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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 4:45 pm 
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I'm generally a fan of providing additional functionality to the game, but there are some problems with this currency idea:

1. It seems to be a solution looking for a problem - the rampant chaotic brainstorming of what an in-game currency might or might not be used for is evidence of this. If you could say, "We don't have X, but currency is the solution," things might be a bit different, but when all you can say is, "We don't have currency, but currency is the solution," that indicates a problem with the idea.

2. It would add needless complexity to the game in ways that don't seem beneficial. If monetizing in-game services is the idea, then you have to have some sort of enforced rarity of those services (such as limited drops in a MMORPG), and there's nothing like that in MOULa. Or, you have to link the in-game currency to RL currency, and we don't have enough lawyers here for that.

3. There doesn't seem to be a way to opt-out or ignore the additional functionality. For things like the automatic journal entries discussed somewhere around here, you could just not look at the journal (from the player side) or not provide journal entries (from the age writer side). But even if you didn't want to participate in an in-game currency system, it would still show up in places demanding its use in order to gain access to certain parts of the game.

4. Currency could eventually be involved all over the place, generally barring access to portions of the game to people unwilling or unable to pay. Rather than increasing functionality, this would seem to decrease functionality, which is a bad thing.

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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 4:58 pm 
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I wouldn't play URU any more if currency was introduced.


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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 7:18 pm 
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Rusty_Russell wrote:
I wouldn't play URU any more if currency was introduced.

And I would definitely play Uru less if currency was introduced. Money, xp, missions, and other gameplay staples of MMORPGs are not what I'm looking for in Uru. I'm not saying that this is 'evil', just that IMO this doesn't belong in Uru.


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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 7:29 pm 
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@aloys & Rusty_Russell: What are your views on a trade system? Such as being able to make say an item of clothing (Where you change a texture) and trade it with other people (Or give away for free)? Similar to Pirates of the Burning Sea's Flags and Sails. In Pirates of the Burning Sea people can make textures and submit them, if they are accepted (The community can vote on them) then they are allowed into the game and you can obtain them and share them with others.

- http://www.burningsea.com/page/community/uc/design

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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 7:43 pm 
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Why it has to be done like it's done in the x-y-z game other people play? Or the other x-y-z game you guys play? Isn't it boring to see the same things all over?? :?


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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 7:56 pm 
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I think that's a neat idea; but for other games.
I come to Uru for the same reasons I come to the Myst series; plus the added benefit of interacting with people. But not to craft stuff, sell stuff, or even exchange stuff. As soon as you add that to a game, it fundamentaly changes the game. Many people will start to log in just for that, will advertise their stuff, will come to you not to explore an Age but to exchange some stuff etc.. Bringing Capitalism in the Cavern? hmmm, thanks but no.
Whether you do it with real money, virtual money, or a trading system doesn't change much. The trading system is definitely the least awful system of the 3; but IMO that's still fundamentally different from the Uru/Myst experience.
Again I'm not saying it's an 'evil' thing; in fact I haven't given this a lot of thought. There might actually be a good idea in there somewhere, but I can't say I'm willing to spend more time thinking about it. This is an idea that pops up regularly and have I have yet to so someone present it in an attractive fashion.


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 7:28 am 
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I don't see why we need a currency system in Uru. The money can go towards Cyan or any other Age creators so we can get this stuff without needing to go the extra step of implementing it in the game.

I still believe that Uru needs a constant stream of content to be kept interesting. It's the way it was built, and you can't change that without changing the game too much.


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 8:12 am 
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Trading is a topside activity. We're not re-enacting the D'ni but excavating and understanding a long-dead civilisation.
I don't want to play a clone / copy of Second Life or similar, I want to play Uru.


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 1:56 pm 
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@ Lyrositor, "Another thing: some people don't like the DRC. This opens up a whole other level." Whether it is currency or some type of experience points… I think the original purpose of the DRC was to put some friction and tension in the game. It definitely created some factions. So, I would not see that as much of a change in the game. Both currency and points have been used to improve player retention.

@ Stucuk, picking stuff up… I’ve been told the physics is client side. We had some movable stuff at one time and for performance reasons it was removed. From playing with Blender/PyPRP building there are some values that must be added to an object to allow the avatar to move it. Anything in Uru would need those values added. It has been sometime since I looked at PRP files in Blender. As I recall very little of Uru is physical. Simplified geometry was added for those things that need to be physical. I think it is unlikely we will ever see changes for moving things happen in existing Cyan ages. It might be doable in fan ages without much problem.

I have concerns about performance. I’ve found Uru to be laggy as the number of concurrent players increases. Lag certainly doesn’t help player retention. As things move that is information that has to arrive at the server and be transmitted to all players. So, it would increase bandwidth demand. I have no information on whether the bandwidth to player retention trades offs would make sense.

Barsoom or Myst Only… I think the story of current day explorers traveling to non-Myst places is entirely possible and workable. Whether any such ages would make it on the MOULa server is doubtful. But I expect some fan servers to head that direction. What affect that would have on player retention is unknown. New Myst ages will pull players in and seem an obvious choice.

@ Regnad Kcin01, you seem to separate players and developers. I don’t see that separation. Developers are players for most considerations in Uru. Some means of channeling payment to developers could increase production of content and that would increase player/developer interest… retention.

@Stucuk & Regnad, Currency and trading are not big player retention factors in most games. The player interactions they can lead to do significantly affect player retention. Facebook games generate more interaction by having things gifted back and forth to advance. Players need to bring in more players to advance faster. Money systems in most Facebook games are to allow players to buy faster advancement and skip pestering their friends.

@JWP, fraud… orders of magnitude is probably accurate. SL using RL money, even disguised as Linden Dollars, has numerous and frequent attempts of fraud. Security is a constant concern for SL users.

Having RL currency would definitely have an effect on shard operators. But, even game currency that only has in game value is known to create incentive for abuse. As weak as security is on the MOULa/MOSS servers it is a certainly we would see increased abuse and hacking of the system. Any hint of unfairness or cheating is destructive to player retention.
[/@]

Concerts… do people pay real money to attend concerts in a virtual world? That question has been answered, yes. Will there be enough Uru fans willing to pay for a concert to make the development and effort worthwhile? We don’t know that answer. But without a significant number of concurrent players, probably not. Would such events bring players in? They do in other virtual worlds. I think this is a Catch-22.

Do such things as pay for concerts and currency systems make Uru cheesy? To some, definitely. But, karaoke is big in the Uru community… I think that is a bit cheesy but it works for a bunch of fans. Without good stats we can’t know what it will mean for Uru. We do know that Uru as it is now titters on the edge of extinction. Repeating the process of using the same style content with no changes is likely to produce the same results. The problem is figuring out what to change and how to make the change and keep the Myst-Uru style.

We certainly do not HAVE TO pay our game developers. Some would not accept payment if it were available. But, I think we are unlikely to see the quantity of Cyan quality content needed without some incentive for developers.

Adding a currency or trading or experience leveling features will add complexity, programming needs, and added incentive to hack an already insecure game. At some future time it might be doable. For now we need to find something easier to add that will add excitement and improve player retention.

What we want… I try to keep people moving toward what is good for the game rather than personal preferences.

@ adi, I think you have missed part of the thread. It is not about making Uru like another game. It is about finding what works for people and making sure Uru works for people. The features in other games that people enjoy and find useful help a game succeed in retaining players. Describing a feature from another game gives people a quick idea what one is talking about. Referring to features of SL Chat is not about turning Uru into SL it is about getting some of the features that make chat easier and more fun to use into Uru.
[/@]

Aloys is right, we have hashed out currency and trade systems in other threads. We are not going to gain any ground rehashing currency again now. However, it would be implemented would require lots of work and development to secure the server and add the currency or point systems. Sever security is still something more of a consideration than a work in progress. Currency or points is not something we can do now without the security.

What would facilitate better player to player interaction in Uru? We have multiple studies showing that is the single most important contributing factor to player retention and game popularity.

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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 2:38 pm 
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adi wrote:
Why it has to be done like it's done in the x-y-z game other people play? Or the other x-y-z game you guys play? Isn't it boring to see the same things all over?? :?

Just because something is done in another game doesn't mean that its not a good idea for URU, nor does it mean you have to do it exactly like another game. But it is also true that just because it works in another game that does not mean it will work in URU.

What im saying is that it all depends on the idea its self rather than where that idea came from.

dragossh wrote:
I still believe that Uru needs a constant stream of content to be kept interesting. It's the way it was built, and you can't change that without changing the game too much.

Your right that you need to have regular updates to keep activity high(Though the updates do not need to be major things imo). URU in its current state doesn't have much replay value and the vast majority of it can be completed by yourself. I believe that if it had some ages which had team based games (I.E the wall game Cyan made but removed due to PhysX bugs) then it would mean you would need less new contents than you currently would to keep people interested.

Nalates wrote:
I have concerns about performance. I’ve found Uru to be laggy as the number of concurrent players increases. Lag certainly doesn’t help player retention. As things move that is information that has to arrive at the server and be transmitted to all players. So, it would increase bandwidth demand. I have no information on whether the bandwidth to player retention trades offs would make sense.

I have noticed in the past that "kicking" a cone can be laggy at updating even if there is only a handful of people on(At least from what i could tell at the time). It may be possible to reduce the bandwidth. I haven't found where in the CWE source it deals with updating the client/server with physics packets so i can't be sure.

When it comes to how much bandwidth is used for physics objects it depends on how you do it. For example assuming that Physics Objects are updated only by one player (As in when you move something you get assigned to it so that only you will update everyone elses world rather than multiple clients fighting over it), if you are sending a matrix* for as long as the object is moving, then you will be sending 16 floats per frame(well however often your sending updates to the server). But if you instead only send the position of the object when you hit it as well as the force you applied to that object once then you would only need to send a matrix* (To make sure everyone's client has the object at the same position) say every second instead of every few milliseconds.

But like i said before its just speculation.

*For anyone who doesn't know a matrix is a 4x4 array which holds the scale, position and rotation of an object.

Nalates wrote:
Players need to bring in more players to advance faster.

For other games rewards for inviting players does seem to bring them alot more players as people are then motivated to advertise the game. I guess you could have something like some relto pages that you can only get if you get X players to play the game may work, it could be done in an IC way by saying that the DRC requires lots more explorers and that if people manage to get X people to join the expedition that they will give rare relto pages out as a reward.

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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 3:05 pm 
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@Nalates: a whole other level of friction is what I meant, because then the tensions would become plain, and could actually be coded into the world, instead of being merely ideological.

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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 7:52 pm 
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I look at it this way: if Rand Miller had wanted all these things in Uru, he would've put those things in Uru.

But Uru is - as far as I can tell - a unique MMO. After all, it's based on Myst and Riven, two games that completely revolutionized computer gaming, and are still popular enough today to warrant their own iTunes/iPhone apps. Why would he (or anyone at Cyan) want to mess with that? Yes, new content is badly needed as well as better promotion. (Since Cyan has had a long and, erm, fruitful relationship with Apple - no pun intended, honest! - I would hope that Apple could help out in both these areas, but that's for another topic.)

So, to sum up, let Uru be Uru.

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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 9:24 pm 
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TOOO wrote:
I look at it this way: if Rand Miller had wanted all these things in Uru, he would've put those things in Uru.

While i think Cyan did a great job making the Myst Series, i believe that the community has the potential to come up with good ideas that they would never thought of, or better ways to do things. Though i do believe that any community changes that are implemented should be done in a way which is believable to the URU Universe.

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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 9:57 pm 
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We definitely need an entire FORUM to debate new features, with one thread per feature... :?

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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 10:19 pm 
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My view is that all these ideas, even the ones I think could be characterized by adjectives like "stupid" or "conceived by incompetent squirrels," deserve to be made and be allowed to compete on a level playing field with all others. From what I've heard of Uru's code, it's impossible at this point to make a mod system like in other games. Still, that's the kind of system I'd like: Everyone starts with basic Uru and then shops around for mods that change Uru to his/her liking. Think marketplace of ideas meets video game code.

My personal view on the currency idea is that currency would get me to put down Uru for good if it were forced on the community as a whole. Currency is the cheapest trick in a game's book when it wants to bring in money and one thing Uru has going for it is that it's considerably less tacky than other free games. Being able to sell my Ages, while tempting, is against my values on why I'm making Ages. I make Ages to grow this world and enrich fellow player's experiences, not to enrich or even "fairly pay" myself.

Furthermore, I think currency would have a detrimental effect on fan Ages. As it stands our current ego-boosting (I call it "fan-based") system encourages high-quality Ages in what is ideally a self-perpetuating system. For example: John makes and Age and shows it to Brian. Brian tells John that it was a good Age, but the texturing looked rushed. John goes to Mary and asks her for help and Mary shows John how to texture his Age better. John makes the changes and shows Brian again. Repeat until only minor issues remain.
In the pay model, there is no similar social encouragement to refine an Age. In this case, John makes an Age and releases it, then goes to work on the next Age. We get lots of Ages with the natural desire for money primarily driving creation.
The counter-argument to this is often that the money will encourage people to refine their Ages because others will prefer to buy high-quality Ages. The problem is that this doesn't hold up either in the digital or real worlds. Whether it's the fashion-chaser buying the expensive dress or the bargain-hunter buying the carcinogenic toothpaste, money rarely reflects quality.
The counter to this might be that the fan-based model is untested and risky whereas the pay model is tested and can sometimes work. The problems with this are two-fold. For one, it is rarely a good idea to say that an idea will fail because it hasn't been tested. For another, there is a long history of companies and people in general taking time to build quality products with the reward of increased customer/client relations and repeat business.

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