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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:30 am 
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This is somewhat off-topic, but If I were ever to create an Uru shard, I would set up a system whereby any player who donated, oh, say, $5 would automatically get one of their players a 100% completed Uru Prime on my shard. All Yeesha pages, all clothing, all Ages solved, most recent touched journey cloths being the ones nearest the Bahro doors, and the option of having 1) the fissure open upon next Relto visit, OR 2) 100% completion of the rainy Cleft as well.

The dream of Uru is an ever-expanding universe of new stuff to explore. The reality of Uru has been doing the same thing over and over and over again hoping for different results. That needs to change.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:34 am 
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Before the flames come out, I would like to clarify that I'm only talking about Kemo, Gira, Garrison, Teledahn, Kadish, and Cleft. Other Ages would be unaffected.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:02 am 
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I like that, 75th. Make it something that can be collected, and it just removes the hassle of having to do something we've all done probably 10-15 times already (I'm in that group). Plus, possibly have a t-shirt added to the closet, specifically something like "I Donated to Keep This Shard Running, and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt" :lol:


Nothing extra, really, but something like the first-week subscriber shirts in MOUL (before a bug removed them from my, er, and others closets :x )

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:35 am 
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In the last go round of multiplayer Uru, I never solved some of the ages, the ones that existed in every instance of Uru. Just could not bring myself to do that again.

Yes - make it stop - just give me the ages solved.

I'm not a fan of the intermittent reward - if a Yeesha page is your reward for doing something, then it better always be there.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:40 pm 
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mszv wrote:
In the last go round of multiplayer Uru, I never solved some of the ages, the ones that existed in every instance of Uru. Just could not bring myself to do that again.

Yes - make it stop - just give me the ages solved.

I'm not a fan of the intermittent reward - if a Yeesha page is your reward for doing something, then it better always be there.

Yes, but you were/are still quite disillusioned to Uru. I do like the option to "buy" progress in the Yeesha Ages, however it might work out better if it were a higher cost ($10-$15) simply because it would somewhat discourage new people who were simply too lazy to figure the game out from paying a token amount to finish part of the game. It would also increase revenues :lol:

Personally, I have no issues re-doing the Ages. I did them at least thirty times back in Until Uru and about a dozen over all the other incarnations of Uru (offline, Live, D'mala, etc.). It's repetitive, however I find the first journey Ages to be the most beautiful.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:47 pm 
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OH! You are a tired bunch. Have you started to make something useful with your lives or what? Well stop it this instant! (Yes I'm Joking)

Before dropping this thread a thought came to mind. It seems that we have very different ideas of the role of these pages. I never considered them rewards for finishing a puzzle. They are usually scattered in places one does not visit unless scouting for clues (meaning temporarily at a loss, not uncommon in Cyan entertainment) as if Yeesha saying, "Nothing to see here but here is a little something for examining so carefully" or "If you had looked more carefully you would have chosen not to go here, but here is a little something to keep your heart up" Both these examples are present in Er'cana.

So in my point of view, those pages aren't rewards at all, since one does not get them as a result of achievement, but rather encouragements and fun to haves as they are just there for those that look for them. BUT... There may be an explanation for this difference in attitude.
Coming so late to URU I have no idea when pages or bluflames were introduced. But I guess that at the time of introduction it was pleasant sport to find those things, and fantastic to see the relto grow. And it would be weird to change something that is part of game and history. At some point maybe an idea for a relto addition that requires social interaction finds its way into URU or one that results in diversification of relto growth. Those were my aims and as many I fell into the lazy trap of poking around in existing stuff instead of being creative.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:50 pm 
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To be perfectly insulting to most of the critics on this thread, To me you sound clueless about what makes a game “fun”. You are suggesting the down side is that it would be frustrating or crushing to work hard and get no reward. However, consider the slot machine; you pay a price, push a button and more often then not you lose. The “win” happens just often enough to keep you playing. Now, I’m putting fun and win in quotes because it debatable that those words actually apply to gambling. But there is no arguing that gambling pushes some psychological\emotional need that we humans like having pushed.

A joke is a strong emotion in a safe context. The set-up of the joke creates emotional tension and the punch line suddenly releases the tension. If the punch line doesn’t create a safe context we don’t laugh; we groan. If there is no strong emotion we won’t laugh; we smile. We laugh when there is a sudden release of a strong emotion.

The point is a strong negative emotion is not a negative. The more this negative builds up; the greater the positive we can have when it is finally released. Imagine a Relto page that is completely hidden from view. You have no idea if it there or not. First you pay a price (solve a simple puzzle) then and only then do you have a chance at getting the reward. 19 out of 20 times the page won’t be there and you will have to pay another price (solve the puzzle again) to try again. Would most people think this repetitive frustration is “fun”? Everything from jokes to gambling casinos says: Yes!

The real key to a gambling casino is the pretty lights and crazy sounds. Either the solving of the puzzle is fun in-and-of itself or no simple reward is going to be compensation. So the real key to repeating the same puzzle over and over again is the puzzle has to have a sliding scale that reacts to the player. Repeated failure lowers the skill needed until the player can succeed. Repeated success raises the skill level need until the player can “feel” that a reward once every twenty tries is psychologically compelling.

I’m not endorsing the OP’s idea; just trying to critique the criticism. The core problem with making pages random is that it too simplistic. Human nature likes detecting patterns in complex situations. We like developing theories that predict future outcomes. We like putting strategies into practice to see if we can influence those outcomes. Truly random things are annoying because we can’t interact with them in any substantial way. We are reduced to just sitting and waiting until random chance gives us something. But light switches (ie turning page on/off) is also boring because can't interact with them in any substantial way either. It is just all or nothing on momentary whim.

During MOUL Cyan implemented Relto pages in a boring way. I applaud the Rudolfson’s attempt to spice things up. But a proper game would require us changing Cyan’s ages in more ways than we will (or should) be allowed to do. Hopefully, new age designers are paying attention and understand the need to create strong emotion tension and then release it at the climax. All good jokes, games and stories follow this same pattern.




To illustrate the technology underlying good game design I offer the following long winded and useless specifics.

One key is that you need a few simple rules with complex interactions that produce countless variations. The small number and simplicity of rules is good because it limits the work we as new content creators have to do. “Countless” is psychological trick; it means our brains can't keep up with all it is presented with. Even though we are the presenting the same things over and over again something interferes with the brain normal coping mechanisms so it never “masters the material” and thus we never get bored with it. The key to the key is in the complex interactions.

Let's start by getting rid of the pages themselves. I will put them back later, but for the moment let go of pages as a control mechanism. I'm not going to add anything new to Relto so everything you can see will be things you have already seen. What I am going to change is the control flags that dictate what is shown or not shown at a given time. We want to increase each control flag from a simple on/off thing into 3 different complex flags: quantity, duration and protection.

Quantity is how much a thing you see. Think of the Ercana plants, the deciduous trees and the pine trees. This is currently controlled by two pages and it is an all or nothing affair. There are only three choices to make. Easy to control means easy to predict which means easy to be bored. Instead lets divide Relto into six different areas, each with own flags. Area five might show Ercana plants, area three can show deciduous trees while areas one, two, four and six all show the default pine trees. 6 raised the 3rd power is 216 different patterns. While not infinite it is more than our brains will naturally remember unless we put effort into it. If we show the same pattern over and over again we learn to predict it and it gets boring. But keep changing the pattern to one of 200 different patterns then we never learn and react to each pattern as if were never seen before; Even though statistically we must have seen it before.

Duration is how long a thing lasts. Each time we return to Relto is new “turn” and with each new turn Relto can change its display. Using your Relto book from inside your Relto isn't really leaving so it shouldn't constitute a turn. Stay away from your unoccupied Relto for twenty minutes and there has clearly been enough time for a change to take place.

A newbie visits Ercana for the first time and immediately links to Relto. Being in Ercana for even the briefest of time earns one area for one turn. So this person sees Ercana plants in a randomly chosen area. If they leave to the garden age and then return they see the deciduous trees in a randomly chosen area but the Ercana plants are gone since they only lasted one turn. If they visit Ercana and Eder Delin then return they will see both in two different areas but both will only last one turn. In effect Relto always displays a little bit of every place you have been to since the last time you were at your Relto. People who return to Relto a lot will see a different patterns than those that seldom return.

We now have two control numbers let's use them to greater effect. I have removed the Relto Pages but the locations still exist. From the first Ercana link-in spot the closer you get to page location the higher the quantity number goes up. The long you stay in vicinity the higher the duration number. If you spend twenty minutes jumping in the water then your return to Relto will show you all six areas filled with Ercana plants for your next twenty turns. Both quantity and duration are influenced by what the player does and where the player goes. Keep the rules simple and straight forward. It is the display on Relto is what needs to be “endless” in its complexity not the rules that trigger changes. But the rules also need to subtle and convert so that they are “randomly” triggered by the player. But they are indeed triggered by the player so it is a puzzle that can be figured out and players can control the outcome.

Protection is nurturing a display item so that continues to display. If one plant is displayed in on area for five turns then it should display in the same place for each of the five turns. It is only random on first turn when it is first displayed after that is not random. This is simple persistence; protection is a different rule that requires player interaction. If one plant is displayed in one area for one turn and you visit that area while it is displayed then the duration counter for that area is reset to it maximum earned number. In this case the duration earned is just one but that means the plant will still be there the next time you visit. To keep it “permanently” you just have to visit it each time you return. The opposite meaning is that to make something disappear you must avoid it all together.

If you earn all six areas for twenty turns but during those twenty turns you only visit only four of the six areas then on the twenty-first turn only those four are displayed. This means that once the rules are mastered you can do a kind of landscaping. Controlling which areas show what.

Now let’s put the Relto page back. The above rules would be the default for a player who doesn’t have a page. It is the page that controls the rules. So once you get the page all three rules are replaced with new ones. In this the case the original all or nothing rules based on the page being on or off.

But we need complex interaction so each of the three rule types need to be implemented separately. And each of the three rule types has two rules: a dominant and a recessive version. The first time you pick up a page you get both versions but only the dominant is applied. If you click on the same page a second time a kind of cross-breeding takes place. One rule is random chosen for each type from your current page and one rule is random chosen from the official page. If the new page inherits a recessive rule from both parents then and only then is a recessive rule applied. Your old page is replaced with this new page.

This means you might get the best of both worlds. The recessive rules on quantity and duration so you can do landscaping but the dominant rule of protection so you can permanently keep your handiwork by just turning the page on. We would need to add a way to share pages between players so if you want the best combination you need to find a player who already has it and use them as a “parent” to the next page you create for yourself. There is no guarantee on what rules your next page will inherit but by choosing your mate carefully you increase the odds of getting what you want.




All of the specifics here are not for changing Relto; instead they are advice to all new content creators: Your must think of your age as its own Relto. It must be able to change its displayed characteristics based on what the explorers do in your age. If don’t put in variation your age will seem stagnant and uninteresting. If you vary things on short loops of time then it is too easy to detect the pattern and the age becomes and unreal and boring. If you vary things on long loops of time (hours or days) it is too hard for people experience the drama of the change.

If you vary things with switches and buttons it puts the explorer in too much control. It is like insomnia, you keep waking your self up to ask the question “am I asleep yet”. Asking the question requires you to use a part of your brain you don’t use when you are truly asleep. Emersion requires using a different part of our brains then the part we use on control panels. This doesn’t mean you can’t have buttons and switches. Just don’t push us to “configure” the age as much as Relto pages do.

Don’t kill yourself creating complex patterns and rules. Create a few simple variations and rules. DO KILL YOURSELF ON THE COMPLEX INTERACTIONS of the simple variations and rules. Let the “endless” patterns grow naturally out the interactions. That is the key to the key.




As a side note, I do advocate starting with a new avatar in Relto with a fully functioning KI (markers and KI light enabled) and a Relto book with all pages. This is something I already had so for continuity I should start with it. Newbies will appreciate having all functions; the people with the least skill need the most help to avoid being frustrated. All functions will have their own rules for protecting these functions. But at first no one knows what those rules are so the functions will disappear over time. Different people will have different patterns of functionality. The rules for getting the functions back are already known but new ones could be created. In time people will figure out how to keep what they want. I won’t make this longer with specifics but the generality is the same: keep the rules simple, the interactions complex, the patterns “endless”.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:38 am 
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I think I'd rather see new ages than try to figure out how how to get an age to look how I want it to look. I do enjoy an age changing - day/night cycles, perhaps seasons, new growth, that sort of thing, just to enjoy. What you want to implement seems both complicated and kind of grindy to me, but that's just me. Once I get my reward, I'm not keen on it being taken away. And for people with limited play time - duration things don't work.

As to having to redo the ages, I fail to see how that makes me unhappy with Uru. I enjoy visiting the old ages, always have - that's the charm of Uru, visiting the ages is a wonderful experience. For all that, I find solving the same puzzles multiple times - I find it annoying. It's not like an MMORPG where you can play as a different kind of character and what you do has some variations - and the experience is different. If I'm going to solve puzzles, I'd rather do it with new ages.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:23 am 
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If I was lazy, J'Rahm, you were not. A long but very enlightening post. Yes the implementation of relto pages was dull. Somebody said to me early on. "Come to my relto and see what yours will eventually look like" I backed away in horror.
But mszw, the J'Rahm idea was specifically a tip to make a new age spicy, with the relto as an example. An age based on such thoughts would definitely be interesting. First of all. We would not know that or how it changed nor that there was some control mechanism. It would just be a sweet surprise to realize these added properties one by one, would it not?

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:43 pm 
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I agree we see the pages serving different purposes. I see most of them as achievements (like the ones on some X-Box games). Rewarding you for getting onto the ledge in Kemo, or exploring the dock in Teledahn, or going into the fissure in Gahreesen. They're not a solution to a puzzle, but a reward for exploring and going places you wouldn't normally. If that's not there one time on account of the addition of a random chance, then the reward for exploring isn't there.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:44 pm 
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Never apologize for being lazy. It is the greatest motivator for creative genius. We invented calculus because calculating the area under a curve without it is horrendous. We do addition so we don’t have to push two piles together and starting counting all over again. If you think math is hard then you should try getting the same answer without it.

Rudolfson, I wouldn’t call your idea lazy. It fits into the “biggest bang for your buck” category. Now, bear in mind computer programming is a strange art. A programmer can spent 4 hours looking for a bug, only to find one misspelled word, then spent another 4 hours testing the effects of that one change. “What did you do all day today?” – “I changed the letter i to the letter e”. And the programmer is proud because he found the bug.

I don’t know how long it would take to find the “line of code” that controls the display of a Relto page and I don’t know how long it would take to the find the syntax of the “random” command. But assuming we can ignore this reality of programming it would take all of two minutes to implement your idea. It would indeed increase the “sport” of finding pages without much effort. Easy to do is easily done. So “simple” is no reason not to do something.

I suppose programming is just like calculus in that learning it is a horrendous thing. So it doesn’t matter what other horrendous thing calculus protects us from. Most will just live their entire lives without ever knowing what the area under any curve is and thus avoid two horrendous things. ...and thus be happier.



I’ll try again, this time with a less ambitious example. Here’s my new suggestion: when one person clicks on any Relto page it disappears from that instance.
The best reason for this is it reinforces reality. If I were to pick up a real piece of paper you wouldn’t be able to since I already have it. The way we interact with an object should always be consistent with the back story of the object. Random doesn’t have a back story.

If there are twenty people in an age only one can get the page. This gives Rudolfson the intended one in twenty chances. But it gives me what I wanted which is to replace something random with an explorer-based trigger.

The odds of finding the page vary based how many others in the same instance need the page. We need a new rule for what instance you get put in; Instancing based on progress. If you don’t have a page it would be cruel to put you an instance where it doesn’t exist; So a new one will be created just for you. The page is there and you’re the first one in so the odds of you getting the page are good. However, anyone else in the entire world that doesn’t have the page but uses a book to that age after you will also be put in the same instance. The odds you getting the page just dropped. When one person gets the page explorers who don’t have page won’t be directed to this instance only more.

This doesn’t have to be a Player vs. Player competition. Maybe the reason two newbie don’t have the page is because neither knows of its existence. This increases the odds that two total strangers can share a public space but not spoil each other. They can share the moment of discovering something new and working out the puzzle together. Only one can get the page. But this one can immediately share their Relto book and both can experience what the new page does together.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:06 am 
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I suppose programming is just like calculus in that learning it is a horrendous thing.


Just about if you try to bite off more then you can chew. :lol:

The reality of programming is that it's really things broken down into steps so small and simple that it looks easy because each individual task by itself is easy. It's the fact that when you zoom back out and see that one little simple task is joined by 2000+ of it's friends is when you have to question the simplicity of anything you might want to do. ;)

Uru already does some form of procedural placement because I really really really hope there was not some Cyan employee who's only task was to toggle things on and off in the game servers. :lol: Like so many things in Uru it's just something that needs to be taken that next logical step which other games have taken. Left 4 Dead if you do the commentary runs makes no bones about it taking months to implement, but making level design sooooo much easier. Well uru is no where near as fast paced as a zombie shooter, but the big "IF" if Uru was made right a very dirty hack that doesn't take anything like where you are going in a Age into account could be done in Uru fairly quickly just by adding a whole lot more copies of objects to each age..

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 2:36 am 
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stealth, welcome to the forum! :D

It sounds like you have the idea for a whole game there, quite aside from anything it may have to do with Uru. It also sounds like a very appealing way to set up new Ages. Are you working on something like this? (I'm talking about the complex interaction essay, not the "reward goes away" idea.)

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:34 pm 
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I like the idea of something random....because we have all played so often, we know where/when it all happens. So to add some sort of occurance, and it is random, and there is a finite or infinite number of them...would be interesting!

I vote for the sparkly things on the island/clock thingy. We never did know exactly what they were for....

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:58 pm 
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welcome to the forum

Thanks! Given my chosen name I was going to have fun seeing how long I could stay off the welcome-wagon's radar. But you're just too good at your job.

Quote:
idea for a whole game

That was the basic point I was trying to make. There is nothing wrong with random. From shuffling a deck of cards, to every machine in a casino, there is always something random at a game's core. Every good joke, story, sport has something unexpected; that's what makes it fun.

However, can you imagine a game of tic-tac-toe if its only rule was: its random. Simple rules that let the player interact with the something random makes the game a game. Every age needs a compelling backstory; every ages needs immersive reality simulation; but every age also needs to be a whole game onto itself.

Quote:
Are you working on something like this?

“working on” is a relative term. If your definition includes obsessively over-thinking the process then I think it is safe to say I am working on an age.

I have finished Jennifer's classroom, but honestly couldn't give my own work more than a C- grade. The only ages I have created so far are practice throw-away stuff. At this point it is a race to see if Cyan will release anything URU-related faster than I can make it all the way through the GoW's beginner tutorials. It's a friendly completion; please no wagering.





This has been a test of the polite response system. The broadcasters of your area in voluntary cooperation with the FCC and other authorities have developed this system to keep you informed in the event of posting conversational questions.

If this had been an actual polite response, you would not have been left hanging for 15 days.

We now return you to your previously abandoned thread already in silence.


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