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#51 2017-02-23 12:46:36

zed
Member
Registered: 2013-04-16
Posts: 161

Re: New "cheatproof" test server

I've just put up a new version ("35002"), source and windows binaries
available from
    http://tcd.thegonz.net/~tcd/ .
The main change is the addition of competitions, essentially as described in
this thread.

I found a nice way to thematicise them: your "friends" in more-organised crime
are planning jobs on rich houses, for which they have blueprints, and will
give a cut to whoever can find the cheapest plan for a robbery.

Currently the base maps are some old ones of mine I found on my hard-drive.
Many of them are from old versions of the game and don't really work anymore,
but the random noise means they still kind of do the job. Any house worth at
least $4000 whose owner suicides will get added to the pool.

I'm hoping the competitions will suffice to deal with the problem of getting
things going.

So anyone lurking on this thread - now would be a good time to give this
version a go!

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#52 2017-12-05 02:48:42

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

Re: New "cheatproof" test server

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.

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#53 2017-12-05 12:39:37

zed
Member
Registered: 2013-04-16
Posts: 161

Re: New "cheatproof" test server

The competition houses have some random noise applied to make finding an optimal solution difficult even if you're familiar with the base house.

How did you find robbing others' houses? Any annoying lag?

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#54 2017-12-05 16:20:41

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

Re: New "cheatproof" test server

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)

Last edited by monkey (2017-12-05 16:21:58)

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#55 2017-12-06 11:12:30

zed
Member
Registered: 2013-04-16
Posts: 161

Re: New "cheatproof" test server

If you die you just lose tools. That necessarily includes the backpack, which is quite expensive. Permadeath doesn't make sense as a penalty, because we're assuming everyone can have sockpuppet accounts to risk rather than their main account; losing the backpack is the substitute.

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#56 2017-12-06 19:45:50

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

Re: New "cheatproof" test server

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.

Last edited by monkey (2017-12-06 19:49:32)

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#57 2017-12-07 11:45:06

zed
Member
Registered: 2013-04-16
Posts: 161

Re: New "cheatproof" test server

Thanks for your thoughts. I think you're right to identify the problem that
players who can afford enough backpacks to bruteforce their way through a
house in the end don't risk anything, because they get all the backpacks they
spent along the way back when they finally get to the vault.

I've just implemented a simple fix for this: now when you die in a house, your
backpack and its contents are auto-sold and the proceeds go into the house's
vault. So a proportion of their value disappears and can't be won back.

Chills don't work if we assume players have sockpuppets.

Forcing players to leave some money in their vaults is a good idea. It's
actually already part of the system I implemented on this server. You have to
leave 200+(0.1*houseValue) in your vault before you can buy anything.

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#58 2017-12-07 21:38:15

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

Re: New "cheatproof" test server

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.

Last edited by monkey (2017-12-07 21:53:53)

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