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 Post subject: Re: Current Main Discussion around in game issues
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 8:48 pm 
AA Warrior
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Well, again, I'm willing to apologize for my part, but he must understand that my initial intentions were good. All I was trying to do was help out, and he seemed to think I was insulting him. If he wants to follow suit as far as reconcilliation goes is his choice.

I agree with what you've said, AB, and I also think that making things fair for everyone would be better than putting in some sort of protection thing. KZ's idea wasn't too bad, but I've heard other I liked better.

Tarnus, human judgement actually is a good way to do things. An admin knows better than a computer if what is going on is fair or not. But before you go stripping people of what they've done, you have to be sure that they've done more than just exploit the game. They have to have knowingly exploited it. Otherwise, it'd be better just to take what they unfairly gained, and tell them not to do it again. Then, if they do it again, that's when you strip them of their resources. One obvious inconvenience is the workload of the admin, having to monitor everything, but this is a bit more full proof. I think the biggest hurdle is a psychological one: we'd all just love for the rules that keep the game fair to be embedded in the game and for it all to be self contained, but this forces us to give up the fantasy.

I guess, since I see the possibility of this solution working, I've no reason to oppose it. It'd just be up to the admins. In the mean time, more suggestions wouldn't be a bad thing.

With enough work, almost all these ideas are salvageable, and none are so bad that they can't be cured of their faults. The thing is, the ones that require more patches to fix up the possible exploits are going to force us to stray more and more from the original intent, and they're going to add more and more unnecessary complications to the whole thing.

I still think a system with just one overall experience value per player and that starts new players off at 50% would be best. That way, they can go equally far in either direction. With the equations I posted earlier, they would just asymptopically approach the values of 0 or 100. I've since had another good idea for the equations that would make them a little more reactive, and I kinda like that better, but I don't think it's worth posting quite yet until I see more support for my manner of thinking :P I wouldn't want to go through all that work and my idea not be used.

Basically, this is how it would work though. As you approach 100% or 0% efficiency, you approach it slower and slower, as I explained. However, you also leave it slower and slower, going in the opposite direction. Like, if you do really awfully and get almost 0 efficiency, but then you start to do better, you'll improve just as slowly as you'd do worse. It goes both ways at the same rate for a given experience value. The modifications I'm thinking of would change this. You could correct your faults much easier, or vice versa, it would penalize players who did well much more quickly, that way they never can become so experienced that they're completely safe.

I would have to do some reworking of the equations, but if you actually start considering my suggestion (doubt PJ will just 'cause of his prejudice...) let me know so I can set it up. I could make it a lot better.

But anyway, to return more to founding theory, with 50% starting value, builders aren't penalized for lack of combat experience for one, and it's a bit more fair to everyone in other ways. Then, with just one experience, I admit, things won't be as interesting as what PJ proposed, but, though slightly duller, the simplicity also cuts out loads of potential exploits that would have to be patched up and would, in doing so, take away from the original idea.



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 Post subject: Re: Current Main Discussion around in game issues
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:51 am 
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What about possibly using the Good/Neutral/Evil rating as some sort of equalizer. I am not sure how it would work, but in the end it may need less programing to put something in place.

As Val said, Human intervention is far better than any coding for dealing with problems. As its common knowledge to what myself and others did on my team. If we had been told that the style of play we decided to use was unwanted on the "Main Game" we would have stopped. As what we did was so obvious to any experienced player, A warning could have come from many in the game. In that regards the Whole community of experienced AAT players could take on the role of monitoring the game. No real power to do anything, just a responsibility of keeping the game pure. They could pass a message to player saying "You should stop, that type of behavior is unwanted on this server" and a message could be sent to the feds as well. Then the admins could spend time on those problems that aren't as easy for other players to see.


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 Post subject: Re: Current Main Discussion around in game issues
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:57 am 
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MadMArdigan666 wrote:
What about possibly using the Good/Neutral/Evil rating as some sort of equalizer. I am not sure how it would work, but in the end it may need less programing to put something in place.

As Val said, Human intervention is far better than any coding for dealing with problems. As its common knowledge to what myself and others did on my team. If we had been told that the style of play we decided to use was unwanted on the "Main Game" we would have stopped. As what we did was so obvious to any experienced player, A warning could have come from many in the game. In that regards the Whole community of experienced AAT players could take on the role of monitoring the game. No real power to do anything, just a responsibility of keeping the game pure. They could pass a message to player saying "You should stop, that type of behavior is unwanted on this server" and a message could be sent to the feds as well. Then the admins could spend time on those problems that aren't as easy for other players to see.



Mad, that maybe the best idea of all. I hate forcing all the restrictions on players. There is a time and place for the uses of some of these things. But if we have many of the experienced players that can help maintain a better environment, then all the better. Then the admin can come into play when it gets out of hand. I know for a fact some of the more experienced players have chosen to leave due to many of the issues of the current game. This change would bring them back I think. I don't believe in a passive universe, just a universe where the fights are fair. :)



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 Post subject: Re: Current Main Discussion around in game issues
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 10:05 am 
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Tarnus wrote:
Mad, that maybe the best idea of all. I hate forcing all the restrictions on players. There is a time and place for the uses of some of these things. But if we have many of the experienced players that can help maintain a better environment, then all the better. Then the admin can come into play when it gets out of hand. I know for a fact some of the more experienced players have chosen to leave due to many of the issues of the current game. This change would bring them back I think. I don't believe in a passive universe, just a universe where the fights are fair. :)
[/quote]

As you and Pj are both creators of the game and Admins of this server, perhaps the two of you should discuss the game as the two of you see how it should be played. Come back to the community and tells us and have a discussion about it. I do think that if this is the way you 2 decide to go, there should be a page dedicated to it in the registration process. Have it on the website as well and Pinned in the proper area of the forum. That way the player is informed, the more experienced players can be the buffer and the Admins can be the end result of poor behavior. Some other games I have played have a "Players Code of Conduct" . It addresses those hard to fix issues as well it allows the game to retain its key elements of play. I don't feel like its to big of a request to ask the community to take a more active part in preserving the game.


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 Post subject: Re: Current Main Discussion around in game issues
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 11:00 am 
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Yeah, I'm with MM on this. You two, as the admins, should probably just take some time and figure out exactly what the rules are going to be, and then inform the players. You can then manually enforce the rules.

I am warming up to this, because the human element cuts out some of the pitfalls of relying on computer judgement. I've been supporting still being able to use planets for larger transfers for legitimate purposes and payments all along, and now we can keep that. If an admin sees that and think something funky is going on, they can just send the player a message asking for an explanation. Then, the player can just say, "I was paying for this guy's location" or "I was pay for this guy's help ARing a sector". Then, the admin can check their message logs to make sure they're not lying, and it's all good.



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 Post subject: Re: Current Main Discussion around in game issues
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 12:08 pm 
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Mad, that maybe the best idea of all. I hate forcing all the restrictions on players. There is a time and place for the uses of some of these things. But if we have many of the experienced players that can help maintain a better environment, then all the better. Then the admin can come into play when it gets out of hand. I know for a fact some of the more experienced players have chosen to leave due to many of the issues of the current game. This change would bring them back I think. I don't believe in a passive universe, just a universe where the fights are fair. :)[/quote]

I do like this idea as long as they have no real power, only Admin.
You could possibly recruit several experienced players who have agreed to uphold and monitor the ethical standards wanted for the game, and have them designated as as such. Watchdogs, monitors, whatever. As designated monitors (easily recognizable on the rankings page and messages) your comments, suggestions and even warnings would carry more weight to the other players.
As laughable as it may sound, it would be good to have in that group players who can easily recognize "exploits"...or have experience in discovering them. (not me, no one would trust me :D )
I'd recommend a blend of players for this group, players who are well known as helpers/trainers/coaches and those players who are familiar with the coding of the game. Maturity and tolerance would also be a factor in my mind.


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 Post subject: Re: Current Main Discussion around in game issues
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 3:58 pm 
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MadMArdigan666 wrote:
As you and Pj are both creators of the game and Admins of this server, perhaps the two of you should discuss the game as the two of you see how it should be played.


The problem is not all Admins are like us. Many just start a game and let it run without doing any monitoring at all. That makes it easy for players to do what was done on the main without any oversight.

So what we have to do is add in things that take over for the admin and regulate things internally. That is why there is a bounty system. On Black Nova Traders which is a distant ancestor of our game there was absolutely no bounty system. It was easy for top players to prevent anyone joining from ever getting anywhere in the game. Basically once you were on top you never left and if you ever started at the bottom you never rose any higher.

The bounty system in our game is constantly evolving because the players are constantly looking for ways to EXPLOIT or GET AROUND the restrictions. Sadly, that seems to be normal in any game anymore.

It's nice to say let the admin monitor things and regulate the game but that is rarely the case. It takes a HUGE amount of TIME to monitor any game. Especially when you have to go through multiple admin logs and player logs to try and track down what is being exploited. You will find that 99.9% of the admins running our game will never take the time to do that. We do because it is our game but others don't.

So when you see someone exploiting something like we have seen with giving money to smaller players so they can buy mega ships then we have to plug the hole or it turns into a raging torrent that ruins the game completely.



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 Post subject: Re: Current Main Discussion around in game issues
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:05 pm 
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I have admin'd a number of tournaments and also try to run my own games. I have done so from about V.13. Believe me it is a big job and not one that you make friends with. Again talking from experience; you can please most of the players most of the time, but you will have probems with some of the players some of the times. :)

Tarnus, in NZ we are now paying NZ$1.865 per litre for desiel about NZ$8.30 per gallon, so is possible for you to ship some of that cheap stuff down our way.

The game has evolved massively from .2 to .3 and this is going to take major work both from the developers and the players to help iron out issues. I am sure that we will get there in the long run.

Now if only Tarnus could resurect 'The Thunderdome', players would be able to sort out their defferences there. :)



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 Post subject: Re: Current Main Discussion around in game issues
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:37 pm 
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Panama Jack wrote:

The problem is not all Admins are like us. Many just start a game and let it run without doing any monitoring at all. That makes it easy for players to do what was done on the main without any oversight.



PJ, as you well know there is a delicate balance in too many rules and not enough rules. I wouldn't completely rule out self management based on some ethical playing guidelines. This is easier to implement and it takes the burden of us putting more overhead in the game. I like the idea of posting an ethics guidelines and then letting the community help in watching for unethical play.

I know it will probably only work on the main, but if the main sets the example, then others may follow. Server ratings based on how well admins and players adhere to guidelines could be set.

I am not saying we don't implement some of the things we have been discussing, but whats going to happen when we add more toys? Some ones going to find a nasty use for them and exploit them for evil.... nature of the beast.



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 Post subject: Re: Current Main Discussion around in game issues
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 11:19 pm 
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Panama Jack wrote:
MadMArdigan666 wrote:
As you and Pj are both creators of the game and Admins of this server, perhaps the two of you should discuss the game as the two of you see how it should be played.


The problem is not all Admins are like us. Many just start a game and let it run without doing any monitoring at all. That makes it easy for players to do what was done on the main without any oversight.

So what we have to do is add in things that take over for the admin and regulate things internally. That is why there is a bounty system. On Black Nova Traders which is a distant ancestor of our game there was absolutely no bounty system. It was easy for top players to prevent anyone joining from ever getting anywhere in the game. Basically once you were on top you never left and if you ever started at the bottom you never rose any higher.

The bounty system in our game is constantly evolving because the players are constantly looking for ways to EXPLOIT or GET AROUND the restrictions. Sadly, that seems to be normal in any game anymore.

It's nice to say let the admin monitor things and regulate the game but that is rarely the case. It takes a HUGE amount of TIME to monitor any game. Especially when you have to go through multiple admin logs and player logs to try and track down what is being exploited. You will find that 99.9% of the admins running our game will never take the time to do that. We do because it is our game but others don't.

So when you see someone exploiting something like we have seen with giving money to smaller players so they can buy mega ships then we have to plug the hole or it turns into a raging torrent that ruins the game completely.


Increasing the bounty was a start. I still say the best thing for admins to do for now is just edit a few settings, (I know what they are) and it can be pretty much dealt with, and not much to check up on. Since your making big changes in future, I would hope you all go ahead with either what u came up with or one of the suggestions. other features could wait I'd say.


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 Post subject: Re: Current Main Discussion around in game issues
PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:03 am 
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I can only imagine the type of work that goes into monitoring a game. Thats why there would be the involvement of the experienced players in the game. They are the eyes and ears for the admins and then direct the admins to the problems that the may see or experience. I do like the changes to the bounty system, they are a major deterrent. If it wasn't for a stupid mistake, I wouldn't have taken one intentionally. Changes like that are good and easier to do and keep in balance with what is happening in the game. Many of the problems currently facing the game are going to be much harder to deal with and find the appropriate balance.

Pj, as tarnus said "if the main sets the example, then others may follow" is very true. Other admins may not be as dedicated as you and Tarnus to monitoring and ensuring a fair game is being played. If other players, see players here helping maintain a fair game they might start doing that on other servers as well. Making it much easier on admins. Instead of on a daily basis going through huge logs, they could spend time looking at exact problems.


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 Post subject: Re: Current Main Discussion around in game issues
PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:04 pm 
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I just saw today exactly how much bigger the bounties are. And, as Gabriel just demonstrated, it is not impossible to get them by accident. Also, it seems that they are larger than it is possible to take a loan to cover, even max loan.

I think I remember you guys commenting somewhere when suggesting good game settings that the admin will probably want to make the bounties around 15% so that a loan can cover.

Of course, I understand the reason for the change. I supported it before. The problem is, I really see now that it is a band aid fix. It deters the exploit we've been seeing, but it's got some nasty side effects.

Basically, it makes it extremely inconvenient for a team to have a bunch of big players and one smaller player and the smaller player to take a bounty, because the bigger players will have trouble with paying it even though it's the smaller player's size. But...

If you've got a team that's not a bunch of big players to help pay and one small player, then one bounty could cripple them the way it's set. And an independant player could be out for the game with just one bounty like that. Max loan, sell ship, maybe even pull production credits... and if they have to do that, how can they pay the loan?

By the way, notice my new signature.

Edit: If you let me write over 255 characters, I could write something even more appologetic for whatever insanity I post ;)



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 Post subject: Re: Current Main Discussion around in game issues
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:45 pm 
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Just a question...

Sector names are randomly generated, right? I mean, I read somewhere that the first number refers to the galaxy arm, or something like that, but that's inconsequential information, and the rest is randomly generated, so as to prevent players identifying the locations of sectors by name...

So what I have to ask is this: Why are they all alphanumeric jumbles? Can we base it off a list of words in a text file on the server, be they dictionary words or names or something? Works a damn sight better as a mnemonic device, still randomly generated and meaningless. You're probably all used to SQ34GH7 or whatever, but it's a damn headache for me. Plus, it means that even though you can name sectors, nobody ever does, unless you're trying to bluff, etc.

You could still create obvious user generated names under a system where the galaxy is filled with galactic sounding names for sectors and so the tactics involved in trapping/bluffing would be preserved, but it'd make remembering sectors a whole lot easier.


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 Post subject: Re: Current Main Discussion around in game issues
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 1:24 am 
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First digit = Galaxy arm (P, Q, R, S, or T)
Second digit = planetary support (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5)
Last Five digits = randomly generated (though since we all know there is no such thing as true random, TH or PJ could probably fill us in on it more)



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 Post subject: Re: Current Main Discussion around in game issues
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 1:38 am 
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Okay, Galaxy arm and Planetary support + 5 random alphanumerics.

I won't argue the usefulness of galaxy arm and Planetary support being given to the player on a sector before actually scanning or visiting the sector.
I'm just putting the feelers out on a naming convention change. Possible? Pointless? Cause any headaches for the system?
it's obviously not the most dramatic change, but I'd like it.


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