# August 2003

- A potential best-seller?
*Richard A. Bartle* - Identifying Players
*Scion Altera* - Identifying Players
*Crosbie Fitch*

- Identifying Players
- Metrics for assessing game design
*David Kennerly* - ADMIN: Crunch thread
*J C Lawrence* - Mapping real money into MUD money
*Alex Chacha* - Mapping real money into MUD money
*Katie Lukas* - Mapping real money into MUD money
*David Kennerly*

- Mapping real money into MUD money
- Mapping real money into MUD money
*Kent Peterson* - Mapping real money into MUD money
*Peter Tyson*

- Mapping real money into MUD money
- Mapping real money into MUD money
*Matt Mihaly* - Mapping real money into MUD money
*Paul Canniff*

- Mapping real money into MUD money
- Research in the Gaming Industry
*Damion Schubert* - Research in the Gaming Industry
*Kerry Fraser-Robinson* - Research in the Gaming Industry
*Richard A. Bartle* - Research in the Gaming Industry
*Matthew S. Ayres*

- Research in the Gaming Industry

- Research in the Gaming Industry
- Mapping real money into MUD-Money
*Henrik Johansson* - Java or LPC (DGD)?
*Ben Chambers* - Java or LPC (DGD)?
*Ammon Lauritzen* - Java or LPC (DGD)?
*T. Alexander Popiel* - Java or LPC (DGD)?
*ceo* - Java or LPC (DGD)?
*Lars Duening* - Java or LPC (DGD)?
*Torgny Bjers* - Java or LPC (DGD)?
*Ryan Underwood*

- Java or LPC (DGD)?

- Java or LPC (DGD)?
- Reputation systems: a possible path for investigation
*J C Lawrence* - Reputation systems: a possible path for investigation
*david.l.smith@mail-x-change.com* - Reputation systems: a possible path for investigation
*Brian 'Psychochild' Green* - Reputation systems: a possible path for investigation
*Andrew L. Tepper* - Reputation systems: a possible path for investigation
*Matt Mihaly* - Reputation systems: a possible path for investigation
*Vincent Archer*

- Reputation systems: a possible path for investigation

- Reputation systems: a possible path for investigation
- Reputation systems
*Castronova, Edward* - Reputation systems
*J C Lawrence*

- Reputation systems
- Mapping real money into MUD-Money
*Ren Reynolds* - MudDev Faq - part 2
*Marian Griffith* - PHP muds
*Peter Harkins* - PHP muds
*Torgny Bjers*

- PHP muds
- Slashdot story about review of Bartle's new book
*Christer Enfors XW {TN/PAC}* - Slashdot story about review of Bartle's new book
*Dave Rickey* - Slashdot story about review of Bartle's new book
*Evan Harper* - Slashdot story about review of Bartle's new book
*Richard A. Bartle* - Slashdot story about review of Bartle's new book
*Tamzen Cannoy* - Slashdot story about review of Bartle's new book
*Kerry Fraser-Robinson* - Slashdot story about review of Bartle's new book
*Richard A. Bartle*

- Slashdot story about review of Bartle's new book
- Slashdot story about review of Bartle's new book
*Dave Rickey* - Slashdot story about review of Bartle's new book
*Marc Bowden*

- Slashdot story about review of Bartle's new book

- Slashdot story about review of Bartle's new book
- The lack of Creativity and Beauty a game user
*james_nesfield@nesfieldcapital.com* - Artists and Copyrights
*Derek Licciardi* - Artists and Copyrights
*Paolo Piselli* - Artists and Copyrights
*Marian Griffith* - Artists and Copyrights
*Paul Dahlke*

- Artists and Copyrights
- Using Windows Scripting Host
*Owen Matt* - Using Windows Scripting Host
*F. Randall Farmer* - Using Windows Scripting Host
*Karl Dyson* - Using Windows Scripting Host
*Tess Lowe*

- Using Windows Scripting Host
- Better Game Design through Data Mining
*David Kennerly* - Better Game Design through Data Mining
*Chris "Diamonds" Stewart*

- Better Game Design through Data Mining
- When Will Player-Avatar Integrity Be a Feature of Persistent Worlds?
*vladimir cole* - When Will Player-Avatar Integrity Be a Feature of Persistent Worlds?
*Martin Bassie* - When Will Player-Avatar Integrity Be a Feature of Persistent Worlds?
*Craig H Fry* - When Will Player-Avatar Integrity Be a Feature of Persistent Worlds?
*Matt Mihaly* - When Will Player-Avatar Integrity Be a Feature ofPersistent Worlds?
*Michael Tresca* - When Will Player-Avatar Integrity Be a Feature ofPersistent Worlds?
*Baar - Lord of the Seven Suns*

- When Will Player-Avatar Integrity Be a Feature ofPersistent Worlds?

- When Will Player-Avatar Integrity Be a Feature of Persistent Worlds?
- [Fwd: Metrics for assessing game design]
*ceo*David Kennerly wrote:

> I apologize for taking so long to reply. I'm glad you posted it,

> and I think the principles you mentioned are worth considering.

[Me too, now. Better late than never :)]

Thanks. As I said, it's very much a work in progress, but I'm

delighted to now be getting some serious feedback - which is a lot

more than I've ever had before (except from close friends). Provides

me with direction on what needs to be done :).

> Maybe I'm mistaking parlance. I would expect a metric to contain

> a standard

No you're not, it's my problem :). I'm still experimenting with the

vocabulary I use to talk about this, and with working out what needs

adding to it - I picked up on JC's use of the phrase "objective

metrics", and realised that was probably a better way of describing

what I was doing than what I had been using.

...and I do have scales of measurement, with units on each, but they

are qualitatively defined units, based on observations -

e.g. scale.1 = A AND B AND C, scale.2 = A or B AND C, etc. I'll try

to produce something closer to a real metric :). I've only briefly

touched on them, and now I see it would be worth actually saying

more about them :)... Doh.

>> Worked examples:

>> Bomberman scores very on question one; every bomb re-shapes the

>> level (Which DOES matter because it alters how and where you

>> will meet your enemy). Even movement scores moderately well,

>> because of the slow speed of movement. Even choosing which

>> powerup to pick up scores well, because the fuse on bombs is so

>> slow that you have time to massively alter the effect of your

>> bomb (by picking up new powerups) before it goes off - and when

>> you start, the other player could be “trapped, but safe” but 3

>> seconds later “trapped, and about to die”.

>> The framework/metrics above suggest that bomberman could be

>> improved by adding "powerdowns". These would increase the

>> ability to alter the available actions: they give you some

>> potential opportunity to "conserve" powerdowns in case you

>> became trapped by a combination of your own bombs and other

>> people's. You could then downgrade your bombs, enabling you to

>> stand closer to your bomb without being caught in the explosion,

>> and possibly even providing safe space for you to survive.

> There's a couple of things I'm unclear on. Primarily, how does

> the "framework/metrics above suggest that bomberman could be

> improved by adding 'powerdowns'"? Although I see your supporting

> evidence, I don't see a chain of derivation from the framework

> proposed linking to this example. There are many things that

> could satisfy the evaluation criteria that you listed. Why a

> powerdown in particular?

Sorry, again my fault. There is a worked chain here, but I did it

mentally, and just leaped it all in one step when

explaining. Probably partly in an attempt to keep the lenght of the

post down! I try to explain a bit better, but I'm afraid I'm still

not being precise enough (I'm having to work 7 days a week right

now, so I haven't got much time to think about this post - or else

I'll not have time to write it :( ).

I'm afraid that this discussion breaks down (or is about to) largely

because of the variety of implementations. OTOH, it's provided a lot

of useful data to help me see where the theory needs extra detail. I

can use this discussion later as a yardstick to see how effective

the unit-based measurements are coming on :).

As you highlighted, towards the end of the game the available

actions become more and more reduced because of the increasing power

of the bombs. This is a good example of the "guarantee the

game/loop/etc will end" game-design - bombs becoming so powerful

that the rate of deaths increases considerably (although with good

players an explicit time limit is often necessary too) . The third

phase of the game suffers in particular because all the obstructions

have been removed, and with huge bombs the only strategies left to

players are either to duel "mano a mano" or to run around and hope

the other player accidentally kills themself (or gets squashed or

draws if there's a time-limit on the level).

This provides a total of only 3 strategies in the end game, and in

general only one (or sometimes two) of them is particularly

effective (duelling/evading) unless you are very good at

evading. There is a third strategy floating around here for advanced

players - psyching out the opponent. For example, appearing to be

aiming for a draw is a strategy that can be subtly used against your

opponent in psychological terms, especially if you're known to do it

(c.f. articles on sirlin.net I've quote in the past for several

lengthy essays on this kind of strategy in fast-paced/arcade games).

The problem is that for anyone who isn't extremely good there are

really only 1-2 effective strategies at this point. So, there's a

need to keep the available number of strategies up higher at this

point (the game has a very low rating on the "number of available

strategies"). Since many of the implementations always have powerups

on screen (and drop them randomly if there are no obstructions left

to blow up), they could reverse the removal of available

strategies. A powerdown comes from the answer to the question How

can we reverse this removal? Other suggestions might include

attenuating powerups (fade over time) - but rating the resulting

game quickly shows that at first glance that could again reduce the

available strategies because of the tendency to end up without any

powerful bombs.

> The secondary point I'm confused on, which may be related to the

> primary, is the details of the powerdown. The Bombermans I've

> played have one bomb

...

> five keys on a keyboard. Only five. That's beautiful. So how

> does the powerdown get activated? Or, is it picked up like a

> powerup is picked up? It seems like this was not what you

> intended, because almost no player wants to pick up a blast range

> reduction after rushing around the board to grab as many blast

> range increases as possible.

The intention was merely to have them function identically to

powerups, possibly remaining on the board longer, or being

indestructible (at this point the particular details of each

implementation start to make it hard to generalize in such

detail!). An oft-used tactic (with powerups) is to line up several

power-enhancers, set off a load of bombs near to your opponent, so

they know how big your range is, then set off a few more too far

away to hit them, but race along your line of powerups, growing your

range considerably in v.short time, and tripping up your opponent

(especially effective with opponents who play "close to the wind",

relying heavily on knoledge of your power). Similarly, I'd expect to

see people "conserving" powerdowns merely by neither picking them up

nor destroying them.

Many times I see players inadvertently picking up more powerups than

they intended to. I've often seen it as a tactic - force a player to

pick up an extra powerup or die. (Note: It is MUCH MUCH easier to do

this than it is to foce them to "die or die", because powerups just

require you step on a certain square at any moment in a large range

of time, whereas bombs only kill you if you are on a certain set of

squares for a comparitively very short range of time.)

> This blast range is critical for preventing an endgame stalemate

> between timid players. Otherwise it can often be a stale cat and

> mouse ending. Of course, there's other ways to solve this, but

> the powerdown as proposed as an isolatable improvement would

> reintroduce the problem that the powerups solve.

IME of playing too many variants for far too many years, always MP,

the "low power" endgame is generally not problematic except:

1. with novice players

2. or with variants where players move too slowly

3. or where players are v.effective at winning/losing/drawing

before they reach the endgame, so they don't get much practice :)

4. ...or both players are cowards, and just sit in opposite

corners ;).

Good duellers are almost as effective right the way down to

only having two (often weak) bombs (I've known people who could win

the vast majority of games with only one minimal-power bomb, but

they were exceptional).

At the same time, IMHO what you're pointing out is the main reason

why many variants have a time-limit per level, and start destroying

/ blocking-off the level (or just declare it a draw if it takes too

long). Comparing the games that are with and without the time limit,

I'd have to say (IMO) those without are better, because they give

the end-game time to ripen and mature :). Of course, other design

criteria are evident here - if you're designing a game that you want

people to play on a console, typically for 15 mins at a time, each

round has to end pretty quickly, guaranteed. I'm not denying time

limits are a good solution for that, just saying that I'm

conveniently ignoring such externalities here.

> Some of the excitement of bomberman is the problems you proposed

> that a powerdown would solve. It is precisely because one can be

> cornered into no safe place to survive that enables the masters of

> bomberman to make mortals

..c.f. comment above. I've played with people for whom a lack of

powerups was no problem. Despair set in when those of us who played

with individuals like this noticed we couldn't survive even when we

just tried to run away from them :). It's pretty difficult to evade

someone on a non-toroidal playing surface with lots of

obstructions. Generally you were moving too fast not to make a

mistake sooner or later, and the long delay between being able to

change direction (other than backwards, which is usually suicidal if

a bomb-wielding homocidal maniac is on your tail ;) ) if you make a

mistake usually gave them plenty of time to react.

> of us all. This facet of the game design is enhanced by the

> inability to reduce bomb range. Because then the firepower up is

> not only a strategic advantage, it is a tactical test of how well

> the player can use the additional blast range. It kills either

> player equally well. Heated endgames of bomberman sometimes

> completely consist of masterful bomb placements. The lack of

> powerdowns rewards this skill mastery--to a good end, too.

The counter-examples I supply are not intended to say "you're

wrong", but instead to show that your statements are a little less

absolute than they come across. and hence your conclusions probably

ought to be prefaced "So, in some situations...".

Adam M - Examine/Look
*Elia Morling* - Examine/Look
*Ammon Lauritzen* - Examine/Look
*Marc Bowden*

- Examine/Look
- Examine/Look
*Lars Duening* - Examine/Look
*Eamonn O'Brien*

- Examine/Look
- [BUS] Account-management systems
*ceo* - [BUS] Account-management systems
*Rayzam* - [BUS] Account-management systems
*Christopher Allen*

- [BUS] Account-management systems
- Job opportunity on Star Wars Galaxies
*Koster, Raph* - NCSoft yearly report
*Mathieu Castelli* - MUD using the .net framework
*Norman Beresford* - MUD using the .net framework
*John Buehler* - MUD using the .net framework
*James F. Bellinger* - MUD using the .net framework
*Linder Support Team*

- MUD using the .net framework
- Virtual property lawsuit in China
*Koster, Raph* - Virtual property lawsuit in China
*Nicolai Hansen* - Virtual property lawsuit in China
*Daniel Anderson* - Virtual property lawsuit in China
*Kerry Fraser-Robinson*

- Virtual property lawsuit in China
- Virtual property lawsuit in China
*Vladimir Cole* - Virtual property lawsuit in China
*Ren Reynolds* - Virtual property lawsuit in China
*Nicolai Hansen* - Virtual property lawsuit in China
*ren@aldermangroup.com*

- Virtual property lawsuit in China

- Virtual property lawsuit in China

- Virtual property lawsuit in China
- Expected value and standard deviation.
*Jeff Cole* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Scion Altera* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Jeremy Hill*

- Expected value and standard deviation.
- Expected value and standard deviation.
*katie@stickydata.com* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Ben Chambers* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Zach Collins {Siege}* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Ben Chambers* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Robert Zubek* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Kwon J. Ekstrom* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Eamonn O'Brien* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Kwon J. Ekstrom*

- Expected value and standard deviation.

- Expected value and standard deviation.

- Expected value and standard deviation.
- Expected value and standard deviation.
*Freeman, Jeff* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Zach Collins {Siege}*

- Expected value and standard deviation.

- Expected value and standard deviation.

- Expected value and standard deviation.
- Expected value and standard deviation.
*Bernard Graham* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Freeman, Jeff* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Jeff Cole* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Koster, Raph* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Katie Lukas* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Fidelio Gwaihir* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Katie Lukas*

- Expected value and standard deviation.
- Expected value and standard deviation.
*Matt Mihaly* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Martin Bassie* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Katie Lukas* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Matt Mihaly* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Paul Schwanz* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Matt Mihaly*

- Expected value and standard deviation.

- Expected value and standard deviation.

- Expected value and standard deviation.

- Expected value and standard deviation.
- Expected value and standard deviation.
*Koster, Raph* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Paul Schwanz* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Amanda Walker* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*John Buehler*

- Expected value and standard deviation.
- Expected value and standard deviation.
*Kwon J. Ekstrom* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Jeff Cole* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Paul Schwanz*

- Expected value and standard deviation.
- Expected value and standard deviation.
*Dr. Cat* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*David Loving* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Pat Ditterline* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Michael Chui* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Matt Mihaly*

- Expected value and standard deviation.
- Expected value and standard deviation.
*Kwon J. Ekstrom*

- Expected value and standard deviation.
- Expected value and standard deviation.
*Chanur Silvarian* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Katie Lukas* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Daniel.Harman@barclayscapital.com*

- Expected value and standard deviation.
- Expected value and standard deviation.
*Oliver Smith*

- Expected value and standard deviation.

- Expected value and standard deviation.
- Expected value and standard deviation.
*Daniel Anderson* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Koster, Raph* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Nicolai Hansen*

- Expected value and standard deviation.

- Expected value and standard deviation.
- Expected value and standard deviation.
*Dark Lamenth* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Fidelio Gwaihir*

- Expected value and standard deviation.
- Expected value and standard deviation.
*Ola Fosheim GrĂ¸stad* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*gbtmud* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Tom "cro" Gordon* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Sheela Caur'Lir* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Roger Hicks* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Ola Fosheim GrĂ¸stad*

- Expected value and standard deviation.

- Expected value and standard deviation.

- Expected value and standard deviation.
- Expected value and standard deviation.
*Freeman, Jeff*

- Expected value and standard deviation.

- Expected value and standard deviation.
- Expected value and standard deviation.
*Matt Mihaly* - Expected value and standard deviation.
*Tom "cro" Gordon*

- Expected value and standard deviation.