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a multiplayer game of parenting and civilization building

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#1 2020-01-17 21:07:51

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2017-02-13
Posts: 4,676

Update: Baby Placement

H5ZnVEn.png

My wife was out of town all week, so I was left with the task of being a full-time parent as well as a game developer.  I did manage to get a few things done, though.

First, there was the question of Eve frequency, and how that tends to spread civilizations out over time.  Eve placement is related to baby placement (we place an Eve instead of a baby under certain conditions), and in thinking about the baby placement code, I realized it had grown into a multi-scarred monster over the years of trying different methods inside and outside the rift.  Seemed like a good time to start clean and really think about what baby placement is supposed to accomplish.

Our highest priority in placing a baby should be to make sure there's at least one family in each of the specialist skin tones, and if all of them are already present, bolster the population of the weakest skin tone.  After that, our next priority is to bolster the population of the weakest family, and place girl babies when the number of potentially fertile females in a given family gets too low.  Of course, we also want to respect each mother's birth cool-down when possible, and also each player's previous-life area bans (so they don't get born to the same family over and over).  But we should also be willing to ignore cool-downs and area bans if there are no other mothers available.  No one should be able to area ban themselves, through suicide, into being an Eve, and we'd rather overload a mother on cool-down than spawn an Eve.

Finally, we need to make sure that the server is never overloaded with babies relative to the adult population (more than 2/3 babies), nor that a few remaining mothers are overloaded with babies (more than 4 babies per mother).

And of course, through out all of this, we respect curses, never placing a cursed baby near a player who cursed them, ever ever ever.  If there's no place for a cursed baby to go, they are sent to donkey town.

With those priorities cleanly stated, we can see that we only place Eves in two situations.  First, if there are too many babies for the existing adult population or population of mothers.  And second, if we're missing one of the specialist skin tones.

Those cases should be relatively rare, which means that new Eves should be rare.

With the simplified code in place, the behavior is much easier to reason about.  If there seem to be too many Eves in the future, I'll be able to figure out exactly why.

Next, the Genetic Fitness leaderboard has clearly been getting out of hand, with top scores climbing into the 500s.  In looking closely at the top-scoring players, I found something distressing:  many of them had very low average lifespans themselves.  By keeping their own lifespans low through regular suicide, the were able to farm points whenever they lived an occasional long life.  Furthermore, they were essentially handing out free points to everyone else through these occasional long lives.  It was also clear that quantity was trumping quality.  When scores are potentially infinite, playing a lot of lives is the only way to reach the top.

Implementing a suggestion from Wondible, we're now back to scores that are asymptotically capped at 60, while still solving the problems that the older capped system had (where you got punished for having a new player as a baby).  You now gain points whenever you help an offspring player live longer than expected, but the amount you gain is scaled relative to your own score.  Thus, the closer you are to 60, the less you can gain from each offspring, but the more you stand to lose if you actually hurt an offspring and cause them to live a shorter life than we expect for them.  You also gain points for yourself when you live longer than expected, with your score approximating how long we expect you to live.

Thus, there's no longer an exploit possible through suicide.  The best way to get a very high score is to live very long lives yourself, and never suicide, and help all of your offspring to live as long as possible, too.

Returning to a capped score demands a new formula for mapping score to tool slots, which can be seen in this graph:

LLZqaEQ.png

As part of this investigation, I made more of the leaderboard data public.  You can now click on the top-scoring players and see the recent lives that contributed to their score:

http://onehouronelife.com/fitnessServer … eaderboard

Thus, if another exploitative way to boost score emerges in the future, it will be easier for everyone to study and identify it.

But looking at the data now, we're off to a good start.  All of the top-scoring folks have very high average lifespans themselves.

There are also a bunch of little fixes.  More stuff can be bottled, and bottles are a bit easier to work with.

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#2 2020-01-17 21:16:34

Stormyzabeast
Member
Registered: 2018-09-26
Posts: 150

Re: Update: Baby Placement

Nice catch. Thanks!


I am Eve Toadvine. I name my kids Alex, Jason, Jake, Holly and Disney characters. Forager and road builder extraordinaire!

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#3 2020-01-17 21:41:14

Jojigirl
Member
Registered: 2019-02-16
Posts: 239

Re: Update: Baby Placement

Thank you for the update, and many thanks for more bottled objects!

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#4 2020-01-17 23:41:25

Punkypal
Member
From: New Orleans
Registered: 2019-11-24
Posts: 245

Re: Update: Baby Placement

Jason

I really think you should make it so a player can go into setting and CHOOSE if they want to be born to the same family when possible or not. The default can be as it is now, that you get moved around, BUT if a player wants to try to stay in a certain linage because they have fun working hard to keep that family alive (and also usually stay in the same spot) I think this will do a lot to improve and fix some issues the game has. I shall list the things I can thing of:

1) Reduces the number of players wanting to use /DIE
2) Potential to open up the parameters for spawning so that less EVEs will spawn
3) Lineages will have more relevance
4) More happy players

Of course, there is no guarantee you'll always come back to same lineage, just that it is preferred given other metrics are within certain parameters. It doesn't help to force a player to be born to a skin tone that has low population, if that player is just going to commit suicide. A player shouldn't be punished and prevented from wanting to be committed to a certain family. This also would not be a guarantee that you'll come back to the same spot. As family members travel and spread out, you could be born to any of them, anywhere.

Personally, I'm a road builder. I need to be all races to help cross different biomes, and whites are handy too because I can speak to any traveler I meet while working. I'm not suggesting this for me, but many people have asked for this, and I think it would be a wonderful option. Please consider giving it a trial run and see how it works out. It should be simple to do. Just allow a player to turn off the criteria that they must placed in a different family from prior life, and that automatically turns on that prior life family is preferred if there is an existing mother who qualifies to have a baby given the other requirements. I'm not a programmer but that sounds like an incredibly quick bit of code. Am I right?


Daily Updated Map of Player Structures: https://bit.ly/2UrfOQ9
Link to Many Beginner Guides: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNp6g7 … xcw/videos
Composting Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmgyl9evfhw
Diesel Engine Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sMX_GlwgbA

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#5 2020-01-18 00:14:40

Mekkie
Member
Registered: 2019-12-17
Posts: 122

Re: Update: Baby Placement

Punkypal wrote:

Jason

I really think you should make it so a player can go into setting and CHOOSE if they want to be born to the same family when possible or not. The default can be as it is now, that you get moved around, BUT if a player wants to try to stay in a certain linage because they have fun working hard to keep that family alive (and also usually stay in the same spot) I think this will do a lot to improve and fix some issues the game has. I shall list the things I can thing of:

1) Reduces the number of players wanting to use /DIE
2) Potential to open up the parameters for spawning so that less EVEs will spawn
3) Lineages will have more relevance
4) More happy players

Of course, there is no guarantee you'll always come back to same lineage, just that it is preferred given other metrics are within certain parameters. It doesn't help to force a player to be born to a skin tone that has low population, if that player is just going to commit suicide. A player shouldn't be punished and prevented from wanting to be committed to a certain family. This also would not be a guarantee that you'll come back to the same spot. As family members travel and spread out, you could be born to any of them, anywhere.

Personally, I'm a road builder. I need to be all races to help cross different biomes, and whites are handy too because I can speak to any traveler I meet while working. I'm not suggesting this for me, but many people have asked for this, and I think it would be a wonderful option. Please consider giving it a trial run and see how it works out. It should be simple to do. Just allow a player to turn off the criteria that they must placed in a different family from prior life, and that automatically turns on that prior life family is preferred if there is an existing mother who qualifies to have a baby given the other requirements. I'm not a programmer but that sounds like an incredibly quick bit of code. Am I right?

By the same token, an option to choose preferred gender would be nice too.  This of course being overwritten if their preference simply doesn't fit into the existing population.   Less /die that way too.  Some people like playing full time moms/farmers/village tenders.. sometimes you just wanna /die to become a boy so you can explore the world.

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#6 2020-01-18 08:46:19

Dodge
Member
Registered: 2018-08-27
Posts: 2,131

Re: Update: Baby Placement

Yeah can you add an option to CHOOSE hair color, facial features, eye size, also i want to be born ripped can you add like a check box for that? Thanks

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#7 2020-01-18 16:00:45

Starknight_One
Member
Registered: 2018-10-15
Posts: 332

Re: Update: Baby Placement

I personally don't think a choice box of this kind is good for the game. If you want to be reborn into the same family, you should be able to arrange something. Living to 60 and being buried with a headstone was mentioned as one way to be able to respawn in the same family, bypassing the (at the time) lineage ban. Or some other thing that needs to be done, like building a shrine of some kind. Some in-game action series that results in your being able to be reborn into the same family.

I believe this would be better for the game in the long run, since it would tie actual in-game activities to the meta-game of keeping a family alive.

The first option - a burial ritual of some kind, for example - puts the power into the hands of the village-at-large or the family. Was this person worth having back in the village? Then let's bury them and put up a nice headstone. Give them a glass of wine to pay the ferryman - he'll become drunk and they can escape. And then a candle needs to be placed on the headstone and lit, to allow the 'lost soul' to find their way home. This also gives burials an actual reason other than RP to exist in-game (since public health isn't a concern unless Jason makes it so).

I personally prefer something like this. It's a useful social bond, requires some complex recipes, and puts the power into the hands of those who will be affected by the result. I realize it wouldn't be easy for an Eve to come back this way, but it could possibly be done.

The second option would require a shrine to be constructed. I'm not going to throw a recipe out there. You build this and can come back to your current family in your next life. I think this option should cost your curse token. I like this option less, but it's still a viable option.

You could combine them - someone needs to build a shrine (or sarcophagus?), then your bones have to be interred there for you to bypass the normal bans. No need for a curse token.

None of this would override curses, or cool-downs, just area bans.

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#8 2020-01-18 17:55:53

Legs
Member
Registered: 2019-07-12
Posts: 367

Re: Update: Baby Placement

Having a mechanic allowing players to return to places from past lives clashes thematically with the game's core concept. Your life is a snapshot in time. When the hour's up you leave never to return. Do what you can to build up a home for your family, knowing that ultimately the future is in their hands and there's nothing more you can do. Your part of the story is over and you'll never get to see the end of it.


Loco Motion

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#9 2020-01-18 19:49:58

Mekkie
Member
Registered: 2019-12-17
Posts: 122

Re: Update: Baby Placement

Legs wrote:

Your part of the story is over and you'll never get to see the end of it.


Unless you /die a bunch until you get back.  Like it or not, real life people do play this game and despite people constantly saying each life is a new person.. it's not.  All the above suggestion is doing is providing an alternative to /die spam.

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#10 2020-01-18 20:05:44

Punkypal
Member
From: New Orleans
Registered: 2019-11-24
Posts: 245

Re: Update: Baby Placement

Legs wrote:

Having a mechanic allowing players to return to places from past lives clashes thematically with the game's core concept. Your life is a snapshot in time. When the hour's up you leave never to return. Do what you can to build up a home for your family, knowing that ultimately the future is in their hands and there's nothing more you can do. Your part of the story is over and you'll never get to see the end of it.

Except everything you just said is wrong, and to get back to where you were usually just involves doing /DIE three or four rimes.

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I like the idea about something you can do in game to tie yourself to a lineage EXCEPT these concerns that come to mind:

1) What do you do if you want to "turn it off" so to speak? Do you need to track down your own grave and destroy it?

2) What if others do whatever it is to you and you start always appearing in a certain family, and you didn't even ask for it? Too much potential to get hijacked.

3) I think players will be more frustrated and upset if they go thru a bunch of work to make some kind of shrine for themselves, only to discover the game ignores it every time other parameters dictate they need to be born elsewhere.

4) Would building a sarcophagus only allow you to return the very next life and not all following lives? If so I foresee cities littered with tombs and countless players pillaging resources building said tombs rather than doing actual useful things. Such a burial plot would have to have a way to be recycled by other players after you are reborn (or within a short period after your death). In this case it can be kind of neat. Every city can have a little permanent cemetery of above ground tombs like my home in New Orleans does. Maybe don't have to build your own, just use one that's empty? IDK.

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It's also occurred to me that someone can use this to intentionally try to grief just one family into its doom. Of course, it would be all the more important for people to use curses to prevent this, but alas, people don't curse. Maybe the best idea is give a player who was the EVE the option to always return to the family they started as often as possible. If anyone can be trusted to do their best to help a family, it should be the player that created it. Right?

Last edited by Punkypal (2020-01-18 20:17:39)


Daily Updated Map of Player Structures: https://bit.ly/2UrfOQ9
Link to Many Beginner Guides: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNp6g7 … xcw/videos
Composting Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmgyl9evfhw
Diesel Engine Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sMX_GlwgbA

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