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#1 Re: Main Forum » More Terminal Heist teaser images » 2017-12-06 18:09:28

^Why? TCD already exists and the TH graphics are quite snazzy and original.

#2 Main Forum » Couple small issues with the squatter update » 2017-11-20 21:10:39

Replies: 3

First off, the new updates are great! I've really had a blast over the past week after honestly thinking I had exhausted my time with the game a while back.

The main issue I'm seeing is that the surprise tool is visibly shown in squatter house value, not only after the first death, but after the first viewing. I agree that after the first death it's acceptable because the house has proven itself and the value has changed. But as it currently stands, the behavior can be easily exploited by visiting all the sub $200 houses until you find one that pops back up to about ~$1k and ignoring those that don't.

It's possible to find a $50 house, step on the doormat, and have the visible price jump 25x. One side effect is that it's zero risk to bypass the cheap houses. It's not at all worth robbing a house that you know will only get you $100 when it's practically suicide to scout without at least one $200 dog meat. If the value remained hidden, you'd have to stick your neck out hoping for a reward... maybe taking more risks than necessary. smile

Also some houses are so badly "broken" with dogs right in the entrance that tools are an absolute requirement and the listed price isn't higher than the tool cost. That should be fixed for free along with the first issue.

Neither of these are deal breakers. The game is still a lot of fun, but the value thing is cheesy.

One other issue (if you even think it's one) is we're starting to see some repeats of squatter houses and some of them are pretty braindead. I personally think that's OK, but the stray pitbull idea might be brought in to ramp up the difficulty on these. In fact, it might be worth occasionally pulling from the larger 4000 list (with 0 deaths). Some of these might be kind of interesting with a few random pitbulls thrown in and we'd see a little more variety.

#3 Re: Main Forum » Steam reviews - Can you help? » 2017-11-20 20:46:54

Thanks for the help everyone. Shame we didn't get more response (I also learned the "recent reviews" can go away if not enough activity in one month... I'm thinking less than 10 reviews).

#5 Re: Main Forum » 72 active players » 2017-11-15 07:40:45

^Good idea. I know there is a One Hour One Life discord (though I never played).

It would be cool to have one massive server for all of Jason's games and individual channels for each one. Then even with low player populations people can still chat about whatever and cross pollinate.

#6 Re: Main Forum » Improved Chill Timeouts for smaller populations » 2017-11-14 19:51:02

I can see having broken walls in your house to fool people into thinking it's squatted (and not taking due caution) being a viable new tactic!

I thought that had been a tactic for a while, though it's much more interesting in this context!

I'm definitely having a lot of fun with this update (and to be honest I didn't even think I had the energy to play any more). The new houses are really solid, even if though some feel like low hanging fruit. Definitely not as many as I thought though and the occasional easy house really helps bootstrap a reasonable defense.

#7 Main Forum » Steam reviews - Can you help? » 2017-11-14 06:28:30

Replies: 8

As you might know, TCD's review score on steam is not the greatest. The vast majority of negative reviews cite the player base issues. It'd be good if the review score reflected the recent fixes and was more welcoming for potential buyers.

One thing I've learned myself recently is that as few as 10 reviews can add a RECENT REVIEWS section above the main score. The problem is that only about 1 in 50 people will review a game in the first place. But you can help! I'm sure there are easily ten people on these forums who have bought* the game, enjoyed it, and haven't yet left a review.

*Buying it on Steam is important, since getting a free key doesn't "count" towards the main score.

Don't worry about not have something profound to say. Frankly, the text of most reviews matters very little. It's the numerical score that people see first. This little community could punch above its weight here and potentially add a VERY POSITIVE rating, something that might revitalize the player base even more.

#8 Re: Main Forum » There are now 100 houses on the list » 2017-11-14 06:17:25

Thanks for making this change. It puts the game into a great place for the foreseeable future.

#9 Re: Main Forum » Improved Chill Timeouts for smaller populations » 2017-11-11 16:31:51

Just wanted to say, if you wanted to maintain the original puzzles then you could in theory totally reset the house. Not all puzzles would be back to normal though (because of panic buttons) unless you also replaced the family members (e.g. a godfather steps into take care of the children now that dad is on the lam). I don't think this fits into the game, but it's possible.

#10 Re: Main Forum » Improved Chill Timeouts for smaller populations » 2017-11-11 16:27:31

I'm tempted to just put all 4000 of them online with $100 each in them and see what happens.

I think the harder ones will naturally collect bounties, just like real houses, right?

Whoa! Solving this could be a lot simpler than I expected. Instead of a one time thing, just treat it as ongoing. Pick a number of houses that represents a solid amount of content to see at any given time. Let's say 100 houses. 4000 at once isn't really needed. Run a job that loads up $0 houses with $100 randomly until the house list has 100 houses. If the community takes off again and there's 100 active players, nothing happens and there's no need for the extra push.

With less than half a percent of the total $0 houses back on the list at any given time, things should always feel pretty fresh. And you don't need to worry too much about houses getting studied and repeatedly robbed because 99.75% of the time, they won't be in the mix.

I think you're right about the bounties sorting things out elegantly without the need for some complex salary calculation.

The only real question is: how many of these houses are way too easy to solve and is that even really a problem? We're only talking about $10,000 extra (for 100 houses) in the economy and stepping into these houses isn't necessarily risk free. I would though be worried about how many are default houses where the last thing people did before they logged off for good was start over, confirm their house, look at the list, and then close the game. It would be easy enough to check for and remove these houses if you wanted though.

This is exciting!

#11 Re: Main Forum » Improved Chill Timeouts for smaller populations » 2017-11-10 21:22:52

If there's some "campaign" source of money (even if it is real houses that have been abandoned, but we're adding state money to them over time), then players can grind that campaign indefinitely and build up however much money they want over time.

If you mean the same player robbing the same house repeatedly, that's very easily solved by preventing players from repeatedly getting to the same safe at least until a house is updated. If you mean the metagame of climbing the ladder by starting on low value houses, I thought that was just part of the game.

And the "real" players would be getting so much money from this that all the real houses would be impenetrable fortresses, making robbing the abandoned houses the only game in town...

This already appears to be the state of things. The top houses are practically impenetrable (I'm especially confounded by the popular clock-walkway that makes any sort of exploration basically impossible), but if people could climb their way up they might have a shot at dethroning the top players.

And the "real" players would be getting so much money from this that all the real houses would be impenetrable fortresses, making robbing the abandoned houses the only game in town...

Ah! Didn't know that. Figured most of the burn rate was from people dying. 4000 houses is a huge amount of content and you don't even need to worry about keeping around houses from dead players.

But here's the thing... most of them would be cake-walks, having their main walls cut....I don't know how to turn them into "good" puzzles.

Perhaps many won't be great puzzles. I think this could be automatically solved by having a very small starting salary that only grows when houses resist being solved for days. The no brainer houses would only be worth a few bucks, but the really good puzzles would start accumulating money fast.

I feel like $0 houses with no salary is a nonstarter. You'd have to be pretty bored to go in there.

The stray dog thing is also interesting though and frankly quite terrifying!

I'm thinking that any issues with too much money in the economy could be scaled automatically by having the salary respond accordingly. Though it's hard to say ahead of time what "too much" money even looks like.

#12 Re: Main Forum » Improved Chill Timeouts for smaller populations » 2017-11-10 00:23:06

I understand the concern about not playing the "real" game, but I'm not sure I see a distinction. With the current rules, what's the difference between houses from A) a player who has logged off for the night and B) a player who is never coming back to the game? Until they get solved, nothing. Ostensibly, there's no repercussions from B) but we of course don't know who is and who isn't going to return. Maybe you rob a house and a week later the owner comes back and watches the security tape?

So keeping around houses that have already been robbed down to $0 doesn't seem any more fake than parts of the existing game. They're real houses made by real people. And not clones or anything, but the original house (presumably kept around until the owner returns to start over and make a new house). It isn't "dummy content", but real content with new rules about its lifecycle.

That's half the equation (the reason we don't see 10,000 houses on the list is a combination of both players getting robbed down to $0 and other players dying). I suppose keeping around houses for the latter (again, until they restart) makes it less "real" because the owner will never see the security tapes.... but why not? It's not impossible to keep security tapes from past lives and then those people could take their sweet revenge. Again, maybe less real since it's a separate "life" (maybe it's the same address, who knows?).

In either case, you would probably want to minimize the prominence of these houses (e.g. higher salary for active players) and maybe cap the total number that can show up. Not because you're certain those owners won't return. They might! But because it's simply less likely. You could just say those players are less active and have less of a chance of interacting with others (robbing/watching tapes).

zed, competitions sound neat, but those blueprints were real brain burners!

#13 Re: Main Forum » Improved Chill Timeouts for smaller populations » 2017-10-25 17:36:28

Wow, awesome! After two newer games, I didn't expect you to touch TCD again at all. The change seems like strictly an improvement. Not seeing any downsides here.

It's really bummed me out that, while I had so much fun with this game, it's really difficult for me to recommend. Basically because of the reasons you're saying. A tiny playerbase combined with nothing to do ruins the whole thing. And you see that pretty clearly pointed out in Steam reviews as the primary reason people didn't enjoy it (with high difficulty being a close second). That sucks! With no exaggeration, The Castle Doctrine is like nothing else out there and has made me feel so many intense emotions again and again.

With the playerbase issues, it becomes one of those games like Dwarf Fortress which everyone enjoys talking/writing/reading about but is way too inaccessible for most people to actually engage with.

I'm sure the chill update is going to improve things. I logged in and saw a solid two pages of houses. But I wish the game could return to something closer to its former glory.

This has been weighing on my mind for a couple years now....

You could think about TCD like a puzzle game with user generated puzzles. I bet you've basically received something like 10,000 user submitted houses. This is an amazing situation to be in because that content provides pretty much limitless challenge and entertainment. And to top it off, those "puzzles" are already of varying complexities (i.e. difficulties), which is pretty great to support varying levels of skills. And then what happens next is all those puzzles are just thrown into the trash. neutral

So I figure this has been thought about before. I actually just saw it being discussed in another thread. I basically agree with the idea of bringing back salaries (with a few tweaks) and keeping old houses around. Both of those together totally solve the problem of the game being a content wood chipper.

I've thought about keeping "abandoned" houses on the list until they are beaten.  I'm not sure how to keep the owner away, though, because obviously, they'd have a huge advantage in the race to get to the vault in the house that they designed.  Yes, I could hide it from the original owner's account, but this would just further encourage multiple accounts.  Imagine dying and losing a week's worth of loot in your house.... you'd be pretty motivated to cough up another $16 for a second account to get that loot back.

Sure, but there's a simple fix! Wipe out the loot in the house. Isn't that the first thing police do when an infamous criminal dies? Now you may be asking what good is a $0 house? The thing is houses aren't valuable to the game because they have money, but because they are good puzzles. Adding a salary (or a social security check or whatever you want to call it) eventually fills up the house with money again. Yes, the original owner knows how to solve the house, but they can only abuse that if a) they don't create a new house (which I assume would remove the old one) b) they wait around for the house to accumulate money and c) no one else gets to it first. You could also consider preventing someone from repeatedly robbing a house provided it sees no update and has no living family members. With that change, you could keep the house around forever. Why should the community lose out on content because one player stopped logging in?

Keeping old houses around not only gives players more to do, but provides a shallower learning curve. Back at the peak of the game, it was a totally reasonable thing to farm low value houses and slowly improve your finances/knowledge of the game. For the past couple years, a new player logs into one page of houses and most of those are practically impossible for them. And they're not able to gather enough money to make any interesting house (and learn about nontrivial electronics). I think the game should be brutally difficult of course, but having that vertical cliff of difficulty is a nonstarter for most people.

Remember that amazing Rooster Teeth video? That video was so satisfying because, even though they failed repeatedly, it felt like they actually had a chance at that early stage of the game and they eventually succeeded.

I'm sure there would be some design decisions to make about how many old houses to keep around and how fast to grow the salary (maybe it should accumulate faster the longer the house remains unbeaten), but nothing especially complex.

In any case, this chill thing is good stuff.

#14 Re: Main Forum » Website for my new game » 2014-10-02 12:19:19

Yes. Jason posted a riddle that you must solve. smile

I'm not sure about the ETA for more broad testing.... a few months at most.

I'm super pumped about this. If it's anything like the real money contest, it'll be quite intense.

My main concern is the possibility, as others have mentioned, that the optimal strategy will be random. Essentially: what's if it's just a more complicated version of rock, paper, scissors? On that note, would a real money rock, paper, scissors game be considered a game of skill? Would it skirt gambling laws? Regardless, I want to try it out. It reminds me a lot the game Yomi.

#16 Re: Main Forum » Thomas David Gonzalez » 2014-04-30 08:20:47

It was a pretty basic wooden house with one powered door at the end. It was way too easy for the $19k you got. smile

#17 Re: Main Forum » To Julian Harvey Werner » 2014-04-29 15:57:12

Where do you guys host the images you want to share?

imgur. see?

#18 Re: Main Forum » Thomas David Gonzalez » 2014-04-29 14:42:12

Damn. Gonzalez hit me today. My house wasn't very well protected because it only had $4k. Tan died in my house today and left $15k.......... which Gonzalez promptly took.

#19 Re: Main Forum » Thomas David Gonzalez » 2014-04-24 08:05:43

Now that the owner is fixing the house, I'll elaborate.

The front was pretty weak. I was able to get into the magic dance corridor for one explosive, one saw, and two bricks. That let me map a good bit of the magic dance. From there, I must have guessed correctly on one or two magic dance sections. Then I think I guessed right out on a 1 out of 2 hallway. Finally, I guessed wrong on a 1 out of 3 hallway. That was in the top right corner. I'm still curious if how far that was, but I understand not wanting to disclose that.

#21 Main Forum » Thomas David Gonzalez » 2014-04-23 18:17:16

Replies: 20

Gonalez has an $11k house. I'm wondering if I got to the "end" and just picked wrong on the last 1 out of 3. It looks like the safe is 2 tiles away!! I dunno, maybe that wasn't the end... but it's exhilarating to get that far through a house on $2k. Quite a few traps on the way there...


#22 Re: Main Forum » someone saw the cat » 2014-04-20 15:11:13

gg again Blip, i will seek vengeance

Yes, Blip. It was Blip. Yes. wink

#23 Re: Main Forum » someone saw the cat » 2014-04-20 12:15:50

Ah. You're probably also the reason I was able to get Mitchell because your theory was correct:

From that comment, I think you've been moving your vault up to the top of your house sometimes just to trip me up.

#24 Re: Main Forum » someone saw the cat » 2014-04-20 12:11:09

Yes! I'm glad to return. Sorry my visits are so destructive. smile Actually, I think I just got lucky on my run today. I tried a few days ago and failed to rob like any of 20+ houses. I was commenting to myself that the houses seemed to have gotten much, much better.

House defense requires a huge time investment, but if you limit yourself to robbing it can be quite the coffee break game!

#25 Re: Main Forum » someone saw the cat » 2014-04-20 12:02:34

Have only played once or twice in the past few months. Decided to do a little chain robbing for fun. Took out Jeffreys for like $19k, then Mitchell with that.

Left a $70k gift to Cutler because I don't have time to build a house.

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