideas, in addition to the things that users are doing that generate even more ideas for plots.
7. All in all, a "sandbox" rp in my opinion is a game that truly has no actual end; the plots are, technically, infinite, just like a game you can technically "beat", like GTA, Saints Row Series, Skyrim, or Pokemon mainseries games or Mystery Dungeon Games, but there's still more to do and more things that can keep going on and on and on and on and on and you get the point.
8. Even as the site evolves and goes on potentially "forever", the setting itself doesn't actually "change" unless more gets added onto it, or, in other words, "expansions", because if it changes, like some landmark is no longer there or some part of the island goes from a forest to a desert, then you've basically added in a "plot" somehow that "forced" the previous setting to "change" without adding additional space, if that makes any sense. Once the site has a "plot" that members are "forced" to go in, as in, if it isn't the same setting whether it's 3 days from opening, or 7 years, meaning if a person can't just drop in whenever and however, arguably stated, and something's going on that they can't understand because it wasn't covered in the plot notes that existed at the time of the site opening, then the site has a plot and it's not technically a "sandbox" anymore but a plot-based RP.
9. This one isn't one of the "rules", per se, but I think it's also important to allow for members to be able to "add in" or "create" content things, like new powers, abilities, weapons, places, or races, things like that, potentially, at times, that weren't there, too, because a sandbox itself, while the outside is defined, is molded by everybody within it, if that makes sense, because of the shiftiness of the sand.

I dunno if this is making any sense; hopefully it is; I suppose I should shut up now and see if anybody understands what I'm trying to say. 0.0 XD

Edit: basically, if a sandbox is a place where anybody can jump in or out at any time and either make new stuff or start playing with others, then a sandbox RP should be mostly the same, right? Now naturally there would be rules like "no throwing sand" or "no using the sandbox as a litterbox" obviously, but within those rules, it can also be said a true "sandbox rp" doesn't acutally need somebody to "rule over it" except to keep people from breaking the rules of conduct, arguably, or to keep people interested in staying and playing in the sandbox, if they aren't doing something that keeps them interested in playing with their friends or themselves in the sandbox. Is any of this making sense at all, what I think a "sandbox" should be? *sighs*

Edited by Sparky Muse
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Well said and explained, Sparky Muse! I also feel that sandbox rpgs should allow for the players to create new content, add on to pre-existing content, and etc. as long as they stay within the site's rule limitations. I also feel that staff should, from time to time, create site-wide events to help keep people interested and playing in their sandbox.

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All good stuffs here, thanks!


I asked because I had Phoenix mentioned to me as a sandbox and I never considered us to be one; we are more of a mutli-genre. Or well, supposed to be. (I say supposed to be because I'm trying to keep it from dying at the moment.)


So, I have a good gist of what a Sandbox site is now!

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