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Comment Face Facts in MMO Development (Score 1) 62

My personal quote: "If you cannot suprise the developer (yourself), then you will never suprise the player" Emergent and procedural content is necessary for MMOs to continue. YOu can only do so many "pumpkin quests" regardless of the genre or theme of the game. The key is to have solid, developed rules for missions\quests\content and have a systematic way to deploy that content for players to explore. No where in the rules of MMOs, RPGs, etc that ever fight need be winnable, rather that the payoff is acceptable to the player. So a well crafted Random Quest Generator, even in the event of an unwinnable scenario can still have a payoff for the player they can accept. Remember you can have adventures in which defeat is the outcome. (Case point Firefly fans, the whole story is driven by the fact they lost the war.) Imagine an infinite dungeon that doubles it's difficulty every floor. There is a point that a player can not mathmatically continue (the point where the mobs would 1 shot you for instance) but the player is free to push as hard and as far as they want to go. An arbitrary mechanism for mission\quest deployment is viable so long as there are controls (Mandatory Car References as needed): Clutch: a mechanism in a quest in which the flow of events is disenaged and success\failure conditions cannot be effected. This is common in FPS where they put you in a room and you have to kill all the mobs before continuing. Brake: A mechanism in the quest chain that allows the events to be suspended such that the player can do other things not impacting the quest(return to base for instance.) Step Reset: A mechanism in which the quest line of conditions can be backed up (e.g. you accidentally destroyed a quest item in your inventory and you need another one) Full Reset: A mechanism, depending on the nature of the quest to restart it (even if it is as simple as an abandon\re-get sequence) Re-deploy: A mechanism to reset the position\staging of objects. Triggers: Events that move along a story Hitch: A mechanism that links two quests\missions together Pay-it-forward: Always track the quest conditions to see if the player has already completed the quest (nothing worse then blowing up random named bad guy only to be told an hour later to go back and kill him. You did already!) etc.... (I actually have a prototype Q-Engine that makes 3 passes to randomly generate quests. QE1 is the casting engine, Q2 is the linking engine, Q3 is the deployment engine). Star Trek is about endless possibilities but at every turn they try to lock down the gameplay to conform to some IP that was never crafted for open ended, player driven game play. If you want Star Trek, go play Eve Online, seriously. If you cannot suprise the developers, you won't suprise the players... it comes back around to more grinding then.

Comment R Tools (Score 4, Interesting) 91

R is an excellent language to learn for just about every field. It's ability to import and export data to MS based resources such as Access, Excel, MS-SQL and other non-MS sources makes it a versital tool. It's commerical parent is S-PLUS and is nearly syntax identical with minor variations. Buy the book, use the tool, impress your Eve Online players by pinning down the July Tritanium prices and hitting the weekly averages within .5 ISK by doing time series analysis using regression plus ARIMA on the residuals. Find out cool things like Hulkageddon impacts frigate prices more then exhumers and MORE! FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY (Except your big sister because she's icky and into boys....) For those what want to do google searches but find 'R' difficult there is the site and a few quick links to get you started while you wait for the nutshell book to arrive in the mail. R Intro : Programming in R: R Graph Gallery: Big Resource I use: The Little Handbook: The Big N: There are hundreds of PDF references out there that can help as well, too many to list. Good luck, have fun.

Comment Thank You (Score 1) 833

I've posted on this before but when they went live with the RSS log I made some good money mining those activity logs for "File and Fire" goods. That is the crap your employer archives about you and when they need an excuse to fire you; they dig it out and show you to the door.

It was easy to correlate Killing Boss X to if those telecommuters were playing WoW when they should have been working. We'd get excuses "that wasn't me that was someone using my account.... " and in some cases Blizzard ended up getting involved. Mental Note: When you VPN into work we can see what IP address you are coming from. The connection log Blizzard keeps also indicates which IP address you are on... as well as the MAC address as part of the data link layer. So telling me it was someone else playing doesn't explain the fact it was the same IP and MAC address and pulling your IM log shows periodic and errante WASD typoes in your IM pop ups. Oh and the fact you accidentally responded to a popup from HR with '/random 100' and 'L2P N00b' were kind of dead giveaways. I had 6 months of WoW paid for by a client so I could monitor a list of character names on specific servers to track play times.

I would not be suprised if this is actually a direct reponse by ActiBliz to expedite those types of situations so they don't want to deal with the hassle of the suits.

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