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Author Topic: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games  (Read 42871 times)

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ackack

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All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« on: June 24, 2011, 05:46:17 pm »
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I just played a game where I was able to scroll back through all of the previous turns of the game. This is not the first time it has happened to me, and another friend of mine noticed the same thing. I queried my opponent to see if he had any clue about it, and it turns out he didn't have access to all of the previous turns! The game in question:

http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201106/24/game-20110624-141013-bab97920.html

It was a direct challenge and not an automatch. The point tracker was off.

I (and my friend who has reported seeing the same thing) use Chrome.
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Donald X.

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2011, 06:37:35 pm »
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I just played a game where I was able to scroll back through all of the previous turns of the game.
I have seen this too; Doug knows about it and did not see why it was happening. If you get more data, send it in.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2011, 06:59:32 pm »
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I've seen this happen quite a bit. I assumed he was mixing it in to take some statistics about how much longer it takes for people to play when the full log is available (because they scroll back to count cards, etc.) or something. Too bad its just a bug :(.
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Personman

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2011, 07:13:50 pm »
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I've seen this happen quite a bit. I assumed he was mixing it in to take some statistics about how much longer it takes for people to play when the full log is available (because they scroll back to count cards, etc.) or something. Too bad its just a bug :(.

Ha, the same thing occurred to me, though I didn't think it was very likely. It is very sad that it's just a bug.

I really, really, really want this to be a toggleable option. I can't stand the disappearing log, and it makes me feel bad for not bothering to copy-paste each turn into a text file before it disappears.
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guided

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2011, 07:16:06 pm »
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I was really glad to see the change (not too long ago) that started truncating the log in-game.

Though I'm really sad to see that I get 404s on all isotropic-hosted game logs now :( Nobody else has this problem, which makes no sense. 404 errors shouldn't be user-specific....
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Teproc

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2011, 08:14:42 pm »
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I've seen this happen quite a bit. I assumed he was mixing it in to take some statistics about how much longer it takes for people to play when the full log is available (because they scroll back to count cards, etc.) or something. Too bad its just a bug :(.

Ha, the same thing occurred to me, though I didn't think it was very likely. It is very sad that it's just a bug.

I really, really, really want this to be a toggleable option. I can't stand the disappearing log, and it makes me feel bad for not bothering to copy-paste each turn into a text file before it disappears.

Really ? I mean, really ? I understand being competitive but, if you're going to be competitive, why not just pay attention instead of going into all that trouble ?

I actually like the disappearing log a lot, even though I'm lazy so it usually doesn't serves me well, but being able to go back always felt unnatural to me, because it wouldn't be possible for any non-Rainman person in "real" Dominion.
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Eagle

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2011, 08:23:17 pm »
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Having that cursed! (yeah, that's kindof a pun) log disapper makes this game playable on an iPad..  I was so glad to see it go!
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2011, 08:40:44 pm »
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Quote from: Teproc link=topic=175.msg1808#msg1808
Really ? I mean, really ? I understand being competitive but, if you're going to be competitive, why not just pay attention instead of going into all that trouble ?

It's really less about being competitive than it is about having fun. Poring over the log to figure out which cards I've played this time through my deck so that I can make better decisions was one of the things I enjoyed the most about isotropic, and one of the (many) reasons why I prefer it to playing in person.

That's a personal reason though, and many people will find it silly, which is fine. There is a real, concrete reason to prefer a non-fading log. It's the same reason why a point counter is essential in a competitive online context:

1. We would like the ladder to reflect skill at Dominion rather than at manipulating a computer.
2. You cannot stop players from keeping score/copying the log in an online context.
3. The activities in 2. confer an obvious advantage over players not utilizing them.
4. The only way to achieve 1. in an online context is to level the playing field by providing those capabilities to all players in a standardized fashion.
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guided

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2011, 09:09:07 pm »
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Most people do not find it fun when their opponent spends a bunch of time scrolling up and poring over the log, which (honestly) most people are going to do if they can and they find it matters, even if they find it annoying when other people do that. Truncating the log makes isotropic more fun for... I'll go out on a limb and say everyone except you :P

Feeling the way you do, I suggest using the built-in point counter for all games you propose and refusing to accept proposals without it. People who want to publicly track the trackable information are very well-catered to with the addition of the point counter. If you additionally want to use some sort of extension that tracks the entire composition of everyone's deck I'm sure pretty much nobody who's willing to play with the point counter will object, and by and large they'll be glad they don't have to wait for you to scroll through the log.

Personally, I'm thrilled the log is no longer available, because my opponents don't waste my time scouring it for information, and I don't waste their time doing the same myself. It makes for a breezier, more fun experience for me all around. I don't use the point counter for games I propose, but I'm happy to accept proposals with the point counter and will use it when it's available.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 09:12:07 pm by guided »
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Personman

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2011, 10:16:38 pm »
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Most people do not find it fun when their opponent spends a bunch of time scrolling up and poring over the log, which (honestly) most people are going to do if they can and they find it matters, even if they find it annoying when other people do that.

If my opponent is taking a long time I switch tabs and do something else for a second -- and besides, this is why we have a 3 minute time limit.

Quote
Truncating the log makes isotropic more fun for... I'll go out on a limb and say everyone except you :P

You're just wrong -- when it first happened I made a point of bringing it up in every game I played with a serious player. This was a small sample, maybe 8 people, but at least 3 totally agreed with me that they wanted the log back, 2 or 3 really liked it the new way, and a few were like "uh, there was a log before?"

I also know three other people IRL who agree with me.

Quote
Feeling the way you do, I suggest using the built-in point counter for all games you propose and refusing to accept proposals without it. People who want to publicly track the trackable information are very well-catered to with the addition of the point counter.

I use drheld's extension and the built-in point counter with disabling turned off in every game I play.

Quote
If you additionally want to use some sort of extension that tracks the entire composition of everyone's deck I'm sure pretty much nobody who's willing to play with the point counter will object, and by and large they'll be glad they don't have to wait for you to scroll through the log.

Yeah, I pretty much want to write this. It sounds like a lot of work though :/

Quote
Personally, I'm thrilled the log is no longer available, because my opponents don't waste my time scouring it for information, and I don't waste their time doing the same myself. It makes for a breezier, more fun experience for me all around. I don't use the point counter for games I propose, but I'm happy to accept proposals with the point counter and will use it when it's available.

It's great that some people are made happier by the change; it's obviously a useful feature for many users. It would just be really nice if it were an option, like the point counter.
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Deadlock39

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2011, 10:32:09 pm »
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I was really glad to see the change (not too long ago) that started truncating the log in-game.

Though I'm really sad to see that I get 404s on all isotropic-hosted game logs now :( Nobody else has this problem, which makes no sense. 404 errors shouldn't be user-specific....

You are not alone.  I am getting this too now, except only at work.  I suspect a proxy issue or something.  The sad part is when it is a link from the current day, and I can't just pull it up on Councilroom.

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2011, 03:09:35 am »
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I was really glad to see the change (not too long ago) that started truncating the log in-game.

Though I'm really sad to see that I get 404s on all isotropic-hosted game logs now :( Nobody else has this problem, which makes no sense. 404 errors shouldn't be user-specific....

You are not alone.  I am getting this too now, except only at work.  I suspect a proxy issue or something.  The sad part is when it is a link from the current day, and I can't just pull it up on Councilroom.

I'm getting this as well at work. I did find a work-around:
add ".gz" to the game log's URL, now I get the compressed version which I'm able to open
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SixDaysShort

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2011, 11:49:00 am »
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In the dozen-or-so times I've played on my phone, it's happened 100% of the time.  Because of the inconvenience of scrolling on a phone, it's made me stop trying. 
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Randal FTW

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2011, 02:20:29 pm »
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Yeah when I first started playing the log was always there. In my experience since he added the point tracker options it only shows up ~10% of the time now.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2011, 07:36:51 am »
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For those playing from your phone or other iOS device try the text interface. It scrolls differently and is totally playable in my experience. The only thing that doesn't work is changing the order of cards (i.e. Scout, Stash, Navigator). YMMV
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2011, 12:44:18 pm »
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Truncating the log makes isotropic more fun for... I'll go out on a limb and say everyone except you :P

You're just wrong -- when it first happened I made a point of bringing it up in every game I played with a serious player. This was a small sample, maybe 8 people, but at least 3 totally agreed with me that they wanted the log back, 2 or 3 really liked it the new way, and a few were like "uh, there was a log before?"

I also know three other people IRL who agree with me.

I agree, but for different reasons than Personman.  I play while doing other things - like folding laundry, or emptying the dishwasher, etc... so it's very nice to be able to play without having to pay attention to everything my opponent does.  If it was important, I can quickly ctrl-F and go find it.
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guided

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2011, 02:45:14 pm »
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I agree, but for different reasons than Personman.  I play while doing other things - like folding laundry, or emptying the dishwasher, etc... so it's very nice to be able to play without having to pay attention to everything my opponent does.  If it was important, I can quickly ctrl-F and go find it.
Your opponent's most recent turn is still visible.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2011, 03:37:44 pm »
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I agree, but for different reasons than Personman.  I play while doing other things - like folding laundry, or emptying the dishwasher, etc... so it's very nice to be able to play without having to pay attention to everything my opponent does.  If it was important, I can quickly ctrl-F and go find it.
Your opponent's most recent turn is still visible.
From time to time, I play with friends while I'm at work. There's been more than one occasion where I tab back to take a 'trivial' turn, like buy a province with an all-money hand, quickly before tabbing out again in order to keep them from having to wait. I used to be able to go back a couple turns, but now I can't. It's enough of an edge case that it's not really a problem for me, but it is the main reason I miss about the old way (or more specifically, wish there was a toggle).
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guided

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2011, 03:40:53 pm »
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I do not have much sympathy for the position that you two wish you could still make your opponent sit and wait while you go back and read about the things that happened while you weren't paying attention :P
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Personman

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2011, 04:03:20 pm »
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I do not have much sympathy for the position that you two wish you could still make your opponent sit and wait while you go back and read about the things that happened while you weren't paying attention :P

Why not? Sometimes life intrudes. The right play now is to come back once every three minutes and play a single Treasure card until the RL crisis passes, instead of quickly taking your turn and then taking < 1 minute later to read back over the log.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2011, 04:07:53 pm »
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I do not have much sympathy for the position that you two wish you could still make your opponent sit and wait while you go back and read about the things that happened while you weren't paying attention :P

Why not? Sometimes life intrudes. The right play now is to come back once every three minutes and play a single Treasure card until the RL crisis passes, instead of quickly taking your turn and then taking < 1 minute later to read back over the log.

If there's a real RL crisis, I really don't care what's going on in my dominion game.
Besides, it doesn't take the system all that long to re-equilibrate the ratings

Personman

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2011, 04:16:19 pm »
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I guess 'crisis' was too strong a word. Maybe you got a quick phone call -- now you're punished for playing a turn quickly while you talk instead of keeping your opponent waiting.
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guided

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2011, 04:45:54 pm »
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The right play now is to come back once every three minutes and play a single Treasure card until the RL crisis passes, instead of quickly taking your turn and then taking < 1 minute later to read back over the log.
No, the right play is to resign, or to play quickly and not worry too much about the information you missed while you weren't paying attention to the game. It's inconsiderate to make your opponent wait without recourse for any length of time while you do something other than playing the game. A RL crisis is your own problem, and it's not your prerogative to unilaterally make it your opponent's problem. If isotropic could magically detect that you've gone AFK and instantly offer your opponent the option to force your resignation, I would be OK with that. And that includes being OK with occasionally being forced to resign myself. Again, you're not going to earn my sympathy by complaining that it's become inconvenient for you to waste people's time.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2011, 04:49:22 pm »
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And if it's just something like a phone call, A 30-60 second one-time break isn't so bad, and then getting back to the game. I don't really mind this when it happens to me, and I have to do it sometimes.

Personman

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2011, 05:03:38 pm »
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The right play now is to come back once every three minutes and play a single Treasure card until the RL crisis passes, instead of quickly taking your turn and then taking < 1 minute later to read back over the log.
No, the right play is to resign, or to play quickly and not worry too much about the information you missed while you weren't paying attention to the game.

When I say 'the right play' I do not mean 'the polite play', I mean 'the play most likely to make you win'. I'm not encouraging anyone to do it, I'm pointing out that the system encourages people to, thus rewarding jerks and punishing nice folks. And that's a bad thing!

Quote
It's inconsiderate to make your opponent wait without recourse for any length of time while you do something other than playing the game.

I strongly disagree. It's inconsiderate to expect your opponent to be the same person as you. The internet is a big place, and all kinds of people want to be able to have fun. Some people are at work. Some people have kids. Not everyone can remove themselves from distraction so completely, and while we do have to impose sanity checks (ie, the time limit) I believe it is good policy to be as welcoming and kind to people who can't devote themselves 100% to online Dominion as those who can.
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guided

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #25 on: June 27, 2011, 05:30:14 pm »
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When I say 'the right play' I do not mean 'the polite play', I mean 'the play most likely to make you win'. I'm not encouraging anyone to do it, I'm pointing out that the system encourages people to, thus rewarding jerks and punishing nice folks. And that's a bad thing!
It's not a practical problem, because isotropic is not (by and large) populated by sociopaths. The problem solved by truncating the log (people inconsiderately waste time by poring over it) was very real in practice.

I believe it is good policy to be as welcoming and kind to people who can't devote themselves 100% to online Dominion as those who can.
It is not good policy to cater to those who care more about winning than about respecting the reasonable expectations of others. When you sit down to play a game with someone, there is a reasonable expectation that both players will devote sufficient attention to the game for it to play smoothly at all times without significant non-game-related delays. If you are constantly beset by distractions that prevent you from devoting your attention to a game, either play it promptly and inattentively or don't play.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #26 on: June 27, 2011, 06:23:18 pm »
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When I'm playing at work, I only play with a select group of RL friends. This is because they understand that we're all playing at work, and may have to suddenly / inexplicably go afk for 10 minutes. However, if I can take my turn quickly, let them progress, and go back over the turns at a later time (hopefully during their turns), it's preferable to waiting until I have time to process what each of them did as well as take a turn.

I said that I wish it was a toggled option, same as the point counter; in effect, it's nothing more than a verbose point counter.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #27 on: June 27, 2011, 06:33:23 pm »
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When you sit down to play a game with someone, there is a reasonable expectation that both players will devote sufficient attention to the game for it to play smoothly at all times without significant non-game-related delays.

I agree, in the context of a serious gaming group or tournament, but that's not what we're doing here. Instead, we're clicking on buttons on a website, while another human being about whom you no next to nothing, and who may have circumstances, expectations, and ideas about civility entirely alien to your own.

In fact, I expect that a lot of people who play games irl (maybe even you!) would find it really weird if their phone rang on their turn and then their opponent yelled at them and called them inconsiderate for answering it. They might even take their turn quickly and silently while talking, but then ask their opponent what happened two turns ago, since they were talking and not paying that much attention! Shocking!

When I'm playing at work, I only play with a select group of RL friends. This is because they understand that we're all playing at work, and may have to suddenly / inexplicably go afk for 10 minutes. However, if I can take my turn quickly, let them progress, and go back over the turns at a later time (hopefully during their turns), it's preferable to waiting until I have time to process what each of them did as well as take a turn.

I said that I wish it was a toggled option, same as the point counter; in effect, it's nothing more than a verbose point counter.

Yes, this. All of this. What if I'm playing with my friends, and we *all* want to be able to see the full log?

If having another binary option is seen as too much clutter, I think it would also be fine to have the full log and the point counter be tied to each other. It doesn't make a lot of sense to have one without the other.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #28 on: June 27, 2011, 07:08:56 pm »
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The right play now is to come back once every three minutes and play a single Treasure card until the RL crisis passes, instead of quickly taking your turn and then taking < 1 minute later to read back over the log.
No, the right play is to resign, or to play quickly and not worry too much about the information you missed while you weren't paying attention to the game.

When I say 'the right play' I do not mean 'the polite play', I mean 'the play most likely to make you win'. I'm not encouraging anyone to do it, I'm pointing out that the system encourages people to, thus rewarding jerks and punishing nice folks. And that's a bad thing!
In this case, waiting 2:50 is always "the right play"... (assuming that your internet connection is fairly stable), but this is clearly rather pointless.

guided

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #29 on: June 27, 2011, 07:14:49 pm »
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I said that I wish it was a toggled option, same as the point counter; in effect, it's nothing more than a verbose point counter.
You could come up with a thousand toggles/options that at least a few people might want, but for any given idea you need to ask whether it makes the site better for the userbase as a whole. Now for every story about how you need verbose logging, because your coworkers are OK with waiting for 10 minutes but absolutely not OK with waiting for 10 minutes plus the 10 seconds it takes to see what they did on their turn, I can probably tell a pretty good story about how somebody needs a toggle that lies and says "Default card selection was used." even though they did specify card restrictions, to spice up the competition with their group of friends who like to live dangerously.

For my own part, I wouldn't ragequit from ever playing on isotropic again if they added a toggle, but I would categorically refuse to play with it checked. I see no legitimate purpose for it in my games that doesn't involve making me sit there while my opponent scrolls up and reads (or vice versa), and I don't want either of us to be able to do that. Put another way, if you asked me to vote on whether there ought to be a toggle on the screen, I'd say no. But I wouldn't go after the people who would vote yes with pitchforks and torches, or anything.

another human being about whom you no next to nothing, and who may have circumstances, expectations, and ideas about civility entirely alien to your own.
But to argue this way is to utterly reject any notion of people being considerate to each other online. "Oh, I am not allowed to have any expectations whatsoever about my opponent's sense of civility, so it's completely OK for him to insult my mother at length throughout the game." Either there are reasonable expectations I can have, or there aren't.

I think it would also be fine to have the full log and the point counter be tied to each other. It doesn't make a lot of sense to have one without the other.
Does it really not make sense to you that a time-saving feature would be separated from a time-spending feature?
« Last Edit: June 27, 2011, 07:18:33 pm by guided »
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #30 on: June 27, 2011, 07:27:40 pm »
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In summary: I would never play with a verbose logging toggle, and I think adding one to the site isn't a good idea even though there are some users who want it. Neither am I vociferously opposed to adding a toggle. I would encourage anybody who wants one to spend their rhetorical effort convincing Doug.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2011, 08:46:05 pm by guided »
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Personman

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #31 on: June 27, 2011, 09:29:36 pm »
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I've gotten caught up in a large variety of smaller details I disagree with you about, and I think the real reason why I prefer the full log to be available has gotten lost. It is this:

I want players to be able to make the best decision they are capable of making within the time limit. I want the game to facilitate this by presenting all public information to them as efficiently as possible.

I don't want it to ever be the case that I or my opponent loses the game because, despite knowing the correct play if the other guy's King's Court was already seen this shuffle and the correct play if it wasn't, they can't find out and have to guess. To me, that just sucks. I don't care at all how good at remembering the last five turns you are. I want to know how good you are at doing the right thing when that information is presented to you as efficiently as possible. If it takes you a few more seconds to decide what to do when this information is available, great! At least you've done your best, and if I win, it's not because you couldn't remember some public information, it's because I understand the system better and made better choices (or got luckier, but, you know).

Does it really not make sense to you that a time-saving feature would be separated from a time-spending feature?

I guess I think of them both as both fairness features and gameplay enhancement features. Making games faster or slower is not really a priority for me. So yes, I was very surprised when the log was removed so shortly after the point counter was added. It seemed like a big step forward followed immediately by a bigger step back.

But to argue this way is to utterly reject any notion of people being considerate to each other online. "Oh, I am not allowed to have any expectations whatsoever about my opponent's sense of civility, so it's completely OK for him to insult my mother at length throughout the game." Either there are reasonable expectations I can have, or there aren't.

Fine, fine, I was a little hyperbolic there. Of course you need to have baselines. I only meant that your assertion that everyone who plays on isotropic should be as totally focused on the game as you are seems a bit entitled. And I'm honestly curious how you deal with interruptions in irl board games, and whether you think the etiquette ought to be *more* stringent online for some reason.
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guided

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #32 on: June 27, 2011, 09:55:21 pm »
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I only meant that your assertion that everyone who plays on isotropic should be as totally focused on the game as you are seems a bit entitled.
I don't ask for (nor necessarily exert) total focus. I only ask that you don't claim the prerogative to make your lack of focus my problem by wasting my time. You seem to take it for granted that everybody's first priority, to the total exclusion of all else, is to make the best play at every opportunity. But that is simply not how most people operate. If an unexpected distraction arises that requires most of my attention, I am content to play somewhat inattentively to avoid wasting my opponent's time, because my empathy for my opponent's well-being overrides my desire to play optimally. In the rare instance where a distraction requires all my attention for a brief moment, I'll apologize for the delay. If I would need to AFK for 10 minutes against a random opponent, I'll happily resign instead. And here's a critical point: if I'm in a situation where distractions are likely to routinely intervene and cause delays, out of respect for prospective opponents I won't play at all.

I don't believe the faceless nature of the internet gives me leave to treat people more shabbily online than I would treat them in real life. In rare instances, unexpected things come up during an in-person game that require someone's immediate attention, and I expect them to handle the situation in a way that minimally disrupts the group without causing them undue hardship. This should go without saying. But if you expect you'll need to be on the phone for 30 random minutes out of the next hour, I don't want to sit down to play something with you. Nor would I be happy if you told me in person, "I won't be paying much attention to this game, so is it OK if we take a moment before each turn to review the entire litany of game events so far?"


edit: Saw theory's post after my last edit. Sorry, I'll be done now.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2011, 10:22:41 pm by guided »
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #33 on: June 27, 2011, 10:18:36 pm »
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Stop it.  Both of you.  Keep it civil.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #34 on: June 27, 2011, 10:27:41 pm »
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Okay.

But this brings up a kind of important point: we maybe should have some posting guidelines. Personally, I love this kind of exchange on fora, both as a participant and a lurker. But, of course, it's your place, and if you think we're over the line, we are. And you're probably right, from a community management perspective -- I know very well that my enjoyment of debate and verbosity would make me a pretty terrible forum mod :D

It would be helpful to know where your lines are though, as it's clear already (and will only get clearer) that not everyone does.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #35 on: June 27, 2011, 11:20:24 pm »
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But this brings up a kind of important point: we maybe should have some posting guidelines.
There are in fact posting guidelines, you clicked on a thing that said you read it and everything. For example we don't get to be profane. So all you people who don't believe in Kali, keep it to yourselves.

I think a key point in any discussion of potential new/modified isotropic features is that isotropic is a lame duck program and Doug is keenly aware of this. If there are problems with the commercial program then who knows, maybe the next set will come out on isotropic, but you know, one day, the lights will go out, and any feature Doug programmed for you will be gone for good. And the closer that day seems, the less exciting it is to program features that people will just argue over anyway.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #36 on: June 28, 2011, 12:13:57 am »
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I think a key point in any discussion of potential new/modified isotropic features is that isotropic is a lame duck program and Doug is keenly aware of this. If there are problems with the commercial program then who knows, maybe the next set will come out on isotropic, but you know, one day, the lights will go out, and any feature Doug programmed for you will be gone for good.

Hrm, now this... this I did not know.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #37 on: June 28, 2011, 07:10:02 am »
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I think a key point in any discussion of potential new/modified isotropic features is that isotropic is a lame duck program and Doug is keenly aware of this. If there are problems with the commercial program then who knows, maybe the next set will come out on isotropic, but you know, one day, the lights will go out, and any feature Doug programmed for you will be gone for good. And the closer that day seems, the less exciting it is to program features that people will just argue over anyway.

I struggle to understand this, but I'm not a native speaker (what does lame duck exactly mean in this context - "discontinued model"?). What "commercial program" are you referring to? The physical cards that might be replaced by a commercial online version for future expansions? A commercial online version substituting isotropic like Puerto Rico not being available for some time at BSW? And how close this day is?
Maybe your post is intentionally a bit opaque?

I remember a BSW quote from you, Donald, that you don't know exactly, but think that isotropic more probably increases sells for RGG than decreases them?!

Sorry, if I totally misunderstood the whole post.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2011, 07:13:02 am by Reyk »
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #38 on: June 28, 2011, 07:23:09 am »
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@Reyk: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lame_Duck

I think you are right in your interpretation, so it seems like isotropic is still active but as far as I know there is (the idea of) a commercial Dominion computer game (don't know how far this project has come), and at least it is reasonable to assume that RGG (or especially their contractor that develops the computer game) might be not as happy with the isotropic server as they are know, as it would directly conflict with their game.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #39 on: June 28, 2011, 07:32:02 am »
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Sounds like RGG is planning to put out a commercial online Dominion version at some point, they've already told Doug, and he's agreed to take down isotropic once it's released.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #40 on: June 28, 2011, 07:39:37 am »
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http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/506758/dominion-pc-game/page/3

In Feb.2011, some Donald X. wrote:
Quote
Quote
Tamdrik wrote:
Since this thread appears to still be going, may I revisit the topic of when the officially-sanctioned electronic version of Dominion is planned for release?
Until recently, nothing at all happened on this project, for reasons I am not privy to. I would like to know but do not. As far as I knew things were happening. And obv. I would have liked a program to come out oh a couple years ago.

I do know that now things are actually happening (and, not with any people previously involved, if anyone was). I don't know if they will unravel or continue in the expected timely manner. My best guess it that if you asked me in two weeks I would say probably it will come out in September 2011. I didn't just say "if you asked me in two weeks" for nothing, obv. the more time passes the more confident I will be.

Furthermore my best guess would be that at that time, it would support multiple uh devices, and would have at least the base set and Intrigue but not everything that's published. I don't know how long the rest of the expansions will take but how hard are they really. But you know if you have the main set and Intrigue, why wait on putting it out. My best guess is that it will also have an AI, although why you would use that other than to replace a resigning player I couldn't tell you.

I don't have any more information or any more guesses.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #41 on: June 28, 2011, 07:48:04 am »
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In Feb.2011, some Donald X. wrote:
Quote
Furthermore my best guess would be that at that time, it would support multiple uh devices, and would have at least the base set and Intrigue but not everything that's published.

Thx for the quote. Substituting isotropic by a commercial version that includes Base game/Intrigue would be sad news :-(
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #42 on: June 28, 2011, 09:53:37 am »
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But this brings up a kind of important point: we maybe should have some posting guidelines.

It would be helpful to know where your lines are though, as it's clear already (and will only get clearer) that not everyone does.
I stepped into this discussion preemptively rather than retributively, but your point is well noted. 
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #43 on: June 28, 2011, 03:23:52 pm »
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Sounds like RGG is planning to put out a commercial online Dominion version at some point, they've already told Doug, and he's agreed to take down isotropic once it's released.
Yes.

Obv. the commercial version will support all of the expansions as soon as it can. And it will be for multiple platforms.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #44 on: June 28, 2011, 03:40:23 pm »
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In case RGG publishes an online Dominion: There shouldn't be any legal grounds to force isotropic down legally, are there? No copyright or patents are infringed, and a simple name change should protect against any trademarks.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #45 on: June 28, 2011, 03:46:47 pm »
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Doug is friendly with the Dominion devs. I don't see him going rogue and trying to fight a legal battle over it.

When there's an official version, play that one ;)
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #46 on: June 29, 2011, 03:00:59 am »
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The fact that the Dominion developers are working closely with Doug makes me optimistic about the official version.

Hopefully "multiple platforms" in this day and age means "Web browser and mobile apps", not that you'll have to download a separate desktop application to play Dominion.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #47 on: June 29, 2011, 10:25:58 am »
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In case RGG publishes an online Dominion: There shouldn't be any legal grounds to force isotropic down legally, are there? No copyright or patents are infringed, and a simple name change should protect against any trademarks.

The whole game is copyrighted.  Card text, images, rules are all copyrighted.  Merely changing the names of the game or cards is not sufficient, especially since its obvious that the intent would be to infringe on the copyright.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #48 on: June 29, 2011, 12:41:22 pm »
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Sounds like RGG is planning to put out a commercial online Dominion version at some point, they've already told Doug, and he's agreed to take down isotropic once it's released.
Yes.

Obv. the commercial version will support all of the expansions as soon as it can. And it will be for multiple platforms.

(Emphasis mine)

So, let me preface that while I'm quoting Donald here, I know the decisions on this are going to end up getting made by Jay.  With that said:

RGG is planning to release it with only some of the cards?  Really?  The individual cards should be easier to program relative to the main software package.  This strikes me as a... shockingly bad move from a consumer's perspective.  RGG is basically saying:

"We've tacitly endorsed product A for some time, using it as our test-bed even.  Now we're releasing fully-endorsed product B, which is significantly inferior, and we're politely asking product A to disappear.  But we promise product B will be just as good, maybe even better!  Just, you know, not right now.  Eventually."

How many other features will be missing from the new program?  Game logs?  Ladder play?  It's not clear to me if DougZ is doing the programming for RGG or not; if he is, then I'm not quite as worried, but losing 80 cards from the selection will be... really sad.

WOTC did this with their D&D4E software package; the fallout was epic.  (I won't buy WOTC products again.)  Blizzard lost a ton of customers when they announced things they were removing from Starcraft II that were ridiculous to remove from the original Starcraft.  I don't want to see similar things happen to RGG here.

Now, I know the situation is different here; no one is paying to play on isotropic, RGG isn't making any money from it, and if they weren't friendly with DougZ they could easily have it C&D'd.  I guess what I'm saying is, I'd rather pay to play on the current software than play inferior software for free.  I certainly wouldn't purchase inferior software; I'll simply go back to playing F2F more often, and reconsider buying future expansions.  RGG would be much better off waiting a couple extra months to have their program fully-functional than to risk alienating fans buy releasing an inferior product.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #49 on: June 29, 2011, 01:00:41 pm »
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You seem to be operating under 2 big assumptions that (to my knowledge) nobody has actually announced:

1. The RGG version will be released incomplete.
2. isotropic will be shut down as soon as this presumed-incomplete version has been released.

I'd calm down for the moment rather than assuming these things and getting angry about it.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #50 on: June 29, 2011, 01:26:55 pm »
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The whole game is copyrighted.  Card text, images, rules are all copyrighted.

The images aren't used at all, no infringement here. Only the actual expression of the rules can be copyrighted, and isotropic doesn't have a copy of the rulebook, so there is no problem in this regard either. It's not possible to copyright an idea.

Also, one can't copyright individual words, thus the card titles are out of question, and it's highly unlikely that trademarks for these words would ever be granted.

Quote
especially since its obvious that the intent would be to infringe on the copyright.

If there's nothing infringing, then there's no problem with intentions in the first place. Having certain intentions is usually only important if one wants to duck away with Fair Use.

The most probable hindrance could be the card texts. This is more than just a few words. (And could get replaced easily. If necessary, by getting ideas on wording from someone who han't played the game.)
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #51 on: June 29, 2011, 01:49:45 pm »
+3

Now, I know the situation is different here; no one is paying to play on isotropic, RGG isn't making any money from it, and if they weren't friendly with DougZ they could easily have it C&D'd.  I guess what I'm saying is, I'd rather pay to play on the current software than play inferior software for free.  I certainly wouldn't purchase inferior software; I'll simply go back to playing F2F more often, and reconsider buying future expansions.  RGG would be much better off waiting a couple extra months to have their program fully-functional than to risk alienating fans buy releasing an inferior product.
If you give people free pizza for a while, they start to feel like they're owed it, and then when you say "now we are selling pizza only we don't have olives yet," they want to punish you.

The lesson of course is never to give people free pizza. Make them pay from day one, and they'll gladly buy straight pepperoni, because hey, it's pizza! What were we thinking! The best move obv. would be to take isotropic down now, give people time to miss it.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #52 on: June 29, 2011, 01:53:18 pm »
+1

blah blah blah copyright
Q: What people discuss the precise degree to which I can be ripped off without being able to sue?
A: My enemies!

Seriously, cut it out. I would be sending you to RSP but this isn't BGG. Go to BGG's RSP forum okay. We are all friends here.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #53 on: June 29, 2011, 02:31:04 pm »
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Obviously, I will gladly buy and use whatever official online Dominion thing as soon as it has all the cards.  If there's a gap between when Isotropic shuts down and when the official product is fully functional, then, well, that's fine, I'll just take a break for awhile.  I've played a lot lately; probably should do that anyway.  :P

It'd be great if there was any way to sync up all the great data Councilroom's been collecting with the official product and keep it going, it'd be a shame to lose such a useful and informative resource.  But I do understand if it can't be done.

Also, apropos of nothing: RSP's a lot friendlier than people think it is.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 04:36:54 pm by chwhite »
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #54 on: June 29, 2011, 04:37:25 pm »
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Guided:  I'm basing my assumptions on the comments I quoted.  And I'm not angry, I'm just concerned that they will turn out true.  It would be sad.

Donald:  Your pizza analogy is interesting, but it leaves out a couple of things:

(1) If the pizza had been free but had no olives, I wouldn't have eaten it.  I didn't state that, but I stopped playing Dominion on BSW when the expansions were only partly-supported.
(2) I'd gladly buy the pizza that's currently available now for free.  If you told me RGG was buying out isotropic, and it would cost me $20 to access it, I'd pull out my credit card.

I guess a better way of phrasing things is:  Why is RGG re-inventing the wheel?

As far as the posts on copyright issues:  I don't like copyright runarounds either.  I even questioned (at BGG) whether isotropic should have the Cornucopia cards up before release... until you told me that in fact it was with RGG's blessing.  IP piracy is theft no matter which way one slices it.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #55 on: June 29, 2011, 05:21:10 pm »
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Obviously, I will gladly buy and use whatever official online Dominion thing as soon as it has all the cards.

This...
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #56 on: June 29, 2011, 05:24:54 pm »
0

Now, I know the situation is different here; no one is paying to play on isotropic, RGG isn't making any money from it, and if they weren't friendly with DougZ they could easily have it C&D'd.  I guess what I'm saying is, I'd rather pay to play on the current software than play inferior software for free.  I certainly wouldn't purchase inferior software; I'll simply go back to playing F2F more often, and reconsider buying future expansions.  RGG would be much better off waiting a couple extra months to have their program fully-functional than to risk alienating fans buy releasing an inferior product.
If you give people free pizza for a while, they start to feel like they're owed it, and then when you say "now we are selling pizza only we don't have olives yet," they want to punish you.

The lesson of course is never to give people free pizza. Make them pay from day one, and they'll gladly buy straight pepperoni, because hey, it's pizza! What were we thinking! The best move obv. would be to take isotropic down now, give people time to miss it.

In my defense, I have spent a couple hundred $$$ to get all the cards.  I might be playing online for free, but I certainly have paid for the game.  (And am happy to have done so, it's the best card game in existence IMO)
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #57 on: June 29, 2011, 06:03:19 pm »
0

I guess a better way of phrasing things is:  Why is RGG re-inventing the wheel?
Well. Doug didn't want the job, and independently Jay wanted one entity to handle everything. So even if we never cared about having an iphone version or whatever, it wasn't happening. Man, would you believe, I thought of Doug first (when it turned out that there was not actually a commercial version on the way).
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #58 on: June 29, 2011, 06:12:48 pm »
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In my defense, I have spent a couple hundred $$$ to get all the cards.  I might be playing online for free, but I certainly have paid for the game.  (And am happy to have done so, it's the best card game in existence IMO)
You know, I am not complaining about anyone who's enjoying free games of Dominion on isotropic, whether they bought the cards or not. Have fun guys, there it is. This Doug guy made it, it's pretty sweet.

I am only complaining about people complaining! The world doesn't owe you isotropic.

I answered this in a PM but will tell you other guys here: if you were a programming company looking at whether or not you should take on the Dominion project for RGG, deciding, is this investment of your man-hours really going to pay the rent, would you be thinking, cool, there will also be a free version people can have instead of ours?
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #59 on: June 29, 2011, 06:19:06 pm »
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In my defense, I have spent a couple hundred $$$ to get all the cards.  I might be playing online for free, but I certainly have paid for the game.  (And am happy to have done so, it's the best card game in existence IMO)
You know, I am not complaining about anyone who's enjoying free games of Dominion on isotropic, whether they bought the cards or not. Have fun guys, there it is. This Doug guy made it, it's pretty sweet.

I am only complaining about people complaining! The world doesn't owe you isotropic.

I answered this in a PM but will tell you other guys here: if you were a programming company looking at whether or not you should take on the Dominion project for RGG, deciding, is this investment of your man-hours really going to pay the rent, would you be thinking, cool, there will also be a free version people can have instead of ours?

I see your point.  And I agree, that if someone is going to try to make money off of an online dominion game, the copyright holder should have the right to request for the free version to go away.  And I think most of the players here will understand.

That being said, it would be seriously disappointing if the paid version wasn't as good and complete as the free one.  (Hopefully we're all stressing over nothing, and it will be as good or better)

I'd like to throw out a thanks for Donald for being involved and conversing with us about the topic (and the game in general) by the way.  That shows that you actually care about whether your customers are enjoying your game, and you're not only interested in selling copies.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #60 on: June 29, 2011, 10:29:22 pm »
0

Guys, also keep in mind that a commercial version of Dominion is almost definitely going to include an AI component.

If at launch they only had the base set, but they had a reasonable AI, that's a very impressive goal. Off the top of my head the decisions in the base set consist of:
 - which card in my hand should I play?
   - which card(s) should I chapel?
   - which card(s) should I cellar?
   - should I discard mine/opponents card from spy?
 - which card should I buy?
 - which card should I discard if I get militia'd?

There's a lot of complexity just in there (the play and buy decisions are pretty huge), every card that you add to the set increases the complexity exponentially.

Releasing a program that plays with all the expansions with even a rudimentary AI is an extremely daunting task.

Looking at the mobile market - Making money out of selling a board game without any AI for something requiring as much interaction as dominion is not a very promising commercial project. Scrabble, Chess and Carcassone work well as pure multiplayer games because there's no action to take during another player's turn, so having 30 minutes or even days between players taking actions is OK. You can't do the same thing with Settlers, so released an AI-enabled product (and it sells well enough even without online multiplayer) - Dominion would most likely need to follow a similar path (though most likely not skimping on the multiplayer aspect).

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DStu

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #61 on: June 30, 2011, 01:35:08 am »
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blah blah blah copyright
Q: What people discuss the precise degree to which I can be ripped off without being able to sue?
A: My enemies!

I'm not a lawyer and don't know what precisely would be allowed to do without Donald's or RGG's permission and what is not, my feeling is that isotropic clearly crosses the line (and if it doesn't it should, even if I'm usually not so convicent (in the other direction) of some of our current IP laws), but even if it doesn't:

Realisticly, there is nothing you can do without people being able to sue you, because they can always sue you. The question is if they want to and if they will win. And even if the chances are high that you will win, when it's company vs. private non-profit project, I think nobody can ask dougz to fight an unsecure battle with probably high finance risk and time investment just to let us play for free.
And also nobody can ask dougz to make himself an enemy of everybody behind Dominion by just modifying isotropic so much that it is compliant with the law but clearly provokes them. Just to let us play for free.
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Geronimoo

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #62 on: June 30, 2011, 04:23:03 am »
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If it has an AI it will probably be very very rudimentary, but they'll compensate by hard coding a bunch of strong strategies that don't involve complex decisions like Smithy/Money, Gardens/Workshop, Council Room/Goons,...
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theory

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #63 on: June 30, 2011, 05:40:07 am »
+1

I think the real problem is just that we're all happy to pay whatever we would have for the commercial version, but for Isotropic instead.  Not Isotropic with bells and whistles necessarily, but Isotropic itself.  RGG is already standing on top of an unbelievably rich gold mine, and wants to scrap it and replace it with something that is almost certainly not as good? (No offense to the commercial developers.  But software projects that take this long rarely end up doing well.)

Phrased in terms of pizza, it is a pizza company that offers the world's best pizza, and for free.  But the pizza has a network effect, it's only good if everyone else is there eating it too.  Doesn't matter, it's so good, everyone eats it.  But then one day, it kills it, introducing instead a greatly inferior pizza and charging $X, when in reality most people would have paid $X or more just to keep eating the former pizza.  Since it's inferior, people start leaving, which ends up spoiling the experience for everyone else.  And now you no longer have this great community experience, but just a lonely pizza bar with hardly anyone in it.

I understand that RGG wants iPhone versions and such of Dominion, but developing those in parallel to (rather than replacing) a paid version of Isotropic seems much better for everyone.  Unless, of course, RGG has certain requirements for its computer version that Isotropic cannot possibly accommodate, and has calculated that these requirements are sufficiently important that they are worth the probable decrease in quality (and potential subsequent negative network effect feedback loop) between Isotropic and commercial Dominion.
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Nihnoz

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #64 on: June 30, 2011, 06:10:41 am »
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Right now Isotropic's super good for playing dominion with people I know online. A paid version would kinda ruin that whole aspect.
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Thisisnotasmile

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #65 on: June 30, 2011, 06:13:43 am »
+1

Right now Isotropic's super good for playing dominion with people I know online. A paid version would kinda ruin that whole aspect.

Right now Isotropic's super bad for RGG making money out of a product that they own. A paid version would kinda fix that whole aspect.
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Nihnoz

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #66 on: June 30, 2011, 06:17:26 am »
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Right now Isotropic's super good for playing dominion with people I know online. A paid version would kinda ruin that whole aspect.

Right now Isotropic's super bad for RGG making money out of a product that they own. A paid version would kinda fix that whole aspect.
A paid version with absolutely nobody playing on it.
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Thisisnotasmile

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #67 on: June 30, 2011, 06:18:16 am »
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I'd be playing on it. The only reason I'm not at the moment is because it doesn't exist yet.
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Nihnoz

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #68 on: June 30, 2011, 06:35:36 am »
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I'd be fine with the whole idea if you could invite people who might not necessarily be willing to pay for it to play with you.
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guided

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #69 on: June 30, 2011, 06:54:13 am »
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I think the real problem is just that we're all happy to pay whatever we would have for the commercial version, but for Isotropic instead. [...]
theory, I'd be on board with your argument, except that I think a polished commercial product is going to be substantially more popular and profitable in the long run than just buying out isotropic and slapping on the real card art. There are those here (maybe even me!) who will pine for the snappy and highly usable, minimalist interface of isotropic. But there's a much bigger market out there that would prefer to play on a fancier interface. Doubtlessly the commercial version will have more features as well (AI? skill-based matching for any number of players?), even if it doesn't precisely duplicate the same features. And let's face it, isotropic is hardly enterprise software running on an enterprise server platform. A broad userbase is going to be much less tolerant of (nor as able to work around) server-client issues.
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theory

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #70 on: June 30, 2011, 07:05:47 am »
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How much more polish does Isotropic really need to attract more players?  Is it impossible to do on this server?  Is the gap between (Isotropic buffed up) and (RGG's product) really so huge as to dramatically increase the # of players? 

I agree that Isotropic can do much better, but I do not think that it cannot do better than RGG's product, however polished it may be.  We already have a polished-yet-inferior online source of Dominion at BSW, and I don't really think that community is a model of what RGG should be aspiring to.
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DStu

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #71 on: June 30, 2011, 07:09:11 am »
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Quote
skill-based matching for any number of players
Think that would be easy on isotropic also, trueskill is working, so if it wasn't a lame duck...

Anyway, I think all this concerns come from not knowing what will happen. There are some nice features of isotropic that are likely not to enter a commercial version, starting from the logs (impling all of the councilroom analytics), possibly the leaderboard, and worst of all at least temporarily not all cards.

And as long as there is no communications from the developers with the community, it will discuss its fears. Does one even know who developes the game?
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Nagetier

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #72 on: June 30, 2011, 07:34:28 am »
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The whole idea of shutting down isotropic (a single one of likely several alternative implementations) to help a commercial game seems flawed -- from the view of the supplying party. This is not obvious.

RGG implementation is good (main case to consider) -> keep isotropic as free advertizing, people will use both or migrate.
RGG implementation sucks for some reason -> keep isotropic or annoy/destroy/fracture a serious portion of the current community, for little financial gain in return.

Yes, using the images from the physical game will entice the masses. Even sleek graphics in general would already do, and trying to beat all the gratis alternatives in sheer usability will, too. As will marketing the product as the original thing or something alike.

All of this is another example of how the argument "there's a gratis alternative, so a commercial product will not pull in revenue" is moot. If it were sound, nearly any piece of proprietary software would be obsolete and pointless to make. Yet the software forges thrive and people still pay. Especially for casual games, and polished appearance is a major reason.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2011, 07:36:49 am by Nagetier »
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guided

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #73 on: June 30, 2011, 11:48:23 am »
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We already have a polished-yet-inferior online source of Dominion at BSW, and I don't really think that community is a model of what RGG should be aspiring to.
BSW's main problem is that it's lacking a lot of cards. Obviously this can be fixed. The interface isn't spectacular, but a purpose-designed platform for this specific game won't have a hard time improving significantly on the interface. If you think the isotropic model is better than the BSW model for a commercial release that's trying to make money off a large userbase, well, I don't know what to tell you. RGG's #1 business concern is not to make us hardcore Dominion players as happy as possible.

Another thing to consider: Presumably if Doug had agreed to develop the software for RGG it would have borrowed heavily from isotropic's codebase. But since he declined to be involved, there are myriad reasons why the RGG version wouldn't use isotropic's code.

If you folks think you can convince RGG their business will do better if they allow isotropic to live alongside the commercial release, you're welcome to try and convince them. I really don't think you're right, though.
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guided

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #74 on: June 30, 2011, 12:52:06 pm »
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Also, I dunno whether it will be a popular position, but I think isotropic's lobby interface is complete rubbish. Scrap it and start over and good riddance :P

The analogy to proprietary software in general is not very good. RGG owns Dominion, and it's their exclusive right to sanction or prohibit free alternatives for playing their game. Adobe, on the other hand, has to spend enormous software development effort to make sure CS provides enough value over and above free alternatives that people will pay hundreds of dollars for it.

I'm not thrilled about isotropic going away either. If the official version is good, I'll be happy to pay for it. If it's grossly inferior (not that I have any reason to suspect it would be), I'll be very sad that isotropic isn't around as a better alternative. But here's where the free pizza argument comes in: I was never entitled to a better free alternative to begin with. In any case, let's find out how good the damn thing is before going after RGG with pitchforks and torches.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #75 on: June 30, 2011, 12:56:33 pm »
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I'm optimistic that the commercial version will be good. I don't see any reason to particularly fear that it won't be.
I am somewhat interested in seeing what the pricing scheme is. Someone threw out $20 earlier - $20 per month is almost certainly going to be too much for me, $20 per year is probably doable, a one-time $20 payment is a no-brainer.

Randal FTW

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #76 on: June 30, 2011, 02:02:27 pm »
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A monthly fee would be kind of absurd, imo. A one time flat fee makes sense.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #77 on: June 30, 2011, 02:09:30 pm »
0

For continued use of the thing - especially while there's decent extra work to be done to make more sets, but for general maintenance too - I wouldn't be surprised to have some kind of time-dependant fee. It's a heckuva good deal to be able to have something like that indefinitely, probably too good for it to make business sense. So I'd expect something like maybe $30 up front plus $5 per year.

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #78 on: June 30, 2011, 02:27:06 pm »
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Anyway, I think all this concerns come from not knowing what will happen. There are some nice features of isotropic that are likely not to enter a commercial version, starting from the logs (impling all of the councilroom analytics), possibly the leaderboard, and worst of all at least temporarily not all cards.

And as long as there is no communications from the developers with the community, it will discuss its fears. Does one even know who developes the game?

This is a quite excellent point.  We're all sitting here speculating based on (reasonable, I think) fears.  All we know is that the program is coming, it likely will ship missing cards, and isotropic will disappear in a similar timeframe.  (And from a business standpoint, Donald and guided are right; isotropic would have to disappear. Bringing up IP issues is ridiculous.)  This is the sum of what we have to go on, and only the first data point is favorable (i.e. that it's coming).

I hope that RGG will do something to allay those fears.

As to the idea that a flashy alternative will attract a significantly larger playerbase:  I'm skeptical.  Most people who would be interested in playing Dominion heavily already watch the Dominion discussions on BGG; therefore they know of isotropic.  Not too many of them are going to be put off by isotropic's rudimentary interface.  RGG's real target market is, well, on isotropic.  And on this forum.

Agreed with WanderingWinder on costs--either an upfront then a cheap yearly fee, or a higher yearly fee.  (I would actually recommend a very small monthly fee instead to attempt to attract business outside the diehards.  You could easily get people hooked with a 10-day trial and $2 a month... but an upfront $30 might be off-putting.)

But hey... I don't work for RGG, nor do I work in marketing, PR, or programming.  I just hope Jay will listen.

Side note to Donald:  I'm glad you've engaged us here, but I also know you're not making a lot of these decisions, likely including what information you're even allowed to give us.  I therefore hope you're not taking any of this as a personal affront--you're the designer, not the programmer or the company.  We all love the game itself.
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Donald X.

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #79 on: June 30, 2011, 03:07:37 pm »
+3

RGG owns Dominion, and it's their exclusive right to sanction or prohibit free alternatives for playing their game.
Actually I own Dominion; RGG is licensing it. All of the game company contracts I've seen have been like that.

Now let's try this again guys.

Q: Why has there been no commercial version all this time?
A: I can only guess here, but I think I have a good guess. RGG just wasn't that interested. RGG is one couple and there's a lot of work to do. "I also wash the windows," as Jay says. How important was computer Dominion? It was not that important. There were board games to be made.

Q: Why do a commercial version now?
A: For me personally, there are three reasons. First, people want one. People out there, who may or may not play on isotropic or read these words, want a pretty computer version, for whatever device. Why not let them have it? Two, because there are rip-offs, and that pisses me off. And they can especially prosper if there's no real version. Three, because it seems like the thing to do; there should be a computer version of Dominion, of course, why isn't there already. Note that none of these reasons is "omg money." I will for sure be paid my cut for a computer version, and that's important, for multiple reasons. But the point isn't to make money, and for all I know there isn't even much money to be had.

Q: Why not just charge for isotropic?
A: Because the point isn't to make money. You already have isotropic for free; would you be happier paying for it? Man that's not as clear as you would think, some people would be happier paying. But still. Somebody just made isotropic for fun, no-one had to get paid. And what; RGG actually pays BSW to host Dominion.

Q: If the point isn't money, why charge money at all?
A: There are multiple reasons, but a significant one is, whoever makes the commercial version has to be paid. And it's a gamble for them; we don't know if it will be a hit or what, if they will rake in cash or lose money. But for them it's a job; it's how they make money at all. It pays the rent. And of course, if somehow the game is a monster hit, we will be glad to rake in that cash.

Q: Why isn't the guy who made isotropic making the commercial version?
A: He didn't want the job and in any case wasn't going to be doing versions for more platforms.

Q: Won't the computer version suck though? At least, compared to isotropic.
A: You are either crazy or young or both. I mean wtf. I had a friend in the 80s who thought there would never be another good movie. Many of my favorite movies are from the 90s. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that change necessarily sucks, that the future necessarily sucks, that whatever you've got is as good as it gets. Experience does not bear these things out though.

Q: Why not leave isotropic up when there's a computer version?
A: Man, did I mention the guys paying rent? That was not a metaphor. I spoke with one of the companies considered for the job. It was important to them that isotropic go down. They, those guys, said, right out, to me, in person, we would have to get isotropic taken down. This is not speculation! They were a small company and had to keep making money to keep existing. There is no guarantee that the Dominion product will be a hit. So I mean, man, I don't need to know if it's the right move, if it makes sense from whatever perspective. I don't need to argue those points at all. It was what that company wanted, and if they were doing the game, then they would be our pals and we would try to make them happy.

Q: Tell us more!
A: Anything I say, there's the question of, how good is releasing this information for the other industry people involved. Who would I rather be on good terms with: whining people on the internet, or RGG? Think think.

It's popular to think of companies as giant faceless entities with computer banks churning out optimal marketing strategies and so on. They're all just people, and RGG is just two people, and mostly just one guy. The motivations are not always straightforward or min-maxing.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #80 on: June 30, 2011, 03:15:54 pm »
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That's about what I'd expect, except I'd think you'd want to make money off it. I would. It seems natural. But man, if that's not a big deal for you, that's cool.
Thanks, Donald.

rls22

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #81 on: June 30, 2011, 03:51:01 pm »
+1

In my opinion, BSW's main problem isn't that it's lacking cards, it's that its interface is....  seizure-inducing.  All the animation and sounds and flashiness drove me nuts (though, I should say, if I could get passed the interface, I would be pretty annoyed that it didn't have all the cards).

Anyways, while I'm definitely supportive of RGG's (and Donald's) attempts to make money off an online game, I tend to be in the "I'd rather pay for the isotropic version" camp.  That's partially because I dislike the BSW version so much -- if the new, official version looks/acts anything like BSW, I'm not likely to play it.  That's a big if, of course, but people always fear the unknown, particularly when they really like the known.  It's entirely possible that I will love the new version and be happy to pay for it.  But, I know for sure that I'd happily pay for isotropic...... I (idly) wonder if there would be a way for RGG to operate both versions?  I.e., you pay your $20 or whatever, and you get to choose whether you play on the isotropic interface or the new one. 

So, yeah.  All of that being said.  I like (and own) Dominion.  If a new online version helps spread Dominion to a new community of folks that may not have ever been exposed to/purchased the offline version, that's great for everyone involved.  I think the message folks are trying to convey (as opposed to just whining), is, we're hoping that a new, official version doesn't somehow weaken/diminish/alienate the strong community of fans (your fans!) that's been created on isotropic/councilroom/here.
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guided

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #82 on: June 30, 2011, 04:13:58 pm »
0

RGG owns Dominion, and it's their exclusive right to sanction or prohibit free alternatives for playing their game.
Actually I own Dominion; RGG is licensing it. All of the game company contracts I've seen have been like that.
My bad, yo.

In any case some entity or entities own it and have the right to decide who can host implementations of the game for public consumption.
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Donald X.

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #83 on: June 30, 2011, 04:18:32 pm »
0

That's about what I'd expect, except I'd think you'd want to make money off it. I would. It seems natural. But man, if that's not a big deal for you, that's cool.
It's not that I want to do work and go unpaid, or that I want to pass up on a cash bonanza if one somehow appears.

It's that "the point" to this, from my perspective, isn't making money. Frank Zappa wasn't "in it for the money" when he made We're Only In It For The Money, but that doesn't mean he turned down his royalty, that somehow he thought he shouldn't get paid or wasn't deserving.
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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #84 on: June 30, 2011, 04:37:57 pm »
0

I spoke with one of the companies considered for the job. It was important to them that isotropic go down. They, those guys, said, right out, to me, in person, we would have to get isotropic taken down. This is not speculation! They were a small company and had to keep making money to keep existing. There is no guarantee that the Dominion product will be a hit.
I would be a bit cautious if a company came out and said "we need to get this other product out of the way".  Yes, competing with a free and nearly-identical product is a major concern, but if your main thrust is alternate platforms, you aren't competing with isotropic anymore, you're competing with a whole lot of other $5 games (or other $50 games).  Your game has to be better than the other $5 games in order to beat that competition, and if your game is that good, you'll already be better than isotropic and it will die a natural death.
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rspeer

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #85 on: June 30, 2011, 07:16:31 pm »
+1

That's... pretty worrying.

I'd hope that RGG could find a game development company who understands that fans can't be won over by force. Yes, Donald and RGG have every right to force us to use a for-pay version, but if the official version "pulls a Hasbro" it won't be pretty. The game developers can win us over by giving us a better version, and if they're competent they should be able to put out something better than what one person develops in his free time.

But I have seen so many examples of incompetent online game development, and this thread hasn't sounded very optimistic so far. I am neither particularly young nor particularly crazy; I base my pessimism on seeing firsthand the disasters that were made out of other games.

Look at Scrabble for a prime example of online gaming gone wrong. Serious Scrabble players won't be caught dead using Hasbro's toy-like Facebook app. They play on a server in Romania instead. Ten years earlier the situation was the same, except it was an officially licensed, crashy Windows program versus a weird MUD that could be configured to play Scrabble. Fans don't seek out illegitimate versions of Scrabble because they hate Scrabble, but because they love it too much to let Hasbro's software developers destroy it.

I definitely don't mean this as a threat to Donald's livelihood. I personally will give whatever official Dominion server shows up a try, and if it costs money I'll pay for it, unless the developers do something really terrible.

But it seems better for everyone involved if they launch the site initially while Isotropic is still up, so they can transition happy fans instead of angry ones.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2011, 07:35:23 pm by rspeer »
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Donald X.

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #86 on: June 30, 2011, 07:27:57 pm »
0

But I have seen so many examples of incompetent online game development, and this thread hasn't sounded very optimistic so far.
Dude, like, what if the programmers are cannibals, and write the program in Logo? Why aren't we discussing this horrific possibility.
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rspeer

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #87 on: June 30, 2011, 07:40:41 pm »
0

Quote
Dude, like, what if the programmers are cannibals, and write the program in Logo? Why aren't we discussing this horrific possibility.

Then you'd better act quick before Hasbro hires them first. They'd get a product of the same quality as their existing ones, and they could pay the programmers by feeding them diehard fans instead of giving them money. Profit!
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ackack

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #88 on: July 01, 2011, 11:10:23 am »
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But I have seen so many examples of incompetent online game development, and this thread hasn't sounded very optimistic so far.
Dude, like, what if the programmers are cannibals, and write the program in Logo? Why aren't we discussing this horrific possibility.


The sarcasm seems misplaced. I think rspeer is right in general, and in this case there already seems to be some hefty evidence suggesting these developers are going about things wrong: namely, the claim that they are planning on releasing without all the cards but with AI. Once you have a skeleton in place to implement any cards, implementing all of them probably takes about 40 man hours. (My estimate here is based on having implemented half of them as a precursor for AI work in about 15-20 hours, and that was with me having not coded in the language before.) I could see that taking longer with graphics, but since you guys have the card art I would think that should be trivial.

By contrast, I think it's likely they could sink hundreds of hours into designing an AI and not get anywhere close to having built something worth playing. Dominion obsessives with a pretty good understanding of the game haven't really gotten very far on this yet. And unless the AI is near-elite, I can't see many people caring about its existence at all. It just seems like a big waste of resources to devote all this time to a side feature with a high probability of being worthless and neglect core functionality of the game.

I'd also suggest leaning on these guys to make game logs available so that Council Room can continue. Given stuff so far, that doesn't really sound like their style, and I think it would be a real shame to see cool volunteer stuff like that disappear.
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DStu

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #89 on: July 01, 2011, 11:29:47 am »
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Quote
And unless the AI is near-elite, I can't see many people on this forum caring about its existence at all.

/fixed
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Donald X.

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #90 on: July 01, 2011, 01:22:34 pm »
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The sarcasm seems misplaced. I think rspeer is right in general, and in this case there already seems to be some hefty evidence suggesting these developers are going about things wrong: namely, the claim that they are planning on releasing without all the cards but with AI.
You know zilch about the developers. Zilch dude. And you do not know what the first release will look like. For example, you are saying that the first release will have AI. Oh noes! (Other people of course would complain if they thought there was no AI.) But who actually said it would have AI? Hmmmmmm? Somebody like you, making up stuff in order to complain on the internet.
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ackack

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #91 on: July 01, 2011, 01:31:24 pm »
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You know zilch about the developers. Zilch dude. And you do not know what the first release will look like. For example, you are saying that the first release will have AI. Oh noes! (Other people of course would complain if they thought there was no AI.) But who actually said it would have AI? Hmmmmmm? Somebody like you, making up stuff in order to complain on the internet.

I was going off what *you* were quoted as saying as your best guess about what things would look like - probably an AI, probably only a couple of sets to start. Presumably you can see why I thought this might be a little more authoritative than "making up stuff in order to complain on the internet."
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KMueller

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #92 on: July 01, 2011, 02:17:43 pm »
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That's about what I'd expect, except I'd think you'd want to make money off it. I would. It seems natural. But man, if that's not a big deal for you, that's cool.
It's not that I want to do work and go unpaid, or that I want to pass up on a cash bonanza if one somehow appears.

It's that "the point" to this, from my perspective, isn't making money. Frank Zappa wasn't "in it for the money" when he made We're Only In It For The Money, but that doesn't mean he turned down his royalty, that somehow he thought he shouldn't get paid or wasn't deserving.

Please tell me you are a FZ fan. That would be so cool.
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Donald X.

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #93 on: July 01, 2011, 02:50:50 pm »
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I was going off what *you* were quoted as saying as your best guess about what things would look like - probably an AI, probably only a couple of sets to start. Presumably you can see why I thought this might be a little more authoritative than "making up stuff in order to complain on the internet."
Ah.

Well that statement, which I'm not looking up, didn't say definitely an AI, which is what you have decided. I don't know if there will be an AI or not, and if I find out I'm not tellin', because man, telling people stuff just leads to wasting time in these threads.
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Thisisnotasmile

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #94 on: July 01, 2011, 02:54:40 pm »
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I quite like how a quote from months ago got dug up and all of a sudden it's such a big deal. You should see the councilroom IRC channel. People are losing sleep over the fact that isotropic's suddenly dying out of the blue.
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Donald X.

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #95 on: July 01, 2011, 02:58:10 pm »
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Please tell me you are a FZ fan. That would be so cool.
Well probably I count. I'm not into the instrumental stuff, or like Hot Rats, I don't know what to tell you.

We're Only In It For the Money and Absolutely Free are great. After those I like You Are What You Is and Joe's Garage, then Overnite Sensation and Apostrophe ('). Freak Out is fine. I like some random tracks on Tinseltown Rebellion and Fillmore East. I like at most 1-2 tracks on each of the other albums.
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KMueller

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #96 on: July 01, 2011, 03:21:50 pm »
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Well probably I count. I'm not into the instrumental stuff, or like Hot Rats, I don't know what to tell you.

We're Only In It For the Money and Absolutely Free are great.
Those are early stuff, right, when he was doing almost a doo-wop thing. Nice. I have to say that Hot Rats is so very listenable and musically interesting, and Filmore surprised me when I listened to it recently, how very well done that show was.

Thanks for sharing.
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Donald X.

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #97 on: July 01, 2011, 03:36:08 pm »
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Those are early stuff, right, when he was doing almost a doo-wop thing. Nice. I have to say that Hot Rats is so very listenable and musically interesting, and Filmore surprised me when I listened to it recently, how very well done that show was.
Well Freak Out is uh various 50s pop/R&B styles, not specifically doo-wop but including that, plus some weird stuff like It Can't Happen Here thrown in, and then Cruising with Ruben and the Jets is his full-on doo-wop album (and I did not like it, not that I am against doo-wop).

Absolutely Free and We're Only In It For the Money are like, cut-up bits of songs strung together in collages. They are their own thing.

Edit: Brown Shoes Don't Make It (from Absolutely Free):

There is not much to compare to this.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2011, 03:39:05 pm by Donald X. »
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Arya Stark

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #98 on: July 01, 2011, 04:20:56 pm »
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I quite like how a quote from months ago got dug up and all of a sudden it's such a big deal. You should see the councilroom IRC channel. People are losing sleep over the fact that isotropic's suddenly dying out of the blue.
this is absurd! no one is losing any sleep! we had the same initial reaction that most people on the boards had, worried about the quality of the site and what the cost will be. I've been playing on iso since sep of last year and made many friends and bonds with some of the players and will be sad when it's gone.
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Donald X.

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #99 on: July 01, 2011, 04:27:47 pm »
+1

I quite like how a quote from months ago got dug up and all of a sudden it's such a big deal. You should see the councilroom IRC channel. People are losing sleep over the fact that isotropic's suddenly dying out of the blue.
I wonder what the curve looks like of effect on society due to how far off future events are. You know. Scientists predict the sun will go nova. If it's in a million years, no-one cares. When do they start caring? If it's 300 years off, are we like, np, we can take the next 100 years off and still have 200 years to colonize Alpha Centauri? How many years off can it be before you stop flossing?

Anyway, man, there is no Dominion apocalypse coming, you will be able to play Dominion online until the heat death of the universe.
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Thisisnotasmile

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #100 on: July 01, 2011, 04:41:42 pm »
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I quite like how a quote from months ago got dug up and all of a sudden it's such a big deal. You should see the councilroom IRC channel. People are losing sleep over the fact that isotropic's suddenly dying out of the blue.
this is absurd! no one is losing any sleep! we had the same initial reaction that most people on the boards had, worried about the quality of the site and what the cost will be. I've been playing on iso since sep of last year and made many friends and bonds with some of the players and will be sad when it's gone.

That's exactly what I mean. I was simply pointing out to those who aren't on the irc, that this exact same reaction is going on else where. My main point remains though, that all of this over-reaction and whining and what-not has all been prompted by someone mentioning something that Donald said back in February. This didn't all happen back then, but it's happening now!

I'm having the same reaction as the first time it was metioned over four months ago. I feel that RGG have every right to do this and am not going to get upset about it. What's the point? They're not closing down isotropic and saying "if you want to play Dominion, play with your friends IRL". They could do that, but they're not. They're saying "Isotropic's going to close down because we're making an official product which will be in direct competition with it". This means that we'll still be able to play Dominion online. On an official RGG product. I'm perfectly fine with that, just like I was when I heard the news at the beginning of the year.
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Eagle

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #101 on: July 01, 2011, 04:44:17 pm »
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I quite like how a quote from months ago got dug up and all of a sudden it's such a big deal. You should see the councilroom IRC channel. People are losing sleep over the fact that isotropic's suddenly dying out of the blue.
I wonder what the curve looks like of effect on society due to how far off future events are. You know. Scientists predict the sun will go nova. If it's in a million years, no-one cares. When do they start caring? If it's 300 years off, are we like, np, we can take the next 100 years off and still have 200 years to colonize Alpha Centauri? How many years off can it be before you stop flossing?

Anyway, man, there is no Dominion apocalypse coming, you will be able to play Dominion online until the heat death of the universe.

It sounds like we're complaining, (ok, a lot of people are), but I think the majority of players would agree with me when I say we really do appreciate you allowing it Donald!  (And Doug too for creating the online implementation!).  I'm sure the majority of game owners wouldn't have allowed a free version to exist at all, commercial version or no commercial version.

I look forward to seeing the "real" version...  Here's hoping the programmers can match or exceed it.
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Donald X.

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #102 on: July 01, 2011, 04:57:10 pm »
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It sounds like we're complaining, (ok, a lot of people are), but I think the majority of players would agree with me when I say we really do appreciate you allowing it Donald!  (And Doug too for creating the online implementation!).  I'm sure the majority of game owners wouldn't have allowed a free version to exist at all, commercial version or no commercial version.

I look forward to seeing the "real" version...  Here's hoping the programmers can match or exceed it.
Thx guys, you and those other guys you are talking about.

We have always let people make online versions in these official-version-less times, under the stipulations that they be free and not use the art, because what, we're not here to stop people from having fun. It's exactly the opposite, we are working hard on making fun things.

Apropos of this, I just saw the Board Game Arena thread at BGG and told them to take down Dominion, because man, they did not possibly have permission for the art, and they sure didn't get permission from me for the rest of it, and yet they have insisted that they have permission, and are using the art.

There is another entity as we speak that has a beta for an online version that has the art, only, they erased the copyright message on the cards. They are just so desperate to get sued. I mean suing someone isn't fun, but man, sometimes someone just begs so hard.

Of course it all just says, you have to get a real computer version out early, so that people don't feel like there's any opportunity there for them, so you don't have to deal with these people.
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Garion

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #103 on: July 02, 2011, 03:32:06 am »
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Q: Won't the computer version suck though? At least, compared to isotropic.
A: You are either crazy or young or both. I mean wtf. I had a friend in the 80s who thought there would never be another good movie. Many of my favorite movies are from the 90s. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that change necessarily sucks, that the future necessarily sucks, that whatever you've got is as good as it gets. Experience does not bear these things out though.

Sounds like you're on top of it, which is good! I hope you have a big say in how the interface of the paid version will turn out, because I'm sure it'll be good then.

When/if it enters the beta testing stage, I'm sure there will be many people here who would love to beta test it, including me :-)
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theory

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #104 on: July 03, 2011, 02:13:03 am »
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I hate to keep posting here, because I keep sounding like I'm complaining and being mean, but I'm actually trying to issue a huge compliment, which is this:

I think what Doug did with Isotropic is an incredible once-in-a-lifetime feat.  I've played a lot of electronic board game implementations, and Isotropic blows every other implementation I've ever played out of the water.  Keldon's AI for RftG is the closest, but even it has minor card logic bugs.  Isotropic has somehow managed to combine perfect game logic with a brilliantly simple and intuitive interface: an exceedingly rare combination in software development.

The chance that RGG's programmers can duplicate this is vanishingly small.  I do not intend this as a slight against them, but as a compliment to Doug.  I am sure that RGG has hired talented and excellent programmers, but rrenaud is the most talented programmer I know personally and by his own admission he is not nearly smart enough to have been able to code Isotropic.  Many talented programmers have worked on many other board games, and I've never seen any of them come up with something like Isotropic.

There are many, many advantages to a replacement for Isotropic, and I wholeheartedly want a commercial electronic Dominion to succeed.  I just didn't want anyone to assume (not that anyone is) that software as good as Isotropic is easily reproduced.  Clearly you (and RGG) do appreciate Isotropic's quality, since opening it to the public was something few other game companies would have dared do but seems clearly a good decision in retrospect.
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Kirian

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #105 on: July 03, 2011, 05:48:57 pm »
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I think what Doug did with Isotropic is an incredible once-in-a-lifetime feat.  I've played a lot of electronic board game implementations, and Isotropic blows every other implementation I've ever played out of the water.

This is surprising.  I've seen some quite good Settlers implementations, and BSW's Power Grid implementation is very nice.  In both cases, however, there is a lot less going on in the game.  That, along with the wrapper, is what makes isotropic special.  BSW's matchmaking implementation is... I think "horrible" is not an unreasonable word to use.

Quote
The chance that RGG's programmers can duplicate this is vanishingly small.  I do not intend this as a slight against them, but as a compliment to Doug.  I am sure that RGG has hired talented and excellent programmers, but rrenaud is the most talented programmer I know personally and by his own admission he is not nearly smart enough to have been able to code Isotropic.

I want to preface what I'm about to say with this:  isotropic is f*cking awesome.  There is no doubt that Doug should get huge kudos for it.

That said, I'm going to take issue with what theory says here.  Rrenaud may be the best programmer you personally know, but isotropic is simpler than, say, this forum software--the major difference being the real-time aspect.  Consider Narbacular Drop, or Minecraft, or Spacechem, or Nethack, or any number of other amazing games developed on a shoestring or zero budget, written by one programmer or a small team.  All of these are more complex than isotropic, ignoring art; Nethack is an order of magnitude more complex; Minecraft, ignoring the "art," is easily 2 orders of magnitude more complex.

Hell, Trade Wars has more complexity than Dominion, and it wasn't exactly a pinnacle of gaming... in 1990.

(I can confidently say I could program a solitaire only Dominion application in PHP.  Alas, PHP doesn't really support real-time interaction except via forced reload.  That said, it would take all of my free time for the next six months.  I'd imagine that for a programmer experienced with the real-time aspect [say, for instance, dougz], that the wrapper for the game [that is, real-time interaction, chat, matchmaking] would add about 50% more time.)

And we haven't even discussed what people do with a budget.  Consider Starcraft.  Consider WOW.  Consider Civilization.

Again, no offense at all to Doug, here.  On no budget, in his free time, he's created an excellent implementation of isotropic that I and others would be willing to pay for.  That is a damned awesome accomplishment.  He deserves praise both for writing it and for making it free...

Quote
I just didn't want anyone to assume (not that anyone is) that software as good as Isotropic is easily reproduced.

...but suggesting isotropic is the best software one could write for Dominion is a bit like suggesting that Uno is the best you can do with two decks of playing cards.

The question is not one of can these other programmers do better, but will they do it?  And that is up to RGG.  What budget did they set up?  If it was less than $10k then I'd expect something worse than isotropic; more than half the programming time will go toward implementing cross-platform multiplayer, and 100 man-hours of programming won't get you isotropic.  Did they (I hope) offer profit-sharing?  Then you bet your butt the programmers are watching this thread, and looking at isotropic's features, especially since some of the features mentioned (like game logs) should be incredibly easy to implement compared to other things needed.

The major problem is that we were working off Donald's February post saying the software would ship with only Base and Intrigue.  I'll set that assumption aside for now.  I hope, hope, hope that RGG and the software developers will wait the extra two weeks to release rather than releasing with a third of the cards.  I think that Donald will take this thread to Jay and the programmers and suggest that might be a really good idea.
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PetterTB

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #106 on: July 04, 2011, 03:01:40 am »
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I really like playing on isotropic, thanks to Donald for allowing it ! :D

I had a period where I played on BSW, before I found iso. With some time I tired of it, I don't remember all the problems, but the lack of cards bugged me, so did the interface. The main thing I remember from BSW was the neverending clicking of blobs with nobles! gradually my lust for dominion cooled, until I found isotropic and started playing again :)

I'd love a dominon with the art! But I'd prefer iso to a version with too few of the cards.

Just my 2 cents :)
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DG

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #107 on: July 04, 2011, 08:03:15 am »
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I think this software issue is a lot more complicated than some people are realising. Some issues that might seem trivial to one user of a system are major to another user of the system and the developers have to act accordingly. If there's a jerk with an offensive name on Isotropic you just accept that it's a free server and you ignore it. If someone creates an offensive name on a paid product it probably will need to be dealt with somehow by someone with some software, and that all needs paying for even though it's not Dominion.

If the new product can run both stand-alone and connected to a central sever then it will need AI for the stand alone. The AI then needs to be decent quality or people will want refunds. An awful lot of time then goes into AI and it drives other factors of the development, such as how many cards will be supported upon release and also the workings of the interface. I actually hope there's no AI at all, or just something limited such as a few kingdoms with scripts for a set of computer players.

Anyway, I suspect this will all mean that many people won't like the new product as it won't provide the same functionality as Isotropic. New products rarely do everything better than their predecessors. It'll do some things better, such as having Dominion rules available for beginners, but those things won't appeal to experienced isotropic users. As Donald says, we'll just have to get used to it. If there's money around the product then someone might find some new ways to promote the game to make it more accessible and competitive, so that might be good.
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Donald X.

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #108 on: July 04, 2011, 03:13:16 pm »
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Apropos of this, I just saw the Board Game Arena thread at BGG and told them to take down Dominion, because man, they did not possibly have permission for the art, and they sure didn't get permission from me for the rest of it, and yet they have insisted that they have permission, and are using the art.
I am just going to mention here, in this awful thread, since the BGG one was locked, that we are not making BGA take down Dominion early after all. They did get permission from Jay back when, and while he didn't remember if they'd mentioned using the art or what, they only have the main set, which you can play on BSW with art anyway, and it's free and they agreed back when to take it down when a commercial one comes out. So it just seemed like, do I really care about this. No-one else is getting permission to use the art though, so watch it.

The lesson I have taken away from this, which is not a lesson for me so have I really learned anything, is, don't make statements about who owns what unless you know for sure. The BGA guy was all, I asked the copyright holders, and man, that's me and they did not ask me. So they are either lying about asking or are saying that I don't own the game, and well, way to randomly piss me off. But it was in fact reasonable for them not to know who owned what, and to ask Jay, and for Jay to answer for both of us. And they'd have to ask him for the art in any case, if they didn't just accept me saying the answer would be no.

So all of you people who read that BGG thread and were wondering what happened, now you know.
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Nitsuj

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #109 on: July 05, 2011, 08:23:40 am »
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I know I'm just one voice of many, and I love isotropic online dominion, and I own all the physical cards, so I don't feel guilty about playing online for free, in my mind its just a different way to enjoy the game that I've already paid for, and since I cannot play online and IRL at the same time, I feel that this is justified.

If I can play online dominion for a one-time cost - or even just purchase each expansion for a one time cost and then only be able to play other people who have also bought that expansion (or as long as one player at the virtual table has bought the exansion) - I'd sign up. 

But, if it is a monthly fee (and I believe it would have to be a re-occuring cost, since the cost of maintaining and running the servers would be ongoing for the developer and unless they can keep new players coming on board to cover those costs they would likely run into financial trouble) - I doubt I would play online dominion. 

And with as many board games out there, my dominion playing time in general (even IRL) would probably drop significantly - which endangers the likelyhood of me purchasing future physical expansions.
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cherdano

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #110 on: July 05, 2011, 10:04:39 am »
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We have always let people make online versions in these official-version-less times, under the stipulations that they be free and not use the art, because what, we're not here to stop people from having fun. It's exactly the opposite, we are working hard on making fun things.
Thanks for that. As a matter of fact, I got addicted to dominion via isotropic, and will now be getting the physical game as well.
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KMueller

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Re: All previous turns occasionally visible in Isotropic games
« Reply #111 on: July 05, 2011, 12:48:08 pm »
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If I can play online dominion for a one-time cost - or even just purchase each expansion for a one time cost and then only be able to play other people who have also bought that expansion (or as long as one player at the virtual table has bought the exansion) - I'd sign up. 


I wonder if it worked this way, if RGG would include a download code or some sort of voucher when you purchased the physical set. Sort of like when I purchase an LP and it comes with a free digital copy, or now-a-days Blue Rays come with a free digital copy.
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