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#1 2017-11-13 10:09:56

Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,235

There are now 100 houses on the list

I've been thinking more about the way this game degenerates in low-population situations.  Part of the problem is that The Castle Doctrine is a content-eating machine.  Players design and make the content in the game---the houses---and players consume that content by robbing those houses.  The problem is that making a house involves a significant time investment, but that same house can get "used up" and removed from the game very quickly.  All it takes is one clever player robbing it, and it's gone.  Or the owner can make a careless mistake and die, taking the house with them to the grave.

But the bottom line is that each piece of content only serves one other player in the end---the one who successfully robs it.  And that's in the best case scenario, if the owner doesn't die first.  And of course, most players would want to rob and beat more than one house.  Each player creates only one house, but wants to rob multiple houses.  That equation simply doesn't add up.  The content demand is way greater than the supply.

In high population situations, this issue gets smoothed over somewhat in the shuffle.  But in low population situations, the problem is glaringly obvious, most importantly because the house list itself gets so short, and the few remaining active players effectively run out of "game" to play.

Many solutions to this problem have been floated over the years.  The most obvious one was NPC houses of some kind.  Either state-designed dummy houses, or recycling dead player's houses, or something like that.  And if you think about all the player-generated content that has been wiped over the years, it is kind of a tragedy.

20,000 people have played the game, many of them generating dozens of houses each.  So, potentially 50- to 100,000 houses have been created over the years.  And only 14 are left!

But it was important to me that everything remain real in this game.  You're robbing a real person, and that person may someday watch the security tapes to see what you did.  So, every house has to have an owner, or else the "real" aspect goes out the window.  You can't be robbing an NPC or a ghost or a robot.

And the lost houses have been purged from the database anyway, so even if I wanted to use those 100K lost houses as content, I can't really.

However, there IS a collection of "real" houses in the game that have not been deleted.  Houses that will potentially be sealed in stasis for an eternity.  Houses that still have living owners, but have been robbed down to $0, so taken off the list.  Abandoned houses.

The owners could come back someday and watch their final tapes, and maybe even fix up their houses and bring them back online.

And get this.... there are over 4,000 of these abandoned houses in the database!  Content just sitting there, unplayed and unseen.

So, what if some squatters come by in the night and leave a few valuables in some of these houses?

Yes, many of those 4,000 houses are abandoned default houses with absolutely no challenge, but I have a bunch of stats in the database for each house.  What about houses that have killed at least one robber in the past?  That's a good filter, and there are over 1,500 of those houses.  Some of them are in pretty rough shape, with walls cut all the way to the vault.  But others are still mostly in tact, with puzzles still present.  All of them are somewhat unnerving to go poking around in.  Dogs are still around, and they're extra hungry after all these years...

So, the house list is very full now, padded out at the bottom with abandoned houses that have been laced with a bit of loot by squatters.

And in terms of realness, the houses are still owned by someone, and they may come back someday and see the mess that has been made over the years.

Think of it as Las Vegas, post-housing-crash.  A lot of empty houses in the neighborhood.

For those of you who are still actively playing the game, but taking occasional breaks, the squatters won't consider your house unless you've been gone more than a week.  And you, the owner, can always come back after the squatters have been there and claim whatever they left behind.  Abandoned houses can also still build up bounties if robbers die in them.

Over time, the push-over abandoned houses will get robbed clean and taken back off the list, while the harder houses will tend to stick around longer.

This change will also inject quite a bit of extra money into the economy for the remaining active players.  Homeowners will build stronger houses---which I'm not too thrilled about---but robbers will also be more well-equipped.  Thus, the arms race among existing players will no longer stagnate.  Whoever robs more of these abandoned houses will become a powerful threat.


#2 2017-11-14 06:17:25

Registered: 2013-05-31
Posts: 540

Re: There are now 100 houses on the list

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

Golden Krone Hotel - a vampire roguelike


#3 2017-11-14 09:34:23

Registered: 2014-04-15
Posts: 12

Re: There are now 100 houses on the list

Thanks, Jason.


#4 2017-11-14 10:05:31

Registered: 2013-04-06
Posts: 334

Re: There are now 100 houses on the list

Dammit, now I have to remember how everything works


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