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Bia
OceanMaster
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Co-operative Puzzle Design Discussion Reply to this Post
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As we move forward with the GCPP, we are going to broaden our focus somewhat and try to promote co-operative puzzle designs in addition to the single-player crafting puzzles we have started with.

Much like the initial project planning, I would like to have you players discuss the considerations for such designs. Consider this thread an open forum for these issues.

While discussions about specific designs are fine, we are also looking for a more broad analysis. Some questions to keep in mind and attempt to answer:
  • What should be taken into consideration for a co-operative puzzle?
  • How can such puzzles account for a varying number of players?
  • How can the designs encourage or accept that players may want to use multiple clients?
  • What are some ideal areas of the game that could use co-operative puzzles?

    I am sure there are many others to keep in mind as well. If you think there is an important design question, ask it. I will read the thread an periodically add them to the above list.
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  • [Jan 23, 2007 2:05:57 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    bronzebeard

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    I think an important question is: Will ye have to turn up to an ironmonger/weavery/etc. with someone else to play the puzzle?

    Craftin' puzzles currently are something I play when there's not many people about, so
    If there are many co-operative puzzles, would there be something analagous to a parlour table fer craftin'?

    Also, what about competitive co-operative puzzles?

    By this I mean workin' together on the same board towards some end goal for which ye get the bulk of yer score, but at the same time gettin' a bonus fer playin' better and outperforming the other person in some way.

    I further think these puzzles should be playable on their own (in case someone has to leave, fer example) but that playing together has the potential for better scores.

     
    How can the designs encourage or accept that players may want to use multiple clients?

    I don't think that should be encouraged. Otherwise, it'll just hurt people who only have one paid account. Puzzles should therefore have to require input from each client at the same time to stop exploiting this.
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    Peglegpaul
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    [Jan 23, 2007 5:27:19 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    PogoBeta

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    Re: Co-operative Puzzle Design Discussion Reply to this Post
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  • How can the designs encourage or accept that players may want to use multiple clients?


  • It might just be me, but something bugs me about somebody playing co-op puzzles by multiclienting... unless I'm misinterpreting...
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    Pogo on Midnight

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    [Jan 23, 2007 5:29:16 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    Bia
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    Re: Co-operative Puzzle Design Discussion Reply to this Post
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    Ah, that sentence is poorly phrased. I meant to ask how designs could encourage players to play only a single client or otherwise accept that players may use multiple clients.
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    [Jan 23, 2007 5:36:04 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    tcarr

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    random thoughts.....

    Multiple players earning a single score, which they divvy equally is probably a bad idea.

    What I'm working with now in Nibbler is a system where each player can earn "solo points" and then the team as a whole earns points which are then divvied in proportion to the number of moves each player contributed to the team. I have concerns that players who multi-client might find a system where their main alt works hard, then the rest of the windows do setups that help the team but score very few solo points, so that the main alt gets the lion's share of the team points. I am *hoping* that multiple GM+ players working together would score even more points than that, but I'm not positive.

    If we do a parlor-table type match-up for cooperative puzzles, then you could get stuck playing with idiots. An idiot who leaves in the midst of the puzzle would likely have to be replaced by a bot, or have something else in the puzzle change so that the remaining players can finish the round.

    I like the idea of cooperative puzzles that could be played solo, but have the possibility of higher scores when played as a team. I particularly like it for foraging. Currently, foraging is *boring*. If a ship had to sail to an island, form teams from those aboard and do a puzzle, then sail back to sell the stuff - IMO that would be a lot more interesting than the current "park a MB at an island and forage all your alts until it's full, then solo it to sell" practice.
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    LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
    [Jan 23, 2007 6:09:48 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    tcarr

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    forgot to mention:
    I personally don't see any problem with multi-clienting if the player has to work his booty off in each of the screens so that all of his alts end up with higher stats.

    One way to encourage high end players to play with other high end players instead of green alts is to have the possible rewards from the puzzle limited by the average of the stats of all players on the team. If an Ult teams with 5 Ables, then the max reward will be capped at Skilled (or Master level, or something). Several GM+ players might want to include an Able or Distinguished with them, to get a slightly easier puzzle (similar to loading a ship for a pillage), but this would help discourage those that want to try to cheat the system with multiple clients.
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    LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
    [Jan 23, 2007 6:14:58 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    Loren_S

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    Re: Co-operative Puzzle Design Discussion Reply to this Post
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    I'd like to give my personal random thoughts on the current cooperative puzzles.

    Which ones do we have?
    First that comes to my mind is spades:
  • It realy is the playing with someone (cooperative) that makes this one of my favorite puzzles.
    => yeah for more cooperative puzzles
  • It is often hard to find a partner, as he has to be of comparable skill and a matching playstyle (at least with my level of play).
    => different skill levels and playstyles should work well together
  • Cheating is possible by colaborating and telling the partner your secret cards in private (or even openly).
    => The puzzle should not contain secrets
  • It is dependent on both partners staying in the game and actively playing it.
    => Someone leaving or not playing should not have negative influence on other players (directly), especialy not bootch the puzzle as whole
  • There are turns a player must take. So longer chatting or pausing is not an option
    => Some design without time/turn constraints would be great.

    I first thought thats what we have of cooperative puzzles so far. But no: my realy favorite is not listed:
    Pillaging, the great puzzle of filling a ship, managing jobbers, engaging bots/players and raking in poe (and loosing due to bad team efforts)
  • I like the comunicative aspect of being on a ship, the idle chatter, even the greenie questions
    => Make it a team thing. Talk should be a big bonus to complete the puzzle, but it should not be only puzzletalk but chatter also
  • I like you can participate even if you do solo your thing (e.g. a geat sailor working puzzlevisioned)
    => Talk and teaming should not be the only way to contribute
  • One can contribute in different way (sail, bilge, bnav, XO) and no single person is running it all
    => Do not make it puzzle that can be solved by one instance (with the help of mates, alts....)
  • Even unskilled (greenie) puzzlers can significantly contribute
    => make it easy (and profitable) to take part
  • It is highly dependent on a single person (bnaver), who can bootch the whole thing with a single error (grapple or even blackship)
    => The puzzle should be error tolerant (at least a bit)
    => no single puzzler should be critical for the whole thing
  • There are times that are more critical (battle) then others, especialy regarding leaving
    => There should be no critical times (and most likely no critical situations)


    It got longer than I thought so I stop it here. If I think of more there is always the post button. :)


    Regarding game areas:
    - foraging
    - (probably) parlor
    - island handling like titan-defense (or summoning)
    - blockades (shipwhisking)
    - drydocks (the ever recuring ship-decay)
    - harbor workers (affecting docksideprices much like taxes)
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    CoatOSilver, Captain of Forget About It, Retired King of ©©©, Sage
  • [Jan 23, 2007 7:42:43 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    micklauer

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    A few thoughts formed from the comments above.

    (1) Personally, when I head over to play crafting puzzles, I do so to meditate and chill all by my lonesome. That's a personal choice. However, it would make sense that your progress on a project be sped up considerably if two people are playing at the same time. I suppose one question i have is this:
     
    1 solo crafter + 1 solo crafter + 1 solo crafter = x progress.

    and

    3 crafters working on one multi-player board = y progress.

    Are x and y equal? Is Y greater due to some multiple player bonus? What is the reason to co-operate with others? Or is it just straight up necessary?


    I was thinking of Shipwrighting...and how multiple players could co-operate (obviously it would get messy with the moving of pieces and the selection of which pieces to clear), but you get the jist of how a team of pirates could benefit and co-operate. Actually, I think Parfait (the foraging puzzle) would be be more likely to benefit from this strategy than shipwrighting.

    My point (I think) is...

    (2) Are we looking for co-operative, competitive, or both? Strictly competitive seems rather unecessary for crafting. Co-operative makes so much more sense and seems so much more fun, as (like with Spades) you could have your favorite partner(s) or even team! Puzzle-wise, crafting-wise, and something-new-wise co-operative (over competitive) just makes sense to me.

    (3) Multi-clienting? I don't think I've had a beef with someone who actually worked on his/her other clients. If you're willing to spend the time and money (dubs), then you deserve to get your ships built that much faster. Having crafting puzzles for Weaving, smithing, furniture, construction, foraging, etc. will end the days of the invisible "work" force...I'd imagine.

    (4) I have an idea for a co-operative furnishing puzzle...I'll try to come up with a proposal.

    kp
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    [Jan 23, 2007 8:37:22 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    Patetch

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    I have a few thoughts, but first I would like to know if we should re-iterate things mentioned in the other thread just to get it all in one place or if that would be redundant?
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    Pletoo of Sage
    [Jan 23, 2007 8:41:30 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    Dylan

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    First of all, a suggestion for working together at the same goal, while competing in a friendly fashion with each other:

    All crafting puzzles can easily be made 'co-operative' by allowing shoppe managers to create "bonus events" every so often. These would be advertised on the island notice-board. This would whisk the mission applicant to the shoppe or stall, where the noticeboard (or ahoy tab) would link to a "duty report"-style ranking.

    Depending on the puzzle (alchemy takes longer than distilling) each player could enter as many times in the given hour as they wish. All excellents and incredibles would get bonus pay (in addition to regular pay, and perhaps for goods too), and the highest score of all gets a one-off jackpot. (no need for alts)

    The contest need not be advertised, it could also be local so that entry is restricted to crew mates and other hearties.

    Up to 12 hours of labour (multiplied by the standard number of employees for where the event takes place) could be "saved up" in advance; each manager can run one such event per week - but not within 24 hours of a previous event at that location, or while another such event is already running on the island.

    Although that is co-operative puzzling, it isn't really co-operative puzzles as intended. I'll get to that next.

    The most obvious example of co-operative puzzling is duty-puzzling together on the same boat. The only realistic place to put something similar to that, of course, is "Adventure Islands". These needn't be unique islands, but rather events (such as the skellies which already long exist) which visit islands at random, and either have an Old Salt or a Treasure Chest to click on to start the adventure.

    Both PvE and PvP co-operative modes (brigands/skellies and blockades/spades) are desirable, although for PvP there are some pros and cons to be taken into account: no AI need be written, but then again alt abuse may well be more of a problem.

    There are two main models for teams to work in: with a leader/captain or without, such as with skellies. Which to choose is a design decision which should usually be fairly clear depending on the specific game being played.

    Something which would be nice to have, and which again re-uses existing games, is some sort of team challenge, where there are "parlour puzzle duty stations". People simultaneously fight swords, rumblers, drink, and play cards (and TD). A team might consist of:

    3 swords (each fights each other, with a 3v3 brawl finale)
    3 rumblers (ditto)
    3 drinkers (all at the same table, alternating seats)
    1 spades player
    1 hearts player
    1 poker player
    1 TD player
    1 hobbit (who can substitute if someone disconnects) for luck

    The cards players in the event above are only available in the earlier rounds of competitions; in semi-finals and finals they would join the fighters for the brawls at least (and role-playing card sharps). Spades partners are paired at random with other teams, Hearts go to random tables with two winners and two losers from each round. Poker can be done by merging tables.

    This second idea is essentially a generalised tourney. The format for some games (drinking and cards) would be open-ended rather than to a certain score, with the ratio between scores used to get a weighted result.

    Finally, and most difficultly, is the co-operative puzzle which is neither PvP nor PvE at heart. Perhaps a jumbo jigsaw puzzle is the best example of this kind of puzzle, but unfortunately the graphics (resolution) of YPP is not really suited to that particular type.

    One approach, which works both with and without a captain (ad hoc leaders will emerge) is to make the puzzle something much larger than a single person can (sufficiently quickly) solve.

    Perhaps when Titans arrive, the old salts start giving out obscure clues in return for PoE. The ultimate result of these clues would be the island which is to be attacked. Each account and all associated accounts would get the same clue (although players can choose to buy the old salt drinks forever, they will always get the same answer).

    These clues would be generated in a similar way to LordKalvan's fruit puzzle. For example:

    "The first letter of the first word is A"
    "The third letter of the fifth word is two letters after the sixth letter of the twelfth word in the alphabet"
    "The ninth letter of the second word lies before the first letter in the nineteenth word"

    The final message would be cryptic of course from the start. Initially it might not be necessary to "cull" clues, but rather to simply generate enough that the puzzle taken as a whole is solvable.

    Later, as fiendish little minds start writing programs to help them solve things, deliberate errors could be introduced, introducing deliberate spelling errors to defeat dictionary attacks, and even by including false clues (in the above example substituting T, five, and after for A, two and before).

    If a standalone clue generator is created, then it will be easy to see what length of message and mix of clue types gives a message which is solvable by the ocean at large, but not realistically by a single individual. I can also imagine a scenario where a few dozen players take individual words or letters and "negotiate" with people with other letters linked to their clues.
    [Jan 23, 2007 10:31:55 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    Patetch

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    Some possible areas for for cooperative puzzling:
    Foraging
    Merchant commodity runs
    Floating multiple vessels
    Construction
    Sea monster hunts?

    Questions and concerns:
    One concern with a crafting cooperative puzzle: if it could only be played well as a team, would it be done often enough to keep the industry going? Many people turn to the crafting puzzles when there are not a lot of other people online to pilly with or play parlor games. If they were unable to score as high alone then they might not be willing to risk their stat.

    On that note, would (could) there be separate stats for individual play and teamwork?

    Is it possible to have people play on the same board or is it too much of a server drain? I know everyone is using the same blockade board, but I am not sure if it is quite the same as playing on the same crafting board.

    Some different ways to implement cooperative puzzles:
    Everyone plays the same game but with their own boards, certain events give everyone bonus points (this is the style being used in the Nibbler proposal.)

    Players each have their own quadrant of the larger board, they can only play on their section but everyone is working together on the larger picture.

    Have a series of mini puzzles that are different but affect each other. The individual puzzles are simple and fairly quick and can be played simultaneously by a team or consecutively by a solo player.

    Multiple players playing the same game on the same board but having to coordinate their efforts (which I believe is the idea for the Porgy proposal.)

    Further elaboration on the idea of ship floating:
    Possibly have a different set of puzzles depending on the purpose of the voyage, keeping pillages as they are now, and the purpose can only be set at port (no changing midway.)

    Commodity run: requires a minimum amount of people based on size of ship and amount (and average value?) of goods in the hold. Ships are not spawned (so no brigand or barbarian attacks) but at each league point there will be a report, based on the level of puzzling, along the lines of "You lost x goods due to brigand attacks" or "You passed a shipwreck and collected x goods."

    Fleet moving: ships could be "linked" together, so that people didn't need to be on each ship, but again there would need to be a minimum number of people based on amount and type of ships (and maybe limit the amount of goods that can be carried so people don't try to combine a commod run with fleet moving.) Again, no spawning, the messages recieved could be, "the Sloop, Slow Pollack has received too much damage and has ported at (island along the route) for repairs (then that ship could not be sailed again for a certain amount of time)" or "the Cutter, Happy Guppy caught a strong current and has reached it's destination ahead of schedule."

    For either of these types of voyages, the probabilty of good or bad events would depend on the average skill of puzzling, or be triggered by something within the puzzle. If there were to be PVP have it be a different puzzle than battle nav, (possibly with a team concept like the melees where it is one team (ship) against the other.

    These are just some possibilities, it wouldn't have to be this way for both types of voyages (although it could be.) The reason I suggest not having ships spawn and not using battle nav is just to:
    1) make it different and interesting
    2) appeal to those who are not so good at bnav
    3) put banv and gun back into perspective relative to other skills (so that being ultimate in those areas is not the only way to success) a merchant could be successful without having to bnav or run everytime.
    4) encourage people to use this method rather than solo floating because it would be less time consuming.
    5) make the entire voyage more team dependent (pillies rely heavilly on the bnav and gunners.)

    It just seems to me that a voyage that pillaged out to an island, foraged, and then became a commod run back to civilization would be a lot more interesting than pillaging all the time or alt foraging armies and solo floating.

    I did put a game idea suggestion over in Game Design that I thought would be interesting for challenge games but it could possibly be worked into one of these voyage scenarios (with some modifications.) Although the idea didn't seem to go over well as there was only one response :) Here is the link.

    Yes, I did link to my own ideas here, but I figured that was better than reiterating them all over again.
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    Pletoo of Sage
    [Jan 23, 2007 6:03:52 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    tcarr

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    Is it possible to have people play on the same board or is it too much of a server drain? I know everyone is using the same blockade board, but I am not sure if it is quite the same as playing on the same crafting board.


    Drinking parties, poker, spades, hearts. Granted, these are turn based games, not mad rushes. IMO, it would be better for the server and the network communication issue (if players are using the same board and not taking turns) to have players set up several moves, then press a button to commit the moves or the moves were automatically committed "about the same time" after a set amount of time (something like bnav).
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    LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
    [Jan 23, 2007 6:23:41 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    tcarr

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    A concern that was raised in the Nibbler thread, that seemed in my mind more appropriate for discussion here:

    Is it appropriate for there to be a natural limit to how well a solo player can do in a puzzle designed for teams?

    The current YPP puzzle that comes to my mind is bnav. Yes, there are navy missions, so you can practice bnav using bots if you don't have humans willing to help you. It is probably impossible to raise your standing that way even as high as GM, since it will be difficult to spawn imperials, your bots will not be doing GM+ work for you, and you probably can't stay out long enough for the ramp to get you to the really juicy opponents since you can't rechart the ship.

    So.... for the puzzles we design, is it ok to have such a natural limit? Do we perhaps even want to encourage such natural limits? If part of the puzzle itself is managing the social aspects of the team, do we want players to be able to solo their way to an ult? For a crafting puzzle, I can certainly see wanting solo players to be able to produce Expert labor, but Expert doesn't need GM+ standing.

    Another cooperative puzzle: Brawling. There are no standings for brawling, just for solo SF challenges. If we develop a cooperative puzzle, perhaps we could specify that standings either:
    1. only solo play can change your standings; a team can produce a higher score, and so make more poe directly, produce more labor hours at a lower cost in labor hours by the team members, or forage more fruit/have a chance at gems/have a chance at gold.

    or:
    2. only team play can change your standings; solo play can use labor and produce work but will not effect your standing.

    Another alternative is to have solo players either not be allowed to play the puzzle at all, or else give them bots (which will be rather stupid and likely still limit a player's ability to raise his/her standing).
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    LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
    [Jan 24, 2007 10:56:25 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    Patetch

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    What would be the effect of having shop size affect how many players can play? In other words, a solo player could only work in a small stall, teams of 2 could play in a small or medium stall, 3 would be any size stall, 4 would be any stall or shoppe. The thought is that small stalls generally have less work and would encourage people to play in a team to get better pay. It doesn't really answer the stat question but it does add some interesting mechanics. I am wondering what it would do to the economy though, what would be the effect on small stall owners or shoppe owners?
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    Pletoo of Sage
    [Jan 24, 2007 11:44:50 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    Patetch

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    Another consideration...

    Would all the players on a team have to be in the same shop, or would it be global like the parlor tables?

    If the former, it might be difficult to find people to team up with, even if 100 other people are wanting to play (because they could easily be in different stalls.) Also, people might not want to join a team if it is helping a competitor.

    If the latter, then how would it determine which shop received labor? Would each person's labor be applied to the particular shop they are in? How much labor? Would it be based on their individual puzzling? Or would that be an added bonus for teamwork, having each shop benefit? I can see that being a strong encouragement for teamwork, but it would likely be specific teams not random ones (for example 4 flagmates that each have their own weavery stall, would regularly team up to mutually benefit, however it wouldn't be likely that they would team with random jobbers who may be working in in a competitor's (or warring flag's) stall.
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    Pletoo of Sage
    [Jan 24, 2007 12:04:55 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    tcarr

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    What would be the effect of having shop size affect how many players can play? In other words, a solo player could only work in a small stall, teams of 2 could play in a small or medium stall, 3 would be any size stall, 4 would be any stall or shoppe. The thought is that small stalls generally have less work and would encourage people to play in a team to get better pay. It doesn't really answer the stat question but it does add some interesting mechanics. I am wondering what it would do to the economy though, what would be the effect on small stall owners or shoppe owners?


    Or even turn it upside down: teams can't puzzle at the smallest size stall - there isn't room (and less throughput as well). Medium stalls could have solo or pairs, deluxe stalls 1, 2, or 3 people on a team, and shops anything up to 4 players on a team.
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    LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
    [Jan 24, 2007 12:07:05 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    Patetch

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    Or even turn it upside down: teams can't puzzle at the smallest size stall - there isn't room (and less throughput as well). Medium stalls could have solo or pairs, deluxe stalls 1, 2, or 3 people on a team, and shops anything up to 4 players on a team.

    I thought of it that way too, but if the idea is to encourage teamwork you would want to give them as many opportunities as possible, while limiting the solo player's options. Also, wouldn't only allowing solo players in a small stall, and limiting their ability to score as well as a team hurt the small stall business? On the flip side, would only allowing teams of four in a shoppe hurt their business? Although it makes sense that a small stall owner could get some work done by doing it themself, but a shoppe owner would need help.
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    Pletoo of Sage
    [Jan 24, 2007 12:25:16 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    Patetch

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    ... continuing my thought that should have been finished before hitting post...

    Unless, it was set up so that only solo play is allowed in a small stall, but there is no penalty for playing solo there. In a shoppe there would always be teams of four, even if three are able bots. That would encourage people to seek out human teammates but not force them to (just like soloing a sloop.)
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    Pletoo of Sage
    [Jan 24, 2007 12:35:14 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    tcarr

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    ... continuing my thought that should have been finished before hitting post...

    Unless, it was set up so that only solo play is allowed in a small stall, but there is no penalty for playing solo there. In a shoppe there would always be teams of four, even if three are able bots. That would encourage people to seek out human teammates but not force them to (just like soloing a sloop.)


    now that sounds interesting! the size of the stall/shop determining the number of team members, and bots filling in for missing team members. we might even use teams of 5 for an upgraded shoppe (if teams of 5 makes sense for the puzzle - if the puzzle only makes sense for teams of 2 or 3, then we could scale it differently).

    Touching on a related concern earlier, about which shop/stall gets the labor: if we are forming teams using a parlor table type interface, then the person who initiates the table would determine the shop/stall (where is that pirate standing?) that gets the labor. Anybody who cared about which one gets the labor would have to start the game himself/herself. The interface could state the name of the shop/stall, and the wages that shop/stall pays (and possibly even what type of labor needs to be done, so that if the stall only has basic labor left in the queue everybody could know ahead of time).
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    LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
    [Jan 24, 2007 1:29:22 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    Aenor

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    I was going to add a detailed collection of my thoughts, but then I realized my thoughts are not yet crystallized, so I deleted it all.

    But I feel pretty sure about this: It seems pointless to me to talk about such things in the abstract. People will have to come up with more proposals for puzzles, and each one will be considered based on how well it scales for cooperation.
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    Mat on the Meridian Ocean

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    [Jan 24, 2007 1:36:36 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    Patetch

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    How "fair" would it be to have one crafting industry so mechanically different than the others? (Things like stats and how labor applies, or even not needing to puzzle in a specific shop to provide labor for it.)
    Should we be focusing on non crafting areas instead?
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    Pletoo of Sage
    [Jan 24, 2007 2:03:42 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    Patetch

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    Adding to my earlier post (my original long post)

    A fifth way that a cooperative puzzle could be implemented would be having a 'round table' concept (much like poker.) Your play directly affects the people on your left and right, if someone drops out then the seat is skipped over, however if the numbers dropped below a minimum then an able bot could be added. This method would be the most flexible method concerning numbers of players.
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    Pletoo of Sage
    [Jan 24, 2007 2:14:10 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    Fiddler

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    A sixth way that a cooperative puzzle could be implemented wold be swapping boards on consecutive turns. You and your partner/opponent each start with identical boards. As you play differences emerge, and then at a certain point you switch boards. Include different methods of scoring and different toolsets (swapping individual pieces, rotating pieces, swapping pieces, eliminating undesirable pieces, etc..) and you arrive at a puzzle where you are constantly either scoring or setting up the board for your partner to score.
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    [Jan 24, 2007 2:24:48 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    Avatar by Stimmhorn [Link]  Go to top 
    Aenor

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    A genre of board game that I love is the "Everyone plays against the game", the most well known of which is perhaps Knizia's Lord of the Rings game. The game is played by 2-5 people, each takes the role of a hobbit, and everyone works together to achieve the goal of destroying the ring. With the right crowd, it's a lot of fun.

    Another great and fun example is Betrayal at the House on Haunted Hill, except you don't know what the object of the game is until halfway when a random event triggers one of the players to betray the team and take on the role of the Monster who is trying to kill everyone, or open a gate to hell, or something similar.

    I'll play around with some ideas and see what I can come up with along the lines of that.
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    Mat on the Meridian Ocean

    Thank you to everyone who loves Blacksmithing!
    [Jan 24, 2007 2:25:30 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    Patetch

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    Touching on a related concern earlier, about which shop/stall gets the labor: if we are forming teams using a parlor table type interface, then the person who initiates the table would determine the shop/stall (where is that pirate standing?) that gets the labor. Anybody who cared about which one gets the labor would have to start the game himself/herself. The interface could state the name of the shop/stall, and the wages that shop/stall pays (and possibly even what type of labor needs to be done, so that if the stall only has basic labor left in the queue everybody could know ahead of time).

    The more I think about this, (and cooperative crafting puzzles in general) the more I think it would have a serious impact on the economy. Basically, every stall and shoppe would be in competition not just with the others on their island but with every single one in the entire ocean. If a stall owner could start a game and have anyone from anywhere play, then I would think that they would put their shop on an island that had lower taxes and cheaper prices on commodities than the more heavilly populated islands. (Again, that raises the question of fairness - if one or two crafting industries could do this and the others couldn't.)

    Actually, I am becoming less convinced that cooperative puzzles would work well for the crafting industry, with the effect on the economy being a huge factor. It seems to me that doing so would require a major overhaul of some basic mechanics, but I could be wrong.

    I do, however, think they are perfect for the other areas that have been mentioned, areas that do not already have an established way of doing things. That being said, I have several ideas that I would like to think more about. Right now they could lend themselves to several areas, but to flesh them out more, they would need to become more specific. I really like the idea of having a cooperative puzzle for ship floating / commod runs. Even though I know that is not currently on the plate and it could be a very long time before it could get implemented, I would still like to pursue the idea. I wouldn't think this would be the appropriate thread, since the focus here is still on crafting puzzles, so is there somewhere a little more formal than game design where proposals could be made?

    Of course, I understand wanting to keep the focus on crafting puzzles, and like I said, some ideas I have could work anywhere. There seem to be some looming questions and considerations, and that is the point of this thread, I suppose, so I look forward to hearing more suggestions that might answer them.
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    Pletoo of Sage
    [Jan 24, 2007 8:09:01 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    Benzene265

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    Like I've stated in the other cooperative puzzle thread, people are in love with their stats, no matter what Fronsac says. >.> And, it doesn't matter what level that stat is. I've seen people piss and moan over losing Distinguished due to lag and I've seen rants from mere Respecteds that make Ultimate SFers and gunners look downright indifferent to their positions on the list.

    My fear with cooperative crafting is that people might be griefing my Renowned. Of course, there's no guarantee I'll be that good at the chosen puzzle, but then that means that I might be the one that booches someone else's standing. If there is team crafting, I would prefer it to be much more like pillaging and less like spades or brawling. Our individual efforts would ideally be scored separately whether fine or incred, but the labor output will be an average of what the team of crafters achieved. A team of ults will craft amazing things. An Ult and Able team should be able to produce Skilled labor. The Ult can cover the Able's weaknesses, but can't make it as nice as two Ults could. And of course, since they averaged skilled labor, they get paid for skilled labor. Perhaps in the future, there will be a system for paying "Bonuses" for expert crafters whose team only produces skilled labor, similar to blockade performance pay.

    Also, two people should equal at least two hours of labor, one for each pirate. Getting paid 2.5 PoE for doing active basic labor on a doub ocean would be terrible and wouldn't encourage teaming. I'd want my whole 5 PoE as advertized on the Now Hiring sign. Actually, I would want more than that, but there isn't much choice in some industries.

    As far as alting goes, I have no idea how you'd prevent it unless you did away with dual-clienting. People have been able to play relatively fast puzzles like Sailing or Rumble in two clients at once at the Ultimate level. The slower pace of a crafting puzzle would be no problem for them, especially since pausing doesn't lower your score. To limit alting, you might have to make the puzzle fast. That'll keep all the merely renowned pirates from double-clienting all over the place. >.> Even just removing the ability to pause could keep most people from being an entire crafting team.

    Another thing that would help the whole alting issue a lot is to encourage team crafting wherever possible. A global Crafting Table might be out of the question, but you need to get people who like to craft together into the same puzzles. At least the badge won't be an issue. Nearly everyone I know has at least one Labor Badge and crafts on non-free days whenever they go dormant. So, it's not like you'll have the Parlor Badge issue of not being able to find someone willing to cough up 4 doubs for penny-ante Spades on an off day. The Mission board could offer specific Team Crafting missions which would theoretically help crafters find each other.

    But, you'd still need more than that. Offering optional bonuses for fine through incred in teams, letting team puzzlers work multiple labor hours in one session, and somehow not making your stat wholly dependent on the whole team's work will all encourage team crafting. I can see the multiple hours being the biggest draw.
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    A Ghyslaine and a Rhodin for every Ocean, but mostly on Viridian.
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    [Jan 24, 2007 8:43:16 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    Have you considered becoming a well-tanned blonde? [Link]  Go to top 
    Bia
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    Perhaps there could be a separation between scoring and application. A player's score is considered individually. However, the effect of the session depends on a combination of everyone involved.

    In such a situation an Ultimate with some Ables would not be hurt with regards to scoring, but the effect of the entire session would be slight.
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    [Jan 25, 2007 3:07:03 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    Gotagota

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    I just woke up so I might be a bit grumpy. Breakfast required. Reply to this Post
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    Rhodin wrote: 
    Like I've stated in the other cooperative puzzle thread, people are in love with their stats, no matter what Fronsac says. >.>

    I ain't posted in a month and I'm still the archetypal example of the guy who hates stats? Heh.

    Okay, first off, this thread is god damn depressing. Too many of you are limiting your focus on cooperative puzzles to pertaining only to crafting instead of thinking about cooperative puzzles on the whole and working down. It's very hard to add aspects effectively, partially since good design is almost always trimming fat (and sometimes meat!).

    Onward. Stats, since I'm thinking about them now. It's surprisingly easy to personally dislike the idea of stats as motivation (which is my real problem with them) yet design with the knowledge that some dumb invisible numbers are going to be the primary reason anyone will want to do well. The easiest and most obvious way to handle that is to score individually, per pirate, for rankings, and score per puzzle for displayed end-of-puzzle rating. It's slick, it's simple, and if you do it transparently you can cackle like a madman anytime anyone claims some unskilled player affected their precious, precious stat. In fact, forget about any other methods. This one is probably the best of them anyway, so just design the games around the idea that players can be rated per individual performance. Anything else will make players bitch and whine like children and even though I personally wouldn't listen to them for basically any reason but masochism the less of that high pitched crap that comes in the better. Basically this is a rephrasing of what Bia just posted with some more foul language and extra justification as to why you shouldn't even consider anything else.

    Right, that was harsh. Well, so be it. Moving on.

    I don't think cooperative puzzles will fit the theme of crafting even if they seem like the shot in the arm crafting just might need. The only way I like multiple people working together in crafting is if they're synergizing via multiple puzzles, like duty puzzles. Of course, allowing a certain synergy between multiple instances of a puzzle in a given location, give shop size a cap on players who can contribute to the synergy...that might have some intriguing potential but it's probably neither here nor there.

    "Everyone plays against the board" style games are hard to design and also don't fit the metaphor of puzzles. Also they're often boring as all hell. And lengthy. The game you mentioned, Betrayal at the House on the Hill is a damn fine game precisely because a single player is given control of the board elements, and instead of fighting a randomly- or purely logically-moving opponent, you compete with something (someone) malevolent towards your goals. Direct competition is important even in cooperation. Allowing players to interfere with each other is vital--longterm scores might not matter but the immediate ones are the primary motivation to perform (as opposed to merely succeed). Consider the example of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures. It's a specifically cooperative game through and through, but one player is considerably more equaller than the others through collecting force gems, and a player can steal force gems from his companions simply by striking them. The added goal of coming out on top makes each player scour every nook and cranny of the level between puzzles, and gives them all something to think about (the inevitable betrayal to claim some precious force gems) while whatever puzzle they're solving doesn't directly include them. It's brilliant. Everyone's entertained or wary or curious or thinking ahead at all times. No downtime.

    Of course a model like that might be tough to emulate in a turn-based setting. Between turns is nearly always downtime, isn't it? Well, not if you give players something to do then. Remember: players are going to talk to each other. You can't stop it and you can't do anything about it. Designing a game that'll be broken if players communicate is shortsighted and honestly, shows a certain naivety toward actually ever playing games that I'd hate to see anyone who makes them have. So given that, the solution to both problems is very, very simple: make a game that encourages that sort of collusion. Here's an example I wrote three and a half years ago. Bad Memory.


    Curses. Looks like I'm interested again. More as I have free moments to consider things.
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    [Jan 25, 2007 7:52:06 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    tcarr

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    I personally think that any true cooperative puzzle should require team members to talk to each other (or their scores will be lower). We want to encourage the communication.

    "Gah, I *almost* have enough XXX to finish YYY. Does anybody have a *?"
    "I have one, yes, no problem! Do you have a $?"

    etc.
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    LordKalvan of Otherwhen, all oceans but mostly Midnight
    [Jan 25, 2007 9:02:05 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
    Bia
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    I received a Private Message asking whether these co-operative designs are intended in a crafting context or not. The truth is that the floor is open for either. I tend to see co-operative puzzles as something that would best fit into foraging, for example, but it would be possible that a very strong design could work in any crafting industry, as well.
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