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#1 2013-10-16 09:24:25

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

Price tweaking

The game is content-starved right now.

Houses are content, and they are currently consumed when they are fully broken by another player.

They will remain as content longer if they take longer to fully break.

Thus, I'm trying to adjust the relative difficulty of robbing vs. home building.

I've added a global price tweak, and currently set tile prices to 2/5 of what they used to be.  Thus, you can build more than 2x as much stuff with the starting $2000 now.

There were times in the past where home building was way overpowered.  Where the house list was filled with 10-15 (or more?) houses that were unbreakable in practice.

Now we have the opposite problem.  I'm trying to figure out what led to that cross-over point.  Was it wires through walls going away?  This investigation is also complicated by a player population that has dwindled over time.

Still, the game should be somewhat functional with only a handful of players (that way, it will only get more interesting from there, an build the player population with a virtuous cycle).  If the game becomes less and less functional with fewer and fewer players, that leads to a vicious cycle of player flight.

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#2 2013-10-16 09:46:49

Dantheman
Member
Registered: 2013-10-13
Posts: 31

Re: Price tweaking

Excellent!

I played mostly around six or seven months ago, before the big drop in numbers, but I was surprised to hear about the removing of wires in walls. Was this partially motivated by a desire to get rid of combination lock houses?


Get out of my house!

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#3 2013-10-16 10:19:55

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

Re: Price tweaking

It was about trying to make scouting easier and more rewarding.  You could always follow the wires (on the floor) to see the guts of a circuit.

However, what people ended up doing was protecting their switches with pits and putting cats in place to trigger them when the cats see the player across the pit.  So, they were able to build the same hidden circuits as before.

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#4 2013-10-16 17:24:41

joshwithguitar
Member
Registered: 2013-07-28
Posts: 538

Re: Price tweaking

Great to see these price changes, I think they have been needed for a while now. I imagine starter houses will start to be interesting now and the early game won't be so punishing. This should also help with motivating wife defence as you can now afford to both defend your wife and set up a clever vault defence with starter cash.

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#5 2013-10-17 09:27:11

Dantheman
Member
Registered: 2013-10-13
Posts: 31

Re: Price tweaking

Just wondering. But are tool prices going to be lowered a bit? Now that it is so affordable build it seems a bit hard to break in.


Get out of my house!

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#6 2013-10-17 12:53:56

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

Re: Price tweaking

Yes, prices will continue to be tweaked up to (and maybe beyond) the game's release.

I'm not sure that tool prices will come down, but building prices may go up slightly.  But maybe tool prices will come down.  Build more, cut more?

I've also realized that since houses are the content in this game, and they disappear so easily (through one thorough robbery or simply through the owner dying), making robbery harder than building is necessary to keep the house population from dwindling.

Right now we have 8 houses, which is the most that we've had in a long time.

Also, I don't know if I mentioned it, but I added a huge stat-tracking table during my vacation that tracks pretty much every daily number that I could think of.  Today, so far, there were:

338 Robberies
221 Robbers left
56 Reached vault
12 Wives Killed
61 Robbers Killed
8 of those being robber suicide
$48,000 in bounty money paid out
31 deaths during self test

This is from 20 unique players today.

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#7 2013-10-18 04:42:30

Dantheman
Member
Registered: 2013-10-13
Posts: 31

Re: Price tweaking

jasonrohrer wrote:

I've also realized that since houses are the content in this game, and they disappear so easily (through one thorough robbery or simply through the owner dying), making robbery harder than building is necessary to keep the house population from dwindling.

One of the ways that an owner can die however is by a failed robbery. They can also scrap a house if they get bored (from sitting in their fortress while being too afraid to attempt to rob).

I wonder if there are some other solutions here.


Get out of my house!

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#8 2013-10-18 10:13:34

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

Re: Price tweaking

Well, all the other solutions I can think of involve a nasty aesthetic side-effect:  that a house you were robbing was not actually the house of a real, active player.

NPC houses, "hall of fame" houses, or keeping houses around after an owner dies.... all these things would mean that sometimes, you'd be robbing a house, but NOT hurting a real person in real life.

Hurting a real person in real life is the core aesthetic payload of this game.

So, I've got to work within that boundary when I look for solutions.

This means, essentially, that there will always be a troubling zero-sum reality in this game.  Every house robbed, or every robber killed, is one more piece of content removed from the game.  Cross that with the fact that every player, generally, wants to rob several houses for each house that they build, we have a supply/demand issue.

Also, the crushing grief of death in this game is important.  So, a solution like, "You don't lose your house when you die" would keep more content in the game without violating the "hurting a real person" aesthetic, but it would diminish the impact of death.  Also, the "hurting a real person" thing is symmetrical---you do the same thing to someone when you trap them in your house and kill them.  Of course, it doesn't feel as bad, which is another important aesthetic point in the game.


The only solution that I can see involves "stretching out" house content by making robberies harder so that they take longer.  If 100 players try to rob a house before it falls, then that house servers as content for 100 people.  Not thrill of victory content, but at least content.

Of course, I don't want to stretch it out too far, so there's a balance.

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#9 2013-10-18 10:55:25

colorfusion
Member
Registered: 2013-04-02
Posts: 537

Re: Price tweaking

jasonrohrer wrote:

Well, all the other solutions I can think of involve a nasty aesthetic side-effect:  that a house you were robbing was not actually the house of a real, active player.

NPC houses, "hall of fame" houses, or keeping houses around after an owner dies.... all these things would mean that sometimes, you'd be robbing a house, but NOT hurting a real person in real life.

Hurting a real person in real life is the core aesthetic payload of this game.

So, I've got to work within that boundary when I look for solutions.

This means, essentially, that there will always be a troubling zero-sum reality in this game.  Every house robbed, or every robber killed, is one more piece of content removed from the game.  Cross that with the fact that every player, generally, wants to rob several houses for each house that they build, we have a supply/demand issue.

Also, the crushing grief of death in this game is important.  So, a solution like, "You don't lose your house when you die" would keep more content in the game without violating the "hurting a real person" aesthetic, but it would diminish the impact of death.  Also, the "hurting a real person" thing is symmetrical---you do the same thing to someone when you trap them in your house and kill them.  Of course, it doesn't feel as bad, which is another important aesthetic point in the game.


The only solution that I can see involves "stretching out" house content by making robberies harder so that they take longer.  If 100 players try to rob a house before it falls, then that house servers as content for 100 people.  Not thrill of victory content, but at least content.

Of course, I don't want to stretch it out too far, so there's a balance.

Making it easier to recover from a robbery would also probably increase the number of houses available, although it would reduce the impact of being robbed.

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#10 2013-10-18 11:25:07

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

Re: Price tweaking

Well, that's what the wife is for, mechanically speaking.

And she's been amped up quite a bit in v19 and now v20, so I guess that effectively does what you're talking about.

Certainly you're not advocating for the introduction of a second wife, eh?

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#11 2013-10-18 22:53:07

Dantheman
Member
Registered: 2013-10-13
Posts: 31

Re: Price tweaking

How about this idea...



What if your children were like back-up lives?

OK, so your wife has value in that she holds half your money, but now also can shoot and push panic buttons.

What about the kids? Perhaps you want to protect them, because each of them represents a "new life". If you die, you -become- your child (who is represented as having grown up).


What this means is that...

1. You have a serious motivation to protect your children.
2. A failed robbery does not automatically mean the end of the road. Your kids grow up and inherit your house (and your "blood feuds").


Of course, the grown up child is only say 18 or so, and does not have a family of his or her own, so there is a limit to this cycle. You can die twice and keep going. PROVING you protect your kids.


Get out of my house!

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#12 2013-10-19 06:40:23

Dantheman
Member
Registered: 2013-10-13
Posts: 31

Re: Price tweaking

Losing several hours of fine design work to a slight misstep when you are finished and doing a run through is also really, really brutal. As I have just experienced... ><


Get out of my house!

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#13 2013-10-19 06:59:25

joshwithguitar
Member
Registered: 2013-07-28
Posts: 538

Re: Price tweaking

Yeah, I had one of those moments last night. Early on I stole $19k and proceeded to build a large complicated house from scratch. I was just doing some last minute testing when I forgot to replace one of my pit-bulls and acted carelessly at the beginning believing I was safe from harm. Looking back, it looks like v20 would have killed me pretty quickly as there are some unforeseen consequences of the panic buttons, so it's good to have a fresh start for experimenting. Still, losing hours of design work with no way of recovering even a map in order to rebuild it again sucks. Next time I'll take screenshots.

Perhaps blue-prints should be added in to the design mode just for looking over the house without being able to edit it. You could then take screenshots of the blueprint.

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#14 2013-10-19 10:32:00

dalleck
Member
Registered: 2013-04-13
Posts: 250

Re: Price tweaking

joshwithguitar wrote:

Still, losing hours of design work with no way of recovering even a map in order to rebuild it again sucks. Next time I'll take screenshots.

You can find your house design if you dig through the files.  Sharing map designs has been proven to be an enjoyable part of the game, and should be made more easier by the game.

joshwithguitar wrote:

Perhaps blue-prints should be added in to the design mode just for looking over the house without being able to edit it. You could then take screenshots of the blueprint.

I like that this is an in-game solution, and I was thinking more something which is out of game, such as a folder of saved house images.  The problem with using the blueprint code as is that you are only viewing one part of the house at a time, not seeing an overall map.  However, I imagine it would be quite simple to use the graphic tiles to generate a map image file along with the house code as text.


The rich aren't safe. Nobody is safe. -jere                   ...but the smell wafts out from the pit, obviously. - Jason Rohrer

And the more dickish they are, the more I feel like beating a house to destruction after finally figuring it out. -bey bey

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#15 2013-10-20 06:44:38

joshwithguitar
Member
Registered: 2013-07-28
Posts: 538

Re: Price tweaking

dalleck wrote:

You can find your house design if you dig through the files.  Sharing map designs has been proven to be an enjoyable part of the game, and should be made more easier by the game.

I didn't think a house design was recorded anywhere until you pass a self-test. I remember an earlier discussion about it in which Jason said he wouldn't change it as he doesn't officially support any type of map saving, though I can't find the thread.



In other news: house checks are driving me insane, I've died in two today after putting a lot of effort into building new houses.

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#16 2013-10-20 07:09:49

dalleck
Member
Registered: 2013-04-13
Posts: 250

Re: Price tweaking

joshwithguitar wrote:
dalleck wrote:

You can find your house design if you dig through the files.  Sharing map designs has been proven to be an enjoyable part of the game, and should be made more easier by the game.

I didn't think a house design was recorded anywhere until you pass a self-test.

It is easily found in the stdout.txt file, and to a harder degree in the recorded game file.  It is saved at the start of a test, so even if you die you can still recover your house.


The rich aren't safe. Nobody is safe. -jere                   ...but the smell wafts out from the pit, obviously. - Jason Rohrer

And the more dickish they are, the more I feel like beating a house to destruction after finally figuring it out. -bey bey

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#17 2013-10-20 16:38:01

joshwithguitar
Member
Registered: 2013-07-28
Posts: 538

Re: Price tweaking

dalleck wrote:

It is easily found in the stdout.txt file, and to a harder degree in the recorded game file.  It is saved at the start of a test, so even if you die you can still recover your house.

I just ran some tests and unless I actually complete a self test I can't for the life of me find a copy of the house in either the recorded game file or the stdout. If you are correct the recorded game files of the houses which I spent hours working on before dying in a self test should be filled with records of the house made every time I thought to test something, this doesn't seem to be the case though.

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#18 2013-10-21 07:19:19

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

Re: Price tweaking

Yeah, I'm pretty sure the house map only appears in the protocol if the self test is finished and the map is sent to the server.

Also, the contents of game-to-server web requests are currently suppressed from stdout.  Only the stuff sent BY the server appears in the recorded game file (and stdout).  SO, for the house map to be recorded, you have to check it in and then come home again to get it back from the server.

The transitive nature of a given house is a core aesthetic in the game.  Yes, I know that everyone hates that part, but that is as it should be (you should hate dying, you should hate yourself when you die, etc.)  The game shouldn't provide you with any mementos to savor or share with friends.

HOWEVER, it's also really cool that the player community has been hacking this information out of the game, and that effort certainly adds to the culture around the game.

But that doesn't mean that this lovely external culture should be baked back into the work itself. 

Money doesn't actually pile up on Free Parking in Monopoly.

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