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SinkOrSwim
 Monday, March 23 2009 @ 03:00 PM UTC  
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I'd never heard of WCG before now, but I work on my laptop all day while my desktop stands idle at home. A more productive use for it than simply sitting attached to uTorrent, I reckon...


... Grace is just the measure of a fall ...
 
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Count Sessine
 Friday, April 10 2009 @ 08:57 AM UTC  
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And we're now at eight years...

Getting there!


 
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Anonymous: Symar
 Saturday, April 25 2009 @ 04:04 PM UTC  


This is at like, 9 1/3 years now.
I hope CMJ is ready for whatever the special thing is he's going to do, hehe.


 
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Count Sessine
 Friday, May 01 2009 @ 08:05 AM UTC  
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It is now...

*** TEN YEARS ***


 
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Giuseppe Lorenzo
 Friday, May 01 2009 @ 06:08 PM UTC  
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I wish I could have participated, but I didn't know how to install the widget on my Ubuntu system.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Saturday, May 09 2009 @ 07:33 PM UTC  
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Hey everyone - I can't actually upload the module to reward you all right now, 'cause I'm using my phone as a modem (STILL no proper Internets) and it doesn't support FTP.

However, there are some things I'd like to talk about with regards to WCG, and I'll come back and post 'em later on tonight...


 
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CavemanJoe
 Saturday, May 09 2009 @ 08:27 PM UTC  
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More Things, as promised...

Earlier tonight, on the test server running on my laptop, I fiddled around for a few minutes and successfully built a very rudimentary system that grabs the total number of points generated by a particular user, as represented in the WCG XML view.

Here's some example XML output.

It'd be a trivial coding exercise to award some sort of currency in exchange for WCG points, on a per-player basis.

The how:
Player arrives at a special area located somewhere on Improbable Island where the concepts are explained. They are asked to enter their WCG username.
If the username belongs to the Improbable Island WCG team, then it is associated with their player and locked (the player can't change it afterwards). If it doesn't belong to the team, or it doesn't exist, it bounces back.
There is no reliable way to automatically ensure that the Improbable Island character and the WCG username actually correspond to the same person. The only way I can even see a human being accomplishing this task is by asking the user to leave the team, seeing that they've left it, and then asking them to rejoin (there isn't even a "mail user" option on the WCG website). That's a right pain in the arse, so I'll just leave the trust with the player until another player Petitions to say "Hey, someone else has taken my WCG ID," watch if anyone leaves the team, then ban whoever's lying. Wink
Each game day, some sort of currency or resource (which we'll talk about in "The What") is assigned based on the player's WCG Points. Resources/currencies will likely be awarded a day or so after the player's computer has actually done anything.

The why:
...well, several reasons.
First and foremost, of course, humanitarian research. That kinda goes without saying.
Secondly, promotion - a game in which the player's performance is in part affected by their involvement in humanitarian research is pretty damned cool, and I'm sure we'd get a lot of players through word-of-mouth.
Third - it'd just be awesome. Smile

The What:
Hell if I know.
I'm not averse to the idea of creating a simple sub-game that has only a slight effect on the rest of the game. For example, if I were to create some sort of trading card system, I could make the cards buyable only with a new currency generated by WCG points. I don't want WCG to be the main drive of the Improbable Island experience, but I don't want it to be just a silly little "Leave your computer running for six weeks and get 10 Req" exercise either. So, we're looking at mini-games, sub-games, games within games. Something simple by preference.

Any ideas?


 
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K.K. Victoria
 Saturday, May 09 2009 @ 11:55 PM UTC  
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You consider maybe making an extra shop with that currency being the only thing it deals in?
Something that maybe sells some kind of equipment, special items that do specific things or something, (Or maybe just alternate variations on the items that we already have.) And as not to screw up the economy at all and make it something more exclusive, why not make it something that can't be traded between players?


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Giuseppe Lorenzo
 Sunday, May 10 2009 @ 01:40 AM UTC  
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How about some sort of new diversion in one of the outposts? You could spend these WCG points there and get some sort of either positive or negative buff. It could be a casino in AceHigh, or some similar concept.


 
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TheMuffinMan
 Sunday, May 10 2009 @ 04:50 AM UTC  
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Hmm... I like the trading cards idea, and more so if the cards were of people who are on the team. I don't know how easy/hard that'd be or whatever, since they'd have to be updated frequently for all the new kids joining, but trading cards is something I'd like, seeing as that fad was a chunk of my childhood. >.>


 
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CavemanJoe
 Monday, May 11 2009 @ 09:57 PM UTC  
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Okay, some ideas for a possible trading card system.

I would *like* to put this in Season One, if I can swing it technically. However, S1 is a lot harder to code for than S2, so no promises.

For the sake of this not taking fucking forever, we'll be keeping it simple gameplay-wise, creating cards from our Monster table and equipping them with weapons and armour that already exist in the game.

Each time a player gets more than x number of WCG points, he gets a pack of seven cards. He needs five monster cards to make a hand. Equipment cards are rarer than monster cards. You can put a weapon and/or armour card on top of a monster card and it'll only count for one out of your hand of five. So, weaker monsters can be strengthened with equipment.

Opponent does the same, cards are compared in one-to-one battles, a small amount of randomization is thrown in to ensure that nobody gets to hold on to a powerful card forever, and for each of the five battles the winning player keeps the losing player's card(s), including attached weapons and armour. Nice and simple. The simpler we keep this, the faster I'll be able to get it done.

The WCG integration doesn't have to be about cards, though. Some sort of minor minigame, a game-within-a-game of quite simplistic proportions, that doesn't really affect the rest of the game too much. No buffs, no major rest-of-game advantages.


 
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Giuseppe Lorenzo
 Monday, May 11 2009 @ 10:05 PM UTC  
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Quote by: CavemanJoe

Okay, some ideas for a possible trading card system.


Each time a player gets more than x number of WCG points, he gets a pack of seven cards. He needs five monster cards to make a hand. Equipment cards are rarer than monster cards. You can put a weapon and/or armour card on top of a monster card and it'll only count for one out of your hand of five. So, weaker monsters can be strengthened with equipment.

Opponent does the same, cards are compared in one-to-one battles, a small amount of randomization is thrown in to ensure that nobody gets to hold on to a powerful card forever, and for each of the five battles the winning player keeps the losing player's card(s), including attached weapons and armour. Nice and simple. The simpler we keep this, the faster I'll be able to get it done.



This would make the game feel too much like a TCG and less like what it really is. I used to love TCGs, but now I think this would make the game really complicated.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Monday, May 11 2009 @ 10:38 PM UTC  
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I think you misunderstand...

We can't go giving out proportionate buffs and game resources to players who leave their computers turned on all day, install the software on multiple PC's, persuade others to install software under their logins etc etc etc. At least, not with Improbable Island. Improbable Island is a PBBG first and foremost, where your success is dependant on in-game strategy, not on out-of-game or real-world actions. Allowing players to amass rewards based on their WCG score would royally screw up the balance of the game and turn it into something it's not.

Basically if I want to write a game in which the player's performance is influenced by any great degree by their WCG score, it's got to be a new game, from scratch. New as in, I go off and write another browser game, that has nowt to do with Improbable Island. But, I quite like Improbable Island. Smile And I like the people on it, and I like the way it allows for greater expansion. I don't particularly want to take on a whole new game project right now.

So - I write a game that interfaces with WCG as if I'm writing it from scratch. But, I slot it into Improbable Island in a sort of "sandbox." Say the trading card club is located in a small hut in Pleasantville - nothing that happens inside that hut escapes into the rest of the Island, and vice versa. Your Attack and Defence and other stats don't matter inside that hut - only your cards matter. Just as your cards don't matter on the rest of the Island outside of that hut. The same way that when you're playing Improbable Island, the size of your biceps and the sharpness of your teeth in real life don't matter either. The card system is, quite literally, a game within a game.

This way, the main game isn't unbalanced by people signing up who have been part of WCG for many years, and receiving thousands of cards at once (as they will, and with my blessings too). Likewise, people will be free to run their computers (and those of their friends') as hot as they want for more sub-game cards without unbalancing the main game. Likewise again, people who have contributed to WCG for many years could conceivably sign up and be major players in the trading card sub-game straight away, while remaining at an appropriate newbie level in the main game (thereby encouraging signups from WCG members).

In short, the trading card game doesn't interact with the main game, so it won't make Improbable Island any more complicated. Smile It just makes things complicated in a little hut in Pleasantville. Wink


 
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Giuseppe Lorenzo
 Monday, May 11 2009 @ 10:50 PM UTC  
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The new TCG elements could be put in the middle of the Jungle. Finding the place would be half the fun.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Monday, May 11 2009 @ 11:03 PM UTC  
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Oh, we'll have some cool things for you to find in the World Map in S2, don't worry about that. Wink

If we're going for a minigame, though, it has to be accessible right from the getgo. In fact, scratch putting it in Pleasantville - it's gotta go in NewHome ideally (or, perhaps, in every Outpost). Because that way, I can put "The computer game that cures cancer!" right on the front page of Improbable Island. Also, I can tell WCG members about the game and have them come over and start playing their "killer feature" straight away, without having to dick around too much.


 
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Giuseppe Lorenzo
 Monday, May 11 2009 @ 11:06 PM UTC  
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Quote by: CavemanJoe

Oh, we'll have some cool things for you to find in the World Map in S2, don't worry about that. Wink

If we're going for a minigame, though, it has to be accessible right from the getgo. In fact, scratch putting it in Pleasantville - it's gotta go in NewHome ideally (or, perhaps, in every Outpost). Because that way, I can put "The computer game that cures cancer!" right on the front page of Improbable Island. Also, I can tell WCG members about the game and have them come over and start playing their "killer feature" straight away, without having to dick around too much.


I like this idea a lot. I look forward to it, in fact.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Monday, May 11 2009 @ 11:36 PM UTC  
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Me too! Mr. Green But it's just one idea, out of a possible $many. It needn't necessarily be a trading card game - it could also be a monster collecting game, or something similar. Hence my asking for ideas.

So, we're looking for ideas for sub-games that are self-contained, and don't affect gameplay on the rest of the Island. They should be thematically quite closely related to Improbable Island, but they should be the sort of games that could stand on their own. Sub-games in which a Newbie could beat up a Lord High Elevated Badass of the Whatever, and their success would be determined at least partially by how many points they could generate in World Community Grid.

For example, we could just as easily make a stock trading game that ran on WCG points - players could buy shares (using a WCG-Points-equivalent currency) in Sheila's Shack, eBoy's Trading Station, Mike's Chop Shop et cetera and do the whole buying low, selling high thing.

Ideas?


 
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Giuseppe Lorenzo
 Tuesday, May 12 2009 @ 12:12 AM UTC  
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I couldn't figure out how to install the widget on my Ubuntu install. I just started using the OS.


 
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K.K. Victoria
 Tuesday, May 12 2009 @ 12:15 AM UTC  
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I would pull for gambling.

If you've ever played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, they invented their own little gambling game. I don't actually remember how it's played or what it's called, but I do remember that there were parts where it really did matter what sort of cards you had. Might make a deeper version of that...


"You saved Pineapple!"
 
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Giuseppe Lorenzo
 Tuesday, May 12 2009 @ 12:19 AM UTC  
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Quote by: K.K.+Victoria

I would pull for gambling.

If you've ever played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, they invented their own little gambling game. I don't actually remember how it's played or what it's called, but I do remember that there were parts where it really did matter what sort of cards you had. Might make a deeper version of that...

I think it's called Sabacc. I feel so ashamed to know that.


 
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