some options for the community

General Stuff about Armagetron, That doesn't belong anywhere else...
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2020
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some options for the community

Post by 2020 »

1

I made a big song and dance earlier in the year, and I had hoped to seed a competition with some money. But things have not gone according to plan. I've wanted to generate the money and the system, but it just isn't happening.

Even if I forwarded $1000 prize money (which isn't much per player when you divide it up admittedly, but the principle is there), I was going to simultaneously ask players to put in $10 to enter, and the sum collected from the entrants would be the prizemoney for the next ladle. It's a pay it forwards system, one of the principles behind the financial system we've been testing out here in the real world. Thus, there is an incentive for players to go out and find more players to pick up the game.

I haven't got the $1k, but I thought of an alternative, even when I went through the broohaha last time. I thought it might be possible to start a kickstarter appeal. Players put whatever they want, and this is the initial prize-money for the first spoon, with entrants fees again going for the following one.

But that was then, this is now. I still have not felt enough conviction in myself that this would work. I'd be more comfortable with fronting the money. But there are still problems preventing it going viral -- mainly the skills gap between noobs and experts, with few inbetween.

2

I got a stray message from compguygene out of the blue on g+. Just a remark about the fact I used to play the game. I answered, but go no reply back. It wasn't a chat. It was like a poke. Not quite the invitation, but it has contributed to my coming back and tying up loose ends.

3

I then ended up on Saturday night talking with a certain Hugo Diaz who happens to own a games hub in Sweden. We ended up talking for a few hours at 4 in the morning, he happened to have a few gamers in then. I pitched him with Armagetron, which he remembered playing a million years back, he hadn't come across fortress. I told him a shrink-wrapped version of what we did with the ladle, and I got back into the swing of enthusiasm I have for this game and the players' commitment and skill levels -- even after all these years, it still stands out.

But what was new in our conversation was a way that could sidestep our skills-gap problem: he set up a competition between say 8 game hubs globally. Once he got the competition date sorted, say for the end of the week, on a sunday, much like a ladle, he'd put it out to his clients. They would have a week to get their act together, or not. The spoon would occur, and that would be it. Game over. Unless, of course, the players enjoyed it. That is, the game was good enough, and doing the competition was easy enough too. Then it would be a matter for Hugo to expand the numbers of teams to 16, say, and see what happens.

The point is, none of the players are very good at all. Hence, there is no skill gap as we have currently. Also, they are all learning together at the same level, the learning curve is more gradual. Some of them would find armagetron of course, and join games, start perfecting their skills. And so on. And remember: what an individual noob find sis a steep learning curve when entering a random fortress server, is an incredible teamworking experience for a whole team of noobs. So, what is a negative currently, turns out to be one of the intense attractors.

A nice idea, we'll see if he goes for it. He thinks I should get in touch with valvehttp://www.gametrailers.com/full-episod ... t-tv-valve, the guys behind second life. They popped up on my radar in the last few months because their horizontal company structure has been attracting some attention, and that's what I am doing in the real world, so I will try to get into contact with them.

Also, he pointed me to ouya http://www.kickstarter.com/profiles/ouy ... cts/backed because they are funding games for their new os games platform because they exceeded the funds they were looking for. Could we approach them with armagetron?

4

And finally, I noticed a few days ago that the big game houses are mounting a competition for a million dollar prizemoney in Berlin (I can't even remember how to stick in a link this forum is so dated http://www.gametrailers.com/videos/4g14 ... ry-trailer). However ludicrous my thinking was back in 2005 about getting a million players in a year and each player putting in $1, it has taken the entire global games industry 7 years. And if you look at the competition, it is way too controlled and tight. We could do it better. Our players have something more than any of those professional players -- we know how to self-organise in a scalable competition, and it all comes down to timing.

So there you have it. A few options for the community. I am not pushing for anything. There is no need to argue. It's just where I am at. I still like the idea of taking this game into schools, I still think a national and international championship across schools is viable, and indeed important wrt open source movement, but I can't see that happening unless things take off for me in the real world. And that is turning out to be pretty sloooooow....
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Re: some options for the community

Post by compguygene »

:oops: I keep meaning to check my G+.... but I am glad that my message has helped to prompt a return to here for you.

The kickstarter idea might have some merit. But, it would need to be for 2 purposes.

To pay a couple of devs (I am thinking Lucifer and Luke-Jr.) to not only finalize a .4 stable release, but to add a system of selling "virtual hats". Virtual hats would be custom cycles, and other graphics. This has been discussed before, and would require quite a lot of additional coding, but it would allow Armagetron to establish enough of a financial base to pay for some dev's to code. With a solid plan, this could be the start to cause a good feedback cycle of development and increasing player base.
This would put the game in a state to be added to steam (as has been discussed) and to still be free. This could also possibly allow the development of Android/IOS versions.
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Re: some options for the community

Post by Ratchet »

That's so awesome, dude. After reading that I only had one thing that merited questioning: your idea was to gather a sum of money from the players to have a prize for the ladle? Like the current ladle? I think that it may corrupt things more than they already are and have all the far-above-average players combine to join one team and win the prize money. It would take any remaining sportsmanship there is out of the competition and just turn everyone into greedy bastards that want to make a team that's going to win.

It's quite possible that I'm wrong and I'm underestimating the people that participate in the ladle, but I don't think so :o
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Re: some options for the community

Post by Word »

Maybe I'm a bit naive here, but as soon as money is an incentive the popularity is likely to flatten if this factor is gone. And if you have to manage hundreds of players there could be more serious controversies that might end up in a court, if there's a flaw in whichever system you're going to use. Maybe it'll lead to more competition, more players and all that, but will the community benefit from that by default, once there's an actual reason for jealousy and after a real oligopoly has formed? It could also backfire if the same players keep winning and the others don't want to participate anymore. If you don't control team/clan affiliations even more than Tr2n Origins, I can imagine that there will be "mercenaries" who win a tourney and then don't take part in the next until they have the next perfect team, win again, etc. I don't know, somehow you'd have to enforce team loyalty, perhaps by rewarding it, or at least making sure that every team has a stable roster so the risk from losing a ladle isn't too high, and that's nearly impossible, or isn't it?
Last edited by Word on Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: some options for the community

Post by Kijutsu »

1k? Please don't do this, I'll be way too mad if someone other than me wins.

PS: That sounds better than Flex's $5 gift certificate tournament.

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Re: some options for the community

Post by compguygene »

There are a lot of obstacles to overcome to distribute prize money to players and to charge an entrance fee. For instance, when I looked into the idea, I found that none of the terms of service of any common money processing system, paypay, moneybookers, etc. allow for this. In fact, they specifically prohibit the use of their payment systems for this purpose.

I am trying to redirect some excitement and energy here.
compguygene wrote:
The kickstarter idea might have some merit. But, it would need to be for 2 purposes.

To pay a couple of devs (I am thinking Lucifer and Luke-Jr.) to not only finalize a .4 stable release, but to add a system of selling "virtual hats". Virtual hats would be custom cycles, and other graphics. This has been discussed before, and would require quite a lot of additional coding, but it would allow Armagetron to establish enough of a financial base to pay for some dev's to code. With a solid plan, this could be the start to cause a good feedback cycle of development and increasing player base.
This would put the game in a state to be added to steam (as has been discussed) and to still be free. This could also possibly allow the development of Android/IOS versions.
In other words, this would be to monetize Armagetron enough to pay for a couple devs to devote more time, energy, and effort into the game.
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Re: some options for the community

Post by 2020 »

Not a bad idea, compguygene. The problem with that is that we need to agree on who gets payment, and that could be tricky considering the efforts that everyone has put into the game. The desire to get a competition up and running was a gordion knot solution -- once money flow is stable, some part of the winnings go to development, and this is retrospective too -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7x4W7xu8yg has terrible quality, but contains the idea of two ways of moneyflow moving wrt winners (final position, and relative position to finalists), and some percentage going to admin and developers. Because this would be payed out whenever such a competition occurs, we thus have a way to pay for developers. Incidentally, I think this should be the way that all open source projects are paid for, retrospectively based on results. Arma works, and so all the developers who contributed should get a return for the code they volunteered.

I wanted to have at least a prototype system which traced moneyflow in the way suggested above. It's basically p2p -- there's a hint of it in the video of 2007 as non-centralised. I haven't been able to get anything off the ground in the real world, so, alas I have nothing much more to offer than suggestions.

And for the naysayers, it's all about honour and trust. That's how the ladle works. I know money has been divisive in our society, but if the honour of players is strong enough, and the system of moneyflow is well constructed, we shall not succumb to its lure. I know this will rankle many a reader, mostly those long in year, and I certainly don't need anyone to point out the petty condition of the world and our current economics nor how this has influenced human behaviour. But remember, a similar objection was raise when the first tronic spoon was suggested -- that we could not trust players. I remain, even though evidence seems to indicate otherwise, that we can trust people, even with money.

Honour, trust, respect.
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Re: some options for the community

Post by sinewav »

2020 wrote:And for the naysayers, it's all about honour and trust. That's how the ladle works.

Honour, trust, respect.
That's actually not how the Ladle works. This is why we have a bloated set up rules; to continually remind everyone to be nice to each other. At least once a year there is a bout of dishonest behavior and it sends the community into an uproar. We continually have to manage the tournament around this. And managing the Ladle isn't really a community thing, there is only about a dozen people who actively contribute.

Ladle's success is based around peer pressure more than honor, trust, and respect. At least that's what I think.

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Re: some options for the community

Post by delinquent »

I've thought about the monetisation kind of thing before. I personally view it this way:

I doubt that in the near future, anything like that sort of money will be passing through arma. However, if 100 players each pay £1.50 entry fee into a hat for the challenge, I figure this:

£1 goes to the total prize money
50p goes to the development team as a whole, to be distributed only when working on the game bears cost to the individual. Much like expenses.
That's about £50, which isn't much but it helps with the cost of bills, for example, when someone hits a tough spot in life, which happens. That £50 could make a heck of a lot of difference when it comes to filling up the fridge for a week when all the cash has gone on electricity bills because Joe Bloggs has spent the past week on his ten computers, madly writing code for a new generation of the game. That, of course, is an exaggerated view, but the principle is there in clarity.

The remaining prize money goes to the winning team, with the idea of being used for a good purpose. For example, young master peach has finally lost his elderly HDD, and now he can't play arma or study for his exams. That £100 could buy him a new HDD and still leave enough to help keep the local forum up for another month.

Of course, this would all rely implicitly on trust, and that's a difficult choice to make. Then again, whenever you bring money into the equation, you are always relying on someone to take secure care of it, and that might prove very difficult.

There are other uses for the money that I can think of too. The rental of a function room for a LAN party, where everybody brings a friend and practices together, both improving their own skill, and expanding the community of Armagetron.

The issue I see, however, is that introducing a monetary influence into an environment such as this brings with it a great deal of risk, particularly the risk of tarnishing the reputation of the game and it's community. The actions of one member could prove fatal to the continued development of the game and it's contributors.


Then again, I'm a 19 year old kid. What the **** do I know about morals?

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Re: some options for the community

Post by what »

Why not forget the idea of a competition aand set up merchandise store(i am sure many want shirts or even a mug xD).

Is it possible to set up our own armathalon were onee day armagetronad only focuses on a specific tournament and dedicates aall servers to the tournament. Users can use bitcoin and arma caan host a mother bitcoin account were alll the bitcoins can be transferred to. Winner // winners // devs get a cut. Every year the tournament is held so bitcoins can add up

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Re: some options for the community

Post by Lucifer »

I think a tournament with prize money would be wonderful. The main thing to keep in mind is that it can't be self-organized (because someone has to monitor the rules and take charge of the money, this isn't a bar pool game), and the Ladle/Spoon/Bowl must remain free to participate in whatever form they're in. I would consider a 3-person per team fortress tournament, team sumo or single sumo, or something like that. I have considered bringing the AFL back as a paid league, after developing software appropriate to managing the league.

I think merchandise is a great idea too. What happened with the last effort? I remember there being talk, cafepress vs ordering from a print shop, and the print shop folks won out and went off to work on it. What was the result?

If you wanted to pay me to work on the game, you'd have to enter the conversation with at least $600 USD per week. Otherwise, I will NOT find the time in my current situation.
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Re: some options for the community

Post by Z-Man »

Lucifer wrote:If you wanted to pay me to work on the game, you'd have to enter the conversation with at least $600 USD per week. Otherwise, I will NOT find the time in my current situation.
Worse here. You'd need to do about that, guarantee it's stable, and convince me to leave my current position where I am actually needed, which you kind of can't.
Or, alternatively, a way to buy my time with money, one evening at a time, would be to pay a babysitter. That can't be every day because I actually want to take care of Z-Girl myself most of the time and we'd also like to have the one or other evening off for couple activities, but once or twice a month, I could see it working. We first need to find a babysitter, though. That's planned anyway for after the move (five times sleeping!)

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Re: some options for the community

Post by 2020 »

My solutions never work, none of them, if we base them on the current conditions, on what we know, and try to increment slowly. They are always based on an ideal alternative system, and then to back track from there, step by step, from there to the current conditions. That is, the solutions are relative to the future conditions, not the current conditions.

In rock climbing, one usually progresses incrementally. However, there are certain conditions which necessitate an all-or-nothing tactic, a jump, where one has to commit to the final conditions. It is this jump which my solutions normally rely. Consider also the incremental development in science and the rapid states of change, eg with Newton and Leibnitz, or in industry with eg Ford's assembly line.

It is instructional to observe is what happened with the original tronic suggestion. Most players said it could not be done, we could not trust the players to turn up, and an incremental method was introduced. This turned out to be the tronic spoon and it did not end with the final conditions (the final). We went ahead anyway with the tronic ladle, by proposing that we could trust the players to turn up, and it worked out just fine. The rest is history. It took a jump of faith in one another for it to happen. This faith is tantamount to trust. And in the early days at least there was some kind of honour.

Over the years, as we would expect, rules start to encroach -- again the incremental approach, as if they can replace individual player's responsibility. If you look back at my contribution, they have always attempted to keep the admin to a minimum and to rely on one to one trust relationships. Some may remember the attempt to adopt a new word rather than captain, which carries with it too much of the traditional notions of leadership, hierarchy etc. Also, the need for captains/exemplars to meet before the evening's play in order to sort out problems and ensure a smooth running of the tournament. This has fallen back to what Sinewav has called the admins, who are necessary.

The point is, any complex system tends towards the current system of organisation, which usually relies on people in specific positions or posts, power bottle-necks, externalised lists of rules, and so on. Unless we are vigilant. Unless we have a strong idea of what our future goal is. Unless we have trust relationships between us, rooted in each other as respect, in our mutual experience. Unless we take the risk.

And of course, we do this in every game of arma fortress. We take the faith and trust and respect we have in our fellow players, our teammates, we start off on the grid against an opposing team, and we make decisions individually that result in a collective win. The trick is producing this level of trust at the higher level of the whole tournament, and most importantly, at the level of the whole arma fellowship. At this level, I still detect a major difference between the players and the developers. It has been my intuition and practice to trust the players, to generate enough enthusiasm, to align skills, to make the tronic progression a success, to generate sufficient moneyflow to not only produce winnings based on finaly position and relative position, but to provide enough moneyflow of the server admins and the developers. It is always, and must always be, rooted in the game, in the love of the game, on the outcome and skill of the players on the grid.

So, when it comes to the starting conditions for money flow, it is far too easy for us to adopt traditional attitudes towards money -- and we call for securities to ensure the safe flow of money. Again, lack of trust in one another, and the consequential incremental methodology. As always, I make the invitation for us to have enough faith in ourselves, our love of the game, to ensure that money does not corrupt us -- that we make the necessary social jump to adopt a completely different methodology. And for this, the attitude is all-important. We trust those individuals who have demonstrated a non-greedy relationship, who have been generous with their time and efforts. And we trust those individuals who have some strong idea of an ideal condition. These future conditions are illusory, have never been achieved, and thus those individuals who carry this ideal do not exhibit the same confidence of engineers and construction workers, who walk on the bridges they have made. Our ideals are more delicate and do not support argument as well. It relies on sensitivity, on listening, on trust, and based on the trust, the result of social experiments. I shall open up another thread http://forums3.armagetronad.net/viewtop ... =2&t=22795 which invites people to propose ideal conditions, say for a year from now.

So, in terms of initial money arrangements, I like the ideas of What and Delinquent, if they are part of an overal, collective strategy. My intuition is to generate sufficient money for it to "make sense" to everyone. £1000 is a good number. It means only a couple of hundred for each member of a single winning team. If we increase the number of teams, and the prize-money increases as a consequence as described in my original post above, we can spread out the winnings to absolute and relative position. I think only about 10% should go to the admin and developers, as described in the video link in previous post, which means £100 during the first iteration.

Ultimately, we lead by example. Whether on the grid with digital skill, whether on forums with our admin capacity, or whether as fellows aligning to get this game the recognition it deserves. I'd like to put up the £1000, but I haven't got enough return on what I am doing in the real world to put this forward. Hence the alternative to generate the first £1000 from eg kickstarter.
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Re: some options for the community

Post by K-Yo »

Why do you want the community to grow? I don't think adding money in the game would improve anything...

The only good ideas stated here are (imo) money for merchandises or helping the game expansion (donation to devs / server owners), even if I still think it's hardly feasible.

But giving money to the players will bring only problems:
1. You have to manage that money, it means:
a. find someone to take care of it
b. find a system so that someone cannot steal anything (only way to get trust from strangers)
c. make sure none of these 2 things will brake while there is some money around (hard for the first part)
2. The game will become a way to get money for some people (no shit)
a. make the game secure
b. make it hard/impossible to cheat
3. Money could bring problems with Disney. As long as we remain a clean, calm discreete open source community, they don't care and they can't do much to us (apart from asking us to change the name maybe) but when money comes in, they can ask more, and ask money compensation. I doubt anyone is willing to pay a lawer to face theirs.

About the management of the money, we could do it with some kind of website and a third party (paypal, kickstarter, ... whatever). But you'd need someone to do this website. And making a custom secure website is not an easy task. We can look at the game's front page and start here maybe?
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Re: some options for the community

Post by delinquent »

2020: I worry that bringing sums even as little as £1000 could jeopardise the existing community. With the introduction of money, I see many things turn bitter. I don't mean to suggest that anyone here would be so cruel as to do anything to detract from the general moral fibre of the community, I merely state a potential threat to it's existence. That's why my idea was solely based on "good causes" as opposed to just handing out money for the end user to spend on crap.

K-Yo: I have a theory about the copyright issue: I don't know how it transpires in US law, but I'm certain that copyright is nullified after a specific length of time, and that infringements can only be pursued up to three or four years after. Another idea is to contact WD directly and propose something, but that could also be a future issue.

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