Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Following through on the idea of player created systems...

This topic is 5509 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

In relation to the Testbed threads (yes, another thread here), what are principles that could be developed to enable players to create systems, such as banks, markets, transactions, etc? Let''s say we have a game, and the concept of ''futures market'' or ''stock exchange'' or ''insurance'' doesn''t exist. What are the fundamental elements necessary to allow players to create such systems. For the most part, I see the concept of ''transaction'' being necessary. But there''s another thing which is necessary. And that''s interface software. If a consortium of players (not necessarily software developers) wish to create a banking system, they need to be able to setup the interface and mechanism to allow players to interact with their accounts. Don''t think in terms of plug-in. I don''t want to separate this concept from gameplay. The creation of a banking system should be part of gameplay. It shouldn''t be like coding. But naturally, it would be partially comprised of interface building and coding like concepts. But remember, this isn''t analogous to plug-in development. Plug-in development is action which takes place outside of a game world, and is required to be bombproof. Systems design is something which takes place in the game world, and if it results in bugs, it would be analogous to society deploying a faulty system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don''t want to dump on the idea of social/political/economic complexity in games, just you should take into account a few things.

1) The major social trends of the world occur because of intimidation. Its through fear that our world becomes a structure that is followed. For example, go out into the world, find a line somewhere, and try to cut into the middle. ANGER. Then, move to the back of the line and stand backwards. When you make the middle of the line, leave. How do you feel the whole time? Possibly really weird unless you''re the twisted type like myself.

2) All major economic trends of the world occur because of greed. Not neccessarily a mean or bad greed, but it''s a desire to have money, to do better than others. For players, money is an arbitrary number that lets them have access to the 255 items in the game. Its not treated seriously.

3) All major political systems of the world occur through intimidation to control greed. What do governments do? They in a sense stop theft. Sure, a few moral laws appear, but for the most part, all laws concern property, regulation, and taxation. Governments then intimidate people into following these laws.

As I recall, playerkilling is discouraged in most MMORPGS, and players are given no other means to initimidate each other besides email and chat. Also, in attempts to stop inflation, money is made a zero-sum resource and efforts are made to redistribute that wealth. So, all three directions you want to take these testbed ideas are undesired elements in major gameplay.

-> Will Bubel
-> Machine wash cold, tumble dry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by Inmate2993
I don''t want to dump on the idea of social/political/economic complexity in games, just you should take into account a few things.

You should have taken into account that this thread does not stand alone, but builds on ideas exchanged and refined in three previous threads: Testbed for intergalactic political machinations (itself a refinement of Online game idea - politics & conquest); Testbed elements; and Testbed elements: Money.

quote:
1) The major social trends of the world occur because of intimidation.

Your assertion is false, and your analysis trite (standing in line is not a "major social trend", it''s merely the most equitable distribution of resources - an example of the collective defending the rights of an individual as a preventive measure against visitation of abuse against each member individually.)

quote:
2) All major economic trends of the world occur because of greed.

Close, but no cigar. Capitalism is the only political/economic structure that accounts for greed in its machinations. Socialism/communism, anarchism and totalitarianism do not consider the desire of the individual to acquire material wealth.

quote:
3) All major political systems of the world occur through intimidation to control greed.

Total rot. Capitalism thrives on and rewards greed and ambition. Theoretically it favors commensurate distribution of resources, but not in practice. Furthermore, a major function of government you fail to consider is public goods - the extent of which varies by state on the basis of socio-economic system in place.

quote:
As I recall, playerkilling is discouraged in most MMORPGS, and players are given no other means to initimidate each other besides email and chat. Also, in attempts to stop inflation, money is made a zero-sum resource and efforts are made to redistribute that wealth. So, all three directions you want to take these testbed ideas are undesired elements in major gameplay.

  1. This isn''t an MMORPG.

  2. Players are encouraged to use as many channels of communication as they can to interact with each other.

  3. We don''t care, per se, about the equitable distribution of wealth. In fact, the entire system is contigent on comparative advantage and the resultant tradeoffs.

  4. You''re lost in this idea, so your final conclusion is completely wrong. Sorry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by bishop_pass
In relation to the Testbed threads (yes, another thread here), what are principles that could be developed to enable players to create systems, such as banks, markets, transactions, etc?

In effect we need a system for the hierarchical description of concepts (describing concepts in terms of existing or other concepts already described) as well as for the instantiation of (multiple) concepts as concrete entities (so "bank" would be an instantiation of "financial_institution", "monetary_repository", optionally "lender" etc; such a system would allow player-defined systems vary in purpose and function by implementing different concepts).

If we agree to the above, the problem becomes a way to describe concepts and a way to aggregate concepts into a virtual charter of sorts for a player system, as well as a set of basic concepts made available to the player.

quote:
For the most part, I see the concept of ''transaction'' being necessary. But there''s another thing which is necessary. And that''s interface software.

If a consortium of players (not necessarily software developers) wish to create a banking system, they need to be able to setup the interface and mechanism to allow players to interact with their accounts.

Continuing with the ideas I''ve sketched above, the interface becomes a case of dragging/clicking concepts to add them to the concept definition/system charter. It would seem that concept definitions must therefore be global within certain geographical/communicative scopes to allow other entities within that scope build on, refine or supplant concepts with more advanced versions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shucks it appears I''ve been away too long again.

Well, it appears the discussion has come round to the issue I was trying to address anyway
quote:

Original post by the lurch in the Testbed Elemants thread
The abstract world - Governments, businesses, transactions,
information, the masses. I think this
is where most of the consensus has
been reached so I will go straight
into my ideas for defining these
entities

Entities
Life Entity - Can''t be created by player
Attributes - Physical body, Hunger, ?Health?,

Business Entity - Can be created by player
Attributes - Ability to own money, Ability to Spend money, Can Own properties including other businesses,Can have contracts

Organisation entity -Can be created by player
Attributes - Can have life entities as members, Can have different positions, Can have contracts


Contracts - Player creatable
Attributes - Member Entities, condition, commitment,Punishment for failure

Object(Potential Property) -?Non-Player creatable? -
I''m still not sure what should go here, as it will depend on a lot of specifications we haven''t yet decided on


In this way, you can have say - A Person, who will be a combination of a life entity and a business entity. A company and a Nation will be more or less be combinations of Business and Organisations etc. I believe these three entities will almost exhuastively cover all the player interactions we have discussed. Feel free to add edit etc.



These basic specifications can be built to form any of the social and business structures we have defined. I''ll give a more detailed explanation of how it would work.

For instance, a definition for a transaction can be

Type Contract
Name ''Sale of Car''
Member Entities
Character A and Character B
Commitment
Transfer xxx funds from character A to Character B
Condition
Transfer object ''Car'' from Character B to Character A
Punishment For Failure
Return xxx+penalty funds from Character B back to Character A

perhaps we should also add
Contract Fulfilled
A Yes/No value that needs to be verified by both parties to clarify that the contract has been fulfilled.



A Shoe making company with one owner, one Employee and one external distributor could be described by something like

Type Business
Type Life Entity
Name ''Joe''
Owns: ''Joe''s Shoe Shop''
Has funds: Yes


Type Organisation
Type Business
Name ''Joe''s Shoe shop''
Members:
Joe - Position ''Owner''
Character B - Position ''Employee''

Has funds: Yes
Owns:
x kg Leather
Leather Needles
2 Big Scissors
Building

Type Contract
Name ''Ownership''
Members
''Joe''s Shoe Shop''
''Joe''s Shoe Shop''::''Owner''

Commitment
Contracts enetered into by ''Joe''s shoe shop'' can be signed by ''Owner''
This is a bit akward right now. but we need some way to say decisions made by a character or group of characters are binding on an organisation or business

Type Contract
Name ''Terms of Employment''
Members
''Joe''s shoe shop''
''Joe''s shoe shop''::''Employee''

Commitment
Allow ''employee'' use ''Joe''s shoe shop''::objects && Transfer yyy funds from ''Joe''s shoe shop'' to ''Employee'' monthly

Condition
''Employee'' produces zz number of shoe''s belonging to ''Joe''s shoe shop'' every month && ''Employee'' does not remove ''Joe''s shoe shop''::object from ''Joe''s Shoe shop''::house

Punishment for Failure
Remove ''Joe''s shoe shop''::''employee'' from Organisation::''Joe''s shoe shop''

Contract
Name ''Distribution Contract''
Members
Joe
Jack

Coommitment
Transfer xx shoes from ''Joe''s shoe shop'' to ''Jack''s distributions''
Condition
Transfer yyy funds from ''Jack''s distributions'' to ''Joe''s shoe shop''
Punishment for failure
Return xx shoe''s from ''Jacks Distributions'' to ''Joe''s shoe shop'') && (''fails'' = ''fails'' ++) && (if (''fails'' < 3) terminate contract)

Contract
Name ''Pay dividends''
Members
Joe
Joe
Commitment
Transfer xx funds from ''Joe''s shoe shop'' to ''Joe''

etc,etc.

Some things to note -
All the nouns (except for solid objects existing in game world) are player defined (e.g. owner, employee etc.) although some could be predefined before the start of the game for convenience

It may be useful to have automatically recurring contracts for issues like wages.

We will some need sort of parser to be able to decode terms like ''Allow ... use'' and ''Transfer ... to'' etc. But with the drag and drop interface that was suggested by Oluseyi the actual coding of these terms should be relatively easy for the player.

Forgive me is some of the syntax is inaccurate, but it should clearly demonstrate how these units can be used to build complex organisational structures.

We will still need to specifically define all physical objects posible in the world though.
I haven''t been able to figure out a way to implement invention either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I find the "game documents" system able to support concepts like banks or stock exchanges. Not to the level of modern day Wall Street, but definitely up to a medieval level. They used to have politics, banks, companies and markets before computers were around. How did they do it? Let the players figure it out. I don''t support even the implementation of "money" in the game rules. Money are an abstract concept and their existance is conditioned by shared beliefs of a group of players, and as such the game shouldn''t force a monetary system on the player. I don''t mind a game resource (ab)using the name "money" though.

Examples:

Money: A player discovers rich oil reserves on his base planet. He has the ability to defend these resources (or at least to destroy them before anyone can capture them). He doesn''t have the resources to exploit them though. He creates a number of authentified game documentes stating something like "Player X will offer to the bearer of this document a quantity of y units of oil in exchange for this document". He will offer these documents in exchange for oil exploiting equipment. The documents are in effect money and can be used as such for further exchanges between other players.

Bank. The same player now has vast reserves of oil. His production fuels the worlds of many players and oil is a resource everyone needs. His oil money are widely accepted as a currency. He now offers oil money in exchange for "player Y must give player X z instances of the "oil money" document by the date of t" documents. Those players invest the oil money and by the resources acquired create even more resources. Selling those will allow them to pay back the oil money borrowed and the interest rate.

Resources Market. In fact a player that has many resources and makes deals with these resources. He chooses his own resource convertion rates.

Sub-bank. The same player is now filthy rich. He doesn''t make small deals anymore. Other players take large loans from this player, and offer the smaller players little loans (or deposits).

Accident. The oil reserves are sabotaged. As the news spreads, players run amock trying to get rid of the oil money. Contracts cannot be met on time, and cause other contracts to fail in turn. Wars start for the control of the smaller remaining oil reserves consuming the remainings of the once abundand economy. The whole system falls apart.

The End.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:

I don''t support even the implementation of "money" in the game rules. Money are an abstract concept and their existance is conditioned by shared beliefs of a group of players, and as such the game shouldn''t force a monetary system on the player. I don''t mind a game resource (ab)using the name "money" though.



I think having so many threads is causing more confusion than organisation. For instance this should probably go to the ''Testbed Money'' thread.

Anyway...
Diodor you sound like your goal is to allow players create thier own form of currency if they so desire. In my opinion this can be implemented by a simple trade by barter system. i.e. allow transactions to take place as exchanges of ''objects'' and ''services''. This way it could even be possible for someone to pay for ''services rendered'' with other ''services rendered''.

Once this is implemented we could then include an object called ''money'' which will, at the start of the simulation, already be being accepted by NPCs and offered by them for services. By defualt, humans who join the game will treat this money in the same way, due to name recognition. But if any of the players decide to start using some other resource as the basis of transaction, then it in effect becomes another currency.

However, I am strongly against the idea of not including any ''money'' resource at the beginning becuase this will force players to spend a lot of time trying to come up with some sort of standard currency, and apart from being quite chaotic it can easily become very frustrating!
We should not lose sight of the fact that, although we are working on a really intruiging idea, our final goal is to produce a FUN game!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:

Original post by thelurch

I think having so many threads is causing more confusion than organisation. For instance this should probably go to the 'Testbed Money' thread.



The implementation of money is closely related to the implementation of banks, markets, insurance companies, so it belongs here. The other matters on money were already discussed in the money thread. I also advocated cheating the money system, more or less like you propose (having the NPCs accept money gives money an intrisic value, unrelated to the beliefs of the players). Apparently, this idea was not appreciated, which came as a surprise to me as I took our common approach on money almost for granted.

What I'm saying is that if money are not going to be resource based but agreement based, their implementation doesn't belong with the game rules, but with the player created agreements. Which are handled by Game Documents.

quote:

Anyway...
Diodor you sound like your goal is to allow players create thier own form of currency if they so desire. In my opinion this can be implemented by a simple trade by barter system. i.e. allow transactions to take place as exchanges of 'objects' and 'services'. This way it could even be possible for someone to pay for 'services rendered' with other 'services rendered'.



Yes, that's what I thought about. A system that ensures simple flawless uncheatable exchanges. Since Game Documents (which can be used as checks, loans, insurance policies, money, etc.) are game objects, exchanging documents for resources, other documents, information snippets is allowed.

The other thing needed is a game world with 'memory', so that every action is recorded somehow. If old actions can be traced and proved, creating a justice system to enforce the documents is possible.

quote:

However, I am strongly against the idea of not including any 'money' resource at the beginning becuase this will force players to spend a lot of time trying to come up with some sort of standard currency, and apart from being quite chaotic it can easily become very frustrating!



Whether 'money' (the resource with intrisic value) are included or a similar resource (one everyone wants, needs and has some of it - oil, gold, gems, iron they all took this spot at some time) trade will be equally helped.

quote:

We should not lose sight of the fact that, although we are working on a really intruiging idea, our final goal is to produce a FUN game!



Even though FUN is responsible for the death of countless inovative ideas, I must agree. There's no fun in having a common abstract universal currency which dies out of inflation at the game start because noone trusts it has value or dies out of inflation in mid-game because half the players thought communism was a good idea and they evolved beyond greed.

[edited by - Diodor on November 11, 2002 2:03:15 AM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:

having the NPCs accept money gives money an intrisic value, unrelated to the beliefs of the players



quote:

There''s no fun in having a common abstract universal currency which dies out of inflation at the game start because noone trusts it has value


The purpose of having NPCs accept money is to provide a buffer against a sudden market crash becuase even if the players are totally suspicious of each other at the beginning they can be assured that ''the masses'' are still a viable market at least initially.

But also remember that the mind of ''the masses'' is not a constant thing. They can be swayed by media, propaganda and even repetitive everyday events. So it is plausible that at some point in the game cash, like any other resource, becomes worthless. Then it will simply revert the game universe back to pure trade by barter. And in all probability some other form of currency will then assert itself.

I.e. the ''money'' resource is not a ''game rule'' but just a resource that is currently accepted for trade by most characters in the game, at the point the game is starting. From then on "Anything can happen!"


quote:

The other thing needed is a game world with ''memory'', so that every action is recorded somehow. If old actions can be traced and proved, creating a justice system to enforce the documents is possible.


Rather than having the memory system being a game engine implementation, every player can have the option of recording thier transactions in one form of the other. eg. I tell you I want to buy something from you and we agree on a price. We may now decide to have a witness present, or record our agreement on tape, or write out a contract and sign it with a lawyer present. If we use either paper or tape then we can make copies, hide them, tear them, erase them or do anything else that it is possible to do to a piece of paper or a tape.

This gives a lot of implicit advantages to our simulation. For instance, it provides ways of ''tampering''. like if we had a witness present, one of us may decide to bribe him to change his story, or have him assasinated.
It also provides a level of security. If we made only one copy of the contract and lock it in a safe then noone else will be aware of it''s contents and it is effectively ''Top Secret'' (unless it''s stolen or something)


quote:

universal currency which dies ... out of inflation in mid-game because half the players thought communism was a good idea and they evolved beyond greed.



Humanity is incapable of evolving beyond greed! ...That was the failure of communism!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites