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#1 2017-10-19 10:03:03

Storm
Member
Registered: 2014-02-09
Posts: 101

We Will Make The Castle Doctrine Great Again

I just started playing again as well. I messaged a few other friends to rejoin and get things going, spread the word and get some newbs for the grinder. we will make The Castle Doctrine Great Again! (((MTCDGA(tm)))

message to Jason:

-Hi there, I have a small request if you wouldn't mind reading it:
    two small modifications, even temporarily, to the game as we hopefully get a few people to join back in->

    1. when you die the first time, instead you stay alive with a message saying you made your way home badly injured. If you die again within 2 hours you are permadead like usual. After 2 hours you get a message saying you have healed back up back to normal. Should mitigate alt accounts, allow more scouting without losing everything, make the game more playable in a small player pool.
   
    2. You gain money hourly. I mean, you've got a job, right? what with that wife n kids? I think this would also make the game more playable with limited opponents and more open to different styles of play and different peoples schedules.

If you're there Jason and wouldn't mind throwing these small changes in for a bit that would be awesome, I presume you're pretty busy and/or would be hesitant to modify your masterpiece (non-ironic), but maybe try it out for just a bit if you've got some spare time and inclination? I would just roll my own server and do it myself, but honestly I don't want to draw any potentially new or returning people away from your game, especially just for a slightly modified version that wouldn't be yours anymore, y'know?

I think it would help things a lot, hopefully we can get more people into/back into, this great game!

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#2 2017-10-20 02:39:26

Storm
Member
Registered: 2014-02-09
Posts: 101

Re: We Will Make The Castle Doctrine Great Again

If the changes aren't made to the game, given the small player pool, I recommend you [*edit: section removed by original poster].

This wasn't necessary back when there were 60-100 houses up at any given time, but right now there's only 6-10 and the top three are $50k+ fully decked out. So for anyone new follow the above in order to have a chance at experiencing competition in this game, learn the tricks of the trade, and build up your house. This game is worth it. Effectively this strategy causes the game to cost $24 and you have to do some roundabout shit to accomplish what should already be in the game anyway as evidenced by the player pool.

I had some friends join and starting to learn, hopefully more will come soon smile I understand where Jason is coming from, but at some point reality should have at least some effect on idealism. This game will never be where it was without compromising some of the emotional intensity for simple playability. This game is currently unplayable without two accounts or changes to the game. A steam sale would only post-pone the inevitable. Step up your game, Jason. A single season of play is all you can manage? how about cultivating a living game with culture that survives and thrives on its own instead of this Monsanto one season only games shit you've been doing. thought you'd be up to the challenge. It's a higher scope of development, I understand, but at least try.

Last edited by Storm (2017-11-14 15:44:00)

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#3 2017-10-23 10:05:11

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: We Will Make The Castle Doctrine Great Again

Hi there, Storm!  Thanks for trying to revive the game.

I've been busy with One Hour One Life, so I haven't been checking these forums...

But I just happened to check them today BECAUSE I just implemented a server-side fix to TCD that should help with the small player pool.  It changes the way chill timers (purple houses after you die in them) work.  I'll be posting more about that in a minute.


ANYWAY....

Regarding your suggestions.  Way back in the day, we DID have "salaries," and there's a server-side switch in there for turning them back on.  However, we found back then that they didn't work, because they encouraged people to build "scary" facade-type houses and just "turtle" until they built up a lot of money through salary.

An example facade house is a solid wall with just a single, simple commit gate.  No one is going to try walking across that gate to have a look around.

Those scary facade houses aren't interesting content for the game.  So, the game was changed so that the only way to earn money was by tricking people into dying in your house and collecting their bounties.  Thus, you had to make a house that looked inviting and was filled with psychological tricks if you wanted to grow your wealth as a home owner.

Of course, you could still rob to get money, but there WAS a viable "homeowner" path to wealth through a very well-designed house.


I don't know that small-vs-large player pools changes the effect that salaries would have in terms of encouraging people to turtle inside scary, uninteresting houses.


As for your second point about second chances....


Well, one of the main points of this game is that "everything is real" and that permadeath is waiting for you around every corner.  That amps up the tension and drama.  It was a core aesthetic of the game from the very beginning.

I don't doubt that it makes the game "worse" in terms of retaining players or keeping the world populated with player-generated content.  It causes people to rage-quit, etc.

However, I feel like I need to stick to my vision-guns on this one.


The main problem that I see with it is that it destroys game content along the way.  If you build a great house and then die due to a robbery mistake, that piece of content that you made is removed from the game along with you before other people get to experience it.

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.

There's a general problem in the game that's even bigger than this content loss issue, and that's a general content shortage.  Everyone makes only one house per life, but most people would like to successfully rob many houses per life.  That means that there aren't enough houses to go around.  So, keeping abandoned houses on the list would help a bit, but it wouldn't completely fix the problem.


Aside from the content loss to the rest of the game world, the incredible pain of losing everything is part of the game.

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#4 2017-10-23 10:06:32

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: We Will Make The Castle Doctrine Great Again

Also, I realize that many people mitigate that pain by using second accounts....   there's nothing that I can do to stop that.  BUT, I still don't want to build that directly into the game.  It's not the way the game is meant to be played.

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#5 2017-11-02 17:37:52

Immhotep
Member
Registered: 2014-02-05
Posts: 66

Re: We Will Make The Castle Doctrine Great Again

Not much changed, there's only like 6 houses left now sad


Death is only the beginning...

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#6 2017-11-07 06:57:40

Osmium_Planet
Member
Registered: 2014-03-24
Posts: 67

Re: We Will Make The Castle Doctrine Great Again

Hey Jason,

How about you hold decent houses in like a 'pool' of abandoned houses that intermittently pop up on the list?

They can start with a vault value of a small percentage of the house value, and then people can keep trying until they are gone. The likelihood of people being able to solve them because it were THIER house would be a lot lower.

Maybe have like a rotating pool of 10? Or enought to keep the number of houses at, say, 30?

They could be auto saved based on things like steps taken inside, death attempts, attempts, etc.

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#7 2017-11-07 08:40:50

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: We Will Make The Castle Doctrine Great Again

I have thought about this.

There are two problems:

1.  It obviously makes everything "way less real," in that some of the houses you're robbing no longer hurt a real person.  No one is watching the tapes, etc.  Of course, if there simply aren't enough players, then the "real" thing goes out the window anyway, so perhaps I'm clinging to a wasted vision of realness here (how real is it if no one is playing?).

2.  This would have the effect of injecting a bunch of extra, "free" resources into the game.  People could rob one of these abandoned houses, get some money, spend it on tools to rob another, and repeat, forever, until they had as much money as they wanted.  They would obviously use all this extra money to reinforce their own house.  This means that all the "real" houses would get harder and harder very quickly.  And if the "real" houses served as the pool of abandoned houses later, then even the abandoned houses would get harder and harder.  I'm pretty sure things would spiral out of control pretty quickly.

TCD has a very tight and fragile balance.  You want people to be heavily constrained when it comes to building their houses.  Something as simple as salaries throws the balance way off.

Yes, in the old days, there were 100+ houses to rob---wasn't that a limitless pool of free resources?  It seems like it might have been, and the very best players certainly built monster houses.  However, that pool was always connected to the number of players.  Not only more houses, and more resources, but also more robbers!  And more wealthy robbers.  If there were suddenly 30 extra houses, there's also be 30 extra robbers trying to get into your house.

The suggestion of adding extra "content" to the game in isolation means more resources for building defenses without an increased threat to go along with those resources.

And yes, the few extra players who also have access to the extra resources would be more formidable as robbers, so maybe it would balance out somewhat.  But more likely, the whole thing would just stagnate into fortress-ville.  Why would you go after one of these top houses when you could farm abandoned houses forever?


Right now, money enters the game through two sources:

1.  Fresh life players get $2000 (but to prevent farming these repeatedly, a player's next house is invisible to you for a while if you robbed their last house).

2.  You get bounty payments for tricking other players into dying in your house.  More money based on how successful they were elsewhere before they were tricked by you.


Notice that both sources are accompanied by a proportional threat from other players.



Perhaps this discussion is academic at this point, given that very few people are still playing the game.  But I worry that a quick fix won't work.  If it throws the balance off, we'll be right back here in a month or two trying to fix it again.



If we really want fake houses, I'd suggest that we need fake robbers to go along with them.  Anyone interested in taking a crack at a TCD bot?

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#8 2017-12-04 01:24:21

monkey
Member
Registered: 2014-02-12
Posts: 50

Re: We Will Make The Castle Doctrine Great Again

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.

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#9 2017-12-04 09:53:17

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: We Will Make The Castle Doctrine Great Again

Well, a mobile port is beyond the scope of what I have time for, sadly.

I could set up "emails when you get robbed" pretty easily, but that won't work for Steam players (I don't have their email).

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#10 2017-12-04 19:50:09

monkey
Member
Registered: 2014-02-12
Posts: 50

Re: We Will Make The Castle Doctrine Great Again

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.

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#11 2017-12-04 20:23:46

monkey
Member
Registered: 2014-02-12
Posts: 50

Re: We Will Make The Castle Doctrine Great Again

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.

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