March 14th, 2005

sleepy

(no subject)

Q: I am one of the bad guys: I’m working on a big budget next generation console game. I want to ask about totally legalised piracy? Not Russia and grey market - I’m talking Blockbuster. 20 dollars a year you can borrow whatever you like then give it back. People are going to rent my game for 4 dollars. I won’t see any of that. They’re robbing me!

Chris: I’m pro-piracy. I want people to play the games I make. I do it because it’s art. I think DRM is a total fucking stupid mess. If the game industry collapses and can be reborn, I’m all for it. Pirate on!

Greg: they’re not pirating the game! Someone bought a legal copy! The world is not designed in such a way that money inherently funnels its way into your wallet!?

Warren: I never minded piracy. Anyone who minds about piracy is full of shit. Anyone who pirates your game wasn’t going to buy it anyway!

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*showers Chris, Greg, and Warren with flowers and confetti*

(from GDC talk)
sleepy

(no subject)

Okay. Two things I don't get. Both of them are about World of Warcraft, and maybe there's something I'm totally missing here, but I do not see it at all.

(1) You have hit points. If your hit points run out, you die. Duh. Shamans (and many other classes) also have mana points. There are two stats - Stamina and Intelligence - and one point in one raises hp or mp by 10. (HP for Stam, MP for Int. Obviously.)

Shamans have a spell that converts MP into HP at a ratio of approximately 1:2. There are a few downsides - for example, you can't attack during that time. On the other hand, in parties, shamans are (in my experience) rarely doing much damage anyway, and are mostly acting as healers and buffers. Which isn't a problem.

So you'd think that everyone would quickly realize "Hey! For shamans, one point of Intelligence is roughly worth two points of Stamina!" but you'd be wrong. Most people will take Stamina over Intelligence. Every single time. Because "with more stamina you have more hit points, and so you don't die as quickly". That's the only reason. Nothing else more subtle. Just "more hp = die less quickly". And I point out that they can heal, and they say "But if you have MORE HIT POINTS that means you DIE LESS QUICKLY".

For some reason I am unable to convince people that "more healing" also means "die less quickly", and in this case, it means "die even less quickly than otherwise". They're not arguing the "random chance" point, where you might get slammed with greater than your max HP in one hit, while if you had more HP you could survive and recover. They're also not debating my 2hp = 1mp point. They're just saying it takes longer to die in a standard battle if you have HP instead of MP.

(2) Imagine you have two weapons. One of them swings every two seconds and does 40 damage. The other swings every four seconds and does 82 damage. Both of them have a 5% chance of doing a critical hit, which is an extra 50% damage.

Which one would you think is better?

I would say the one that does more damage over time. Most people would pick the faster one, because, and again I quote, "it does more critical hits". Now, for some characters, critical hits might matter beyond the added damage. But even when they don't, even when the sole effect of a crit is the added 50% damage, they will pick the faster weapon.

I don't understand this either. You'd think a 5% chance of doing an extra 50% damage is equal to an overall 2.5% damage increase. But apparently nobody thinks this way.

So. Can anyone explain this?
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sleepy

(no subject)

Neil Gaiman wrote a series called Sandman. There are seven very important characters called the Endless - Destiny, Death, Dream, Desire, Destruction, Delirium, and Despair. The important thing about these Endless is what they are. Dream, for example, does not have power over dream. And he is not a manifestation of dream. He is Dream. The concept of "dream", and the person Dream, are the same entity.

If you're still confused, I think the best example of this is Destiny. At one point the universe gets kind of confused, and kind of splits into two. And so does Destiny, because he is destiny, and destiny itself has split. He can't just re-merge Destiny - he doesn't have any power over Destiny, any more than you would say "Zorba has power over Zorba". If someone tears off my leg I can't hold it on by the power of my will (although that would be pretty damn cool) and Destiny can't keep himself from splitting either.

Which leaves the Endless all surprisingly vulnerable, in the end, but that's not just a different entry, that's one I'm not even planning to write.

Back to the subject.

Terry Pratchett wrote a series called Discworld. And a much more minor plot point in Discworld (well, compared to the Endless) is Story. Story, in Discworld, is an actual force. Million-to-one odds are pretty much dead certainties (but only if it's exactly a million to one, and someone points this out, and someone else says "but it just might work".) If a king has three sons, and the older two go to confront some monster, and are killed by it, the youngest son is absolutely assured of defeating the monster. And will probably find a princess who needs rescuing along the way.

I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this, but just in case you need it spelled out:

Someone should write a story about Story.