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Dirk Vanderhuge
 Thursday, April 03 2014 @ 11:29 PM UTC (Read 7714 times)  
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Well, as the guy most likely responsible for cocking things up, I suppose it's on me to start a discussion on the recent changes to Place Programming.

My first blush impressions on them?

They are going to crush programming creativity on the Island, and discourage the Creative from further development should the changes remain as currently constituted unless their pockets, or the pockets of whatever patrons they can attract are of sufficient depth.

If this truly is a server issue, than I humbly apologize, and will take down the Combat System in Valskyr and the Ring rather than see so many good Place ideas with potential become stillborn.




 
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Rentoraa
 Thursday, April 03 2014 @ 11:41 PM UTC  
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As someone who runs a huge site, I have to say I greatly disapprove of the changes to pricing of Programs. Attempting to justify it by saying it's "server-intensive" just smells of BS to me... but let me offer a few suggestions on how to improve it:

When a Program is saved, "compile" it. The drag-and-drop blocks are essentially a high-level programming language, and can very easily be compiled into PHP.

Essentially it would become a series of:

PHP Formatted Code
if( isRace("kittymorph") || hasMemento(123)) {
    showDoor(12345);
}
// All pass uses &&
// All fail uses !( || )
// Any pass uses ||
// Any fail uses !( && )


By compiling the code in this way, running programs is much, much faster. Like, orders of magnitude faster, because it doesn't have to go looking through the database for what blocks are where and parsing them at run-time.

-------------------------

Additionally, you should probably look into getting a better server. I just found this thread from 2008. Well, if you're still looking, look at Tsohost. They've hosted PokéFarm since 2010 and it runs awesomely. They are great people, and since I work for them now I'm sure I could talk to my boss and get you a lower price (he likes me a lot!). In fact, if you did this, I could be your personal account manager, helping make sure things run smoothly.

Just throwing that last bit out there as a suggestion Wink


 
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Clueless
 Thursday, April 03 2014 @ 11:57 PM UTC  
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There's a lot of good intent with the new system, but.. I think it has all gone horribly wrong.

Lets look at the prices a bit? Half cost now! Yay! Awesome yes? No! Because that price is being expanded unto many aspects which had cost little or none already. A brew costs 250 sp, you can make, if you're smart, a pretty decent place on only two brews. So lets put that price at 500 sp. Sure it can be done without them, but this process takes much longer. When I say a place in two brews I also mean super chronos being used, as well as stuffing your face with D20s or Unreps. The latter are very free SP wise though. Supers, while having a somewhat high up front cost, are good forever, so I'm not quite adding the cost there either. Where were we? 500sp.

Before, after all the effort of getting a place built to the point of decorating, having many rooms and pages, anyone could easily add a bunch of programs, simple things to make things interesting.. And most of them would be inactive 99.999% of the time because there is no one in the room, or they hadn't clicked on a page. Of course there is also that the program in the room also only runs when someone refreshes. Unless autoupdate is broken or for some reason people are refreshing like crack addled macaws, this will only be once every few minutes. So, with a server-load impact which should be microscopic, people could have basic programs to spice up their places. It also provided a way for them to experiment with programming more interesting things, since they have enough programs to try it out with in the first place.

But now? 50 sp? For each program? A small dwelling which isn't at all complicated could easily run up enough programs to double its cost. One program to check for a memento, one on a page to display another page once it has been clicked, one in another room waiting for a commentary command, and so on. And do people want to pay that much for these tiny simple programs? I'd say no, not at all.. Not for people who just want to make their places a little bit more interesting, and 50 sp each for places with tons of programs is even more crippling.. Though how it dissuades experimenting from people who are new to the Island, to places, and to programming is far worse in my opinion.

Of course we can't overlook the root of the changes, because it seemed to make sense at first after all. Moving the first free program to a new room would be exploitable if moving programs was just added on top of the old system. As an alternative, could the move program have a requirement that either


A ) It not be the last program being removed from a page/room, ensuring that one or more were purchased and the single free program per room/page can not be exploited.

or

B ) One for one swapped with an existing program elsewhere. A blank program, probably, moved from wherever, the unplaced pool or another room/page. Therefor a 'filled' program can still be salvaged from a room/page to be wrecked, while maintaining one there to avoid exploits.


It seems that with this system we'd get the best of both worlds, the old way of getting programs easily, the ability to move them, and, with the above constraints, no way to exploit the moving to get free programs.


 
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Rentoraa
 Friday, April 04 2014 @ 12:04 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Clueless

A ) It not be the last program being removed from a page/room, ensuring that one or more were purchased and the one free one can not be exploited.

or

B ) One for one swapped with an existing program elsewhere. A blank program, probably, moved from wherever, the unplaced pool or another room/page. Therefor a 'filled' program can still be salvaged from a room/page to be wrecked, while maintaining one there to avoid exploits.


It seems that with this system we'd get the best of both worlds, the old way of getting programs easily, the ability to move them, and, with the above constraints, no way to exploit the moving to get free programs.


Or what about having Slots in a similar way to placing Beds and stuff? That way, you can only move a Program to a place that has a Slot. Sure, you could make a Page to get a "free Program", but you can only move it to a room that already has a program by paying the original 100SP fee to have two Programs in one room.


 
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Clueless
 Friday, April 04 2014 @ 12:09 AM UTC  
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Well, the problem with that then is that if you buy a bunch of slots on one page/room, and no longer need them later, then you're pretty much stuck as you are now. Except that you only need to buy another slot instead of buying a new program and swapping the C&Cs.


 
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Rentoraa
 Friday, April 04 2014 @ 12:12 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Clueless

Well, the problem with that then is that if you buy a bunch of slots on one page/room, and no longer need them later, then you're pretty much stuck as you are now. Except that you only need to buy another slot instead of buying a new program and swapping the C&Cs.


Hmm, good point... Heh, I was just about to say "well what if you could move the Slots around", but that just goes right back to your original (A) solution! So there we go.


 
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Lea.wolfsfeld
 Friday, April 04 2014 @ 12:14 AM UTC  
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I haven't done much in the way of building or programming yet, but I can see this poking quite a number of holes in any plans I might have.

For starters, I would have to sacrifice a full program just to clear a room's text all at once. Then pay .50 just to set up run programs in any room after. I can see program components such as clear banter/story becoming defunct very quickly as no one would think it worth the cost.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Friday, April 04 2014 @ 12:43 AM UTC  
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Gimme a price. If fifty cents is too much, tell me what you're willing to pay.


 
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kireikatt
 Friday, April 04 2014 @ 12:44 AM UTC  
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So I'm not a hardcore programmer or anything. I literally have one program that I use, in one of my character's places, and I just have it set up to run in each additional room.
However, it's kind of a bummer knowing that if I ever add new rooms, I'm going to have to spend money just to add that one little program. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind spending money on this game, it's just I frequently don't have the money to spend.
Just my two cents, anyway.


 
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quinn
 Friday, April 04 2014 @ 12:45 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Lea.wolfsfeld

I haven't done much in the way of building or programming yet, but I can see this poking quite a number of holes in any plans I might have.

For starters, I would have to sacrifice a full program just to clear a room's text all at once. Then pay .50 just to set up run programs in any room after. I can see program components such as clear banter/story becoming defunct very quickly as no one would think it worth the cost.



That brings up a good point. Simple programs like this or just showing a hidden door so a person can leave a room are going to be harder to justify. I am more than happy to pay for things to support the site, but the points brought up have been good (and this is only just starting).

Maybe it could be set that only rooms get that first free program? Even if a person could just move that around, rooms are a lot more effort to build than pages and it would at least lower the chance of people trying to take advantage of the free programs everywhere.


 
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Lea.wolfsfeld
 Friday, April 04 2014 @ 01:47 AM UTC  
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Maybe some of the simpler and common programs such as the clear banter/story should come prebuilt into the rooms or something like that? Would that be a start to lowering the strain on the poor server?

EDIT: Let me rephrase that. Perhaps instead of having to enter a command or load up another page to clear a room, you simply click a button to erase the text. And anybody with a key of silence (I think that is the one) or similar should have access to that button.


 
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Count Sessine
 Friday, April 04 2014 @ 01:54 AM UTC  
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If the first program in a Place can be free... would it be possible for the first five, or the first ten, program grids in a place to be free? That might get around plonking a big discouraging roadblock in the way of players who are just cautiously getting started on programming.

As for pricing for additional grids beyond a beginning free allotment, 50 sp does seem high. If bought one at a time, perhaps a better price point would be 25 sp? Like a cookie or an instant new day or a special comment.

Program grids would also lend themselves nicely to volume-discount pricing. Let ambitious programmers buy packs of 5, 2o, 50, even 100 grids! Giftable, of course.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Friday, April 04 2014 @ 02:53 AM UTC  
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We could totally give a bunch of free Programming Grids with Land Claim Stakes. Maybe apply that retroactively too, and put some in Place inventories.

We can totes do multi-packs, as well.

Also, maybe there's a way to do smaller programs cheaper (particularly ones that just run other programs).


 
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Lea.wolfsfeld
 Friday, April 04 2014 @ 03:21 AM UTC  
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I'm sure something will be done. I'll have to put my plans on hold or reduce 'em, but at least its a start Smile


 
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dizzyizzy
 Friday, April 04 2014 @ 03:38 AM UTC  
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I do a lot of random little programs. Sometimes to disperse mementos, sometimes to send people where they should be or keep them from going somewhere, sometimes just to make everything look pretty. I always happy to donate to the island, but I don't like being nickel and dimed, and that's what this feels like. I don't like having to measure what would enhance a place creatively against what I've currently got points on my account for.


 
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Outmen
 Friday, April 04 2014 @ 04:03 AM UTC  
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I do a lot of programming and I did like some of the ideas that were put out, but I had the idea of setting it up to cost SP to destroy the extra bits, and then also SP to move the programming. But the cost might take advantage of those who do very little programing or use very little of a single grid. Take AKA BAKA for example, I have been working on doing mazes there for a long while, and have been using programming to keep it a lot smaller in size of grids and pages to do by setting up a room or two of nothing but pages that only get one thing put into them, a warp to room. The rooms on the other hand get add page access and maybe a little item to randomly select a room to warp to. To finish off my last maze, the biggest of the three I have, I am looking at least having to do $150 if not up to $250 and half of that is just for the pages to warp somewhere. So that is between $75 and $125 of grids that use one thing alone. Now if I could afford that, I wouldn't be getting on the site that I think is awesome as it is on my PSP because I can't even afford a computer to play the game properly. I am lucky to be able to much programming and many jobs, with the biggest job I can do deco wise is 26. And if anyone has been able to use a PSP and get online with knows how hard it is to use that to be able to do much at all. Most sites now a days are way too complex for that to even be able to load the first part much less a whole page. Might be good to reduce the cost for the moving compared to a whole new grid. Now if you do decide to do make the destroying the made rooms/pages/doors you can do something like the deluxe items and one time offers to help them delete the extra stuff. Like if some one wants to delete an extra door (which is the most common item wanted to be deleted) they can pay like 50 SP to get that one gone, or buy a deluxe item to allow them to delete as many as they want. Now with that said, if you delete a room what happened to the pages that were on that room? Do they disappear too with the programs that were there?


 
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Hairy Mary
 Friday, April 04 2014 @ 09:19 PM UTC  
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Some thoughts.

First of all, rows and columns. One row costs as much as an entire grid now. Would it be possible to knock the price of these down to 20SP? 30SP? If you allowed just one row to be used as a whole program then this could address the "small programs" problem. With columns there would be problems doing this as there wouldn't be a control knob and escape hatch, which could be awkward if they're ever expanded.

Using new pages to avoid having to pay for new grids/rows leads in many cases to very poor, ugly programming techniques. This is more than just some aesthetic thing going on; it means that mistakes are far more likely to get made, and when they are made it's far harder to work out how and where they are. I think that the pricing structure between rows/grids should balance so that nobody's tempted to use one over the other for reasons of economy. Just a thought.


 
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Hairy Mary
 Friday, April 04 2014 @ 10:52 PM UTC  
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Also, while you're working on these things, the Memory Part less Than Contrivance has a misspeak in it. When you're giving it the parameters it asks you to "now, input a value which the digit must not exceed for the Contrivance to pass." This is wrong, the digit must not only not exceed the value, it mustn't equal it either. It's a small thing, but could cause confusion, especially amongst those who are nervously dipping their toes in for the first time. Is it possible to sort that out?


 
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Buddleia
 Saturday, April 05 2014 @ 04:29 PM UTC  
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Ohhh, lots of points in that MOTD and this thread that I'm going to need to chew over before I can make a sensible comment. Not to mention the changes to how I'm actually going to program stuff. (So many of my Page-link-arranging Thought-systems are now obsolete. So many. Should I maybe unpick them all now?)

But first, I'm going to make a rather off-the-wall suggestion. No idea if or how it'd work, but ...

If CMJ's (entirely reasonable!) issue with all these Programs is the server-running cost of them, then instead of a flat buy-it-and-now-it's-yours cost, would a running cost make sense? Something that, say, charges you one (or a fraction of a) Supporter Point every time a program-system is actually loaded and run by having a character in the Room doing stuff? So that people who have visitors once in a blue moon only get charged a tiny bit, but people who keep having huge parties pay a little more for the circuit-melting overload they're running up? And also this could be funded not just by the stake-owner but by a donations system where if people think a Place is awesome they can contribute SP into its supply pool?

Contact your local Buddleia! Crazy ideas a speciality!


Improbable Reference Links - goo.gl/MRBnb -------------- Land Registry (map of Places) ---- goo.gl/bpkRR
 
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CavemanJoe
 Saturday, April 05 2014 @ 05:27 PM UTC  
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It's a very good idea from a technical point of view, but it has the unfortunate social side-effect of penalizing the owners of hugely creative Places.

This is a three-pronged problem. Technical, financial, and social. A lot of the ideas I've had, and ideas that others have suggested, have been good solutions for one or two of those problems - figuring out a fix that works for all three is gonna be tricky.

I've a few other tricks up my sleeve with regards to helping Programs themselves be smaller and more efficient. I'll be playing those over the course of the next few days. Let's see what that does to our server load. Smile


 
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