Thread to be updated in real-time, largely for procrastination-related purposes. All of these updates apply to the test server, which is closed to the public for now.
Right now I'm going through the old modules and taking out the ones that led to imbalances.
Importing race data into a spreadsheet, to help with balancing.
Removing a lot of the stuff from settings for Races... Seems like too many bloody database hits for something that never gets changed anyway...
Coming up with a formula to balance races properly...
Making a cup of tea, having a smoke...
It's like a blog, only informative!
Outpost flavour text...
Editing, so that I don't end up just bumping this topic all night and taking up the whole "Recent Topics" box.
Zombies done, entered into spreadsheet. Unique stable capability added. Unique street names added. Code cleaned up; should result in a small performance benefit.
See the spreadsheet for how the balance of all the races work out.
Clearly Zombies suck and something needs to be done. This spreadsheet isn't even incorporating the special abilities, and the Human abilities beat the Zombie ones. Hmm.
Moving on to other races. We'll get them all in the spreadsheet first before
Help me with the formula for this, guys.
The current metric I've got for balancing races (I just eyeballed it the last coupla times around) is thus:
BALANCE = (turns/10)+(travel/20)+atkmod+defmod+favourmod+reqmod+cigchancemod+(charmmod/2)
So, the average unaltered stats for a race with 10 turns a day, 20 travels, normal attack, normal defence, normal favour, normal Requisition from Jungle fights, normal chances of getting a ciggy, and unaltered Charm, is 7.5.
So, one turn is equal to one of these:
2 extra Travel points
10% Attack increase
10% Defence increase
10% additional Favour points after each FailBoat fight
10% extra Requisition after each Jungle fight
10% extra chance of getting a cigarette after a Jungle fight (I believe it's currently about 1 in 20 as standard...)
10% increased Charm as long as the player remains this race.
Is this fair? We probably need to tweak at least the Travel cost.
Give the Zombies more turns. They should tire less easily then Humans.
Give the Midgets increased chance of cigs. It suits there character to always be scrounging up half-smoked butts.
Eh, from my game experience trying to balance them like that will never work. Your best bet is really just to give them something different enough that they're worth playing even if they're not as good, mathematically. Specials are what make races special.
Still, going off that proposed system...
Also, hopefully with the new travel system it will be worth it, but right now 2 travel points are worth FAR less than an additional turn. Since, you know, you can trade in a turn for 5 travel points. You mentioned that already, though.
The 10% extra req/cigs thing is ... not right - at ten jungle fights, adding a turn or adding the ten percent gives the same increase in total req/cigs, but gives you both, in addition to experience, so it is actually strictly better. If anything, it would be equal to getting a 10% bonus to both, not to one. This is a pretty glaring imbalance. It gets better the more turns you have, but not much better.
Other than that, it seems alright (except charm is useless except for selling to get more hps).
Oh, thats a racial consideration you could have! HPs. If you want to introduce some more complexity, anyways.
A suggestion, you could give zombies a full heal after each jungle fight. I was inspired by their special ability, they could simply eat the corpse of their enemy.
It could also take the for of a discount at the healing lodge, because they can eat the excess parts that what-his-face has from operating on others.
Also, I think that you could replace their ability with invincibility for a few turns, THE ZOMBIES JUST KEEP ON COMING SARGE. I know that you can use invincibility (you are using the normal dragon prime base, I read some of the things on dragon prime after some of your suggestions on other things), so giving them a pretty ridiculously overpowered special ability would help even it out some.
Alternatively, you could have them summon minions, possibly based off of the number of monster kills that drive kill, which would be really kind of cool. For the zombies to have been converting the dead monsters to allies would be rather cool.
Apologies for the length of my post, my state is bigger then Great Britain.
Full health bar after every fight? NO WAI
Extra special abilities for the currently-underpowered races? WAI
Mutants are by far the most underpowered race in the game. However, owing to their mutations, they should also be easy to balance out using special abilities.
Robots can now heal their companions in the Hospital Tent.
Working on an interface for them to emulate implants... Or I might just give that a miss and take it out completely, because the points allocation method is so confusing and I don't think that many people actually use the feature anyway. :-/
EDIT: Yeah, I'm just gonna comment that out for now. I might put it back in later, but I'd like to have a closer look at Implants too, first...
I think the major downside to mutants is the hit they take to exp and req gathering. I believe that JtPN played as one for a significant amount of time. There are certainly less people who complain about being a mutant then complain about playing as a zombie.
I believe that one of the major problems is the Kittymorph racial buff is ridiculous for people with high charm. Plus, the idea of a Kittymorph is more attractive on a mental stand point then numbers of the other races.
I think it would be really cool if there was a race that let you adapt to your playing style to a limited extent based on your formula.
No, dun take away my robo implant ability! (unless it's replaced with something better)
I use it at least! Though having to go through five screens every day to check chats is kind of frustrating...
Actually, what would be really nice there if there was a way other than foilwench to level up those specials. I almost never use mine just because there aren't any "boss fights" in this game, and you can only use most of the decent ones once in a game. What we need is either a way to get more specials, or some really tough (unique per day maybe?) fights we can use them all up in. The current Magpie/Mutant fights are good for that, but seem terribly uncommon.
(Note: This probably becomes less of an issue at higher DK levels, and the implants might become more important. I dunno.)
Exception: Stim implant. That ones really useful, specially for bots.
Anyways, is my assessment of the cig/req boost correct?
Went to kung-fu last night - still a bit achey, and fixing a client's PC too (hard drive diagnostics still running), so there's likely to be little coding tonight. On the other hand, my general achiness means I'm staying in tonight, so I may have some more time in which to code?
Anyway, I'm drawing up a plan for messing about with Implants. The way I see it, the current system is a bit bloody boring - they do different things, but they all work in pretty well the same way. They all even level up in pretty well the same way. I'm going to try to tie them in with similar mechanics to Glory, so they give you an edge when you need it.
I like the sound of that! I've always been a fan of the old attack, attack, attack, DESTROY THE WORLD, attack style of gameplay.
Extra variation in the fighting is always appreciated.
Playtesting the new system, with the Chemical Pack implant. It's working pretty well - I had to go through and tweak the maths a few times, but I'm liking how it works. Implants now level up independently of everything else.
The Chemical Pack is activated by adrenaline. The more hurt you get, and the longer you stay in pain, the more it'll help you out. The more you use it, the more options become available to you.
I'm going to go through each Implant separately, and hopefully give them entirely different ways of working.
Playtested the Chemical Pack implant. Quite pleased with how it works.
Plan for the Head-Mounted Laser implant:
It bears two batteries; a low-capacity rechargeable battery that is replenished overnight, and a large-capacity backup battery that has to last you for the DK run. You'll have the option to vary the power output of the laser, and a bar denoting the current heat level. If it gets too hot, it'll set your hair on fire. You can quite safely leave it at level one pretty much indefinitely, but you'll drain your backup battery.
I have to say; the game does seem a little too easy. Once you know to bank your Req every so often, there's no real challenge. I think it's probably a wise idea to get rid of weapons/armour gifting altogether, and replace it with one-shot commodity gifting. Boss monsters will also serve to mix things up a little bit.
I'm thinking one boss monster per 3 levels. I'm working towards twenty monsters per level, with one boss monster at levels 3, 6, 9, 12 and 15. The way fights work at present, if boss monsters are staggered every 3 levels, you should always be in danger of attack from one boss monster regardless of your level (since Lv1 players can't fight lower-level monsters, they should only be at risk if they choose the Big Trouble option).
Gonna have The Watcher remind the player to bank their Req every so often, and before logging out.
Drama drama drama drama drama drama drama drama drama...
*does the Sorting Out Drama dance, and doesn't do any Season Two coding*
...who thinks I should just start banning, instead?
How about instead of banning, take their saved days, and stick them on the failboat for failing to be non-jackassy?
Call it tempnerfing. Oh, but include Island-wide special effects.
Heads on pikes do a lot. So does getting called out by the admin.
Just a concept for drama reduction.
Nah, ending up banning them. I've got too much to do - spending an hour a day keeping an eye on them and cleaning up their drama was just an hour a day that I could have spent making the game more gooder and awesomer for Season Two.
CODING CODING CODING CODING TESTING TESTING CODING CODING CODING TEA SMOKE CODING CODING
Cursing the lack of a decent set of hooks in battle.php... I can hook into the part where the battle starts, the part where there players wins or loses, and the part where the page is shown that depicts a battle. I can't hook in between rounds of combat. So, if you hit "To the death," there's no way for me of knowing how many rounds of combat actually ran, hence how many points to add to your implant experience.
So, you know what I'm doing?
I'm making an invisible buff, with no effect and a thousand rounds. Then, in the sodding fightnav-specialties hook, I'm looking at how many rounds are left in the buff and subtracting that from a thousand to get me my number to perform the relevant experience calculations. And I'm doing this in the hook where I'm supposed to be just putting in the links to activate the implant, because if I do it elsewhere, the information contained in those links (showing the points you have to spend and so on) is a page load out of date.
Head-Mounted Laser implant mostly done, except for the mechanism that sets your hair on fire. Testing now.
Nope. This is not that sort of game.
It would make things a little easier, but not by much - remember, hitting 5 or 1 doesn't necessarily result in five or ten rounds of combat, because the creature could die after two or three rounds. I've still got to have some way of keeping track of how many rounds of combat have been fought.
Good afternoon, gentlemen!
As you can see, in light of recent events I have grown so large that I've taught myself English! Jolly good, I say.
On behalf of my esteemed host, I must warn you all that Season Two may be delayed slightly. You see, the silly old chap has been trying to play a sort of whack-a-mole game with the two young whippersnappers he most recently banned, and all this "drama" nonsense is beginning to get to him. It's all taking up the time that he would have spent writing his code on that infernal machine of his, you see. Quite sad, quite sad indeed, what what?
So, if you happen to know either of the two young ruffians involved, do us all a favour and send them one of those electrical letters that all the young ones are into these days, and try to jolly well talk some sense into them! The longer they make nuisances of themselves, the longer it'll take for Season Two to be finished, don't you know!
On behalf of my esteemed host, have a jolly good evening! Pip pip!
Your humble servant,
-Caveman Joe's Ulcer
Jesus tap-dancing rollerskating Christ on a crutch.
You made me spit food! And scotch!
So freaking funny.
And the image. Priceless.
(Also a bit of Fight Club: "I am CavemanJoe's Ulcer...")
Happy Friday, lads!
Head-Mounted Laser implant is functional and working well, as is the Chemical Pack implant. Tesla Frame implant has become much more powerful but correspondingly harder to use, and will have a high DK requirement. All three have had their text and colours smartened up.
Gonna need some beta-testers before too long.
Is "beta testers" a code-phrase for "targets"?
Yes, but don't tell the others that. It's a secret.
I'm quite pleased with how much I've gotten done, today... It's nice to have a break from the drama. Maybe it's 'cause it's the weekend. The only thing I've had so far is one of the banned players popping up and pretending to be an angry "Little Person" (his words). I'm playing along for now. Could be quite amusing.
Let me at the little bugger! By Zeus' beard, I shall DEVOUR him!
Patience, my pretty. Patience.
< Passes CMJ a fresh bottle of Maalox (tm) >
I do believe CMJ's Ulcer has the makings of what could be simultaneously the best and the worst animated character ever. And I do believe Dan's nailed the voice.
Anyone have some flash skills and time on...their...hands? Wait. Forgot who I was talking to.
CTP, you're bloody lucky I'm so busy with Season Two, or I'd do that.
Cleaned up the Spatial Awareness implant. This one, since it complements your existing combat skills, is going into Season Two largely unchanged apart from some new flavour text, code cleanup, fixed colours, and a new title (spaTial awareness, rather than spaCial awareness - yeah, it's a daft spelling, but it's the correct one, apparently).
Spacial is acceptable, but it is the less common spelling. Spatial is preferred.
Good on you for doing that.
Also, sorry to hear we won't be seeing CMJ's Ulcer doing a song and dance number anytime soon.
He is the very model of a model ulcer-ay-she-on.
Inputting the proposed changes into my to-do list software; the list of stuff is just getting too long.
For those interested, I use ToDoList by AbstractSpoon. I used to use MyLifeOrganized, but ToDoList is open-source, so there was no bloody contest once I'd found out about ToDoList.
I've been putting in time estimates for each thing that I want to do, and it reckons I'm looking at 153.08 hours of work so far.
I've not even told it about the sodding plotline yet. That's gonna be the real kicker.
Or the vending machines, come to think of it...
If it's textual assets you need, consider crowd-sourcing to the users.
I'll happily edit text, and pass on to you.
If it's programming, well, this is well outside my skillset, so good luck with that.
Always be alert for opportunities to outsource labor (labour) to your fanbase (faaahnbayse).
Cuz, you know, they care.
Sorry mate, the writing is the bit I enjoy the most.
Well yeah, me too.
Point is, you want it to scale out. And no one's stopping you from writing (nor should they. Your bits are really really good).
But it's starting to be a big world. And at some point (probably not now, but in the next year or two) what I'm suggesting might make more sense.
I guess my perspective is that you have some improbably good writers in game, and from a business perspective, tapping that asset might not be a bad idea. From a stickiness perspective, UGC gives players a sense of ownership (I helped build that, I did!), and they want to hang around to see their stuff in action.
As we say in Oregon, just saying is all.
Maybe maybe. I'm more than open to the idea of players submitting things like mounts, monsters, equipment and so on. But the bulk of the writing that's going to take up the... (checks) 367.58 hours is plot-related stuff, including sub-stories, side-missions, character development and so on. In other words, the secret stuff that's gonna be a surprise.
Working on the Servo Arms speciality, having a cup of tea. Deal or No Deal is on in five minutes, and I like to have it on in the background while I code.
Epaphus, loving the new icon.
I wanna test the beta!
Patience. Let me grow it a bit before I go showing it off to people.
(apologies for length)
Half four in the morning, and I can only be doing one of three things - writing, coding, or talking to Emily. Tonight, it's actually writing! Yup, I got tired of fooling with the Clan Buffs mechanics and decided to write the text for the first subplot. Let's hope it goes well.
If you're looking for beta testers, sign me up! I work an overnight job where I have a lot of time on my hands, and I'm used to smashing my head against a brick wall with little payoff.
(yes, I already have my own blindfold and cigarette. Why even ask that question...nevermind!)
Still writing. I'm nearly done with the first sub-plot.
Here's a sneak preview. I think this was too good not to share.
Have you considered professional psychological help? I love it!
The Mister Stern subplot - the first subplot that the player reaches - is now complete and tested. Now, to have a smoke and a cuppa and decide what to do next.
Didn't even get to the tea and ciggy...
Screwing around with an experimental commentary system. The idea is that you'll have a little set of icons next to your name in commentary areas, which will show your hat size, tattoos, race, gender, that sort of thing.
Mind you, if I actually make this module work as hoped, I can see it generating a simply hilarious amount of server load. That'd be extra database queries per line of commentary, every time the commentary refreshes... Hmm.
So that's what a penis is for. And to think, all these years I've been peeing through mine.
Sorry for the repost, but I don't seem to find an 'Edit' button around.
Just wanted to say...
* comes in with flying goggles, a saucepan in his head, and bubble wrap all around*
Sign me in for beta testing if you need it!
I've got a working prototype and I've just tested it on the S2 dev server, and it's not too bad. Certainly a lot less load than that bloody bastard AJAX chat thing. Here, have a screenshot.
EDIT: I'm gonna see what I can do with the datacache to try to speed this up a bit. We're looking at about a hundred database queries per village chat page in NewHome with the new system, versus fifty on the old system. Mind you, that's fifty queries refreshed every fifteen seconds regardless of whether the player has finished reading - or, even, nipped out to make a cup of tea. :-/
It seems nice, although it seems like it will reduce the chat space to half..
And I wasn't seeing the problem from the right perspective (yeah, you actually need it to be constantly updated, not only when the player is writing).
Anyhow, with the tooltip (and I'm not specifically advertising this, it's just an example) wouldn't the queries be done on-demand instead of continuously? You'd actually just see someone's profile when you actually wanted to (Ok, that's pretty much what we have now, but it could be made faster...).
Aye, that'd be pretty well what we've got now, minus a page load.
Got that bitch down to 60 queries using the datacache. Woo.
Hm. My reaction to that screenshot?
Way to smash the illusions needed for theatre and other fun role-playing into the ground and stomp on them hard. Until they're dead, dead, dead.
With that, for instance, Marley can't be a clockwork beetle. You're going to tell everyone, with every line he buzzes, that he's just one more human Newbie indistinguishable from every other Newbie. And DON'T ANYBODY EVER FORGET THAT FOR SO MUCH AS AN INSTANT!
Will you at least let the damn thing be off by default, so that those players who hate illusions will have to consciously choose to strip them away?
(Oh ...and if it was off by default, that might also help control the server load....)
Edit window passed...
Deep breath. Okay. As you can tell, my first reaction was that I don't like it. At all. But if you are going to go ahead with this, then... I hate to say this, but... I have to admit that the ability to buy a lie on that line would be something you could really sell for Donator points.
Not a lie. Call it... a costume.
If you did that, it would change from being utterly destructive of illusion, to being something that I would actually... um... rather like.
I agree with Sessine. My first impression is I'm not a big fan either. Unless you're about to attack someone in PvP, I'm not sure why knowing what the armor they're wearing, or their mount, is useful. How much will the role-players be able to configure it?
re: the head's up display CMJ is proposing:
If it's player configurable, good.
Otherwise, sounds like a lot of diddle (IE, extra work, for those unfamiliar with this particular Northwestern bit of regional slang).
Here's what I'd need on a HUD.
Level, weapon, armor, and no. of DKs.
Character description (player authored).
Perhaps user-supplied bio-avatar, unless that results in dick-pix, which I think it's safe to say, few of us need, owning one ourselves.
Hatsize, tats, and other crapula, not necessary.
PS: Thought the clockwork beetle was...sessinated. So few others use italics.
Marley the clockwork beetle is not mine. He was a wedding present from Zolotisty to Tor NaGoth, and he accompanied Tor closely for a good while before developing a taste for occasional independent exploration.
CTP, why would you want a HUD with that kind of info for social interaction in the chat boards? If you're contemplating PvP, the player bio is still accurate, and but a click away -- and it will give you all that. For banter, role-playing, and dramatic presentations, it seems to me it is much better to allow players to create their own personas, and these should be of course allowed, but not required, to match their game stats. In other words, leave room in the game for costumes.
(As for the gender makeup of the player population here... Erm. This is the Internet. I think you are assuming information about your fellow players that you do not, in fact, have.)
New thread for the commentary icon stuff.
BTW, we're about 40% female. Which is very, very unusual for a PBBG.
What's this "we" stuff? I for one am 100% ... uhm, whatever sex I am. And as those squirrelly theorists tell us, gender is a completely different issue.
Not done anything on Season Two for the last three days or so.
Thursday night I went out with some friends. Ended up staying over; got home Friday morning. Went to a family gathering Friday evening, 'cause Nan's going in for a hip operation (combined with her other hip, jaw and eye she must be about 30% bionic woman by now). Unexpectedly, went from the family gathering to a party in Crewe, and then, unexpectedly again, went to a training seminar the following day (five hours of training while hung over - mmm!). Had my exam for my belt, and will find out on Friday whether or not I've got it. Woo!
Anyway. Just thought I'd come on and give you guys an ETA and an update - tonight I plan to work on getting a framework up for folks to put in their mount ideas. ETA is more like March than January - some aspects of the game, most significantly the plot, have to be very carefully done. I hope to open up the server for basic playtesting to a few people some time this month, with a public beta in January.
Hmm... Adding the capability for each mount to have different terrain costs on the World Map was easier than expected. So maybe we shall have some underwater / scrambler / flying mounts, after all.
Updated the suggestion box in the wiki.
Just about done with the additions to the World Map that allow us to do freaky things with our Mounts. Now I must work on a client's website. And then, by the Gods, I shall sleep.
And I was wondering why I wasn't achey the day after training. For some reason I've gotten some kind of "delayed reaction" thing going on, here.
Ow ow ow ow ow.
Well, I can barely bloody move, so it looks like I'll be Season Two'ing today.
Is this where the idea for the Gauntlet came from?
re: Terrain types & mounts.
Holy F'ing S, Dan!
I know I was b***hy re: your screenshot, but this codefest you've been on sounds like many flavors (31, and then some) of awesome.
Congrats, and hopefully we may see amphibious mounts in the v. near future.
Oh, and it'd called DOMS for a reason (delayed onset of muscle soreness). It owns you, 48 hrs after the great liftening of weightage. Caused by lactic acid, so, lots of water for you.
What I'm doing right now, and what I was doing yesterday:
Sweet fuck all. The achiness I assumed was down to the training turned out to be the onset of a particularly nasty 'flu virus. I've not felt this bad in fucking years.
Tried to do some work on the player-selectable difficulty module, and kept on making silly mistakes. My brain is boiling, and I'm not up to any strenuous brain-sweat activity.
Basically I'm bloody miserable, poor, cold, and feeling pathetically Emo.
This kinda put things in perspective a bit, and I'm gonna try to cheer up and get some work done tomorrow.
And then I'm gonna CUT MYYYYYYYYYSEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELF!
Nnnnnnng. Bad flu virus. Baaaaad flu virus. Leave our Admin alone!
Bed rest, sleep as much as you can, stay hydrated with ginger ale, fruit juice, chicken soup, and other liquids with electrolytes. If your temp shoots over 38.8C despite over-the-counter fever remedies, call a doctor. And when you're feeling a bit better, don't try to do too much, too soon -- relapses are no fun at all! The Island will still be here when you're all the way back to your normal good health.
I totally agree with count sessine- give yourself a break to recover! If you don't, you can cause yourself a serious illness, such as Heart and Liver deseases. So take a nap, dude! ^^
Best wishes, hope you get well soon!
Why do I suspect that we will soon be encountering "Deadly Flu Virus with Debilitating Achy-ness" as a jungle monster?
And I shall rename my weapon 'chicken soup' in honour.
What am I doing right now, Improbable Island-wise?
The player-selectable difficulty has been done for a few days. Since then, I've taken a day job in retail. It amazes me how normal, sane people go completely bloody loopy when Christmas rolls around. And they all come in my shop, and try to kick off, and I laugh at them.
Woo yay for Christmas retail.
Anyway. The "Insert Coins" MOTD didn't work. Seems I need an actual, real crisis to generate any kind of money in December, not just a simple "Um, guys, I'm a bit skint, can you spare a buck or two?"
I'm not really surprised that this month is tight - people have better things to spend their money on than imaginary cigarettes, this time of year. Still, the scale by which people are not spending money has taken me by surprise. It's the 18th, and I'm still paying off the server bill which comes in on the 4th of each month. If I don't get enough to sort it out and put the game back in the black, I'm either going to have to beg my friends and family for money to keep it going, or shut down Improbable Island on the 4th of January.
(don't panic! I've no doubt it'll come back! Worst-case scenario is that the Island is closed from September to May each year. Y'know, like theme parks?)
Let's break it down; I've got £29 in my PayPal account, £85 rent due on Tuesday which I pay weekly, £65 in my wallet, about £20 in coins. Nothing in the bank account. Season Two is roughly one-third done, and I'd like to get it finished by February. I'm working every day until Monday, and then I'm looking for another job. My landlady's dad was kind enough to put me on the insurance on his van until the 27th of December, after which time I'll be trying once again to get money together to MOT / tax / insure my own van.
If I get a day job after I'm done with this one, Season Two won't get done by February. No way, not a chance in hell. If I don't get a day job, I won't be able to pay rent, never mind server costs. Christmas presents? I don't even want to think about that right now.
I knew that the game would fluctuate in its income, but to go from the dizzying heights to the extreme (as in, actually costing me money) lows like this is quite troubling. So, your feedback please: why aren't you, personally, giving me money right now?
a) It's Christmas, man. Family and friends come first, y'know?
b) I'm a bit worried about the recession. Actually, "Worried" is something of an understatement - I'm shitting myself inside-out about the recession. Like you, CMJ.
c) You don't have anything I want. I have plenty of cigarettes already, and nothing that involves Donator Points really catches my eye.
d) Dude, you think you're skint? I live in a wheelie bin and eat rats. Not even healthy rats; I think the last one had some sort of plague. It was all mushy.
e) There seems little point in donating until Season Two is done, given that you're most likely gonna do another stats reset.
f) Something about spending real money on imaginary shit really, really doesn't sit right with me (in other words, "I am ninety per cent of the world's population").
g) I've already donated, and I feel I've done my bit.
h) I don't have a credit card, debit card, or bank account.
i) I'm worried that I'm supporting an unhealthy lifestyle for you. Maybe for both of us.
j) I'm worried that if I donate, and the Island goes away anyway, I'll have spent that money for nothing.
k) I don't think you've been providing enough regular content and code updates to justify my giving you much money. I don't give money to other websites that update more frequently; why should I give money to you?
l) I already donated, and I like to think I've done my share.
m) I've already donated, meant to donate a little bit every month, but I've just forgotten.
n) I was going to donate, but then you changed something and I didn't like how you changed it.
o) I keep thinking of donating, but just never get around to it.
p) I keep thinking of donating, but there are three fucking Donator buttons and I'm a bit confused to say the least.
q) I keep thinking of donating, but then I wake up.
r) I'm saving up for a large purchase or expense, and have to be careful with my money.
s) I want to donate, have done so in the past, and would do again - but yikes, that guy just got laid off from my department, and there are rumours about more layoffs and I think I might be one of them, and I've just bought a new telly and my wife's pregnant and the car's broken down all at once... Yeah, playing II is an escape from real life, but to be honest, just between you and me... Right now? I play it because it's free.
t) Where the fuck did I put my wallet?
u) I'm sorry. I can't. I just can't, right now, and the reasons are personal.
v) Um, dude? It's a game. It's a text-based game. I play it for fun, I don't want to get drawn into a fight to keep it alive. Like you say in your rules, don't take it seriously - for me, that means not letting it creep into my real life, and allowing it to lighten my wallet is allowing it to creep into my real life, thus forcing me to take it seriously, thus breaking Rule Two.
w) I just won't - I'd tell you why not, but we'd be here all night. What you're doing is basically a high-tech version of street performance, and something about giving money to a complete stranger for providing what is essentially a waste of time, however entertaining, goes against one or more principles that I hold dear to my heart.
x) It's unlikely that I'll ever be able to donate, and I'm not at liberty to say why.
y) Just no. Sorry, no. There are good reasons why not; they might be personal, philosophical, financial or logistical, but I am not going to discuss them right now, especially not with strangers.
z) OTHER. That magical, mystical OTHER, that I will tell you about in my post.
I will not think any less of you for providing an honest answer that falls in any category from A to Z above. They're all good, valid reasons for choosing not to donate to an online game. There are probably hundreds of other reasons to not donate, and only a handful of reasons to donate, so don't feel bad if you've got the "I really should have a custom title by now" title.
Some statistics for you:
37.04% of players have 100 or more Donator Points (spent or unspent, and you can assume the same for the following statistics - this means that they've donated a dollar at some point, or recruited some players).
11.32% of players have 500 or more Donator Points.
8.91% of players have 1,000 or more Donator Points.
5.57% of players have 2,000 or more Donator Points.
Bear in mind that those players seen above, particularly the one in twenty twenty-dollar-or-more donators, will have made their points up over two or three donations, maybe a fiver every other month or so.
(damn, if everybody who played gave me a fiver a month, I'd be able to justify spending all day coding for the Island...)
Anyway. Things that would make you, personally, more inclined to give me some money, and what we can do to raise funds, and how we can ensure that we don't end up having this conversation again, same time next year. Discuss.
Option Z): I'm living off the wallets of my friends while I search for another job that will support my nasty habits of school, repairs on my damn truck that currently won't go above 20kmh, and of course the terrible habit I have of eating anything to survive.
Everyone else, get donating!
@Rosin: Rice and butter! Stew! Bananas! All filling, cheap food.
(I hear ya, man - I was once so skint I lived on the free hot chocolate from the vending machine at work, for five days. Chose the extra-milky option. Result. )
Garn it, just lost a long and poignant post.
Summing it up - I will donate again. Christmas is obviously a terrible time for us as well but I'm sure a tenner won't be missed too much, if it helps. I'd like to protect the island, if at all possible, and I wonder if there is anything else, or different that could be done to ensure it's survival - something I'm sure you've considered in the past, but discounted as being too distasteful, or selling your botty to the man.
You can't and in fact shouldn't be expected to do this all yourself, and your efforts are appreciated. The important question is, therefore, what do YOU want to do?
Government tech support. Cushy work if you can get it. Turn up at tennish, surf the Internet for eight hours, every now and then someone rings and says "Dan, can you fix my computer?"
Like being unemployed, 'cept wearing clothes. And being paid marginally more.
(and rice is still cheap enough to make it viable. If it's dear in your area, similar results can be had with pasta. You'll be undernourished, and you'll lose weight, so don't do it for too long if you can help it - but it'll fill your stomach and keep up morale)
(PS - rolling tobacco. Don't try to give up smoking while poor, it'll make you angry and twitchy and miserable. Switch to rolling your own instead, it's so much cheaper!)
(PPS - look up the lyrics to "No Pride" by Green Day. It's an important song for those realising that they're down on their luck. "Better swallow your pride, or you're gonna choke on it / better digest your values, 'cause they turn to shit / Honour's gonna knock you down, before your chance to stand up and fight / well I know I'm not the one, I've got no pride" and "Dignity's a landmine in the school of lost hope" and "I've panhandled for life, 'cause I'm not afraid to beg / hand me down your lost-and-founds of second-hand regret" are all sentiments to take to heart. You cannot eat your pride. It will not fill your belly. It is a useless emotion, and sooner or later you'll be forced to sell it if things get bad enough. Sell it while it's still worth something, and you'll make a profit on it. You can always buy it back later.)
(PPPS, most of this is directed @ anyone in hard times... Sell your shit. Even the stuff that dead people have given to you. It's just stuff, and you're taking up your life with cleaning it, looking after it, keeping it in good repair, worrying about it... it's costing you money, and it's costing you your heart. Do you use it every day? Does it bring happiness into your life, or is it just something that's sitting around gathering dust because you're too afraid to sell it? It'll be painful at the time, but afterwards, you'll be very glad you did it. Having fewer possessions makes you feel wonderful, and makes you want for less. There are lots of things that are painful and frightening at the time but that you wouldn't undo - being born is one of them. Don't be afraid.)
(PPPPS - do everything you can to keep your morale up. Remember, above all else, that adversity DOES NOT necessarily equal misery. There is ALWAYS, and I do mean ALWAYS, something to smile about.)
Ah, we gave up smoking when we knew the nipper was going to turn up, because we KNEW we would be poor. I suppose you just make changes where you can, when you can. We maintain a healthy alcoholism to make up for the highs associated with the evil weed.
Look, if there's anything ANY of us who post on here can reasonably do, just let us know. We're all investing in the success of your efforts, some in financial ways, others in ways slightly more ephemeral. Some in ways which will entail you being our love-puppet. But we all wish for II and you to be successful.
Anyway, as a final note and when all is said and done.
I agree with you about stew being brilliant.
You forgot one item in your list, Dan:
"Oops! I meant to give Dan a Christmas present, and I forgot. Thanks for reminding me! Done now. And Merry Christmas."
I bet there are others like me who would gladly kick in the price of, say, a paperback book or a box of chocolates... if they were reminded.
Maybe some of us players should go do a little bit of reminding. Each in our own inimitable style...
Whoops, realized how condescending that sounded. Right, I'll just say this, "Everybody donate to pick up my tab! I'll get you something cheap and probably entirely useless if you do!"
Lost my job in october... looks like I might lose the house... but I'll be damned if I lose my escapist morale booster. *Digging in sofa for loose change as we speak*
I just had a thought-- could you set up a 'Money Box' in ImpCent that took Donator Points and paid out in Req? Or maybe just put it in the Hunter's lodge with the other Point Burners.. For that matter, Paying out in Donator Points wouldn't be bad either... Though I would suggest a lower payout threshold -say 100000
Dammit man, somebody with your talents has got to be able to find a job to use those talents. This just isn't right.
How about a list of why you *are* donating?
a. Want to be in the top tier of donator points.
b. It would really suck (REALLY SUCK) if the Island went dark even for a while.
c. Dan seems like a nice guy, and he's put a lot of work into this silly game that we all spend so much time on (and get so much enjoyment out of). He shouldn't have to live on vending machine hot chocolate again.
d. Every little bit helps.
e. You'd buy him a beer if you lived around the corner from him. Probably more than one.
f. It's Christmas, fer cryin' out loud, even for those of us that don't give a rat's ass about Christmas.
Apropos of a. above, how about a Hall of Fame category for cumulative Donator Points? Yeah, it's the one stat you can buy your way into. It's about time we had one of those - seems very appropriate for the Midgets, anyway.
I agree -- a Hall of Fame listing for Donator Points would be a very good idea.
You could make being listed in it optional, via a player preference. And you wouldn't have to give the actual number of points; it could just be an ordered list, like Restorations. But it would work better if you gave the number of points.
What was that you were saying about pride, Dan? Don't be too proud to invoke the spirit of competitiveness in your players to work to your benefit. Something has to be done... if people will help you out to get bragging rights, hey, they're still helping you out, and that's what matters.
Edit: and as Tor just suggested (in clan hall) you could list only the top 20 or so. That way nobody would have to be embarrassed by being at the bottom, having contributed zero.
I've forgotten which letter, but about...five of the options apply to me. Mostly cash-flow, excessive-number-of-presents and current-lack-of-a-way-to-get-money-into-the-internet problems.
Still, when the recession really starts to kick in, I'll be able to donate far more then before. (Yay for only country in the world not going into recession...As far as I know.)
Perhaps Dan should sell Christmas tree ornaments, and display them in the common grounds until the first of the year...
I've put something in the Common Grounds... Dan can turn it into a feature if he likes, but until then... if you contribute to the upkeep of the Island by donating to Dan, go there and say so.
Now is not the time to modestly hide your light under a bushel! If you have given, say so. When people see others contributing, they often follow suit. It becomes a reminder for those who are able to follow your example.
Option z: I will donate 20 bucks, if my bank transfers the damn money on my paypal-account already! Well, until then: merry christmas!
Oh, you lot know how to come through for a frosty Caveman, don'tcha?
Adding to the to-do list, albeit this is a lower-priority one: make the Enquirer look less like a bag of shite. Rewrite the main site's default theme to use CSS rather than tables, for a far smaller file size and hopefully a performance increase. Sort out some stuff for you lot to spend your DP's on.
How hard would a HoF list of Donator Points be, Dan?
Hermein's suggestion could really make a difference.
In case you still need it (and who doesn't need money?) I've asked my fellow
All right... but what about the donors who would be pleased to be recognized for their contributions?
An opt-in player preference could easily take care of those who... don't want to be seen to be setting a good example.
And yes, an opt-in preference would mean it wouldn't be statistically accurate -- there could be someone out there who would top the list if they only turned on their preference -- but then, neither is the cig list, which doesn't count any of the cigs stashed in vending machines. So what? The point of having the list is to show people that Donating to Dan is something that other people are, in fact, doing.
Which, I guarantee you, will prompt some to donate who otherwise would not.
And, you know, it just might happen to lead to a bit of beneficial competition, for lagniappe.
(*sigh*) You mean, a Hall of Fame list might be too effective in persuading players to part with their cash?
Nice problem to have. Easily solved if it ever gets noticeably out of hand -- blink, the HoF list goes dark. I don't think it will.
We're not talking about getting people to sign over their rent cheque money. We're talking about persuading them to donate to Dan once in a while instead of buying that extra beer or going to a movie. Even in hard times, most people can manage to scrape up a little cash for small pleasures. We're looking to nudge their priorities a bit to get a share of that money for Dan.
Put this in perspective: We don't live in an isolated tribal culture. There are thousands of worthy causes out there. Most of them provide some form of recognition to donors.
I'm still considering it. I haven't ruled it out. Although if I do end up doing this, it'll most certainly be an opt-in rather than an opt-out thing.
Anyway. Right now I'm knocking together something I had an idea for over Christmas; Mount Addons. Say you want to buy bitey metal teeth for your KittyBike, or an extra machine gun for your Land Rover - should be pretty cool.
That was easier than anticipated.
Right, I think we've come to a crucial point, here... I can't do anything more with Mounts, including actually writing new Mounts to take advantage of this new system (and the terrain travel costs thing I wrote earlier), until we decide whether to use the expanded Stamina system. So, I'm going to post a poll on the main site, with my idea of how it'll work. We'll see how this goes.
Okay, now I'm excited.
I've had an idea.
It's a big one.
I've made my notes, created my spreadsheets, and created my diagrams - and it works. It's do-able.
And I think I'm going to keep it secret for now.
But I'll give you some clues...
The PvP that we're used to will be seriously downplayed to the point of it almost not even being there, with DK bands in effect (you won't be able to attack anyone who isn't within more than a few DK's of you).
It'll be replaced with something a hundred million times more awesome.
Let the wild speculation begin!
100 million times more awesome.
That's 1*10 to the eighth!
Can't wait for the unveiling!
Actually, I'm gonna go ahead and make that two hundred million times more awesome.
Let's see... 200,000,000... I think that's enough awesome points to fill a swimming pool or two. Should be good enough that non-pvp'ers like myself might test it out.
...Inter-species warfare? That would be pretty awsome, if only because of the robot invasions, zombie plagues and Joker...parties that would occur.
Boys versus girls?
pirates vs. ninjas!
Pirates vs. Ninjas vs. Robot space cowboys!
What I'm doing right now:
Writing the expanded Stamina system.
I'm writing it in such a way that other modules won't need many modifications to work with it. Basically it's mostly made out of functions, so I'm doing most of the work in the core Stamina system rather than elsewhere - the core Stamina system doesn't actually give any functionality over the game. Things like fighting, performing actions etc will be handled in other modules.
So, for instance, if I'm writing a module like some of the ones in the Jungle that randomly add or subtract a turn, only instead of one turn I want 5,000 Stamina points, then instead of doing this:
after a quick require_once "modules/staminasystem/lib/lib.php"; in the header of the module I'm changing.
Basically I'm trying to make it as flexible as possible for the future, and for other LotGD admins. It's going pretty well at the moment.
The Awesome Thing:
You're not thinking awesome enough. More awesome.
Why do we need turns and stamina? Why not just have stamina that can be expended in various ways?
Sorry, I could have explained that clearer.
In every module I've got, or written, that uses Turns, I'll be going through and replacing the commands that add or subtract turns with a call to the function that adds or removes Stamina. So, yes, you're quite correct, we won't be using Turns at all in S2.
(EDIT: Oh hell, the nightmarish implications of having both turns and Stamina are kinda sinking in, now... *shudder*)
Just out of curiosity, CavemanJoe, did you happen to catch Scene Two of the Riddler of Oz?
Not at the time, but I caught it in the Wiki afterwards. 'twas most awesome, and Emily liked it too.
Right now I'm contemplating whether to use a serialized array in the Stamina system modulepref rather than putting a new line for each Stamina category, value, and user ID into the database. It'd almost certainly end up being far easier to use.
I know we haven't seen the complete Stamina system yet, but I have the feeling that it is going to limit the amount of day-long grinding that's currently possible in Season One. I happen to think that's a good thing. One thing I note about the server, though, is that the lowered number of fights each day is somewhat balanced by the very short days (4 hours as opposed to 8). Perhaps it would be worth considering a long-term change to 6 hour days, and allowing 3 saved?
I've been pondering the idea of actually lowering it to two game days per real day, IE 12-hour days, but giving more Stamina to balance it out. We'll have to fiddle and tweak a little bit - for now I'm just concerned with getting the damn thing working.
As of now, you need to create a new character to play season 2. And you said you would be keeping S1 going as long as until it becomes inconvenient.
I'd like to see a way to transfer myself from S1 to S2 (after most of the bugs are fixed), with all my dp's all shiny and ready to spend over as you promised.
At the moment, there seems to be no way of doing this besides pestering you or a mod into giving me the points after creating a new character.
When S2 goes live, your character will be copied to S2, reset to Newbie, and given back all the Donator Points you've ever had. For now, S2 is in testing phases, and there's little point in doing a transfer (it's a pretty big job).
Stamina system is up and running again, converted to storing its information in a multidimensional array in the player's moduleprefs. Seems a lot happier now.
Round-up since the last post:
Stamina system is hooked up and running, both with core combat and with World Map travel. It's using a hacked-together emulation routine to hook it into the things that add or subtract Turns, as a temporary measure until I write some dedicated events that actually affect Stamina.
Weapon icons are in place.
Mount Accessories are being rewritten so they don't suck so much.
That's it, for now. I'm thirty quid short of my rent, still have no transportation and I have six weeks to get the van sorted out. In two weeks' time I'll need to pay $174 for the Island's dedicated server. So, as of tonight, development on S2 has temporarily stopped, while I do some design work to make some fast money.
I'm aware that the Island is a good earner and provides consistent income when it's doing well, and as such I'll do everything I can to keep it running and get S2 sorted as quickly as I can. For now, I'm going to get cracking on some website design stuff.
Updates will follow when I get back to S2.
Thanks to a generous donation from an anonymous benefactor, I'm now working on the new Mounts. Existing Mounts have had their statistics brought in line with the new Stamina system. They've also had their descriptions or stories altered, and in the case of Budget Horse, extended with the blackest of black humour.
I'm hoping for around forty new Mounts, with accompanying accessories, in time for S2 going live.
Still working on the Mounts. Tweaking the Clan Buffs module, fixing bugs in the new Implants. Here's the list of what needs to be done before we can go live - the rest can be added throughout the season:
Race Balancing (with Stamina etc)
On the new consumable items, and the method by which to gift and trade them... Gah.
Right now I'm not using any sort of dedicated item system. The consumable items and their effects are hard-coded, written in a single file. Do I make myself a serialized item system like with the Mount Accessories and Stamina system (which will take a while, but save me some time and give more flexibility later on), or do I just carry on hard-coding, get this done as quickly as I can and sort out an inventory system for Season 3?
Decisions, decisions... And my S3 potential to-do list is growing.
Went for hardcoded in the end.
After a very, very long coding session (just coming up on 9am, now!), eBoy's Trading Station is done. eBoy now trades in stuff that you can actually use, rather than tea and coffee and suchlike. Each outpost has its own trading station, and the prices are different for each station. Everyone sees the same prices, and prices change every day. Should provide for some entertaining teamwork (or not) from the more capitalistically-inclined. (is that even a word? I've been awake too long...)
Three new items have also been added. Go see what they are.
There aren't any hard limits on how much stuff you can buy or sell in a day - I hope that I've balanced it well enough that I won't need them. Time will tell.
Now, no point in going to sleep - so, back to Mounts, I guess.
Well, I didn't go back to Mounts. I went to the Gift Exchange. Check it out in Kittania. Provides unlimited gifting of any consumable items, to any player, at any level, at any time, subject to checks for alt-type naughtiness.
Packages are dispatched from Kittania overnight and delivered to the giftee the following morning in a big box, complete with gift wrapping.
Well, it's half twelve in the afternoon. Should I sleep, do you think?
Three-hour nap, chat with Emily, more coding, maybe start work on the Ultra-Awesome Super Secret Killer Feature...
More friggin' laptop surgery. Sodding keyboard went tits-up on the bottom row. Have yet to determine whether it was the work of a dodgy connection or an accumulation of (bizarrely, conductive) dust and Caveman Hair, but after disassembly, blowing on the connectors and removing accumulated nastiness it seems to be okay. Time will tell whether this was all down to Conductive Caveman Hair or something more sinister.
The target date of March 1st is looking a bit unrealistic, if I'm to actually implement the plot modules and Secret Awesome Feature. However, there is definite, noticeable progress, which is good for my morale.
Should I make "Conductive Caveman Hair" a jungle monster?
Go for It! (I cant wait to read the full description)
Oh yes. Then they can go compete with sentient Midget pubic hair, if you're accepting that one.
"Rah! Git eet 'way!"
Day job day job day job. I do not like having a day job. It kicks my arse hard, and then I end up spending Saturday nights catching up with shit.
I may make a start on mmmmMMMMMMMEEEEEEEEAAAAAT system now.
No, actually, fuck it - serialized item system. Like I should have done three sodding months ago.
Uhm, no, fuck that. It'll take forever, and will probably involve rewriting the battle system and doing completely new equipment.
The idea is that I'll be able to assign any stat to any item, and weapons/armour/sidearms/etc will also be classed as items.
Here's what I've got so far, and this is only a plan for very, very basic functionality without being able to use items as weapons:
SERIALIZED ITEM SYSTEM
CORE - just allows items to be held and viewed in the inventory. Modules can query whether an item is held by the player, IE for quests and such.
Itemid (local id, short and memorable)
name (verbose name)
pname (plural name)
QUANTITIES - for when items aren't unique or for quests.
playerquantitylimit (set to 0 to disable a quantity limit)
qty (player's quantity of this item)
PERSISTANT ITEMS - for when items need to be preserved across DK's.
BUFFS - allows buffs to be added to items
buff1newday (is the buff active on newday, or...)
buff1activate (...does the buff need to be activated?)
ITEM ACTIONS - allows items to be activated in specific areas
hookmsg (message shown when item is used)
ITEM HITPOINTS - allows items to take damage and be destroyed
destroyable (is the item destroyed when hitpoints reach zero?)
damagemsg (message shown when item is damaged)
destroymsg (message shown when item is destroyed)
usepoints (unset for infinite-use items)
destroyafterdeplete (is the item destroyed when it has run out of uses?)
usemsg (message shown when using the item)
depletemsg (message shown when item is depleted)
ITEM COMBINING AND SPLITTING
split1id1 (where "1" is an incrementing number - the id of the item that will come from splitting this item)
split1qu1 (where "1" is an incrementing number - the quantitiy of items with id specified above that will come from splitting this item)
split1link (link text for split 1)
split1msg (message shown when splitting item)
ITEM CARRYING LIMITS
affectsweight (item is, for example, a rucksack in which additional items can be stored)
affectsbulk (see above)
BASIC EXAMPLE SHOP MODULE - example, assuming that this particular shop module is called "Sheila's Shack." For more shops, add more modules.
sheilashow (bool - shows up in Sheila's Shack?)
sheilagoldbuy (Sheila's buying price in gold)
sheilagoldsell (Sheila's selling price in gold)
sheilagemsbuy (Sheila's buying price in gems)
sheilagemssell (sheila's selling price in gems)
DUKE NUKEM FUCKING FOREVER. Serialized item systems can wait for S3. Or S4.
So, what to do in the hour or two before I'm going to have another chat with Emily and then go to bed...
...meat? Insults? It's hard to come back to this after a two-week break for Emily and day jobs...
Take your time. We can wait a bit for S2, and S3 is probably quite a distance away from our thoughts.
CURRENT ETA FOR IMPROBABLE ISLAND SEASON TWO:
Some time in the summer?
A little time is good... we've still got two or three Weathervane scenes to finish...
So, CMJ, I think it'd be cool to revamp good ol' Audrey a bit. I know she's the crazy cat lady. That's awesome. But so far, the only thing you get are unmatched cats, matched cats, and hedgehogs. I think you need another negative in there to balance it out. Maybe snakes? Dogs? Spiderkitties? Whatever, but they make you LOSE five jungle fights or five charm.
Just a thought.
STRUCK DOWN BY VICIOUS MAN-FLU
That is all.
Well, this ain't fun at all. I thought man-flu at first, then I thought food poisoning, now... well, fucked if I know.
Apologies for shirking my Island duties for now... can't really concentrate on anything. I feel a hell of a lot better today than I did a couple of days ago, but my stomach still says "Food? Food?! Bourgeois capitalist decadence! OUT WITH IT!"
I'm gonna give it 'til Saturday (which is my next day at the Day Job of Distraction) and if I'm not able to keep a biscuit inside my body by then, I'll concede that it might be time to haul my sorry ass up the road and get plugged into an IV. Vein-food, yum!
(is it odd that my biggest fear of hospitals is having to go without Internet access? Yes, I think that's odd. Yup.)
This week is fun!
Reworked the Stamina system slightly. Levels are awarded straight away now via a nice bold "You levelled up, well done!" style notification, rather than being quietly announced at newday. Processing the things you learn while sleeping might be more realistic, but it's not as emotionally or psychologically engaging or satisfying as that instant "Bam, you did good!" positive reinforcement thing.
Added stamina usage indicators to the Fight and Run links (which was about a million times more work than it should have been).
Levelling up and exp have changed considerably.
Example from before:
Max cost: 25,000
Min cost: 10,000
Experience per repetition: 100
Experience for level: 1,000
Cost reduction per level: 10
Experience held over through DK's: 2.5%
Example from now:
Max cost: 25,000
Min cost: 10,000
Experience per rep: (moot now - all talents come with 100exp/rep by default, this can be altered via Stamina Buffs (for example while fighting under the influence of a great mentor - or alcohol))
Exp required to reach level 2: 1,000
Exp required to reach each subsequent level: previouslevel + (previouslevel*1.08)
Cost reduction: 150 points
DK retention: (moot - all Actions-related experience is now permanent)
Example from above:
Level 2 exp required: 1,000
Lv3: 1080 exp required on top of the 1,000 you've already got, so you reach lv3 at 2080 exp
Lv4: 1166 + 2080 already got = 3246
20 41,446, and as an example, this means there's 3,996 exp points between lv19 and lv20, 8,627 between 29 and 30, 18,625 between 39 and 40, and so on.
As you can see, out of all the various actions, this is a relatively steep example.
Now, each talent tops out at a nice round 100 levels, rather than them all being different like before. Different talents have steeper or more gradual curves. The ones that you come across later - the ones that are taught to you by various NPC's - will be used less often, and will thus be easier to master. This particular example is from an action that you'll be using throughout the whole game, so I had to balance out making it easy to level up at first with making it a very, very lengthy endeavour to level up later on.
My benchmark was Tor NaGoth. With around 160,000 monster kills, 330 DK's and a total of 476,000 page views over the life of the account, he'd be at about Level 94 of the above example, assuming he'd chosen the same hunting options each time and his exp help/hindrance had worked out about equal. That seems about right to me; I want level 100 to be achievable, but not by just any Tom, Dick or Harry.
Still, the static amount of discount awarded after increasingly difficult levels does bother me slightly. Maybe I can find a workaround for that.
Yay for a fun afternoon / evening of code. My first in a while, and probably my last in a while too. Damned day jobs.
2:30am, and work in the morning. 'night, everyone...
Playtesting, tweaking, and bug-squashing.
Bugfixes in the World Map related to encounter rate. Level Up and "You're getting tired" messages added to the World Map. Race balancing via Stamina buffs in theoretical, spreadsheet-only form (Stamina can have buffs applied to both the action cost and the experience gain - Midgets, for example, can fight pretty well all day, with quite a big combat boost and some neat Limit-Break-style special talents, but being thick as pig shit they only get a quarter of the per-action experience as humans). In-combat HP bars have been broken since the move to the new server, and I'm not yet sure why. Flavour text enhancements.
General combat: Monsters now drop FAR less Requisition than before. Like, a fifth as much. Toying with the idea of eliminating the difference per level (so lv15 players will no longer get any more money than a lv1 player) and replacing with Glory-like mechanics so that The Watcher pays more for more exciting fights - but still capping at 50-or-so Req per fight, with 10-or-so being the norm. There will be other ways to make money.
Secret Feature: Bugfixes, Stamina hooking-in, level up messages, getting tired messages, getting tired outcomes, more flavour text. Usability enhancements so that most of its functionality can be accessed from a single page, so the tasks involved can go really really fast.
This is, honestly, about 90% done. It's my most ambitious coding project to date, and I hope very much that you'll enjoy it. I'm itching to spill the beans, but I'm gonna restrain myself. For now, at least.
New feature: Meat system, currently alpha. Not yet hooked in to Stamina, although the action has been written. Not yet hooked in to stats. Meat is not yet sellable (various restaurants and kebab houses will buy different qualities of meat - coming back to that "different ways of making money" thing I talked about earlier). Training at Kittania cookery school is not yet required. Unique values for each monster not yet implemented, they all default to 10 of each meat type. Meat type randomisation not yet implemented - every monster will drop 10 mouthfuls of each meat type regardless of your tiredness level, experience in carcass cleaning, or any other variable.
So what does work?
You can now clean the carcasses of monsters you've killed, and carry the meat around with you. You can cook and eat a meal out of this meat, using any combination of the three meat qualities. Very, very alpha. Plans include ability to rent refrigerated meat locker space so that this doesn't happen at the start of every new day:
eBoy's Trading Station now keeps track of stock. The availability of consumable items will be determined by the players selling them. This should make things a bit more interesting in a real-economy sort of way, and also help alleviate the sort of problems we might see with, for example, players finding a real good deal on One-Shot Teleporters and then using one to get to a faraway outpost and selling them for twice as much (without paying any Stamina cost == infinite money exploit).
Started on a very, very basic implementation of the serialized item system after all. Turned out that once I'd gotten past one logical hurdle, the actual Doing Of The Thing wouldn't be too tricky for basic items.
I'm writing it in a sort of modular way, so its complexity can be rolled out in stages. For example:
Stage 1 (which is pretty well done!):
The player has an inventory that can hold items given by quests. The giveitem() function is implemented, and the module knows the difference between 'normal' items (things like grenades, where every instance of the item will be the same) and 'special' items (for example, a player might have five throwing knives, but some will be rustier than others) and store them in the player's Inventory array accordingly.
Add use hooks to the item arrays. Define whether an item can be used on the world map, in the forest, in the village, in a fight etc.
With a hook into the useitem() function, other modules can expand the complexity of the Serialized Item System. Write simple little modules to add buffs, heal the player, and change the player's location - this will be enough to replicate the current functionality of my hardcoded Improbable Stuff.
Why it it important to replace Improbable Stuff with a more flexible system? Well, Improbable Stuff - which handles things such as grenades, one-shot-teleporters, medkits etc - has all of its different items written out in one big file. It's not a database-driven thing. It's old, it's clumsy, and it was intended to be a quick job but has actually cost far more time - you see, every time I want to add a new item, I have to update the improbablestuff script as well as all the modules that interact with it (IE vending machines etc).
Also, when I open the game up to player-submitted modules (yes, there will be a sort of SDK and an area in each village for player-coded shops and adventures in S2), I'd like you guys to be able to send the player on wild goose chases trading items between NPC's at various points across the map.
Of course, this is all going to add to the development time, but as long as I get done before...
This has actually gone into Season One, but it's not really worth its own thread, so!
Commentary Icons has been tweaked a little - the online/offline bar works far more accurately, and the whole thing has been optimized so it now results in far fewer database lookups. Information represented in the commentary icons themselves should be accurate, as the cache for the viewing player is invalidated when the viewing player looks at a commentary area. So, if you're not logged in and thus not changing weapons or race, your data will be read from cache - and when you're looking at commentary areas and (potentially) changing weapons and race, your icons will be updated. I also went through and fixed one or two broken weapon images, and made it so that roleplaying players hiding their weapon and race (utilising the hidemyinfo pref) needn't hide their logged-in bar and donation status, so that the output isn't as jarring when hidemyinfo players are talking amongst regular players.
On the local test server, AJAX chat is now interfaced with the commentary icons with far fewer lookups, and I have to say it all looks far nicer on the S2 theme. I also fixed the AJAX chat module's lack of support for the /game switch (which also handles /special comments).
Village chat output was amongst the biggest offenders for high database load, so we should see a slight performance benefit. Perhaps enough to justify bringing back AJAX chat, now it works properly.
My, that serialized item system is coming along very nicely now. This'll let us add lots more new items to the game, over and above the standard Grenades and suchlike. It'll give us a cool little inventory viewer too. I'm delighted at how easily this is all coming together!
...BTW, I'm now working on a local test server, installed on my own laptop. Is it tragic that the Improbable Island server, which lives many miles away, has a much larger database and has several dozen people logged in at any one time, is faster to respond to my commands than the webserver running right on this computer?
Should I buy a new laptop?
*turns out pockets*
No. No, I should not.
I've got no spare desktops right now. Otherwise that might not be such a bad idea.
Right now I'm writing some of the plot points for S2. Preview, from an early plot point:
As you head into the Outpost, something big and black appears in front of you, moving at speed. It impacts on your face, knocking you on your back. As you push yourself up onto your elbows, you try to make sense of what just happened.
You're not `ientirely`i sure, but you think... as strange as it sounds... it might have been someone's arse.
You replay the scene - yup. Someone's arse, in a black skirt. You only know one person on this Island who wears a black skirt.
The Watcher - or at least, the top half of her - leans out of the air. Her bespectacled eyes lock onto yours, and her face lights up in a huge grin. "Hey, it's you! Well, isn't this a coincidence!" She reaches out to you. You extend a hand, ready for her to help you up and, perhaps, explain where her legs are - and why she just beat you to the ground with her now-invisible posterior.
Nothing of the sort happens. She expertly steals a cigarette from your pocket, lights it, gives you a cheery wink and leans back, disappearing right before your eyes.
You lie for a moment, staring at the space she just occupied.
"RIGHT THEN!" you cry, in the vain hope that The Watcher could still hear you. Birds scatter from the trees. "So THAT'S the sort of day this is going to be! OKAY! Thanks for the heads-up!" You get to your feet. "I'll expect to be mugged by a floating pair of boobs any second now!"
A passing contestant looks your way, lip curled up in distaste. "Weirdo," she mutters, before continuing on her way.
Updates to be posted here:
This is one of the VERY few possible uses I can imagine for such a restrictive, substandard, let's-face-it-just-plain-crap method of communication. Twitter's enforced brevity reminds me that I should be devoting my time to coding, not to writing about what I've coded.
Naturally, if a feature needs to be explored in more depth, it'll be done here, where we can talk about it.
The Improbable Island Enquirer - Forum