Sunday, February 27, 2011

Games, lies and video tape

No real context to the picture and title, just awesome

A quote
absurd posts of yours here, which confound events in a game with physical events such as groping and gassing people
Ah, the groping and gassing, not too well know sequel to pride and prejudice!

Of course the gassing is being missplaced as it was an example of how you can apparently normalise abhorent behaviours. I guess no one likes to believe they could find killing someone normal - but it's simple enough, you already have the capacity to think they deserve it (I think I'm ripping off some Disciple of the Dog with that line, actually...). And my paintball example (here, near the bottom) was completely forgotten, I don't know why. I guess what will prove your case stands out in the memory more than what might support the other guys. I wonder how much I'll blunder into that same pattern here?

Anyway, actually lets look at the paintball example. Shooting someone under the table with a paintball, when their character in game is hit, but without telling them you were going to do that.

Now I know there have been alot of paintball matches out there where someones gotten hit with a paintball unexpectedly, yet they've basically been okay with it. Or so I've heard - shoot me down with evidence otherwise!

How was that in a game, yet the under the table shot wasn't part of the game?

I'd contend it was simply consent.

So it's not actually the grossly physical act that matters, is it?

It's lying that matters. It's the lack of consent that matters.

These things are NOT 'events in a game'.

Not unless you've normalised the idea of game as including lies and lack of consent.

Which I grant is entirely possible.

It just makes you sound irrational and absurd to such a person when you talk about games as if lies and lack of consent were not inside game stuff.

I'm sure that group who shot the guy under the table with a paintgun would think I'm absurd and irrational as well.

I get that*.

I was going to be self indulgent and quote Einstein "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

But the shoot under the table guys - for them, there is no problem. You can't solve a problem that isn't. And my thinking is just irrational in such a case.

* Now I know I stole that from Disciple of the Dog!


If you your post on a forum sent to an inactive file, without any mark where to read them or that they ever existed, is that the same as your post being deleted? Not at a technical level, but at a practical level?

What if all your posts on a forum are treated that way? Permanently? Is that the same as banned. I'd agree at a technical level.

Now alot of forums don't say they wont ban or delete your posts. Fair enough. But what about one where they say the wont ban anyone or delete posts (even spam isn't deleted, just sent to the inactive file)

Further what if someone else had actually written a thread 'Please ban me' and they were neither banned, nor was their post moved to inactive file? How do you suddenly get closer to the inactive file than that person?

It's a funny spectrum to fall into.

The thing I dislike is the fear. When your told you'll be banned if you act the victim, how do you say that feels like posting in fear? Without simply acting a victim? That or you can normalise the fear, treat it not as fear and just normal, day to day interaction. That actually scares me the most.

But really that's the dealie on any forum owned by someone other than yourself (and heck, maybe some blogger person might decide to use their property ownership powers on my blog? I don't even own this blog, really).

So it's not new, it's always been the deal. It's just when someone wants to hang that diamacles sword over you to influence your behaviour - even if the sword was already there to begin with, it's just...I dunno.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Grinding : The health warning about evil twins

I wrote about this over at mmocrunch and thought it worth repeating here.

It's basically the issue of where someone psychologically cannot distinguish between something they like and something they don't enjoy, because they call the thing they like and the thing they don't enjoy, the same thing. Namely, grind. And so they keep repeating the activity, because they can't identify it as something they don't like, for calling what they do like the same thing.

Imagine if there were two twins, one evil and one good. You go out with the good twin that you know as, say, Grindina, have a great time. Okay, you go to go out with her again, but actually this time it's the evil twin, who's name is Grindhella, but don't know there are twins, this is just Grindina to you. Now you have a not so good time - you can't put your finger on it, because you keep expecting that Grindina fun moment to come and it IS Grindina after all and you like her.

Now, imagine putting up with more and more Grindhella visits. More and more. Because your sure this is Grindina, who you've had fun with. And sometimes Grindina shows up, yet more and more rarely. But you don't know that.

Are you ever gunna split with Grindhella, given how you keep thinking it's Grindina? You keep thinking there's a good thing there, when actually it's been replaced with bad?

The inability to seperate the good activity from the awful activity is essentially crippling. You can't think of a fun time, because your idea of fun, Grindina, has basically been merged with Grindhella.

Grindina is what I want, you think - so you start to want what is actually Grindhella.

Or perhaps for the guys out there, if I started watering down your beer, just a little each time, perhaps a year on when you think beer, what you actually thinking of is incredibly watered down beer. But you will say that IS beer. That's all beer can be.

Hey, no one was going to listen anyway, so it was fun to play with an evil twins analogy for awhile...mmmm, beer and evil twins...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New game : Secret lies of roleplayers (SLORP)

Something that came to me recently...

Secret lies of roleplayers (SLORP)

You start as a PC, aged 20-??, going out to drinks with someone from work, or someone the PC met at book club or something. For clarity of writing this document will assume a male PC and the person he's going out to drinks with is female, refered to as the lady. The guy's also an omnivore (what class is that??)


The first thing is, she reveals she is vegetarian - this means the PC driving way out of his way and hunting around for a parking spot, not to mention if as an omnivore you don't find vegetarian food that forfilling. At this or at one of the following two points the player might decide his PC doesn't care enough to do this, or he can just sort of force her along to a meat based resteraunt where she sits, upset, with a stick of celery - but she will make an excuse, pretend she a call comes through with an emergency, and split (that'll be awkward at work tomorrow, wont it?). This gains the player 3 certainty. Also instead of letting her go, the PC can make her stick around, but it'll take more effort than saying "Stick around". Going to the vegetarian place gains 2 trust with the lady.

If, by the GM's measure of events by their own perspective, the player puts some real effort, like the player him or herself puts some real life physical effort into looking after the lady, they get a percentile roll, with a 50% chance of gaining an extra point of trust with the lady.

Next is a movie, but she finds violent movies frightening. The PC can just basically force her along, but again she'll make an excuse at some point during the movie, probably after visibly getting upset at the gore ("I don't like this movie") and leave. This will gain the PC 3 certainty. Also instead of letting her go, the PC can make her stick around, but it'll take more effort than saying "Stick around". If the PC goes for another movie, one of them chick flicks probably, he gains another 2 trust with her. Again as above if the player puts in extra effort, the GM may assign a percentile roll and there's a 50% chance of gaining an extra point of trust.

Finally at the end of the night, the PC makes some sort of move. As the PC, use something the goes outside what you'd normally expect at this time. If a kiss seems normal, then he goes for something more physical. If a kiss seems outside what you would expect to just get, then it's a kiss. She declines though. Heck, you could force this point but within the scope of this game, you go far enough to have gone against her will, but she pulls away and leaves (work will definately be awkward - better get in early and spread the story that puts you in the right light). This gains the PC 3 certainty. If, despite lustfull feelings, the PC gentlemanly accepts her no, she grants him a smile and the night is over. +2 trust with the lady. If somehow the player really puts in sweat, again there's a 50% chance of +1 more trust with the lady.

As said, forcing any of these three situations will cause a split with the lady. Following events change based on this.

If there was no split, then on friday the PC hears how on the weekend she's going to a roleplay session of this cool new RPG called salami of christ! Wow, she's a roleplayer! And she likes new games! Soon enough the PC finds himself invited.

At the session play meanders uncomfortably between rules being read out, particularly those to do with strength, dex, etc and players getting excited about something and talking alot of fiction sans any rules use. But beyond the usual, in the middle of the table is a plate of sliced salami. At a point where the rules say she must eat a slice, she does.

"But your a vegetarian" the PC might point out, or the GM can simply remind the player and perhaps the interaction can end there, the player might not have his PC say a thing. However, if he does, the lady responds

"It's just a game!"

Asking further will garner "Stop poking me about it! You have no reason on earth to say I'm bad for doing that! It's JUST a game!"

If they split, the PC reads an account of a play session like the above, with a vegetarian playing yet partaking of the salami of christ. There are some comments to the apparent contradiction of professed values, with the commentor posting many times in confusion on that, much like the above question and garnering the same responce. Before being made out by a moderator as having a vile intent in such asking.


The weekend passes, and so too the days of the week to friday again. Reading forums whilst at work (which isn't stealing, of course), the PC finds a cool new RPG out called secret lies of roleplayers! It's got this great twist, where it instructs you to lie to someone and say your going to play an RPG with them called "With you, not at you", about clerks in a small corner store forming a friendship. But the cool twist at the end is that it tells you to then take that material they've worked up and the sympathetic responce, the sort it takes to jam with someone, and force it down a path where your character incacerates, prepares then ritually murders their character, which has to last for about 10 to 15 minutes by the rules, while the person maintains that sympathetic, work together responce simply out of having already started to do so and can't stop for that same sympathy, unless the other person lets them.

It's great! The PC immediately sets up a roleplay session of "With you, not at you" 'with' the lady, for that weekend.

Play it through, the GM playing the lady, expecting probably a romantic ending where the clerks of the store realise they atleast have each other despite life being fragile, but then the players PC plays out his PC (I know, hurts the brain...) incarcerating the ladies PC, etc. During this the GM can assign from zero to three percentile rolls, spread through this event as the GM will, based upon his reactions. Each with a 75% chance of gaining the PC +1 certainty. How fast you go on this is up to you as a group. Hopefully.

The ladies responce is that she "didn't like that game" and it is "very upsetting".

At this point the PC loses two trust with the lady.

Again, the weekend passes and the week days, with the nightly news stories of war, shattered corpses in the street and failed peace negotiations in between commercials for four wheel drives, leads to friday night.

The PC gets quite drunk at works drink thing on friday night, and starts flirting with a woman there. As the player of the PC, use whatever level of flirting you think is just enough to be more than just forgetable.

The lady arrives late to the drinks and see's the PC flirting. He immediately loses 2 trust with her.

If the PC's trust with the lady has dropped below 4, she throws a drink in his face and leaves. They have split. Otherwise they leave together, drink down his top.

It's midnight. Angry, the PC steps into his vehicle (if still with the lady, she does as well). It's just personally insulting that she'd think that. Her bad for being insulting.

In the darkness, at the red lights of an empty intersection, devoid of cars, pissed off, the PC simply runs the red light.

And nothing happens.

Who has any reason in the world to say he's bad for doing that, when nothing happened?

And again, 1D6 set of intersections he races through the red lights, in the middle of the night.

Each of the D6 rolled intersections has a 1% chance of a collision, but don't tell the player that. In the event of a collision, roll percentile. 1-33 Both the PC and the lady, with abrassions, live, the other driver dies. 34-66 The PC lives, the other car slammed into the passenger side door, killing the lady kinda almost instantly. 67-100 Both the PC and the lady die, probably along with the other driver (flip a coin) - on the 22 seconds the local news gives to road fatalities, this raises the number from 6 to 9 for that night. This is your epic epitaph. Do not inform the player of there being a roll. Just roll. The importance of the roll is showing just how easy it is to be ignorant of the odds and their outcomes.

The player can have his PC opt to go through up to three more sets of intersections. Each garners him +2 certainty. Again roll as above. +4 certainty if anyone other than him is killed. Or they can say they just start obeying the red lights at the deserted intersections. But wouldn't that be hypocritical after having gone through the others? Lost your stones?

If the PC is dead, this is the end of events. A night time scream of rage suddenly silent forever against twisted metal and plastic. Game over, man. If the lady is dead, they are 'split'. If someone else is dead, they weren't in the spotlight of the story so who cares. There will be a background of police proceedings, letters and an upcoming court date that is beyond the scope of this game.

That weekend the PC decides to add a dice system to secret lies of roleplayers and announces his add on on a forum. He's totally not encouraging anyone to play it, of course, he writes, adding another post that draws attention to that thread and it's subject. There is some dissent on the forum, but obviously they carry ill intent in what they are saying because the only important thing is what the author wants for their game. That's an important right to maintain and support - it wouldn't do to take someones right to choose away. As player of the PC, ensure you show how pro that right you are - really impress that on the forum. Indeed, so pro that the rights of some come before the rights of others. Make sure to not reflect at all - speak/your PC writes in the way that is utterly absent a second layer of thought - with no questions latter, either. You were just following your own orders.

Eventually the PC hooks up with the author of secret lies of roleplayers. They start printing the game and distributing it, helped by the initial posts and awards given (awards given along with an advocation not to play, but in the mixed message wash, award trumps).

You roll percentile 2 times, 1-80% gains $100 in sales, and 10 points of trust lost from roughly five individuals somewhere out there, with whatever effect that has. It's a little like watching the nightly road toll - perhaps a drink here, perhaps a lack of sleep there. Little things, adding up into a total.
For each point of certainty your PC has, you get an extra roll.

If the lady is there, the game ends with her standing in the doorway, leaning against the frame, as the PC counts his money. Perhaps he looks up and realises how much effort he had to put in for her to be here, now. Or perhaps he's oblivious, and thinks community is something that just happens by itself.

If she's split, then we end with a necklace or scrunchie or some other personal effect she left behind that day she came to play secret lies of roleplayers. The PC brushes it aside to make room for the days takings.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What happens in vegas

Say you had a board game where at certain points the rules say you have to eat a slice of salami or something. Not a problem for your average omnivore, of course.

Okay, now imagine someone who says they are a vegetarian, plays it.

And they eat the salami. And you point out the apparent contradiction, but they act like your being rude - they say "No, it's just a game! What on earth are you poking at here?"

Wouldn't you think something is way off there?

Somehow they think that if it's done in a game, it's kind of shielded off from the rest of reality or their own supposed value system?

Now take someone who thinks their a fine, upstanding person, and present them a game where the rules say to lie to someone else, fooling into thinking the game is one thing (a sort of lightweight feel good movie like game) but actually it ends in murder porn/snuff movie, with the material they worked up for the feelgood movie (ie, their character) repurposed for the sake of that murder porn getting off that. AND the fooled person is socially expected to work towards that goal and the jollies of the people fooling them. They should apply their imagination to it.

Now, say the person who identifies them as fine and upstanding does this - is it kind of off for them to say "Hey, it's just a game! None of this has anything to do with real life or my own supposed value system"?

What do you think? I was told I was rude for trying to dig out that fact. I suspect with A: Whether something sounds rude and B: Whether it's true, A gets priority.

People think the truth is always going to be flattering. And if they aren't flattered, then it must be a lie or someone being rude.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pride and Punishment

If you can't beat me...I wont punish you. Just kill you.

Picking up an article link from Tesh's blog...

I think there's a double speak in terms of the use of the word 'penalty' going on. That article makes the first mistake, saying a level with checkpoints and a level with no checkpoints requires the same amount of skill. This is simply not true - try throwing a single coin in a cup. Not so hard. Now do ten in a row, with your count reseting if you miss one. With check points, your only throwing one coin into one cup - fail and you just try the one cup again. Ugh - I hope no ones going to make a two girls, one cup joke after than analogy...

Is it actually punishment to be sent right back to the start? In the linked article, he talks about great tests of skill. But the very thing about a great test of skill is that unless your sent back to the start, it's not a great test of skill. If you 'have' to hit the bullseye to move on...but then when you shoot your own foot your still allowed to move on, then you didn't HAVE to hit the bullseye. Indeed the great test of skill involved at most required you to hit your own foot.

But not being allowed to move on is just a punishment, right? Totally not needed for challenge!

No, actually it is needed for real challenge. For a simulation of challenge, where we pretend we need to hit the bullseye but when we hit the nearby tree we move on anyway, you don't need punishment. So if you want a simulation of challenge rather than actual challenge, I'll pay the point.

Also I will pay that having a large punishment for death generally works out in most mmorpgs as your risking $100 to earn $2. The monster that could make you pay through the teeth is only going to give up a tiny scrap of treasure. It's not the traditional way gambling goes - on the other hand, in traditional gambling the house always wins.

There are no 'great tests of skill' without a 'punishment' of being sent back in some way if you fail the test.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fallout securom locked out! :(

Played fallout 3 alot, ages back and decided to play it again recently.

And I get a friggin' securom message saying 'Conflict with Emulation Software'. I've added no such thing since the last time I played it. Somehow I suspect when I bought farcry 2, which also uses securom, it's added some stupid to my system.

What else do you call it when it will, at an arbitrary time, lock out the use of a paid for product? Do I get an offer of being paid back the money?

Digital goods. The appear like regular goods, but wow, don't start treating them as real goods. Your not really being sold anything that they can't snatch back pretty much whenever they give a TOS.

Edit: A work around is to go into the programs folder and find the fallout folder, then find fallout3.exe and run that directly. Still, if I want to use add ons, not sure how to do that without the launcher.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

MMO games that run for weeks/years and trying to make a game that's fun to play for weeks/years?
That pic really has nothing to do with my subject. But having found it, it had to be used!

What I've been thinking is that trying to design gameplay that is fun for the hundreds and hundred of hours (or whatever long time) that a mmorpg or PBBG (persistant browser based game) is almost insane...but even more so, it misses the point really.

These games go on for a long time, real life days atleast. Any activity done for that long gets boring. You essentially can't have a game who's moment to moment gameplay is fun for hundreds of hours involve, like an average mmorpg has.

There's really no point. Or to be more exact I think about how I want to play and I think I would rather just collect currency while offline than play something until it bored me to tears. Each is bad, but the latter is worse. Keep in mind collecting currency while offline already happens to a large degree with auction houses and how someone might just log in to check how their auctions have gone.

Maybe it's possible to make a game that's fun to play for hundreds of hours (when your a solo designer with a limited amount of PHP knowledge). But I'll just conclude it isn't and move on to the idea of offline currency gathering, with optional extra play.