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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 4:31 pm 
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It's pretty clear that any Shard that hopes to satisfy everyone who has expressed an opinion on these forums, has its work cut out! Some seem to prefer keeping a 'vanilla' Shard holding the code and Ages as found in MO:UL at switch off, and nothing more. Others want a Shard that will also include FCAL or 'approved' Ages, though there is some disagreement over what 'approval' means, or implies. Others seem to think there should be a Shard where anything goes. So how do we prevent there being a schism of the community over these different Shard requirements?

Even taking a fairly simple case where there was a Shard running URU as it was in MO:UL and another which included fan created content in addition... which Shard would people be on? It isn't at all clear that Shard's running different content would be visible to each other, and we have every reason for thinking they would not be. Does this mean beginners would be invited to visit the 'vanilla' Shard to start off with before moving onto the developing Shard? If so, with most experienced explorers presumably on the developing Shard, newcomers would get the impression that the game was empty, with unfortunate results. Even if people were evenly distributed over the Shards, there would still be the risk that the game would appear under populated to a newcomer trying it out for the first time.

Then consider, what if an Age isn't 'approved'? Where is it to go? Forcing an Age writer to put his/her Age, the product of much time and effort, onto a 'minority interest' Shard because it included content that was deemed inappropriate by someone or other, wouldn't do a lot to encourage people to develop badly needed new content.

If we don't want to fracture the community into many different Shards catering to specific tastes and requirements, then I believe we have to grasp the nettle, and limit the reasons for refusing to host an Age on the 'official' Shard, to purely technical ones. Ie all Ages that reach the required technical standard, viz it doesn't crash anything, should be accepted for hosting. So how do we reconcile allowing Age developers complete freedom with the conflicting requirements and preferences of URU explorers? Well, in the past, we couldn't, but once the server and client source becomes available, then we can.

My suggestion is that we have a kind of permissions based approach to Age accessibility. An Age submitted to the Shard would have a content type and if appropriate, minimum age requirement attached to it. One possible system of classification would be:

MO:UL Age - Vanilla URU
On Canon Age - fan created Ages that fit within the FCAL
Off Canon Age - fan created Ages that don't fit within the FCAL but are unlikely to offend anyone's sensibilities otherwise :wink:
AYOR Age - Ages that contain content which may offend some people's sensibilities (but still within legal norms for the net)

We could extend the in game user preferences to include the ability to select which Age types the user wants to see. A simple click box next to the Age type list above would suffice. We could also add an option to request the user's date of birth during registration (and nickname selection), so that minimum age requirements attached to an Age could be checked in the same way.

If you are too young for an Age's minimum requirement, or have selected not to play a given Age's classification type, then all links to that Age would be withheld from you, and invitations to join that Age by another player, would fail. Something similar was used to prevent people playing the GameTap MO:UL trial from accessing Ages beyond the cleft and neighbourhoods etc. This could be transparent to the player, so they needn't know that these other Ages existed at all. However, players in a different Age would still be visible in the Ki, whether the Age was one accessible to the player or not, so social aspects of the game needn't be affected, beyond the obvious restriction that players could only meet 'physically' in Ages to which they both have access.

Implementing something along these lines would mean one Shard could handle all content and all requirements. Whilst it makes sense that any Shard run independently, could pick and choose which Ages they included, I believe that any Shard with pretensions to being the 'official' Shard, should at least attempt to represent the whole community.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:26 pm 
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It isn't at all clear that Shard's running different content would be visible to each other, and we have every reason for thinking they would not be. Does this mean beginners would be invited to visit the 'vanilla' Shard to start off with before moving onto the developing Shard?
I think one shard fits all is impossible for now. Have a look at the RW / mszv discussion.
Though shards can't see each other, they're all visible to someone choosing one from a list, if we follow the UU model.

Implementation speculation.


Last edited by Rusty_Russell on Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:44 pm 
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Rusty_Russell wrote:
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It isn't at all clear that Shard's running different content would be visible to each other, and we have every reason for thinking they would not be. Does this mean beginners would be invited to visit the 'vanilla' Shard to start off with before moving onto the developing Shard?
I think one shard fits all is impossible for now. Have a look at the RW / mzsv discussion.
Though shards can't see each other, they're all visible to someone choosing one from a list, if we follow the UU model.


A link to those posts would be cool ...

Though there should hopefully be nothing to stop us from writing code and adding to the server this ability


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:45 pm 
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You read my mind, DarK. Doing that now.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:08 pm 
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My suggestion is essentially dealing with the question of how to handle new content, rather than how to set up a Shard.

There are already posts out there saying, if its not 'pure' URU I'm not playing etc etc others seem to be content with the idea that there will be multiple Shards with different content, which they will visit at will. However, these independent Shards would not share information, and one would need a different Avatar on each one, with its own progress in the game etc. Think how quiet it got in MO:UL between episodes, and imagine what it would have been like with a choice of a dozen independent servers to log in to...



Yes, given the current architecture, there is no way of pleasing everyone. My suggestion is for software changes to the server and client code to make it possible to please everyone (in theory!). This would tend to reduce the fragmentation of the user base, and provide a suitable single entry point to the game for new players.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:35 pm 
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However, these independent Shards would not share information, and one would need a different Avatar on each one, with its own progress in the game etc.
That is the perfect summary of Prologue (Atrus, Katrin and Achenar) and Until URU.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:09 pm 
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I think Chogon hinted at a scalable core system that would please most players (let's say: a server with semi "pure" gameplay with sufficiently high quality additions that don't hurt the canon too much), and if I understand correctly, interested parties can hook up their server onto that. But never did I see anywhere that everyone HAS to participate in such a setup.

Somehow I don't think there will be too many "truly independent" shards, that is to say, places where you will need a different client/storage folder/avi to be able to visit. I don't doubt there WILL be some, and good for them, but my guess is that on the whole, there won't be too much fracturing at all.

After all, I think there are three types of Uru participants:

1) Players
Players won't be interested in compiling, coding, changing, bug fixing, etc. They just want to download the client and play. Besides suggesting features, they have very little say in Uru's development, and of course by picking and choosing which group(s) they join or stay away from.

2) Shard owners
Some people will be interested in running a shard. To create a shard with other developers' additions is probaly within reach of many. They might be able to pick and choose which features to implement in their server, but they too have very little say in the direction of the overall game.

3) Developers
These are the true C++ programmers/python coders who can mould the game into any shape. But let's face it, how many of such gurus do we have in this community that would be able to truly CHANGE the game? It is safe to say that there are considerably less who can make that difference, and they will most probably have enough brains/discernment to realize the need to work together, as many have done in the past.

(I know the above is by no means all inclusive. For example, I did not mention the age builders or smaller scale creators. I am sure there will be people who create complete ages, or even custom clothing or emotes without being actual programmers, shard owners etc)

In short, I see no reason to panic, or frantic calls for unity. It is one thing to shout "Independence!" or "NO! I want pure Cyan!" but quite another to actually be able pull it off either way. :wink: I think most of us will realize quite soon that there is not much more to do than enjoy the ride, and be nice to the ones who CAN make changes. Hopefully they may be able to humor one or two of our wishes. New KI, anyone? :)


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:18 pm 
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Rusty_Russell wrote:
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However, these independent Shards would not share information, and one would need a different Avatar on each one, with its own progress in the game etc.
That is the perfect summary of Prologue (Atrus, Katrin and Achenar) and Until URU.


This is not necessarily a requirement. We could(eventually) have a system of inter-shard authorization and transfer. Something to the effect of: "user (username) is authorized (local) with (avatar name); can we join?" If there is no conflict; the avatar information is transferred to the other server and the player logged in. Sort of an extension to moving between servers as a player links between ages. This *would* suggest that the vaults use the same format.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:31 pm 
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Vault transfers get nasty. Every UU shard had it disabled because of people importing PotS ages with stuff that didn't exist in plain UU and it drove the vault mad trying to work with them (or so I heard)
Now if we have multiple shards with multiple designs it'll be a lot worse, because UU was mostly coherent.. no one really had custom ages yet, except a few alcugs shards.


I don't think avatar transfers are ever a viable solution.. particularly if you try to bring your purple-haired blue-skinned smurf into a 'semi-canon' server. Inter-shard communication won't be such a problem, however.. that's why I'm pushing for an extendable gui config system (like modern games have using xml layouts) to go with Joey Zooshini's API system.. so you could slot in an IM client and an IRC client and some sort of 'inter-shard chat' system without having to rewrite swaths and fuss with python hacks. That would also fix some of the faults of them being so distant.. "I'm on shard x, and we're having a dancing party!" "Dance party? Lemme swap servers!"


Offhand I'm not worried about fragmentation if you can chat across them. People will find their own balance of server(s) to play on, but a good gathering that they know about will draw, no matter where they are. The main trick needed is to give an easy way in-game for them to communicate across the setup.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:35 pm 
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There is a big problem with what you are suggesting. The servers that host MOUL will most likely be run from peoples individual computers in a voluntary setup. Requiring all type of ages to be accessable from any server - well, there could be examples of some content being against peoples beliefs - for example, if you are jewish would you have a problem letting your computer be used to access the nazi age? Perhaps that is a bad example, but things like that will occur. If individuals have the power to restrict the content accessable from their servers, then there could be a form censorship if no one wants to host a Very Bad Age. Or your age because it goes against Canon in come form or other...


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:54 pm 
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If there is no conflict; the avatar information is transferred to the other server and the player logged in.
How? The two servers are on different networks (else they'd be part of the same shard). You couldn't get from network A server A to network B server B without being authenticated onto B's network first.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:58 pm 
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Unless there will be a central auth system. I see no reason why that can't be, once again, no obligations, just convenience.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:02 pm 
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That's a good point. Cyan auth server... will they carry it on or hand it over? If the latter, to whom? The thought of one auth server in fans' hands is ... frightening.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:04 pm 
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Well, Cyan already expressed the wish to run their own dataserver, and I might be wrong, but I think it is less resource intensive to run an auth server. So, I'd say, IF there would be such a thing (and I hope there WILL be), it will have to be run by Cyan.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:14 pm 
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You've still got the same technical problem, Sophia. How do you get to the auth server from where you are (without coming out of that shard altogether)? Your client has to initiate the new connection. [However - there would have to be something in the background during the transition from the age you are to the age you're going... then that begs the question - how can you link to an age on someone else's network? How do you see that age to start with, to know it's there to link to?]


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