Saturday, October 31, 2009

Philosophy: An arguement against "Humans are fundamentally bio-mechanical"

Posted this here originally, then thought it'd be good content for this blog! It's kind of an arguement against an arguement you might not even have heard yet. So perhaps a solution for a problem you don't as yet have, but hey!

"Humans are fundamentally bio-mechanical"

Think of it this way - if you trying to look at yourself as a machine, your using an anthropomorphism. You are not complex enough to really grasp how complex you are. So you use a lousy, weak ass idea of 'machine' to fill in for your incapacity to be complex enough to percieve your own complexity.

This extends to the idea that at some point there was a big bang, and your still part of that ongoing bang - and that bang is still a big ass mystery. So you, as an extension of it, are still mysterious. Quit looking strictly at the short term and just whats happened in the minute lifetime you've been in, to try and identify what you are.

Don't confuse the weak ass model your mind conjures up, for what your mind actually is. Sure, you can debunk ideas of free will (free from what, is my question), but so can you debunk 'OMG, I'm a machine'. Neither is some real, genuine grasp of the situation. They are both weak ass approximations, like a fuzzy JPG of the Mona Lisa. They don't show the true picture.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A stark land, a family, a threat

Okay, here we go - a framing of a scene as a kick off. This is a sort of story game where you can play a game so as to make choice in where the story goes and who the adventurer(s) are, as people.

You play this game to get a code from the end:

The game's not supposed to be entertaining in itself (though if you enjoy it, that's good). It's there so only somone who puts some effort in can influence the story. I'll probably make one more in theme with the story latter, directly based on effort I get from other people.
Dark clouds and thunder brewed on the horizon of a post apocalyptic land. Torn ground, with waving, dead grass and snaking lines of cracked ashphalt stretched out from the distance to the point where a small family had put up walls, roof and sewn a few crops in hope of food.

The Breakermans had managed this small farm for some time now, clinging tenaciously to this land and eaking out a life here. But then the Polts had started showing up. Blurred, hunched figures at a distance amongst broken trees and ruins at the perimiter of the crops. Rare at first. But now more and more were seen each time. The lore was clear on what this meant. It meant they were coming. And only chaos and fury would sate whatever hunger that drove them.
As an adventurer in this blasted land and upon finding this situation, you could
A: Prepare at the farmsted itself with the Breakerman family, for the assault. But the Polts would no doubt tear up the crops as they came and it would also put risk upon the family. Or you could
B: take that risk on your own shoulders and head out in advance of the Polt attack, and strike at the heart of their gathering.
C: Or you could even pass on by, perhaps to return latter and pick upon what bones are left.

If you have the code from the game, post it along with your characters choice in the comments section. First come best dressed If someone has just posted the code with no choice, or have posted the code and something that's nothing to do with this (bound to happen, some people can't do much more than be human), the first person to take the code and write it and their choice is what happens next.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ah ha, I has returns model!

Ah ha!

Okay, so I've had an idea! At some point soon I'm going to spin a bit of a yarn, in text, about a world in some sort of strife. Then I will pitch two choices, of which one can be chose and that will influence that worlds future to some degree/will influence the yarn.
Instead of going full blown crpg, I've written a small platformer game (mostly modded up the game maker example). At the end of the level is a star that gives a code. The first person who gives the code, gets to make the choice!


Because instead of shooting for fiscal return straight off the bat, with all the workload for a mere chance of return that entails, what I'm going for is simply someone giving the effort of completing the simple platformer. That's the 'fee', so to speak. Or perhaps it's like bartering - I dunno. But it's not working for absolutely free, there is a return involved - and that encourages development that moves toward getting more complex gameplay than a simple platformer.

In latter ones I'll most likely have multiple codes, so as to give more than just the first person to the post the influence. But for now I'm keeping it simple until a return comes in.

Stay tuned for that yarn - I'm pretty sure I have one coming :)

"Solo players don’t have a ghost of a chance here",id1414,patch_212_storming_acropolis.html

Solo players don’t have a ghost of a chance here; only well-equipped groups
will ultimately get to step up against the leader of the Naga army: King
‘Sharleedah’ will provide a tough battle for adventurers and can only be toppled
by the mobilising of every force.

Once again the lack of human resource management in a mmorpg astounds me!

But I'll give an example of some human resource management - public quests from warhammer online. These would funnel people together and help them form groups. Or even battle grounds from world of warcraft - click to join a BG que, wait, go in, your with a group (some dumb groups, but hey, even if you lose you get a token and it'll only last for X number of minutes).

Okay, so what do we have here? Sweet FA human resource management. You'll need a group - how you get one, entirely up to you. Hey, this isn't like a game where we could code stuff to help you - we leave this vital component (assuming you want to see this new content weve paid money to develop) up to you and that's considered normal.

MMORPG's, stop doing this!!!

You come to a T intersection in the dungeon...


I have two blogs and this is a quick entry to indicate to anyone checking my forge profile, where they are. Obviously this is one of them, which is a 'monetized' blog (who knew monetized was a word, eh?). Thanks for checking it out further:

Here's the other, which is probably more esoteric:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pavlovs grind

The other day I was reading some post about gathering in runes of magic mmorpg. It's been a continual thorn as long as I've been playing or watching ROM. It's that you have to keep clicking to gather all the resources from a node.

Actually that's probably a subject in itself, since some people might say "But it's only a click, don't be so lazy!" to which I would say "Okay, if it's just a click, what if they made it that you have to click five times to get one resource out of a node? How about ten times? Is it starting to feel pointless to do that? Well, it was pointless at clicking once for each resource (it should be one click to gather everything from one node)"

BUT, what I wanted to get at is that some people actually find gathering soothing or calming. And I've heard similar things from people about grinding, before.

Now I'd lay into that, but I'll tell you one thing - if I was going to earn real life money from doing that gathering (or grinding), I would find it quite soothing and calming as well. I genuinely would.

What I'm proposing is that the mmorpg has managed to emulate, for some people, the same reasons they think their job is important - not because of the outcome, but because they think certain repeating actions and rituals matter or advance them somehow. It has the same sort of stimulus of doing an actual job...except it doesn't pay any actual money. But these people associate job == doing an important thing. Even though it isn't important and doesn't lead to making any money.

What do you think? Comments welcome, and sorry for the review before - that'll happen from time to time. As many people do, I would like more income in my life.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Make money online (suplemental income) review: Rewards Central

Okay, cutting straight to what's important (when considering a supplemental income)! How much money do you get each day with rewards central!?

3 points per quick survey per day (3 points is roughly 3 cents Australian)
2 points per advert web click from their site
2 points per bonus advert web click (there wasn't a bonus right when I started, but one came along shortly after)

So about 7 cents Australian a day. Think of it this way, if you had $1000 in the bank at 2.75% interest (which is what the commonwealth bank has at the moment on the netbank saver) gives you 7cents a day. Would you like to have $1000 more in your savings, giving interest? This is the equivalent of having interest from $1000, in terms of supplemental income.

Now on top of that there have been around two reward e-mails per week from rewards central, which you get 5 points from (or you can choose to get entries into a $10,000 cash draw). So at around 10 points/cents a week it's more like a bit over 8 points/cents a day. And perhaps as we ride out the economic downturn, there will be more?

Also the adverts are nicely presented and kind of interesting (perhaps somewhat targeted, in other words). They also sometimes have a small treasure chest in them which has bonus rewards for the first 100 people to click it (top prize is $100 (not points, dollars!), second is $50, etc). Make sure you click on that first and foremost if you see one!! Otherwise you miss out! It's clearly their way of making you really look at e-mail, which seems a win/win way of doing it.

On top of that when you join you get 50 points/50 cents. If you fill out the whole profile, you get another 50 points/50 cents. Whether you want to give those details...well, even if you just join, it's 50 points!

And something that's important to me when I look up stuff; When can you cash out? At 3,300 points, which gives you $30. (and thats why I say each point is roughly worth a cent). You could also wait until you have 10,100 points for $100 dollars, which is a slightly better point conversion rate. Which might be worthwhile waiting for, if you see the details on their bank below.

If your finding this info useful, please use the link above as it's a referal to my account :) Much obliged!

There's still more to it - there's an instant win game (you need to finish a quiz on the site to unlock this), where you can guess numbers each day and see if you win. With the best configuration (I think) you have a 1 in 2000 chance of winning 2000 points/$20 dollars! Not great odds, but it's free and a bit of a flutter, so it's a fun amusement!

What's quite interesting is the bank - you can deposit points in their bank for a month or up to six months, and it has returns that (as of this writing) start at 7.55 variable interest PA and go up from there based on time or points amount (600 points gets even better rates, 2000 even better). And the only way I've seen them vary is up (by .25 percent!)! So your not just sitting on points, waiting to get to 3,300, you can actually make them earn you even more per day on top of what your were earning before!! At rates which are better than what the banks are offering, too!

And then there is, as far as I can tell, Rewards Centrals sister site, MyOpinions. Again you earn 50 points for signing up, 50 points for filling out the profile, and you can transfer these points to Rewards Central. I've gotten roughly two surveys every fortnight, which can earn you a bit over 100 points each AND around 10 competition entries - and even if you get screened out you get around 10 points and a competition entry. The competition is for $5000, which is drawn every three months or so, I think.

ALSO they have an instant win game you can play once per week. It lists your win history and I've gotten  about 50% five point/cent payouts and 50% ten point/cent payouts. You have a one in 49 chance of winning 500 points/roughly $5 with this game each week, which isn't bad odds given your not paying for a ticket to play (I think it's better odds than tattslotto, when I checked - it's certainly cheaper/free). Even if you don't win that, your winning five or ten cents, which might not sound like much but you are now five or ten cents ahead of where you were before! Even more supplemental income!

So there's the referal, much obliged if you use it! :) I'm thinking of giving MyOpinions it's own review latter on, since it's tucked in at the end of the Rewards Central one here. But they link in together so well it needed to be mentioned right now!

So, those links again (oh yeah, this is a monetized post!) and have a good one! :)

Edit: After about a month and a bit I've made nearly 1,000 points, combining both rewards central and my opinion points.

And feel free to ask questions in the comments section!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Google has found me at last!

I can finally find philosopher gamer on google! Hooray! Party time!

So I guess that was about eight or nine days. I guess it wasn't that long. But it felt long!

Of course I should have called this blog 'makemoneyfast' or some such mutation in order to bump up traffic. But the game part should work out traffic wise.

And in coming events, I have a new game maker game I've coded up, which is almost ready for show - something to do with blogs directly, even! :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

MMORPGs; The myth of 'cheap entertainment'

I've run into this before, but this is the most recent case.

It's the idea that mmorpgs are cheap entertainment per month. "Hey, it's only $15 a month for hours of entertainment!"

This is kind of a weird phenomenon, because it seems to equate all video game entertainment as being absolutely equal. That's weird, because we all think some TV shows are better than other, some movies are better than others, but bang, here you get some sort of mental flat tire that treats all video game entertainment as exactly the same and only the cost matters.

I think part of the problem is quantifying fun - people just think something is fun but honestly don't think of it in any terms that could compare it to something else that is fun. But it's not hard to get over - let's rate fun on a per hour basis, on a scale of 1 to 100 (hundred being pretty damn fun).

Now the other thing to do is rating lifespan spent, as a cost. Yes, a cost - one that goes right next to dollars and cents. And lets avoid self referencing logic like "Life spent is not a cost if I'm having fun - and I am having fun. Because spending time on this game is fun! How do I know spending time on the game is fun? Because life spent is not a cost if I'm having fun - and I am having fun, so it must be fun...etc, etc"

The equation runs something like:
Fun per hour / Monetry cost + Lifespan cost

Take the following
  • Single player game: Gives 20 hours of play, at say a fun rating: 50 out of 100, at $80
  • MMORPG: Gives, say, 56 hours of fun (about two hours a day), at say a fun rating of 20 per hour. Contraversial! Well, lets just put it in at 20 for now, as clicking and waiting five seconds for a node to gather, then waddling over to another node and repeating probably isn't >20, right? Also, this is at $15 for the 56 hours
Single player: 50 / 80+20 = 0.5
MMORPG: 20 / 15+56 = 0.28

The single player is simply more fun/better.

The problem is, people think in reverse - they think only of how many hours they are buying. As if hours are a fun commodity!

Hours are not fun in and of themselves, people! Go watch paint dry for an hour, and tell me that hour was valuable in itself! This is a Pavlovian miss association! Fun is being associated with time spent like Pavlovs  dog associated music with food - and then when hours are presented, we salivate like the dog does. But it's only being presented with music and no actual food! Wow, 56 hours of entertainment! That's good value! Can't wait to buy that!

"But I find MMORPGs to be way more fun that 20 per hour!"

Fair enough, maybe you do. From my experience though, they set around the 10 to 20 range. Sometimes they get a possitive spike in fun, but then that averages out (simply because they take so long).

But in this case, you would have to get 40 fun per hour to only just beat the single player game. That's not exactly far off the single players fun per hour rating.

The cake is a lie, and so are the hours/the idea it's cheap entertainment.

Edit: Here's a concise version of the same idea that time <> value:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tiny Review: Aubergine Sky

I was having a look at this review on play this thing.

It just seems strange how many games that try to not be directly about play to win gaming (dare I say they try for a narrativist goal, as in the forge user of the term?), just end up with a minigame puzzle.

The puzzle always ends the same way. I'm wondering if they are trying for some experiential minage where the act of going through the minigame mentally becomes associated with and thus experientially linked with the story and emotions evoked.

And that's just not really good enough, is it? We already have TV and movies - playing a mini game simply to complement another passive experience media means its still just another passive media.

I think if you have moral choices in the game and then you play out some mini game where you might sacrifice your moral choice and switching to another one if your getting close to losing the game (sacrificing your position helps you win), that'd be something. Even just something like the conducts from nethack, like vegetarianism (when it's easier to eat meat), but brought more to the fore of the game, make it go from a passive experience into authoring a story by playing.

But I'm laying in - I commented after the review about a good use of text and bringing it into the game not in a sequential way (where you have to read it to get to the game) but in paralel with action happening. Your guys on the move, things are happening. Your not standing still so as to stay safe while reading the text - which would just be the same as having to click through the text first.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The psychology of gamism

In a game where there are multiple hurdles to overcome, and its supposed to be a gamey gamist play to win sort of game (primarily - secondarily it might have emotional issues or some grand setting), it needs a double dipping reward system, I think.

Ie, you don't just get past the hurdle. You also get some other reward on top of that - even if that second reward is merely some text that pats you on the back and says hey, well done on managing to get past that (or alternatively you could have text from the main villain cursing you for getting past it, which can be a sort of in character satisfying second reward).

Otherwise it's just a hurdle - a thing in your way. You don't think of doing the vacuuming as some big deal - simply because it's a hurdle. Actually that reminds me of chore wars, which went a way to doing that. I should have playtested that with other people - it had little treasure drops and such you could set up, but if you set it up yourself - it felt alot like giving yourself a pat on the back.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bummed by PVP, because of it's relative absence

I'm playing the runes of magic mmorpg at the moment and I've come across this town in it where PVP flagged players seem to turn up fairly often. And before this it was pretty rare to see them.

Yeah, I picked a PVP server...but in the end, PVP was so rare that it may as well be a PVE server (not to mention the PVP encounters are pretty much 'and suddenly your ganked, that's it', which doesn't really feel like PVP or PVE).

It's kind of like I signed up for a game about chips, but got chocolate instead...and I kind of ate the chocolate and liked that - until it's basically what I would boot up the game for...and now...I'm getting chips mixed in my chocolate. I like chips, I like chocolate, but not together. Although I signed up for a PVP server, which makes it sound like I want that mix - but it wasn't a mix from the start, it was mostly chocolate and that's what I got used to. It's a funny position to be in.

Maybe I'll level my warden on a PVE server. My rogue was only low thirties anyway, as I had been trying to level both his classes together. I think I'll give up on that as I heard a useful tip (comment if you want to hear it).

A smidge of Rifts

We actually played Rifts the other day. Rifts Australia, to be exact!

One thing I did that was quite different was that the mission that was lined up, was very very short - it got completed in a short time. After that, I simply left the impression of the mysterious Australian bushlands and towns and the players started poking around. Also I was handing out XP for pretty much any character expression that happened - it was coming up naturally at first, but I think giving out XP helped bring out more of it. Keep in mind this was a reward not for whether it was 'cool' roleplay, it was XP for showing the character at all - it's the showing that matters, not the skill in delivery. Skill comes with practice, anyway! :)

I've got this idea for the rifts australia body armour - as it's supposed to have an AR. Which means instant death if an MD weapon hits over it's AR. What I've already done, which is kind of nifty, is to have scrap MDC. This is pieces and shards of broken MDC stuff, that's just tied together with SDC leather and SDC wire. Impacts from SDC attacks, like bullets swords and clubs can still tear apart those leather/wire bindings (the MDC shards then fall off). But if an actual MDC attack occurs, the MDC is worn down. This scrap MDC covers where the armours normal AR leaves off - leaving the character fully MDC protected, but still vulnerable to SDC weapons to a degree! Thus enabling both MDC and SDC combat!

But that's not the nifty idea, just yet. More latter...

And they were kung fu Leia pillow was a little bit frightening...

And along with the gaming thoughts, here's a classic image originally from the wizards of the coast web site.

Death and taxes and mmorpgs

Now to get a bit more gamey

In alot of mmorpgs there's a penalty if your character 'dies'. I'm thinking this is really lopsided. You can't make up for this loss - if you were fighting monsters for loot before, you'll be fighting monsters after the death too - that doesn't make up for having lost, your just doing what you did before.

Take this idea - imagine that after defeating a certain number of monsters, you gain a 'life', so to speak. Once you have this, if your character dies, he suffers no penalties - he just loses the life. And you can have, say, three lives. This way you can store up some protection against your character dying and get ahead if you've died before (because you will die at some point, if only from server issues - this lets you store up something that will remove a future loss).

Or heck, maybe my idea isn't even enough. Perhaps if you die, there's some way of fighting monsters and getting their loot PLUS extra loot until the death penalties costs are made up for.

Get a job! An examination of an impetus

Auspicious title for a first thread, eh?

There's often the phrase 'Get a job' and an impetus associated with that.

But look at the word 'get'. If you want, you can get a rock or twig off the ground. That is something you can do, because you can simply physically act upon it.

Can you just act upon another person, or do you need their consent? (and by need I mean a nod toward holding a perhaps a common pattern of morality)

So you can't just act upon an employer and make/force him in order to obtain a job, as he is a person and not a rock or twig.

So this person has a choice about giving you a job. It is up to their whim.

"No, they need employees otherwise their income will suffer so...", perhaps you say?

But wait, isn't he or she supposed to have a choice? A genuine choice? Take this, for example: If you wanted to sleep with someone, and they would suffer income loss if they don't sleep with you, does that seem right? Or wrong? If that seems wrong, why is this any different?

"But this is a job, it's different, it can be more..."

More cut throat? You can start leaning on other peoples choices more and applying pressure so they don't really have a genuine choice? Would you like that happening to you? Is it already happening to you and reducing your quality of life?

Perhaps you've believed you could get, in the same way as you can get a rock or a twig, a job. Perhaps you've implied other people are able to, and so should. Perhaps you feel empowered to be able to get a job.

But it's not really compatable with the idea of letting others make genuine choices about their lives, is it?