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Messages - De-Legro

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General Discussion / Re: A Discussion On Allowing Non-Human First Ones
« on: February 22, 2018, 10:37:57 PM »
Those of Hawk ancestry believe themselves to be different from all other first ones. I've never claimed it is an absolute truth, it is simply their belief from their religion and their creation story. But I would in general argue against adding more races. Firstly because it is jarring to a persistent game to suddenly go, oh you know what all this time you have been referring to FO's as a distinct species, yeah no they are more of a collection of races. Secondly we would have to hand wave about why distinct races are ending up with the same basic characteristics (immortal, immune to every disease bar slumberblight etc).

We would be far better off in my opinion to initiate a project to flesh out and record the actual culture of the main realms already found in the game and have the ability to align characters to cultural groups that are displayed in game. There are a good few culture in the game with at least some level of written lore, but people simply don't add it to the wiki and even if they have that isn't the same as it being directly accessible in the game.

General Discussion / Re: Why M&F peaked so young
« on: February 12, 2018, 12:01:28 AM »
Yeah when my last knight never answered and literally ran around with the people raiding my settlements it pretty much confirmed that person was a spy.

Someone running around with the Hawk raiders? First I heard of that. The main thing I heard during their raid in Ascalon was they were constantly worried about imminent starvation and couldn't group together enough to properly support each other.

General Discussion / Re: Why M&F peaked so young
« on: February 11, 2018, 11:35:17 PM »
I mean when more than half of the people who take Knight Offers are spies, its a problem.

How do you prove someone is a spy and not just one of the 90% of characters that simply never talk. Or am I looking at it wrong and 90% of characters are really spies? Honestly this sounds like more then a little hyperbole. Either that or all the people taking Hawk knight offers are just terrible, terrible spies. Though I suppose we might simply be terrible at determining they are spies.

General Discussion / Re: A discussion the importance of lore upon gameplay
« on: February 08, 2018, 10:15:52 PM »
So why not let people create their own culture packs? I am really not thrilled to see real world cultures in a fantasy game.

I feel the same, I get they could be a point of reference, but since all they do is provide names at this time a point of reference is not that useful. Besides you might want to use a certain naming system but not be tied to the cultural references. That is why I suggested custom cultural packs.

Really it all comes down to a single decision, is this a sandbox that is as open ended as possible, or is it a curated sandbox.

General Discussion / Re: A discussion the importance of lore upon gameplay
« on: February 06, 2018, 10:55:25 AM »
They are strange, just as people's insurance on the weapons being European is strange. They are a familiar point of reference. We could have used the exact same images and had a background that was very different to Europe, much like many D&D settings do for example.

The reason for custom culture packs is simple, it is a sandbox, and a sand box that the only shows part of the world. The fact that "every fool and their dog" is creating their own lores and background should suggest to you that people are enjoying the creative freedom they currently have to do so. I am all for some simple guidelines to help rationalise and keep things sort of consistent. I am not so keen on hard rules, I recall the disaster in BM when it was decided to try and enforce European cultural concepts there and the number of players lost.

General Discussion / Re: A discussion the importance of lore upon gameplay
« on: February 06, 2018, 03:24:28 AM »
As for settings, we have purchasable culture packs that are not European. I should note that Tom always mentioned that culture packs were going to be more then names, but never really nailed down what that "more" was. Personally I would like custom culture packs, so I can create my own naming system for my mortal slaves.

The images are because there was only ever a small budget for graphics that was never going to stretch to multiple versions for different "cultures". Plus there was a lot of talk at the start of the game about how exactly the game would handle multiple graphic packs that was never completely resolved because we got side tracked about adding "custom" weapons and troop types.

As for Lore, one thing I would love to see established is the original inhabitants of this small part of the world. As I recall EI and Rathgar were supposed to be "native". The ruling family of the Fading Isles was, but most of the actual realms within it were made up of immigrants. Hawks for example were originally shipwrecked. Personally it irks me to see yet another "native and long term" realm spring up in the same region that has already had a procession of "native" realms. It was a stretch to have three native cultures given the size of the map to start with.

Helpline / Re: Artifacts - Dead creator
« on: January 24, 2018, 09:50:55 PM »
Can only talk for my artifact, but it has no listed "creating" character. The first mention of any character is the character it was first assigned to.

Conduct & Design Discussion / Re: How to Tutorial
« on: January 02, 2018, 02:56:51 AM »
So basically exactly what I have been saying.

If we are making non interactive tutorials, video tutorials are all the rage these days. Tom even put one together long ago

Conduct & Design Discussion / Re: How to Tutorial
« on: January 02, 2018, 12:09:03 AM »
The whole achievement-as-a-tutorial concept is wonderful. After questioning fellow players in hundreds of games of every genre and UI-style over the years, the most well-received and respected tutorials were nearly always that of nonscripted ie open-ended tutorials. Guided by a series of achievements with associated tooltips that follow a logical step-by-step process, or an achievement Tree that branches out into different activities, this method allows players to learn the ropes at their own rate, while amassing and keeping track of minor accolades. (which do bring some weird pleasure to some, including myself, for entirely unknown reasons).

For example, Medieval Engineers. Their newest system is more comprehensive, however, now split into a Tech Tree where you do a little tutorial mission where you test out every new major block/item/tool and unlock it as a result, leading up to you actually knowing wtf to do with the more complex and dynamic components and items.

Step 1 is usually thus "go to x location (first time, teaching you HOW to do so, what buttons to press, little tips on what to do and not do for optimal performance), then "gather x number of materials A B and C" (helping you learn to identify different natural flora/fauna/geography in the process!) or "Access panel/button/UI/hotbar X via Y to proceed to Z" so you know where to go, what to do, how to do it, what you need to achieve it, and then, most importantly, what you can do/make/achieve as a result.

In this case, first you just do the basics like gather rocks and make a campfire, or gather stone/flint+sticks from x y or z natural resource (berry bushes, saplings, etc) to make your first tool, a stone axe. Then you start the one where you equip said axe via a tooltip that explains how to use and cycle thru the ever-useful hotbar, then use it to cut down a tree, then cut that into logs and scraps, then make your first crafting table, all the way down to how to find natural ore veins, up to cooking logs to make charcoal for fires and steel, and later even advanced engineering processes and logic of the physics system, because no one likes it when your fancy new windmill collapses because your rickety stone tower topped off the side of a mountain because the game just expects you to know everything magically.

Great, so now explain in the context of a massively multiplayer RPG, where the bulk of actions either require access to settlements which you may or may not have at the beginning, access to certain buildings which again you may or may not have, or the interaction of other players, how all that is going to work in a time sensitive manner?

If you want people to be able to quickly access the various parts of the game then you need a environment for them to do so. We can't expect they will get that within the game world, thus the concept of having a separate tutorial area where the game can provide the needed access and resources.

The trick would be forming it in such a way that it is not just a single scripted start of the game thing, but something you can access at need.

So, not something you'd be interested in seeing then?

Not personally, but experience should tell that I am not a great candidate for determining what the majority might like.


On a different note, De-Legro, if you do the time swap in javascript, you can have it grab the user's timezone info from the local machine rather than have to figure it out server side. Nothing says we couldn't grab that through registration though, much how forums do these days. If there's an easy way to have it convert to local time before page generation, having a method for it wouldn't be bad as we'd not need to duplicate code elsewhere, though we could do that in Javascript through the twig implementation.

Yup I noted that advantage.

There are ways however of extracting the time offset from the client and sending that back to the server, for example this explains a way to do it using cookies

If we had reasons/advantages to knowing this data at the server that would be ideal.

I should note that if we want to use real time ETA updates though, you would want to encapsulate at least some of that in javascript, as it makes no sense to tie up a websocket or a make frequent ajax request just to update a clock.

I've been looking for ways to encourage people to subscribe, and making it so subscribers can see the hours, or minutes even, remaining on these things might not be a bad idea. It doesn't restrict information from free players, but rewards subscribers.

This reminds me of the Travian/Tribal War style games and how they would unlock a much better interface with proper management pages if you paid a monthly fee. Don't know how other people feel about such things but it pissed me off enough that I never purchased anything from those style games.

I think it's enough burden already. Managing the characters is already a burden. Adding in the ETAs will make small player's time much more efficient since they tend to log in less often. Like I said, large players with lots of things going on won't actually benefit as much, in a proportional sense. It's not often that you have e.g. 20 character marching around doing stuff, you still need to log in to check town training and the like. And with 20+ characters all moving, just logging in per hour, and seeing who is no longer moving is efficient enough, since it's going to take time to order them to do new stuff anyway.

As someone that has played large amounts of characters, in excess of 100 in the past, I can tell you that such a change would have massively cut down the burden of those characters, probably increasing my efficiency by 50%. That would have allowed me to increase my character count by 50%, I don't think that is something we really want.

It fails the "user pays" logic however, since it's more server burden if you need to open up many pages just to find out basic information. The game should ideally be designed to use the absolute minimum of resources then any restrictions be designed around that. Making it so it's costly in resources to the game if you have lots of characters, and that slows you down, is just a bad idea. It's slow to do things with 4 characters: the slowness just scales linearly, it isn't more costly per character for having more characters, so it fails the test.

In fact, with more characters I could quickly log into e.g. 15 characters, see what each is doing and find one that's idle to do some task with. Compare that to having just 4 characters, logging into all of them to check if any have arrived at their destinations. A guy with e.g. 20 characters moving can just log in every hour, see who stopped moving then do stuff with them. Those aren't the people benefiting so much from detailed ETAs, because they are more or less guaranteed to have some dude who stopped moving in any time period. It's people with smaller numbers of characters who would benefit most from knowing reliable ETAs for their characters, since they wouldn't have to log in as often, only to find out nobody is actually ready to do stuff.

The server burden of serving pages is minimal, bandwidth is not an issue. Memory and CPU utilisation on running turns is far greater. Yet it doesn't fail user pays, more characters = more pages served and you are charged more for the privilege. You can argue for "best practise" all you want. Best practice takes resources, initially in order to design and implement systems that achieve the stated design goals while maintaining best practice. And now resources to replace what exists and still implement other required systems. Those resources have and continue to be lacking.

So again while I agree that having ETA's on the character page would be handy, what are we implementing in order to retain character burden?

Yeah, it's a good intention, however using "shitty interface" as the way to gate content leaves a lot to be desired, since making it hard to know when things are happening also hurts new players with only a few characters from getting precise information about when they can do stuff. If they did get just the ETA on actions on the main page, then it cuts through all the specialized knowledge you need to gain to work that out.

It also begs the question, if they're offering a 50-character mega account for more money, but the game actively conspires to make playing that suck as much as possible, from a user-interface point of view, why that option even exists.

Personally, I also think that smaller character limits would be a good thing. With less characters, people will be more invested in each character, and things like cross-account marriages will be more appealing. e.g. thinking about it, one system that could work for free accounts is - 12 town limit, no character limit, but you must have 3 free town slots to create a new character. Then, you can choose to either spawn one character, who can take up to 12 towns, or 4 characters with 3 towns each, or somewhere in the middle. This would avoid character-spam just to get your allocation of towns, but you'd still be free to do so if you really wanted.

Tom was quite clear on his logic regarding accounts. Originally I should note that the top tier had no character limit at all. Tom didn't want to restrict people if lots and lots of characters is what they wanted to do. Yet he recognized the potential power imbalance that creates and so run the concept of increasing the "burden" on a player if they decide to have large numbers of characters. The cost factor plays into that too, but mostly that was along the lines of user pays logic, you are consuming more of the game resources, so you pay more.

It may indeed be a shitty way, but it is effective and relatively cheap in terms of implementation time, ideal for a ambitious project that never had full time attention from its creator. To remove it would require the addition of other systems to achieve the same goal, and as we all know Tom rarely had much time to make such new systems, there was plenty that did and still does need fixing with existing systems.

So yes while it would be relatively simple to provide ETA's along with the event info on the character page, it needs to be done within the context of competing needs, assuming we still wish to follow Tom's idea of making more characters a larger burden on the player.

sure, the information is there, but it's not convenient to have to do a subtraction, for the server time hours, to work out how long it's going to take, then to add that to your local time, just to work out when something is going to happen. If you want it accurate, then you have to handle things like carrying over minutes and hours too, for both legs of the equation, so it's more than just a subtraction and an addition: that can get complex:

- subtract the server minutes from the target minutes, and handle the wrap-around / carry in case it goes below 0 minutes (e.g. add 60, and carry the 1).
- next, subtract the server hour from the target hour, add in the carry bit. Now, you have the ETA in hours and minutes. Yay.
- now, to get the local time to completion, add the ETA minutes to local minutes, and if it overflows 60 minutes, subtract 60 from it, then add 1 to hours
- now, add ETA hours to local hours, and it if overflows 24 hours, subtract 24, and add one to the day

Worst-case scenario there is that you needed to do 11 additions/subtractions, just to get the ETA in local time! It's just being silly not to provide the information in an accessible manner.

In fact, it would be nice if on the main character page it shows an actual ETA next to each character with a queued action, e.g. see a countdown next to each mention of travel, annex, battle etc. Basically it's a waste of time to force people to open up each and every character they have and navigate through multiple pages just to see "ah, <thing> isn't finished yet". Common sense would suggest it would be better to give an estimate of completion for each character's current action on the main character screen.

Some people do in fact have slow as fuck connections, which are charged per the megabyte. If I can play a game that doesn't force me to open up multiple pages just to find out that nothing has actually happened yet, I save both time and money. Make the available information on all ETAs more conveniently located on the main character page then all of the problems mentioned basically go away, such as new players not knowing how the day cycle works: you can see how long until each character arrives where they are going, without needing to open up each one, then only access the characters for whom you can actually set up interesting things.

Right now, if I'm not in the game, i just know several characters are "travel"ing and have no real information about when they're going to arrive and I should come back to the game to get stuff done. Unless I wrote the "days travel" amount down for every character when I set travel, no other information about when they're going to arrive appears unless i open up each and every character to check. That's just a gap in the design, it serves no benefit to the game by being obtuse.

Well it did, in Tom logic. Toms logic was always to make things harder the more characters you had. A prime part of that was forcing you to log into characters to get updates on them. Having a lot of information posted on the character page makes playing 50 or more characters much much simpler. That is why he only ever displayed what he considered the most important statuses, battle, travel etc.

As to if that is still a design consideration, I don't know I haven't talked to Andrew about it. My preference has simply been to reduce the total number of characters that you can play at a maximum so that issues of scale become less relevant.

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