4th Beta KAHUNA to kickoff next week

News, discussions and gossip around WOK SPECIES.

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Post by Dameon » Tue May 04, 2004 9:14 pm

The problem is NOT that turns are every 10 minutes. As long as I am able to log on 2-3 times a day, I could keep up with my feeding. The problem is also not that species eat too much, that WAS the problem at one point but it was fixed pretty early on. The problem is that if I leave for say, the weekend, and have no access to a computer, then my species is going to start starving. That would be the same if turns were running every 10 minutes, every 15 minutes, or even every half hour.

I don't think asking players, while active, to be able to log on 2-3 times a day to keep on top of their feeding is at all excessive. I do think that ensuring that players starve if they have to go more than 24 hours without 'net access IS a big problem. That is what needs to be adressed. I am simply not going to start playing another beta round and put a bunch of work into my species when I know I am going to be gone for the occasional weekend and my species is going to take a serious hit because of it.
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Post by korexus » Tue May 04, 2004 11:01 pm

Dameon wrote:The problem is NOT that turns are every 10 minutes.
...
That would be the same if turns were running every 10 minutes, every 15 minutes, or even every half hour.


Well, actually...

Think about it. (And by think, I mean take on board and consider what is written, not just argue on principal.)
At any given point, there is a certain number of steps before your species starts to starve. The longer the timespan between turns, the longer it will take for those steps to be run and therefore the more time it will take for your species to starve therefore, the more time a player can spend without sending orders. If turns were run every 30 minutes then it would take a long time for saturation to drop. It would, however, also take longer for everything else to happen so the balance is hard to strike. For the final version, 30 minute turns might be a good balance. While in beta testing it's simply not viable. (Everglades would only just be coming up to 2000 turns now on that time scale.)

Another point is that players always seem to talk on the boards about "keeping up with feeding". I (and if I recall spy info correctly, Lardmaster) try to "get ahead" on feeding. You may get less immediate benefits in the way of mutations, but it does mean that if you get a bit mor leeway on the saturation front.

A hibernation mode would certainly make the game easier, but Al has said to the dev team right from the offset that the game isn't meant to be easy. Maybe he's making a mistake, but he's the guy with the experience in making games. He's also the one who came up with the idea so if his mind's set, I'll respect that. (Although I may keep on nagging :wink:)

After that, just a few loose ends I feel should be cleared up.

Dameon wrote:Anyway, now that Ben and our mysterious poster have also by default lumped Eg and Sal into the "megalomaniac and knob" category, at least I'm in good company!


Actually, that's not what "Guest" said. He makes no mention of people who happen to agree with you, merely that you appear to be a 'megalomaniac pain'. I'd hate to put words into somone else's mouth, but I'd even go so far as to say that opinion may not be soley based on this thread...

Dameon wrote:Al, when you have three of your top beta testers (I make that claim because I know Eg, Sal, and I have all made MANY suggestions)

Yes, you have made a lot of suggestions. So have many other people. Not all of them even come through this board, imagine that! It may astound you to read this, but there are actually people in the world who don't think the same way as you do! What the dev team are trying to do is produce a balanced system which will keep as many people as possible happy.

And finally.
Dameon wrote:I don't understand why the hibernation mode isn't being included in the beta testing

Where did this come from? Do you have some secret insider info on the next release? If so, you may want to check your source...
There is not going to be anything called a "hibernation mode" included in the next beta. However, there is a new option which will allow a well prepared species to exist safely without input for 316 turns. Add to this, the fact that any player can set an order queue of 25 turns before they leave and you get a minimum away time of 56 hours 50 minutes even with 10 minute turns. However, we'll obviously never get a chance to test this new feature out as you won't be joining any more beta tests...


~korexus.
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Post by Dameon » Tue May 04, 2004 11:51 pm

If a hibernation mode is being introduced, then why didn't the dev team simply say so? Why does it take three players saying they will not play in a beta to drag that information out of you? Anyway, I simply said without a reliable mode that will allow players to be away for a few days without starving, I would not play. (56 hours doesn't really do it either- players can be away for longer than that. A true hibernation mode should be open-ended; the player WON'T gain any score while hibernation, but they won't starve either) If there is one implemented in the next beta, well, then I would. Of course, the dev team has been pretty intent on keeping the rules secret, so I guess we'd never know huh? It seems silly to turn away beta testers simply because you won't tell them how the game is going to run.

I don't mind "getting ahead" on saturation, but that option is not always going to be available depending on how much food there is around. This will especially be true this next beta with the effort to reduce the amount of food available overall. And yeah, if we made half hour turns, then I am sure people would have no problem keeping fed. People would also stop playing out of sheer boredom too, though, as was evidenced by the pretty unanimous tester request to make the turns 10 minutes.

The dev team needs to figure out it's prirorites. If most testers want a hibernation feature (and I have yet to hear a TESTER speak against it), then one should be put in. Period. Otherwise, you are basically dooming the game to failure. The goal of beta testing is to get player input. If the dev team ignores the player input, then all that will happen is they will get the same reaction when the game goes public, and nobody will play it.

I'm done arguing it though, you all know how I feel. And Eg and Sal, for that matter, and it'd be interesting to see how many others agree on the hibernation issue. The dev team absolutely 100% NEEDS to implement any suggestion that is backed by an overwhelming majority of the testers. If they are unwilling to do this, then Species is going to join the ranks of the CCG, WOK 6, MW, and all the other WOK failures as opposed to the ranks of the only true successes, WOK 4 and WOK 5. The goal is not to stroke your own ego guys, it's to make players want to play your game. To this point, I do think that the dev team has done an excellent job in responding to player input. But, by the refusal to input a hibernation mode because it would make the game too "easy", well, that is unfortunately a fatal flaw. All the beta testers are strategy vets who LIKE this type of game. If WE say the game is too hard/frustrating without a hibernation mode, then what do you think the public is going to say?
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Post by ThinKing » Wed May 05, 2004 12:51 am

Dameon wrote:Of course, the dev team has been pretty intent on keeping the rules secret, so I guess we'd never know huh? It seems silly to turn away beta testers simply because you won't tell them how the game is going to run.


This is why I gave up with it.

How can you possibly pass judgement on a game when you dont know the rules? :roll:

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Post by Dameon » Wed May 05, 2004 2:33 am

Yeah well I've run that particular argument into the ground with the dev team as well, TK. I even went so far as to write a manual for the game, with Al's approval, and sent it to him. He said he liked it and would distribute it, but that never happened, probably because of the changes between betas. I told him I'd be willing to keep it updated, and he seemed game, but nothing has come of it apparentely. My take on that is, it's stupid to keep the rules secret (another ego trip), but since they'd be out before the public release then all that the lack of rules is causing is a longer beta period as the players figure out how to play. If that's what the dev team wants, no harm in the long run (except for running off more beta testers, but they don't see that as a problem, so....). The lack of an indefinite hibernation mode has the potential to deep-six this game, though, and is a much more serious long term problem, IMO.
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Post by GoatHerder » Wed May 05, 2004 3:09 am

My turn to make some comments. I am on the development team, although not very actively involved compared to the others. Anyway, there was a lot of discussion in the team on the idea of hibernation, but it's not as simple as it sounds. While there is an obvious need for a "hibernation" (or some similar "go to sleep" mode), there are also quite a few disadvantages. Think about it! The main ones are: (i) it would give people the ability to reach a high score then hide for the rest of the game and (ii) manipulation by clanmates/friends, plus a few others as well.

On the first point --- if you recall early in the game, Korexus (I think?) reached a score of 1500s in the first week, and Dameon reached 1500-2000 at about turn 2000, and similar high scores have been reached since, albeit temporarily. With a hibernation mode, what would have stopped any of them from going to sleep for the rest of the game to win the VPs.

On the clanmate side, one player could go to sleep while others do all the dirty work, looking for the enemies and searching for size 2 or size 3 plant populations for their mate. That could be done now, but with hibernation it would be a lot easier.

IMM--- I don't think it's good enough for a player to reach a high score and then sit out the rest of the game. He should be forced to defend himself against for a while to show he can not only get the high score but also maintain it against the others, especially when carnivore status comes into play.

Anyway --- back to the new game coming up. I understand there will be a hibernation/hide mode of a sort, with Al and others are putting together the final touches on how it will work. There are a few more skills as well. I hope they finish soon as I'm keen to get started, but I'm not really sure when they expect to release it.

All the best,

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Post by Dameon » Wed May 05, 2004 6:29 am

You have to consider that both Kor and I got to our high scores by exploiting flaws in the game- Korexus did it by not feeding his species but bumping his fertility, I did it by eating all the extra plants that were around because of the limited player signup on the full map. Neither of these is going to happen in a real game, when it comes to it. I think that if the average scores are NOT increasing throughout the game, then the scoring system needs to be looked at. A player who is hibernating is gaining zero mutations, specimens, or other things that generally bump up score. I don't think that once the game is stable, players are going to be able to artificially inflate their score and then hibernate to win the game. If they do, then the problem is not the hibernation function, it's the scoring formula. One way to help defeat this if it turns out to be an issue would be to award players 1-5 points for every step that goes by when their species is NOT hibernating.

The point is, no, hibernation is not a cure-all. But, if the dev team is worried about player abuse of the system, there are countermeasures that can be taken against it that would still allow the hibernation feature. The whole point of beta testing is to work those out. Put in hibernation mode, and then see if your fears are justified. If they are, we can take steps to limit it, but if they are not, then where's the harm? There's obviously quite a bit of negative associated with not having a hibernation system right now, so why not implement one and balance it out as we go?
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Post by Mullog » Wed May 05, 2004 8:58 am

We were hoping to test the new game engine today or tomorrow, but unfortunately I have a Real Life (tm) to take care of (daughter, girlfriend, other family, friends, work, you know...) and I have therefore not been able to complete the code on time.
It is nearly done now, I must add one more skill and sort out a few bugs, and then we can do a few private test runs to sort out the most obvious bugs. THEN we are ready to open the next beta. Maybe as soon as this weekend, at least some day next week.

We do not intend to add a hibernation mode where your species disappear out of the game, for we do not agree that it will help the game. BUT I think we have solved the problem anyway. As I see it, there was two problems:
First the feeding. If you go away for a weekend, your species will starve. You can protect yourself against it by storing a lot of food, but that is not always a solution. To solve the problem we have added another default order - hunting. As long as you find a square with some food in it you can keep up.
The second problem is being eaten while away (just like Nick did to me). To help avoid this we will allow species to fly above the map. You will need wings of course, but they can be bought after a while. While flying you will be unhuntable, but you will also be limited in what you can do. It will resemble the "hibernation mode" in some aspects, but you will still be in the game.

Finally, there is the question about the manual. Before we open the next beta a manual will be availabale. It will NOT cover everything the game engine does, but it will let you know what you are doing.

Now. Please stop writing stupid comments of the type "I am right and you should listen to me!". If you have a suggestion, let us know. But remember that there are other people in the world and you cannot always get what you want. If we say no then please respect it, for we have a reason. Don't behave like a kid and whine until you get what you want. PLEASE!
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Post by Saladin » Wed May 05, 2004 9:12 am

Looking forward to it Mullog! Thanks for the update!
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Post by gm_al » Wed May 05, 2004 9:46 am

Well well well.... it seems that our nagging-robot-that-repeats-his-arguments-like-prayers guy is in full swing again. Too bad no one cares about what you say or if you play or not.

I wont even bother trying to convince you on some aspects. You keep repeating your stuff like a parrot anyways. Do us a favor and shut up, just like you promised 10 posts ago. With all the stupid arguing you even manage to cover the few little good aspects in all your brabble. We dont give sh!t about your views, really. It seems we have to tolerate you because you are just too stubborn to go away, too bad. Just be assured no dev team will ever consider having you onboard, because your "my way or the highway" attitude (to cite a classic) would be killing every team effort. You might have a few valid points in all of your blablabla, but frankly I cannot convince myself to look for them - your posts all end up in being hateful annoyances, so I better ignore most of them.

Some general infos on KAHUNA:
- kickoff around Sunday we hope
- pre-signup on the boards in order to allow us setting a valid map size
- no hibernation mode as such. I am TOTALLY against anyone being able to dissapear from the game for an extended period of time, especially in a game that is supposed to last around 3 weeks. The exploits would just be too obvious. Instead we will have WINGS, a new skill that allows you to bridge the gap over 1-2 days if you really cant login (call it "weekend-mode" if you want, and it comes at a price)
- user manual to be released with start of next beta (with some parts gratiously being contributed by Tricky-Dicky-Dameon, in case he will keep referring to it for the next century)
- lots of tweaks, new features and changes (and bugs, probably)

Please realise that you are not seeing all the work that is put into Species behind the scenes. It has turned out to be a major project of enormous size, involving some 5-10 people now, some working on it full-time as being their "real" job and not just because its fun.
We are doing many many things at once around Species, and not all can be perfect or balanced or released "on time". Bare with us.

As a long-time game designer I know we cant make it perfect for everyone (so I stopped trying) - in fact no matter what we will do there will always be people complaining one way or the other. So my aim really is to make most of you happy and give players a challenge they like to take up.

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Post by Lowebb » Wed May 05, 2004 10:15 am

I didnt read all the posts since I last posted, just glanced it so I am a bit off topic here but I want to clarify things I said and things I didnt say but Dameon insinuated.

I respect Saladin and Egbert decision not to play, they didnt make a song and dance about it along with ultamatium's, you did Dameon. I do not think either of them are knobs or megolamanics, only you dameon. As for suggestions, I'm sure Al and Mullog listen to all them, but he isnt going to implement all them cause of you crying about it Dameon.

It does however seem a number of well respected ppl in kaomaris dont like species, which is fine, it is up to Al and Mullog to entice them back, not you to shout your mouth off.

I apologise Egbert and Saladin and anyone else who Dameon may accuse me of calling a knob, it is indeed not true, unless I otherwise stat :P

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Post by Underdog » Wed May 05, 2004 10:42 am

Don't worry Ben I suspect that Egbert and Sal are both bright enough to do what the rest of us do when Nick gets that way.

Exactly what I do........ Ignore him :lol:
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Post by Dameon » Wed May 05, 2004 4:11 pm

Ben, your post specifically said that my decision not to play without a hibernation mode made me a knob. Go ahead and read your own writing, it's there. Sal and Eg made that same decision, for the same reason- not to play because of the lack of a hibernation mode. Ergo, they fall into that same category as me by your own definition. I guess you aren't bright enough to see that- oh well., I didn't expect much out of you.

As for the rest. First off, if the game only lasts three weeks, then obviously hibernation becomes much less of an issue. A large part of the problem last time was the beta went on for over two months (I think?) and there was a high probability for players to be absent for at least some of their time.

Second, all I (and Sal, and Eg, and others) was looking for was some input from the dev team regarding what solutions are being taken to address the problem. If Al, or any dev team member, had simply stated what actual things were being implemented during Kahuna to address it, then this entire thread could have been headed off. Making hunting default and adding wings are two solutions that could work well in place of hibernation, IMO, especially as the overall length of the game is being scaled back.

I think the underlying problem is lack of communication between the dev team and the beta testers. If we do not even know what the full rules of the game are, it is hard to give full input. If we do not know what changes are being made, that makes it even harder. All I am asking for is a manual (which we are getting) and some answers to the problems the players have, as a whole, seen (which we are now finally getting, but only after a half dozen players said they would not play in the beta without them). I may be the loudest one, but I am hardly the ONLY one who feels this way Al.
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Post by gm_al » Wed May 05, 2004 7:40 pm

Do the math, simple stuff. We have about 1000 Turns a week, so the previous betas were set to run approximately a month, the new one (3000 Turns) will be just a bit shorter. Stop telling LIES about "two months".

Lack of communication ? Dont know why I even reply to all this BS, but I can hardly communicate anything that isnt set. You should know that I am always releasing a full list of changes and improvements from one version to the next - check WOK5 history for what its worth. But Ill talk about it when we get there, not make announcements that stay an illusion.

Im just dissapointed in the attitude some of you show towards us. Many people seem to forget a few things:
- its still a FREE game you all can play
- no one is forced to join
- we ALWAYS said this was BETA. We WARNED you about bugs, resets, changes and that we might need to pull the plug at any time - so live with it

Too bad you are looking to signup again, Nick. After we all listened to your godly advice you grace us with your presence again. Haleluja, cant wait for the first whining "if you dont do that I wont play any more of this" posts.

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Post by Dameon » Wed May 05, 2004 8:08 pm

How is it, exactly, then when I say "I won't play without a hibernation option" I am whining, but the same can't be said about Egbert and Sal (who said the same) or TK and AF (who said the same about a manual). Is it because I complain louder Al? If you want, I can be as quiet as them, and then you'll be wondering what happened to all your beta testers when they stopped signing up without telling you why. :roll:
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Post by GoatHerder » Wed May 05, 2004 11:36 pm

It's a pity this thread had degraded into bickering again.

In spite of some hard words against Dameon on some of the posts, I confirm that we did seriously discuss listen to his (and others') comments about hibernation mode, as well as weighing up the other suggestions about hiding or sleeping or climbing trees or whatever else to escape being wiped out. It's difficult to weigh them all up and get something that's workable.

I believe the new FLY mode should work OK, especially as it can be used for more than just escaping combat (eg. for short term tactics as well as holiday mode), but it probably won't suit everyone's style of play. With a bit of feedback duirng the game we can gauge how it works.

I recall another suggestion from Dameon (and others) about allowing players to buy the mutations. That was also discussed, but the original intention was to introduce a few more skills to buy (which has been done) while keeping some elements random (while still maintaining some player control over whether a mutation happens or not). Again, it won't suit everyone, but it was supposed to be an integral part of the game design.

Like many people, I too see a number of things I don't like about the game (both major and trivial), but these become less significant when I see the game running smoothly and other people liking the things I happen to dislike.

Overall, I think it looks good and getting better.

Have fun :bluethumb:

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Post by Dameon » Thu May 06, 2004 2:18 am

I think it was actually Taker's idea to buy specific mutations, and I don't feel one way or another about it. I think the mutations are close enough in SPs that it all evens out eventually, although you could get seriously hurt if you are going for BP and get BS, say. No risk, no gain though. Perhaps selling a skill which would allow you to focus on certain mutations (say, all BP mutations are half price (but BP mutations get double priced as the downside) or something might be good.
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Post by gm_al » Thu May 06, 2004 8:31 am

Re-sell of owned mutations at half-price is something I can imagine adding to the game. Not sure if ppl would really use it and if it would be worth the coding effort, needs to be analysed a bit.

And the difference between your posting and the ones from Eg & others was the TONE in them, Nick.

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Post by Saladin » Thu May 06, 2004 10:12 am

Although i think it would benefit the game, reselling of mutations is not really a good representation of nature, so it would take away from the game's realism.
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Post by Lowebb » Thu May 06, 2004 11:00 am

You're a knob for a lot of reasons Dameon, sorry I dont see the need to go into them again, just read various other threads on the boards. Read my last post again which will outline why I dont think other players of kaomaris who share your opinion are not knobs. (Getting bored of this word. Has anyone else got good suggestions for what we could call dameon?)

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