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#1 Re: Main Forum » Couple small issues with the squatter update » 2017-12-07 23:40:42

After playing a while post update, I've noticed a knock on effect. It is now easier to get ahead as a robber, but that makes it far more difficult to get started as a builder.

Since you have all these houses available, many are broken or otherwise quite easy. By the time someone hits my house they have built up a bounty. In the old days, I could make a house for $1500, leave it overnight, collect maybe $300 or $500 in bounties and build from there. But now, the first guys to die in my house will regularly drop 5k or 20k in bounties they've most likely accrued from robbing abandoned houses. This is quickly followed by someone with more spent on tools than the house cost to build.

It is simply not possible to defend a 5k or 20k vault from multiple players each with $2k+ worth of tools when you have a <2k budget.

Given the fact that the players who rob me are always gone by the time I log in and the bounty money is steadily building in the house at the top of the leaderboard, it appears that TCD has now devolved to a state where you *have to* use multiple accounts to play.

I'd like to propose either a soft fix of significantly lowering the bounty accrued when robbing abandoned houses, or a hard fix to prevent a house that works well immediately becoming low hanging fruit the first few hours it is unattended. A delay between killing a robber and collecting the bounty of 24 hrs or until the first login, whichever comes first would do it.

#2 Re: Main Forum » New "cheatproof" test server » 2017-12-07 21:38:15

Another thought, this time on deceased estates.

On the main server yesterday I had a house that was starting to take shape nicely, maybe $20k to rebuild. Then I made a dumb mistake while scouting another house and died. The problem here is the "content eating machine" intrinsic to the design of TCD. Fair enough that I died and lost everything, but a perfectly good house I'd spent days on, with a living wife and untouched safe just got lost to the void before anybody ever beat it.

What I think could work nicely in this situation is for those houses owned by people who died while robbing (or the last known working version when someone dies during self test) to become deceased estates.

Instead of appearing on the list as a name, it appears as an address, so that it is obvious to all that it is a different category. Tapes from this address are still sent to the owners "next of kin" but they can no longer collect bounties or edit it.

As an aside, any house of significant value in this category is probably not a multi, since multi players would not be risking the life of their primary in the first place.

Anyway, the idea here is to preserve that content for as many other players as possible, in a way that is difficult to abuse with multi accounts.

So, for deceased estates you get one shot, "permachill". If you rob the safe, or die in there, it is gone from your list forever. On top of this, if you manage to rob the place you take only 10% of the vault. ie deceased estates are listed at 10% of their "real" value. As more people successfully rob it, it gets progressively broken down as it slides down the list in value, giving players at all levels a chance to have a go at it. And as long as it is still killing people it is still collecting bounties too, albeit at a rate of 10% so good houses may last a long time as deceased estates.

Awarding only 10% of the vault will in most cases make these places not worth robbing as soon as they transition into a deceased estate, so when a player dies the value of the property should be taken into account, let's say 50% - before it is further reduced to 10%

eg I have a house that costs $20k to replace, with $1,300 in the vault and die during self test.
In my next life I see the deceased estate 23 Franklin Street, it shows a vault value of $1,130 (20,000 * 50% + 1,300) * 10%
I rob that house for $1,130 with no tools, it belonged to my "uncle" so I know the layout.
The "real" value of the house is now 11,300 minus my 1,130 = 10,170
That same house is still listed for everyone but me, but it's displayed value is now  $1,017
Another player comes to rob it, he has a $6,000 bounty and dies, leaving behind tools with a resale value of $500
The house vault is now worth (10170 + 6000)*0.1 + 500 in tools = 1,717.
3 more people die with bounties of 800 total and no tools, house value is now 1,797
I'm kicking myself at this point. Watching the tapes from 23 Franklin St. I see that if I'd waited a few days to rob my "uncles" house, I could have made more from the bounties and tools it collected after he died.
5 people in a row successfully rob it for 1797, then 1617, then 1455, then 1310 then 1179 dropping 10% off the value each time.

Because of permachill, eventually, the house runs out of robbers. Maybe it is deleted after sitting idle for a week. Alternatively the vault could award 10% rounded up to the nearest $10 so that it can get robbed down to zero while still giving diminishing returns.

This wont stop people with 10 accounts, but it will seriously hinder those with 2 or 3, and by allowing someone to rob their previous house for a fraction of it's value, gives people a chance to recoup a fraction of their losses after a catastrophic death. But most importantly it keeps the content alive for as many people as possible.

#3 Re: Main Forum » More Terminal Heist teaser images » 2017-12-07 03:06:37

Sure, the graphics look fine, it's just too abstracted for my liking which makes it harder to figure out and remember what does what to what. TCD is extremely intuitive in the way that objects interact with each other - it is obvious what a brick or a saw can and cannot do. In any case, it turns out you can just copy the game elements folder from TCD over that folder in TH, and most of the game reverts to the original. So I can play on PC in TCD mode, and check my tapes on android in TH mode. Perfect.

Sadly there are only 4 houses to rob on TH at the moment.

#4 Re: Main Forum » New "cheatproof" test server » 2017-12-06 19:45:50

Yeah, I understand the problem, but can't say I like the solution. I can't play the way I did on the main server which was to build a house that kills people and progress almost exclusively via bounties.

I know that Jason, cullman and yourself have put a lot of thought, time and effort into fixing things, but bear with me a minute while I think this through myself, not just sockproofing but addressing a few other things as well.

The biggest problem over all is not enough houses to rob in a small player base.

As someone who played before, then drifted away, but would like to play again now, my problem is quite the opposite. I want to make more content, but I can't.

I have a bunch of starter house ideas I'd like to try out, but on both servers I am limited to building 1 house and waiting. On the main server nobody is coming in anymore after 3 or 4 kills - my mistake, I added an obvious scout killer that scares most people away, so I either suicide or I'm stuck waiting for what would have to be either an idiot or someone very new to the game.

But on your server, my house made only one kill but it meant nothing at all - because the guy robbed me anyway, and my balance is negative. I guess I could make 10 accounts on your server, but if none of them can progress by fooling robbers, what is the point?

In both cases I am locked out of playing, unless I go robbing - which I do, but I don't take risks. There is no case where I would value one saw over 200 wood walls or one wirecutter over 20 electric floors - with the exception of coming back with a club if I see an unprotected wife in the entryway of a house worth over $500.

What would suit my playstyle is letting players build multiple houses on one account, but rather than permadeath, have "permachill" - so that if one of my houses kills you, that's it, you're done there. You can try rob my other houses, but you can't come back to the house that killed you until after I've reset it manually via a new self test - probably after I've spent the bounties to upgrade the house.

Another thing I see as a problem with the original game design is allowing players to spend practically unlimited amounts to protect very little left over in the vault. My current house on the main server is an example of that. It's most likely going to sit idle for a long time because I spent too much on defences. From a robbers point of view, the relationship between risk (house cost) and reward (vault contents) is an extremely variable unknown. It would be better if a certain percentage of all earnings must go in the vault - unavailable for defences or tools. it would not have to be a lot - maybe 10%.

This could carry over to fix yet another problem I have with the game - where a $2k starter house might work as intended, but one guy it kills has a five figure bounty meaning that while you are away your house moves briefly to the top of the list, before other players (or a multi of the same player) comes in with tools worth dozens of times more than the original house and contents combined.

So, you force players to maintain 10% in their vault, but when someone does get a bounty - only 10% of it goes straight to the vault. The rest is held in reserve (at the police station?) until the house owner logs in and has the opportunity to deal with their new wealth. That way it is not possible for player A to trash players B's house in order to transfer funds to player C who may or may not be collaborating with, or a multi of player A.

Anyway, just some ideas. I am actually considering making a mobile game in many ways similar to TCD, so I see this forum as the ideal place to work out solutions to some of the problems built into TCD.

#5 Re: Main Forum » More Terminal Heist teaser images » 2017-12-06 00:31:51

Hi cullman! I'd really like to see TH succeed and wish you the best with it. What I'd really, really like to see though is an option to return it to the original theme and graphics set.

#6 Re: Main Forum » New "cheatproof" test server » 2017-12-05 16:20:41

Only did a couple, there's only a few on there. The lag was noticeable but short enough not to be a problem playing from Australia. You *could* ease the sense of lag by playing a short animation, just sliding the robber to the tile over 100ms based on client input before playing out the results of the move from the server. But really, 100 - 200ms delay is not a problem in a turn based game.

Seems the rules are quite different here, I had a guy come in and die in my "one trick pony" starter house, only to have the same guy come back 5 times until he eventually robbed me... If he had died a second time would he have been reset? Or can you just keep wailing on a house until you break it? (money for tools allowing)

#7 Re: Main Forum » The future of in game advertising? » 2017-12-05 04:05:23

Just letting you know, playing on android 8.0.0 on a google pixel phone, the game has a bad graphic glitch on resume, looks like all textures become white squares and the layout seems stretched as though in the wrong aspect ratio. Force quit and restart fixes it.

Also, I think I robbed a similar house today, didnt want to explore too much as 1 of 2 people had died in there before me, but it looked like it might have been big letters saying something...

How come you changed the theme and graphics btw?

#8 Re: Main Forum » New "cheatproof" test server » 2017-12-05 02:48:42

Made an account and had a look around... the competition houses are weird, some of them clearly have no path to the vault, like one with a metal wall on the doorstep that must be cut through to enter, or an open pit in the same 1st square. Cool stuff though, looking forward to seeing how it works online, assuming the competition bounties are enough to let me go rob.

#9 Re: Main Forum » We Will Make The Castle Doctrine Great Again » 2017-12-04 20:23:46

Another way you could potentially bolster the game is allowing each account to work like someone who has multiple accounts - minus the parts that make multi accounts bad - let each player make 3 or 5 houses, I guess like those guys who lead secret polygamous lives and have multiple families that don't know about each other.

#10 Re: Main Forum » We Will Make The Castle Doctrine Great Again » 2017-12-04 19:50:09

Aaargh, 2nd day back and I remembered why I stopped playing this game!

So I have a $2k starter house with $668 left split between the wife and the vault, I log regularly for the first few hours, then every few hours, usually there are no tapes, occasionally there's a guy having a scout around.

Then while I'm away someone comes in with $850 worth of tools, breaks a window, kills a dog, gets $334 from the vault, this is not so much of a problem, the whole setup is designed to lure and kill people who go after the wife, and that happens next... even though my house is broken and not working as intended, a guy comes in, makes a stupid mistake, the wife shoots him and he drops a $21,300 bounty.

Probably wrecked that guys day and he probably deserved it. Awesome.

Problem is, that $21k bounty puts my $2k starter house with a dead dog and broken window on top of the list, or top 3 at least. More than worth the cost of a pistol in any case. So by the time I log in the next morning, my family is dead and safe empty, because I built a starter house that successfully killed a serial murderer.

An email notification might have kept me in the game. Or not, I was probably asleep when it went down anyway.

#11 Re: Main Forum » We Will Make The Castle Doctrine Great Again » 2017-12-04 01:24:21

Since TCD lives and dies on it's player base, there is one sure fire way Jason could breathe new life into it (or someone else could, since he made it open source and public domain)...

Re-release it on mobile as an ad supported free to play. You'd get a lot of new players, and they all come logged into an apple or google account which would make multi abuse that much harder, you'd even have reliable location data, meaning you could filter out everyone who is physically within 100 miles from each player.

It would solve another problem I had with TCD too, which was constantly logging in only to find there are no new tapes... push notifications could let players know when they've been robbed or collected a bounty.

#12 Re: Main Forum » 72 active players » 2017-12-03 18:46:15

Just dropping in to say "Hi"

I absolutely loved Castle Doctrine back in the day, it is the game that gave me the single biggest emotional reaction of any game.

I was playing during a period when there was a massive class division, a few people with successful houses that regularly killed people were (I guess) getting bored with their success and these guys had no problem taking thousands of dollars worth of tools in to rob starter houses for whatever change they had left from $2k, which kinda sucked for anyone trying to get started. Some of these guys though were real jerks who would kill the wife and kids as well. So, I set up a house to deliberately target and kill these jerks and it worked, it collected several five figure and even six figure bounties. I was literally jumping around the house with joy, punching the air watching the replays. Then, after making massive upgrades to the house, I died on my own traps.

Anyway, to those like myself who have come back for another look after Jason's mailout, I want to say - be careful out there, I took a screenshot of my jerk-killer house back in the day, and now it is rebuilt and back in action. big_smile

#13 Re: Main Forum » Meta-Game and Common Trap Mechanics » 2014-04-04 14:47:13

iceman wrote:

Here's some of the traps from my house: … iginal.jpg

Is there a version of this sort of thing where you must have a dog one square behind you to move forward? I thought I had one in an old house, but after trying to put one in my current house I'm starting to doubt it is even possible. Doesn't need to be a commit gate, and putting the dog 2 squares back isn't an option for me.

#14 Re: Main Forum » Minimalist starter house design » 2014-03-20 07:03:53

shlam16 wrote:
42dustman wrote:

How do you solve it?

You walk up to the dog until you are touching, then come back down to the bottom. Head right, under the panic button, then onto it and left. The dog is now behind you. Then you head up to the wife and do the same thing. It is really well timed in that you step past each other without her shooting you, then around the corner to the vault.

That doesn't quite work on the house he posted, the solution is a bit different. I'd post it but it's my new starter house now.

#15 Re: Main Forum » Riddle » 2014-03-19 16:54:03

Walk to the pit (E E E E E E E E E E)
back to the generator (W W W W W W W)
get the dog ( E S N )
fry the dog ( E E E E )
fix the switches ( W E E E W E E E)
profit ( E )

Edit: oops should have refreshed thread before posting.

#16 Re: Main Forum » Game ruined » 2014-03-12 23:46:24

Suedo, I will tell you what behaviour ruins the game for me:

*Validate an empty house.
*Find a new name in the list.
*Load up $2k in tools, either wife killer or vault breaker, very few <$2k houses can defend against both.
*Wreck a new house that cost less to build than your tools.

It is not so bad lately, but these guys were the majority of players for some time when I started playing, with at least a couple of very rich players in there masquerading as these guys as well, except they had massive bounties, which I found out by designing a griefer trap. smile

Though my new house, a scout killer that scored 6 for 9 overnight had two $2k toolers in a row today, taking ~$450 from my vault using $4000 worth of tools between them.

edit: I should not say majority of players, rather majority of robbers, since one player could go through every new house once per day, so it only takes a few guys doing it.

#17 Re: Main Forum » Do you see me in the list? » 2014-03-10 14:13:47

It was an odd thing, I had been in that house earlier today and it is an obvious trap, but because I had no intention of robbing you I was not being cautious at all.

#18 Re: Main Forum » Do you see me in the list? » 2014-03-10 13:55:42

Now I do, and godammit, I went to say hello, did a little dance in front of your dogs, forgot everything was deadly and died! Totally ruined that wife exploit I had going! sad

#20 Re: Main Forum » not sure if this is a bug, exploit or intended behaviour... » 2014-03-10 10:02:30

The wife already gets bumped if she is spawning on a corpse, I haven't looked but I am sure the code does not bump her inside a wall or other obstructed tile. Shotguns should just be treated as obstructions in that code, that's my guess.

JoyOfTrapping wrote:

Hahahaha, yeah this needs to be fixed.  You could make deliberately engineered insta-death traps by using two accounts, and having the alt account kill a child to cause this behavior.

Yeah, that's why I didn't post the original layout that enabled it, I'm sure it's not that hard to figure out tho.

#21 Re: Main Forum » not sure if this is a bug, exploit or intended behaviour... » 2014-03-10 09:47:45

Nah, that would ruin other legit placements wouldn't it?
She should just not spawn on top of the shotgun in the exact same way that she does not spawn on top of corpses or inside walls.

#22 Main Forum » not sure if this is a bug, exploit or intended behaviour... » 2014-03-10 09:19:50

Replies: 13

I had a starter house and (as usual) the first guy to turn up had tools worth more than my vault. Anyway, he killed both the kids but the wife had shotgun so she got away.

One of the kids died on the square the wife normally starts at, and it seems this causes the wife to spawn one tile to the south, which happens to be the tile with the shotgun, so my wife is now like this in edit mode:


She insta-kills anyone who opens the doors, just as though she had already seen them. Pretty neat, huh?

#23 Re: Main Forum » Neighborhood view » 2014-03-06 04:31:13

Hah, I like the idea of crime scene tape AMWhy, but those should be on recent murders. (ie player hasn't logged in since the killing) What you propose is a whole lot more involved than what I was thinking... I wasn't even thinking it would be part of the game, more like a server stats webpage that polled the database, but I guess Jason is already looking at improving the list view somehow. 

If it was going to be in the game so that you could scroll around in it and choose a house to rob, I think the first thing to note is that houses would have to move around or the map wouldn't be very useful or realistic. Keeping players set in the place they spawned in would mean mansions sprouting up like mushrooms in the middle of slums. They'd need to be re-sorted each time, just as it is now. Because the map is 2D, you could also sort houses on two metrics, at the moment it's sorted by combined value of vault and wife, I wonder the effect of sorting by that value on one axis and value of the house defenses on the other. Depending on exactly how it was calculated, there'd be different kinds of prestige in at least 2 of the corners.

You could also show other info graphically, like the police tape or tall brick fences for people with dead families since most go into "fortress mode" after that.

#24 Re: Main Forum » Can someone tell me what this is about? » 2014-03-06 02:56:59

Well, it had to happen eventually. Thomas John Bowen killed my wife for the $3 she was holding. I tried replacing her with a cat, but it just wasn't the same without her greeting folks at the door, with her sunny smile and hair trigger. Nothing to do now she's gone but use this vault full of tools for revenge....

This was my house that got those ridiculous bounties... I'd done a couple of small scale robberies to get going, guess it cost a bit under 5k.


Then everything changed, and I had $100k burning a hole in my pocket and endangering my wife. I call it "The Folly of the Nouveau Riche" poorly planned out with more money than I knew how to spend, I was busy with other things when the windfall came in and had to burn the cash quickly.


The entryway got most of the kills. First thing you see is the wife heading south. If you scouted south first and then tried the door, the wife gets in position behind it, or if you rush through that door and run the gauntlet to the second door, she hasn't opened the door behind it yet, and you get sandwiched between two dogs and a locked door.

The solution was to open that first door exactly on the seventh turn, which gives you a window of opportunity between the wife opening the door and the daughter closing it a turn later, any sooner and it never opens, any later and the wife will beat you to it. Then all you have to do is make sure you are standing in front of the pit 42 turns after you opened the first door (3 loops around the eastern pylon does it, dog's gotta get his exercise!) and take a leap of faith on the one turn when it switches. Simple! big_smile

Or, you know, bring a meat, a dynamite, a saw and a ladder.

What's surprising is that nobody even got the first part. A couple of guys sawed their way in before I tidied the wiring and concreted up the powered doorway, but that was pretty much it. Held up surprisingly well for what it was.

I think future houses will use something similar, seems the odds against a robber fluking the timing of two pet/family sightings are just as slim as combo locks.

#25 Re: Main Forum » KillerBits YouTube interview with Jason Rohrer » 2014-03-05 18:09:51

Sounds like Jason has read Scott McCloud's understanding comics.

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