Inordinate Greeting Custom

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by JademusSreg, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. JademusSreg

    JademusSreg New Member

    I'll attempt to make this first part brief; not one to talk about myself much, but it seems introductions are in order.

    Hello. I'm in the process of designing a server, but that will be addressed below. Some time ago, I produced content for StarCraft 2, and during that time used the convenient but dreadfully limited tools to prototype a number of mechanics, from which came the semi-popular custom map Photon Cycles. Following a few updates to it and a number of other prototypes, I lost interest in making content for SC2's strangled platform.

    With that awful blurb dispatched, on to better things. After exploring the Minecraft modding scene a bit, doing the dark deed of modifying base class files, tinkering with the Forge API, running small servers and such, I encountered Tek―er, Macbeth. Seemed neat, if more than a little cobbled-together, buggy, and hopelessly outdated, so following some forays into the disconcertingly popular open servers for it, I resolved to operate my own, if only to test my design theories toward providing engaging, meaningful sandbox gameplay.

    Two recent developments brought me here to FTB: the ForgeBukkit divorce and cpw's twitter.

    The end of the ForgeBukkit fork was rather exciting; suddenly all the Bukkit plugins on which a vast number of Tek―uhhh, Tekken servers rely has effectively forced an ultimatum, leaving operators to languish in perpetual 1.2.5 with antiquated mods or abandon their modpack. (In a bit of retrospective speculation, it's an impressive power play for Forge/FML/FTB.) Didn't concern me, though, as I had intended all along to program the features I needed, such that no plugins could provide. I'm just as prepared to program in the Forge API as I was the Bukkit API.

    Later, while finding sources for various Bukkit plugins I felt might be worth forking for Forge, I came to cpw's twitter for the second time in a week, and noticed reference to FTB. Soon I'm deep in the lagomorph's respite-tunnel, reading Slowpoke's post about the ethical quagmire of Tekki―um, Tekkim-Sockem-Robots disregard for mod-creators' consent to inclusion, and see the vast potential of FTB, its roots in the community, its cooperation and respect of content creators, its not-being-stranded-in-1.2.5-ness.

    That said, care to point a server-side mod developer / server operator in the right direction, shave a bit of time off my otherwise endless research?
     
  2. Greedseed

    Greedseed New Member

    Hej Welcome to the forum. Keep en eye out in the Server Admin section.

    I do my best to post anything i learn there. And so will soulgriever soon :).
     
  3. Magicferret

    Magicferret New Member

    I started playing mods with Tek.. err.. a toaster as well, been using Direwolfs configs for a long time now though so the FTB pack is a nice change to all that installing. I'm glad that people are coming over from the dark side, welcome!
     
  4. GreenWolf13

    GreenWolf13 New Member

    Dark side of what? The moon?
     
  5. RampantPanda65

    RampantPanda65 New Member

    Welcome to the FTB forums!
     
  6. JademusSreg

    JademusSreg New Member

    I'm not much concerned about plugins; those highest in demand, permissions and player-owned region management, don't have a place in the experience I'm designing.

    Top-down regulation of player behavior reduces opportunity for meaningful choice, and consequently inhibits the emergence of self-regulating systems, such as conventions and mores. Understandably, as a server admin, you want people to get along, not have them constantly stealing, killing, quarrying, mffs cutting, nuking one another; between the constant complaints and player attrition, the server and the attitude of its operators would quickly go to hell in a pneumatic tube.

    Unrestricted, "griefing-permitted" PvP servers are something of a niche. However many players there are who thrive in an environment of constant and capricious hostility, they are vastly outnumbered by the players who simply want to collaborate with one another and casually build stuff together, who would be demoralized if someone raided their territory, who would likely be averse to playing on servers lacking measures to protect the investment of time they put into assembling their fully-automated thingamajig factory. These players could be characterized as preferring security to freedom, the freedom to choose cooperation over raiding.

    The cooperation/competition dynamic, assuming for the sake of simplicity all players are similarly motivated, emerges from the state of the environment, the difficulty of surviving it and the abundance (or scarcity) of its resources. DayZ, for example, is unmerciful in its environmental difficulty, and provides relatively sparse resource opportunities, which strongly incentivizes both cooperative and competitive strategies, resulting in tenuous relationships between even more cooperative players. You and OtherPlayer42 may have made it out of the city together, but if it comes down to a choice between who gets the ammo, who gets the rations, and who gets mobbed and killed, your new pal is going down.

    Cooperation correlates positively to environmental difficulty, where the survival opportunity of each cooperative player is greater than a non-cooperative player, "low risk, low reward" as the risk and rewards are distributed between the players. Competition correlates negatively to environmental resources, or rather limited but disproportionately valuable survival opportunities, "high risk, high reward" opportunities. A third strategy worth addressing is subversion; Subversion correlates positively to imposed regulations, negatively to environmental difficulty, a "low risk, high reward" strategy demonstrated when players become bored from lack of challenge or frustrated by the limitations imposed on them. Subversion in multiplayer typically results in someone being a dick.

    How then could a server appeal to both kinds of players, comforting the cooperative players while still giving competitive players the freedom to raid, and discourage subversion?
    • Minimal regulation. One who manages best is one who manages least. The fewer limits imposed on players, the more meaningful choices they have opportunity to make. Forcing every player to play nice by disabling PvP and protecting regions seems convenient, but frustrates players and inhibits the development of player social structures. Better than regulating player behavior is designing the server experience in such a way that makes players want to cooperate.
    • Brutal difficulty. Adapt or die. Paraphrasing a post I made elsewhere, similar to how the brutal process of natural selection encourages novel solutions, so too does unforgiving difficulty in gameplay. Anyone who has played on servers which don't make hunger lethal knows many players will forgo cultivating food entirely, as the consequences are inconvenient at worst. Challenge is necessary to maintain interest, those problems are needed to make gameplay stimulating, and the server isn't doing the players any favors by reducing the number of obstacles for them to overcome; easy-mode hastens boredom and player attrition.
    • Dynamic encounters. Unpredictable threats are always more effective than routine danger. Along the lines of Left4Dead's Director, such a system would keep players engaged, provided it is well-paced, corresponds to the capabilities of the players, and accounts for the environment. It avoids the monotony of endlessly spawning hordes; alternating between tension and respite is integral to maintaining interest in the challenge of gameplay, especially over the span of time one is likely to spend playing. (4 am already?!)
    • Moderate resources. Give the players too much, they lose interest; give them too little and they'll be killing one another for wooden planks and apples. It's no small task to find that goldilocks zone, though. Equivalent Exchange 2 certainly upset resource balance in the past, so besides whatever worldgen/config tweaking one may need, be wary of transmutation.
    Together, these design features conspire to encourage cooperation and curb subversion, leaving competitive strategies as something of a common exception. Sure, you could kill OtherPlayer42 for those 4 porkchops, but you may need someone to watch your back during the next expedition (that last creeper ambush almost killed you), and maybe OtherPlayer42 will tell you where it got those porkchops because you haven't seen pigs anywhere.

    EDIT: In before tldr.

    Basically, make the environment more difficult to survive to encourage meaningful cooperation, spare the trouble of implementing permissions that force people to get along.
     
    Stellastronza likes this.
  7. Stellastronza

    Stellastronza New Member

    You sir have your priorities in order, and I agree with everything you wrote.
     
  8. Ashzification

    Ashzification New Member

    Welcome to the forums! Hope you enjoy it!
     
  9. JademusSreg

    JademusSreg New Member

    Thanks. Tried to keep the little thesis brief, since no one wants to read a wall of text on forums.

    As for FTB, so far, so good. Currently exploring the mods, looking for issues and imbalances.

    • The Portalgun mod is spectacular, but the components are all terribly cheap relative to their capabilities.
    • The Quantum Generator is literally overpowered, but thankfully it is not craftable.
    • The Twilight Forest config files leave much to be desired; you can't so much as disable the twilight portal.
    • The Mystcraft config, on the other hand, allows one to disable any of its recipes and symbols.
    • It seems all the mods do the bulk of their work in the main thread, which causes the server to drop players during especially intensive tasks like world generation. Very bad.

    Coding of server-side systems will commence once I finish tinkering with mod configuration. I'd hate to disable any mod outright, as I'd like to make use of as much content as possible, but Twilight Forest and Mystcraft are most likely to get the ax, given the former's lack of configurability and the latter's obscene stress on the server, and that both subvert the experience I have in mind.
     

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