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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:32 am 
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Tai'lahr, I think that when there's something to do in a game that is supposed to cause something to happen, then said game needs to show progress -- there needs to be something in the game that shows, and reasonably soon (however you define "reasonable) that if a bunch of people do this thing, then something happens. Along with the lake being lightened, I'd also like it tied to individual rewards -- something for your Relto is always nice, or an article of clothing.

I think pellet contests are intriguing, with impressively large scores. Just because I didn't do it -- I'm still interested in seeing what people did with the pellets. You took something that I found, what's the word, useless, and had fun with it. I think that says a lot.

Without the pellet scores being tied to gameplay, something designed in the game, before the pellet thing started -- it just seemed so arbitrary. The Cyan developers might decide at any time -- "I guess that's enough -- we'll lighten the lake". Now I'm not saying they did it like that, but it felt like that to me, so I didn't play.

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Last edited by mszv on Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:40 am 
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Without the pellet scores being tied to gameplay, something designed in the game, before the pellet thing started -- it just seemed so arbitrary. The Cyan developers might decide at any time -- "I guess that's enough -- we'll lighten the lake"


I did feel this to some extent too. Especially since, with the episodic gameplay, it was pretty much guaranteed that the eventual lightening would occur during a "new content week" regardless of player behaviour, making it harder to suspend disbelief that it was really based on our efforts directly.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:54 am 
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O ye of little faith...

The players who see Uru as nothing more than a game naturally expect to see instant results to their actions. But, Cyan created the cavern restoration to be as realistic as possible. Remember, it was supposed to happen in real time (forget about the GameTap-forced episodic content which was an abberation). If the story is taking place in real time, then it makes perfect sense for a project which is dependent on volunteer labor to take years to produce results.

As someone who works with volunteers in environmental organizations, I've seen many natural restoration projects that take years just to get a foothold. Sometimes, it takes just one or a few people who believe in a project to get it started and keep it going until it can produce enough results to generate interest among others who are then willing to step up and help.

So, who will do the work now that produces the results which will encourage others to join in and participate later?

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:03 am 
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kaelisebonrai wrote:
but don't just tell us "it does light the lake, trust me"

It does light the lake. Trust me. [I don't check the lake's pellet points every day (with a few exceptions for server outages and the like) for my health.]

But as I said during the GameTap days... it's a biiig lake, and the algae has been "mostly dead" for a looong time - so expecting immediate feedback is probably going to lead only to disappointment. Such is life. The lake lighting project, as I have also said in the past, should be viewed as a "long term" project, measured in months and years, not days and weeks. If that isn't your cup of tea, that's fine, but that's this cup of tea.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:48 am 
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Thank you once again, RAWA. A long-standing question settled.

And now everyone who (like me) has not been constantly cooking pellets and dumping them in can feel bad because if we had been, maybe there would be a more visible effect by now. :twisted:


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:23 am 
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RAWA wrote:

It does light the lake. Trust me.


More precisely, it "can" light the lake. Given the design premise, the historical context of this activity, and the improbable increase of the current population by any significant number, it's probably more accurate to say that it's unlikely that it will ever light the lake without design intervention.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:52 pm 
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RAWA's statement makes me believe Cyan are planning to change the brightness of the Cavern at some point. So feed the algae, and maybe we will see changes sooner or later :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:54 pm 
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I think that RAWA is replying "in character", and nicely done too. I think, from what he is saying, that he has the metrics on how many pellets were done. Interesting question -- when Uru restarted, several times (Ubisoft days, Gametap days, the current server), did the pellet number reset? Was it a new version of Uru -- did the old numbers carry over? Does this count as the same Uru, or is it a new Uru all over again? :D Note: Thanks Marten for answering this -- I forgot that Ercanna wasn't in the original online release!! :D

Now, from a design perspective, I'm not sure that they have something coded, that after a certain number of pellets, the lake will get lighter. That sounds awfully complicated to me, and how did they test it? Perhaps they do, perhaps they don't, but if they have the numbers, they (Cyan) can reset the light level manually, after a certain number of pellets are dropped, of the right kind.

As to whether anyone (hey, me!) should feel bad about not doing pellets -- I don't feel bad. It's everyone's choice on what to do. I don't choose to participate in something where there might be a change in Uru, after some unspecified part of time, based on some unspecified number of pellets dropped.

On the idea that the game is the real world, and so that explains the time frame -- no, quite simply, no. Come on, everyone, you know that, as much as me. It's a simulation, a virtual world. The world designers choose what happens, in what time frame. It doesn't take us months, years to explore an age, like it would in real time. The time for us to explore an age is compressed. We can jump really high, we can't get hurt. We don't need to eat, we don't die. We can't use our arms. It's a simulation, a virtual world. Virtual worlds work best when things appear to be internally consistent, in a time frame that works for the players. Now, it looks like there is a plan for something to happen over a long time frame -- a design decision Cyan made. It's an interesting design choice, and an interesting question -- will this keep people's attention? Will players elect to keep dropping pellets so that something happens in the unspecified future? If players do this, then that was a good design decision. If players don't, then I'd say it was a design choice that didn't have the desired effect, didn't work. Also, stating the obvious, "blaming the players" has no meaning, it makes no sense.

Other interesting questions -- what will happen when we get multiple instances of Uru? If this is something in the server code -- then the open source developers will be able to look at it, and modify it,right? We'll see the code. Now if we get the server code released and that's not in there -- what does that tell you? Is it not in the server code, does it come in a different way, is it a manual thing Cyan elects to do -- lighten the lake after some amount of pellets? Or -- did Cyan elect to not share that piece, assuming they give us the server code. This is very interesting! Now I'm interested in the pellets!

Concluding with some level of optimism, if players want to do it -- that says something. Perhaps Cyan is making the decision to change the lake levels, and soon. Perhaps dragossh is right. I'd like that.

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Last edited by mszv on Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:28 pm 
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There were no pellet drops during Prologue, and I don't know how Cyan would count pellet drops from The Path of the Shell. So, the numbers really began in late 2007 when the DRC released access to Er'cana. And as Cyan has maintained a continuity across all Cyan-involved instantiations of Uru, I would expect that the numbers today are adding to the numbers established in 2007-2008.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:33 pm 
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I can only repeat that there is nothing wired for this and that is not a guess. But even if Cyan is not going to wire anything my suggestion to change the fog brightness is still valid. They can keep checking the global lake score manually and when it reaches the required level they simply push a city.fni file update (which contains the age specific fog defaults). Several other "ages" bordering on the lake would need to have their fni files updated as well. We'll see.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:33 pm 
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mszv wrote:
Now, it looks like there is a plan for something to happen over a long time frame -- a design decision Cyan made. It's an interesting design choice, and an interesting question -- will this keep people's attention? Will players elect to keep dropping pellets so that something happens in the unspecified future? If players do this, then that was a good design decision. If players don't, then I'd say it was a design choice that didn't have the desired effect, didn't work.

In my mind, it is both a design decision and a "canon" decision (and I hesitate to use that term, expecting the canon wars to irrupt yet again).

I agree with your general tenor here, mszv, that the pellet ploy was and remains a dicey game design decision. By introducing it as something more than a new game (like Jalak), however, Cyan also made an important canon decision, as clearly pellets must have played a vital role in D'ni history. Now, I know not everyone (indeed, by my guess, a minority) of Uru players are interested in that history, but the lack of any backstory to the pellets gives it the air of merely a somewhat futile action, or even a "rats in a maze" feeling - as in, will the plucky and selfless Uru players band together and continue to drop pellets despite the absence of any cheese? Tune in to Uru 2014 and find out!

Cyan could have developed more of a history and produced a notebook to go along with the light meter, for example, giving us some clues about how the whole system works. References to ecological thresholds, algae capable of growth without sunlight, chemical analyses of lake water and pellet composition, all could have given us something to chew on and create stories to resolve our cognitive dissonance, triggered by massive pellet dropping and zero lake response. Cyan's lack of resources no doubt prevented that from happening, although it's never clear what they may or may not have wanted versus being able to implement. People's resistance to anything not-Cyan also acts as a barrier, as it discourages most people from constructing their own stories that explore possibilities (that is, fill in the gaps) for how pellets work.

All of that may also be a bad design decision, of course, but it at least would steer the arguments toward pellets in the context of Uru the game instead of Uru the executable.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:48 pm 
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No one needs to feel bad about not dropping pellets; if it's not your thing, it's not your thing. But it would be nice if people would stop telling others how futile it is and possibly discouraging those who are doing the work.

Zardoz wrote:
Cyan could have developed more of a history and produced a notebook to go along with the light meter, for example, giving us some clues about how the whole system works. References to ecological thresholds, algae capable of growth without sunlight, chemical analyses of lake water and pellet composition, all could have given us something to chew on and create stories to resolve our cognitive dissonance, triggered by massive pellet dropping and zero lake response. Cyan's lack of resources no doubt prevented that from happening, although it's never clear what they may or may not have wanted versus being able to implement. People's resistance to anything not-Cyan also acts as a barrier, as it discourages most people from constructing their own stories that explore possibilities (that is, fill in the gaps) for how pellets work.

All of that may also be a bad design decision, of course, but it at least would steer the arguments toward pellets in the context of Uru the game instead of Uru the executable.

Agreed! Maybe if enough people express an interest in the project, Cyan might put it on their long to-do list for the future when the CAVCON meter reaches level 5. :D

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:35 pm 
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You know, the idea of the Lake Light Project is actually one of my favourite things in Uru. I do think it had some problems in the implementation with lack of feedback, absence of real explanation to provide motivation, and requiring some major leaps of suspension of disbelief... but the concept is great.

I just don't think that things we like (including Uru as a whole) are so sacred as to be immune to constructive criticism. It's nothing personal. Talking about what works for us and what doesn't work for us can make things better for a better experience as a whole in the future. :)

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Remember, it was supposed to happen in real time (forget about the GameTap-forced episodic content which was an abberation).


Nice idea, except a major part of what we're discussing is how the game actually worked. How it actually worked at the time the project was implemented was episodes.

It doesn't really advance a discussion of game mechanics to simply demand that we all pretend that any mechanic we didn't like either didn't exist or wasn't a factor.

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Cyan could have developed more of a history and produced a notebook to go along with the light meter, for example, giving us some clues about how the whole system works. References to ecological thresholds, algae capable of growth without sunlight, chemical analyses of lake water and pellet composition, all could have given us something to chew on and create stories to resolve our cognitive dissonance, triggered by massive pellet dropping and zero lake response.


This would have been awesome! :D It would have gone a long way toward fixing both my criticisms above: it would have made the goals more clear (for example, reducing the need for someone who participated to start this thread about why they were even doing it,) and made the number we were shooting for less apparently random and more organic to the world. They also could have given some idea of the timeline so player expectations would be on the same page with them (meaning the months or years thing.)

If Cyan ever gets the chance, I really hope they will do this. :)

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:53 pm 
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The purpose of this thread?!? It wasn't meant to discuss game mechanics and make constructive criticism of the project - take that to the Suggestions section. A newcomer asked what the purpose of the pellets is and everyone jumped in to tell them it's a futile effort. What a great introduction to Uru. :roll:

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:01 pm 
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Discussions evolve.

Honestly, you're coming off as rather defensive, and are making Uru sound rather fragile... which would personally have worried me a lot more as a new player than people being forthright about what they liked and disliked. I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable playing a game that couldn't stand up to differing opinions on fairly minor aspects by people who all like it as a whole.

But there's a "personally" in that sentence for a reason, whatever floats your boat and all that, and since I don't think I'm adding anything here by my participation, I think I am done. :)

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