Thursday, December 31, 2009

"There's no I in team"

That phrase has always bugged me. I've finally figured out the reply to expose it's BS.

"There's no I in team"
"Really? Who said that"
"I did"
"But there's no I in team..."

It's the pupper mastery - the perscribed assumption that it's a group thing - by the very person who is not acting as part of some harmoginised group, but instead driving it like people drive cars.

It's like another joke I have
"Things are better when you collaborate to tell a story.
BTW, if your not doing as I say, it's not collaborating"

By appealing to a sort of group concept, but then strictly as an individual manipulating the definition of those group words, you control the others. It appears at first glance a group thing, but it's puppet mastery.

Symantics are powerful. Don't let your guard down.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Self Moderation Vs Consenting to be Moderated

There's some discussion about self moderation on the forge here.
There is a difference between moderating yourself and consenting to be moderated.  Even when that consent is ongoing, they are experientially very different.

I was going to add the following but thought I'd wait so as not to take over the thread (too much?)

Yes, there is a difference between someone who, when going on a drinking bender, mails his car keys to himself and someone who simply relies willpower not to take up their car keys while drinking.

But in the end I call them both self moderation. Though I'll grant one is probably alot more effective than the other.

Oh, and on a different subject I made a hub on hub pages about how to make something that fends off snails from seedlings. It might seem a stretch, but I think of gardening in a game like aspect (and given the number of mmorpgs which have plant gathering in them (and that farmville game), I think in general culture it's taken to have game aspects.

Here's the link:

Oh even more: I've been meaning to pimp R Scott Bakkers 'The darkness that comes before' as it's called epic fantasy, but I think of it as education on philosophy. But haven't gotten around to it and I'm thinking of making it a kind of signature thing anyway

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Who succeeded?

Just a quick thought...

There's not much point winning, if to win you change into a different person than the person who set out to win to begin with.

That person is no longer there to win. They cannot win for the not existing.

It's something to consider in the pursuit of money.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Giant Zombie Invaders: Work in Progress

New work in progress - really I like to think the core game play is there. But then people would go 'where's the X or the Y' and I'd go 'Can't ya see the vision! Can't ya see the core gameplay!'. It's as if I presented them with a car and they want one with, like, seats and metal covering the machinery and a muffler and...oh wait, that makes sense. Damn analogy!

Anyway. Zombies. Shoot 'em in the head. And they still. might. not. die!

And I realised I have no idea what to call the metal skin of a's not the duco, that's on the metal. The metal itself...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

New program/art piece 'Mindless Certainty'

I've coded a new program. It is an experiential art piece, engaging visuals, avoidance and ideas in words.

It engages the idea of being able to make an innocent mistake using objects that are capable of killing.

((This is 10% game, 90% experiential art. It's more moving artwork or commentary, 90% more, than it is game))

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Blizzard Authenticator - A rip off in itself

I saw an article on mmocrunch about world of warcraft authenticators. The little device that generates a second code needed to log in (you don't have the device, you can't log in, even if you've hacked the regular password). I wrote the following:

I am surprised how people are so excited to spend money on these if they are so necessary to play the game.

If it’s a necessary part of the game, why doesn’t it come with the game – or atleast after X amount of subscription time they send you one?

It’s like you guys rented a house, then your real excited to buy a lock and key for the front door – the house should come with one.

I mean, if the game didn't come with a password field at all and you 'only' had to pay $6.50 to get one, would you think that's great? No, you'd insist it should come with a password field. You'd say it's absolutely necessary to have one.

And yet you say the Blizz authenticator is absolutely necessary as well.

Quick entry...

I kind of think it's funny that my last title was 'who loves zombies', and right underneath the advert keeps showing Pamela Anderson...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Who loves zombies!?

Everyone <3 zombies! Some teaser shots for the current game I'm developing.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

The psychology of nano returns game design

Because of a certain revenue stream particularities, I've been considering whether it's possible to engage that revenue without exploiting myself or being exploited.

What were looking at from the outset is getting something like 5 cents or so for hours of development from posting your game on a certain hosting site*. Which is absurdly exploitative from first glance.

However, another avenue of looking at it is if you go for a walk each day or every few days - what if you were to find 1 cent on the ground as you walked along? You already have a natural tendency to excercise and go for that walk.

The thing here is that if your staying inside of your normal exercise pattern, it's something you were going to do anyway. It's when you go outside of your normal pattern of exercise FOR the money, then it's starting to simply exploit yourself. It's certainly not worth it for the money.

It's drawing a line between what is your normal pattern of exercise and what is work, that's vital here. You don't want to go over that line.

Also one of the key elements here is that if you go for a walk and it's unpleasant, then maybe you go for fewer walks. You don't force yourself through it. While with developing, there's the habit of forcing oneself through a difficult part. That has to go as well - difficult parts are making the exercise unpleasant. If you feel like doing less exercise development because it's become unpleasant, then do less. Otherwise again, your exploiting yourself. Sometimes that line slides toward doing nothing, because things are unpleasant. This makes sense - you don't do unpleasant things for nothing. Or more to the point, if you start doing so you'll get a martyr fetish going on.

In terms of making money from such a nano income stream, there really is no room for innovation and going outside the box. It only makes sense to stay inside that exercise line.

Another factor that lead me to write this is that I'm thinking about reward feedback. For example, if every time you walked for half an hour you found 1 cent, that's nice. But here it isn't even like that - you wont be getting 1 cent for every half hour of development. If your game takes 2 and a half hours, you'll get your 5 cents after that (assuming something like a five cent return).

This leads to an awkward short term sense of getting nothing, then getting something for nothing. Since you get nothing during development, but once uploaded your doing nothing yet money trickles in. The short term reward cycle is one of the most important ones to consider when developing your own capacities. That's a blog entry in itself, really.

How to forfil the short term reward cycle, when there's no way to change the returns pattern?

Well, I guess you can change the returns pattern somewhat, by posting it as a WIP after having done half an hours work. But for myself, I don't feel this is right for me, anyway.

For myself it seems each half hour of 'exercise' development still needs to be logged. And...I'm not sure if the logging/recognition is enough. It's kind of like writing down a token of the work as the valuable thing found, then when some money is earned latter on, self reinforcing the connection.

Anyway, as you can see, sometimes you take a walk, sometimes you type alot. There's a fair bit of effort in this document, yet it's part of my natural exercising desire. But if I were to do more than is natural to me, for just a few cents, that'd be exploiting myself.

* Not mentioning in this document because I'm not sure I agree with their policy of how they deal with developers enough to promote them. But if you look around this blog, it wouldn't be hard to figure out.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Reading the emotions of the zeitgeist

I just found the google trends page. Yeah, I know, I'm slow.

But reading that little line chart, it's like reading the emotions on the face of some massive zeitgeist. I'm looking at one now where there's this low murmer of search for some time like people are looking, looking, concern then OMGWTFBBQ the zeitgeist gets really excited about the whole thing.

In others there's like this explosion of interest like a wave of people saw it, checked it out but let it go, but then maybe mentioned it to someone and EXPLOSION!

Just that little line tracing all those responces...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I happened to read a bit on Ayn Rand Objectivism

...the proper moral purpose of one's life...

To me it stumbles right there - not only asserting the assumption that there is any proper moral purpose, but then going on to act upon the assumption without questioning the assumption.

It seems once again a reflection of so many religions certainty that they can act upon you because they have a 'proper moral purpose' and in this case it's the idea they can act upon you with 'pure laissez faire capitalism'.

You want my moral reflection? I don't know if there is any moral principles in existance, ever, or if there were any, I don't know whether anything I do happens to match such principles.

All I know is that rather than drop limp where I formerly stood and cease breathing or breathe yet lie there till I starve/dehydrate (a bit like the people on that planet in the movie Serenity), I instead feel urge and hunger welling up in me. As intellect I can see this, see the urges coming, and my intellect is powered by these things that well up (you might think of it that these hungers and urges grant intellect a budget...and if they pull the budget, no intellect).

And unlike most people through history who feel such things and pronounce them right and morally just, I have reached the conclusion I can reach no conclusion about whether they are right or morally just or anything.

Anything I do may be monsterous somehow. I do not know.

All I do is at least make sure I'm the sort of monster, if monster I be, that I set out to be. To make sure I'm the monster I decided on, rather than something else that may be equally monsterous AND is not something I decided on.

Then again I don't think souls are for free.

Is there a name used in any particular culture for that?

Paying off hosting of content way before paying off the content

I'm starting to wonder if artists hire managers A: Because they just don't think in a way that lets them see when they are being ripped off and B: The entertainment industry is actually about ripping them off, and a manager knows this and their job is to make sure they are ripped off in a sustainable fashion.

I'm pretty sure of my math on the 70/30 split at game jolt. But try and describe it and no one engages numbers, they just say it's faaaaiirrrr.

Anyway, I'll list my math here in case my game jolt blog gets deleted or something ludicrous

CAVEAT: Since I've tried to explain this and no one seems to grasp it, it seems a human perceptual blind spot. If I try to explain to someone what's happening and yet they still jump in and call it great, I'm not against setting up such a system myself in some way.

Have a look if you want, see if it adds up to you

It's pretty easy to layout:
Week 1
You work on a game for five hours and submit it
The webhost does five hours of work on providing the service over the week
The game makes ten cents by the end of the week, you split it 70/30.
You get 3 cents for 5 hours work.

Webhost gets 7 cents for 5 hours work that week. 1.4 cents per hour.

Week 2
You work five hours on another game and submit it. You now have two games uploaded.
The webhost does five hours of work on providing the service over the week
Each game makes ten cents by the end of the week, you split it 70/30.
You get 6 cents for a total of 10 hours work.

Webhost gets 14 cents for 5 hours work that week. 3 cents per hour.

Uploading games means the webhost is working no more than before
Week 3
You work five hours on another game and submit it. You now have three games uploaded.
The webhost does five hours of work on providing the service over the week
Each game makes ten cents by the end of the week, you split it 70/30.
You get 9 cents from a total of 15 hours work.

Webhost gets 21 cents for 5 hours work that week. 4.2 cents per hour.

As you can see, the webhosts income per hour for providing the service goes up pretty rapidly.

Now, totally granted, it's not at a fair wage amount per hour yet. But clearly, if you can do the math when multiplied over dozens of developers, once it gets to a fair wage, it will quickly slip right past a fair wage and go higher and higher.

Based on hours of game design by developers that have not been paid off at a fair wage. It's a sky rocketing wage based on paying off game designers work hours at a minute rate.

Monday, December 7, 2009

New game - Invaders from Space!!!1!

Hi! Welcome to my blog if you have only just visited! :)

Here's the funny take on space invaders...let's just say there might be a bit of a twist in the game...
Play link:

Made this in one day. In fact, in roughly 1 hour and 49 minutes.

And the rest of the blog contains thought provoking articles as well!

In terms of dependable income, game design isn't really fair

Think about it - when someone sells an orange, for example, the other person buys the orange, eats it, then buys another orange exactly like it. They don't expect the next orange to have better graphics or a new feature. They will keep buying the same thing.

This leads to an amount of certainty for the orange seller, since that demand is always there.

But with game design, once you've released something, it's released forever. You can't make space invaders again, it always has to be space invaders with some new twist or graphics upgrade or whatever.

And I'm not sure that's fair. Or I'm starting to think for my own paradigm, it isn't. Sure it's fun to invent new things, but when you look at it as some sort of income for your life, it's just a life of quiet desperation and uncertainty. That's not right?

What's the solution?

I'm not sure. Is there some way to make space invaders again, as an example, and people play it without going 'Hey, that's just space invaders, so I'll wash my hands of this straight away (and thus remove any certainty of income for you)'.

Perhaps some vector like newspaper columnists do, as while columnists also do make new stuff all the time, it's often based around the same principles of real life human concerns and so has repeating elements that can be sold again and again. So perhaps if you take your space invaders clone but plug in some text to it's gameplay about current events, that might give you a more dependable structure of income instead of the 'New! NEW! NEW!' culture of desperation we have now?

I think it'd suit me to try this as an experiment.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Review quickie - Borderlands

A quick review! Borderlands manages to mix the short term, instant gratification of a first person shooter (ie, the fun of shooting big guns at people alot!) and the long term pursuit of greater power through money and levels/experience.

So your continually playing it at two levels. Sure, you might be side stepping and shooting a skag real good with your gat, but your also thinking about how good it would have been and how good it will be when you auto gun turrent power had killed it. While healing you. And making you fresh ammo.

More information below

Essentially they grant you some awesome FPS fun, and have made a leveling system that hands out more awesome FPS fun over time that you actually want. I've played alot of games which give you powers and...while they may be nifty, it doesn't feel like you needed them. It just feels like its for show. While with this game what it hands out, you feel you have a good use in mind for it (and it's cool fireworks to boot!).

And spitscreen on console play is great - was really looking for something else split screen, since weve played time splitters and army of two a million times.

However, on the flip side, you get a thin smear of a game world. Not that I think that's important to develop further, but I think this game was modeled somewhat on fallout. And that sense of a rich kind of muted. It's not absent, it's just doesn't have the centre stage.

And a couple of little things that bug me is that the game insists, when you find a more damaging weapon, to switch your current gun for it. There seems to be no way to turn this off, and it doesn't work out that this is a better gun in terms of the job. And the loading screen shows a cool picture - then snaps it in two and seperates them...then shows it again and repeats, over and over. That's just painful! Clearly not huge issues, but worth noting incase somehow in some magical way that helps it get cleared up next time.

I really recommend buying this game. Like some books are a bit of a classic (not absolute classics, just a bit), this game is a classic. Like a book can capture a certain spirit, this game has captured it's own particular spirit. That and go shoot shoot now now!!!1!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Vampire Exile: Development Entry

The indie game in development now!

A work in progress.

Download / Quickplay :

Design notes: My goal was to have a game where there's always something you can do to improve your position. It's not meant to be complex gameplay, but it is meant to be highly engaging. I think I suceeded at that.

Future ideas are to have equipment and special codes so you don't just play the game, but his gear and name will be listed on my blog and will either give bonuses in latter games, or become part of the story itself.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Grouping isn't always healthy

Augh! Just reading Tobolds blog and I find the attitude in one entry kind of sick. I'll quote my responce for context

Augh, Tobold, your position sounds like a kind of sickness? You want people to make friends, not because they actually like the other person, but because they can't have fun with the product they bought if they don't.

That's a terrible reason to make friends! That's not even making friends, it's just finding people to use.

If people like other people, they'll make friends and group with them even if there's a bunch of NPC's to group with. This whole article seems to be tainted with some idea that it's not important whether people want to do things with each other.

What you need is some mechanism to help people come in contact more, so they actually know what other people are like in order to have a chance at making friends
I mean honestly, it goes back to the worst of the worst table top roleplay habits, where people who would have absolutely nothing to do with each other outside of roleplay, would indeed roleplay together so they could get their game fix. It's an incredibly unhealthy attitude, but here we have the same perpetuation of the idea the game should force people together not because they like each other, but because they want their mmorpg fix.

What you need is some system by which players can get to know each other. This was done, retardedly, by forcing people to group or they get nowhere. You just need a system which gets them in contact without such a blunt instrument involved.

And it's not hard to knit together a bunch of reward systems for entering in details of what you like, then more rewards for browsing other players. And no, I don't mean holding back part of the game like loot and seeing the insides of certain dungeons - I mean handing out some gold or such. Which will mean social gamers are richer, but that's not gimping the main content for any soloer.

Honestly, the fact that mmorpg design kind of fell together into a retarded block content unless you group model is excusable since it fell together. But to perpetuate a culture of people finding other people, not because they like them, but because they want to use them to get at a game they've already paid for? It's unhealthy.

Borderlands - is that a chainsword in your pocket?

What can I say? I've got boarder lands on the mind and only my friend has a copy (I'd buy it for my comp, but it'd probably have crap framerate on my rig...and that's no good in a FPS).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Borderlands - the funny thing about guns

Ever wonder something like that - who makes all these guns? It kind of doesn't matter, yet I think I'd dig it if I saw some production going on somewhere, atleast. Or the players making some.

Great game, BTW. Really enjoying split screen on my friends PS3.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Live by the social sword, die by the social sword - or what 'killed' WAR

From a responce I gave on Tobolds blog

What killed war is people phrasing the question as 'what killed war?'. Or to be more exact, what removes subscribers is some sort of mental toggle switch which has 'The best mmorpg' or 'It's been killed' and can only toggle between them, with no middle ground that's 'Hey, I like this and it doesn't matter to me much what other people do or don't like'.

It's the fiscally nasty side of aiming for a viral 'social' game, because social customers come with this mindset. Live by the social game sword, die by the social game sword.
In other words, it doesn't matter if you make great content, if you then try to attract customers who don't care about content and only care about what other people care about.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Games 'that are art'

Continuing on from play this thing

I think he's right, it's not art. A finely crafted chess set might be art as an object, but that doesn't make the game itself art. Nor does a bunch of arty stuff in a video game make it rise above being a game. It's just a crappy game with a bunch of art tacked on, in this case.

Now, can you make art by playing a game? Yes, yes you can. But that still doesn't make the game become art itself. A paintbrush can make art - that doesn't mean a painbrush IS art itself.

It's actually quite annoying to see people create art with a game in their own heads, then attribute what they created as being part of the actual game/activity. It attributes too much to the game and does not give credit to their own creativity. Table top roleplay suffers from this extensively.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Table top roleplay - the quick encounter

If you've ever done table top roleplay, you know what is just a small skirmish can take up a long time at the gaming table.

But what if you had something like this - there's the option of just rolling to hit, and comparing that to a chart it shows how many shots you use and how much damage the bad guys do, before they are defeated or forced into retreat.

Okay, the important thing is that this is actually an opt in system - the way it's presented is that before combat begins, the GM might want to do it this way, but all the players have to want to do it as well, otherwise it goes to the traditional combat system.

That way if it takes a long time, it's because the players wanted it to take a long time!

Further info ~~~
The model for this version is that all players have to want to do the quick version. If even one player wants to go traditional, you do. This doesn't mean other players slope off to play Xbox - they play out the combat, because if one person votes to do it traditional, then that's what everyone does. The one person who votes that way aught to consider why they would take that option, given the strong effect it has. Or if they just take it for selfish reasons - well, I consider gaming to be like playing in a band...and bands don't hold together very long with people who only think of themselves.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

mmorpg; Symantic Zombies

I wrote a reply to a review of Urban Dead at play this thing.

There were a couple of posts I responded to that were  advocating this...thing. I'll just post one here
Ah, but you see...Once you get all your skills, then you can try influencing the tide of battle, getting in on large-scale troop movements, planning out battle strategy...

Or, you know, not. But some people do really get into it. ;)
And my responce

Yeah, but why? It seems like some real life instinct to assign meaning to mass carnage is at play here. Your just inventing a meaning to all that carnage but reacting to your invention as if it really is the case.

It's like being a moth attracted to a flame, because the moth thinks the flame is the moon and you think this carnage is a 'tide of battle'. When it's just carnage. Pointless. Endless.

It's like the human brain simply cannot accept any idea that real life is pointless and endless, so it starts inventing meaning to it. Fair enough in that case, what else can we do? But you don't fucking stop - you start doing it in games as well. And in doing so, you actually perpetuate games which are both meaningless and endless. You perpetuate the darkness. Games are some meaning we can add to real life, but your fucking perpetuating meaningless games. It's like your so certain life has meaning, your freaking destroying what meaning we have been able to make.

It's up to the author to invent a point for a game, not for people to take their RL meaning making and apply it to the game.
And I realised this is a philosophical point that needs to be made again.

We cannot accept the idea of a meaningless, pointless and endless universe. I'm not trying to prove it's the case, but we can't even accept it as a possible set up, really. So we invent meaning. And fair enough, what else are we to do, apart from fall to the earth from where we stood and move not again?

But then people start making meaning inside 'games' like urban dead, or world of warcraft...and the worst and critical bit is, they start encouraging more of these 'games'.

They make meaning because there is none in these 'games' - no proper ending or anything. And they want more 'games' like these made!

Do you understand? In a universe where we have to make and add our own meaning, they want to propergate stuff that has hundreds or millions of players, and they participate for large chunks of their life in a, by default, a meaningless activity.

"But they'll invent a meaning!"

No, they only invent a meaning for the fucking game, if at all! They stop making/adding meaning to real life!

In being so instinctually meaning making, they are not only ceasing to do so but actively pushing for activities that are by default without meaning - letting in the very thing meaning making is supposed to be a bulwark against - just pure nihilistic darkness. It's becoming a zombie in itself - a thing that does not self reflect upon it's hunger and moves to spread that.

Why do I write so passionately? Because even if I'm wrong on this, I'd rather write passionately and yet be foolishly wrong, rather than assume everythings dandy and be horribly wrong.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Yay, next level is up for my story gauntlet game!

Built up the next level and compiled the exe! Here's it's blog page:

I think one of the things that's tripped me up in the past that rather than rearranging content that I've made before, I code up entirely new objects. This is like making up new enemies and platforms in a mario game, every single time AND making a level, instead of taking the platforms and enemies already made and simply arranging the level.

I was headed toward that here, but I think I got out in time, heh! And it's made a few more assets to use in future.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

mmorpgs; endless gameplay - not considered a type of hell?

My responce to a post at Tobolds blog, which pretty much qualifies as a post itself:

Well, exactly, why play for gear and all that when the servers will shut down one day? I'm always scratching my head over that one.

See, with a game that ends, it makes sense. It's like climbing a mountain. Once you've done it, you can say you've done it. It's a life accomplishment.

But you guys who want a game that never ends - your mountain never ends!!! You never accomplish anything except progress up a mounain that doesn't stop. It's like that guy in hell who pushes a boulder up a hill and always just before he gets to the top, it rolls down again.

I don't know why your into the whole 'endless' thing? And why your into end game, instead of the game ending?

Things you shouldn't say AS a girl gamer

Kind of a responce to here, in no particular order:

1. "You're not bad ... for a girl." The "not bad" part would have been sufficient. Said with a cocked eyebrow and a smirk would even be quite endearing. But that "for a girl" kills it, fella.

On the flip side, men have been competing with other men since they were born - if it seems like the woman didn't even really care about winning AND she beat you, it's soul shattering. You want guys to chat you up nicely? Try not shattering their souls first. This might be sexist, but as a woman you might not be used to competing with others since birth (unless you had three brothers or something...), so maybe your a bit more relaxed about the whole thing and don't outwardly show any sweat. Start showing your sweat - and genuine sweat, not some made up crap (yeah, were men, but we still know when it's BS, k).

4. "Wow. I can't believe you actually beat me." Sorry 'bout that. Maybe the game cheated? A congratulations, however bitter, and a challenge of a rematch would have been a better way to play this scenario.
Umm, guys face this as well. Don't bother thinking it's about your gender - this stems from a basic inability  to accept a reality they didn't expect.

8. "No, you wouldn't like this game. It's all bloody and gory." Yes, and my tiny girl brain would not be able to handle anything that's not pink and glittery.
Perhaps not for all men, but the subtext here is "I'm a little ashamed that I like blood and gore as much as I do and I'm trying to hide that a bit to look better in front of you rather than look like a homicidal maniac...and I seem to be digging a hole for myself?? I'm confused and WTF, somebody help me?". Again, if you want guys to chat you up nicely, start reading their subtext on what they are actually trying to do...however clumsily they are doing it.

3. "You play video games? What, like 'Wii Fit' and 'Wii Tennis'?" Nothing against the Wii (sorry, I'm just not a fan) and casual gaming in general, but if someone is telling you they're a "gamer," these are probably not their games of choice.
Male subtext "Hey, I'll try and reach out to you and...oh, oh, uh, okay, I'm wrong...I'll stop trying to reach out now..."
Wow, throw a bone, perhaps?

I mean, did you even try and guess what games they play? Try to do it first next time and you might find what it's like to really stumble and fall on that part.

And on 10 & 5 I'm just in denial that men would say that! I really hope not!

There's your gaming flirting advice for gamer girls!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

mmorpgs, persistant changes - can they be done to some degree?

You used to see a dragons head above the stormwind gates, sometimes. And even that was a bit cheesy, since...well, you kept seeing her head there. And now you don't even see, in any mmorpg, this sort of stuff.

Is it really that hard to compromise the idea of a persistant change with ongoing content?

For example, say you had it that a new bad ass dragon shows up. Okay, instead of the first time the dragon is 'killed', have it that it drops into some lava or off a chasm or the ground swollows it up. Or you could even have it that the players take it's head, it goes up on the gates, then after X days, poof, it magically starts to glow and after a few hours, vanishes!

This isn't to just repeat the cycle over and over forever. Just say the dragons spirit is strong enough to return about 100 times or so. This gives alot of groups the chance to take it down a peg. After the hundredth time or whatever, it actually dies for good!

"But then that contents gone"

Okay, here's where you keep the content, but now the dragon has an undead skin placed on it. It's as if it's spirit was too strong to just die and even it's corpse must be batteled. Same loot, same battle (though now with the emphasis of keeping it in it's grave rather than keeping it from marauding the countryside by putting it in it's grave).

What say ye, oh silent traffic that passes my blog in the night!?

Friday, November 20, 2009

mmorpgs, myth of cheap entertainment. Mark 2

There's a myth around, about how mmorpgs are cheap entertainment. This hinges on the idea that 'hours' of gameplay provided, are a good thing.

Let's shoot that out of the water right now. Take this example, where we quantify fun had over the entire experience into actual points.

  • Game A gives 500 points of fun over 20 hours and costs $20
  • Game B gives 500 points of fun over 10 hours and costs $20

"OMG", most of the gaming community would cry "Game B only gives 10 hours of entertainment, what a rip off!!!!!1!!"

Actually, game B is better value!

It's because weve all sucked up a lie that 'hours' are somehow entertaining in themselves, that we are thinking completely wrong headedly.

Look at the numbers - it's 500 points of fun for either game, over the entire experience. Whether it's 20 hours or 10 hours, it's 500 points of fun either way.

Starting to see the difference here? See how in the 20 hour game it's just taking you 10 more hours to get to the exact same level of fun as the 10 hour game?

It's not better that it has 20 hours. It's actually worse! ALOT worse!

It's at this point that you realise hours are actually a cost alongside the monetary cost. Hours are a negative! While most gamers look at it as 'hours of play' divided by price, this is like evaluating a car by fuel consumed per mile divided by the cars if more fuel consumed per mile is a good thing. As if more hours of your finite life span consumed is a good thing!

I'll leave it there for now, since the key issue to get across is that hours <> value.

The longer version of this is here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

mmorpg, free, review: Runes of magic

Just a quick note on this mmorpg, since I've gotten a few characters above level 20. It does have alot of the charm of world of warcraft, while having this off kilter German sort of attitude, and also feels a bit like a bunch of excited gamers around a table putting something together. Personally I like the daily quests in it, which it has for all levels. After all, it's BS that you finish any of the it feels more 'realistic' and participating in a world to do a daily quest to get X amount of items and be paid for it in XP and gold (and tokens), than helping some granny fight off a stranger...only to see someone else fighting him off even before you turn your back. It just feels more like engaging the world when you know the quest is repeating, since it's more like there's an ongoing need in the imagined world for whatever items or whatever encrouching monsters slayed. Ongoing needs make more sense than granny being 'saved' a million times.

It's charming and a growing mmorpg (they added an elven starting area since I signed up) and it gives you that high of being in a world a bunch of other people are running around and caring about the world to some degree. Also yes, it has micro transactions, but you buy diamonds to do so, and you can actually buy diamonds on its auction house for normal game gold you earn by playing (people post diamonds there so they can get gold easily. I wish I could figure a way of turning diamonds into money again, because I've been able to buy quite a few with gold earned). Also I have a character motivation competition here.

So, here's the link to the game:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Free will - how free?

If you've come across the biomechanical arguement in terms of free will, this is something to consider. Even if will is simply an execution of physics, the word 'simply' is not enough. If you trace the smoking gun of physics, it didn't start yesterday, nor the day before - it traces all the way back to what we currently understand as the larger origins of everything, the big bang.

Even if free will is simply physics, the final expression of physics that is free will is an expression that originates in a big and still pretty damn mysterious explosion! You could literally consider your own will as a small ongoing part of that explosion. Indeed if scienctific evidence forces you to think of youself as biomechanical, then your just as much forced to consider yourself as a small part of that explosion, ongoing.

Will we grasp the origins of that explosion more thoroughly in future? Probably, but its a much more grandiose thing. The frightening element of simply seeing oneself as a biomechanical machine is that it seems so pointless and meaningless. But that's basically because it's such a short term way of looking at things (if humans are very flawed, to look at it this way is to engage in another flaw). Beyond our ability to grasp from moment to moment, we trace all the way to one huge explosion that pretty much made everything (or atleast allowed it to exist/birthed it). That's pretty significant!

If you haven't run into the biomechanical arguement - in a way you both need to know, yet I'm lothe to say since I wont be there to run it past you in person. I'm not sure it should be passed on alone. Anyway, here's a long essay that might help on it - it's long, so maybe you wont get through it anyway, or find the length to be some company.

Also see: Philosophy: An arguement against "Humans are fundamentally bio-mechanical"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Character customisation: Stupid!

I've noticed in a few reviews of mmorpgs or dragon age, etc, around, that there's an emphasis on character customisation and how good it is.

Character customisation is stupid. It's the ultimate reflection of the shallow "It's what's on the outside that counts".

How your guy looks, does not matter. I'll admit, I've fiddled with face, etc. But it's fiddling - it's nothing significant at all. I know it was a waste of time. But not everyone does - other people seem to go in thinking it deeply important.

Substance, not style! Deeds, not looks!

But no, we get a display animal/peacock culture. Perhaps even stemming way back to table top roleplaying, where the players had some incredibly railroaded gameplay, so they just focused on making pretty characters because that's all they got to choose. And what do you get in video games - take the rat killing quest or...stand around doing nothing. So pretty much again, railroaded.

I remember that WOW's presentation at a blizzcon of the wrath of the lich king expansion included a barber shop, and there being cheers from the crowd apparently. Of all the things, of all the events, self preening was the most epic!?

Character customisation is stupid! Indiana Jones is not Indiana Jones because of his hat! Spiderman is not spiderman because of his suit!

Now, thinking your cool looking after completing some sort of deed or event, fair enough. But just fidling around with looks, just for their own sake? It's being a poser.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Game design diary: challenge approach vectors

One of the playtesters of my new computer game said he could rush past the enemy generators to the end. He thought this wasn't my intention. Well, it wasn't my intention to always do it - but it was my intention that it's one additional approach vector to dealing with the challenge, beyond just shooting it.

I suppose I was thinking of fallout 3 combat, particularly in the open wasteland, and how there are usually several ways of approaching it (or even several ways of being approached by it!).

I once heard this anecdote of some general from the past that would, as he traveled, ask his fellows what they would do if an attack came from a certain hill or copse of trees. So as to have some sort of plan in mind if it did actually eventuate, rather than waiting for it to crop up and make something up on the spot.

It occurs to me that there are probably two ways to approach a game - just try to beat it, and the other is to use it as a training platform for 'what if' scenarios. In the latter case, just rushing past all the time isn't training yourself for all the possible 'what if's. Yes, it's possible. That doesn't mean the training platform fails - it can't train you into wanting to train for what if scenarios.

On the other hand, most people play in the former case, just trying to beat it. So in the end I put a 70% chance of an invisible wall in front of the boss. So you can decide to risk getting up close to see if you can rush through, or just fight it conventionally. Or even if you can rush through, you might fight conventionally if that's what your training yourself for at the moment.

I should probably make up a name for that training platform idea, since I use it alot and thus really need to refer to it quickly alot.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Like a change of government in WOW?

There's an interesting post on Tobolds MMORPG blog about the changes to WOW's looking for group system. There does seem to be a policy change in WOW group forming development, changing from 'Fend for yourselves' to some sort of actual human resource management on the part of the company.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Make money online: I made $10 so far! And also some stuff on adsense/adwords

YAY! I just made 1100 points on rewards central + myopinions combined! That equates to $10! I joined rewards central on the 23rd of September (and joined myopinions shortly after) and now it's the 10th of November. That makes it take around a month and a half to make $10. And you can cash out $30 at 3300 points.

Here's the review I did of rewards central, a little while back:

So that's not a bad bit of side income, eh? What's interesting is they have an e-bank, where you can term deposit your points at rates that beat seemingly all the banks (it probably does, but I'm covering my bases by just saying it seems to). For example, if you put in 1100 points for just one month, it's at 7.7765 variable (and I've only seen them vary upward) that's 0.23 of a point per day, so another point every five days or less. Put it in for longer, it takes even fewer days to get each bonus point. The more you earn, the more you earn!

Here's the ideal signup (as it is a referal link from me - if you find this info useful and want to join I'd appreciate if you use these links, thanks :) ):
And for myopinions, which is as far as I can tell rewards centrals sister site

Now I'm gunna hybridise this post, because I've been looking at adwords and adsense. Some of the words out there get a heck of alot of searches. Like I thought make money online got alot at 3mil per month, but 'harry potter' gets 20mil per month! That's alot of clout! Of course it's copy righted IP, but at the same time discussing it is okay. I know there are a million Harry Potter fan fics out there, and people doing HP roleplaying on forums. There would seem to be ways of vectoring a blog into that significant search vector.

Bringing that up as a discussion point, beyond just noting the milestone with rewards central.

Quick Review : Scribblenauts game

We got scribblenauts for our son, which was much anticipated by him. On the rare occasions I played it myself, it proved a pretty good mix of classic puzzle, plus it's special feature of being able to type words and get the object. As a bonus, I'm sure that helps a childs spelling too!

Since there are so many words you really end up drawing on your imagination to an extent I'm certain no other computer game does at the moment. However, at other times it can just require a combo of a couple of known items to solve something. The good thing in that case is that it often requires a bit of fine tuning of your actions and plan, so it's not a total pushover. Also there's some replayability in trying to figure out a less cheesy way of solving it latter. Sometimes dropping a car on them just isn't enough! ;)

Another good feature, probably a very important feature in a game like this, is that it comes with a level editor. My son made a couple of levels and yes, I failed them a few times before beating them!

It's really engaging and I think would help improve not just childrens imagination and spelling/word range, but adults too. Also it's alot different from most other games out there that copy the old cut and dried formats. It's a bit of gaming history already, that way. I'd really recommend getting it!

No story? Or did you forget what you did?

MMO crunch asks is borderlands a mmog, and in doing so asks if there is a story

This is what I had to say in short:

In terms of story, I always look at gamers who expect to read a story in an interactive medium and think "Wha!?". It's an interactive medium - YOU make the story.

What I would grant is that these games, not at all right now, have any tools to record player actions and layout a story (or atleast a log of cool events). So it's easy to forget the story you just made.
Taking it further, the specific ways the program recorded events would shape the story made. Like if it puts more emphasis on rescuing someone than blowing up ten guys at once...well, then the emphasis would be on rescues. You would be making the story, but the 'bard' who is recording it would also influence how it's remembered.
But you just don't see any of this right now in games...or do you?
Remember all the stat pages of the games you've played? That record lots of stuff you've done. See, it's coming! Now gimme lots of money for just saying it first! lol!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Your Runes of Magic character motivations!

Are you on Siochain OR Macantacht server? If so, what's your Runes of Magic character motivation? Even if it's light hearted and a single sentence, that's fine! Even if your guys just a fighting guy, that counts!

Your characters motivation is important! So I'm paying 3k gold each!!! That's for 50 motivations total (I've only got so much gold!).

Leave your character name in your post (AND which server they are from), so I can mail you the gold. Or you can send me in game mail and point out which post was yours (send to 'Dreambroken', with a capital 'D'). You can post anonymously for this, that's fine. Only one entry per character per day.

I look forward to hearing your character motives!

Oh, and if motivations get a bit overly serious I might delete them here (but I'll send the gold anyway if it seemed a serious entry). There's one below that's a bit overly serious.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Grinding out grind

Grind reminds me of the old woody allen skit/joke, where he's telling his therapist he hardly ever has sex with his wife, only once or twice a week. Then his wife complains they always are having sex, usually twice a week!

Clearly game companies like you being a subscriber for a long time. But this doesn't mean they have to drag out gameplay. Take EVEs skill learning - do you have to grind that out, or set it up and it takes time, but it does so automatically and even while offline.

Now imagine if you killed a monster and got some XP, but then there was also a large amount that slowly trickled into your character, even while your offline. You don't have to grind all that XP, and the company gets it's maintained subscription.

The mmorpg model has been really strange in how it's maintained the same pattern of stretching out content, even though it drives everyone mad, rather than looking at ways that both developer and player can come to a compromise. Or is grind as we know it supposed to be a compromise?

Thursday, November 5, 2009


This is for the newest story gauntlet I'm running!

The game is here:
Check it out, it's a short and fun shoot 'em up adventure!

To activate the easier difficulty mode (half as many badguys spawned), press enter at any time.

If you have already played and have the special code that will allow the adventure to continue, write it in the comments below!!! Or DOOM!!!

Seriously, by getting feedback I know people want more, which helps me create more! It's helping out a struggling fellow game designer! Thanks!

The log bypass code is: Press '8' on your keyboard
If you've already done the first level, the skip code is pressing '1' on your keyboard

Is the GM trying to play your character? Or are you trying to play the GM's characters?

If all the NPC's have it in for you...

If the GM is playing out the character of NPC, then you seem a bit of a prima donna rather than him being the problem. It's alright for you to play out your character, but he's not allowed to play out his character(s)??

But if the GM's just trying to bully you into playing your character the way he wants you to play it, yeah, he's the problem.

There's also a tricky middle ground - if all the NPC's want to bully your PC into acting like them, are you okay with that? Or do you demand that all NPCs respect how your character wants to live his life? Because really, does an NPC have to give a crap about whether your PC is having a hard time?
It's worth thinking about.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Taking the wrench that is game and using it as a hammer...and still calling it a game

Starting from here

I think there's this trend to use a wrench as a hammer/game to create something creative, then people continue using the word 'game' even though they are not using it as a game. That's why you get 'games' like the graveyard - because the designers have not only strayed from 'game', they've strayed so far it can't even be considered a game in a secondary sense.

Instead they are using the rules and constructs much like the rules and constructs of musical instruments. Here the rules create something which is like music in how expression and form intermingle, but from a new vector other than sound.

And yet the people who do this will wrestle and fight for the use of 'game' and hold onto it desperately, pitching a symantic definition war which I don't think they deserve to win. Yet they think they must in order to preserve that new vector of creativity. Which I don't think they have to at all - you could call that vector 'pomigranites' and it'd work. Their problem is that the vast majority of people, when presented with something that reminds them of gamism, go all gamist. And that includes including the people who want to participate in this new vector!!! They write up stats, they have to hit rolls, they have skill checks...and the only thing they try and do to get to that vector is symantic warfare about 'what a game is'.

Slowly, and still rarely, now indie games are coming out with 'stats' like 'Hates his country: 4D6' or suchlike. Rules that really start to intertwine issues and mechanics together, instead of doing the same old BS stats like INT and CHR and then retardedly browbeating people for 'not playing to their stats'. News update, there is nothing to play in an INT score! And by nothing I mean like when I've finished a bottle of beer and say nothings left in it, even if there is a thin smear of beer left inside, there's nothing there. But some guys keep with the old thin smear stats. And getting symantic about changing on that, because in an anal technical sense, a thin smear isn't nothing.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Is there a demo for Torchlight?

Torchlight looks rather nifty and is going around as the latest fun little game. It seems their model is to bring out a single player game then bring out an MMO latter, based on profits. If you think about it, world of warcraft worked from much the same model with it's RTS games (admittedly they were multiplayer, but like just a handful, so not an MMO).

It sounds like 'Fate', as in it has a pet which fights for you and also sells loot for you, which is exactly what fate had. I'm not sure if the development teams are the same.

But there appears to be no demo? Or have you heard of one!? Please leave a comment if you have!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Adwords and looking at 'make money' Vs 'make money review'

I was looking at the google adwords tool, which shows you how much certain terms are searched.

Do you think it's disturbing that 'make money' gets over three million hits per month globally, while 'make money review' gets a mere three thousand hits per month, globally?

I mean, people check out movie reviews before they see a movie (or so I think), but gosh, when it comes to making money, screw reviews, lets just dive in!


Forum ‘right givers’

As a supplement to my thread here.

Looking at the D&D forums, they also have a little forum culture where they start granting themselves rights. Like 'Oh, the GM can't cheat' and such. And they have a thread where they all agree with each other that that is the case. And 'thus' it's the case for their group. Except it's only the people on the forum who have agreed with that, not their own group.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Philosophy: An arguement against "Humans are fundamentally bio-mechanical"

Posted this here originally, then thought it'd be good content for this blog! It's kind of an arguement against an arguement you might not even have heard yet. So perhaps a solution for a problem you don't as yet have, but hey!

"Humans are fundamentally bio-mechanical"

Think of it this way - if you trying to look at yourself as a machine, your using an anthropomorphism. You are not complex enough to really grasp how complex you are. So you use a lousy, weak ass idea of 'machine' to fill in for your incapacity to be complex enough to percieve your own complexity.

This extends to the idea that at some point there was a big bang, and your still part of that ongoing bang - and that bang is still a big ass mystery. So you, as an extension of it, are still mysterious. Quit looking strictly at the short term and just whats happened in the minute lifetime you've been in, to try and identify what you are.

Don't confuse the weak ass model your mind conjures up, for what your mind actually is. Sure, you can debunk ideas of free will (free from what, is my question), but so can you debunk 'OMG, I'm a machine'. Neither is some real, genuine grasp of the situation. They are both weak ass approximations, like a fuzzy JPG of the Mona Lisa. They don't show the true picture.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A stark land, a family, a threat

Okay, here we go - a framing of a scene as a kick off. This is a sort of story game where you can play a game so as to make choice in where the story goes and who the adventurer(s) are, as people.

You play this game to get a code from the end:

The game's not supposed to be entertaining in itself (though if you enjoy it, that's good). It's there so only somone who puts some effort in can influence the story. I'll probably make one more in theme with the story latter, directly based on effort I get from other people.
Dark clouds and thunder brewed on the horizon of a post apocalyptic land. Torn ground, with waving, dead grass and snaking lines of cracked ashphalt stretched out from the distance to the point where a small family had put up walls, roof and sewn a few crops in hope of food.

The Breakermans had managed this small farm for some time now, clinging tenaciously to this land and eaking out a life here. But then the Polts had started showing up. Blurred, hunched figures at a distance amongst broken trees and ruins at the perimiter of the crops. Rare at first. But now more and more were seen each time. The lore was clear on what this meant. It meant they were coming. And only chaos and fury would sate whatever hunger that drove them.
As an adventurer in this blasted land and upon finding this situation, you could
A: Prepare at the farmsted itself with the Breakerman family, for the assault. But the Polts would no doubt tear up the crops as they came and it would also put risk upon the family. Or you could
B: take that risk on your own shoulders and head out in advance of the Polt attack, and strike at the heart of their gathering.
C: Or you could even pass on by, perhaps to return latter and pick upon what bones are left.

If you have the code from the game, post it along with your characters choice in the comments section. First come best dressed If someone has just posted the code with no choice, or have posted the code and something that's nothing to do with this (bound to happen, some people can't do much more than be human), the first person to take the code and write it and their choice is what happens next.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ah ha, I has returns model!

Ah ha!

Okay, so I've had an idea! At some point soon I'm going to spin a bit of a yarn, in text, about a world in some sort of strife. Then I will pitch two choices, of which one can be chose and that will influence that worlds future to some degree/will influence the yarn.
Instead of going full blown crpg, I've written a small platformer game (mostly modded up the game maker example). At the end of the level is a star that gives a code. The first person who gives the code, gets to make the choice!


Because instead of shooting for fiscal return straight off the bat, with all the workload for a mere chance of return that entails, what I'm going for is simply someone giving the effort of completing the simple platformer. That's the 'fee', so to speak. Or perhaps it's like bartering - I dunno. But it's not working for absolutely free, there is a return involved - and that encourages development that moves toward getting more complex gameplay than a simple platformer.

In latter ones I'll most likely have multiple codes, so as to give more than just the first person to the post the influence. But for now I'm keeping it simple until a return comes in.

Stay tuned for that yarn - I'm pretty sure I have one coming :)

"Solo players don’t have a ghost of a chance here",id1414,patch_212_storming_acropolis.html

Solo players don’t have a ghost of a chance here; only well-equipped groups
will ultimately get to step up against the leader of the Naga army: King
‘Sharleedah’ will provide a tough battle for adventurers and can only be toppled
by the mobilising of every force.

Once again the lack of human resource management in a mmorpg astounds me!

But I'll give an example of some human resource management - public quests from warhammer online. These would funnel people together and help them form groups. Or even battle grounds from world of warcraft - click to join a BG que, wait, go in, your with a group (some dumb groups, but hey, even if you lose you get a token and it'll only last for X number of minutes).

Okay, so what do we have here? Sweet FA human resource management. You'll need a group - how you get one, entirely up to you. Hey, this isn't like a game where we could code stuff to help you - we leave this vital component (assuming you want to see this new content weve paid money to develop) up to you and that's considered normal.

MMORPG's, stop doing this!!!

You come to a T intersection in the dungeon...


I have two blogs and this is a quick entry to indicate to anyone checking my forge profile, where they are. Obviously this is one of them, which is a 'monetized' blog (who knew monetized was a word, eh?). Thanks for checking it out further:

Here's the other, which is probably more esoteric:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pavlovs grind

The other day I was reading some post about gathering in runes of magic mmorpg. It's been a continual thorn as long as I've been playing or watching ROM. It's that you have to keep clicking to gather all the resources from a node.

Actually that's probably a subject in itself, since some people might say "But it's only a click, don't be so lazy!" to which I would say "Okay, if it's just a click, what if they made it that you have to click five times to get one resource out of a node? How about ten times? Is it starting to feel pointless to do that? Well, it was pointless at clicking once for each resource (it should be one click to gather everything from one node)"

BUT, what I wanted to get at is that some people actually find gathering soothing or calming. And I've heard similar things from people about grinding, before.

Now I'd lay into that, but I'll tell you one thing - if I was going to earn real life money from doing that gathering (or grinding), I would find it quite soothing and calming as well. I genuinely would.

What I'm proposing is that the mmorpg has managed to emulate, for some people, the same reasons they think their job is important - not because of the outcome, but because they think certain repeating actions and rituals matter or advance them somehow. It has the same sort of stimulus of doing an actual job...except it doesn't pay any actual money. But these people associate job == doing an important thing. Even though it isn't important and doesn't lead to making any money.

What do you think? Comments welcome, and sorry for the review before - that'll happen from time to time. As many people do, I would like more income in my life.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Make money online (suplemental income) review: Rewards Central

Okay, cutting straight to what's important (when considering a supplemental income)! How much money do you get each day with rewards central!?

3 points per quick survey per day (3 points is roughly 3 cents Australian)
2 points per advert web click from their site
2 points per bonus advert web click (there wasn't a bonus right when I started, but one came along shortly after)

So about 7 cents Australian a day. Think of it this way, if you had $1000 in the bank at 2.75% interest (which is what the commonwealth bank has at the moment on the netbank saver) gives you 7cents a day. Would you like to have $1000 more in your savings, giving interest? This is the equivalent of having interest from $1000, in terms of supplemental income.

Now on top of that there have been around two reward e-mails per week from rewards central, which you get 5 points from (or you can choose to get entries into a $10,000 cash draw). So at around 10 points/cents a week it's more like a bit over 8 points/cents a day. And perhaps as we ride out the economic downturn, there will be more?

Also the adverts are nicely presented and kind of interesting (perhaps somewhat targeted, in other words). They also sometimes have a small treasure chest in them which has bonus rewards for the first 100 people to click it (top prize is $100 (not points, dollars!), second is $50, etc). Make sure you click on that first and foremost if you see one!! Otherwise you miss out! It's clearly their way of making you really look at e-mail, which seems a win/win way of doing it.

On top of that when you join you get 50 points/50 cents. If you fill out the whole profile, you get another 50 points/50 cents. Whether you want to give those details...well, even if you just join, it's 50 points!

And something that's important to me when I look up stuff; When can you cash out? At 3,300 points, which gives you $30. (and thats why I say each point is roughly worth a cent). You could also wait until you have 10,100 points for $100 dollars, which is a slightly better point conversion rate. Which might be worthwhile waiting for, if you see the details on their bank below.

If your finding this info useful, please use the link above as it's a referal to my account :) Much obliged!

There's still more to it - there's an instant win game (you need to finish a quiz on the site to unlock this), where you can guess numbers each day and see if you win. With the best configuration (I think) you have a 1 in 2000 chance of winning 2000 points/$20 dollars! Not great odds, but it's free and a bit of a flutter, so it's a fun amusement!

What's quite interesting is the bank - you can deposit points in their bank for a month or up to six months, and it has returns that (as of this writing) start at 7.55 variable interest PA and go up from there based on time or points amount (600 points gets even better rates, 2000 even better). And the only way I've seen them vary is up (by .25 percent!)! So your not just sitting on points, waiting to get to 3,300, you can actually make them earn you even more per day on top of what your were earning before!! At rates which are better than what the banks are offering, too!

And then there is, as far as I can tell, Rewards Centrals sister site, MyOpinions. Again you earn 50 points for signing up, 50 points for filling out the profile, and you can transfer these points to Rewards Central. I've gotten roughly two surveys every fortnight, which can earn you a bit over 100 points each AND around 10 competition entries - and even if you get screened out you get around 10 points and a competition entry. The competition is for $5000, which is drawn every three months or so, I think.

ALSO they have an instant win game you can play once per week. It lists your win history and I've gotten  about 50% five point/cent payouts and 50% ten point/cent payouts. You have a one in 49 chance of winning 500 points/roughly $5 with this game each week, which isn't bad odds given your not paying for a ticket to play (I think it's better odds than tattslotto, when I checked - it's certainly cheaper/free). Even if you don't win that, your winning five or ten cents, which might not sound like much but you are now five or ten cents ahead of where you were before! Even more supplemental income!

So there's the referal, much obliged if you use it! :) I'm thinking of giving MyOpinions it's own review latter on, since it's tucked in at the end of the Rewards Central one here. But they link in together so well it needed to be mentioned right now!

So, those links again (oh yeah, this is a monetized post!) and have a good one! :)

Edit: After about a month and a bit I've made nearly 1,000 points, combining both rewards central and my opinion points.

And feel free to ask questions in the comments section!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Google has found me at last!

I can finally find philosopher gamer on google! Hooray! Party time!

So I guess that was about eight or nine days. I guess it wasn't that long. But it felt long!

Of course I should have called this blog 'makemoneyfast' or some such mutation in order to bump up traffic. But the game part should work out traffic wise.

And in coming events, I have a new game maker game I've coded up, which is almost ready for show - something to do with blogs directly, even! :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

MMORPGs; The myth of 'cheap entertainment'

I've run into this before, but this is the most recent case.

It's the idea that mmorpgs are cheap entertainment per month. "Hey, it's only $15 a month for hours of entertainment!"

This is kind of a weird phenomenon, because it seems to equate all video game entertainment as being absolutely equal. That's weird, because we all think some TV shows are better than other, some movies are better than others, but bang, here you get some sort of mental flat tire that treats all video game entertainment as exactly the same and only the cost matters.

I think part of the problem is quantifying fun - people just think something is fun but honestly don't think of it in any terms that could compare it to something else that is fun. But it's not hard to get over - let's rate fun on a per hour basis, on a scale of 1 to 100 (hundred being pretty damn fun).

Now the other thing to do is rating lifespan spent, as a cost. Yes, a cost - one that goes right next to dollars and cents. And lets avoid self referencing logic like "Life spent is not a cost if I'm having fun - and I am having fun. Because spending time on this game is fun! How do I know spending time on the game is fun? Because life spent is not a cost if I'm having fun - and I am having fun, so it must be fun...etc, etc"

The equation runs something like:
Fun per hour / Monetry cost + Lifespan cost

Take the following
  • Single player game: Gives 20 hours of play, at say a fun rating: 50 out of 100, at $80
  • MMORPG: Gives, say, 56 hours of fun (about two hours a day), at say a fun rating of 20 per hour. Contraversial! Well, lets just put it in at 20 for now, as clicking and waiting five seconds for a node to gather, then waddling over to another node and repeating probably isn't >20, right? Also, this is at $15 for the 56 hours
Single player: 50 / 80+20 = 0.5
MMORPG: 20 / 15+56 = 0.28

The single player is simply more fun/better.

The problem is, people think in reverse - they think only of how many hours they are buying. As if hours are a fun commodity!

Hours are not fun in and of themselves, people! Go watch paint dry for an hour, and tell me that hour was valuable in itself! This is a Pavlovian miss association! Fun is being associated with time spent like Pavlovs  dog associated music with food - and then when hours are presented, we salivate like the dog does. But it's only being presented with music and no actual food! Wow, 56 hours of entertainment! That's good value! Can't wait to buy that!

"But I find MMORPGs to be way more fun that 20 per hour!"

Fair enough, maybe you do. From my experience though, they set around the 10 to 20 range. Sometimes they get a possitive spike in fun, but then that averages out (simply because they take so long).

But in this case, you would have to get 40 fun per hour to only just beat the single player game. That's not exactly far off the single players fun per hour rating.

The cake is a lie, and so are the hours/the idea it's cheap entertainment.

Edit: Here's a concise version of the same idea that time <> value:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tiny Review: Aubergine Sky

I was having a look at this review on play this thing.

It just seems strange how many games that try to not be directly about play to win gaming (dare I say they try for a narrativist goal, as in the forge user of the term?), just end up with a minigame puzzle.

The puzzle always ends the same way. I'm wondering if they are trying for some experiential minage where the act of going through the minigame mentally becomes associated with and thus experientially linked with the story and emotions evoked.

And that's just not really good enough, is it? We already have TV and movies - playing a mini game simply to complement another passive experience media means its still just another passive media.

I think if you have moral choices in the game and then you play out some mini game where you might sacrifice your moral choice and switching to another one if your getting close to losing the game (sacrificing your position helps you win), that'd be something. Even just something like the conducts from nethack, like vegetarianism (when it's easier to eat meat), but brought more to the fore of the game, make it go from a passive experience into authoring a story by playing.

But I'm laying in - I commented after the review about a good use of text and bringing it into the game not in a sequential way (where you have to read it to get to the game) but in paralel with action happening. Your guys on the move, things are happening. Your not standing still so as to stay safe while reading the text - which would just be the same as having to click through the text first.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The psychology of gamism

In a game where there are multiple hurdles to overcome, and its supposed to be a gamey gamist play to win sort of game (primarily - secondarily it might have emotional issues or some grand setting), it needs a double dipping reward system, I think.

Ie, you don't just get past the hurdle. You also get some other reward on top of that - even if that second reward is merely some text that pats you on the back and says hey, well done on managing to get past that (or alternatively you could have text from the main villain cursing you for getting past it, which can be a sort of in character satisfying second reward).

Otherwise it's just a hurdle - a thing in your way. You don't think of doing the vacuuming as some big deal - simply because it's a hurdle. Actually that reminds me of chore wars, which went a way to doing that. I should have playtested that with other people - it had little treasure drops and such you could set up, but if you set it up yourself - it felt alot like giving yourself a pat on the back.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bummed by PVP, because of it's relative absence

I'm playing the runes of magic mmorpg at the moment and I've come across this town in it where PVP flagged players seem to turn up fairly often. And before this it was pretty rare to see them.

Yeah, I picked a PVP server...but in the end, PVP was so rare that it may as well be a PVE server (not to mention the PVP encounters are pretty much 'and suddenly your ganked, that's it', which doesn't really feel like PVP or PVE).

It's kind of like I signed up for a game about chips, but got chocolate instead...and I kind of ate the chocolate and liked that - until it's basically what I would boot up the game for...and now...I'm getting chips mixed in my chocolate. I like chips, I like chocolate, but not together. Although I signed up for a PVP server, which makes it sound like I want that mix - but it wasn't a mix from the start, it was mostly chocolate and that's what I got used to. It's a funny position to be in.

Maybe I'll level my warden on a PVE server. My rogue was only low thirties anyway, as I had been trying to level both his classes together. I think I'll give up on that as I heard a useful tip (comment if you want to hear it).

A smidge of Rifts

We actually played Rifts the other day. Rifts Australia, to be exact!

One thing I did that was quite different was that the mission that was lined up, was very very short - it got completed in a short time. After that, I simply left the impression of the mysterious Australian bushlands and towns and the players started poking around. Also I was handing out XP for pretty much any character expression that happened - it was coming up naturally at first, but I think giving out XP helped bring out more of it. Keep in mind this was a reward not for whether it was 'cool' roleplay, it was XP for showing the character at all - it's the showing that matters, not the skill in delivery. Skill comes with practice, anyway! :)

I've got this idea for the rifts australia body armour - as it's supposed to have an AR. Which means instant death if an MD weapon hits over it's AR. What I've already done, which is kind of nifty, is to have scrap MDC. This is pieces and shards of broken MDC stuff, that's just tied together with SDC leather and SDC wire. Impacts from SDC attacks, like bullets swords and clubs can still tear apart those leather/wire bindings (the MDC shards then fall off). But if an actual MDC attack occurs, the MDC is worn down. This scrap MDC covers where the armours normal AR leaves off - leaving the character fully MDC protected, but still vulnerable to SDC weapons to a degree! Thus enabling both MDC and SDC combat!

But that's not the nifty idea, just yet. More latter...

And they were kung fu Leia pillow was a little bit frightening...

And along with the gaming thoughts, here's a classic image originally from the wizards of the coast web site.

Death and taxes and mmorpgs

Now to get a bit more gamey

In alot of mmorpgs there's a penalty if your character 'dies'. I'm thinking this is really lopsided. You can't make up for this loss - if you were fighting monsters for loot before, you'll be fighting monsters after the death too - that doesn't make up for having lost, your just doing what you did before.

Take this idea - imagine that after defeating a certain number of monsters, you gain a 'life', so to speak. Once you have this, if your character dies, he suffers no penalties - he just loses the life. And you can have, say, three lives. This way you can store up some protection against your character dying and get ahead if you've died before (because you will die at some point, if only from server issues - this lets you store up something that will remove a future loss).

Or heck, maybe my idea isn't even enough. Perhaps if you die, there's some way of fighting monsters and getting their loot PLUS extra loot until the death penalties costs are made up for.

Get a job! An examination of an impetus

Auspicious title for a first thread, eh?

There's often the phrase 'Get a job' and an impetus associated with that.

But look at the word 'get'. If you want, you can get a rock or twig off the ground. That is something you can do, because you can simply physically act upon it.

Can you just act upon another person, or do you need their consent? (and by need I mean a nod toward holding a perhaps a common pattern of morality)

So you can't just act upon an employer and make/force him in order to obtain a job, as he is a person and not a rock or twig.

So this person has a choice about giving you a job. It is up to their whim.

"No, they need employees otherwise their income will suffer so...", perhaps you say?

But wait, isn't he or she supposed to have a choice? A genuine choice? Take this, for example: If you wanted to sleep with someone, and they would suffer income loss if they don't sleep with you, does that seem right? Or wrong? If that seems wrong, why is this any different?

"But this is a job, it's different, it can be more..."

More cut throat? You can start leaning on other peoples choices more and applying pressure so they don't really have a genuine choice? Would you like that happening to you? Is it already happening to you and reducing your quality of life?

Perhaps you've believed you could get, in the same way as you can get a rock or a twig, a job. Perhaps you've implied other people are able to, and so should. Perhaps you feel empowered to be able to get a job.

But it's not really compatable with the idea of letting others make genuine choices about their lives, is it?