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About Delphinus

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  1. My friend ran (and still runs) a server for a popular game, modified to run as an MMO. Although the server is largely focused on role playing, building alliances, accumulating wealth, holdings, in-game status symbols, etc., he also holds non-RP events now and then. Often these are the best thing on the server, and events have ranged from themed deathmatches to drag races to dogfights - all of them unrelated to the core gameplay. These events were some of the best times on the server when I played, but notably, as the player base expanded, it became increasingly impractical to run such events; people would log out randomly at key moments, or mess around pre-game. With a larger, more popular game, I imagine those problems would become increasingly rife. So perhaps the answer is 'too difficult'. It certainly causes all sorts of stress and hard work for a designer that it wouldn't otherwise do. Of course, in a professional situation work is equal to money. Running an event might cause a boost in profit, but I doubt it would be enough to offset its costs in a commercial MMO with a playerbase much over 10,000.
  2. Delphinus

    A New Race

    Some kind of insect is probably a good idea for the more sinister roles. Praying Manti? I can just imagine them as a sinister Grand Vizier or as an upper-class, elitist society. Although, again, they might work well as clergy or wizards (assuming your game has magic).
  3. Delphinus

    The Fate of Modern FPS Campaign Length

    Gawd, I leave for a year (bet you didn't notice) and when I get back, you're all making lame excuses to value financial gains over artistic merit. In case you couldn't guess, I choose B/D. The state of mainstream games has got worse and worse over the last few years, in my opinion. I understand the reason why: "Developers want to be certain they make a profit", but I don't like it. Then again, as a left libertarian, that has more to do with political ideology (and that damn capitalism) than anything vaguely related to the topic. I don't feel sacrificing unique content is a valid way to approach the development cycle; typically one would want at least a somewhat different experience for each level. Otherwise you may as well make the original level twice as lengthy and provide more interest that way. Although games are a product to be pushed, they are, nonetheless, a creative product and should be treated accordingly. Does an artist sell a portrait before it's finished? No. Could you sell a novel without an end to a publishing house? Not unless your initials are S.M. Would you watch two films of a three-film series, where the third was cancelled, giving no closure? Games are a culmination of every artistic element in conventional media, with the additional merit that they allow the user to manipulate certain aspects of the scene - gameplay. While I enjoy a good war film as much as anyone else, I wouldn't sit and watch every single one I could find over and over again, nor would I count an incomplete film as anything other than a novelty and a display of wasted potential. Every time a publisher cuts a section from a game, a kitten dies. Ultimately, one has to decide whether they play the game as a mindless form of enjoyment akin to a typical action film - masturbation, as the game industry's favorite critic, Jack Thompson, would put it, or whether they rather appreciate a game based on its artistic merits. If games are just another product to be consumed and tossed aside, feel free to release them with ever-shorter campaigns. If they're a form of art, don't. I wonder why I prefer indy games?
  4. Delphinus

    play balance

    Quote:Original post by Wai There is something missing in the presented method... That problem is that I had a cost in addition to the value of the unit. If I had simply left it as c = 10v, then I'd have a correct system (but also a very odd one, if you were being paid to have units). It's probable that balance equations need some other modifier, or rather, they can only express ratios. Basically, I messed up on the formula. A unit that is worth 5 times as much value as another should cost 5 times as much. However, i'm not sure about the specifics of going about this with negatives. No matter how many times you times -1 by, you will never get 5. I expressed it wrong. Perhaps it is absolutely necessary to give every unit a positive value that you expect the player to pay for.
  5. Delphinus

    play balance

    Quote:Original post by dries123 - Can I create balance matrices with more than three units? Certainly, see below: ________________________________________________________________ | | Archer | Swordsman | Horseman | Cannon | Privateer | |-----------|--------|-----------|----------|--------|-----------| | Archer | 0 | 2 | -3 | -5 | 1 | | Swordsman | -2 | 0 | 1 | -3 | -1 | | Horseman | 3 | -1 | 0 | 0 | 2 | | Cannon | 5 | 3 | 0 | 0 | -1 | | Privateer | -1 | 1 | -2 | 1 | 0 | |___________|________|___________|__________|________|___________| Plugged in: __________________________ | | Value | Cost | |-----------|-------|------| | Archer | -5 | 50 | | Swordsman | -5 | 50 | | Horseman | 4 | 140 | | Cannon | 7 | 170 | | Privateer | -1 | 90 | |___________|_______|______|
  6. Delphinus

    The failings of democracy in small-scale elections

    Quote:Original post by phantom Quote:Original post by Mithrandir "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried." - Winston Churchill I like this quote, because it is true; however it doesn't negate the fact that democracy is slowly becoming worthless and we really need to find a new way to do things. I put forward the idea of the republic - the rule of law rather than of man. That is to say, one would not vote on their favorite candidate but rather on the philosophy or law that they subscribed to. That means that you wouldn't have 'popularity contests' - a human is not being voted into power, but rather a law. In short, it would grant every person the power to pass or decline a law in the same manner as a MP nowadays.
  7. Delphinus

    play balance

    My favorite approach to this would be to construct a balance table. I read about this technique in a design book I was studying some time ago. In short, you calculate the worth of a unit, and build how much it costs in proportion to this. You create this by saying that a unit will defeat x number of another unit when pitted in direct combat - a positive number indicates a number defeated, while a negative means that that number would be defeated by a single unit of the other type. In the Rock-paper-scissors example below, we have an 'archer', a 'swordsman', and a 'horseman'. ___________________________________________ | | Archer | Swordsman | Horseman | |-----------|--------|-----------|----------| | Archer | 0 | 1 | -1 | | Swordsman | -1 | 0 | 1 | | Horseman | 1 | -1 | 0 | |___________|________|___________|__________| Obviously this makes them balanced and gives them the same worth of 0 points - the totals of all three units add to 0 if you read in rows or columns. If we plug this into the formula c = 10v + 100, where c is the cost of the unit and v is the value, calculated by adding the three values, then we get a price of 100 for each unit. However, we could tweak the stats and still keep it balanced. If we switch to this: ___________________________________________ | | Archer | Swordsman | Horseman | |-----------|--------|-----------|----------| | Archer | 0 | 2 | -3 | | Swordsman | -2 | 0 | 1 | | Horseman | 3 | -1 | 0 | |___________|________|___________|__________| Then the Horseman has a worth of 2, the Swordsman a worth of -1, and the Archer a worth of -1. This makes the Horseman very powerful, and, in a costless game, they would be a clear choice. However, plugging them into the formula, we get a price of 90 for the Archer, 90 for the Swordsman, and 120 for the Horseman. Each unit has a situation where it is useful, but their price reflects their actual value. And that's balance matrices.
  8. Delphinus

    Starting an online game

    Have a dungeon that blocks access to each area (say with an area of 'black fog', like in Twilight Princess), and fill them with massive numbers of powerful monsters and a super-powerful boss so that x many top-level players are required to defeat the dungeon. This ensures that the areas only open out when there's as many players as you've determined. You could even turn this into a 'global event' or storyline quest that opened up content for the whole playerbase, thus inspiring normally opposing players to work for a common cause. You could even have this effect wear off every so often so that a constant battling to defeat 'the evil that lurks below' is needed. All the players will pitch in, as they directly as well as indirectly benefit from the dungeon being cleared.
  9. Delphinus

    Skill Cubes

    But it's pretty. Ah well, another aborted concept.
  10. Delphinus

    Skill Cubes

    Quote:Original post by JasRonq It is not terribly easy to read, and it creates pointless restrictions on character/stat number. What if The game just started and I have only one character in my party? what if I have two? How do you deal with that? What if they have 7 stats? What if I don't want to look at the stats of all my characters at once? What if I want to quickly see who in my party has the highest or lowest of a certain stat without the clutter of all the rest of the data? In your specific example, what if the top face character's earth (green) is much higher than his air (light blue)? I wouldn't even be able to see the Air stat at all. How would you recommend making it easier to read? On character number - simply blot out a side you're not using, or else have the shape change depending on how many members are in your party. For four characters, use a triangular-based pyramid, for example. Though I can see problems with this approach were we to get below four members. This would be one of several views of stats, among other, more typical ones, but it has the advantage, in my mind, of being largely easy to see the strengths and weaknesses of each character - it's a 3-d bar chart. Also, the stronger the party is, the larger the cube would grow. As for number of skills - if you can break a square into that many equal pieces, you have your skill display.It's relatively easy, for example, to break a square into 3 parts. The stats obscuring other stats would not be a problem in an actual representation - the cube would be 3d and fully rotatable.
  11. Delphinus

    Skill Cubes

    Recently it occurred to me that the 2-dimensional display of skills or skill development were somewhat unnecessary. With that in mind, I developed a way to show skill growth in 3 dimensions. What I came up with was the 'skill cube'. An example of what I mean is below: As you can see, it consists of a colourful cube. Now, the special thing about this cube is that each of its faces represent a different character's skills. In this example, I used a colour to represent each of the greek elements. Red is fire, deep blue is water, light blue or aqua is air, and green is earth. Each face is a different character (say for an RPG), and each square represents a character's skill in one particular area. Of course, it's possible to use other shapes should we desire a non-square number of skills, but in this example I use a cube for my own sanity in drawing and to keep it simple. Here we see a cube after the party has levelled up: As you can see, certain colours are extruded. These represent increased skills. Top-face has levelled up his 'Earth' skill, while Left-face has levelled up her 'Fire' skill, and Right-face has levelled up her 'Water' skill. As experience in each area increases, these areas will extrude further. In this next example, top-face has levelled up his 'Air' skill and 'Earth' skill to an equal level, and neglected his 'Water' and 'Fire' skills, while Left-face increases her 'Fire' skill to a high level and Right-face does likewise with 'Water'. How do you think this would work as a user interface, were the cube easily turnable and rotatable?
  12. Delphinus

    You know you're a crappy programmer when...

    void Crappy(Person *Programmer) { while(Programmer->IsCrappyProgrammer()) { Programmer->Slap(); } } void Programmer :: Slap() { MentalHP--; if(TestForBrokenMind()) { NerdRage; } } Programming is dangerous to the brain...
  13. Delphinus

    You know you're a crappy programmer when...

    Quote:Original post by Cyber_Cactus You are a crappy programmer when you write over 10,000 lines of code without adding any comments. I plead guilty.
  14. Delphinus

    Simple Complexity

    Okay, I've wanted to post this for a while. If we look at Chess, Backgammon, Go, even Draughts (Checkers for the US-English speakers), then we can see that they have extremely simple rules that nonetheless give games with a lot of depth and strategy to them - probably the reason that they've stood the test of time so well. Yet in modern electronic games, it's increasingly common to see games with a lot of complexity and not much depth; surely not a good thing. RPGs are especially guilty of this, and it removes replay value of the games. So how do we, as designers, create games with the longevity yet ease of understanding of Chess or Go? Perhaps it's something to do with having many tactical choices, perhaps to do with trickery of the opponent.
  15. Delphinus

    When latency issues die, will MMOs change?

    Curse you, popularist science magazines! You tricked me into believing your faster-than-light lies! Kylotan, that was mostly my point with the 8-second delay; that's still a ping of 16,000 - fine for space probes and constant downloads, but unsuitable for games. Someone needs to get to work on that artificial wormhole technology. Anyway, it's also interesting what you've been saying about market trends - you're telling me that if it was concievable (and it may be so soon) that twitch-based gameplay was used over the net, that people would prefer non-twitch-based games because of marketing ethic? That's mildly soul-destroying. So we're probably doomed to playing in small groups if we want mainstream twitch-based gameplay? That's not very good news for even first-person-shooters; will we ever see a true depiction of, say, the Battle of Britain in an aircraft MMO, or a recreation of the Battle of the Somme in an FPS? What about the Battle of Waterloo?
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