Payday loans
RedShirts 2 Ad Banner for Kickstarter

Archive for August 4th, 2008

Yet Another Monday Morning List Update

Monday, August 4th, 2008

It’s that time again, when I print a list of things that someone has learned that they are not supposed to do.

Here’s my list of stuff I’m not allowed to do while working for a summer youth program (SYP) at a large university (to remain nameless). The class I teach is mountaineering and orienteering. If you post this, please include only my first name, no last name or email address.

So no last name or email is included, so that he will now blend in with the hundreds of other SYP rock climbing instructors.

Things Dan Can’t Do While Climbing With SYP Students

1. Throw students off cliffs

2 Even if they are tied off

3 Even if they are tied off and want to try it

4 Bring a banjo to play during the out door climbing session….it makes the city kids nervous.

5 When the instructor in charge (IIC) says to bring all my usual climbing gear, that does not included my .44 magnum, a playboy and 3 cans of dip….its scares the city kids.

6 Tie the students into the belay line with a hangman’s noose….

7 Even if I promise to tie the noose through the harness and not around their necks

8 Even if the noose is a stronger knot than the figure 8

9 When the IIC gives permission to ride my motorcycle to the climb instead of in the vans with the students that does not imply that I get to ride lead, motorcade style….

10 Especially if I plan to get to the lead position by passing the vans at over 100 miles per hour….in a wheelie.

11 Throwing large pebbles off the cliff is not an acceptable way of enforcing the no P.D.A. rule….especially if the offender is the IIC and his significant other.

12 The IIC’s admonishment to “Be sure to rig strong anchors” does not imply the need to rig 150′ of tubular nylon on a single anchor point.

13 When the IIC requests you to “tie off” a particularly clumsy student, 15′ feet of tubular nylon, a pair of locking ‘biners and a rock bolt anchor is sufficient….no need to “Spiderman” the student to a tree with 50′ of tubular webbing….

14 Even if it is “for their own good”.

15 Its considered “unsportsmanlike” to occasionally add rocks to other instructors packs through out the day….even if it’s funny to see the look on their faces when their pack that started at 20lbs, weighs 45lbs at the end of the day.

16 If an idea makes me giggle for more than 5 seconds, consider it banned.

17 If an idea makes me smile, think it through again before trying it.

18 Replacing the standard climber/belaying communication phrases with other phrases containing double meanings is not allowed.

19 When instructed to “keep it PG”, that does not mean I go surf the web for the dirtiest PG movie ever and then watch it to see what I can get way with.

20 Its not funny to place small rare earth magnets under the IIC’c compass and inside his GPS battery compartment in order to make him look like a jackass.

21 Just ’cause the IIC made me hump the 5 gallon water cooler around, as a form of punishment, does not mean I get to call myself “the water bitch”.

22 Its considered impolite to challenge the IIC to an uphill race while I’m humping the water cooler….especially if I beat him.

Skippy’s Dream MMO 3.1

Monday, August 4th, 2008

I didn’t get a chance to respond to everything on my last ‘Dream MMO’ post. But people kept discussing game mechanics for the next week. So I figured “Why not keep this discussion going?”.

So evidently online game economy is a subject that the readers of my site have an opinion on.

Now, I still take the stance that inflation is inevitable, but can be mitigated from the design, although a lot of my readers disagree with that assessment. Or rather, in an ideal situation for an MMO there will be inflation. Because ideally there will always be more players, adventuring away and adding more virtual money to the economy.

One suggestion I saw come up a lot was to remove things from the economy. Which is true, if players are constantly having to replace their gear that would have a net effect of keeping their stockpiles of money down. Since that was the majority suggestion, let’s run with that tonight.

Of course, players get kind of cranky if you take their stuff away. I’m not saying that you should take players toys away on occasion, just that games need to be cautions about how they go about doing it. So here are the ideas I saw suggested last time, plus a few others.

Ways I think would be good to remove items:

Reduced Effectiveness With Use – It doesn’t force the player to ever give up a piece of gear, but it encourages the player to switch out as often as they can, in order to maintain peak effectiveness.

Damage – The equipment has it’s own sent of hit points, that are reduced by use. Eventually the equipment will break. Many games have systems similar to this. The best example I have seen was in the game Arcanum. If an item gets damaged, you could repair it. But instead of going back up to it’s maximum health when you repaired it, the current health and the max health would be averaged. So the more frequently you repaired you equipment, the longer it lasted. But that would make it cost more, and no matter what it will eventually break.

Binding – Once picked up, customized, or equipped, the item becomes locked to it’s owner. WOW made good use of this, as nearly all of the equipment from the first third of the game onward is binding in some way. Guildwars also did a neat job here, by making weapons customizable. You spend extra money on the weapon, to gain a bonus to it’s use, but then no other player can ever use it. They’ve basically found a way to get the players to pay extra for having their equipment bound.

Scavenging – WOW has this as enchanting, Auto Assault had a version of this. Basically you allow the players to turn the items they posses into the raw materials that they use to create new objects. As long as the player crafted items cost more resources to create than they yield when destroyed it shouldn’t be abusable. Especially is you make a separate set of resources that are *only* available from scavenging. If you link this to a damage system for the item, it could be rigged up that the less health the equipment has left, the less salvage it has. Which encourages the players to break their own toys as fast as possible.

Obsolescence – If the player has the best sword in the game, he will never spend money on another. So make a sword that is better than that. This is what every MMO would probably like to do. But there are practical limits to how many new areas, and new equipment the development team can get into the play-space. And they will never be able to make it fast enough to keep up with the ultra-hardcore players. Don’t get me wrong, I like this idea the best, and it’s part of the point of MMO’s. At least it’s part of the justification for the subscription.

One possibility to use obsolescence without breaking the developers backs, is to supplement it with a procedural one up system.

Let’s say that the best sword in the game is the Longsword of Leetness. It’s only available by doing a long and expensive quest, and at first, only the absolute most dedicated players have them. But months pass and more and more players have found the time to complete the quest. Once a certain percentage of end-game players have the sword the game determines that it needs to ‘one-up’ the Longsword of Leetness. So it releases the Battle-axe of Leetness. Which statistically is pretty close to identical to the Longsword in every way. Except that it has a bonus when used against a player who is using the Longsword. When enough players switch to the Battle-axe, it creates a super-powered mace, that has a bonus to take on the first two, and so on. It think a nice money sink could be developed by giving the end-game players a permanent arms race against each other.

So any comments on the ideas I listed? Any other ideas to remove stuff from the players?