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Archive for June 16th, 2008

Yet Another “Do Not Do This” Update

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Here it is, allergist you Monday morning list of things you should probably not do.

(Submitted by Kennes Hendrickson)

  • Not allowed to send soldiers to the motor pool for a can of air.
  • Not allowed to send soldiers to the 1sg to ask for the pricky-8 for the radio
  • Even if the platoon sergeant thought it would be funny
  • Must not remove a soldiers canister from their gas mask
  • Even if they are sleeping on duty
  • Not allowed to send soldiers to range control to get keys to the drop zone
  • There is no such duty to paint the flight lines
  • Not allowed to refer to subordinates as my minions
  • Not allowed to refer to subordinates as my little bastards
  • Not allowed to tape corporals to chairs with 100 mile hour tape during lunch hour
  • Nor allowed during duty hours
  • Not even if they flunked out of jump master school twice
  • Can not order soldiers to throw rocks at the same corporal
  • Can not set up trip wires in the scif at Ft. Bragg in order to make the roving gaurds trip
  • Not supposed to laugh at the NCOIC when she trips over the trip wire
  • Not allowed to sell TA-50 on e-bay
  • Not even if it is your annoying room mates TA-50
  • Not allowed to call your 1sg a LEG even if he is one
  • Can not laugh at your 1sg for being a reservist, pills because they have feeling too
  • Must not tell locals in Hawaii that your MOS is Sub-terrain Pineapple growers, even if you work under a pineapple field and can not say what you do
  • Not supposed to tell people they hate me because I am black, especially if I am white
  • On Sicily drop zone at 0100 when the platoon sergeant is looking for his poncho, not supposed to take the token Mexican kid to him
  • Can not hide your platoon sergeants poncho from him on jumps
  • Not allowed to ask the battalion CSM why you always have to remind him he is a sergeant major
  • Can not inject the “Army, it’s so easy a caveman can do it” picture into a power point presentation intended for the battalion commander
  • Even if he thinks it is funny
  • Can not even attempt to DX my neighbor
  • Not allowed to have an EPW camp of field mice in an MRE box
  • Not allowed to execute mice that were captured during time of war
  • Birth certificate and high school diploma do not count for promotion points
  • During war fighters can not brief the ACE chief on enemy activity in Rhode Island
  • Even if you believe they are communist
  • Can not fuel a generator while smoking a cigarette
  • Not allowed to ask your CO for beef jerky, even if he did horde it on the show Survivor
  • Not allowed to put a bumper sticker on a religious soldiers car that reads “WWSD” with small print reading “What would Scooby Doo”
  • Not allowed to link all laptops together to play 2 vs. 2 command and conquer generals
  • Not allowed to take the CO’s proxima projector to make a movie theater inside the t-scif
  • It is frowned upon to teach a private MP that is 4th general order is to guard his post from flank to flank and take no shit from any rank
  • Even if the MP NCOIC taught it to you
  • Not allowed to hide in shelter halves to avoid work
  • Can not perform an L shaped ambush on your SGL at PLDC with blank rounds
  • During a brass shake down can not tell the drill sergeant “Your ass, my ammo”
  • While as a drill sergeant can not give your soldiers ecstasy

Skippy’s Dream MMO Part 1

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Over the years I have played many online games. I have current accounts on City of Heroes and Age of Conan. I experimented with Pirates of the Burning Seas, Auto Assault, Eve, and Lord of the Rings, and D&D Online. I was on the Star Wars Galaxies and Tabula Rasa betas. I had a World of Warcraft habit that lasted for years. And in fact it was when I was introduced to Dark Age of Camelot while I was still in the Army that I decided that I want to make video games for a living.

So basically I have spent a lot of time thinking about how large scale online games are put together, and how to make them more fun.

So for this installment, I want to talk about crafting, and how I think that it could be improved.

At the moment, most crafting systems worked in one of two ways.

1) Static Recipe System

The player has access to recipes, and by providing the exact components the recipe calls for they can assemble an item that is identical to every other item created from the same recipe. This is how most of the big MMOs have handled it. It has the advantage of being very easy to understand, but it is a grind based system, which can get boring quickly.

2) Varied Recipe

The player has access to recipes, and the ability to create experiment with small parts within the formula. Star Wars Galaxies had a system like this, where there was a large variety in the stats possible when an item was generated. Various factors ranging from character skill level, the the quality of the materials, and even a certain amount of luck could effect the end product in a variety of ways. This had the advantage of being a lot more interesting for the crafter. But many players found this to be too complicated, and it was difficult to predict how any particular item would turn out. Player would frequently have to make several items in order to randomly generate an optimal one.

So the biggest complaints that I always hear is that every crafting system is either too static and simplistic to be fun, or too dynamic and complicated to be fun.

My solution is a system which I call the “Assembly” crafting system.

The idea is that the player still has recipes. But the recipes aren’t for completed items. The recipes are for the individual components that go into into a finished item.

To demonstrate I have made this quick example, using a retro sci-fi theme

Each ray gun is made up of three components. A Firing Mechanism, A Power Supply, and an Emitter.

Each component has a variety of ways that it effects the stats of the final weapon.

Firing Mechanism
Repeater – The pistol gets an increased rate of fire, but reduced accuracy and damage.
Charger – The pistol gets an increased damage, but reduced range and accuracy
Phaser – The pistol gets an increased range, but reduced rate of attack and damage

Power Supply
Heat Bank- Weapon does 5 points of heat damage per shot
Atomic Battery- Weapon does 5 points of Atomic damage per shot
Neutron Compiler- Weapon does 5 points of Neutron damage per shot

Beam- Weapon gets increased range and armor penetration, but reduced damage
Blast – Weapon gets an increase to damage, but a decrease to accuracy
Ray – Weapon has severely reduced range, but gains area of effect attack

ray guns

A player would be able to make 27 different weapons from the sample components I’ve shown so far. And in each case the weapon would be significantly different, both in game use and appearance. So if we had an expanded list of components, say 20 in each category, we’d have 8000 possible combinations. This would give the players who want to craft more than enough options to be able to make weapons optimized for the needs of any other player. And it has the added effect that players can also craft to get a specific desired appearance, in case they are more into the role-playing and dress up elements of the game.