Posts tagged quantum star se
For the cool folk who have followed the Solar Empire legacy through thick and thin since 1999, those cute .php3 file suffixes, Moriarty’s continuing denegration of all other developers, the revolution that open source brought, the sudden push towards OOP, and the…err…security and bug population… Working on anything hitting it’s 9th anniversary in PHP is really interesting – 9 times the fun and games .
Astrum Futura was envisaged as a desperately needed update to the long running open source Solar Empire franchise, where players engage each other across a galaxy of 500+ star systems mining resources, building colonies, and generally screaming bloody murder at each other. It’s not the most impressive or ambitious of online games, but it’s always been tenacious and attracted roaming users who like a quick dash of destruction in their daily diet.
In January 2008, the oft delayed development process will once again creak into action. The current tracer code was built originally using the Zend Framework 0.2-0.6 and famously led that Spring to my long running “Complex Views With The Zend Framework” blog series that gave birth to the Zend_View Enhanced proposal, and maybe gave Ralph Schindler a few headaches . Building anything more complex than a login page was pure heart ache previously.
Now that time is available, the Zend Framework significantly more mature, and we have a lot of legwork carried over from 2006 in the Quantum Game Library (thanks to Jacob Santos), it’s about time we got something concrete done. The usual suspects, if interest levels are high enough, can report to the shiny updated phpBB3 forums at http://forums.astrumfutura.com – same domain as this blog you’re reading.
And we will be applying XP this time – the random running process that usually prevails just doesn’t work out well. So get your Selenium gear in place.
A recent discussion was sparked on the Astrum Futura forums regarding player retention and new player protection. It was one of those times when the discussion branched to a higher view – a wider look at how players interact on a large scale.
The current suggestions called for players to be penalised for undesireable actions, e.g. attacking a new player who is incapable of defending him/her self. This remains a long standing issue in many online games. AF could resort to enforced levelling – limited who a player can attack, and be attacked by. But this is all artificial – in the real world it’s open season on anyone.
Cyberlot (Richard) raised the question of penalising through a Karma rating. As a player attacked newcomers they would attract negative Karma marking them out to other players. I can see the rank of “Newbie Basher” emerging as an undesireable outcome for many players. But Karma while adding some measure, does not address enforcement. Exactly who enforces what and when? Who set’s the standard for interacting with other players?
From there we hit the subject of Factions. A Faction would be a specific group of players sharing a common interest. This obviously includes Races, but is also extendable to a Merchant Guild or a Pirate Clan. The point is to give players an instant group they are a member of. Now where it gets interesting in how the player and game logic would respond in the presence of Factions.
Say you have a Faction, Earth Humans United (go Terrans!). What happens if a member of this Faction attacks a new player who is joining the Earth Humans United Faction? Can’t have allies killing each other off (even if it might reflect reality ). The answer is in the Karma. Killing a new member of your own faction is stupid, damaged the Faction, and makes other players less likely to join it. That member should sur be paying tax to the Faction, which is needed. Such a player would immediately get negative Karma.
So we have Karma, and we have Factions – how do they relate?
Karma is a measure of one’s standing within a Faction. If your Karma falls below a minimal level you’ll be declared an enemy of the Faction, and then its time to start running before you’re hunted down by your peers. Where do you flee? If you’re lucky, some other Faction still has you as Neutral.
But this is where Newbie Protection get’s interesting. It’s not Faction specific – your bad Karma is classified when killing a new player as a “Stigma”. It decreases Karma for *ALL* Factions. It’s the ultimate punishment – imagine playing when nearly all the Factions refuse to grant you trade access, when your planets are penalised with “special tax charges”, when other players are unable to maintain an Alliance with you once you become Factionless (Outcast). In short, if you gain a reputation for killing new players, you’ll be kicked, booted and sent to Hell with a one way express ticket. No Admin interference or funny AI fleets required. Society will put you straight or else…
More on this later as details are worked out, but it looks like it’s a feasible and supported suggestion.