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    posted a message on Hi 2 U
    Oh, don't worry about Kayde. Turan says he's on crack.


    Posted in: General Chat
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    posted a message on The existentialism of gaming?
    Ah but if only it were IronClaw it were catching up with instead of Dungeons and Dragons. *Cough.*

    Anyway, I can't help but agree with that and what Kayde said about setting up the first character, I can't deny this at all. There's a hell of a lot of micromanagement involved as every last detail can be decided. Even down to the battlecry. I recently created a character whom I call Ancient Gorsch, it was a hard time deciding whether I wanted him to be a tanker or a scrapper and getting his look down in a character-appearance editor that's even more complicated than the Sims was hell.

    Even then one has to write up a description for that character (but I had that readily prepared) and a battlecry. In fact, I love his description (minor digression here) as he's basically an only android guard from some ancient civilization that was dug up. Some coder reprogrammed it and tried to make it marketable as a home-owned personal God, the hero for the masses. However, his attempts at business went balls-up, said robot got away and made its place in the World whilst admittedly being a confused as hell. It talks in the third person, frequently has OS prompts and deals with any questions it can't answer with canned current-day hero quotes.

    I love the fact that his battlecry is [call $battlecry].

    I think the reason this never seemed like work to me though is because City of Heroes is good at dressing things up as fun instead of swamping people down in anal details. It does a lot of stuff in the background and it makes the stuff that the player has to manage as much fun and entertaining as possible. Basically it makes the micromanagement a mini-game in itself rather than something that feels like work, work, work.

    This reminds me of other recent pen & paper games over D&D and I think that's why I like it. I think that's what I prefer of a game when they keep as much micromanagement in the game as possible and then make the rest of it a mini-game or at least fun and entertaining. From this I can only surmise that what each person considers to be fun is down to them. As I said, some find the macromanagement/micromanagement of Masters of Orion a good time. I don't personally but some do.

    I don't think micro/macromanagement is so bad, actually. I just think it's all down to how it's introduced. They need to make it fun for the gamers and open for the developers. They really need to think it out before they do it. Now if Blizzard had as fun a player-end management-system as City of Heroes does and they actually bothered to think about the rules for their developers rather than taking parts of the API away in a crying sulk whenever they felt like it then World of Warcraft would be one hell of a game, instead of just work, work, work as we clean up Blizzard's mess.
    Posted in: General Chat
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    posted a message on The existentialism of gaming?
    I'm not sure I agree with you there, Kayde. There're no weapons and armour so the system is entirely dumbed down, all one has to worry about are the abilities they power up (which doesn't take influence, you get so many abilities per level) and the enhancements or items they buy, which do. Enhancements can be wasted but from what I've seen, one gets really good enhancements by battling mobs that are even to them anyway. So I can buy 15 enhancements right now but I'm getting 12s and 13s off mobs anyway. Basically, the ones one buys are only marginally better than the pickups, just toys for people with lots of influence. That means that there's lots of room to play around and really, the thinking on abilities is less than one would find in even most single-player CRPGs.

    About influence, I'm not sure how it was when you were playing but on my server (Triumph), there's a help channel and there are these high levels that are ludicrously generous. There are people that randomly fly around and give people free influence (no catch22, either). One of my characters (level 12) has over 100,000 influence because people will not stop giving him free influence! I don't know whether he's just that cool or what the reason is but if this keeps up, I'll never be short of influence.

    I have more than I know what to do with.

    Another point about it (which removes bragging points, something I love) is that the strategy can also be taken from a simple standpoint. A tank is a tank, different tanks have different toys to be sure but all one really needs is a tank and having read Sharkey's piece on City of Heroes, I see this holds up well for high-levels, too. There's a little bit of planning but there's no real need to pick out people with specific abilities. I've seen kiddy RTS games that require more strategy than City of Heroes does.

    Mostly, I just go in there and have fun with it. It seems a lot more light-hearted than most games and I'm always rich! I suppose this is why I keep playing City of Heroes and I don't play other games anymore. I admit, I actually gave up on World of Warcraft early, I never got a character to level 40 (what's the point?) and I only stuck around for the coding. City of Heroes is another story entirely. I was playing it before World of Warcraft got stale and annoying and now I'm playing it again.

    I just don't think that the micromagerial nature of most games exists in City of Heroes, at least not to a really discernable level that interrupts the fun. Mostly it's just roleplaying. Even for low levels it's just roleplaying. I love that. You get to the Hollows really early on and lots of groups have to be formed and there can be quite a bit of roleplaying if one finds a good group and due to the lack of PKing, there're always good groups. One finds stupid people more easily in PvP/PK games than not, I won't cast aspersions upon or as to why this is.

    Heh, I suppose I should try a different server or something, perhaps being rich all the time would make a difference. ;p
    Posted in: General Chat
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    posted a message on The existentialism of gaming?
    I suppose this is why I like City of Heroes so much and why I've gotten back into it lately. It is mostly just about the fun, there aren't even any wars over weapons/armour because there is no weapons or armour! It's more about fun than Warcraft is. I think the problem with Warcraft is that it was posed to us as much of a variant as 'The Sims' as it was an MMO. We ended up having to micromanage every aspect of our entertainment. This would've been nasty if it had been via an interface but for a time they let us freely create our own micromanagement, this in its own way echoed the freedoms of our own lives. This is why I frequently rebelled against Blizzard's cutting back when I was playing but I digress. The management of gaming is little more than filling out tax returns before going out for a night on the town. However, sometimes the tax returns become so important that the night on the town is brushed aside, that's a bad thing.

    As the Greeks might tell us, everything in moderation.

    I think it was fun to us as builders though to be able to build our own sense of freedom and that's where the entertainment came from, a sense of unparalleled freedom, at least at first. I did it because I enjoyed making my game, my game. Now I code primarily because I like to code and I wouldn't leave gamers out in the cold. I don't micromanage in City of Heroes, I don't need to. I just get in there and play.

    I think primarily the real reason that managing our entertainment became so interesting and possibly even fun was that because for the first time (without being game developers), we actually saw our code having an effect on a changing World and groups of other people within that World, either through us or through them using our works too. There was an unending sense of growth and contribution there and everything that was changed helped make the game a little different for each player.

    There are some entities that like to be individual.

    That's all I can say really. Though I find this question echoes an older, more prominent question in my mind; Why was Barbie Fashion Designer so popular?

    The answers to both would probably be very similar.
    Posted in: General Chat
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    posted a message on Kayde's Blog-ish type thing
    Thanks to Turan, I had one of the end lines of Clue going through my mind there;

    "Mrs. Peacock was a MAN?!" - Confused supposedly gay guy.
    Posted in: General Chat
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    posted a message on Where in the World is Carm... er, Rowne?
    I don't think the brain actually flushes as much as common belief would have it. The theory I've always held is that it has insane compression ratios, it also deletes part of the data and then uses complex matching patterns to complete it.

    So you might remember it as; Crm Sdgo

    "Uh, it begins with S, I know it had a G in it."
    Brain: Let's examine the vowels here.
    Brain: Did the d immediately follow? Does that make sense?
    "Sahhdi? No!"
    Brain: Okay, let's try letter matching until we find something that sounds right.
    "Sah...sshiiii... sah, hm. Sandi!"
    Brain: Ye-e-e-es?
    Brain: Not quite, that doesn't seem to match, something seems wrong about it. Add more vowels.
    Brain: There you go!

    The only part I haven't figured out is what base reference it uses to do this but I'm absolutely sure as hell that my mind works that way. It's kind of funny actually analyzing one's mind as one tries to remember something.

    So don't worry! You won't completely lose it, if I'm right. You'll just lose part of it and retain the ability to remember it with great difficulty and constipation-esque frustration.

    < Edit >

    *Twitch.* Waitaminute. What the h... ? Holy crap! Do our brains use hashing?!
    Posted in: General Chat
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    posted a message on Where in the World is Carm... er, Rowne?
    I think I broke Turan. He'll probably run around mumbling eccentrically all over the boards until he figures my Visor keytables thing out. Oh sure, it might be completely reasonable to assume that he'd actually forgot someone as important as Carment Sandiego via normal means but you won't convince me of that!
    Posted in: General Chat
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    posted a message on Guidelines
    ... and let's never, ever talk about politics. Lest we become mozillaZine's AfterDark.
    Posted in: General Chat
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    posted a message on Where in the World is Carm... er, Rowne?
    This is great, Turan! Don't worry, this is all we'll ever need and I'm sure no one will complain about logical categorization. It actually makes a hell of a lot more sense than it being plonked in the dev forums.
    Posted in: General Chat
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    posted a message on Real Magic?
    I'd also love to see a 'trade' system in-place here. Like what Gothic had and World of Warcraft crappily pretended to have. Basically, in Gothic you could skin any animal you liked but sometimes, there'd be some guy who'd be willing to trade in skins for things like weapons, training or whatever. They'd be after a certain kind of rare trophy to hang on their walls.

    Think of it as inverse questing.

    Basically, my idea would be that a 'tit-for-tat' system of values could be in place. So if a person wanted to pickup ten teleport scrolls they could do so by killing so many types of animal which could then be traded in for their value. Basically value would vary from shop to shop but since these resources often float around, it'd be a supply-and-demand system.

    If it were winter for example, everyone might want heavy cloaks and those would curry a greater 'value' than they would in the summer months when all people would do with them is make fancy cloaks. So the market dealer could trade in the furs with the local tanner for a less amount of cloak, taking his time of resources out of it. They could then put these up for sale which farmers (or players) could then buy.

    This is the kind of economy I'd like to see in a game. I often feel like money is a weak excuse to avoid tackling something like this. What it also means though is that if one goes out and collects the right kinds of resources, they could come back and have enough in trade to pickup the ten teleport spells they wanted. So whereas someone who could easily craft spells could make their own teleport spells, Rangers/Warriors could go out and earn their spells by hunting things that people want.
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    posted a message on Real Magic?
    I honestly don't know whether this is one of the silliest things I've come up with or something of an intrigue. I'd love to see a magic system in place in a game like that eventually though. People making shoes from scraps of leather andsoforth, it'd be fun and take a lot of the banality out of trades.
    Posted in: General Chat
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    posted a message on Real Magic?
    [*]I. The Problem.
    [*]II. The Proposal.
    [*]III. The solution.
    [*]IV. The Detailed Response.
    [*]V. The Setting.
    [*]VI. Nature and Dynamics.
    [*]VII. Closure.

    I've always had a problem with the systems of magic in most popular media forums. Be they games, film or written work I've not enjoyed their portrayal. Could I be the kind of person who throws his lot in with Science and looks on magicks and its practitioners with a wary eye? Nothing so mundane. In fact it's my broad-minded nature that's lead me to the conclusion I reach today [which wildly sprawls out into culture, game ideas and more].

    [i]I. The Problem[/i]

    The issue I have stems largely from the very rules and restrictions regarding practitioners of magicks and their very nature. Why so limited? One has to note that magic on the whole, in its every portrayal is a limited thing, in fact one might almost say it's a way of illustrating a type of racial superiourity or dominance.

    What we're left with in almost every case is that magic either has to be practiced over years, which leaves beardy men with large amounts of power that leave the peastanry at ease or the alternatives; the powers are granted by Gods or they're something that a fraction of the populace as a whole are born with. This has been a repeating meme throughout the ages, even in more popular ideas where magic is portrayed less obviously.

    Even Superheroes in most comic mediums could fall under this banner. The X-Men are feared due to their abilities, whereas the Fantastic Four peer on from the heights of Baxter Towers, celebrities in all (not without their problems I admit but they're still famous and loved). There are also those who've mastered their abilities over the years to their age's benefit. Those people are often feared by the peasantry.

    As you can no doubt see, it's a repeating idea that hasn't lost any of its momentum over the past number of centuries even. The question I pose is; why?

    [i]II. The Proposal[/i]

    The solution I came up with is a rather simple one. That magic should be like code. Anyone can pick it up and it takes a little skill to get really good at it. Anyone with a certain amount of intellect can grasp the basic mechanics but it still takes a level of effort and education to do really grand things with. This results in the following situation -- if the housewife were to get free lighting from this in the form of a light spell, would she not learn the basics in order to master that ability? If a Fisherman believed he could make the fish leap out of the sea and into his welcoming hands, would he not try to master the ability to do so? I admit that such a system without its limitations would be unbalanced and the resources of the World would be reaped within decades.

    From this we'd all have people who could wield magical nukes at each other with gay abandon. School bullies might take out their entire nation in a fit of angst against authority figures. The Universe might get twisting into a swirling maelstrom of Anachronoxian mess. People would vye for Godhood and control large batallions of millions and force them to go to war against their own will. They'd create life and death, perhaps even spawn new Universes. Where does it end?! I have a solution to this and once again I draw from coding to do so, I think I'll call the solution "processing power".

    [i]III. The Solution[/i]

    The everyday person isn't born a genius. They don't have an innate sense for code or an in-borne talent for logic. Some do but not all. Most of the rest just pick bits up along the way. In other words, the magic a person produces is in direct correlation to two things; the effort they put in and the intelligence they have. If a not-so-intelligent person puts in a lot of effort, they can be just as creative and genius as a genius is at-ease. However, the truth of most people is that they're lazy and they'd rather get on with their lives, so thusly we introduce The Easy Option.

    As I said, most will pick up basic spell-making for their own uses, light to cook dinner by and likewise a Warrior might be able to randomly summon a basic light-spell or a flame-enchantment for his sword (that wouldn't last very long). This is because he's trained his body. Folks can't train body and mind to equal degrees. We have musclemen or geniuses and that's just a truth of the way biology works. One can't be a real poet of beauty and a wrestler. At least not from what I've ever seen. This is our restriction and this is why The Easy Option helps so much. Items and numerous forms of 'conductors' (such as specially treated scrolls) can hold enchantments that can be passed along to other objects (much like digital copying). It can work as a sort of ... placeholder until it reaches its destination.

    There would be malls with these and the ones that would be sold would be those certified by certain Universities and Knightdoms. Instead of heading out to buy a sack of coal to place in the fire, one might buy an elementalist spell of persistent fire and cast it in the slot where the wood and coal would normally be found. These would sell for a reasonable amount with the price scaling to the effect of the type of magic in question. There would of course be underground radicals who would provide free (as in beer, I know -- this is getting rather ludicrous and funny at the same time but I like it) magics to anyone. Either completely free or merely just an exchange for the parchment used. These would be largely frowned on by the law services and the reigning oligarchy but they would not be illegal, merely unsupported. Anyone using such a spell that backfired and killed someone could be held responsible, for example.

    Also, some of the smaller insurance brokers would refuse to broke for people who utilized those kinds of magic. It would be considered dangerous and even somewhat subversive to the populace but not everyone believes that magic should be sold. Where do we go from here, then? Regulations under law; there are even more radical groups that the law seeks to crush and destroy (and sometimes they can be quite successful). Those who would sell nukes for the right price, these would be terrorists to such a land, the equivalent of. However, some of them might be acting out of what they believe to be the Right Thing to do. They might be supplying only to rebellionist factions or oppressed peoples but they'd still fall under this law enforcement. The law isn't perfect so even supplying free healing aids to a nation at war would be considered an act against the reigning King or Queen.

    Those perpetrating such actions if caught would simply have the magical knowledge removed from their mind. Thusly through this end we achieve a system much like the World today.

    People could wield harmless firecracker pranks at each other with gay abandon. School bullies might set their principle's wig alight for shits and giggles. People would create forms of religeon and use light mind-control to set them up as fanatical preechers to draw the small-minded to their flock. They'd create sea monkeys and the goldfish bowls to keep them in and that's where it ends.

    Of course, a great many spells would actually require small amounts of certain reagents (in order to imbue the spell's nature; a light spell would just need daylight, for example) in order to create them, so that child who set his principle's wig on fire wouldn't be to blame. It's his parents fault for letting him get his grubby little hands on a small amount of kindling from which the spell was formed.

    A gruntish, barbarian warrior might only have a collection of two or three favourite spells he could cast. Whereas a highwayman of good breeding and upbringing, would not only have witty repartee on his side but a larger collection of abilities, including perhaps a few spells to increase his agility or blur the motion of his sword, thus empowering his own panache.

    In essence, the very nature of magic would be one that's easy to understand and grasp yet not everyone would to a great degree thanks to what is widely known as the VCR-equation (how many people actually know how to program a VCR?).

    [i]IV. The Detailed Response[/i]

    Of course, now we'd need constitutions and detailed laws in order to manage to deal with this but it's no different than today. Creating an intelligence would force the same responsibilities on a person as owning a pet. The Golem of little or no real intelligence would have the same rights as a household canine and the owner would have the same responsibilities to it. More complex intelligences would come with higher responsibilities. Anyone trying to do anything really Godlike would be whisked off to a University in order to be educated on protocol and why it's bad to explode Planets, even if they could do so.

    In essence, it would be a mirror of the possibilities of today except it would be intertwined with the possibilities of a fantasy World. How would this be? I'll get to that in a moment. It would require structure and careful handling by each particular society and perhaps other cultures would handle magic in a different way. Some countries might even make their entire profit out of magical exports to other countries that don't believe in allowing their populace to use it at all (hence the oppressed). To this end we'd see an end to beardy mages casting light spells whilst the Warrior would need to carry around an unfeasible backpack of 50 stacked torches. We'd also not need to give the Warrior a 50 foot length of rope as he'd be able to utilize his own levitation capabilities through the afforementioned copy-objects.

    Where do our new possibilities come in? Let's say we have an inventor that builds a metallic golem of cogs and gears. That could be imbued with intelligence and then rode by the inventor. In other words we'd be able to see the kinds of Magitek armour akin to those seen in Final Fantasy VI. Such creatures might be rode around by law enforcement services. There might be the occasional hiccup and one might end up too intelligent and disarmed, would be allowed to proceed by its own sapience. In other words we'd have golems and constructs wandering around and interacting just as other people do.

    One could create a gigantic pair of wings, much as Daedalus did and then imbue the base intelligence of a bird to flap them. Combine this with air and put a tiny basket beneath the wings and just about anyone could make a makeshift flying machine. Of course, the Knightships and so on might have more fancy versions, complete mechanical Dragon constructs that would ride the skies with automatic crossbows and vortex generators and and and ... *Coughs.* but I digress.

    Even automobiles would become a reality. Imbue a cart with a movement spell and then armour it up like a Horse, create it like the Roman turtle formation and have numerous spears sticking out of it. It becomes an immediate battle vehicle.

    Not only that but such magics could be used to create anything from foodstuffs to impossible structures. Knightships could live in crystalline-towers or upside-down cities. They might even live on floating islands using a truly powerful levitation spell -- or a mixture of engineering for wings and gigantic fan-blades and then the air and intelligence to move them.

    [i]V. The Setting[/i]

    What kind of World would support something like this? I'm thinking that if this were a game, I'd go with a Daggerfall style of random generation for most areas and then just have major cities because it would be big and ambitious. What I'd like to do is take examples of past cultures and work them in to one, large montage.

    The Australian peoples from their era of dreamtime. Native Americans who might be masters of the shapeshifting arts. Cowboys who believe in BIGGAH GUNZ. The British who're all about protocol and using magic sparingly and with great refinement, teaching balance and practicality in all things. France which would show the beauty of all things, which in some cases might also become a den of inequity as back-alley "shops of romance attribution d'etre" would become a worryingly growing fad. The oriental people might use it for mysticism and scrying, the peasantry would learn to yield it for better crop ratios and the Warrios would put it to use to give themselves larger balance on the battlefield with ninja techniques. Enhanced stealth, illusions and that species of kidney. We'd have the rich nature of the Arabian past to deal with, finding ways to exist in arrid wastes and mastering the art of being a thief or a survivor. Oh and the Canadians would be in there somewhere finding ways to use sticks to bat magically-hardened cabbages around as a form of sport.

    [i]VI. Nature and Dynamics[/i]

    This will be the shortest section, just to go over a couple of things. How would they get these powers? Well, I have no reason for such a development yet but I suppose it would be a natural occurrance, the capability of "rendering" the manifestation of matter and energy. Perhaps it's all some crazy Matrix-esque simulated World? Bwaha. No. I won't take that route, it'd be an interesting system to come up with an excuse for, though.

    Anyway, I could go on like this but I won't. Many of you might be wishing I'd stop so I shall. I'll wrap this up! It's already gone on a bit too long.

    [i]VII. Closure[/i]

    I'm sure there's much more I wanted to add to this that I probably will at a future time, things tend to escape my mind quickly but I think I went over the most important aspects. I've always found it interesting though that the human psyche impresses greed upon things and that certain abilities should only be capable for certain groups of people. I've sat here this morning and wondered of a solution to this problem and this is what I came up with. I don't know whether you'll find it interesting but I thought I'd share it anyway.

    - [i]Footnote[/i]: "OMG! It's Clint Eastwood inna Timberwolf!!!"

    List tags are malformed.
    Posted in: General Chat
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    posted a message on Where in the World is Carm... er, Rowne?
    Won't you just get pwnd for that, though?

    Oh Gods, what have we become?

    Aside from an amusing distraction for whomever happens to stop by this thread.
    Posted in: General Chat
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    posted a message on Where in the World is Carm... er, Rowne?
    That's precisely why I use it. I keep my grammar to levels above those of the average savant and I'd have to say I'm well-bred and read. I don't want to always look like that however so I'll often just throw in randomness and deprecation just to break things up a little. Variation is the spice of life and all that, one doesn't always want to be any kind of elite. Thusly, if I were to use pwnd then it disallows too high of an opinion of oneself and this is something I am more than happy with.
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    posted a message on Where in the World is Carm... er, Rowne?
    Really? I always figured it was a fun word, signifying defeat. I didn't ever see anything derogatory in it. I blame the Dan & Mab comic partly for this however as one of the characters displays a Ker-Pwnzd! sound effect in combat, it just seemed like a rather fun word to use. I suppose, like any word in the English language it's just a matter of being that the meaning of the word is one part its true meaning and two parts the meaning projected onto it. This is why communication is hell.

    For example, try telling the public media that yiff is just another way of saying hello for Vulpine roleplayers. There'd be no end of inuendo and "hello" misconstrued in every way possible with the most lewd of intent. I had no derogatory intent behind my words though and I'm sure that was quite evident. It was intended to be light-hearted and silly.

    If it really is such a bad word though, then I apologize.


    Again, the English language is hell. If you actually meant that I mock myself by using it. Of course I do! I'm all about self-deprecation. Haven't you noticed how frequently I insult myself and talk like an idiot? I live for shrinking my ego.
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