31 August 2008

Gamers are never happy

Why is it that gamers are never happy? Example, the MUD I play and build on for went through a period of seeming inactivity on the part of the ADMIN. Now they were not inactive, but they were doing a lot of work on the engine on the type of things that are not noticed by the players (if they go right that is, if they go wrong, well crashes are always noticed.)

So, after a lot of complaining and some desertions, we did a few high profile things. We brought back the paper, implemented 2 zones, started 2 more builders building and did some cosmetic stuff. Yet, now I am hearing players want more ADMIN visible all the time.

Why? If they are visible they get bugged. If they are talking to players then they are not fixing stuff. Now I admit the MUD does need more Admin characters, but it also needs more players on to warrant that. ATM 2 seems to be enough. Some people suggest raising builders to ADMIN. The issue with that is too many builders in the past have cheated when they have been admin. They have helped their friends, they have put back doors in zones that only work for some people, they have duplicated characters, eq and run them.

Now, don't get me wrong; there have been honest admins who were good. But there have also been the other type and honestly among the present players, I do not see anyone knowledgeable and trustworthy enough. There are people like me who are honest, but have little knowledge of the engine code, and ones that are great at the code, but have a past history that would make the owner worry a bit.

So be happy with what you have right now guys. And maybe some builder will shine in both needed areas. But until then, be happy the MUD runs with the Admin there is now.

27 August 2008

Girl Gamers - Part 2

Ok, now that I have had my rant about people wanting to market to those among the gamer community who happen to have indoor plumbing instead of outdoor, let me go off on the community itself.

First there are the members of the community who seem to believe there are no female gamers. That all gamers that run under a female name are male. That no female is capable of playing a game much less coding one. See one of the comments a member of the marketing panel (male member I should point out) was that the industry maybe needed more female coders and builders to draw more "girls" to gaming.

Ahh well I pointed out to him and I will again remind people of the history of female coders in gaming. There was woman on the DIKU development. Pickle Wars was developed by a woman, who else would think of using a salad shooter to disable aliens? They exist, look at any game you love. Maybe there is a female coder on the credits, maybe not, but the fact remains they exist and have for a long long time. The problems are either they do not get much recognition or like me , they tend to be gamers first. Yep they are not INTO making something just for women, they are into making a good game. Or they spend hours, weeks, months developing a game to have the project leads and/or the VP take the credit - like most of the other coders on the project.

So, you want more female developers? JUST HIRE THEM! I know of many women who are in the industry and out of a job. No, they may not be game developers per se but I bet they could blow away half of your C++ developers. Hire the developers and teach them the industry. Give the team time to develop a good game and listen to them when they say something is not working right. Oh wait, maybe you should do that with male developers too. Bugs might not run so rampant in games.

So, why this sudden concern that women need to be game developers? Because the gaming industry has peaked out. Yep. See it used to be people learned to code well then learned to apply that to an industry. But now people teach how to code for a specific industry. Well, gaming has finally ceased to be the loose cannon industry and has become big bucks (thanks for that WOW). It has ceased to be where the independent thinkers and developers go and become a product a label and set of people to market to. And guess what, they are running out of gamers. (Maybe they NEED to produce better games, but we won't go there.)

So they need to create a new set of gamers. They are trying to convince us that women need to game. Now how are they doing this? by showing a bunch of girls around an Xbox. They are having fun. They are all hot. They are gaming in full makeup. Ok that is just an insult. I used to come home from work, cook dinner, take a shower, change into sweats and proceed to blow the hell outta things in Doom. Especially if the marketing department pissed me off. Then I moved to Dungeon Keeper, now it is Overlord. I play MUDs. I build for a MUD. I write for various gaming sites. I do not wake up, put on my makeup and get all dolled up to blow things to bits. Neither do any men I know. When was the last time you saw someone at home playing WOW in suit?

So, how to convince girls that gaming is something for them? By putting women in prominent positions on the the game dev team and marketing that. Only thing is, if the developers all look like the girls in the pictures, we won't buy it. We won't buy your con nor will we buy your games. BE REAL. Just hire excellent coders no matter what their gender is. Let them create good games. Market the hell out of them and price them reasonably. We will come and we will bring our friends.

26 August 2008

Manners and Gaming

Ok, let's talk about MMOs and MUDS and manners. On both you get what are commonly called PUGs or Pick up Groups. Now most muds have a small playerbase. As a result a lot of players fort of group together consistently. When a new player joins the game, everyone wants that person in their group to help them level, to get to know them, and to check out the future competition.

Until recently it seemed to be the same on MMOs of those that are willing to join a PUG. But then there are those who have been taught no manners. Here is an example from last night. I had one of my two big girls on. I have not yet maxed them out so I was going back and doing some side quest stuff to finish it off before I head to end game.

I start selling off treasure when someone adds me to their group asking for help in one of the harder missions. I talk to her she has been trying to get a group for a bit so I say ok and change my plans. I figure it is no skin off my nose to help her and who knows maybe I will be lucky and pick up a rare drop.

She makes me the leader. Hmm I am not too fond of that - an assassin character on this game is more of hit and run type and this mission is one where it is hard to get clear sometimes. If you can't hit and run you need a healer nearby to keep you alive or to res.

Now my policy on adding group members is this. First people who need the mission. Then others to help out. So I take all comers. We still don;t have a full group. We add NPCs and head out. There is a new player in the group who has never done this mission, as we find out once we are IN the mission, Ok well all of us were new at some point. He is not a maxed character in levels, gets killed (after I do I should point out). And the person who started all this is complaining about him.

So we all die resign, return to city and regroup. First we kick the NPCs and look for more players. Finally we find a monk/mesmer (for some reason the initiator of this was convinced we needed one. Personally I think we needed a nuker.) He looks at the lists of the group members' spells and leaves cause they are not good enough.

Then she suggests I kick the two members that are not maxed on levels and we get others to replace em. At that point I say, Hmm, well why don't I leave then and you can get who you want in the group. I did and went on my way to complete my side quests with minimum deaths (i.e. none) and alone. Although I did offer to take anyone with me who needed to do them.

Now on a MUD no one would ever think of kicking a player who is already in the group unless they were AFK. They might offer suggestions for eq, or spells or even tell them don't hit, just suck up the xp for a bit and heal or boost us where you can. But to kick someone out of a group you begged people to join because they are not experienced in the game, well.. Sorry that is just rude.

Oh I should add while I finished selling off stuff, she tried to add me again. I am afraid I refused, politely but my answer was - Look I have already done this, let someone who hasn't have a chance. And all I would be is dead weight. - perhaps not the full truth, but the otehr rule to manners is, if you want to run te show then take the leadership position otherwise, STFU and mind your manners.