Subject: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 13 2011 @ 04:27 PM
By: Count+Sessine

Content:

From the Places thread:

Quote by: Zolotisty

Confused

IMO, Trains would benefit from some downtime to reconsider their impact on the Island -- even their current iteration seems unbalanced to me, and they're a major contributor to how we got to a state of imbalance in the first place. Players (and power players especially) have been very spoiled.

Let's get specific about what is currently wrong with trains and should be changed in the next iteration. I have already done quite a lot of reconsidering -- no need to stop the trains for that. Baby, bathwater, y'know.

Let me say from the outset that, yes, the current iteration is unbalanced. I do not believe that de-coupling transportation from the basic LotGD DK cycle has been a bad thing; for social reasons, it is important that there should be a way to get around the Island that does not depend on req or rank or joker bad days. Nor do I think that this provides an unfair advantage to power players; trains are, or should be, equalizers in that respect.

That said -- there are two major respects in which the current Trains system is seriously unbalanced.

First, there are far, far too many cards and passes out there; a player should have to think before using a rail pass; on the other hand, we don't want to make passes so difficult to obtain that players feel they must hoard them and are afraid to use them. I'd like to hear some feedback about what would be an ideal range that would make a rail pass really worth something.

Second, the current process by which players obtain cards is too predictable and therefore boring. It was intended to give people an incentive to go out exploring the many wonderful dwellings around the Island -- but it doesn't work like that. The card-drops near the outposts get all the traffic. Since there'll always be a card waiting in the same place every day, it becomes a regular, routine visit. That's no fun.

I have ideas to address both of these in the Trains rewrite. For the first problem -- the answer comes from ecology. To keep a population (even of playing cards and rail passes!) down to reasonable numbers, there need to be predators. I have a couple of card-predators in mind. Let your collection grow too big, and you will attract their attention. The current huge decks owned by certain players can be quickly whittled down this way to reasonable proportions, but players with only a few cards and passes won't run into trouble at all.

For the second... I had an answer -- but I am throwing it away, because it looks like Places will open up many, many, many possibilities for acquiring cards in new and interesting ways. I have some ideas, but details will have to depend on how Places end up working.

The train system also needs to make itself more evident to new players. I checked last night -- there are 723 characters who have card cases. Of these, only 452 have actually used a rail pass. (For comparison, as of last night there were 3,388 characters who had logged in within the last month, 1,854 within the last week, and 1,121 within the last day.) I know of at least one veteran player who had owned a card case for a long time, but didn't know to look in dwellings and had been collecting only those cards that can be found, very rarely, in the jungle or on the map. Word of mouth is good for social interaction, but it misses people who don't like to ask.

Redeeming cards for passes has to change, too. First class is too easy to get, right now, much easier than regular ones. I like that jokers are special; I like that when you have a joker you get to make a decision about when to trade in your cards. But at the moment there's no reason not to hang on to your hand. After you've collected thirty or forty different cards, nearly every new card that comes in translates to another first class pass. That needs fixing.



Replies:

Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 13 2011 @ 05:46 PM
By: Zolotisty

Content:

Re. point the first: Beyond predators, perhaps there can be a system of degradation and decay -- after ten or fifteen game days, say, a card could crumble to papery bits and be gone and away from your hand. It'd encourage people to trade more actively.

Re. point the second: One of my concerns with place-specific playing card drops has always been the favoritism inherent in the system and exponential difficulty of rewriting (or indeed, adding) place-specific flavour text as you pick up cards. I really like that it's not a generic 'you found a card!' message when you're wandering through a given Dwelling, but I think if the system is to encourage people to explore Dwellings generally rather than hit a specific handful as a part of a daily routine, there should be a generic message and a chance to find one in any Dwelling.

Also! Some of us don't use Trains not because we don't know to but because we prefer walking. I grind my Travel scores because I like grinding my Travel scores.

To introduce some new things I have thought about re. Trains:

- They are awfully consistent, and Improbable only in the fact that they are always running and always take you to the destination you intended. If an Outpost is under siege for example, why would a Train be running there? Why isn't the Island shifting tracks around? Why is there always a Train in the station whenever I want one to be there? How many engines are on the line, really, if there's one there for everyone all the time?

- For something working in a war zone on a dead-broke Island, they are awfully fancy, privileged, and well-maintained -- which on one hand, is part of the nostalgic allure of an old-school train.. and on the other, seems very inconsistent with our world's setting, era, and theme. Pretty things on the Island tend to be organically produced and alive, like the Common Ground. Pretty because nature and the Drive conspired to make it, not someone else. Everything else, while it can be very handsome, should be coming from scrapped parts -- because that's all anyone's got to work with. Subways and their attendant ambiance, in particular the NYC subway system, seem to me to be more consistent with what might be on the Island.

- I had more thoughts but they've escaped me. I'll come back.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 13 2011 @ 07:44 PM
By: Hairy+Mary

Content:

I agree with Sussine, and mostly agree with Zolotisty here.

I'll disagree with the last point though.

Is the train system man made as opposed to Improbable? The Drive has produced plenty of other mechanical objects, I'm not sure if kittybikes are Improbably generated or the result of late twenty first century technology, but they're certainly pretty, and also at least in part mechanical. For definitely Improbable, definitely mechanical objects, what about robots, or quite a few of the things that you meet in the jungle? The Perpetual Motion Whotsit for example.

But even if the trains are man made, then perhaps they're a relic from before the good Doktor created The Drive. They could still be very pretty and elegant, although they might break down occasionally. This of course ties neatly in with Z's first new point.

Now my new point.

One perspective to consider trains from is the point of view of game play elements.

-Effects on building dwellings.
For people who don't build their homes up in the north east corner of the Island or on top of an outpost, it makes transportation of stone easier. Outposts are important because we can use one-shot teleports to get there.

Even the mansions which is just two squares of jungle away from P.Ville. The best backpack can carry four stones. If I overload it and carry the twenty stones that I need for one extension, it takes about 6%. Not too much, certainly. Now consider the south west corner of the Island. The Jackalope for example. Getting stone there from NewHome takes some doing. So first class tickets that can take you straight to your dwelling are very useful. To the point where it changes things quite dramatically.

Any square is as good as any other square for building as far as materials are concerned, which isn't the way that the system was set up. Whether this is good or bad I'm not sure, but it's a very definite effect. Having a limit on the weight that the train will let on board? Or use multiple tickets for overloading or something might be an idea?

-Effect on the main game play.
Rather less sure about this one, not being much of a game player myself. Do some people start a day with a train ticket, visiting each outpost, and maximizing on what they eat/drink? Perhaps going round again when various buffs run out? All that needs only one ticket, but it would take a lot of one-shots.

I thought that it was this sort of thing that Z was refering to in the original post as quoted by Sussine from the other thread. I really don't know much about this, trains probably affect game play in other ways as well, about which I've got no idea.

What about role play on the train? At first sight, it should be a great role play space, but I've hardly ever seen it used for much. There was that big day when me (The Skronkys), Miss Helabore, and Calliaphone all got stuck in and did something. Ah, fond memories. But apart from that, not much. I should admit though, that I'm not sure that I've even been on the train in the last six months, so maybe that's the main locus of scene-centre'd role play today for all I know. Making it hard/expensive/however you want to term it to get on the train won't encourage anything. Maybe the comms tent has a speaker on the train?


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 13 2011 @ 08:42 PM
By: Makiwa

Content:

Some random thoughts spinning off from what's been posted so far. Apologies if it's all tosh:

Cards are obviously way too easy to come by at the moment and Jokers (unless I've just been lucky) are easy to come by too. Normal rail passes are irrelevant. First class passes are abundant.

So (all with question marks):
A set number of cards available in any dwelling per game day. Once x number of cards have been found in that day. That's all folks.
If cards are harder to come by they won't decay but rail passes will (expiry date). Adds value to rail passes and encourages planning.
Gifting cards stays free (encouraging trading) - why not gifting rail passes (for 1 or 2 SP)
More random diverts (i.e. Bingo Hall, Abandoned Waystation) but you also lose your pass (oh wait, devastating if your pack's full of rocks or wood, hmm, keep an OST handy.)
TMBs on a train could steal a card now and again.

Hell if I know how you balance this stuff. An expiry date on passes and/or cards might help i.e. if hoarding cards is till too easy the expiry date could be shortened and vice versa.

The randomness off stumbling over a card in the jungle is, IMO, perfect. It happens rarely enough to be special.

On Z's note about the trains themselves. I agree they are very predictable. Perhaps there could be a timetable of sorts or the stationmaster can tell you "Oh the train is just leaving Pleasantville, but won't be stopping in Cyber City as it's under attack so it should be here in about...." Might encourage RP in the stations while folks are waiting for their train?

It's not easy is it? Like Z I had some other thoughts that have run off and hidden somewhere.....

EDIT: Saw Hairy Mary's post after I'd posted. I see the trains as a leftover from bygone days. Restored and brought back to life. I think there is only one engine that improbably is at every station simultaneously.
I love the idea of the train breaking down now and again but can't imagine how this would work and what consequences this would have.

I wasn't here (or can't remember a time) when there were no trains so can only imagine how slow building dwellings must have been - unless you had a lot of help from friends.

I still travel on foot (ok well scrambler then) quite a lot and to me the train serves three main purposes. Gathering building materials, doing higher rank DKs while questing and searching for the Drive. Only one of these really needs a First Class Pass.

Rambling again. Bye.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 13 2011 @ 09:20 PM
By: Sneaky

Content:

If you're going to use a thief system to curb high card yields, at least make it seem like less of a punishment. You could turn it into a train-only monster encounter (name it the Bounding Bully or Bandit, maybe have both as different encounters) and have them steal cards from losing contestants. Dunno how you'll do the power levels (might be good if it's stronger if the player has more cards than the foe currently holds and weaker if the player has less than them). Make it so winning contestants can instead gain a fraction of the cards from the beaten thief, kind of like the Raven Inn jackpots.

Heck, if you make both into AI bots and have them wander Dwellings of the island, that could even /compliment/ the current system if you don't make them too hard to track and chase down.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 13 2011 @ 10:53 PM
By: Matthew

Content:

My biggest concern about passes and trains being reworked is the huge impact on builders, as others have already brought up. Getting enough stone to build a remote dwelling, without the abilities of a first-class rail pass, is a long and stupid process, and if the ability is removed, then I guess say goodbye to any dwellings that are at all distant from the main outposts. That's not something I want to see happen. I know one may argue that perhaps remote dwellings are supposed to be tougher to build, but you just know that that philosophy simply won't translate to more effort by the players. They simply won't bother.

Maybe saying so reflects poorly on me, but I know people. Especially internet people.

As for making rail passes too hard to come by, well, quote:

I mean the thought that goes "But I might need it later" — the niggling little doubt that prevents you from using all your most powerful insurance policies in case there's some kind of no-claims bonus at the end it all. So we have scenarios where you're sitting on a nuclear stockpile to shame North Korea and are throwing peas at a giant robot crab on the off-chance that there might be a bigger giant robot crab at the end of it all.



edit: I do agree that first-class passes are a bit too common. I'm not saying they should stay the same as they are, they definitely should be a little more prized; as of this post, I currently have 1322 First Class Rail Passes rotting in my card case. Something is wrong. I use one every day. I simply don't even think about it anymore. I collect at least one card a day, which makes up for that day's use or more. A more generic message possible in any room of any dwelling (maybe a small chance?) and an expiry date on cards (but NOT passes!) strike me as very good ideas.

You should still be able to save passes, which is why a limited time on them seems like a bad idea. Not being able to save a pass for when you want to use it kind of goes against the entire point of the system, but they should definitely be harder to come by. Save them for when you need to move vast amounts of stone or wood, and walking should be the smarter decision when all a rail pass would do is save you some clicks that day.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 14 2011 @ 03:15 AM
By: Zolotisty

Content:

Apologies in advance for any typos or autocorrects, I'm posting quickly from my phone.

Re. relics of bygone days: Established train systems of yore on a jungley Island? I dunno, gang! The Island's very small, remember -- even if it had been inhabited in the Days Of Yore, it doesn't strike me as sensical to run and maintain tracks in such a small space when you could just as easily maintain a few truck routes and truck or hike between spots.

Re. building being made inconvenient: This is unbalanced, too; building Dwellings was never meant to be something you could easily accomplish on your own. The system was meant to encourage you to band together with friends -- indeed, it was supposed to make it necessary to get you to have help to complete Dwellings, and buildings were never supposed to go up very quickly. In S3 we will likely see very few dwellings distant from Outposts anyway, as I understand the most recent conceptualization of the S3 map system.

Disagree about 'no more distant-from-outpost dwellings', there were distant dwellings before trains were implemented.

ETA: 1322?! CHRIST MATTHEW

ETA2: Gifting passes seems good route to abuse and hoarding, to me.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 14 2011 @ 03:58 AM
By: Makiwa

Content:



ETA: 1322?! CHRIST MATTHEW

ETA2: Gifting passes seems good route to abuse and hoarding, to me.[/p]


I thought I had a hoard with +-300 on hand and a trade in worth +-400 - bloody hell!

Gifting passes that expire = not so much hoarding?


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 14 2011 @ 10:29 AM
By: Matthew

Content:

Quote by: Zolotisty

- They are awfully consistent, and Improbable only in the fact that they are always running and always take you to the destination you intended. If an Outpost is under siege for example, why would a Train be running there? Why isn't the Island shifting tracks around? Why is there always a Train in the station whenever I want one to be there? How many engines are on the line, really, if there's one there for everyone all the time?



Quote by: Zolotisty

Re. relics of bygone days: Established train systems of yore on a jungley Island? I dunno, gang! The Island's very small, remember -- even if it had been inhabited in the Days Of Yore, it doesn't strike me as sensical to run and maintain tracks in such a small space when you could just as easily maintain a few truck routes and truck or hike between spots.



About this point: I don't know if I'm supposed to say so out in public where everyone can see it but whatever; I was talking about this very thing with Sessine and he told me that he's not going to code something that would actually be pretty involved and difficult to do (ie, making it so you have to wait a certain amount of time for your train) just to be annoying for everyone.

I have to agree with the sentiment. The main problem seems to be just how goddamn easy it is to get rail passes, as my current Deck-Held-Together-With-A-Few-Bits-Of-String is testament to.

Changing the flavor of the system is an interesting thought, though. Old, beat up trucks driven by nasty midget truckers who take you places in exchange for, I dunno, particularly shiny marbles? Exchanging cards for other gambling implements sorta kinda makes more sense.

edit: Or bus stations! With 'round the clock service! Also driven by nasty midgets


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 14 2011 @ 11:53 AM
By: Zolotisty

Content:

Mannn. Confused I wish that it wasn't read as 'annoying' and instead read as 'more interesting.' Sometimes you can't get what you want WHEN YOU WANT IT, that is life -- and in this case, it would be a consequence of otherwise being transported instantaneously to your desired location for free. ..which is bone bastard boring, really. There's nothing to strategize about with Trains after you've collected your pass; you know they will magically work whenever you want them to -- and really, one doesn't have to think very hard about collecting cards, either. It is a free, slow-release One-Shot Teleporter with a chatroom people hustle through to get to their next location.

The Travel Agency in Season 1 had a consequence for instantaneous transportation! You paid, and then you were strapped into a great bloody fucking catapult and launched across the Island by a team of skiving Midgets. Then you hit the ground. Very hard. Depending on whether you'd paid for a first class ticket, you lost some of your HP or A LOT of your HP, and you had to go heal your sorry arse. There was some strategy there -- not a lot, but some -- which ticket you were going to purchase on basis of how much HP you already had and on basis of how much money you had on hand, and whether you could afford to do it or not.

This got taken out cos CMJ put in OSTs, I think, but d'you see what I'm saying? Losing health AND money and probably more money to heal yourself when you land -- annoying, to some people! But also something you have to THINK about, and the game does offer you other ways of getting around.

ETA: Agreed that playing cards -> train pass = ??? for me, Matthew, but that's relatively trivial and will likely not be changed because of the law of conservation of pretty resources. Wink


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 14 2011 @ 01:20 PM
By: Matthew

Content:

Ah, apologies; I thought you meant you wanted a system where the trains worked like real trains, where you had to get at the station at a certain moment and then get off at a certain moment again to get to the place you want, as the train arrived at those places in a circuit. I don't really even know how to work the code the Island uses and even to me that sounds like a real bastard to do. That kind of thing might work in a more graphical game, like World of Warcraft or something, but in a text based game, I dunno.

I guess I'm in the camp where I think the train and passes themselves should be reliable, definite things, but the method of obtaining said passes shouldn't be.

As you say, though, S3 may come along and make the idea of trains completely obsolete so who knows really! As an aside, I am super stoked for S3 whenever that's gonna show up.

edit: oh and also

Quote by: Zolotisty

Re. building being made inconvenient: This is unbalanced, too; building Dwellings was never meant to be something you could easily accomplish on your own.



Maybe that was the original intent but then builder's brews kinda came along and turned that on its head, I think.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 14 2011 @ 01:26 PM
By: Hairy+Mary

Content:

As far as the feel of the trains goes, I think we should consider what would make the most enjoyable gaming experience first, and then come up with a justification afterwards.

I rather like the slightly faded opulent feel to it myself.

Plenty of cities have underground trains, how big is the Island? I'm not entirely sure, but at least as big as say a quarter the size of London? London has about 200 'underground' stations (slightly over half of which is actually overground) and about the same again in (mostly small local) train stations. It still feels the need for a large bus service. The Island might have been a lot smaller, with a lot smaller population, but I think that eight stations isn't too much, I tend to think of it as at least 10 miles top to bottom say. The Bluebell railway in Sussex runs for a grand total of nine miles and originally had eight stations.

Relic of a bygone age or improbably generated or a mixture of both, I wouldn't have any problems with that. But that's just my opinion.

Now. More improbably type events to make travelling more of a risk. Yes, I'm fully with Z on that. So, what could they be?

Bear in mind that the availability of tickets is going to drop sharply.

At the moment, there's a very small chance of ending up in the Bingo Hall (just one step from getting back on at Grand Central) or the Abandoned Waystation (miles from anywhere). The chances of that happening could be increased a bit maybe? Perhaps some more locations used for the same purpose?

There's also the dart playing midgets who do so little damage that only somebody on level one who's never had any HP increases even really notices them.

And Elias with his lucky dip. He's great, but doesn't add any risk to the situation.

What else could there be? The train won't go to a breached outpost, or perhaps one that's close to being breached (where the banks shut say). Yes, I like that, I can't think of anything else though. Any specific ideas anybody?

Matthew. 1322??? Eek! I was going to tell you how many passes I could get as an illustration of how there's too many floating out there, but now I feel positively poverty stricken, so I won't embarrass myself. Also, where was that quote from? I recognise what it's saying all to well.

Somebody said that they wouldn't want to randomly loose tickets, it's nice to have a spare one saved up. Possibly a system where it will never take your last one, a bit like twisting your ankle on the pinatra?


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 14 2011 @ 01:30 PM
By: Matthew

Content:

Quote by: Hairy+Mary

What else could there be? The train won't go to a breached outpost, or perhaps one that's close to being breached (where the banks shut say).



Eugh, no thank you. That's the kind of thing that smacks of Annoying For The Sake Of Annoying.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 14 2011 @ 01:51 PM
By: Matthew

Content:

Quote by: Hairy+Mary

Also, where was that quote from? I recognise what it's saying all to well.



Here.

Also, to expand on what I mean by the trains being reliable: for player retention and simple fun's sake, I wouldn't want to hear about a situation where a new player buys a dwelling, mines 25 rock or whatever it is to build the foundation, then hits a first class pass to drop it back off in his dwelling, and then ends up on the complete opposite side of the Island with their 25 stone-heavy backpacks, completely screwed over because the game decided "HAHA HOW IMPROBABLE ISN'T THIS GREAT". That isn't fun. That's just irritating and unfair and that player would be fully within their rights, I'd say, to throw the whole thing in a bin, quit, and never look back.

Sure, a whole bunch of random events that might put you where you need to go or put you in outer space might sound pretty awesome from a flavor perspective, but gameplay ought to come first.

edit: I don't mean to be abrasive, I'm just offerin' opinions and discussion, both of which this thread was made for! If the trains system is reworked completely not in line with my suggestions, I'm not going to be completely heartbroken and have a hissyfit or anything.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 14 2011 @ 03:32 PM
By: Swede

Content:

Well I think the problem lies with the way joker cards work.
Once you got a joker you can keep collecting cards indefinitely.

How would this be as suggestion:
A joker will no longer give you the ability to collect an unlimited number of cards, but it also won't count for your 5 card limit?

I think this will have the following effects:
The hands stay smaller, less first class passes
Collecting becomes harder, but not that much changes for those whom occasionally look for cards.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 14 2011 @ 04:04 PM
By: Boudi

Content:

Okay. I am no vet like you folks, I only have 12 first class passes in store. I do hoard them up, I'll admit. Traveling by foot is no problem to me, but I save them up for building, usually not of my own.

This being said, I'm one of the more casual savers. Perhaps making them more random or less likely to be found would appeal to me, personally. But making the cards turn into mush or tear apart after a certain number of days would only encourage folks to spend a lot more time searching for them before their almost-full hand disappears or throw up their hands and resort to OSTs.

Keep 'em reliable, just undo the card-spawn sites and perhaps make them randomly attributed to any dwelling's room at a very, very low rate. Or page-prizes, but I feel that would have to be more work and might provoke favoritism of which pages could provide cards according to story or how well-written it is.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 14 2011 @ 05:26 PM
By: dizzyizzy

Content:

I, personally, thought cards were rewards for good dwellings, and I think that's a good situation. It's like a sort of cosmic pat on the back for putting marvelous amounts of effort into creating a space.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 14 2011 @ 07:47 PM
By: Trowa

Content:

As a frequent train-rider with a keen interest in how this develops, I'll try to organize my random thoughts on the matter and see if that helps (or hinders) any... If I repeat what anyone's already said, feel free to accept it as just me agreeing with you. There have been about five posts since I started writing this. (Probably a hint for me that it's too long, eh? Oops! )



TL;DR: I think trains are awesome, and fit the Island within my own (probably skewed) vision of its history. Passes should be revered, First Class passes even more so, but please don't take away our ability to hoard them, just make them rarer either by limiting the number of cards we can collect with Jokers, or making it more difficult to find cards. It's a lot easier to stockpile building materials with First Class passes, but you can achieve the same thing with OST's and careful planning. The same goes for Titan fighting.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 14 2011 @ 07:51 PM
By: Count+Sessine

Content:

These ideas are all very interesting -- keep them coming!

A few things that aren't going to happen:

- You will never find a card in a room that's boring or badly written.

- For technical reasons, I can't track the age of a particular card or pass. There'll be no cards crumbling, or passes expiring. This is not to guarantee that odd things won't occasionally happen inside an overloaded card case.

- The card/pass predators won't take every last one of a player's cards or passes. They'll miss something in a secret pocket, drop a few while fleeing, that sort of thing, and they won't bother people who have only a small number. People who have built up enormous collections aren't going to keep them, sorry, because that's gotten way out of balance, and long ago stopped being fun... but I will try to make the process of losing that collection entertaining.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 14 2011 @ 08:51 PM
By: Maniak

Content:

Current situation:
You can collect a card a day and using a first class costs you about a card a day.

How about a higher conversion rate for cards to passes? Instead of two Ace of Spades, you need three Ace of Spades for a first class?

New situation:
You can collect a card a day, using a first class costs you about 2 cards a day.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 14 2011 @ 11:30 PM
By: Hairy+Mary

Content:

So what about something like, for each player, at new day there are say twenty rooms chosen randomly out of a grand list of all possible rooms that have been approved for card yielding purposes. These are where cards might be found. A player won't ever find more then the current normal amount, but those are places where they'll find a card if they go there, and if they haven't yet filled their daily quota. The twenty is just a number plucked out of the air, make it a small proportion of the total number of rooms on the list.

Maybe weight various rooms so that cards are more likely to appear far away from outposts rather than right next to them, or better, pick which squares they may appear on, and then which room in which dwelling on that square, otherwise the numbers may get distorted simply because there are more dwellings close to outposts. This would also make it easier to ensure that no one square gets more than one card a day (says the man who knows sweet Fanny Adams about programing.) This way, you could happily include every room in the Bingo Hall if you so wanted.

Also, at the moment, you can often pick up two cards a day. Occasionally more, occasionally none at all. Since there are to my knowledge at least two dwellings right next to outposts with two card pick ups each in them, this by itself makes card collecting too easy. Maybe change this so that you usually find only one, and occasionally two or none.

Probably, however you make card collecting, in time people will work it out, work out a way that works for them, and turn it into a routine. This seems to me to be pretty much inevitable.

As Dizzy said, finding a card drop off in your own dwelling is pretty cool. When Unfairlady and I found one in the Mansions we were both dead chuffed.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 15 2011 @ 12:45 PM
By: Daedalus

Content:

Quote by: Count+Sessine


I'd like to hear some feedback about what would be an ideal range that would make a rail pass really worth something.



Dunno if it will help or not ...

1. I stopped actively collecting cards because I was told that going to dwellings solely and specifically to collect cards was contrary to the intent of the way that they were being distributed. With very rare exception* I now only get cards from random findings during travel.

2. My usage of trains then adjusted to the rate at which I find enough cards to generate a pass. To the best of my recollection I have less than half a dozen of either cards or passes in hand, and it's been that way for months now.

3. I don't 'give a rats' if somebody has pointlessly hoarded, or uses, a vast number of cards or passes. Does it have any direct effect on my game experience?

4. I'm not clear on what it is that's a problem to be addressed. Is the trains system being over, or under, utilised? If it's under utilisation, make it 'cheaper'. If it's over utilisation, make it more 'expensive'. If it's just a concern that some players are hoarding or over-using cards/passes, then apply a maximum that the wallet can hold. (I'd suggest that you be wary of over-thinking the situation.)

Just rambling, really.

D.


*There is one dwelling that I visit occasionally out of whimsical nostalgia. Pursuant to point 1., I'd go there more often if there it wasn't a card point.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 15 2011 @ 07:16 PM
By: Count+Sessine

Content:

Quote by: Daedalus

Quote by: Count+Sessine


I'd like to hear some feedback about what would be an ideal range that would make a rail pass really worth something.



Dunno if it will help or not ...

1. I stopped actively collecting cards because I was told that going to dwellings solely and specifically to collect cards was contrary to the intent of the way that they were being distributed. With very rare exception* I now only get cards from random findings during travel.

2. My usage of trains then adjusted to the rate at which I find enough cards to generate a pass. To the best of my recollection I have less than half a dozen of either cards or passes in hand, and it's been that way for months now.

3. I don't 'give a rats' if somebody has pointlessly hoarded, or uses, a vast number of cards or passes. Does it have any direct effect on my game experience?

4. I'm not clear on what it is that's a problem to be addressed. Is the trains system being over, or under, utilised? If it's under utilisation, make it 'cheaper'. If it's over utilisation, make it more 'expensive'. If it's just a concern that some players are hoarding or over-using cards/passes, then apply a maximum that the wallet can hold. (I'd suggest that you be wary of over-thinking the situation.)

Just rambling, really.

D.


*There is one dwelling that I visit occasionally out of whimsical nostalgia. Pursuant to point 1., I'd go there more often if there it wasn't a card point.

First, your point 4: The problem? In three words -- not fun enough.

Trains will have to go through a major rewrite to work in the new Places system. This is an opportunity to make them more fun, taking into account how the current version is, and is not, working well. Taking your other points in order...

1. The intent was certainly to get people poking curiously into dwellings to collect cards. Trouble is, that was fun for maybe... two weeks? while folks excitedly worked out where the card drops were. Then it stopped being interesting, because the mechanism was too simple and predictable. It was, I have to say, as interesting as I could make it given the Labs framework I had to work in, but that limitation is now being removed, and I hope it will now be possible to make the card gathering process much more entertaining.

2. Your experience is an example of underutilisation through voluntary (and very polite) self-limitation. I hope that once card-gathering has become a game rather than a boring, too-easy routine, you will no longer feel obliged to avoid favourite places.

3. 'Pointless hoarding' doesn't have any effect on other players. The way I see it, it's an issue with the game experience of those who are collecting. Watching a number get bigger by doing something easy every day is... well, whenever that's possible in a game, some people will feel obliged to do it. (**raises hand**) There's no sense of achievement, though, unless the game provides obstacles. And... come to think of it, there also needs to be some demonstrable measure of progress... so thank you for raising this point.

The card-predators will exist. (Feel perfectly free to hate them!) However, when Matthew sadly has most of those 1322 passes stolen, he should at the very least get a medal out of it!

It will be possible, though difficult, to win the encounters. Maybe there's also room for a Hall of Fame page -- I'll have to think about how that should work... Perhaps a HoF for how often a player has tangled with each of the predators, and won.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 15 2011 @ 08:05 PM
By: Gryph

Content:

From someone who's been trying to figure out what trains even ARE... I've got no idea what they, no idea what they are used for, and no idea how to figure it out. Is it something that's only for characters with more drive kills, or what? Is it just a cheaper/quicker way to get between locations than walking/one-shot-teleporters?

At the very least, how could I find out more about them?


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 15 2011 @ 09:16 PM
By: Sonny

Content:

Quote by: Count+Sessine


- For technical reasons, I can't track the age of a particular card or pass. There'll be no cards crumbling, or passes expiring. This is not to guarantee that odd things won't occasionally happen inside an overloaded card case.

- The card/pass predators won't take every last one of a player's cards or passes. They'll miss something in a secret pocket, drop a few while fleeing, that sort of thing, and they won't bother people who have only a small number. People who have built up enormous collections aren't going to keep them, sorry, because that's gotten way out of balance, and long ago stopped being fun... but I will try to make the process of losing that collection entertaining.



I have to agree with Daedalus that we shouldn't overthink things.
Maniak's idea of passes costing more cards seems like a good idea, as well as a limit on how many passes you can hold with a joker and without.

While I might cope with a predator taking one or two cards if I hold too many, loosing hard earned passes is something I just can't agree with.
After all I put at least some effort into getting the cards and there really should be a bit of reliability in a game. If my passes can be taken away, then, as someone mentioned before, it's more like a punishment for collecting and saving cards and passes, and not fun at all!

I can only speak for myself, but I still value the first class passes and think before using them. I, too, rather walk than use a pass if I'm not carrying building equipment, or looking for the drive. Else I'm mostly walking (or rather riding) around the island. Saving them for worst case scenarios or something^^

What would be really neat is the possibility of gifting passes and I don't think it would favour hoarding. So if there are going to be predators stealing things (which I really, really hope won't happen), then it would be nice to be able to give the surplus passes away before they come after them.


Summary:
I would prefer the easy way out: Limiting the number of cards and/or passes one person can hold, and making at least the first class passes more expensive, in addition to maybe reducing the drop chance for cards.

And imo only when this doesn't work we should think about other ways of balancing.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 16 2011 @ 12:35 AM
By: Sneaky

Content:

Quote by: Gryph

From someone who's been trying to figure out what trains even ARE... I've got no idea what they, no idea what they are used for, and no idea how to figure it out. Is it something that's only for characters with more drive kills, or what? Is it just a cheaper/quicker way to get between locations than walking/one-shot-teleporters?

At the very least, how could I find out more about them?



Okay. For this, you're gonna want at least ten cigarettes. You do not have to do any particular amount of drive kills to do it.

You'll want to Travel to Improbable Central, or more specifically, 1 square to the east of it. Enter the Grand Concourse East dwelling, cycling back and forth between its two rooms until you bump into the peddler. (It may take a little while.) With the aforementioned ten cigarettes, buy his leather card case, then you can begin finding playing cards.

Playing cards (different from the cards Jokers may use in combat) are stowed in the leather card case. Get five of any variety collected at once and next Game Day, you'll wake up with a new rail pass. For having pairs of any specific card, you'll gain extra passes.

Dwellings like Grand Concourse East, Main Street Station (right outside NewHome), and Necropolis Station (right outside New Pittsburgh) are where you'll be able to board the train once you have a rail pass. Finally answering your question, the rail pass (once activated) allows you to port instantly between these Dwelling-stations.

--- And if you got all that... ---

You may notice messages each New Day that you either feel very lucky (you can find four cards that day; that's the maximum) or something seems off-kilter (you won't find /any/ cards). No matter what your day limit is, you can't pick up more than 5 cards at a time.

An exception to this rule is if you find a Joker! card. This card allows you to collect cards infinitely (over time). The New Days will stop giving you rail passes automatically, however. You'll have to take the cards into a station and trade them all in at once when you're ready.

If you don't see the peddler at all when you have exactly ten cigarettes, you /may/ want to collect one more, then return.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 16 2011 @ 03:16 AM
By: Matthew

Content:

Quote by: Count+Sessine

Watching a number get bigger by doing something easy every day is... well, whenever that's possible in a game, some people will feel obliged to do it. (**raises hand**)



This is literally the only reason I still DK.

So, you know, that has a lot of merit.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 16 2011 @ 07:36 AM
By: Daedalus

Content:

Sessine, thanks for your as always clear, helpful and patient clarification of the issues.

It does seem to boil down to your succinct observation:

Quote by: Count+Sessine The problem? In three words -- not fun enough.


The HoF/medal idea would appear to have some merit, if it's for passes used rather than held, as a way to reduce the motive to hoard same. Bear in mind though that this will have the corollary effect of increasing the motive to collect (but not hoard) cards. This of course may not be a problem, but is it the solution? I'd probably vote for a medal over HoF, unless HoF is much easier to implement. Why? Because the HoF is an open-ended competition, and it can be off-putting to new arrivals to see huuuge scores by veterans. "I'll never catch up, so why bother starting?"(a la Diemos' Hats HoF) The medal is a simple bench-mark. "Yeah, I can do that, and then I'll be in the Club."

More significant to my way of thinking is the low uptake by new arrivals. The figures that you provide at the head of this thread surprised me. Over 3000 (unique?) logins per month and only some 500 odd* have wallets? That is a surprise. So ... perhaps a train-consciousness-raising device for new arrivals? I can't think of any that don't require (some one else to do) An Crap Load of work, but the 'off the top of my head' thoughts are one or more of:

1. Mention of the trains in the induction text/s
2. A free standard ticket provided by Corporal Punishment in Basic Training (with a brief explanation of its use.)
3. A free standard ticket provided by Mr Stern at the start of the Museum quest (with a brief explanation of its use.)
4. An Information Leaflet (link) about trains in, say, the Council Offices. (Perhaps in the guise of a Schedule/Timetable?**).

The latter 2 are possibly the best of these options, in that they avoid heaping yet more info on very new arrivals, and also avoids pointlessly giving passes out to (some of the) one-time-visitors.

From the viewpoint of the potential passenger, the major consideration about using trains will always be a cost/benefit analysis. The benefit, as you point out, may be more than just a mode of travel. Fun is a benefit.

Anyway, I'm rambling. (How unusual!) I really only sat down to say thanks for the explanation. But look ... the RL chore that I was procrastinating about doing is now no longer do-able today, so I can leave it till tomorrow. (Another win for avoidance strategies!) So I'll trail off rather vaguely and get out of your way.

To-rah.

D.


*No, really, some of us are just odd. Laughing Out Loud
** I wasn't thinking of this as a real and binding timetable, but there was discussion earlier in the thread about the 'improbability' of trains always being available exactly when the passenger arrives, so ... perhaps? (Sounds like An Very Large Crap Load of coding to me, though.)


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 16 2011 @ 11:09 AM
By: Zolotisty

Content:

Sadly, gang, a Medal would be non-trivial to implement -- there's art for over 200, and you've not seen them implemented in the game because the Medals system, too, needs to be rewritten. Implementation for the Emily Bundle medal was a bit different. So while it's a nice idea... it's a nice idea that's not happening any time soon. Confused


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 16 2011 @ 03:52 PM
By: Count+Sessine

Content:

Quote by: Zolotisty

Sadly, gang, a Medal would be non-trivial to implement -- there's art for over 200, and you've not seen them implemented in the game because the Medals system, too, needs to be rewritten. Implementation for the Emily Bundle medal was a bit different. So while it's a nice idea... it's a nice idea that's not happening any time soon. Confused

Ah. I see. Pity, that.

Well then, perhaps something can be done with Mementos.

I will put a comment in the code as a marker to show where a medal could be given if the Medals system ever does get redone.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 16 2011 @ 08:34 PM
By: dizzyizzy

Content:

Here's something that can change right this second, places or no: Can Corporal Punishment tell rookies about the trains?


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 16 2011 @ 10:35 PM
By: Gryph

Content:

Okay, so I think I understand what it is now. I still don't really get it though. It sounds like a whole lot of work to save a bit of money on teleporters or a few rounds of combat from walking. I guess it... might be useful if you're on a high rank or something?


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 16 2011 @ 11:27 PM
By: Hairy+Mary

Content:

Quote by: Gryph

Okay, so I think I understand what it is now. I still don't really get it though. It sounds like a whole lot of work to save a bit of money on teleporters or a few rounds of combat from walking. I guess it... might be useful if you're on a high rank or something?



Talking personally, it's not so much the game aspect of trains, rather the feel of them, as an aspect of the Island. But then I've never been much of a game player, always more of a role player myself.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: July 17 2011 @ 05:18 AM
By: dizzyizzy

Content:

Quote by: Gryph

Okay, so I think I understand what it is now. I still don't really get it though. It sounds like a whole lot of work to save a bit of money on teleporters or a few rounds of combat from walking. I guess it... might be useful if you're on a high rank or something?



Actually, the problem is that it's not much work at all...

And yes, you're right, they are very, very useful on higher ranks. They're also great for construction, and my personal favorite sport, titan hunting.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: September 23 2011 @ 11:27 PM
By: Raidur

Content:

Truthfully, the only time I use my passes are for Building and Titan hunting, otherwise they are useless for me as travel doesn't take all that much stamina, and I rarely use all my chronos anyway. For that matter, right now I can't effectively titan hunt because I'd have to use pretty much all my stamina to get the buffs I prefer before hitting one, and OST's are rather expensive when starting out at level 1. As for the decay of passes, well, that is a good idea in my opinion, and expanding where people can get them also is a good one. I've always found it a bit.. well, odd, that pretty much all the places that one can get cards... belong to one particular clan's members. Thats always sat a bit wrong with me, especially as I've not seen any way to suggest buildings for a card drop or something. Perhaps the idea would be to have a list of locations, but not have them spawn a card every day, that way, even once people figure out all the current locations, they still have to search for a card?

I dunno if I've made any sense, but theres 2 cents worth.

I do look forward to the return of the trains though. I'm missing my titan hunting and without them.. well, I think I'd need 20 more dk's to be effective at it again.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: September 24 2011 @ 12:05 AM
By: Zolotisty

Content:

As a particular clan leader, Raidur, that detail always troubled me too.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: September 24 2011 @ 12:17 AM
By: Count+Sessine

Content:

Quote by: Raidur

Truthfully, the only time I use my passes are for Building and Titan hunting, otherwise they are useless for me as travel doesn't take all that much stamina, and I rarely use all my chronos anyway. For that matter, right now I can't effectively titan hunt because I'd have to use pretty much all my stamina to get the buffs I prefer before hitting one, and OST's are rather expensive when starting out at level 1. As for the decay of passes, well, that is a good idea in my opinion, and expanding where people can get them also is a good one. I've always found it a bit.. well, odd, that pretty much all the places that one can get cards... belong to one particular clan's members. Thats always sat a bit wrong with me, especially as I've not seen any way to suggest buildings for a card drop or something. Perhaps the idea would be to have a list of locations, but not have them spawn a card every day, that way, even once people figure out all the current locations, they still have to search for a card?

I dunno if I've made any sense, but theres 2 cents worth.

I do look forward to the return of the trains though. I'm missing my titan hunting and without them.. well, I think I'd need 20 more dk's to be effective at it again.

Raidur, because of the way the trains hooked into the old dwellings code using the Labs interface, I was forced to hard-code the locations. I had no option to add new locations after submitting the modules to CMJ. Since I was writing the code, I tromped the map looking at everything, and I picked the card drops. I picked them to be, "See, look at this here! Isn't this a funny / scary / beautiful / well-written dwelling?" from the dwellings that existed at the time I was writing. I didn't put any in places that seemed to be private residences, or that were sometimes locked. Many wonderful creations that came along later had to go ignored because I had no way to update the code to include them.

DICE is a clan of writers, and they all got into writing dwellings early, in a big way, so it's no surprise that quite a few of their dwellings caught my eye -- but it is by no means true that all the 37 card drops were in DICE-created dwellings. I am an equal-opportunity admirer of good writing from any source. There were several in the Bingo Hall, and surely you visited the Anarchy Annex, the Jackalope, the Crow Bar, Castle Quagmire, The Timepiece, the Weather Station, The Hangar, Persepolis, The Smoking Windmill, and McCleod's Tavern, to name a few.

I'm glad you found the trains useful. They'll be gone for a while. When they come back, they'll be different.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: September 26 2011 @ 05:12 PM
By: tehdave

Content:

Quote by: Count+Sessine

Raidur, because of the way the trains hooked into the old dwellings code using the Labs interface, I was forced to hard-code the locations. I had no option to add new locations after submitting the modules to CMJ. Since I was writing the code, I tromped the map looking at everything, and I picked the card drops. I picked them to be, "See, look at this here! Isn't this a funny / scary / beautiful / well-written dwelling?" from the dwellings that existed at the time I was writing. I didn't put any in places that seemed to be private residences, or that were sometimes locked. Many wonderful creations that came along later had to go ignored because I had no way to update the code to include them.
I'm glad you found the trains useful. They'll be gone for a while. When they come back, they'll be different.



re: bold: I always wondered why Hendrix never got a card Razz

In other news, I mostly miss trains for Building and for Titan Hunting...those were the 2 things I mostly used trains for. Well, that and running around on speedruns. As a gameplayer, I must say that Trains helped almost to the point of trivializing certain things like, oh...fight in CC404 for my quest monster, then pop a train over to P-ville for some steak, then back to CC404 to continue questing. Seriously helped the idea of fighting there, though, especially with the station right on top of the outpost.

Maybe, to address Matthew's concern of a newbie running around with stone and getting dropped off in the ocean by random chance...the first {1-3} time{s} you take a train in a gameday, you're much more likely to get where you're going, as opposed to taking the train all over creation, in which case the conductor might get sick of you and either demand a new rail pass or kick you off the train mid-travel somewhere. That way there's still the stability of having the trains go where you need them to, but if you start abusing them every gameday you used a pass (like I used to, tbh) then there's Consequences...

Edit: right, square brackets are BB code tags...


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: September 26 2011 @ 05:30 PM
By: dizzyizzy

Content:

Trains, for me, helped a lot with fighting and titans, as Dave said, but, more importantly, they helped with RP. Without trains, I cannot be as involved in the community as I'd like while still doing gameplay at a level that keeps it at least a little interesting. I'm a bit apprehensive of how trains are going to come back. For now, I've nerfed the DK ranks I'm doing, but I don't want to stay like that. If I can't have a steady, reliable, daily supply of rail passes, what do I choose? Do I cut out RP, or quit gameplay? I'm not going to stick to R5's, that's pointless, but what's the point of playing at all if I'm not in the community as well?

tl;dr: Please don't cut out the huge stacks of rail passes, or, if you do, make passes easy as hell to get.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: September 27 2011 @ 12:49 AM
By: Matthew

Content:

Quote by: tehdave

Maybe, to address Matthew's concern of a newbie running around with stone and getting dropped off in the ocean by random chance...the first {1-3} time{s} you take a train in a gameday, you're much more likely to get where you're going, as opposed to taking the train all over creation, in which case the conductor might get sick of you and either demand a new rail pass or kick you off the train mid-travel somewhere. That way there's still the stability of having the trains go where you need them to, but if you start abusing them every gameday you used a pass (like I used to, tbh) then there's Consequences...



That's a good idea, but I'd go even further and say that the first 3 or so trips should be definite, with no chance of getting dropped off any place where you don't need to go. Three in particular is a good number; it lets you get to Pleasantville with the first trip, then to where ever you're mining/logging with the second, then back to your dwelling with the last. After that, I do like the idea of subsequent trips building a risk where the stationmaster might demand more passes to make up for your 'abuse of the system', the card thief coming after you, possible muggers taking 25% of your current on-hand req, whatever.

Personal experience: I ate three steaks and a builder's brew and went nuts on the CC404 square. I mined like 400 stone or so, then I hit the train to drop it off at my dwelling. Because the game decided to be Improbable! isn't that HILARIOUS!!! it dropped me off at the Abandoned Waystation, far enough away from my dwelling so as to be meaningless with 400+ stone, and completely fucked over. This was not fun. Rather, it made me grit my teeth and vaguely entertain putting my first through my monitor. It did not add anything to my gameplay experience, it took away. More importantly, it wasted my money (that used to buy the brew) and made me seriously reconsider buying/using another one if bullshit random chance could rob me of the privilege I payed for.

So yeah, no more of that. I don't mean to sound SOOOO ANGRY but I strongly advocate the new train system not having any of that or at the very least giving you a few freebie trips after you use ticket.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: September 27 2011 @ 01:33 AM
By: Hairy+Mary

Content:

Quote by: Matthew

Quote by: tehdave

Maybe, to address Matthew's concern of a newbie running around with stone and getting dropped off in the ocean by random chance...the first {1-3} time{s} you take a train in a gameday, you're much more likely to get where you're going, as opposed to taking the train all over creation, in which case the conductor might get sick of you and either demand a new rail pass or kick you off the train mid-travel somewhere. That way there's still the stability of having the trains go where you need them to, but if you start abusing them every gameday you used a pass (like I used to, tbh) then there's Consequences...



That's a good idea, but I'd go even further and say that the first 3 or so trips should be definite, with no chance of getting dropped off any place where you don't need to go. Three in particular is a good number; it lets you get to Pleasantville with the first trip, then to where ever you're mining/logging with the second, then back to your dwelling with the last. After that, I do like the idea of subsequent trips building a risk where the stationmaster might demand more passes to make up for your 'abuse of the system', the card thief coming after you, possible muggers taking 25% of your current on-hand req, whatever.

Personal experience: I ate three steaks and a builder's brew and went nuts on the CC404 square. I mined like 400 stone or so, then I hit the train to drop it off at my dwelling. Because the game decided to be Improbable! isn't that HILARIOUS!!! it dropped me off at the Abandoned Waystation, far enough away from my dwelling so as to be meaningless with 400+ stone, and completely fucked over. This was not fun. Rather, it made me grit my teeth and vaguely entertain putting my first through my monitor. It did not add anything to my gameplay experience, it took away. More importantly, it wasted my money (that used to buy the brew) and made me seriously reconsider buying/using another one if bullshit random chance could rob me of the privilege I payed for.

So yeah, no more of that. I don't mean to sound SOOOO ANGRY but I strongly advocate the new train system not having any of that or at the very least giving you a few freebie trips after you use ticket.



You could have used a one-shot. I try to always carry one with me for just this purpose. Then if you're dropped off at the Abandoned Waystation, you can simply one-shot to any outpost with a station on it and try again. Don't get bitten twice.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: September 27 2011 @ 02:18 AM
By: Matthew

Content:

Perhaps, but one-shots are expensive and it's a bit unreasonable to expect newer players in particular to carry one whenever they want to do any building.

And there's nothing stopping it from happening twice in a row. Happened to me, once. Granted I wasn't carrying building materials then... but it's possible to still be unlucky.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: September 27 2011 @ 03:18 AM
By: Count+Sessine

Content:

Quote by: Matthew

Perhaps, but one-shots are expensive and it's a bit unreasonable to expect newer players in particular to carry one whenever they want to do any building.

And there's nothing stopping it from happening twice in a row. Happened to me, once. Granted I wasn't carrying building materials then... but it's possible to still be unlucky.

I get your point, Matthew -- though newer players aren't usually carrying 400 stone, either.

The game does include bigger disasters than this. Ask anyone who's tipped the Skronky Pot.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: September 27 2011 @ 07:56 AM
By: Harris

Content:

Quote by: Count+Sessine

Quote by: Matthew

Perhaps, but one-shots are expensive and it's a bit unreasonable to expect newer players in particular to carry one whenever they want to do any building.

And there's nothing stopping it from happening twice in a row. Happened to me, once. Granted I wasn't carrying building materials then... but it's possible to still be unlucky.

I get your point, Matthew -- though newer players aren't usually carrying 400 stone, either.

The game does include bigger disasters than this. Ask anyone who's tipped the Skronky Pot.



'e's got a point. Faith and begorrah... X_x


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: September 27 2011 @ 02:47 PM
By: dizzyizzy

Content:

Quote by: Count+Sessine

Quote by: Matthew

Perhaps, but one-shots are expensive and it's a bit unreasonable to expect newer players in particular to carry one whenever they want to do any building.

And there's nothing stopping it from happening twice in a row. Happened to me, once. Granted I wasn't carrying building materials then... but it's possible to still be unlucky.

I get your point, Matthew -- though newer players aren't usually carrying 400 stone, either.

The game does include bigger disasters than this. Ask anyone who's tipped the Skronky Pot.



how much real-world money have you spent expressly to gather Charm?


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: September 27 2011 @ 03:31 PM
By: Beeps

Content:

Quote by: dizzyizzy

How much real-world money have you spent expressly to gather Charm?


I can already see myself regretting saying this in the future.

Keep in mind that the Hunter's Lodge is not a cash shop. At least, not directly. You are donating to keep the site running, and as a bonus you get CMJ Funland Playbucks* that let you buy the novelty finger puppet of your choice. I find myself doing the same thing when something bought with SP doesn't work the way I expect/backfires, but it boils down to the fact that SP and Hunter's Lodge items are an incentive to donate, not items purchased with real-world money. Your donations are paying to keep the game going on a whole, they are not buying you rights for everything to go your way for a game day. This is also a good reason why new Hunter's Lodge items should be in that altruism category mentioned in the other thread.

* "CMJ Funland Playbucks" is a registered trademark of the Best Elements Entertainment Products company. All rights reserved. Like, all of them. There are so many rights. So, so many. Like the right to yodel in the shower. I reserved that one too.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: September 27 2011 @ 03:45 PM
By: Count+Sessine

Content:

Quote by: dizzyizzy

Quote by: Count+Sessine

Quote by: Matthew

Perhaps, but one-shots are expensive and it's a bit unreasonable to expect newer players in particular to carry one whenever they want to do any building.

And there's nothing stopping it from happening twice in a row. Happened to me, once. Granted I wasn't carrying building materials then... but it's possible to still be unlucky.

I get your point, Matthew -- though newer players aren't usually carrying 400 stone, either.

The game does include bigger disasters than this. Ask anyone who's tipped the Skronky Pot.



how much real-world money have you spent expressly to gather Charm?

Mmhm, yes indeed. Though we had none of those delightful supporter-points builders' brews back when the first edition of Trains was written. In any case: I now own the Waystation.* This means I can use the resources of Programs and Memories to give people interesting things to do if they're dumped there... and possibly even, I don't know... a conditional way back into the train system.

But that's an extra. There's a mountain of more essential stuff to get working first.

Trains 2.0 will be different. Not as easy. Don't expect to get back the old system, it's not going to happen. Some parts worked out well, some didn't. Some of the parts that didn't work were the way they were because of limitations in the Labs interface; others were due to me not having foreseen how certain 'neat ideas' would play out in practice. And, guess what -- the new version isn't going to be perfect either. The Places interface will impose its own limitations. While I've learned from watching 1.0 being used and will do my very best, I'm sure there will still also be some consequences I fail to foresee. Not perfect, guys... but I hope it will be better.


--
* The original creator of the Abandoned Waystation is welcome to have it back if he ever returns to the game. I'll be delighted if he does, because I really want to know what's behind that Black 13 door....


Ressurection

Posted on: December 20 2011 @ 04:54 AM
By: Awesome+Fred

Content:

I'm resurrecting this thread in order to post a response to a thread that I don't want to derail (haha) too severely.

I have a list of suggestions for you, Sessine, though I don't know how far along you are and if it's too late to implement some things.







If the new system is still going to use the cards,

• Make a slew of combinations that all yield different rewards.

The "duplicates-meaning-more" thing was very straightforward, and as a result a bit unexciting. It was also rather one-dimensional. If you used Poker rules among others, you might get people holding out for different combinations for a better gain than what their hand will currently get. Promote making the player choose to dump a card so their hand doesn't get used up while they wait for a better card.

• Increment Rail Pass Power, not Rail Pass Amount

Being able to amass loads of passes in a single hand means that clever system gamers might have the ability to trivialize travel altogether. Trains should be a treat, not a typical t'ing. (Hey, I tried to assonate and then alliterate.) The "better combinations" should lead to more powerful passes. Here's an example setup I decided to create:

† For 5 unrelated cards, the next day you wake up with randomly: 20 req, a burned pass (useless), a cig, an Improbability Bomb, or maybe a -Basic Pass- which gets you 1 use.

† If your cards add up to a multiple of 21, you get 2100 req, unless a higher combination is also satisfied. I'm pretty sure we don't have face cards, so there shouldn't be too much confusion.

† Getting a Pair (suit doesn't matter) in your hand of 5 should get you a -Basic Pass-, guaranteed.

† Two Pair gets you a =Double Pass=, which is good for 2 uses within one day. It's main usage is for round trips, though you could technically hit a third city instead.

† Three of a Kind gets you a ≡First Class Pass≡, which does the old "pick any square" thing, but it's limited to the one usage.

† Straight will get you 20 cigs(!). If we do the math, a Straight is hard to randomly get (though we do have 5 suits which changes the standard chances), but players who manage to get 3 in succession might hold out for the fourth and fifth and continually dump the last card in the hand, depending if they want cigs more than easy travel for one day.

† Flush gives you an ☼All-Day Pass☼. That's what we used to think of as a Basic Pass. This is actually harder to get than standard decks of cards--since if our cards don't change from their old setup, I think we have 10 of each suit but 5 suits (plus a joker).

† Hawking Flush (made up the name) - you need 1 of every suit, since we have 5 suits. That's an easy 5/5 * 4/5 * 3/5 * 2/5 * 1/5 chance, or a 3.8% chance. If you end the day with a Hawking Flush and don't notice, you'll take half of Max HP damage at the start of the day. So in other words, you DON'T want this.

† Straight Flush gives you «Elite Pass» which is what our old First Class passes were. All day, any square.

† Since we have no Royal Flush, 5 Jokers should be 500 cigs. Yep. Straight up. 5 jokers. 1/51 ^ 5. GOOD LUCK LOL

There could be all sorts of combinations, but that wasn't this bullet point. My point is the successive power of better combinations, not more passes. More passes can trivialize it all.

• Acquiring Should Be Random or Involved

The last way it was set up, every room that could generate a card did generate a card. That created a routine. We've pretty much settled on the whole "routines suck" thing. The easy fix that would be similar to the past would be that almost any room could generate a card, but only a few would per day. People would communicate to one another when the find the place to go get it, and that would get people moving to check out dwellings. I know that last time, the descriptions were tailored to every dwelling, but since that would be crazily out of hand with more and more dwellings since you'd have to write them all, we can forego them--a small price to pay for a better mechanic.

• Tricky: Losing Cards?

If what I say about all sorts of different combinations existing and having the player pick and choose when to discard one in hopes of a different one goes through, the chance to randomly lose one of your cards will make it all very unfun, since it's an effort in futility to try to get that last card to complete a Straight for those 20 cigs.

However, if what I suggest about so many combinations doesn't actually have appropriate rewards scaled to the effort of getting those combinations, and players don't care about which cards they have most of the time, the ability to lose cards might bring about an awareness to how card choice matters.

This is a tricky thing to handle properly, though, so maybe it's better to leave out.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: December 20 2011 @ 09:57 AM
By: Harris

Content:

If I may still pipe up as well?

Please don't:

remove the train theme
It makes quite enough sense ("BEWARE OF TIME DISTORTIONS"), and adds heavily to the sort of underlying running theme of class that we Yanks love so very much about...well, everyhting British.
Plus it makes for a truly nifty excuse to randomly dump folks in the Abandoned Waystation (which is still so very awesome.*)

remove the playing cards
As above, only excluding the Abandoned Waystation, and including that it's so wondefully simple a game mechanic to tie in to any Joker stories you write.

make the cards degrade
That would be pretty damn annoying. If you feel that degradation is needed, make passes degrade instead? I feel like that'd make more sense.

Please do:

Make unique-to-the-train threats
I always kind of dreaded and liked running into the Midgets on the train, and summarily losing HP to a dart in Harris' head, or having req stolen.
Mayhap have those encounters (or similar ones) provoke fights that we can win, or lose, that even have a consequence of say, taking a memento from us? And we'd have to win the fight to get our req back, and have to explore the train to find our memento again? (i.e., Places programming: take memento, give memento, comand: partial match: /LOOK, etc.)
I know that last encounter suggestion isn't likely to be anything feasible as it is, but i figured I'd offer anyway, in the name of brainstorming.

Make a Something Improbable! random event that steals playing cards, and/or passes.

Say, the old man? He ALREADY steals enough of my friggin' cigs and stamina! (shakes fist)
Shoot, add card granting and card and pass theft into Stonehenge's repertoire! It already does everything else. Why not?







*Sessine, I can't remember if I told you, but I know Black Thirteen's origin. I will tell you or anyone else if you want, but be warned, you may not like the answer...


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: December 21 2011 @ 02:28 PM
By: Zolotisty

Content:

I will be the unpopular voice in the back still saying that Trains seem altogether too well-maintained and frankly, out-of-touch posh for the Island -- lush velvet interiors, gorgeous stained hardwood floors and booths, expensive little lights above the booths in the hypothetical dining cart, perfectly kempt paint on the exterior engine and carts.. they're discordant with the setting and tone of the Island's canon writing for me (cheeky, a bit rude), and though the Drive does create beautiful things, the Drive's beautiful creations are primarily organic. (The only really big example is the Common Ground, and it's an understated kind of beauty, in its way -- the witchblooms are what make that place pretty.)

In that vein, they were also Way Too Friggin' Probable -- we had Titans crashing around the map and the trains were still running on time all the time to their destinations, their destinations where they were everywhere at once.

This is how I imagine the Island's first iteration of trains. The only way I can make sense of this is through the lens of dark humor. Shit, there are grenades going off nearby? One of your mates just got killed? There's a giant monster obscuring the horizon? There's an eggbeater embedded in your chest and you don't have enough money to find proper clothing or medical care? A worrisome infection on your foot may or may not soon begin sprouting mushrooms that look (and sound) exactly like Stephen Fry? A camera is closely tracking your every movement? Don't worry, just pop onto the train. Its opulence will soothe you.

This is what I would like them to be, though I know I'm a minority. Running the tracks under ground is the only way I can make sense of the heavy jungle and forest that's supposed to be covering the entire island; subways are of a more appropriate scale for the size of the island itself, and for all of you who reckon there couldn't ever be any kind of beauty there, stand yourself on a platform sometime late at night when the rest of the world is sleeping. The cities are sleeping, the traffic is sleeping, the whole world is sleeping except you and a busker sat on one of the turnstiles. You're the only ones around, the two of you, so you know he's not playing his saxophone for money. Must be just the pleasure of music. The sound fills the space, the sound turns some of the more eloquent graffiti on a nearby column on its head ("lost and safe" and "who the fuck can see forever"), the sound fills the whole of you to bursting. Then the ground begins trembling, and the tracks begin chattering in their moorings, and the lights tremble, and the tram rushes into the station. You wait for the doors, step inside, and you'd swear the music follows you halfway down the line, long after it ought have faded into the clicking of the wheels over the lines.

Beyond my curmudgeonliness here though, I think Fred's suggestions are ace.



Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: December 21 2011 @ 05:37 PM
By: Docenspiel

Content:

Quote by: Zolotisty

This is what I would like them to be, though I know I'm a minority. Running the tracks under ground...



*cough* Those are, um... elevated trains you linked to. Which, coincidentally, are what I've always imagined the trains to be, with the tracks popping out of the ground wherever they're going. They'd dodge around Titans and all the improbably large Dwellings like a snake goes through a forest. How else would you explain Request Stops? (Now that I think about it, a burly porter bodily throwing you as they pass by wouldn't be too strange).

And now I'm imaging trains flying through the air like Atreyu for some reason.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: December 21 2011 @ 06:16 PM
By: Zolotisty

Content:

Bit difficult to show a comparable 'here's a line of cars as in the other photo' picture if it's all in a tunnel, innit, Doc my darling? Wink


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: December 21 2011 @ 06:17 PM
By: Count+Sessine

Content:

Quote by: Hairy+Mary

As far as the feel of the trains goes, I think we should consider what would make the most enjoyable gaming experience first, and then come up with a justification afterwards.

Yes.

There's plenty of room in Places for a gritty graffiti-scrawled big-city subway -- by coincidence, I just happened to be writing one for another project, though I do feel it is actually more out of context on the Island than a steam engine. (The latter has at least some connection to the canon via a continuation of AceHigh's Victorian-steampunk ambience; the former, not so much.)

Here's how I think of it: Places are a feature of the Island. They're not separate. The canon has to include at least a handwave in the direction of "anything at all can happen," from rose-covered cottages to great sprawling mansions with ghosts and/or manicured gardens, to peaceful English seaside villages, to volcanoes, and ziggurats, and eat-you-up-whole supply crates. Clearly (at least in my mind), the decorating kits that Suzie will rent to you have to be heavily imbued with Improbability. They allow anyone to create persistent, and sometimes enormous -- though very local -- reality alterations.

It's true that trains (past and future) incorporate functionality beyond the average Place, but the characters have no way of distinguishing that there's code behind them, especially now that every Place has acquired at least a limited potential to do things. In-game, the trains are no odder than, say, a castle floating in the air above NewHome.* They are what Sessine wants them to be... and he was mad about antique steam engines before he ever came to the Island. He even raced them.** If I believed more people would enjoy riding them if I made them dirty and ill-maintained and subject to vandalism... sure, I'd figure out some excuse to change them. But I don't. So that's that. Feel free to curmudgeon at me. Mr. Green

When they return, many things will be different. The basic rules of the game are going to be different, so old card-and-pass collections will have to vanish before Trains come back.

Cards won't expire, but passes will. How many game days they'll last before they expire will be a variable number assigned when you get them, the value of which will depend on how good your hand is. (When you board the train and you have more than one pass of the kind you said you wanted to use, the conductor will obligingly take the one that's due to expire soonest.) The goal is to give people an incentive to use their passes, once acquired.

Jokers won't let you hang on to a hand without cashing in; that was a bad idea. They will still, however, mean that the hand becomes a first-class pass.

People with five or more cards in their hand will have to decide before a new day whether to discard and hope to improve their holdings, or let the new day give them what their hand is worth.

The stationmasters will still be available around their stations, and they will be happy to explain how the trains work to anyone who asks. Also, characters who don't have a card case will be finding, instead of a card, a leaflet about Trains.

(...and all of the above is still subject to change if I have a better idea, but that's how it's standing at the moment.)

--
* The train only looks Victorian -- internally, I think it must incorporate scavenged parts from disassembled teleporters and Imp-bombs, at least, and perhaps even a handful of simultaneity-generators stripped from old Season One vending machines.

** And, no, those weren't entirely authentic, either. Rubber tires, no tracks.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: February 02 2012 @ 04:05 AM
By: gladius212

Content:

so... I think that if passes (or an item like them) are continued to be implemented the 'creatures' that will 'remove' them from you must be challenge able and if they are they will have to be hard. (i recommend a 2 - 3 level skip for them.)

i like the idea of the trains being social spaces and of them having "improbable events" on them. i also enjoyed the possibility of being put into the middle of nowhere for no conceivable reason(other than you actually wanted to end up there and didn't even know it)


also this is improbable island were talking about here, the trains aren't moving at all, the world is just manipulated into moving on without them. they have no set course and no driver. it is all up to the person who holds the 'first class pass' as to where the train shows back up.think about it if these 'trains' run on a set course what happens when something is put in there way. also if an object were to run constantly over the same area wouldn't something realize the possibility of an easy plunder by sabotaging this 'track'.


Re: Trains rewrite

Posted on: February 02 2012 @ 04:31 AM
By: Harris

Content:

Sadly, trains will not be coming back.


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