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 Probability Strikes Back
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Alexis
 Tuesday, September 10 2013 @ 11:19 AM UTC (Read 2613 times)  
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The lack of activity in this forum makes me worry about if I've missed the boat on this game entirely. Is the population dying? That would suck. Also I'm still pretty new, so maybe my suggestion is really dumb because of stuff I don't know about, but hey, here goes anyway.

So there's this system for towns being besieged and stuff, and that's neat, and I assume it all works, because I haven't really bothered with it. But the nature of the war seems terribly one-sided: Monsters grow into big huge packs, they come lay siege to an outpost, we come and beat them off and then they scurry back into the jungle tail betwixt legs and then nobody bothers chasing them. Sure, we hunt down the Improbability Drive, which is the ultimate source of all these nasties, but 1) no one ever successfully kills the thing for keeps and 2) Drive Kills are not and probably should not be tied to sieges in any way. It's kind of depressing being on the defensive all the time.

So here's a couple of ideas I had for probability to strike back. Hopefully at least one of them will be non-shite, and maybe even possible to code into the game.

1) Claiming the wilderness! Make it possible to de-monsterfy certain wilderness squares on the Improbable Island map. If a de-monsterfied square is next to an outpost, that outpost will go ahead and settle the area. Put down some nice little houses with white picket fences, maybe a park or something. Trouble is, de-monsterfied squares have a tendency not to stay that way for very long. They're rapidly re-claimed by monsters, and while persistent jungling can expand the radius of an outpost out a fair ways (NewHome and Kittania seem to be constantly safe, and thus will probably end up fairly large), every new square added will get that much harder.

See, how it would work in theory is, you first kill the monsters near the town until it's at Peaceful Days. After that, further monster-killing goes towards decreasing the threat level in whichever square adjacent to the current space claimed by the outpost has the highest threat level remaining. So for a long time you'll be hacking away at monsters and technically thinning out monster forces, but in gameplay there will be no noticeable difference. Every time a square hits zero, the amount of squares being hunted is going to increase, so every square added to the outpost makes it harder to add the next. On top of that, every new day squares re-monsterfy a little bit. If a square is completely surrounded by civilization, instead of re-monsterfying right there, it heads away from the outpost until it finds a civilized square that's bordering a wilderness square, so the monsters will build up fast around the edges and hack off bits of outpost, reclaiming them for wilderness. Alternatively, if that's too complicated and causes lag or is just a pain to code, just have there be a set threshold of monsters that need to be killed to expand the number of squares claimed by an outpost by 1, and have that number get higher based on how many squares the outpost has already claimed, and have the outpost lose a certain percentage of its claimed squares every new day.

The upshot of this is that sooner or later an outpost is going to reach an equilibrium. Every day the monsters hack away a certain number of squares of outpost, and the local player population reclaims them, and on average things don't really budge, but, y'know, they could. If you're a bit more efficient, kill some more monsters, you might be able to bump civilization out another square or two today. Some outposts would end up large and thriving cities, while others would remain tiny outposts. You could have a few lines of flavor text talking about how the outpost has become a small town/decently-sized city/vast metropolis.

2) Raiding monster lairs! Significantly simpler than the last, monsters have anti-cities, fetid lairs and ruined cities where they hang out and discuss murder strategies and trade tips on how to slaver in a more intimidating fashion, and philosophize about why kitties seem to end up being crossed with practically everything around these parts. If you turn up at one of these cities, you can lay siege to it, and give the monsters a taste of their own medicine! Take that, you Improbable sons of bitches. So monsters steadily build up Lair HP in their lairs every new day, and if you hack it down to zero you get a big huge prize and then that lair is sacked and can't be attacked for a while because we're a sporting sort who will let the monsters rebuild for a bit after we've just taken all their stuff, and in any case the cameras only pay out the requisition jackpots for sacking a moderately well defended monster lair. This isn't even directly tied to the siege thing, really. If the local city is under siege, you totally could just ditch it and go raiding the local monster lair instead. It wouldn't be incredibly wise strategically speaking, but you could. There's no particular reason for the current state of the lairs to reflect the current state of the sieges, so the two systems don't have to interact (although maybe if you're at Peaceful Days or similar trucks start running out to the nearest lair, offering a lift for a modest fee to any adventurer who wants to go smack the local monster population around).

3) Make travel safer! A similar idea to the last one, but less complicated still. Add stages of monster threat even less threatening than Peaceful Days, which include not only the walls being safe but the area around the outpost being safe for miles, because monsters don't dare come near. Chop up the map into regions, each one attached to an outpost. If that outpost is at Doubleplus Peaceful Days, then monster encounters happen less often (possibly never) when traveling through squares in its corresponding region.

4) All three! Each of these ideas can be combined with either or both of the others. Combing ideas 1 and 2, monster lairs might go permanently dormant if gobbled up or bordered by civilization, so places like NewHome and Kittania might end up with no lairs nearby to raid. This, in turn, might send players scuttling off to other outposts where there's still lairs nearby to raid, and thus maybe see those two falling under threat more often than they currently do (i.e. never).

Combining ideas 1 and 3, simply have both ideas run at once. As you begin clearing monsters out of the nearby squares during Peaceful Days, the whole area gets safer to travel through because the region is less densely populated. Set the numbers up such that once an outpost has dropped the encounter rate for its region to 0, it is also 100% filled with outpost. This giganto-outpost is obviously something that should be difficult and rare to achieve, even for perpetually safe towns like NewHome and Kittania.

Combining ideas 2 and 3, have travel encounters drop dramatically in frequency when the local lair in the region has been defeated. This one is nice and simple!

Running all three together is simply a pasting together of the existing interactions. Defeating a lair causes a significant drop in monster activity within the region, which likewise causes the region's outpost to expand its borders significantly. The size of the outpost on the map both makes it easier to get there (because its border is closer to other locations) but also serves as a visual reference for how dangerous it is to travel in the wilderness areas still remaining in its region. A lair, once consumed by the city it shares a region with, cannot be sacked again, denying that region both an incentive for players to hang around and kill monsters there and the bonus to region safety provided by the sacking of the lair, thus making it more likely the outpost's borders will recede and the lair will pop back up again!

In conclusion, this is why I should be elected president of the world and given all the money ever. Thank you for your time.


 
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Ada
 Tuesday, September 10 2013 @ 04:02 PM UTC  
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Just to address your first bit, Alexis, to calm your worries about it: the population of the game is not dying. The forum has certainly depopulated compared to earlier days, but the game is doing fine - you'll be able to meet people in Banter or Story chats no problem. It's just that a lot of the very heavy forum users have quit entirely (the game has been around for a few years) or don't post as often anymore. Hope to see you in game sometime!


 
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LydiaDefountain
 Tuesday, September 10 2013 @ 05:44 PM UTC  
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yeah there are more forum lurkers then posters... and your ideas are interesting but likely would be more considered for season 3 as I don't think too many more large projects are going to be done on this season. I may be wrong if CMj gets a twitch to fix and change up something for us... he's done it before. But the idea of more peaceful travel has been mentioned in the season three thread in the guise of paths. But yeah we're all here... just we skim and don't comment much on forums so much... unless a thread strikes up that can be derailed in amusing ways or some such. Those can get rather active for a bit.


 
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Hairy Mary
 Tuesday, September 10 2013 @ 06:03 PM UTC  
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Hello and welcome Alexis. Glad that you're enjoying the Island. Smile

First to echo Ada. Yup, the Island doesn't look like it's dying out just yet. I think that there's not so much forum activity at least in part as there's plenty of places to chat on the Island itself, in particular in Banter, so there's less need to chat here in the forums. As a result, they tend to get kept more for the more "serious" conversations.

Next preliminary thing to say. The Island is run essentially by one person, CMJ. He's got a huge list of things to do, and in particular at the moment, is busy rewriting the core engine for a new season. A massive project. So even if some pretty damn good ideas get discussed in the forums, it doesn't mean that they're going to get implemented any time soon.

Also, I have absolutely no idea about what's easy/difficult/impossible to code. So there may well be ideas which would make great game play, but which may be impossible to code.

All of this in no way means that we shouldn't come up with and discuss ideas, just be aware that they'll probably not make it into the game.

Lastly. I'm more of a role player than a game player, so I'm not the best to comment on how well some ideas may fit in with game play. But, being the idiot that I am, that doesn't stop me commenting.


After all that, now on to the actual ideas themselves!

1) Claiming the wilderness. How would this actually affect players? What would we see that would tell us that squares had been demonsterfied (good word)? If all it is some flavour text somewhere, then we're mostly not going to notice. No matter how good the flavour text is (and there's some rather good text on the Island) once you've read it a few times, then you know it. If you tried to read it every time to keep an eye on what's going on, then you could easily end up reading the same thing twenty times a day. Nobody wants to do this to even the favoritest ever piece of Shakespeare. It doesn't happen.
So I think that this would have to be tied in with something quite visible affecting game play. Well you've given us a couple of things like that to consider.

2) I sort of like. But I don't have anything useful to say one way or the other, so I won't say it. Only that I don't think that it will provide, by itself, enough to make 1) really worth while.

3) This would be definite game play contribution, but I think that a lot of people still wouldn't notice it. They'd just think that they'd got lucky in not being hit. Still. Potential there.

In conclusion, I'll vote for you at the next World President elections. But not give you all my dosh. Sadly, in this imperfect world in which we live, there are even more worthy causes. The Hairy Mary Beer Fund for example.


 
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Alexis
 Thursday, September 12 2013 @ 06:45 AM UTC  
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I guess I didn't do a very good job of explaining it, but the idea behind #1 is that if a wilderness square is claimed, then it changes to look like an outpost somehow (i.e. it's terrain would be "urban" or something rather than plains, forest, whatever) and for so long as it's like that you can't get attacked in that square. If coding certain squares to be no-attack areas is too difficult, just making it look more civilized would be kind of nice on its own.


 
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Clueless
 Friday, September 13 2013 @ 06:33 PM UTC  
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Idea 1-
A gameplay problem with this is that genocidal maniacs (like myself) would systematically exterminate just about every monster on the map. Or if it was based on clearing out individual squares on the map, and not from the outpost jungles, at the least a circular path around the Island and main routes between the outposts. It would be relatively easy for several of us DK-obsessed older players to do so if there was meant to be any chance at all for younger players to manage it.

I'm talking players who can single-handedly clear out a 2k+ monster breach if they put the time and effort into it.

Speaking of breaches, I haven't seen one in ages.


 
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Twosocks Monkey
 Friday, September 13 2013 @ 10:56 PM UTC  
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Quote by: LydiaDefountain

unless a thread strikes up that can be derailed in amusing ways or some such. Those can get rather active for a bit.


Yes. That.

I've watched the forum go fairly slack for weeks on end. And then ONE terrible joke pops up, and overnight 30 posts will go in.

There are people here. They are just lurking Jokers....

Big Grin

-Rose


moooooooooo Visit and help me finish the monster list: goo.gl/rpBGe (Ya'll mostly know me as CLOG, fyi)
 
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Alexis
 Wednesday, September 18 2013 @ 06:35 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Clueless

Idea 1-
A gameplay problem with this is that genocidal maniacs (like myself) would systematically exterminate just about every monster on the map. Or if it was based on clearing out individual squares on the map, and not from the outpost jungles, at the least a circular path around the Island and main routes between the outposts. It would be relatively easy for several of us DK-obsessed older players to do so if there was meant to be any chance at all for younger players to manage it.



It doesn't really have to be the case that younger players can manage it. I'd be fine with adding things like this as something which is only really doable after you've got a few DKs under your belt. Past 15 or so, there's not any races left to unlock nor any new quests to find, so stuff in the 16+ DK region could use some love anyway.


 
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