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Joseph Al-Tal

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About Joseph Al-Tal

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  1. Yeah, I think the issue may be more about how to scale the results down to an in game microcosm. We hear stats about how many billions of tons of CO2 we pump into our atmosphere as a species, but breaking that down to an individual level is difficult, might even be impossible. That difficulty is also the contributing psychological factor of "I'm just one person, I won't make a difference." But if we can manage to provide some kind of in game result the player sees from their efforts, we might be able to generate more participation.
  2. Small solutions for environmentalism on a large scale (though the large scale doesn't have to be applicable). -Riding your bike to work/school/activities -Recycling -Turning off Furnace/AC (weather permitting, many homes have these running even during transitional seasons when they are not really necessary) -Litter clean up in your immediate neighborhood -repurposing furniture (instead of burning or throwing away an old clothes chest, you cut it apart and build a bookshelf). -repurposing plastics (need a silencer for your AK47? I've seen how 2 liter bottles can accomplish this! kidding, kidding, but the idea is there) -replacing bottled water with water filtration - reusing water bottles as planters for a beginning small garden. Give me some more time I think I could come up with more. -using an old cell phone as an impromptu tablet, instead of buying a new tablet. I think the list of "small" environmental efforts is significantly larger than the large efforts. Large efforts being going full electric vehicle, water source clean up, air pollution efforts to potentially force a company to change it's processing methods - same with water. These are all significantly difficult. The small efforts though, would more readily reflect in a game microcosm. Edit: spelling/punctuation
  3. Embassy, my point about selling the environmentalism short was making it a higher tier "layer". I definitely see your point though. Let's look at it this way, efforts made in the game reflect in the games microcosm. Even though the results of small environmental efforts are intangible, wouldn't that in game effort on such a small scale have a tangible result? That's where the player would get the reward. Naturally, if the microcosm idea is skipped for the app, then absolutely make environmentalism higher tier, but if something like it makes it into the game, then the small results should reflect in game. If the microcosm idea stays: I just realized we're making Sim City with real world connections and different layers. Instead of utilities, finances, and emergency services, we're talking about "saving the world".
  4. Joseph Al-Tal

    Maps - showing player?

    This really is up to the game and the style of play. Historically RPGs have a minimap, MMORPGs especially. However, Skyrim didn't have one in it's initial design and release, but the game worked without one. In Skyrim the player could pull up the world map and then a local map, but this paused game play, a minimap wouldn't do that. I think this is more about how vital a minimap would be to gameplay. If it gives away too much information, then it's a Con. If the information on a minimap doesn't do anything but point them in the right direction, then it's a Pro. The feature is relative to gameplay balance. Testers would give better feedback.
  5. Ok, read through everything. When I realized you were looking for a native american female badass, my very first thought was Nola Longshadow from the TV series Banshee. First, This is my favorite Television show. period, hands down. Anyone who watches it will tell you it's violent and bloody and very much a guy's television show. If anyone takes the time to pay attention to the story. It is absolutely incredible. My Wife watched the first episode and said, "i don't know if i'm going to be able to watch this." by the 3rd episode she was hooked. The story overshadows the violence. It is a Showtime exclusive. I have not seen it available anywhere else. You may run into trouble finding the show. Nola is a modern native american woman who was raised on a Reservation. If you are able to watch this show, watch Nola's fighting style. She's a dual-wielder using two hand axes. Fast, capable, deadly, you name it. She swaps to other weapons easily and has knives hidden on her in many places. Only by watching the show are you able to understand her troubled past. She definitely does not dress stereo-typically and that's important unless your character is modeled after some historical figure, intentionally the reincarnation of ::a native american female::. The show NEVER addresses where she learned her fighting style, you get glimpses of her backstory via brief flashbacks. If a television show never addresses where, then you certainly do not have to. I would only expect a native american to be offended if you dressed your character in traditional native american garb. This day and age Leather jackets, jeans, t-shirts, etc. They do NOT dress any differently than us immigrants. I would lean toward utility. A fighter is always prepared for anything, doesn't wear restricting clothing, and will destroy any piece of clothing they are wearing if it interferes in their movements. I say this last part for animation effect, just an idea. The only indication she is native american at all would be some kind of jewelry piece, a bracelet, necklace (you mentioned this in previous posts), but avoid making it turquoise, too cliche. Actually, nevermind, an idea for ya - Have her NOT have jewelry, and just have some religious reference when she wins a fight, "May your soul rest with the spirit of the earth." or be more specific to a tribal reference. Skip ANY appearance telling she's native american, have that reflect in her beliefs.
  6. As absolutely 100% true this might be, sadly most of us are not interested in self improvement. In our current society in the United States most of us are more interested in blaming others for our problems instead of addressing them directly and truthfully. Acknowledging our own shortcomings and working on self improvement is unfortunately a rare trait and most people will simply not participate if the game is directed at them helping themselves or directed at them making personal intellectual changes. Taking actions external to who they are is far simpler to address and will more easily gain a following. This is where the layers come in. Giving options to help the homeless or destitute will attract the altruistic types. Addressing the environment will attract the realists and similarly minded future-preservationists. Addressing the Financial will attract the capitalists. Finding more layers to add to attract more is something to consider.
  7. Let's try not to sell the previous efforts of environmentalist short, shall we? Nearly everyone is familiar with the term "Carbon Footprint" Every state has recycling laws (i think, if not all, most). Let's be honest and just say "environmentalism is hard to code" Because it would be. Creating an environmentally sensitive game would be DEEPLY difficult. Every action or inaction has an effect. Other "friendly neighbor" concepts are more easily implemented. Most of the Solutions to our environmental issue are not abstract in the least. This is edutainment, we're teaching and showing the user how NOT abstract the ideas are and how simple the solutions actually are, that's what we're going for? Unless i missed something. I understand getting someone to sell their car and buy a Prius is not exactly feasible, but the choice in game would have rewards and effects. Switching to Full electric. Buying a Tesla. Most of us can't do that in real life. But having it as an option in game to affect the Microcosm would be an option. Scaling how much of an effect that type of change would have on a microcosm... THAT is where the difficulty comes in. As i think about it.. not even that is difficult. Definitely time consuming though. Logging every vehicle in existence and it's emissions... then scaling everything.. Not hard. Just Huuuuge time investment. The environmental approach would be a huge undertaking because of the sheer volume of databasing needed. I'm not certain how much you want to layer into this game... Layers: Interpersonal: Statefarm? Like a good neighbor... etc. involves assisting with psychologically therapeutic efforts. From suicide hotlines to actual counselling (for professionals only), helping soldiers re-acclimate to being home, animal shelters even, or maybe animal shelters as they relate to PTSD survivors. Lots of options here. Financial: From Financial Advice to assisting those without finances. Speaking on how to save money and plan for retirement or helping Homeless Shelters, Food Pantries, etc. Helping with Taxes maybe? Working with Job placement organizations to help the unemployed find better paying work for their skills. Environmental: we pretty well went over that. Early stuff would be recycling, starting your own garden, helping or joining a community garden, all the way to involving yourself in environmental clean up projects. cleaning the pollution from our rivers and lakes etc. More layers?
  8. Sorry Embassy, not sure what needs expansion regarding NPCs and Organizations? i'll try. Most areas have a homeless shelter or food pantry or EPA offices or (the list goes on). These organizations generally have a coordinator, someone in charge. Having a mobile app the coordinator can use to draw volunteers for a time/date they need help with, would be infinitely valuable to them. Using the veneer of a game, wouldn't matter at all. Having an organizations event coordinator using the app, registering with the app as a point of contact for volunteers, creates an NPC in the Game app for the players. The players can get simple, everyday, "don't piss on your neighbor" types of quests from these in-game equivalents. The in-game NPC gets to a certain "reputation", or point in a quest line, and offers a real world contact. The player can pursue or not at their own leisure. After a short series of in-game coordinated quests that also involve individual effort with said organization, they can begin to utilize Team Quests that involve real world action verified with the organization's coordinator. This process would be repeated with every organization's coordinator. Vetting the coordinator becomes the hurtle to get over here. Edit: Oh Yeah, and this could become serious life lessons type stuff for the younger players. If you show up to volunteer then weasel out and not help, the coordinator can ban you, restrict you, leave feedback "Lazy" etc. other coordinators will see this... Essentially end up created an in game reputation section for each player. The reputation being reflected in the organizers app.
  9. I think we should avoid the topic of the game. Environmentalism or humanitarianism. Teaching people to not be racist? "Making the world a better place" can take on many forms, I think that is more between Embassy and his investors. We should offer more ideas on what it means so they can consider the options and direction. I say we stick more to Design. Going with a Simulation in which player in-game and out-of-game actions have an impact. The levels of the Microcosm grow and expand based upon the action taken out of game by the players. For example, the Microcosm starts about the size of a small town, 10 mile radius? ish. The "guild" can improve that microcosm to an amazing flourishing state, but the microcosm doesn't get any bigger until they start taking action in the real world. The idea locked behind real world action is Microcosm growth. I'm thinking of the whole "Think Globally Act Locally" concept. Whenever the players coordinate and take action in the real world, the microcosm expands. how far it expands is up to the scale of the game, but after dozens if not hundreds of actions, eventually the microcosm isn't so micro and actually becomes the entire planet. (Google maps, zoomed out is the first world map that is accurate to the entire globe. Maybe utilize that as the final stage of the Microcosm. First Expansion Adds Mars? just throwing out wildness) Guilds can take local actions throughout this game and their in game environment expands gradually based on the events they coordinate. Each event gives "experience" to the microcosm based on the number of participants both in game and out of game. Non-Player Real World Characters (NPRC? NPRWC?) - The organization's event coordinator would only need a phone app which records who shows up from the guild, and the number of non-player (non-guild, i'm thinking) participants. Immediately I have concerns about this in the late stages of the game as guilds get to a certain size and unfortunately start competing for a particular organizations events (possibly going to the point of sabotage)... We'd have to design around that, maybe allow multiple guilds to participate and get credit or give bonus exp to a microcosm if there's weird real world competition, kinda like Uber's Surges. Organizations would go through a vetting process, verified via app or live person (game staffing issues become a factor if we go with a live person) to verify they are what they say they are (we don't want someone using their kids phone to create false events, counterproductive to the idea). Maybe during development each organization is contacted and added to a database - phone app is developed and whenever the primary contact is changed the new contact updates their information with your database? but the contact exists in game and can be utilized in game by players. Literally being the quest giver both in game and in real life. Quests in game are both the little recycling things early early in the game and eventually expand to coordinating awareness raising events with an Organizations representative. Real world events are only available when an organization makes them available. For example, Organization's App has a "Looking for Volunteers" option in the game, and makes a simple entry for the number of people they need, specifically ZERO information about what work will be done, we don't want cherry picking. The coordinator would also provide a "Difficulty" rating, 1-10 on how difficult the work would be. The players see only the number of people needed and the difficulty rating and have to decide if it is something they want to coordinate with their guild. Sadly I must get to work. Hopefully I can find the time to expand more after work. Edit: Also non-organizational real world events. have to create a list of things a guild can coordinate on their own without an organization involved. Those events have possibly a reduced experience reward, OR there's a way to verify in app they are participating.
  10. We are looking at Edutainment, as you said. When you refer to "saving the world" my first thought is keeping the environment we exist in survivable/livable. To me it's an environmental concern. Financial and other concerns disappear when the air doesn't even have enough oxygen to sustain our species.. Generally speaking the education part is the most important. The idea of making a game out of environmental concerns causes some hesitation in my mind. Since we are looking at educating the player, why not have it function as a simulation initially. The simulation teaching the player what their real world environment looks like and how it is eroding. Then the education comes in, how to, where to, why to etc do a specific thing and how it helps or harms. The game allows MMO style interactions and coordination to continue progress, but is not a requirement, players can make much slower but definable progress alone. Then the applicable local organization that works with that particular aspect of the environment is where the real world interaction starts. Players then donate time or help raise awareness via said organization and earn achievements and in-game progress. Lock significant rewards behind this interaction, causing a drive to participate real world, but participation is not a requirement for game progress. As the player progresses the real world interactions become more frequent and the in-game rewards become greater. Then, near the top end of the game, the real world interactions are about 50% of the game, rewards are accordingly difficult or rare. You can design class structure around specific environmental concerns (Metal/plastic/Electronic Recyclist, Water/Air Conservist, etc). As each player progresses in their class they are educated on the entire process of each class. For Example: how recycling plastic works and why we can recycle certain plastics but not all of them. This information is stored in each classes instructional database.... You know, i never read your blog about this, this could have all been addressed. I'll post and edit if necessary - gotta read your blog Edit: Read the blog post. Continuing on. Simulation first, education within the simulation. in game results from in game decisions. in-game results from real world decisions, and eventually in-game and real world results from real world decisions. I think you're best bet is to make this a slow transitional game. The simulation part I believe will be the most difficult. Probably have some basic idea of how it scales based on individual and group efforts. For example if a player is playing alone and doing all these environmentally improving things their progress is slower than a person who is collaborating 10 people to make changes, but there's a cap also, no more than XX people. The simulation is a microcosm of the players immediate environment uninfluenced by the world at large. The changes the player and their "guildmates" make affect their microcosm, and progress to that microcosm is greater when more guildies participate. Greater progress to the Microcosm is achieved when multiple people participate. Huge rewards and Mile-stones for Real world action - failure to participate means those who didn't show up lose out until that activity is undertaken again. I could go on for a long time with some structural ideas, Feel free to message me for more discussion if you're interested.
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