2020's Arma

General Stuff about Armagetron, That doesn't belong anywhere else...
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2020
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2020's Arma

Post by 2020 »

Hi all. 2020 came and went. How's it been, folks?

No idea how many people are active on the servers. Got a glimmer from the last Ladle, which appears to be running a round-robin. And some movement in development towards new version.

1. Raising Funds
I'm still not in a position to throw eg £10k at this. However, I do have an operational platform for raising funds: https://app.sqale.co/invite/fESgYeHaDZA ... iHjq3sqDCs . I'd link to the wiki but I can't remember my password for user 2020 on the wiki, so can't write up anything there.

2.Prize-money for Ladle?
I'll put £1k in for prize money. If it is run along Tronic progression lines, ie Tron International Championship http://wiki.armagetronad.org/index.php?title=Tronic. [It's been so long I can't remember how do markup. Can we upgrade forum. Is there a discourse or something?] We did pretty well with Ladle, but didn't produce the teamwork required to take the game global. Perhaps the time is approaching where teamwork around the game is more feasible?

3. SAS Self-Organised Tournament (SOT?)
Is there anyone here who thinks there's an opportunity to create a self-organised tournament SAS for any game, especially team games? Got involved in Bullet Echo, played addictively for a week. 5m downloads, but I think it has potential for a lot more. The game play is simple, the supporting economic overkill, the leagues interminable. They could do with a simple Tronic competition, play over a few hours and get a winning team. Not just that game. Any game. A SAS to operate tournament, winnings, etc. 'Professionalise' all game players.

4.Tournament Numbers
I'd love to do it for Arma, of course. I thought I had come up with a little more detail on money flow than http://wiki.armagetronad.org/index.php?title=THE_CUP See attached spreadsheet; it needs a proper dynamic updating. Since Twitch, it has become a little more understandable why people want to watch other players, and why the original construction of the tournament rewards not only finalists, but everyone who has been beaten by a finalist. Also, if anyone can be bothered to notice, why the choosing of place on brackets was originally manual added another level of gameplay.


Anyway, Arma is well suited for this decade. If we play well as a team of open source supporters. If not, SAS for commercial games...?
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tron winnings (2014).xlsx
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Shock
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Re: 2020's Arma

Post by Shock »

Hey 2020! I don't think I understand all of your post but I just wanted to add to (2) and (3). I have been working on a league idea for fortress tournaments where players are drafted and are compensated based on their draft order (e.g. blondie will get $20 per tournament because he gets picked first in the draft, capone gets $2 per tournament because he was picked in the fifth round of the draft). From my understanding the issue with previous league or season concepts was a lack of commitment. I think this gives good incentives for players to keep playing and keep practicing (and maybe blondie will come back? :) ). But there are a lot of contracting details that needs to be worked out once money gets involved, and I haven't sat down and gone through what that would look like for players.

What you are mostly talking about in these points, I think, is using funding to promote the game. Big prize pools are very attractive to not only players but spectators. Syllabear's streams might one day get legit viewership if it's possible to advertise what teams are playing for. Honestly I think this was a big part of the success of Dota 2 - I'm sure I am not the only one that saw media related to the championship prize pool in that game.

Interesting points, and I love the optimism about the game :D

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Re: 2020's Arma

Post by Desolate »

You can join the discord (discourse!) here: https://discord.gg/dcpaauj. We're using it pretty actively to stay in touch / share announcements. I'll respond to your post a little later hopefully, but just thought I'd share that first.

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Re: 2020's Arma

Post by delinquent »

Now there's a name I haven't seen in a while.

Ladle is round robin, swiss-style. It works, sort of, but it does tend to result in longer tournaments.

I think we've long surpassed the window for throwing Tron at schools, the original idea was to get schools more focused on IT no? They now teach programming (admittedly, in python :? ) as part of the national curriculum in the UK, and I'm told this is not unique to this country. However, running an independent esports-style tournament seems to be a more viable prospect today than it was ~15 years ago. However, the vast expansion of the online gaming industry means one now requires skilled marketing to generate visibility. Having said that, I'm impressed with your platform thus far (I've only take a brief look, but it seems rather decent), so perhaps that problem may be solved for us.

There is some degree of independent community - two that I know of are Epic.LAN, an esports group who play tron very casually, and a community revolving around a character who appears to be some sort of community pastor, named Big Man Tyrone. Again, they play very casually. Otherwise, most of the self-organised tournaments are one-time events, arising from server experiments or similar.

I still like the idea of a competition with a financial incentive - although a once-a-month event would dwindle in the same way MillionaireMakers did, very quickly. Perhaps once a year instead? You could consider the cup the culmanation of a year's ladle competitions, and influence team placement using total seed points from the year.

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Re: 2020's Arma

Post by 2020 »

Thanks for the responses and the welcome.

I've joined Discord, Desolate, and managed to learn how to use pickup, thanks for the help. Been on the grid, as a result. Amazing. Teammates were very patient. I was never one of the good players, upper average at best, so it was pleasant to hear people expressing support. Not sure how long that might last though :) And voice too with folks. Great. I recorded a conversation with Sinewav too, in the process of putting it online sometime. It would be nice to have others too, because the first was very very rough, deep, but rough. Not sure how intelligible it is for others.

I will support a league attempt, Shock. My own leanings are towards Tronic Ladle, Cup though. I believe we can operate both, once we have enough numbers. The trick, I think, is to align what little resources we have, much like the initial launch in Fort. We need to flesh out the best proposals, and potentially several strategies and see what works. Not sure about marketing, but certainly more transparency: Sylla's videos are great. I'd like to join him. I'm sure there are some folks who might be able to contribute some penetrating commentary on gameplay, or amusing observations. I don't see why we can't have multiple eyeballs on a game, and we have some way of passing attention so that the most interesting parts of the game are highlighted. Not highlights like summary, but drawing attention to the most interesting event that is happening at any moment of the game. Hmm, interesting.

I hadn't thought of the school thing, Delinquent. But I still think a non-combatative (as in gun firing) virtual team game could do wonders for inter-school engagement, and provide kids with incredible team-building experience. It is missing, I think, in formal education.

Thanks for the nod wrt Sqale. It does the job, I think, just about. Hard to create something which competes with the quality of multi-million dollar builds. It doesn't the experiential kick that Arma has, that's for sure. But it does change how money works. If we get the right social dynamic around a competition, where people want to share with friends to join them in a team -- that is, the desire to share overcomes the tech/psych barrier of registering on *another* platform -- then the system enables viral growth and revenue generation simultaneously. If we do £1k competition in the right way, it might generate revenue for the next £10k competition, that kind of thing.

I'd like to share how this may work, but I think we need to have a team of folks who are interested in making the social side of it work. We need to tighten up the player journey, so that the barrier to entry is near the level when I started to play. I opened the app, tapped on multi-player, amazed to see servers, and boom I was on a grid with a bunch of others moving forwards. What an experience. Of course, I am up for promotional/instructional videos to prep new players, to either entice them to join or to explain what to do if they find themselves in the middle of a public fort match. It is less a tech problem and more a social entry one. Less marketing, more invitation. We need to get the invitation right -- or the challenge :)

I look forward to meeting more folks on the grid, and get to know people a little more through voice. I hope my pleasant re-entry to this superb game and the players around it, continues.
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Re: 2020's Arma

Post by Z-Man »

Welcome back!

A request, same as on the donation thread: Please don't just throw money at me personally, I would not know what to do with it. If you want to invest it into development, do the legwork of finding someone to pay yourself; I can probably tell them what to do and explain stuff. If I have to deal with business stuff there, it's a net loss of time and mental energy for me; but if I don't, that's great!

About sqale:
1. What is it that is shared? Hyperlinks? Content directly, like an .mp3 file or a .jpg?
2. What determines the credit value attached to a share?
3. Say I'm a content creator. I would like to eat a real, physical apple. How would I do that using sqale?
Maybe I'm thinking about it the wrong way.

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Re: 2020's Arma

Post by syllabear »

There have been multiple occasions where I have spoken to others in discord or in-game about how to improve armagetron and extend it's exposure to a wider audience to bolster player numbers. As always, the discussion raises several good ideas but also fizzles out as there is never much in the way of concrete action taken.

The release of the game (as retrocycles) onto steam was a big step and Zman should receive significant commendation for his efforts both there and the ongoing development of the game. However as he points out, this is not his job.

So, going forward, there are two main areas as I see that need addressing. These will need both monetary investment and supervision/oversight. From a monetary point of view, many people have stated their intention to donate to causes that further the game, however the time contribution to actually look after these projects is another question:
  1. Game development
  2. Game advertisement
The first point is probably easier to agree on - Zman has outlined here and on discord several areas that the game needs work on. Other people have highlighted additional, equally valid suggestions that need work on. As far as a solution, hiring a developer to complete the work on these areas sounds simple, but effort needs to be expended on actually finding a suitable developer, and then someone needs to supervise them to ensure our money is being well spent.

The second point has many solutions, as there are many forms of advertisement. As before, money will probably be made available, but it is important that we agree on the best solution before we start spending. Personally I think hiring a youtuber to make a video about the game is probably the best option. They need to have a decent sized audience, but their audience would also need to be one that is interested in playing the game. So at the very least, a video-game youtuber. Additionally a focus on retro/older games may be beneficial. This is a list I have found of possible candidates but I am sure there are many others. Like before, we would need someone to liase with whatever type of advertisement company or individual we decide on, to ensure they are producing something that would show the game in a good light and actually attract new players.
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Re: 2020's Arma

Post by 2020 »

Thanks @zman and @syllabear, and whoever has read this thread.

I wrote a lengthy post in response to Zman's queries but thought I'd wait to see what other posts might appear. I can't find saved drafts. Maybe that's a good thing.

I hear you Zman. I think the initiative to take the game out there is the responsibility of the players. Personally, I'm not interested in business either, however. Which is why I have spent considerable effort hacking standard organisational practices. I am interested in implementations running with self-organising principles. Tronic Ladle was a good example. I did the same with my experience in education, and I've done the same with business and economics. The latter have had little validation. The necessary element of self-organised practices is a living edge: a liveness, a freedom, a not-knowingness which enables new people to take part and perhaps become essential. If it doesn't have this, it falls back into traditional means of organisation.

Regarding Sqale: 1 links, 2 with current settings the originator can set a fixed amount, or a range (power of ten), or lets the sharer decide, 3 we are seeking validation through digital initially, physical stuff has 'friction' which tends to collapse back to traditional economics. I will do a presentation about Sqale at some point, but I find the more I explain anything the more people get confused because the core hack is not understood. Without accepting the core hack, people constantly attempt to understand Sqale in terms of current practices. It requires a fundamental shift -- at least in understanding. It requires only a minor shift in behaviour. We get that right, the world changes.

You may be right, Sylla. We need to take traditional path, development and advertising, especially if we do not have the players interested in taking it forwards. From my perspective, the game is superb. The learning experience of launch for teamwork second to none. However, the technical skills demonstrated by elite players (which is basically any regular player) puts them high above entry level players. And the user journey from downloading the game to playing fortress on the grid is torturous. This is solvable, in my opinion.

We have different perspectives @Syllabear. We synthesise different visions of how we take things forward. I'd like to think we might be able to support multiple ways forward. But resources are limited, time, effort, and of course money. I'd rather use the tools I have developed. We had the chance of moving forwards in 2009. It didn't happen. The world is different now, social media, influencers, and the business tools have changed to compensate for them, but traditional practices appear to be the same: pay people, advertising, yada yada. I bring different tools, alternatives to advertising and paying people to do things. May I ask that you consider these alternative tools? This may bring us to greater alignment to our mutual objectives.
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Re: 2020's Arma

Post by Z-Man »

Then explain/state the core hack, please. I get that it may be one of those things that only work if a large enough crowd believes it works, like money in general, the economy, democracy or the justice system. Try explaining any of that to a caveman, they'll think you're out of your mind. Leaves don't have power over people, silly.

For myself, I can't stop to think about it in traditional terms. I have to see the credits as some form of resource, a semi-conserved, scarce quantity. If I share something, I transfer credits, they are neither created nor destroyed, but I have less of them afterwards. They're some kind of cost I have for sharing, and that means the receiver knows I don't just share that stuff willy-nilly; I put some thought and effort into it. I like that!
But I have two problems: Why don't I just email my friend and write some sentences on why I think they'd like the link? That's proof I put thought into it, right?
And the other thing is the source of credits; if someone ultimately has to pay real money, someone is collecting that money. And doing what exactly in return? That should set off everyone's scam alarm. Of course, *I* believe *you* are not in it to siphon off money, but if this was some rando project I found on reddit, I'd run away.
Sorry if I come across as combatative and contrarian here. That's me desperately trying to understand. I don't want to undermine your efforts. If you're more comfortable, you can explain it on Discord.

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Re: 2020's Arma

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Thanks for your effort in explaining your position, Z-man, both in your curiosity and compensating for my tentativeness in explaining due to the level of hack it constitutes and people's response.

I'll expose the core hack below. And some apparent consequences I have follow up, the functions available on Sqale. Do remember that this is NOT what is required to use the system, just as we have departments of Economics full of the brightest people, we normal people can operate money. The simplicity is in its use; understanding is supplemental, not required for its use, or adoption. The more complex it appears, the more complex the mind attempting to connect it to current practices. This complexity should NOT be confused with adoption.

I have already shared something with you through the app. You accepted it, and your balance went up. It was easy. That's all we are doing. Well, the leading function anyway.

The core Hack 1: we treat money as a vector not a scalar.
And instead of trying to simulate the traditional economy (as some physicists have done regarding the velocity of money), we have developed the most efficient psycho-social functions when we can treat money as a vector. Basically, you give a thing with money. No exchange. Alice shares music with Bob and £1. For Bob to hear the music, they must accept the money. That's the leading function.

Observation 1: Money-vector as Intention
Money is aligned to the intention of the sharer. It maps the giving-receiving relationship. The number indicates my value for a thing and the relationship to the person. Alice values the music, and thinks Bob may value the music; the relationship is implicit. The vector-money is a numerical marker for this perception (of Alice's belief that Bob will like it).
It also, because of the social functions outlined below, has the potential for viral growth, ie sharing beyond Alice to Bob. Alice's intention is not just to give the music to Bob, but for it to be continued to be shared. The money is not for Bob, per se. In addition, the act of sharing vector-money is to generate revenue, it is to raise funds for the originator to produce more music.

Functional Consequence 1: Virality
If Bob shares it forward to Chris, we does so with the £1. This is linear growth; it will take a long time to get to 1m people. If he really likes it, he adds £1 of his own (equivalent to buying it) and shared with with Cam. If everyone does this, we get exponential growth: thirty linear shares derives 1m people, each being given £1m. This is the viral distribution effect. (Obviously this is a simplified example; as long as the r value is above 1, there is virality.)

Functional Consequence 2: Revenue Generation
Alice, who created the music wants to create an album. So, there's £1m out there, 1m who love her music (otherwise they would not have shared). So Alice enables a Support button which appears at say 10k people. She doesn't enabled this before hand because she wants all the money to be used to share, to get out to more people (see Observation 1 below). After 10k, when a user receives the music and £1, they may Support Alice with the £1 they receive, and then share their added £1 to a friend; rate of growth is now linear.
Or Alice enables the Lock feature. Whenever anyone adds their money, it can only ever be used to share that music. Normal vector-money is undirected, the receiver has full control to redirect to the sharing of Alice's music or anything else. The Lock function delimits it to sharing Alice's music only. And so, after a period of time, if it is not shared, the vector-money is released to Alice automatically, like auto-support. (This is a 'smart contract', what blockchain may be able to enable natively; blockchain is pushing traditional economic into virtual world; it represents 400 years of disruption.)

Observation 2: Advertising Trap
A lot of bands are caught in this first step, with fans buying their stuff. What they need is more exposure, and so they end up falling into the same old trap of advertising and marketing. In a similar way, Arma got caught in this. Plenty of rabid fans, but no outward vector to it. And none of us are interested in marketing and advertising. Marketing means open source often can't compete with commercial version. Open source movement was missing vector-money, maybe.



I hope this outlines the core social function: the relating of the person-to-person action, and the social 'feedforward' effect. It appears to create a gift economic, or a sharing economic, where money operates more like a vote. Because credits and money have a one-to-one mapping, we leverage what people think is valuable about money, but alter how the actual function of money operates. It is not a method of exchange. It is a method of sharing. Anyway, best to use the app, and for those who 'get it' utilise it for our mutual advantage. I'd like to think it will be useful for Arma at some point, probably after Sqale goes viral. However, why not try to use it now and Arma might be the thing that goes viral? By engaging people online on Discord, and players checking out Sqale, hopefully the tool opens up a new way of monetising what we already have: fantastic game, committed players. Yes, we need to do some tech upgrades, but they are inline with a stable, hopefully viral, financial projection. Ie, we succeed where Valve & Steam failed.

Everything from my initial experience of the game design (Arma and Fortress), and the self-organised design of Tronic Progression (high player & admin trust), and the design of vector-money economic (usership not ownership, no negative/debt), suggest a shot at the Tronic Cup is feasible this year: generating £1m while playing, generating prizemoney for players and revenue for coding, with some legacy to previous coders etc (out of respect, not ownership).

_
Oh, where does the money go? When you buy £10 worth of credits? Currently, we use Paypal gateway. Currently, Sqale is operating as a Ltd company. Currently I and Andrew own the company. My intention is to invest in projects going in the right direction, like arma in schools and a lot more worthwhile projects, and contributing towards a fully distributed internet. My focus has been on social development, improving social cohesion, ie teamwork.
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Re: 2020's Arma

Post by 2020 »

I am overwhelmed by the show of interest!

I am guessing this does not compute.
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Re: 2020's Arma

Post by Nanu Nanu »

Having a hard time seeing why a user would want to go out of their way and spend money to share something, except in a few cases. Sharing forward the money and (link/project/whatever) is relatively hassle free if you’re over the sign up barrier, so I could see myself using this feature if I care to keep it going. Can I take that $1 I receive from someone and send 2 friends ¢50 with the link? There are only a handful of things that I believe in enough to spend my own money to share to others, so I would likely not be part of the user base that helps content go viral. As far as supporting content creators with this service, I’d feel more comfortable donating to them directly than putting the money to a different form of advertising for them. I would likely also be advertising for them anyway by sharing their content for free in addition to donating to them directly. My usual means of sharing content is posting in groups or Discord servers where it’s much easier to share with all my friends at once rather than individually messaging them (that’s so 2000s :wink:). The feedback is not so much directed in this way, but it is somewhat of a group effort among those interested in the content that was shared.

I talked to 5 friends about your site and idea as a very small poll of young millennials, and all of them said they would not spend money to share links/content. 2 said they might know other friends who would possibly be more open to the idea.
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Re: 2020's Arma

Post by sinewav »

2020 wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 10:53 am
I am overwhelmed by the show of interest!
I've actually thought about this concept a lot, but I'm having ha hard time finding a specific use-case for it, personally. The fundamental principal is solid and I think if the idea is patented you could probably sell it! I feel like, for something like this to take off it needs to be grafted onto an existing environment where people are both spending money on and sharing digital content, and if successful, extended past that original proving ground. For example, if WhatsApp merged somehow with Bandcamp, or if somehow Sqale was pre-built into people's smartphones, there would already be a fertile environment for people to use this new model (it's not that complicated, to me it seems like the only investment comes from creators who have faith in their creations). I really like the principal behind Sqale. However, for me personally, I don't have use for an app like this. I don't use social media and I can't say I have many friends either, heh.

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Re: 2020's Arma

Post by Z-Man »

Heh, sorry, I'm a slow thinker when it comes to things like that :)

I think this is a solid model and if it was the only way to share links, yeah, I can see how that would be good.

But let's say your system takes over the world and becomes the de-facto standard for the next 10000 years.
But then someone has a "new" idea, and builds a system where you can directly, no strings attached, send arbitrary messages to individuals or groups.
Wouldn't that become the dominant form of communication in, at most, a few years?
And of course you're in the reverse situation. You are competing against communication forms that are free of (obvious) charge, ubiquitous and convenient. Why would anyone share something on Squale instead of on ICQ or MySpace or AOL?

You should think about that. Maybe the answer needs to be "Because they can't. Squale shares are Squale exclusive." They could be one-time personalized links, or regular links together with an access key, tied to a Squale account. What you then get is this artificial scarcity effect; we're seeing this currently with Clubhouse; access is limited by invites, you only get invites to share on certain conditions. That generates hype. You wanna be on that hot new app? Well, sucks for you, you're not invited. GMail was similar, IIRC. We probably had some examples in between I forgot about.
And you need a really strong item to share initially, or a set of several still pretty good ones. So you have something great people get only on Squale, they need to share it on Squale to spread it to their friends, and then they stick around.
And frankly, I don't think Armagetronad can be such a thing. For starters, it's out there already.

Heh. Sorry if that sounds all negative and destructive.

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Re: 2020's Arma

Post by delinquent »

I don't think any of my generation is going to be the target market. I'm pushing 30. Neither do I think it's yours, Z-Man. I think the most appropriate target market is the early 20-somethings. The first part, though, is disconnecting the idea of money with the idea of gain (or, in this case, credits). Sharing and receiving isn't about making or spending money, but about attaching an intrinsic value to an idea. Usually, this is one and the same, but on Sqale it appears to be somewhat abstract.

Z-Man, you mention Sqale exlusive content. I've spent a few hours tinkering with Sqale and, as far as I can see, this is the case by design. Each invite is specific to a user, which means consideration must be paid to whom an idea is shared with - and eliminates the chance factor, by which sharing is currently managed on facebook and other sites, because the invite is presented to the recipient specifically.

To sum it down to a very short sentence, this is the impression I get from Sqale thus far: A project on Sqale is a representation of how many people think it is worth an amount, without necessarily applying a definitive figure to it.

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