Monthly Archives: February 2013

News from the bus

It was nice weather to do the weekly shopping today. Nobody chatted much though, so I looked out of the window. Used to be a supermarket close to me but it closed – I never used that supermarket. They charged average prices for sub-par food, so it’s closing isn’t a bother to me personally. The local butcher has shut too though so I can’t check out his meat. An hour and a half round trip to do the groceries, so plenty of time to hear the scuttlebut!

Anyway, no chatty folk today. I think there are less people whizzing about in cars too you know. The roads seem quieter. I noticed that several times this year …Lot of building going on… (!), they’ve been building in this area for over 20 years non-stop and so that’s nothing new. Still zero local economy though, hehe, one day someone will figure it out. What else. Few days ago met someone on the bus had been to three or four pharmacies looking to get a prescription filled. I didn’t think much on it at the time, but seems like that’s becoming some kind of problem. Getting your prescription filled now requires a trail from one chemist to another – whatever next!

This week I am trying out pork chops from Lidl in my search for meat that tastes like meat and not like handwash. Here’s hoping. ‘No meat’ is saving us money, and was part of the “save for an Asus” plan anyway, so forced vegetarianism isn’t too dire but I find a thoroughly varied diet to be the one I feel best on and I’m a bit at the “ugh more peas” stage. Yes, I have varieties of vegetables (and fruit and nuts and noodles and barley and carrots and stuff), many many many different  … they all remind me of peas now.

One small child hated meat I remember, and loved cabbage (yes I am blessed). I remember the fatigue of looking after really little littlies fuelled by endless cabbage, too tired to cook myself anything different. I know we ate other vegetables and things too… but they all ended up seeming like cabbage. All I remember now is the cabbage! It was a the Time of the Cabbage! It’s happening again!

Only this time Everything is Peas…

Categories: News from the Bus

“yes, we’re adding flower pots” (Wurm Q&A)

Ohhhhhhh and yippeee! It’s a little thing but will make a huge big difference to how our rather spartan buildings look. Around 390 Wurmians squished onto IRC yesterday to have a word with the Creator, sort of, well Wurm’s version of the Creator anyway. He wasn’t chewed at all, but then we have PR to filter things. Mind you I’ve always enjoyed how he interracts with his players unguarded (and some are extremely nasty at times), but progress happens. He seems to be looking forward to working on the Epic missions too. I’m glad of that, pvp is his thing I think and I’m happy he’s getting to work on it.

Anyway, logs are up on the forums here:

http://forum.wurmonline.com/index.php?/topic/76612-qa-log-20130226/

it kind of ambled along, so don’t expect rivetting – but flowerbeds!

Categories: Life On Wurm

Why I love the Wurm forums

Unlike in so many other games, the forums of the Wurm are interesting, and often funny – or thought provoking. Even if I’ve managed to skive the maintenance that day, I usually have a read. I think a lot of former/lapsed players still read too. On my favourite subject this morning we have:

http://forum.wurmonline.com/index.php?/topic/76227-about-structure-decay-and-the-need-to-speed-it-up-freedom-server/

vs.

http://forum.wurmonline.com/index.php?/topic/76229-where-are-the-rock-shards-going/

the second one made me laugh in an “aaaawww….”, gentle kind of way too. I was right though all is normal in the Wurmiverse, Rolf is doing pvp stuff, decay is being increased wherever possible. I daresay mobs are hitting harder…. what can I say? Wurm is Wurm.

And here I see we’re settling in for a good chew – at least I hope so:

http://forum.wurmonline.com/index.php?/topic/76213-what-rule-prevents-boxing-in/

The forums are pretty good. On the weekends a few (regular) trolls pop up, and also mostly on the weekends we get the “how dare you have a constructive discussion, close this topic!” and other kneejerks – fortunately not too many of these, but they’re boring as cowpucky, poor things. In general the Wurm forums are an entertaining, informative, lively (often funny) read!

Speaking for me, it’s really amazing to watch players think about design issues and put themselves in the gamemakers shoes along the way. We don’t have much of things going the other way – Rolf famously doesn’t play Wurm (he did for a bit then seems to have stopped). Hahahaha! But that doesn’t mean the playerbase is ignored either. Over the years I’ve played it’s been clear that Codeclub AB is pretty attentive and responsive to player issues.

Categories: Life On Wurm

Think I wrote all that to let off steam…

(No not that Steam hahaha!)  I’m pretty sure I personally will manage the horrid year (lentils rule ok!) ahead but something in me hates watching people flounder and blame themselves for a situation that’s been borked elsewhere. It’s probably a mom thing.

By golly the pressure builds up though eh!

Categories: Oddments, Shorts, Things In General, Vague Rambly Stuff

Why is there zero unemployment in-game? (Game Design and Creation)

It is the next morning, and I managed a good sleep after all. I also seem to be having some kind of writing binge. So be it.

Game economies are rather marvellous because by definition they exclude portions of reality. You can set them up so the rules of economics are not obscured, and watch what happens, though it would make for an abysmal game. What happens is the game devolves to the equivalent of unrestrained crime. At some point it even dawned on free-marketers in the real world that regulatory activity is necessary for the market not to kill itself, and a lot of people in the process.

Predictably some people haven’t figured that out, and even more predictably some people pretend it’s not true in order to benefit from ignorance, yelling “Free Market” in the same voice that should be reserved for holy things. Just like the phrase “work ethic” attempts to raise work to the status of a virtue. It is not, work is morally neutral and a means to an end. The exchange of time and energy in return for resources that allow you to survive and prosper has no innate religious or moral value. It is a trade, pure and simple. How you do that trade might involve your morals but that’s about the extent of virtue you gain from it. Doing work does not make you a good person. It hopefully makes you an economically effective one. The unregulated free market is not holy, it is a system whereby exploitative people kill off everything else and then die themselves. It works alright, but it’s not acceptable.

Game economies in fact explode many favoured notions.

I have been trying to get gaming people to think about this more than they do because if we all think it gets like the Wurm forums at their best and issues are chewed through, and we’ll have more interesting trading games. What I find though is that the vast majority of people don’t know squit about economic theory and are too much in awe to challenge or debate it. They parrot stuff and puff up and try to do the monkeys on an island jumpy jumpy thing about it. Problem is economics isn’t particularly tribal. As noted before, even free marketeers eventually conceded that without regulation their free market will simply kill itself off. Or some version of that. The ideas often overlap.

So then, zero unemployment in-game. Why is it there? How is it there? And what sacred notion does it debunk?

The answer to “Why is there zero unemployment in the game?” is that it’s a step in the process of earning the game equivalent to foreign currency. Games are set up to allow players to trade time and energy for items/in-game currency that will allow them to survive and prosper in the game. The game itself requires foreign currency (irl money)  and imported items (actual bought with real life money hardware for example) in order to exist. In order to acquire “foreign currency” (real life money)  the game requires as many players as possible and they need to be able to survive and prosper within the game (otherwise they will leave). A mechanism for parting them from their irl money can only be effective with that in place. So there is always gainful activity for a player to engage in. Zero unemployment in a game is fundamental.

And it turns out to be a lot easier to achieve zero unemployment within a game than you’d think if you listened to politicians and the media too much. You create quests and other things for people to do and give them some ingame stuff back. It’s sort of (but not quite) like stimulating the domestic economy by building useless things. (note: stimulating the economy by building useless things and then not paying for the labour isn’t it, sorry. And here’s worse news – inequitable wealth distribution resulting from centralising the contracts for building useless things is also not it. Money to the few does nothing for anyone except those few. Lordie do get it right. Tram… Edinburgh…. grumble….) In other words, work is deliberately created and renumerated at a level which makes it desirable to engage in it.

That leaves the foreign currency/real money input required. Which also turns out easier to solve for a game than you would think. In order to earn ” foreign currency” (real money to pay to the game), players need to give up some game time and and engage with the real world to acquire some real money.

In the larger economy of a country that is like workers (I’m pretending they’r all one amorphous blob for this one sentence) being able to use some of their time and energy to create goods and services which can be used to sell to other countries (after this point we’re into exchange rates which I don’t fancy tackling over breakfast). Economic activity cannot be entirely domestic because stuff you don’t have in your country needs to be imported (bought). Economic activity cannot be entirely global (it’s been tried, it’s still being tried, we still haven’t learned), because it needs a domestic infrastructure to support it and that includes people who are more than barely alive. Similarly game economies are not only about in-game money, they need irl money in order to exist at all too, but without that inside activity they would experience the equivalent of unemployment, and players would leave.

The sacred notion this all debunks is that pure market forces (actually these forces are heavily weighted against the individual) should be used to determine wages. In fact you need people to be able to survive and prosper in spite of the market value of their labour in order to have surplus time and energy to trade for foreign currency. That seems counter-intuitive until you think about how foreign trade actually happens. To put it more accurately there needs to be enough domestic support for exports to be effective. Infrastructures like roads and telephones must be there, homes must be maintained, feeding needs doing, people’s grannies need looked after, someone must actually provide whatever it is you are selling, which is by definition something  the country doesn’t need to reserve for itself, and which therefore would normally not be produced. A nation directing every moment and ounce of energy to survive it’s own domestic economy is not in a position to earn anything outside of itself. Period. It doesn’t have the capacity, drags on all efforts to balance it’s global books due to its own needs, and will run into debt. As we have.

It doesn’t even get all that complicated from there. You can twiddle with ceilings and floors (eg the minimum wage), you can allow people to generate their own domestic economic activity (start small companies) – or not (prevailing fad is to pander to big organisations and strangle small ones – how stupid can you get, but there you go. Big companies might look easier to administrate but turn out to be extremely adept in avoiding both regulation and taxation).  Governments also cannot create anywhere near enough useless projects to sustain their population. You basically need a large proportion of people scattered about doing their own thing and selling their goods/services for their own benefit on a small scale in order to keep things moving throughout so that money does not endlessly coagulate and become dormant in the same few huge localised collectives.

The relationship between in-game activity and in-game coin likewise needs to be set up in such a way that nobody is unable to survive and prosper in game terms, and nobody has to play to the exclusion of real life, where the desirable irl coin and irl hardware comes from. You can make useful definitions such as what it means to survive. In life and game the whole thing can be fancified, but at the bottom line a dead internal economy cannot support the earning of foreign currency.

If foreign earnings are achieved distribution of wealth becomes the issue to tackle next. In-game this is handled in a variety of ways, most crudely we see the big irl contributers rewarded heavily. But that backfires pretty fast. You actually need ordinary players far more because without them the game founders – not on lack of cash but through trending to only having very small, priveliged population. Which then leaves because there’s “nobody to play with”. Game over.

Better to actively promote a more equitable distribution of the goodies than overly rewarding big payers and the hardcore (big payers in terms of time). You want things happening fairly evenly and everywhere, not it little hotspots.

And finally in order to get an income from your players, the equivalent of taxes is required. Some form of payment in coin that is of value outside the game is what is usually exacted. Irl money.

Governments of course face the problem that they levy taxes in their own domestic coinage. It therefore behooves them to make bliddy sure their domestic coinage is worth something in the global economy so that they can sell the stuff if the need arises and get best price for any goods the country sells too, which brings us back to exchange rates (veer) and more importantly to the effectiveness of that internal coin in purchasing, which would be inflation and purchasing power territory (again, not now)

For now, and to wrap up, the glaring point of interest is that games need to have a population, and to make sure that that population is well catered to in-game (which they do with varying degrees of success).

Overpopulated games are (yay) in a position to expand, which needs yep, irl currency. And it works out because the more players you have, the more you can tax them in irl coinage. And that eases the overpopulation unless the fools get greedy. Squishing too many people on a server = crash. A lesson yet to be learned in real life. It would seem that a well cared for population drives expansion. But, you need to think it through to iterate to that conclusion (and squish malevolent opportunism). But in general yes, a non-impoverished population encourages economic growth, and for the purposes of economic growth a large population is desirable – irl we forget that because we take our numerousness for granted.

Our shard irl (earth) is clearly overpopulated and getting worse, and it’s just about taboo to mention it. Market forces are unrestrainedly also allowed to drive down the price of labour, and it rapidly becomes a too many people not enough work and not much taxes gathered situation. Regressive taxation follows (we’re there) and finally tax levied in labour from those who have no money (we’re there, and in fact it’s a double tax as the worker is liable also to pay into a national insurance scheme to cover their survival costs when working for nothing.) Quite alot is going wrong outside the in-game world.

We have reached a point where countries, through lack of intervention, have allowed a situation where their (over) population cannot support itself and is already taxed as much as possible. The money thus gained isn’t particularly valuable globally either. Games, faulting in the other direction are inclined to demand, as a right, time that their players need to earn the valuable stuff, real money. So they shoot themselves in the foot that way still. See my problem with taking a break from Wurm.

Where games can manufacture more territory, given irl money, countries cannot do so and will at some point just have to face up to the fact that earth can’t sustain more people. It can economically, but economy isn’t everything. We also need air to breathe and stuff.

But yes, we can definitely expand economic activity at any time. There is such a lot of it, after all. Just about everything can be convenienced up and sold to others, if they want it and have money. We can expand economically at any time provided we are alive that is and not expending every moment and calorie staying that way – and have sufficient raw materials. It’s a given that our consumption needs to better reflect our resources because we only have the one earth, no alternatives. Even sustainable resources are only sustainable if the population is in balance with what can be renewably produced as a raw resource. And all that.

Using overpopulation to justify a dirt-cheap labour resource (invoking pure supply and demand) only leads to underperformance when that labour force cannot find work, cannot pay taxes, and have nothing to spend, and no money to set up their  own enterprise either –  which in turn means even less domestic activity. That’s one of the famous downward spirals and we’re in one. I can’t believe I’m seeing this labour devaluation being wilfully made even worse by the introduction of workfare and the attempt to make a living wage a two-person effort, but yeah…

Economic health begins on the inside of a game (and country), with variety and granularity of activity, ability of ordinary players (and people)  to survive and thrive, and above all regulation to prevent crime from swamping everything and to prevent the market from being strangled by large operators – a huge, huge point which is extra obvious in the rarified economy of a game. Too many corporate/collective parasites and not enough tree is what we have in both right now. And the global price of mistletoe going through the floor too! Tch!

Although games have grasped that rewarding players adequately promotes the growth and profitability of their game, they have yet to figure out that the pyramidal last-man-standing version of trade has the opposite effect, and gosh wouldn’t it be nice to see some alternatives tried out for a change!

And now I’m off to play my own part in the real domestic economy or what’s left of it. Laters.

Categories: Game Design and Creation, Vague Rambly Stuff

Something will go spoing and fly out of the window

Ha found it – in December I was describing how lending had grown while other sectors of the economy were shrinking. If my bus type people (post before this one) are representative that is now no longer true and things have developed. Lending sector (private and probably corporate) might shrink also – worth watching to see if it does. For now it provides just about the only (if  highly undesirable) flexibility. Some people cannot shed their debt and I have no idea how many. But if enough people do succeed in borrowing less, and the lending sector does shrink, the next to go is… eh I have forgotten. It’s bit late maybe.  Nope I remembered now. Elastic!

Yes!

After people reduce their borrowing, and given everything else is already tumbleweed, next is something goes spoing and flies out the window. There. Now that I remembered that, I will sleep better I’m sure.

Put very briefly (yawn) the next thing people attempt to cut down on is supposedly unavoidable expenses (food, shelter, utilities, the company they run) If enough people are doing that it signals that the bottom has been hit. But it doesn’t matter because by then the economy is so strained that something or other (could be anything) more fundamental is motivated in an atypical direction with unpredictable consequences. Most usually it’s some version of “payment ceases to roll in as expected” causing a chain reaction amongst interrelated dependencies, and dramatic corrective movements occur not through any external intervention, but just because underlying the economy, under all the layers of skew are still the basic forces like bones. My predictive/deductive/guess powers don’t stretch to knowing what exactly will go wrong this time, but I’m pretty sure something will indeed go spoing and fly out of the window. We just have to go through this mill a few hundred more times before the message finally gets through that deliberately reducing disposable income inevitably results in there being nothing to keep the wheels all turning, particularly if one of them fouls. Everything becomes too inflexible for recovery.

The gap, the place where it can be avoided is right there, where people have to pay not quite all their earnings, (doesn’t matter to whom – in taxes, in licenses, in rent, to lenders). Close that gap to zero, take everything from enough people, and …spoing. Classically, time and again, the theory is put that certain layers of society only, need to be left with money to spend in order to just about keep things ticking. Wrong. The wider the base of available resources the more likelihood that spending will be varied and the healthier the economy – and the less susceptible it is to breakdown when one moving part heads for outer space.

You know, I’ve really had enough of interesting times – they often come with unrest too, also highly unpleasant. Well that’s the worry worried, and I did the dishes in the gap and had a healthy meal.  Of pulses.  After all the places I’ve lived I can’t believe I’m writing this kind of stuff about Britain and suspecting the meat is contaminated to boot. Oh well, maybe it won’t happen – that’s the one good thing about worries.

Time for bed.

Categories: Vague Rambly Stuff

Horse and other stories

It’s late evening… I felt like a scribble. I thought I’d follow the British newspapers’ near unanimous example and obsess about food issues while direr things are left unaddressed or buried in a hurry. I suppose they are muzzled by their advertisers/owners – that would fit in with the general trend of purchasable advantage. Heh, I think I’m soon giving up the media for another two years. They appear to be in touch, but not able or not willing to report properly let alone investigate or write on anything in depth – apart from they seem able to write in depth and investigate horsemeat. And soft drinks. And err obesity (with foodbank usage on the rise we are going on a crusade against obesity. There is yet another gross reality disconnect there, and shame on the media for playing along.)

I did (briefly) consider having another look at Twitter as a source of information but see that things are spammed out of existence if inconvenient to someone who can buy spammers, so that’s not going to be very useful for finding things out. Comes down to it the best source of information remains real people, and it’s free. All you have to do is talk to them! Amazing. I learn more about current affairs on the bus than I do in the papers or on the radio. (I still don’t watch tv). The internet is pretty good too – but you don’t have the natural filter of knowing how well you know the person telling you stuff. If my friend tells me something has happened, in other words, I give it more credence than I give to an anecdote from a less known bus person. Direct information is pretty accurate because of that filter. People travel too – the chat isn’t all about local.

So meat. It’s been around 3 months since it started tasting odd, time to see if anything has improved. It hasn’t. A pack of pork ribs (cheapest thing I could find) was what I cooked. I’ve pinned the taste down though, or rather the smell. It smells like antibacterial handwash. It tastes like it smells (but no I’m not going to be tasting antibacterial handwash to check), the taste goes right through, and you can smell it while cooking. Yuk.  Are other people also noticing it? I’ll make a point of finding out next time I’m on the bus, (particularly the one that travels to the supermarket.)

So there ya go. Regarding all the other rubbish, the country rings to the sound of purses snapping shut and in the background is the furtive scrabbling noise of people trying bolster their financial underpinnings, mainly by paying down debt at this stage. That’s probably a wise strategy, and best do it fast before some fool decides interest rates must rise “to curb inflation” (to safeguard lender-income which will drop if people pay off loans more likely). The cost of money actually bears virtually no relation to the market anymore due to weirdie financial practices skewing it beyond the direct relationship you find in textbooks (*coff* Libor). The rest of the rat-like scrabbling consists of breaking any societal tie that might translate into a liability. So if you’re wondering where your car pool went, well, the net contributors and most reliable car poolers probably feel they can’t afford to carry it anymore. That kind of thing. There is a subtle but noticeable fraying in the collective fabric.

Ah well it’s all nothing too surprising really. If you use high unemployment and workfare to drive down labour costs in order to disguise the fact that as a nation you aren’t exporting/earning all that much – it filters through into the consciousness of everyone far sooner than expected. The speed of it catches politicians every time, by the way. The minute wages fall, spending stops and lending begins to yield less of a return as people get rid of debts faster than hot potatoes if they possibly can. Trapped indeed are those that must borrow to survive. When interest rates rise to cover the shortfall, they are in a bad situation indeed.

People telling me that they are paying down this debt or that lets me know that the “ignorant masses” have already figured out that they would rather not risk an interest rate rise, and (rightly or wrongly) don’t believe assurances that such a rise is unlikely. Good. People thinking for themselves = there is hope! People I talk to aren’t putting the extra money in the bank either – they have shortfalls of their own to cover, (if people banked the money it would (at least theoretically) be a  force down on the rate: more in banks = they try to pay out less interest). Hah! The temptation to cash in on the current but fast disappearing large borrowings of the masses by just a teensy tiny tiny fraction of rise in interest is there alright, despite what it would do to the already foundering economy – and all us ignorant people know it. It’s the first time I’ve seen people paying down debt ahead of (and in case of) a rise though. There really is hope.

Shedding debt right now this minute if you can is definitely a good move – let’s get back to wittering about horsemeat. Personally I’m going mostly veggie, but not really because of horse, more because of the suspicious antibacterial-handwash-like flavour in the pork I bought. I come from a clan which ranges across the globe and up and down all walks of life, so eating unusual things is the norm, but I prefer if it’s food.

So what direr things have I buried then? Dishes and worries. I don’t feel like washing the dishes or worrying the worries – so I’m doing a “newspaper” for myself to avoid both.

Categories: Vague Rambly Stuff

Getting posh now

Not been writing much about PlanetGardenShed because relearning languages doesn’t lend itself to storytelling much – ya just do it really, and that’s mainly what I’ve been doing. Python and C++ for now. There will be more because I’m curious and also because though I can’t multitask for peanuts irl, I don’t seem to have a problem keeping several languages/interpreters earthly or computer in my head. Swings and roundabouts. Just don’t ask me to walk and talk at the same time haha – disaster. Walk, talk and eat? Food splatter and probs get run over by bus.

Aside from some heavy but dry learning, though, I’ve been digging into stopping the Hobo dropping through the terrain – boils down to the beginner scripts used in tutorials really which teach you to move things in a very basic way. If you tell a thing to move to x,y,z co-ordinates it’s going to do just that regardless. It will merrily go through unhorizontal things,  into space – so it falls. That kind of basic movement is fine on a flat plane where both y’s (ground and object) are safely = and your Hobo will not therefore be able to break through.

There are more advanced ways of moving things (setlinearvelocity and more) which is what I’ll be looking at next, another whole wee world there. And I’m not sure just where when and how (in the script) an object figures out if it’s going to hit anything and reacts, overriding those x,y,z co-ordinate (increments usually) you fed in – that’s a whole missing piece of information. …I’m gabbling. Anyway, detective work ahoy!

Which I shall duly enjoy. Finding that all that out led me to an interesting blog, and I wanted to put a link. This link is to a better method of making the python scripts, I think (and takes a little more effort to set up). I haven’t tried it – I just found this link, but that’s what I’ll be exploring next when I need a break from the duller stuff.

http://solarlune-gameup.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/using-python-in-blender-game-engine.html

and just because I happen to like the look of my faceted in-development terrain, here’s the stage I use to mess about with scripting, in all it’s sort-of metallic stripped downness. I’m just putting the pics bercos I like ’em – it’s the same old terrain by the way, it is easier to compare results that way. I do many things to it as I go – just imagine what that poor wooze has in store !!

PtgsFeb1

PtgsFeb2

Categories: Blender, Blender Game Engine, Game Design and Creation, PlanetGardenShed

Off The Rails as soon as possible! (Vanguard Saga of Heroes)

The 4 funnelled starting zones in Vanguard are fine really, I don’t mind them. I am still trying out the various classes though and have now seen quite a lot of them. Also I see the dreaded “revamp” word being used regarding the original racial starting areas. Why? I don’t care if it’s boring and there is no room for personal glory in just fixing the bugs, evening out the quest flow and letting things be – not liking just fixing things, well that’s some dev’s personal problem. I’m just a player here, dev aspirations are not my concern, and I don’t like streamlined pablum, new for the sake of new.

Exploration is of time as well as area, you know. The deathknell of WoW-and-my long-standing relationship rang out exactly when they stripped out old content and replaced it with a thin, on-rails boring overfast trivial experience, which you only wanted to play once and never again and which outlevelled the zone. No more pleasant times with Thottbott tracking down obscure items or strange npcs or places I came across. I didn’t much care if things were broken here and there either. It was discovery, pure and simple, and exploration, and it was good. If things don’t work so well in old places and you don’t feel inclined to fix them, just put “Here Be Bugs” on the map and let people still be able to see what past devs made. Layers of time provide richness.

We can make far snazzier pyramids nowadays, but people still go to Egypt.

So starting on a rainy moonlit Qalian evening… (get comfy, snuggle down, I will tell a tale….)

Bjourney

So far my ventures into this world had been pleasant but bland, only the classes and their sheer dazzling depth had gripped me – but one must not judge a whole game world by the very startiest starty places and thankfully this dark elf was ready to go to the secondpartystarty starty place in Khal, as soon as the sun rose. Scorpions on leashes eh, she mused, well…. ok. Being trained by rats, no… rat people. Giggle! Anyway, soon time to find the path down the cliff and see what lay ahead. This did:SceneryVG

Wow.

I was not to know it right then, but that was to be the start of a marathon gaming session, the like of which I have not been tempted into since my very early days of instance soloing on World of Warcraft, before I got involved in guilds and raids and all the other things they push down your throat – and hence had no time for such delights.

Usually I do ignore the lore in games, I confess it. I find it badly constructed which soon annoys me. Whole chunks don’t fit together and the layers don’t relate. Things get undue importance then trail to nothing. But the lore here is slowly seeping in. Down the hill I had more doings with the ratpeople, the Ksaravi, and my doings weren’t as clear-cut as I expected. The quest flow in this area is nice, with little side trails that provide some interesting diversions from the main trail to the starter dungeon… One thing led to another as the secondpartystarty starty area of Khal unfolded it’s tale. I duly entered the Ksaravi Hollow cave.

I am something of a dungeon bunny, I like to solo them, I like to explore them, and I thought I was in one of the usual kind, which would have been good enough for me. But it was nicer than that really, not like any dungeon I’ve been in before. For one thing, eventually I fought my way to this:ratsnest2

(I had to come back later and take the screenshot on another alt)

By this time, it was past my bedtime in the game called Real but fortunately I was not due anywhere early next day … I mean what self-respecting dungeon bunny could resist???

ratsnest

Hehe – no more screenshots of the ratpalace – go see for yourself! It’s quite fun in there. I was there until near morning and got to the end boss, which I apparently killed. But I doid, and didn’t know :).

And that settled that! Vanguard is an amazing game. It really is and I intend to carry on playing it.

Next though, the vexed business of “retooling starter zones”. I haven’t the time to race to see these areas before they destroy them in the name of progress and I have already missed one…. Mekalia? I think it’s called. How dismaying. How…. errr … oh well. Anyway my dark elf finished the dungeon properly the next day and! Off to find the Dark Elf starting zone isn’t it.

I’ll leave it there, but just to say I arrived safely – (having fun, wish you were here!)Postcard

 

Categories: Game Design and Creation, Vanguard

What’s it got to do with games?

Referring to the Article 4 post below – I keep forgetting that people don’t necessarilily connect the same dots I do.

Games are societal minicosms and any designer worth their salt is going to be interested in how one sector seeks to dominate and exploit others. Let’s call it “loopholes” for gaming. Wurm silverdudes (and dudettes) cornering all the horses on a server (because nothing in the design stops them) is not much different to a real life hardware manufacturer ensuring that some games only run on their platform (because nothing in the law stops them). Etc. In gaming all kinds of real things get interesting. Moderation for example. I often see corrupt moderators in games. I often see misbehaving “moderators” in real life too. Quality control of enforcement is a live issue for both. Sometimes a game will find an interesting solution, sometimes life does. Need to watch both!

How exploitative people work is of huge interest to game design – unless you only want the last few pratts who drove everyone else off playing, of course.

Categories: Game Design and Creation, Things In General

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