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About BarefootPhilospher

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  1. Good game design software? Check our Articydraft by Nevigo. The original is pretty reasonably priced I think, even for indies. I haven't used it myself but intend to once I've reached a more advanced stage in my game design.
  2. Morality compatibility

    An interesting subject Oolala.    It relates well to my recent experience playing Red Dead Redemption by Rockstar Studios. Its a great game by any account, but I found its pragmatic morality to be a little disturbing. The issue I came across was in the chapter of the game when you cross the border into Mexico in search of a former outlaw compatriot that in the past you had a falling out with for some undisclosed reason. Mexico at the time period in which the game is set, was mired in a civil war between the despotic government ruled by settler aristocracy and the downtrodden indigenous peasantry. The narrative is well written and the conflict is well fleshed out by the entertaining cutscenes. There was no ambiguity involved in knowing which side which you should sympathize with and which you should support.   The problem being is that part of the narrative is that the outlaw the player is supposed to track down and bring to justice maybe hiding with rebels and the main character which you play needs the assistance of government soldiers to track him down.  The player has no choice but  to follow the narrative and accept missions from government officials which involve killing rebels and destroying their homes, which are justifying purely by personal expedience. In order to pursue your personal goals you have to act contrary to your personal preference.  Even when in other narrative branches you're actually helping the rebels and meet NPCs which encourage you to identify with the rebels plight and sympathize with them on a personal level. Due to the narrative, the player has absolutely no choice. This really grates on me and reduces my enjoyment of the game.    I don't know if anyone else has this problem playing.
  3. Mass simulation with statistical maps

    hey cronocr,   I really like where you're going with your project. I myself have been interested in the concept of employing a comprehensive simulation to manage NPC interaction, world population, and physical modelling, but the Math involved is way beyond me.    Do you have any links to to video game research relating to statistical maps, because most of the links found by Google are related to neuroscience?
  4. Would a trade system work?

      Well I base my understanding of economic relations on real world practice by my people, the New Zealand Maori, not on some hypothetical scenario. Perhaps it may at times transpired as you speculate, but many studies by both historical and contemporary anthropologists found that it in pre-industrial societies it was often poor manners to demand reciprocation immediately and instead pretend that providing for other's needs is a gift, though it was implicitly acknowledge that the return would be in excess of that provided by the giver at some later date. It was a way to build relationships and bring people together.    "Utu generally meant compensation, but had two dimensions, one where a beneficiary was expected to reciprocate, and the other where a victim of some  wrong exacted revenge from the wrongdoer. Dr Dame Joan Metge recently described the utu or reciprocal giving in Maori transactions in these terms:  The operation of utu involves several important rules. First, the return should never match what has been received exactly but should ideally include an  increment in value, placing the recipient under obligation to make a further return. Secondly, the return should not be made immediately (though a small  acknowledgement is in order) but should be delayed until an appropriate occasion, months, years and even a generation later. Thirdly, the return  should preferably be different from what has been received in at least some respects: one kind of goods may be reciprocated by another kind, goods by  services, services by a spouse...."   In reality barter did often take place in the pre-industrial world but generally took place between two societies, whose members had only distant or no relations with each other. Less cost if the parties to the trade or barter deal were aggrieved by its perceived fairness.
  5. Would a trade system work?

        No it doesn't, but I think it would be a shame to reduce the full richness of human experience to social relations based purely on acquisitive, profiteering.          I think you'd find that the reality of pre-industrial societies is a bit more nuanced than what you state above. No society would be able to function without the constant risk of upheaval and collapse and no leader would survive long if his rule was based purely on fear, threats, and violence.            That's partly because people in our society find it difficult to relate to one another on any other basis after 200 or more years of social conditioning. The conception of homo economicus has become so deeply embedded in the fabric of our culture. In saying that people still lend each other tools and other goods when their close friends have need of them and offer assistance when they need an extra helping hand. It just isn't practiced quite so often as it used to. In fact people feel guilty expecting a return for doing a "good" deed for their neighbour. Reciprocity has become an almost dirty word. Much to the detriment of our communities social fabric.   I just think that trade and wealthy building for its own sake to be incredibly boring and pointless in games and that incorporating pre-industrial forms of exchange and associated webs of social relations into a virtual economic system would open up tremendous new  novel gameplay possibilities.
  6. Would a trade system work?

    "Would automation (no matter how advanced) still make this a huge pain? I don't see this very often in games. Using gold seems to be the norm since it mimics our real life. However, in a virtual world we don't have all the real world issues like physics... So you would think that some level of automation in virtual trading would make this an attractive option as brings communities together and removes gold farmers and all the other issues related to currency."   I hope you don't think I'm being patronizing, but the idea that money's value has to be derived with reference to a commodity is a common misconception. Even the period where the Gold Standard held sway was very brief and gold comprised only a portion of money being employed in the world economy. Like today a great proportion of economic transactions were facilitated by credit contracts mediated by banks and other financial institutions.    Political economy and video games are both particular interests of mine and your topic provides a great opportunity to contribute to a discussion that relates to both of them. I have a idiosyncratic perspective on political economy that isn't shared by the majority of orthodox economists, but many are beginning to swing in the same general direction due to recent developments in economic history scholarship.   The suggestions of the commentators of on this thread all appear to be premised on the basis of a barter economy. According to the revelations from the hithero mentioned scholarship, after two centuries of investigation by anthropologists and sociologists, no one has been able to find an society where its members conducted economic transactions based on barter.   "The problem, as Caroline Humphrey (an anthropology professor at Cambridge) observed, is that “no example of a barter economy, pure and simple, has ever been described, let alone the emergence from it of money; all available ethnography suggests that there never has been such a thing”.   Its totally understandable why its so hard for people in the modern age to conceive of economic relations that differ to the impersonal, distanced ones that so pervasively define how we relate to one another today.    The nature of money has always been and continues today derives from social relations between people and manifested in a complex array of cultural practices based upon trust, obligation, gifts, debts, credit, and even love. The majority of people prior to the modern age lived in communities where they know each other and could easily assess whether people were trustworthy or duplicitous, reliable or capricious, stingy or generous. It was only when societies reached a scale and level of complexity where former tight social bonds between people loosened that formalized economic relationships such as debt/credit contracts became necessary.   "All people, urban as well as rural, tend to lend each other things. They do this even when the benefits to such helpful behavior are not immediately apparent. In small communities, people lend their tools and their time to each other. While they may expect reciprocity in the future, they do not explicitly write a contract to formalize it. Such co-operation is a form of insurance. You help out when you can afford to do so, and you call upon your neighbors when you find yourself in need. When people started living in large communities like Uruk, they began to live with strangers as well as friends. It may have been possible to know everyone in a large farming village, but not in a vast city such as Uruk. What were once implicit agreements among neighbors now became explicit, contractual agreements among strangers. When everyone had the same profession and skills, neighborly help could always be repaid in kind. But when people developed different professions it must have been difficult to maintain neighborly reciprocity. Urban societies still needed cooperation, but limits to familiarity with fellow inhabitants, and difficulty with quantifying the units of such cooperation meant that people required more formal ways to insure a return on their helpful efforts."   One of the core features of the nature of money is its use as a unit of measure. Units of measure is a definite magnitude of a physical quantity that is arbitrarily decided upon and standardized with the agreement of a community. Units of measure like the mina and shekel evolved out of counting systems used by Neolithic communities of the Near East and codified by the governments of Mesopotamia. They were both units to measure quantities of physical commodities like grain and livestock and abstract values used in accounting. In ancient times, intermediary materials like silver were only used when trading across vast distances needed to import goods needed by the Sumerian temples, because the materials weren't available in their own territories.    What level of technology is there in your game? Is it a primitiive economy that relies on handcrafted products, one in which artisans employ technology like small scale foundries or spinning wheels to produce their goods, or is there a possibility for players to utilized powered machinery to mass produce them? I'm not a MMO player myself so I'm not aware whether that's even a consideration in MMOs crafting systems. Sorry but I can't help think about virtual economies in real world terms. For me a tradehouse, bourse, or exchange only makes sense to me in terms of an economy that allows large scale production and distribution. To me an economy that is premised on small scale, primitive production and distribution would be better served by relying solely on NPC or player managed market stalls or traveling merchants who the player can conduct trade with. Or even allow players who know each other to lend goods/commodities to each other whether with the expectation of return or not. It should be up to them.   If the transactions must be formalized why not invent your own currency without any reference to Gold? I mean its legally allowed in real life, why not in a game? Various individuals and organizations minted private token currencies in medieval-early modern Europe, which were used by people without access to the scarce commodity moneys issued by the State until very recent times. You could even implement a full fledged player managed finance system where they can run their own banks and issue credit and debt. The MUD Shattered World has successfully done so for going on 10 years and the developers have managed to curtail excessive monetary gyrations by acting as the central financial authority, just like the world's Central Banks.   "Money enters the economy by players loaning money to purchase items, usually property. These loans are typically secured against the property in question and the bank owner determines interest rate and risk; of course the banks themselves are also tradable commodities. An important aspect of the economy is that wizards participate as if they were players if they want to offer coins as a reward or buy items already existing in game (this also restricts unlimited item creation)".   I've also heard that CCP's Eve Online features a fully functioning player run financial system.    Hopefully I've managed to provide some valuable food for thought for anyone willing to read my voluminous post.
  7. Why no Crimson Skies sequel/remake

    hey thanks for the response guys though it wasn't as positive or encouraging as I'd hoped.   Many game properties have gone through troubled development cycles only for the technical or design issues to be later ironed out during the development of later installments.    Its impossible to get an accurate picture of the sales of the two games, because I haven't been able to dig up sales statistics after extensive searching. Regardless there is definitely a passionate and vocal demand on the web for a remake and if a developer invested effort and money into making a quality title and marketed well I think it could be both a critical and financial success. Perhaps it may not have such a broad appeal as the likes of Call of Duty or other IPs based in the real world, especially to an American audience, but few games do. With the exception of those that don't already have a large player based from other media like Baldur's gate had or properties created by developers of an already successful and popular games.   FLeBlanc, my thoughts exactly.
  8. Why no Crimson Skies sequel/remake

    hey guys,   As the topic above indicates, With a whole generation now gone by, I'm astonished that there has been an official sequel or at the very least a remake of Crimson skies, a title first released on the PC and followed up by the High Road to Revenge installment on the original Xbox. I think it sold well and is one of the most commonly asked for game remakes that I'm aware of.    Imagine a game made in the milieu of Crimson Skies that takes advantage of the technical advancements offered by the Xbox 360, let alone the Xbox One or Playstation 4. Imagine huge, highly detailed open world terrains for players to fly and dogfight in the skies above, the ability for players to exit their planes and move around the world on foot or drive ground vehicles. Perhaps the game could take a leaf out of Avalanche's book by incorporating hijaking and "stuntposition system" mechanics from Just Cause 2. The game could draw on popular aviation related forms of entertainment such as barnstorming, airshows, and wing walking which were fixtures of the period. What other activities and mechanics would you include in such a game?   Which team do you think would be most capable of bringing a faithful successor to the move loved game to life?
  9. The steps to adding game mechanics?

    hey supesfan,   I too am impressed by the elaborate and exciting hand to hand combat afforded by Arkham City's Freeflow Combat System. I've done some research on the topic of incorporating it into a future game and came across an in-depth and informative article in the online Computer Graphics World magazine which you may find interesting. Scroll down to the Combat Choreography section of the article, which describes the lengths that Rocksteady went to implementing such an amazing combat system in their game.
  10. Is social status of game character important to players?

    [quote name='jefferytitan' timestamp='1349217271' post='4986217'] Hmm, I don't know about popular appeal, but it could be interesting. Imagine it starts as a subsistence farming game. Then war starts, taxes get tougher and tougher. Your side raid the village of supplies. The enemy invade and kill and plunder. You're homeless and move to a city deeper inside your kingdom. No money, you fall into begging and then crime. You make money, but there's a crackdown on crime, so you leave the city and become a highwayman. I can see a good narrative. Whether it would be fun... who knows? [/quote] The basic framework of the above scenario is correct, but I plan to connect events such as above with a narrative hooked, linked to real world historic events. In the game the above scenario would play out like this. Event/ Henry VIII joins the Pope's Holy League in their war against France. Economy/ The king's Treasury is rapidly drained, and since the Kingdom relies primarily upon Continental merchants for its military supplies, gold flows out of the country. A situation which contributes to a gold shortage, which just aggravates already existing economic distress. The King debases the currency in attempt to accommodate demand for money, which only serves to make the cost of imports increase. The nobility are the most affected by rising costs of imports, because they consume higher quantities of luxuries produced overseas and the rising cost of imports must be met with either higher volumes of exports or increased rents on their lands. For some it meant they would gain a better return from enclosing formerly common lands and pasturing flocks of sheep there instead. The wool would then be exported to the Continent to be processed into textiles. This created a dispensible population of former tenant farmers with no livelihood nor home who had no choice but to become wandering vagabonds and often have little choice to engage in criminal activities, especially with the King's dissolution of the monastaries, which otherwise would have offered meager charitable sanctuary. After the introduction of the Vagabonds law of 1530 You had to apply for a begging license and it was otherwise illegal to beg unless you were a disabled or an elderly person. As for the rest of the population, they were consigned to publicly funded workhouses. Its no wonder so many in the Tudor era resorted to criminality and brigandage to eke out a living. Historical events just give context to whats happening in the game world and is little different from the lore of traditional fantasy games.
  11. Is social status of game character important to players?

    [quote name='Lauris Kaplinski' timestamp='1349211118' post='4986191'] [quote name='BarefootPhilosopher' timestamp='1349174230' post='4986017'] In my game the player will begin as a humble peasant in a remote village in England, where he tends strips of land within his village's open field system, while his family grazes a few sheep, pigs, cows and fowl on the Lord's waste in exchange for a days worth of labor on his estate. As part of his labors the farmer will plant his crop and reap it upon harvest time. I will model the game's open field system upon real world historical processes and institutions and will strive for utmost authenticity. A major feature of the game will be attempts to mitigate the "Tragedy of the Commons" which is a phenomenon where there is a risk that an individual with access to the commons will jeopardize its integrity while he pursues his own self interest. He will have to engage with the local lord of the manor, negotiate and resolve disputes at the court leet, manage his household finances, whilst scripted events unfold which can be whimsical, entertaining, and even life altering for the player character. [/quote] Realistic simulation usually is not much fun. People want some progress - simply keeping the status quo is not enough unless you have some brilliant game mechanic. The reason why people mostly play upper and middle classes is that it allows variety while preserving some realism. The life of ordinary peasant was too monotonous to be interesting for most players. In theory you could make it more interesting with interpersonal relations, but even at that case upper classes who had more personal freedom would be more relatable. [/quote] I didn't mean to imply that were would be no progress or change for the player. Of course most people would find complete stasis really boring and will give up quickly in disgust. What I meant is two things a) there won't be the degree of social mobility that there is in other games (after all it is the 16th/17th Centuries and class boundaries were a lot more rigid back then) and b) its not a primary focus of the game. The game will be able how the player responds and reacts to the social and political changes going on in the game world around them, which are modeled on real world events which happened in history. It is a game and not a simulation so the players experience won't be completely pre-scripted and events will be initiated with a tangible relationship between cause and effect. I'm at the early stages of my design, so there are alot of refinements I will make to it. As for your concern about the life of an ordinary peasant's life being to prescribed to be fun. To be clear, there is a clear difference between a serf and a free peasant and the life of a peasant wan't as prescribed as one would imagine. Its understandable that many people have a poor view of the life the lower classes, because popular culture does such a poor job of portraying them, relying on rehashed cliches and popular misconceptions. It stands to reason I guess since the authors of most of our popular culture are either middle class or working class who aspire to be and who turn their back on their own background.
  12. Is social status of game character important to players?

    [quote name='Ashaman73' timestamp='1349176085' post='4986020'] Does it matter ? Simulations are not really games, but a simulation could be played as a game. If you play a game, you want to archieve something. Simulations don't define a goal, but the player himself can define some goals to challenge himself. The question therefore is, is your simulation attractive enough to be played ? Well, simulations are a niche (well, are the Sims still a simulation ?) , so don't expect to be the next big hit, but simulations are definitly attracting people. [/quote] Well, the economic simulation will be a core aspect of the game, but it won't [i]just [/i]be an economics simulation. An economic simulation is a game genre where economics is a defining feature. Whilst it can't be considered a block buster seller, there are many highly regarded games in the genre. The the Guild 2, Anno and Patrician series of games, the Tycoon series of games, Port Royale, Commander: Conquest of the Americas, etc. I think my game will fulfill all the conditions which define a game, clear, well defined rules, meaningful choices for players to make, and compelling goals. I didn't describe the game in detail because I intended only providing context to the question I asked. I think it is important because as you yourself say its a niche genre and I won't be able to afford alienating a potential player base. It will be a labor of love, but I also want people to play it and maybe earn enough revenue from it to at least pay some of its development costs. I definitely enjoy open world sandbox games, but its a challenge enough for huge companies like Bethesda, to provide enough content to populate a virtual world, which gives players a compelling player experience, let alone a one or two man operation like mine. I would like to give players meaningful choices, but not sure if a total sandbox format would be what I will be aiming for. At least initially it will be smaller scale and more focused, with possible room for future expansion. Players will certainly have the ability to make meaningful choices and in fact their choices will have a tangible impact on the game world.
  13. hey guys, I made a post sometime ago seeking feedback about whether politics and games are an appropriate mix. Though it didn't provoke the dialogue which I thought it would, it did provide some food for thought. In context of my game idea, I would like to develop a game which explores the economic and political changes which transpired in the 17th century. Most games and furthermore the vast majority of historical and fantasy novels largely only portray the lived experience of the middle and upper classes. Does this testify to a conservative outlook of game designers and book authors or does are they deliberately catering to the demand voiced by players and readers? I am asking, because in my game I would like to place the player in the perspective of the common man, to provide a grassroots viewpoint on the dramatic social and political changes that swept Europe in this period. No longer would historic events be mere academic factoids regurgitated in history books or in the class room, but would be vividly, but would meaningfully affect the player. They will be faced with the concerns and dilemmas which confronted , which are shaped by the dramatic changes occuring around them. The focus won't be on social advancement in contrast to similar games, instead due to misfortune the player may find his social stature deteriorating. There was a fine line between financial security and destitution and penury. It was this poverty which drove many to become highwaymen or pirates, because thanks to economic injustice there weren't many other options. It will give a little more nuance to the causes which drove men and women to the more unsavory vocations. Will players be put off by such a dramatic departure from the more typical formula which allows player opportunities to pursue ever advancing progression in wealth, prestige, and status? The game which mine will most resemble, would be the economics simulation, the Guild 2. I haven't played the game myself, but from what I've read its an economics simulator, set in the Middle Ages. The player is given the choice of four classes scholar, rogue, patron, or craftsperson, all of which have their particular attributes, though from the Worthplaying review, all apart from the rogue have virtually the same game mechanics and goals. In my game the player will begin as a humble peasant in a remote village in England, where he tends strips of land within his village's open field system, while his family grazes a few sheep, pigs, cows and fowl on the Lord's waste in exchange for a days worth of labor on his estate. As part of his labors the farmer will plant his crop and reap it upon harvest time. I will model the game's open field system upon real world historical processes and institutions and will strive for utmost authenticity. A major feature of the game will be attempts to mitigate the "Tragedy of the Commons" which is a phenomenon where there is a risk that an individual with access to the commons will jeopardize its integrity while he pursues his own self interest. He will have to engage with the local lord of the manor, negotiate and resolve disputes at the court leet, manage his household finances, whilst scripted events unfold which can be whimsical, entertaining, and even life altering for the player character.
  14. Plages to save the World's economy

    hey cronoc, I'm pleased you've heard of Shattered World and find it inspiring and further glad you're integrating finance and banking into your game. Its an unfortunate oversight that most games fail to incorporate finance into their in-game economies. It would add a whole new dimension of player impacting the gameworld. On the particular game mechanic. My primary misgivings about the entropy element was the risk that it would not only annoy players but suspension of belief could be jeopardized. Time horizons for rust in particular is just too long to believably occur in a game. Blades becoming dull and notched, termites eating wood, and food spoilage would convincingly occur within the timeframe of a game session. I I hadn't realised you would include magic into the gameworld. Magical sabotage could bring forward the rate of entropy of goods and would have a debilitating effect on an economy. It could cause temporary resource shortages but in the long run stimulate production and economic activity. It would cause temporary inflation unless item production kept pase with the demand from the need to replace damaged items. Its definitely an exotic gamemechanic. I'd be interested to see how the concept develops.
  15. Plages to save the World's economy

    [quote name='cronocr' timestamp='1347674812' post='4980253'] I was asking in a previous thread [url=""]the way items should work to please most users[/url] in a MMO, and so it seems the best way is to fullfil the consumerist desires of gamers, that hate to wait and to share, by constantly bringing new items into this World. That's not a problem to implement in the game (it could rain hamburgers), but the economy will be punished with a horrible ever-increasing inflation. Searching these forums and reading several topics on how to devise a healthy economy, I found out that the most basic concepts in a MMO's economy are the money faucet and the money sink. That means in order to allow the game self-regulate there must be a signal between faucet and sink. As players open the faucet, the game should activate a mechanism that opens the sink's hole wider to deflate the economy. Then I recalled watching a documentary about the Black Death, specifically this segment is very interesting: [url=""][/url] But of course the game can't kill its most valuable asset, players. Instead plages will target items. As players harvest raw materials, trade or produce artifacts, and loot, their inventories will randomly harbor these "bugs" that devour tangible values of certain nature. For example, moths could swallow fabrics, termites will eat wooden objects, and corrosion will make metals (and maybe even gold coins, thru alchemic corrosion) to disappear from the World. Basically in my design items will have infinite lifespan, as long as they aren't destroyed by a pest. I think this is also a good way to keep players from hoarding insane amounts of artifacts. There may be no limit to what you can store or the weight you can carry in your inventory. But if you own a huge stack of trash, it's pretty possible that bugs are happily living and reproducing in the heart of that heap. Since most plages will be always present, players could produce or buy remedies. These will be use-once items that remove one sample of a pest at a time, and the effectivity will be divided by the size of the inventory, and is reduced in time. In example, each rat eats only a portion of poison, and you will need more portions to put in all their entrances, but each will spoil eventually and must be replaced. Finally I guess the variety in plages and the World's dynamics will also reduce the chances of over-production of "pesticides". Hope "mothballs" won't be the favorite item on top of the "mega-sword of all might". So what do you people think of this mechanic? Thanks in advance for your comments! [/quote] I too have been working on conceptualizing a complex, dynamic internal economy for my game, partly I am dissatisfied by how most in- game economies function. In relation to your post, I think it would be both less complex and more believable to transform the very foundation of your economic model. I've also conducted a lot of research and one model for a game economy that offers everything that I had envisioned in a game economy is the one featured in the MUD Shattered Lands. Its modelled on how our world's economy actually functions and features a player run financial system, player owned banks, ability to make loans and borrow money, and all prices are set by the players themselves. The financial system doesn't cause inflation, because all idle money eventually finds its way back into the banking system to pay back debt and provide savings for players. This system provides a reasonably stable flow of money into the game economy and according to Wikipedia prices have remained stable for over a decade. Economic model Shattered World has drawn attention for the success of its "Loans Standard" economic model. In this design, all businesses are player-owned, and players may set prices to any level desired, with the only central control imposed being on the amounts banks may loan, yet the system has produced reasonably stable prices since the 1990s. In the wake of Ultima Online's economic crash, this stands out as a remarkable accomplishment. The necessity that the system lack "faucets" that produce money ex nihilo means that newbies must start the game completely destitute, however, and this raises concerns as to whether this model could be made to scale successfully to larger player-bases.[5][6] The economy of Shattered World relies on an economy theory known as the "Loans Standard Economy". More simply it can be described as a zero sum economy. That is the total outstanding loans always equals the total amount of money in use in the economy.