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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 4:05 pm 
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ChloeRhodes wrote:
But there are factors that need to be in place that allow that to happen. A full pipeline to start is the first thing.


Totally agreed. Getting a pipeline of content going is one of my big ambitions! If you're looking for more hands to help - I'd be happy to work with anyone actually making content.

Just to put this idea to bed - microtransactions are not a good idea on the core MOULa server. That's a core gameplay change, and is essentially adding a whole pile of content purely to replicate things other games do well. Second Life was designed around MT, realtime content additions - but ultimately, Uru is a seperate kind of game to SL. Uru is a puzzle game with an MMO and IC twist. SL is a sandbox.

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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 4:37 pm 
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Uru is/was also fee-based. You pay a fee and get access to ALL the content there is. In this regard it's similar to Hulu Plus. Except now the fee is optional. And if you want to pay, you can pay Cyan directly. So they can create more content so the Cavern can be alive again.


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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 4:39 pm 
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Regnad Kcin01 wrote:
Whilyam wrote:
My personal view on the currency idea is that currency would get me to put down Uru for good if it were forced on the community as a whole…..I make Ages to grow this world and enrich fellow player's experiences, not to enrich or even "fairly pay" myself.


Maybe you can help me understand something, Whilyam, because I’ve seen this perpective implied in several responses. People suggest they would not play if currency were introduced and it causes me to ask: How would the introduction of a currency-based economy force anyone to use it or patronize anyone who does, and in what way would it take away the incentives you and others currently rely on to produce your art?


Because money = value/quality in most people's heads, even subconciously. we value what we shell out for, more- even if the free stuff is of better quality. Free is assumed to be free because it isn't worth paying for. I see this all the time in my RL work- all other things being equal (training, supplies, market, etc) the person working for free is treated as if they are less qualified than the person charging $50/hour.

Money also = participation. For an example, I used to have breedable turtles elsewhere. I maintained them for my own pleasure, wasn't in it to make money, etc. That community has a monthly contest in which you try to breed a turtle that most closely matches the target turtle. This was a fun thing to attempt (there's all sorts of colour theory involved)- until people started realizing that the 3 trophies were always going to the same set of 5-6 people. People who had money to have huge turtle herds (I'm talking 100's+), of every shade possible- all they had to do was stick a few dozen turtles together, and they'd get a high scoring egg. Bunches of us quit playing, because there was no point in trying to participate, the victors were always the people who had money to spare.

When you introduce a currency to a community, it changes the way people interact with each other, how they value each others time and energy, and how you are able to participate in that community. There will come a time when there is a noticeable line between the haves and have nots.

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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 6:45 pm 
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I have no objections to microtransactions, not in the slightest. However, I agree, Uru was not designed around it. It seems to me that it could be made to work. Sometimes cash shops are outside of a game, not in the game. Still I think the toughest thing about the cash shop thing is that it wasn't part of Uru's design.

We did pay for Uru originally, a monthly fee, the gametap era. When Ubisoft published Uru, the plan was to move to a subscription -- just never got that far. I can't see Uru being subscription based again -- we aren't getting enough stuff, in my opinion. But if we had to pay for new ages -- it seems to me that could work.

What am I not seeing here? The plan was always that we pay for stuff in Uru, except it was "all the stuff at once" -- a monthly game subscription. Now, there is a thought that we could pay for pieces of Uru. I don't think that's a bad thing.

People are always unequal in a game -- some have more time, some have more money -- for some it fluctuates. The thing to do is figure out what works for your game, your set of communities.

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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 7:14 pm 
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Ok well what about my idea, without the second money based part. If you were still doing a job in Cavern. How does that make you feel good, bad, or indifferent?

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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 7:41 pm 
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Let's separate the technical aspects of introducing currency from the gameplay and interaction aspects. No use getting all amped up about something that's not feasible on the back end.

One way to add a currency (or experience, or reward) system to Uru may be to do something like the vampires do in SL. (No, not the blood-sucking thing!) They run a game-within-a-game, keeping their membership and points data in an external database, unaffiliated with SL, but updated in real time thru an interface provided by SL (via http, iirc.) This has the added benefit that players that don't care for the filthy lucre never see it IC. Member rankings, points, available products etc. are viewable on their website http://www.slbloodlines.com/ and possibly in SL, but I've not seen it there.

On another front, here's a fascinating article by Ryan Seabury, formerly the head of the development studio that produced the LEGO Universe MMO. Lots of insight about MMOs today, and why he's not making them anymore. It's a fast, easy read, too, btw :)

http://kotaku.com/5803598/i-will-never-make-an-mmo-again

It started me thinking about what will get players to log in every day? A couple of things came to mind.

Stand alone puzzles and minigames, associated with an Uru Age, but playable on an iPhone or other smartphone. Making pellets, for instance. Rather than sitting down at your pc, you fire up an app anywhere, whenever you have free time, and cook up a batch. From ingredients you harvest and mill yourself. Grown on your farm, near the farms of your hoodies. That you can drop next time you're in the "big" cavern. And tweet your points to your friends, and your competitors :)

And no, I'm not saying port the existing Er'cana to iPhone. Yucch. Make a smaller, light-weight app that captures the (fun) essence of the age.

Also puzzles found IC could be adapted the same way. The Kadish vault, for instance, or the keyboard puzzle from Myst could be "puzzled out" while your laundry is in the dryer. Puzzles in fan ages could be built with this in mind.

What I'm saying is that people could be kept in the game but not necessarily kept in the Cavern.

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 5:59 pm 
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@ nonlinear, the LEGO story is interesting. I disagree with the idea that players do not care about whether a game is single, multi, or massive player. It isn’t true for me and I suspect it isn’t for most others, but that may be my bias.

The idea that the term MMOG is becoming outdated is probably helpful. That a social layer is practically a mandatory requirement for any new game is enlightening and supports studies and experience from other sources. He sees the need for the social layer regardless of the intended size of the in-game population. I continue to think the social layer is probably the most significant change we can make in Uru to increase player retention.

One of the other points he makes highlights an idea I’ve seen as a problem for some time, creative burn out. Imagine. He was in charge of a project and in many ways could tailor the game to his preferences. Yet, he found that in 5 years he was pretty well burned out and looking for other creative outlets. I continue to believe that our age builders will run into this wall. There are exceptions, but for most this appears to be a high probably. For that reason I think attracting new players and good player retention is extremely important for Uru’s survival.

I think his account of how he decides what to watch on TV, games to try, movies to see, etc. shows how social information is changing how we get and use information. It is so basic to our way of life that any game that doesn’t support a social layer is like trying to replace your cell phones with the old on-the-corner pay phone.

He is also making a choice that is probably important to Uru development. He would like to try lots of ideas even if 60% immediately fail in alpha testing. His idea is to be testing in the real market place. In his case it is a matter of being able to eat while developing. Whether people will pay for a game is far different than no-cost alpha testing.

The key in what he is doing is holding it to a level of what gives enough value that it can separate people from their money. I really have to see some value before I’m willing to pay RL dollars… heck, I’m stingy with my Linden dollars. I passed on a way cute dress because it was L$400 (US$1.50+/-) ...and it was a perfect fit.

In OpenSim we develop cheap easy builds and often a month later we are changing things to a newer better idea. Paisley and Shenn build and change so fast their pace is like a tornado when compared to my glacial progress.

We continue to debate in-game currency, which is probably never going to happen in this decade. But, we ignore that we have no real way to determine what does and does not work for existing and potential Uru players. Instead we base much of our debate on personal preference. Not so smart…

iPhone app for baking pellets… now there is an idea. But, we have to extend the social interface of Uru to do that.

Keeping people in Cavern is probably what most of us think of when player retention is mentioned. Your post reminds us the concept is broader. Player retention is about keeping people interested in a game as well as keeping them in the Cavern. Interfacing iPhone apps to the game could help. After all, I am more connected to Uru by social channels than the actual MOUL un-moderated game. SL has apps to allow one to chat with in-world friends. We could do that too.

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 6:39 pm 
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I don't think that making iPhone games will make any impact on people going into URU. Your bound to get advertisement from it but unless you restrict people so that they have to go in cavern or they can't continue the iPhone game (You never want to restrict people) then i don't see why anyone would have added incentive. The main goal should be to find ways to get people into the cavern and have them stay there for as long as possible.

Nalates wrote:
SL has apps to allow one to chat with in-world friends. We could do that too.

You can install steam, xfire or something similar if you really want to talk to people who are in games and visa versa. Developing applications that only a handful would use seems like a waste of time to me. I believe that focus should be on areas we know that the majority of people are going to get something out of. SL has the advantage that it has a massive community, so even if 0.1% of people are all that use some application thats still going to be ALOT of people.

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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 2:27 am 
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The iPhone App for SL allow people to communicate with friends in game and handle their SL businesses and customer support. It is surprising how many conversations I've had with someone on a cell phone while I was in-world.

It isn't that an app has to allow them to see into the cavern. It only needs to allow them to do something that keeps the game in their mind. One can attend an event and participate. I don't know if xFire and Steam have apps. The desktop programs are not what I'm on about.

Whether it is worth the effort to create an Uru app, I can't say.

I doubt the idea of iPhone games was intended to allow people in cavern. Many of the web and Flash game ideas could be tied to allowing one to solve a puzzle while on the surface. Could one pull up the contents of their KI? Could they manipulate the KI from an app?

These are things to keep people interested in Uru. They are part of the social layer most game designers are talking about now. While our Uru community is small the hope is to find ways to get it out to others and let them join in.

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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 4:08 am 
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Nalates wrote:
It is surprising how many conversations I've had with someone on a cell phone while I was in-world.

One major flaw with the idea. If there is noone in the cavern then why would people use an iPhone application to chat to.. well noone.

The main problem with external applications ideas which have been suggested imo is that it then means people have less reason to actually go ingame. Why go ingame to check on your friends when you can just use your iPhone to check up on people?

You can't make it so that iPhone games would be required in any way to solve or progress in parts of URU (Due to not everyone having one) so everything would either be a duplicate of things that are in the cavern (Minigames that say give you pellets), or they would be completely separate from URU making it a completely different game. In either case i don't see how that would increase the chance of people actually going in Cavern.

I personally don't need an external application to remind me that any game i play exists and i stay interested in games as long as they are interesting.

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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 6:28 am 
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Just an idea here, but bear with me.

What if some enterprising D'ni expert (Or smartphone hacker) built a "Ki to Smartphone Interface", available as a downloadable app for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7, <insert smartphone system of choice>.

Users who are "On the surface" can still communicate with each other out of the cavern, as well as those within, as the cellphone networks act as an extension of the "Lattice" (Or the App uses the smartphone's on-board radios to pick up and decode the "Lattice" signals, whichever IG explanation suits best). Also, certain ages can have puzzles/tasks that are completed on the Ki (Like Jalak, but even more so). For example, collecting sounds and putting them in the correct order, or building an image out of pieces found as you walk around the age.

If you are in-cavern, you play these puzzles on your avatar's Ki. But you can log out (go back up to the surface) and continue on your smartphone, getting help from friends and acquaintances. It also enables fun things like Real-Life Marker missions (Using GPS and AR), especially fun for get-togethers like Mysterium, though that wouldn't be possible to take back in-game.

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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 7:18 am 
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But how would making puzzles accessible without using MOULa get people to play puzzles in MOULa? Its a catch 22, you want to increase players ability to interact with the world, but your taking away the need to interact with the world.

I understand that people like mini-games on phones and that they can be a nice form of advertisement. But i don't see how porting contents onto an iPhone will help with the goal of increasing cavern activity.

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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 9:39 am 
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Here's a real-life example of a smartphone app used in other 3D worlds. For OSgrid (and SL), the iPhone/iPad app I use to communicate with others, Pocket Metaverse, actually logs my avatar into those worlds. I can chat with buddies or others via pm and even via local chat if they are within normal chat range. They will also see my avatar, in that case.

I use the Pocket Metaverse app because it boots up quicker, I don't need a computer, I can quickly check that all is well on the regions in OSgrid, I can see if anyone needs a hand with anything -- at which point I might well go into world. At times it is a lot more convenient to use.

So it is not necessarily a tool for getting players into the game, but potentially more for player retention and interaction once they have made friends here.

I do like the sound of Anaerin's ideas.


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 3:32 pm 
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Stucuk wrote:
One major flaw with the idea. If there is noone in the cavern then why would people use an iPhone application to chat to.. well noone.

:lol: True. Good point. The flaw is not in the app idea so much in as the success of the game. But, your point certainly makes it clear and iPhone chat app is not a first priority. We are hopping things will change.

I agree that exterior apps can provide reason to be outside the game rather than inside the game. But whether they are in or out, they are participating and that is what player retention is about. Some people participate in Uru by coding servers, others by building ages, others by building web sites, and etc. They are all participating in Uru. While login stats are a good measure of interest in a game, they are incomplete.

I’m thinking, sort of like Anaerin, of being able to see my KI from an app. I can read my notes and look at pictures I took. That allows me to think about a puzzle. Eventually that will mean a login. The idea with this is not to force people to play the game a single way but to play in whatever way works best for them.

Blue Mars has basically moved the whole game to smart phones and made PC development secondary. Linden Lab is changing their game client and will soon have the user interface and render engine in separate modules. This will more easily allow web based viewers and iPhone apps similar to Blue Mars but without the cloud or any new idea that pops up. The trend in game software is toward smart phones and other game devices. Cyan is obviously heading the app direction as they are making more iPhone apps.

You are also right about making it so no one is FORCED to use an app. The point is to give people alternate ways to do the same things.

I think it would be great if the entire game could be delivered to an iPhone app. Blue Mars does it by rendering the game in the cloud and using the cell phone as a terminal. No 4gb download needed just a small terminal app. But, that is a challenging change for the server and client software and if it ever happens it is likely a considerable time away.

The point of the less ambitious apps is to hold or increase player participation now. What we NEED to play Uru is not the question. The real motive is finding what fun things people can do with Uru.

Those that like the app idea can work on apps and we’ll see what comes up. Adam’s Who’s On type program could be an app. There is a Pod Clock that is already an app. The D’ni Pocketpedia could be an app for when people are solving puzzles on or off line.

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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 4:31 pm 
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New to this discussion.

IMHO, the things the game needs to deal with are player retention related. Why do new players leave, and older players distance themselves from the help they might want to provide, but have decided is to time consuming?

And therein lies the answer. Time consumption. Every time any player, and especially experienced players (again IMHO) come to the cavern, they are seeking some new experience (usually). Experienced players may seek community, or may seek some new glitch (the stage I am in). New players need a little faster action. Yes URU, MOUL(a), and all the MYST games are unique in that they require tranquil states of mind (a slowdown of the mental state of anxiety), you don't particularly want to encourage putting them to sleep. So a little bit quicker can be good.

In game hints would help a ton. Old players prefer to maintain the mystery, and for the most part try really hard to not spoil the new player experience, with varying degrees of success.

A new KI will help both. For new players a KI with direct linking capabilities, meaning no need to go to the nexus, will speed up their experience. The will not get bored to distraction. Instead they may actually find some action. For experienced players seeking that new route, or glitch, fiery abyss, we earned an advancement in the speed.

I have, with learning multi-jumps, come to realize that the glitch jumping in the game is as important as any age and its puzzles. I have worked harder solving all the jumping issues, which was a puzzle to me, than I did doing CC. So I sort of consider jumping and off ground routes to be the 5th age of URU, ok maybe the 7th age or 9th, but more important to the long term viability, and desire of constantly returning to the cavern, than the PODS for example.

I understand that there is available (never seen it myself) an offline KI with many off the capabilities we want. Used in shards I believe. If you could incorporate that KI, with new built-in nexus capabilities, you could solve that frustrating 'KI is Full' issue, speed up the game, and probably reduce stress on the existing servers. +++ move IMHO.

I don't like that in order to collect marker games, I have to create new explorers just to store those games in.

I don't like that when in my main avvie, I can not lay a marker down because my KI is full. I really don't like that nowhere (yet) have I found any good explanation about why my KI is full.


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