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Old 03-05-2010, 06:42 AM   #21
KaVir
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Re: Farming: the new obsession

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Originally Posted by Estarra View Post
My two reservations about farming/mining features are that: (1) it encourages hours of autobotting if the mechanics are too repetitive (plow, plow, plow, plant, plant, plant, harvest, harvest, harvest), and (2) if commodities are an important part of the gameworld, it can become burdensome to balance how many commodities are being produced (does the world really need 1 million units of grain?) and forces players to grind through the mechanics (see 1) in order to get these needed commodities.
You could argue the same about any features that have mindless repetitive mechanics - someone could take the exact same approach with combat (north, north, north, kill, kill, kill, loot, loot, loot), awarding players with piles of treasure that nobody really needs.

But "farming", "mining", "combat", "crafting", etc, are all just thematic wrapping - it's primarily the mechanics underneath that determine how fun the activity will be. Just because some implementations are repetitive and boring doesn't mean that all implementations have to work that way.
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Old 03-05-2010, 04:36 PM   #22
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Re: Farming: the new obsession

Absolultely, implementation is the key. A boring task is only boring if it's designed to be boring and repetitive. Or if the design is lazy.

It's definitely possible to create a farming system that is engaging and entertaining, and such that the task itself is rewarding.
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Old 03-06-2010, 09:31 AM   #23
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Re: Farming: the new obsession

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Absolultely, implementation is the key. A boring task is only boring if it's designed to be boring and repetitive. Or if the design is lazy.

It's definitely possible to create a farming system that is engaging and entertaining, and such that the task itself is rewarding.
The same can be said about botting, of course. There will always be some players who try to take shortcuts. If you don't want to spend all your on-line time playing Mud Police and chasing botters and multiplayers with a torch-lamp, you have to prevent it through careful design. Whether it is done by hard code or scripts, you have to set up the feature, so that it isn't possible to carry out with repetitive commands, or by just waiting out an auto-run script.

And that doesn't just apply to farming in the agricultural sense, but also to the common Mud meaning of the word 'farming' - where a player squats in a certain place with a script to kill the same mob for the loot each time it respawns, often while watching TV in real life.

It's all in the design. Because there are repetitive elements in all competitive mudding. And even the most well written feature or quest is only really interesting the first time you do it. If you want it to be repeatable, you have to spring a nasty surprise on the player every now and then. Or a fantastic opportunity, that they will miss, unless they pay attention.
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Old 03-09-2010, 08:54 PM   #24
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Re: Farming: the new obsession

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Originally Posted by Jazuela View Post
The farm is a coded location, that hires *virtual* workers to produce *virtual* grain, that in turn shows up as "sack of flour" in the coded grocery shop in the city. There is no farm-boss who hires PC workers, there is no actual grain that PCs can plant, sow, water, harvest. It's all virtual, part of the game's atmosphere.

Cotton picking is a -new- feature, that isn't even in the south where the docs say it it, and it also isn't farming. PCs can't plant cotton, sow cotton, or water cotton. They can't weed the field, there are no cotton seeds. It's just picking cotton that was virtually grown by virtual farmers and codedly available for you to pick. The virtual farmers are virtual, so they're not hiring you to pick cotton for them. You can't be employed as a farmer, in a coded sense.
My mistake then. As I said, I only had seen what appeared to be elements of such a system and had heard from another player that they had it. It's entirely possibly that they made the same mistake as I. Thanks for the clarification!
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Old 03-09-2010, 09:34 PM   #25
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Re: Farming: the new obsession

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I agree that there are many problems with player-generated content, but there also many benefits. City of Heroes certainly had teething problems when it took this route, but the fact still remains that within 24 hours of introducing player-generated content their players had created more content than the entire development team had created during the game's five year existence.
The important question is what % of user-created content occupies the time of the playerbase? Having a billion user-created missions that nobody is playing is helpful only insofar as it occupied the people doing the creating. The win is when that user generated content is powering a substantial portion of the userbase's playtime. I don't think Cryptic has released any stats on that, but could be wrong.
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:50 AM   #26
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Re: Farming: the new obsession

I'm not aware of any stats, but from what I've read it's clear that the player-generated content in City of Heroes is being used.

The important question for me is not what percentage of player-generated content occupies the time of the playerbase, but rather, how much time it would have taken the development team to produce the same amount of content themselves, compared with the time and effort they spent producing the content-building tools.

The majority of player-generated content is awful, but some of it can be very good. Even if you only cherry-picked the best stuff, I believe it could still save a lot of time.

Marketing the content-building tools as a Facebook application would expose them to a large userbase, and could also be used as a way to draw in new mudders ("Your dungeon is complete! Why not explore it yourself? Click here to connect to DungeonMud!").
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Old 03-10-2010, 11:54 AM   #27
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Re: Farming: the new obsession

In my experience people will do a better job if the chance of player interaction increases, so having more builders than players will be a total disaster.

Next you can apply the theory of general intelligence to assume that more intelligent players will create better content. People tend to pick leaders with IQs one to two standard deviations above the average (115 to 130) as people with too high IQs are a little too different to socially connect with the masses. If you use a clan system and let only the leaders build and the average IQ on your MUD is around 105, that should give you some 120 to 130 IQ builders, and research has shown that a 130 IQ person is capable of handling anything you could throw at them, while a 120 IQ builder is easily trainable. Another advantage of using clans is that it enforces a healthy builder vs player ratio, and clan members might check out the content just to be nice - increasing player interaction.

Another trick is giving building a steep learning curve, which would discourage dummies. Adding a scripting language with a low level interface to the MUD might give better results than an easier high level interface.

The only downside of very high IQ (according to the latest theories) is that while it increases creative output, it comes at the cost of latent creativity. This theory will likely gain popularity in a couple of years when the true implications become clear to the mainstream. The current estimate is that creativity peaks (on average) at 120 IQs.

So for the best creative and original work I would advice finding 120 IQ builders, with a 130 IQ head builder (who more often than not is the main coder), and a builder to player ratio of at least 1 to 10, though I think you can work with lower values if content generation is slow so the player base remains excited about new additions, so you'd want to find some way to slow down the building process considerably - scripting and extra descriptions are good ways that I know of.
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:06 PM   #28
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Re: Farming: the new obsession

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So for the best creative and original work I would advice finding 120 IQ builders, with a 130 IQ head builder (who more often than not is the main coder)...
This all seems rather speculative... do you give IQ tests to your builders? I never thought of doing so!
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Old 03-11-2010, 04:47 PM   #29
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Re: Farming: the new obsession

I have to agree that IQ testing or analysis misses the point, which is to have good content. Having a high IQ doesn't make someone a good builder, and nor does having target marks for IQ mean you are going to have a good building team - there are plenty of brilliant people who aren't creative writers. I'm not sure why you would ever judge for IQ instead of creative or descriptive writing skill (i.e., the principal skill that is actually relevant).
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Old 03-12-2010, 12:30 AM   #30
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Re: Farming: the new obsession

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This all seems rather speculative... do you give IQ tests to your builders? I never thought of doing so!
If you have 10000 people applying for a building position, like KaVir envisions, some kind of automated IQ test would indeed be the best way to go about it. This would leave you with 1600 people with a 115+ IQ, of who 225 have a 130+ IQ, of who 13 have a 145+ IQ.

Most writers who have consistently written best selling books have IQs in the 145 range, so while not everyone with a high IQ will be a great builder, every great builder will have a high IQ, especially if you require both writing and programming skills.

It's interesting how people can deny that intelligence is a critical component of someone being a good builder, I belief the political climate is to blame for that.
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Old 03-12-2010, 12:43 AM   #31
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Re: Farming: the new obsession

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It's interesting how people can deny that intelligence is a critical component of someone being a good builder, I belief the political climate is to blame for that.
Personally, it wouldn't surprise me if your theory is generally correct (good builders have high IQ's), but it's the type of information that is only useful in an academic sense rather than as a practical matter. You screen builders by their proposals and writing, and if they're good, they'll rise up in whatever hierarchy you have. It's only incidental if they have high IQ's or not--it's not something I think many would test for as a means of choosing who to use or not because there isn't necessarily a causal relationship.

I have always said that it's harder to find a good builder than a good coder, which comment has often made coders splutter in disbelief!
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:03 AM   #32
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Re: Farming: the new obsession

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Originally Posted by scandum View Post
If you have 10000 people applying for a building position, like KaVir envisions
I didn't specify numbers, but my proposal was that anyone could build - you wouldn't need to apply for some sort of building position. IMO, "player-generated content" means exactly that - content generated by the players.

And in my case at least, they wouldn't write descriptions - those would all be generated by the mud.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:46 AM   #33
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Re: Farming: the new obsession

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Originally Posted by Estarra View Post
You screen builders by their proposals and writing, and if they're good, they'll rise up in whatever hierarchy you have.
All intellectual achievements, but the human mind is infamous for its subjectivity.

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I have always said that it's harder to find a good builder than a good coder, which comment has often made coders splutter in disbelief!
Getting a coder to code what you want is probably easier than getting a builder to build what you want. The trait you might be looking for is agreeableness in combination with high IQ, thinking about it all my top builders were agreeable persons, but that might say more about me than builders in general. :P
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:05 PM   #34
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Re: Farming: the new obsession

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I didn't specify numbers, but my proposal was that anyone could build - you wouldn't need to apply for some sort of building position. IMO, "player-generated content" means exactly that - content generated by the players.

And in my case at least, they wouldn't write descriptions - those would all be generated by the mud.
Same logic still goes, if you open all content to your player base most players will have poor experiences as most content will be poor. So you'll still need some way to discriminate to change the odds in your favor.
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Old 03-13-2010, 12:28 PM   #35
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Re: Farming: the new obsession

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Same logic still goes, if you open all content to your player base most players will have poor experiences as most content will be poor. So you'll still need some way to discriminate to change the odds in your favor.
One of the games I used to play had heavy player content. It was quality when the players took it seriously and enjoyable. It got bad after some time though and the controllers disabled the feature.
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