Monday, June 07, 2004
The urge to become upset came over me today.
My bouts of snappiness have exceeded a minute lately and I am starting to become worried that I won't recover from my ailments. With combat code finished and some other design issues on the table, I see the MUD turning into a real game. The core of our troubles is complete and it looks very impressive for a MUD, if I might brag a bit about the accomplishments Angan and I have fashioned. For being so distant, he and I have become a team in Troela's absence. T is missed greatly and when we think about it, none of this is possible without him. RPG buffs and action-strategy gamers alike are really going to enjoy the possibilities we are creating. But, with all the work that the core members are putting into sweetening the gameplay, areas need to start being pushed out as well as guilds.
We removed alignment today. Angan suggested it and I had to really sit back and think about it. We had been using a sliding alignment for awhile, but it was really only a guild limitation. There were no other ties to it in-game so its removal was not exactly argued against. The council decided on our administrative whims as Angan controls the docket for mudlib at this time and I am the only member, and head, of the Balance team. Silently, I think we both like our positions well enough because we get to make decisions unimpeded by the strlcture of voting, but I know damned well that we also feel too much in charge of what we are doing. Angan has wanted T back for weeks now. I am sure it has something to do with the workload, but above all, it is about credit. He doesn't want it all - he's not like that. As for myself, I think I can be modest enough to say, and those who know me can vouch for the same, that I dislike very much being in charge of a duty as important as game balance and mathematics. I know that I have at least some natural talent when it comes to gauging difficulties and making formulas and laws to govern things. Most of the time they work in the scenarios I have been apart of or seen in motion, but math has never been my strong suit. I remember nearly 17 months ago Kreios, Kaa, and I were the SoA balance team. It was then that the sliding alignment formula was made by Kreios. I saw balance becoming a department where decisions and guidelines were made by several people, but set into motion by one man (or woman, although none as of yet, but I'd probably marry her) with the "master" plan. Kreios knew what we wanted to use for our sliding alignment - your current alignment, the mob's alignment you just killed, and some random variance. He made the equation, it was as beautiful as a sunrise to us. But, alas, it has been all done away with now because I, as the sole member of the department, could not find good uses for alignment. Alignment was even overlooked in the skill balance documents when we made guidelines for all that stuff. We never even thought about a skill that modified your alignment in any way, permanently or temporarily. I had a feeling then that it was going to be something we would overlook more than just that one time.
Coupled with this, I always had trouble trying to pinpoint how much alignment mattered in race balance. I realized it didn't, so I just did my best to come up with a good spread of races that covered all the alignments. I gave races a "base alignment" from which a player could choose their own alignment from there with a variation of +/- 50. So if a race had +10 base, they could have any alignment they chose from -40 to +70, just because. It had no relevance to gameplay whatsoever yet it seemed to mean something. Bah-humbug to that. The last 3 games I have dived into never even mentioned alignment, but I didn't let that sway my vote. I wanted to make alignment work, but I could find no reasons for myself or the council at the hiwiz meeting today to keep it. I felt at a loss although I did not share this view with my colleagues. I guess I was just glad someone else made a good balance suggestion, one that I had never considered, and I know I should have.
But, I wasn't down on myself. It's just that alignment has been something the "classy" games have used and with its removal I feel as though we're moving toward a newer age gaming environment. That is probably for the best anyway, as I had to really struggle to figure out how I was going to figure out how to properly balance combat with 4 attacks over 8, and it moving at the speed of a turtle with preventing attacks when switching armor and weapons in combat, not melee'ing while casting, getting weapon speed bonuses (Angan took care of this), and then figuring out how all that will work together with skills and spells and their cast times, cooldown times, and a new 8 damage-type system and the separation of the 3 physical types across the board (blunt, slashing, piercing). All this, coupled with default mob skills, armor classes increases by level for mob and players and level restricted gear threw me into a real spin about what kind of game I was really making. Was it a "good" game from the standpoint of games in its genre or was it just the best of all the games I'd already played? I have been thinking about that the past few days, while deciding what kind colour fur these vicious sewer rats would have, and writing the Lore of Berlex over the course of 9 areas, while only creating one of the at a time. I feel like I'm writing a book. So far, it's about 32 pages long in my head and on paper and .txt documents. I am sort of happy the way it's turning out, but then I remember off-projects like Paladin and the virtue system I am trying to create for them with a faith wheel.
What I need is more brainpower. What I also need to do is figure out what I want to do in my life concerning school and my education. I hate my major. I hate learning about people and their dumb shit and it's made me very anxious about meeting new people and having to talk to them and all. I've always been a private person. My workroom on the MUD is private, my aim buddylist is private, I have the most private room in the house, I don't tell my friends at school anything about me even when they ask (only a few even know my major or my real name). Partly, I blame my mother and this was something several people brought up to me in the past year. On the other hand I have only myself to blame, but not negative blame, just a positive fault I guess. I rather enjoy my privacy and my time alone. Frankly, I like hanging out with me. I watched BASIC tonight and it was a very good movie so I enjoyed myself. I like listening to my coders and helping them out uninterrupted by suitemates asking me to goto dinner or people inviting me to parties.
The original point was that I dislike my schooling. The past year was a bit hard to swallow because it was equally as difficult to chew. People started opening up to me more and it was more than one and it was on more than one occasion through more than one medium. It became difficult to help them and help me and I needed to think more about my issues and problems than theirs. Not until March did I really start to think about it; right around the time I quit FFXI. I got away hardcore and my heart hurt, literally, for days. I left behind people I didn't want to know anyway, I remembered, and that got me over it in less than a week. What I need is a survey or something that tells me what I'm good at so I can just do it. Anyone know of a place that wants people to play with figures for games, video or otherwise, and balance the playing field? What the hell is that called? I want to do that. I've always wanted to do that. I've put that past time of mine ahead of most things in life (I want to say all, but sometimes I fall asleep at the keyboard). Maybe someone can be my saviour and point me in the right (correct) direction.
I am thankful to the people who have deemed me a "good listener" in their own minds, and I appreciate all the things they have told me out of trust with wholehearted honesty. I love honesty above all things, more than I ever thought in past months. Before I had only claimed this but now I embrace it. I am sorry to those who wish to open up to me, but I must close my doors for a little while. I can't handle any distractions, not to say you are a distraction per se, but I really do need time to work out my own issues now. This will apply equally to everyone who actively talks to me still about these things. I assure you I am not discriminating against anyone. I feel playing the cards I have been dealt (blessed be those who know the card analogy) so poorly, has led me to this losing hand. This time, I don't hold any aces, suicide-kings or one-eyed jacks. I have no trumps. This is the worse game I have ever played and it is still playing out. If I'm not winning the pot, then who is, and why are they playing against me, and how come I can't see their faces.. ? It's probably not important right now anyway. So, I apologize to those who need me as a friend, or a psychiatrist, but I can't be that person right now.
I've been reading a lot lately. I finished reading all the books I bought recently, all 4, and I am deciding whether or not conditioning myself to read actual literature will be helpful for my self-imposed therapy. I completed Monster Manual II today, the 4th book. I read the whole thing and I know a lot about monsters now. I would like to know more about other people's monsters; original ones. I have created many of my own and have now been so inspired to write up a lengthy compendium of monsters. Maybe it'll turn into another book, as it is likely to be several (hundred) pages long. My only issues with it is originality. Who owns the idea to 'naga' or 'sahaugin'? Is it in the spelling? What if their 'nightmare' is my 'nitemare'. *shrug* I dunno! In any case, SoA has lifeforms so it shouldn't be (I'll regret this claim later) too difficult to come up at least 50 somewhat-"original" monsters. I am looking into monsters more tomorrow, but with arguments against originality and its near non-existency. I'll probably just take Le 'ersh out for a car ride and ask her about it. She listens to me when I talk for some reason and I find it strange but intriguing.
The night is around me, I've captured three tiny spiders in a plastic jar while writing this post. They look like triplets. I named them Marquis, Fionna, and Boston; boy, girl, boy. I'm going to go let them outside now, so they can make more baby spiders to eat the bugs in my room while I sleep.
Goodnight losers who read this whole post.
Grey (2:32 AM)