29 March 2009

"I learned a new spell today"...

It turns out that hair removal is used as a torture, or 'enhanced interrogation', technique.

There's lots of other interesting stuff, but I don't think I'm allowed to talk about it. And of the many things I could have decided I can talk about right now, this was the one I chose.


I just don't want this to become 'one of those' types of places... it isn't supposed to be boring, here...

24 March 2009

The Great Family

Now I've done it. Nothing else to do but make this post, as I'm waiting for downloads. Was avoiding this...

Murder statistics are surprising. I don't have all the links because I thought I wasn't going to make this post, but look up, for example... Gun politics, gun violence, Murder#Homicide (or wherever the comparison between countries is), Crime in China, Crime in Japan, Gun politics in the US, etc. The United States has a homicide rate an order of magnitude larger than most other developed countries, but what really distinguishes the US is the attention placed on the politics of violence. Other counties have much higher total homicide rates, and at the same time a higher proportion of those crimes committed using firearms; but only the US has huge debates about whether it's good or bad. It's no wonder other counties may view the US as being gun-crazy, I thought. What's more, even: homicide rate among black males is six times higher than the rest of the US population, and 90% of those are committed by another black male. The story that the first thing a Japanese host family asked a black student was whether he owned a gun, is not as surprising given these numbers lol. Cultural attitudes, apparently, have a lot to do with violence more than just laws or regulations. 25% of Americans own guns, most of them males; the 'sensible' perspective of whether lenient gun control laws increase or decrease violence is split between arguments that guns reduce violence (in sparsely populated areas) and ones that guns increase violence (in cities). But still the only reason that pistols are not highly controlled is that.. people in the US like their guns. o.0

heres me being lazy again:
16 Mar 2009
Bringing Mr Slippery to life, can it be done

Open source doesn't seem to have major content benefits or sharing between platforms, mostly because of namespace intersection in the server concept, making it hard to map to another application. Community as the selling point of a game

20 Mar 2009
'Escort' mission thru town, red but unattackable. Walking
no ideas about how guard and NPC names should show up or how to treat same-faction murderers...

My download isn't done. ;_; But, d*mnit, I still have another episode to watch before I need the ones that are downloading. I'll just clarify this, because I'm still really not sure about it: many open-source licenses are very commercially restrictive, due to having to release code for any project the open-sourced code is incorporated into. This means you cannot sell this software, at least not very well.. MMOs are unique etc, I hate saying the obvious, an open license might make development easier and has potential for unknown branches once you create the 'base' application to get momentum started. It implies that any subscription model, if you truly follow the spirit of open source and also develop the server application with a similar license, is because any paying customer is choosing to support the original developer and to interact with the rest of the paying customer base. This 'value-added' (sorry!..) social aspect is really unique among software types... as well as distinguished from other Internet-based methods like social networking sites by the independent storylines, the possibility of both closely and ambiguously defined definitions of progress, and objective, complex interaction methods within the world analogy.

This still doesn't say anything about Mr Slippery, or guards. Someone I know.. infected me with the idea of finishing an entire series in a single night once you get into it, and I just hope I don't burn out.

14 March 2009

Liberty or death

Usama bin Ladin has released a new statement on Gaza. Hopefully it's worth reading, haven't looked at it yet. Apparently criticizes Islamic/Arab governments again and urges for more jihad. Just like the last one, if people have to do what he urges (worst case scenario for negotiations), it's because there are no other options. As one who seeks truth, there is only one fight for him, and by definition it must be his last, due to what his cause is. Others have also been destroyed by the world, you realize this as time goes on..

Now that I've got that out of the way.

Was going to make some corrections to the previous entry but found they weren't really necessary. This one touches on arenas, and purpose. The first thing I do is post the latest in a series of reflections. They are not the first, and they are not the last, and they are not the only ones that haven't been recorded yet, but they are the most recent...

26 Jan
q. how to satisfy both Chinese/'Asian', and western philosophies of subscribe vs micropayments..?

buying 'gold' vs buying 'game time', how to prevent or neutralize effects of alternate trade channels... harm of it at all, 'cashing out' of the system.

invididual benefit (nonselfish no gold buying, selfish gold buying) vs social benefit (gold buying depending on prevailing attitude and value of story), value of money transfer rich to poor and 'real' benefit

providing enough benefit for real-world poor without gold selling... stories, skills benefit?

PvE: mobs 'pause' when bleed threat reaches zero. threat transfers within range, not just by target

other mechanisms to encourage group splitting and 'ambushing' from multiple directions. Aggro radius based on group size, not just proximity. More dynamic non-line-of-sight social aggro mechanics based on group size detected/'reported'.

More anti-zerg mechanics too. Player density leads to 'deflections' which temporarily pause a friendly player as they absorb or block the attack, depends on mob size. Mobs can also 'pause' or standoff from mob density, which depends on mob size as well as target size, avoiding 'demon hunter zerg' effect with instant death sillyness or super-block sillyness (lower numbers let you trail off deflection chances with energy-based mechanics)

"How can guilds be more fun"

28 Feb
Always fun, if you have someone to play with. Graduate if not. Value of mastering quickly early on, at the edge of change. Not creating an obstacle for those who haven't. so, back to 'image' (presentation of opponents)...

Account-wide achievements? Epic mount could be for all characters who have reached a certain level... means different way of presenting it.
(if I can edit these to put them in quote boxes, I will)

12 Mar 2009 (day of al-zaydi's trial)
wind book
fire book

Answering the question, how can you reach beyond it? How can you break the constant state, allowing for change? External factors drive separation, and separation is the only way for

subversive and causing phase transitions, while still enhancing community. Complex and multi-leveled that you can return to after growth..? A lifelong problem with only one chance

as relationship~

do not contain the world, but link to it... a comfortable subset that links to what is not contained but that is essential. Flaws that cannot be resolved with its own rules because they cannot reference or define the flaws at all. Becomes apparent as familiarity increases and completeness is examined. "Consistent, and correct.. but not complete"

(simple is complex, base of wide appeal)

the problem whenever I do this is I never feel like explaining any notes. -.- Repeating the most important bits, tho: in a 2005 study, something like 90% of Brits played games of any type, including handheld, web, puzzle, quiz, or videogames. Something like 60% of Brits played games 'heavily' defined beforehand as at least once a week, and lower age categories had higher percentages. It also compared other forms of entertainment and common ways of spending time. Very few of any of these (TV, etc) could be categorized as 'productive', and given the attitudes of people in other countries, well...

so it brings to mind an important difference, the accepted amount of risk. No one in a modern, Western, civilized country expects to die, unless to illness or something stupid like a car accident. They have time for games, no matter how pointless. Now, certain games are better at being 'pointless' than others; social interaction, for example, is very alluring and often hard to categorize as pointless, given our psychology. But from the perspective of someone in a developing country, many of the activities people in Western/developed/civilized countries commonly engage in have a very real negative value as the comfortable modes of thought they encourage detract from sympathy for, and the real support for those in less disadvantaged conditions worldwide. Globalization trends will continue irrespective of the current financial crisis, and impaired understanding is a clear handicap for those who interact with, or even casually observe other cultures with a different evaluation of risk of death.

Stories can show things. But only social relationships, or the possibility of such can allow a true expansion of options, especially as relates to more complex things. The entertainment form which combines these is the MMO.

There are several requirements for an MMO on the path of social and individual benefit:
  • PRIMARY: Reduces the implications of the existence of akasagi in the world, those who attack the needs of others. There are many false paths to this, but very few true ones, which operate on the false paths but must also go beyond them. Realizing this objective implies many other requirements for a game, as opposed to other forms of art. As this is one of the truths of the world, any solution is always in striving and a safe place.
  • SECONDARY: Offers maximum freedom in whom to associate with and why.
  • SECONDARY: Encourages social interactions with positive results.
  • SECONDARY: Encourages mistakes. I cannot go into more detail here >_>, and it might be impossible to intentionally describe anyway except as the other objectives listed here. Probably the most difficult one, maybe impossible.
  • PRIMARY: Causes a 'breaking away' as growth takes place, via inconsistencies in the game world.
  • PRIMARY: Allows players to return, or continue, as needed..
  • PRIMARY: Raises awareness of elements of risk in this world, or the implications of reacting to the risk of death.
Miyamoto Musashi said the way of the warrior is to be ready for death at any time. This is not the objective of any game or pastime, to think like this. Rather, in the words of another author, it is to raise awareness in strategy of the dangers of adhering too closely to life. I'm sorry I haven't explained the half-dozen other 'primary' objectives or requirements (almost looks random..), but it's like something you're not allowed to explain ;_;

Just remembered the other major thing to review, lol! Relates to arenas, will go over after.

Arenas are not a coherent part of any world that should exist. They are an entertainment form for relieving stress via PvP, no more, and their existence would conflict with any more serious approach or 'roleplaying'. Therefore, they can exist in an unreal world that you join via a different mechanism. In order to participate in, or view arenas, you must log out and go to a special 'arenas' interface or game. It exists via the same executable file, but it doesn't have the concept of the same world. For both database and community purposes, it is as local as your normal world, but once you join in with a character from the normal world, you can't talk to anyone in the normal world unless they join you at the arena. I haven't thought about things like retaining friends >_<

Competitive achievements are all about scale, so having larger pools of opponents for regular play is not always a good idea; compare to gamewide tournament events. But in a good social game, you don't need to participate in play yourself to have fun, and being a spectator is just as enjoyable, especially when you CAN participate to some degree as a spectator. Persistent effects from audience favoritism should exist, in addition to actions during a match: the equivalent of throwing a tomato. Technology design is important here: for someone in combat, spectators must show up as 'ghosts' of themselves, with low semantic detail and correspondingly low burden on a graphics card or framerate. This doesn't mean making them depressing, something can be simple while still being interesting! Even something like standard, but randomized (by race, etc) two-dimensional 'cutouts' with simple animation sequences, that cheer and boo and throw stuff at you. Names shouldn't matter, but overall audience reaction should very much; this is helped by a good camera system. (Didn't mention on previous entry, but when following someone else in 'combat mode', you shouldn't be able to move the camera yourself or change selection, but in this context you could change your follow target by clicking on someone else.)

This separate world idea applies to other things too, specific to an MMO. Any testing would best not be done on a normal server. It would place you in an environment specifically focused around accessing content that needs to be tested, while reinforcing the idea that it all isn't permanent or real (in the sense of the normal game world). Instances are the main content needing testing, as massive social events are sometimes the only ones that can award widespread respect altho this doesn't mean they should have an unbalancing effect on a game. Each instance under testing would have its own, individualized entry point inside this 'public test' game world, with the non-temporary test world deliberately basic to emphasize its impermanent relation to the normal world. In particular, it would not be some grand city because that would indicate reduced importance of locations in the normal world, but it would offer characters basic services needed to complete testing, and maybe the appropriate metaphor ('expedition', etc) to support the testing way of thought. PvP testing would also be possible here, probably done with a direct entrance to the 'arena world' instead of having to log in through a separate process, suggesting again that the arenas are just as unreal as the testing world..

This DOES imply that you wouldn't earn rewards for arena play, but in fact this might not be true. It wouldn't make sense for you to earn rewards for something which exists apart from your normal game activities, but that kind of discrepency is one of the objectives of the game, lol.

This leads to testing specifics themselves. The particular PvP changes would probably depend on the game, as a test environment would emphasize participation over any spectator aspect; but something definite can be said about PvE: all testing would be done at EASIEST POSSIBLE DIFFICULTY. In a 'learned buff' scenario, this means maximum buff stacks with no temporary, weakening debilitation/corruption from learning these buffs; any 'achievements' guilds might make in this scenario are not applicable to the encounters once they go live, if they are viewed in the competitive way that they are in current games, and guilds will not be pressured to visit an 'easymode' test realm when they would not be able to replicate those circumstances on live until weeks or months after the instance is released. To make an analogy, it's like practicing for a marathon by walking to work, except that a real analogy would involve a situation that has evolution of strategies. But basically it means sharply diminished value of effort, with the 'efficient' choice being to not worry about learning an encounter on a test realm. :)

that's it for now, may post more later... I try not to think about it tho as I don't have time, stuff like this is only from stray thoughts from connections to other things >_<

12 March 2009

You can think and you can fight...

In an effort to make this post overly long, I will explain moral stances.

Individual emphasis
Social emphasis
Authoritarian ideology.

Each can differ, a social stance at the national level can equate to an 'individual' stance at the international one. There's at least one more dimension, maybe described as 'broad' vs 'restricted', but probably better described at one end as 'gracious'. It's kind of a game to be able to describe a certain culture or attitude...

- Sunni arabs might best be described as 'ideology and individual, highly gracious', while Shi'ite might be described as 'ideology and social, somewhat less gracious'. I'm still trying to learn even the basic letters of the abjad, due to lack of time to focus on it >.<
- finally might be able to classify the Japanese culture! if you say, primarily individual with a balanced shift along the social+ideology line, highly gracious; if ideology is the best way to describe a certain uncompromising attitude. Used to be more focused specifically at the national level in the past, but since WWII have reached a broader definition of the social or group level..

Other ones are easy and I won't describe them again. Mutual benefit with other cultures means accommodating their moral emphasis which is an inclusive operation, but there is another situation that people may encounter that has a more destructive effect which I won't describe here. There is a way to avoid its destructiveness, tho at some cost.

I don't remember Riverbend ever using section headers, so I won't either. These are all conclusions with precedence only from being the most recent, so they could be wrong.

Names, like everything else, are focused on the overall objective. Sometime I'll revise other recent thoughts and put them here, like what that objective is. In this case, it means that the system used in the previous environment is nearly enough. Enough explanation, omg!!

Same tribe is GREEN in normal areas. Those in the same group are a LIGHTER SHADE OF GREEN in all areas, well assuming this doesn't get changed. Enemies are RED in all areas. Names don't show up always, but depend on distance, direction, occlusion, grouping, selection and mouse behavior, and possibly size and movement. Very possibly names don't show up at all unless selected or other interactive criteria like mouseover. This injects initial uncertainty into encounters, but more importantly it injects the idea that names (and hostile or friendly stance) are, in fact, something only on the level of gameplay interactions and the interface, and not an intrinsic part of a character's specific identity towards you. Names also relates to flagging, below.

'Books'... omg. This is where I need my notes, something very hard to explain. Book of Fire, Book of Wind, inserted into a game. Subtle hints... more on this later! This is the overall strategy, where a game becomes more than a game, as so many would like to be able to claim. It isn't a competition.

There is no need to be unkillable by other players at a low level, if you do not scale the power disparity and don't give reasons to encourage bad behavior. Community makes a game, but a game makes the community. Combined with other things, this isn't a problem. Similarly, since there's no way to make it really work the way it should there is also no need to prevent combat in cities. It just ends up ruining things instead. Someone who is going afk just needs to LOG OFF! Power disparity has historically been one of the major problems here, but with the theme of 'overall objective' the interference from unflagging is both unwanted and, in the scope of other intention stance display issues, hard to deal with, so just avoid it entirely. There are two more zones in a world: ambiguous PvP, where friendly players turn yellow except possibly when you are attacking them (those attacking you would still be yellow), and friendly kills would mark you as a murderer and possibly give points in the 'dishonor' concept if that infamy/dishonor tiered system were implemented and extended to same-faction lower-level players; and free for all PvP, where friendlies would be red (only when selected, remember!) and would not give any detrimental debuffs for killing.

Last here is camera, which becomes exceptional. Three views, and a tip: the tip is navigating targeting chains, the hotkey for 'Get Target of Target' and the hotkey for 'Get Previous Target'. ('get/set focused target' may or may not be desirable)

The first view is the standard one, with the normal interactive UI, lots of abilities, and much information displayed about you and other entities. This may have just a single name displayed in the environment, that of your current target; or possibly more interactive methods up to 'Everything within a certain distance' altho this might just be bad.

The second view is the cinematic action view. You can switch into it yourself, and it will display your target's well-being and status, your target's target's well-being and status, both near the center of the screen in a clutter-free format, and via a SECOND method will suggest your own current status and the number, size, and direction of changes to same; a gradiated scale on the side of the screen darkening or flashing relative to the seriousness of your condition, and graphical effects indicating the size of changes such as intensities of flashes of coloured light depending on health direction (beware seizures :S). Any abilities you use will briefly appear with a magnified icon indicative of that ability, with sound effects being complementary to and not replacing the visual feedback. Debilitative or helpful status effects on yourself should be suggested directly on your character, and should not need additional text or icon feedback in this view for you to react to them. Certain situations may allow you to enter this view from the perspective of another player or entity. Other situations could allow the display of this view from fixed points. For example, if there was a need for dramatic gladiator matches for the greater glory of a republic, 'spectator' screens or controllers might dynamically switch to new viewpoints by clicking on actors (with the target and target's target being the one selected by that character themselves) and even on static, otherwise-invisible 'camera objects' or by using quick shortcuts to access any of these dynamic or static viewpoints. A publicized match might have a camera controller for each team, each striving to show the most dramatic actions and perspectives of the fight. This view would show all player names at all times by default, and someone could do a quick switch to this stylized 'combat view' to get a quick fix on the hostile or friendly composition of an unknown crowd, or scan for someone's name.

The third is the screenshot, or display view. This is an advanced interface that does not print what is directly displayed to the screen. Instead it prints a variation based on what is selected in that interface. So you might switch to screenshot view, which has a quick array of transparent icons, one of which is to show or remove all player names, another of which is to switch to max graphics settings, with even more advanced options possible like greater camera control or even ones meant for video productions, like doing a defined and savable/progammable smooth rotation or movement of the camera over a certain amount of time. Any screenshot or camera 'run' does not show the screenshot options interface in the shot.

aaaand that's it, im going to bed =p