What Would You Like to See in a Reset Cantr?

General out-of-character discussion among players of Cantr II.

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What Would You Like to See in a Reset Cantr?

Postby PaintedbyRoses » Sat Sep 28, 2019 8:55 pm

I know it's probably impossible to reset Cantr but...if it could be reset, let's daydream about how we would like it to be different, just for fun.

~ THERE WOULD BE NO WIKI or communication channels for players.

~ Notes could only be written if the character possessed some kind of paper and ink. Notes could not be copied - everything drawn or written would have to be copied by hand (until someone invents a machine to do it).

~ Cantrians would be spawned at different ages: infant, 5 years old, 10 years old or 15 years old. The player could choose the age or take one at random. Infants and 5 year olds would have to go to a character or characters who requested one that age but they can't request the gender. 10 year olds and 15 year olds are on their own. 10 year olds would be limited in the kind of work they could do. Survival would be hard for them without help.

~ At 20 years old characters could formally choose a profession. They would have to apprentice to an master in that profession or fulfill certain requirements on their own.

~ Apothecaries would have more healing skills.

~ There would be more illnesses.

~ There would be injuries.

~ There would be insects.

~ The weather would have more effect on characters: freezing to death in the cold weather, dying of thirst in the desert, etc.

~ Other than small gardens, plant food could only be grown by farmers who have cleared land and planted crops. Crops could fail due to weather, insects, etc.

~ Everything, EVERYTHING, would have to be invented from scratch by trial and error. These inventions or recipes or other things or knowledge of them could only be learned directly from someone who knows them.

~ Animals would have to be killed in some more realistic way - traps, guns, bow and arrows and it would take more skill to kill big game.

~ Players could play wild and domesticated animals. Some animals could talk. Animals would be able to do more things and have more personality.

~ There would be a few other species of human-like characters. Some would have a certain magical power like invisibility at will, hypnosis, the ability to charm animals, etc.

~ It would be a whole new world with new islands and continents.

~ On land there would be rivers which would need to have bridges built to cross (or boats).

~ Characters could build new roads in rural areas to start farms.

~ Walls could be built with gates and locks.

~ Sea travel would be more dangerous with deadly sea monsters, reefs, shoals, currents that take you off course plus a ship could sail off the edge of the world never to be seen again.

I know I had more ideas but that's enough for now.
Last edited by PaintedbyRoses on Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What Would You Like to See in a Reset Cantr?

Postby Chris » Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:24 pm

1. Each player would have only one character. The rationale for multiple characters was that the game was so boring that people needed multiple feeds to stay interested. Then that had some very negative side effects like (1) CRBs and (2) people over-committing with 15 characters and getting burned out (and disappointing their co-players). Developers shouldn't use multiple characters as a crutch to avoid addressing core gameplay flaws - the most important flaw being that so much depends on waiting, not on the player's current desire to play.

2. Everything on a timer should be accelerated: projects, travel, etc.

3. Characters should die of old age if they live long enough.

4. Auto-eating should be removed. If someone doesn't log on for several weeks, the character starves to death. Eating should be prompted on login for a character who is hungry.

5. Trade should be automated. Someone makes a hard-coded proposal: let's trade A for B. If the other character makes a hard-coded acceptance (i.e., game checks that they actually has B in inventory to trade), then the trade immediately occurs. Perhaps a trading post that is easy to build would be necessary.

6. There should be some kind of money system baked in, not character-driven ones that are quickly abandoned.

7. It should be made explicit that the game will be reset from time to time, with some notice (e.g., six weeks). This is so things don't fossilize just because X years have passed with certain things in place. Devs should feel free to take chances and not feel that innovation might be a mistake that ruins things forever.

8. Devs should work out how they feel about PvP violence and steer the game accordingly. When PvP is unconstrained, it tends to overshadow every other aspect of the game. But if that's OK, then adopt a proven combat system (i.e., one used by another game that has unconstrained PvP). Otherwise, put in PvP limits (e.g., only in an arena or a lawless region).

9. Have NPCs intermittently pop up and offer rare goods for sale. This is a much better resource sink than rot. Prices can adjust in a quasi-market fashion. If a lot of people are buying serrated hunting knives, then the price goes up. I know that NPCs are felt to be un-Cantr-like, but they can flesh out a world that will otherwise feel very empty compared to real life and other MMOs.
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Re: What Would You Like to See in a Reset Cantr?

Postby Wolfsong » Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:04 am

Not gonna lie, most of the ideas presented so far are horrifying.
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Re: What Would You Like to See in a Reset Cantr?

Postby PaintedbyRoses » Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:14 am

Wolfsong wrote:Not gonna lie, most of the ideas presented so far are horrifying.

You have to say why. That's a rule. And keep in mind, nothing has to be reasonably programmable. In our dreams, everything is possible.
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Re: What Would You Like to See in a Reset Cantr?

Postby Rocket Frog » Sun Sep 29, 2019 2:05 pm

I like some of this ideas and I dislike some others, but... If it takes ages for even the slightest change, as for what I see when i dig through the forum,... This is not gonna happen. And is not gonna happen if people don't apply to the programming stuff staff or they get actually accepted there. And then, there is a lot of politics to do for any change to actually happen.

Why don't we ask, instead, whats the game language and we learn it communitarily? I don't know a thing about programming, but i can always learn something new. We all can actually.

Sorry to disrupt the thread, but someone had to say it. What this game needs, for any change, is a community, and not a just a bunch of competitors.
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Re: What Would You Like to See in a Reset Cantr?

Postby Tiamo » Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:20 pm

A reset would kill Cantr. Realising key improvements in the current game could give it a second life.

However, a complete rethink and rewrite of Cantr, resulting in an all new Cantr III, would be the best thing to do, in my opinion. But i doubt this will ever happen, due to a continuous lack of design- and programming resources.
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Re: What Would You Like to See in a Reset Cantr?

Postby Rocket Frog » Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:12 pm

Totally agree. I don't think the game's community would make it through a reset. I'm not even sure i would.

Someone here once said to me: "be the change you want to experience".

I don't know who is part of the programming staff beyond Greek, but... If we lack of programming and design in order to polish the game's flaws and improve it, let's //become// part the programming staff then.
All i see is that changes take a lot of discussion and so, an that's ok. But once they are aproved, it takes a lot for those changes to actually make it into the game. And its a voluntary work; i understand people have a life out there.
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Re: What Would You Like to See in a Reset Cantr?

Postby PaintedbyRoses » Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:55 pm

You guys don't seem to understand the point of this thread so let me repeat it bigger and in color:

I know it's probably impossible to reset Cantr but...if it could be reset, let's daydream about how we would like it to be different, just for fun.

You remember what fun is, right? Don't worry about the fricking programming.
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Re: What Would You Like to See in a Reset Cantr?

Postby sherman » Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:20 am

It would be more filled with people
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Re: What Would You Like to See in a Reset Cantr?

Postby Wolfsong » Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:16 am

PaintedbyRoses wrote:I know it's probably impossible to reset Cantr but...if it could be reset, let's daydream about how we would like it to be different, just for fun.

~ THERE WOULD BE NO WIKI or communication channels for players.


People are going to communicate in one fashion or another - removing official ones opens up unofficial channels which cannot be as easily policed. Additionally, removing the Wiki will make it harder for new players to advance, as they don't know crafting recipes or basic systems off hand.

PaintedbyRoses wrote:~ Cantrians would be spawned at different ages: infant, 5 years old, 10 years old or 15 years old. The player could choose the age or take one at random. Infants and 5 year olds would have to go to a character or characters who requested one that age but they can't request the gender. 10 year olds and 15 year olds are on their own. 10 year olds would be limited in the kind of work they could do. Survival would be hard for them without help.


Hard pass. My thoughts on that FTO birthing system are available elsewhere on the forum. I've suggested compromises before, allowing people to spawn at adult ages in addition to children over multiple characters, but I haven't seen it well implemented yet. Simple fact - some people do not want to play slavering idiots for 20 IG years, and forcing them to (or forcing them to "only" play idiots for 5 years before they can do anything) will massively hurt new player retention.

Another thing to consider - browser games get a lot of very unsavoury people playing them from time to time. Other games, like FTO/Marosia, have had pedophilia rings pop up around underage characters ("but the player is an adult"!) and violence against children is probably not something you want to advertise as a feature of your game, at least when the game is tied intimately to the Mormon faith.

Given how many people on Cantr already play as children, despite spawning in at 20 years of age, and then get wrapped up in weird sex cult shit... Again, hard hard pass.

PaintedbyRoses wrote:~ There would be insects.


What does this contribute to the game? You can roleplay bugs currently if you want.

PaintedbyRoses wrote:~ Other than small gardens, plant food could only be grown by farmers who have cleared land and planted crops. Crops could fail due to weather, insects, etc.


I don't like the idea of class based games where skills are determined by an arbitrary class choice - but that aside, I mostly only disagree with the first half of this statement. Anyone should be able to plant food to a certain point. I wouldn't prevent the growing of food by non-farmers because, well, that's a bit oddly specific. IRL, I can go outside right now and plant any number of edible things and grow them to a point where I can harvest them for some manner of food. Farming skills should unlock certain knowledges and increase food making efficiency, not gate it entirely.

PaintedbyRoses wrote:~ Everything, EVERYTHING, would have to be invented from scratch by trial and error. These inventions or recipes or other things or knowledge of them could only be learned directly from someone who knows them.


I don't necessarily disagree with this, as well implemented it could be quite an interesting mechanic - and we have a variation of it in mind for a browser game of our own... But the way you've described it here is not well implemented. It would make the game more unfair for new people, and concentrate power in the hands of those old players you rail so often against.

PaintedbyRoses wrote:~ Players could play wild and domesticated animals. Some animals could talk. Animals would be able to do more things and have more personality.


How does this improve the game? If animals are primarily hunted for sport, and cannot do things like farm, make weapons, etc. (unless you're suggesting that horses be able to weave clothes or something) - how does their inclusion as PCs make the game more vibrant? If anything, if there is a strict cap on characters, this would stretch out playerbases and make towns even more population poor.

PaintedbyRoses wrote:~ There would be a few other species of human-like characters. Some would have a certain magical power like invisibility at will, hypnosis, the ability to charm animals, etc.


How would the ability to charm animals parse with animal PCs?

PaintedbyRoses wrote:~ Characters could build new roads in rural areas to start farms.


How do you envision travel working? You'd need to redesign it because the system that exists in Cantr doesn't really have rural vs. urban areas. How do roads = farms? Are you suggesting a simple grid system a la FTO/Marosia with "roads" (ie, speeding up travel between grids) connecting adjacent ones?

PaintedbyRoses wrote:~ Walls could be built with gates and locks.


Walls around towns? IE, literally preventing newspawn from ever leaving your slave pit?
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Re: What Would You Like to See in a Reset Cantr?

Postby Wolfsong » Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:30 am

Chris wrote:1. Each player would have only one character. The rationale for multiple characters was that the game was so boring that people needed multiple feeds to stay interested. Then that had some very negative side effects like (1) CRBs and (2) people over-committing with 15 characters and getting burned out (and disappointing their co-players). Developers shouldn't use multiple characters as a crutch to avoid addressing core gameplay flaws - the most important flaw being that so much depends on waiting, not on the player's current desire to play.


There are ~120 English players right now. You could limit characters to 1, as many MUDs do, but then the scope of the world would have to reflect that - only one or two major towns, many fewer continents, etc. IMO, exploration would be killed by this, and exploration is one of the highlights of browser games over actual MUDs. If you kept a large map with a tiny playerbase, then you run the risk of having towns of only 2-3 people each, and run into the same problems that Cantr has currently.

Chris wrote:2. Everything on a timer should be accelerated: projects, travel, etc.


I don't necessarily disagree with this, but I would caution against turning a browser game into a MUD. It is the responsibility of an ethical game designer to (IMO) reduce meaningless grind as much as possible. If people need to more constantly log in to meet ticks or whatever, then you're fueling bad gaming behavior which can hurt RL relationships, jobs, etc.

Chris wrote:3. Characters should die of old age if they live long enough.


Baby Wolfsong definitely wanted death from old age. But I've seen a lot of games try to implement it, and no game does it well. At best, it disrupts the game without adding much to it (character churn is either too slow and changes nothing, or too quick and kills fledgling towns and organisations before they can establish heirs and culture.) So, me in my old age has mellowed on the idea considerably. I'm more of a carrot and less of a stick sort of person.

Instead of death from old age, there should be consequences for old age - a decay of stats and skills, primarily. There should also be encouragement by the game to have people willingly kill off their old characters (via a "heart attack" mechanic or otherwise) - I'm thinking that an old character who dies of a heart attack should return some portion of skills/stats/experience to a new character made in that slot. That way, people will have to balance keeping an old character alive indefinitely (dodging people who can more and more easily kill them) vs. letting that character pass on and getting some tangible reward from it.

Chris wrote:4. Auto-eating should be removed. If someone doesn't log on for several weeks, the character starves to death. Eating should be prompted on login for a character who is hungry.


This just forces people to log in more often without actually encouraging them to do so. If people are away on vacation, or run into RL trouble, they should not be penalised for that by having their character starve to death. If it's just a button press, then why not automate it? What does this add to the game? People will already starve to death if they don't log in often enough.

Chris wrote:5. Trade should be automated. Someone makes a hard-coded proposal: let's trade A for B. If the other character makes a hard-coded acceptance (i.e., game checks that they actually has B in inventory to trade), then the trade immediately occurs. Perhaps a trading post that is easy to build would be necessary.


Absolutely not. This kills a lot of the fun and politics of the game. Trading should not be safe - this is one place where conflict should definitely be encouraged, because people are reactive and cautious enough already.

Chris wrote:6. There should be some kind of money system baked in, not character-driven ones that are quickly abandoned.


If money is baked in (hard values for currency types no matter what) it hurts a lot of the economy, IMO. There is no such thing as inflation, or competing currencies, purposefully devaluing other currencies, even counterfeiting becomes impossible. Towns cannot express full creative ownership over their own culture. No thanks.

Chris wrote:7. It should be made explicit that the game will be reset from time to time, with some notice (e.g., six weeks). This is so things don't fossilize just because X years have passed with certain things in place. Devs should feel free to take chances and not feel that innovation might be a mistake that ruins things forever.


This will hurt player retention because, at the end of the day, people get attached to characters and individuals. I would prefer to have mechanics in the game that discourage stagnation, rather than have a game arbitrarily reset because their mechanics are bad.

Chris wrote:8. Devs should work out how they feel about PvP violence and steer the game accordingly. When PvP is unconstrained, it tends to overshadow every other aspect of the game. But if that's OK, then adopt a proven combat system (i.e., one used by another game that has unconstrained PvP). Otherwise, put in PvP limits (e.g., only in an arena or a lawless region).


I understand what you're trying to say, but again - PvP must be unlimited in games that claim to be societal simulators.

Chris wrote:9. Have NPCs intermittently pop up and offer rare goods for sale. This is a much better resource sink than rot. Prices can adjust in a quasi-market fashion. If a lot of people are buying serrated hunting knives, then the price goes up. I know that NPCs are felt to be un-Cantr-like, but they can flesh out a world that will otherwise feel very empty compared to real life and other MMOs.


The game should encourage players to interact with other players. This move without better implementation would encourage players to ignore one another and interact with the game in a void.
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Re: What Would You Like to See in a Reset Cantr?

Postby Wolfsong » Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:35 am

Rocket Frog wrote:Why don't we ask, instead, whats the game language and we learn it communitarily? I don't know a thing about programming, but i can always learn something new. We all can actually.


Too many cooks spoil the broth. I'm sure the Cantr codebase is already a horrifying spaghetti of a variety of amateur programmers' work, and I don't think adding more amateurs to the mess will improve anything. Having half a dozen people with different ideas and opinions all trying to implement different features all at once, with limited skill sets, would be an absolute nightmare.
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Re: What Would You Like to See in a Reset Cantr?

Postby Wolfsong » Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:48 am

sherman wrote:It would be more filled with people


1. Send out a mass mail newsletter (one time only) to all former players of Cantr with emails still on file. Include formerly banned players (with the exception of players banned for sexual misconduct) and offer a one time amnesty if taken without a set period of months after the newsletter. Describe all new development changes over the years, staff changes, highlight positives, end on a positive note. If out of 2000 former players, only even 100 return - that would still double the English speaking playerbase and be a massive win.

2. Consider Reddit advertisements. This could be a double-edged sword, given that the Cantr subreddit reveals some pretty negative aspects of the game and its mismanagement by staff, but if you can do step one above and earn some karma, you may be able to regain control over the overall feeling of the subreddit, if not its direct administration. Court goodwill and kowtow. Arrogance helps no one when the game is not performing well.

3. Automate account approvals. Manual account approvals kill new player retention. From experience, several friends of mine have refused to play the game because account approval took over 72 hours, which is absolutely ridiculous. I know people are afraid of some supposed flood of multiplaying accounts, but that isn't an actual problem. If people want to multiplay, they will do so anyway (and I know absolutely that there are people doing that even now on Cantr.) And even if people do multiplay - is having a few additional characters in the game right now so bad? Short answer: nope. It is not bad. It is an imaginary boogeyman.

4. Remove tutorial island, make it an opt-in only feature. (IE, still automatically create a character in the tutorial island, but do not make it their only character for several days AFTER the 72 hour account approval. That is bonkers - you're keeping people from actually touching real content for almost a week.) Indicate to people that this tutorial character can help them learn to play the game, but allow them to make real characters at the same time as this tutorial character, and let them delete the tutorial character when no longer needed.

5. Continue to modernise the website and optimise it for mobile experiences. For example - the icons, currently, are not new player friendly. What does a diamond icon mean? Remove the background image because - no offense - it makes Cantr look like a late 90s Geocities website. Pay for some custom graphics - banner/logo, some splash images, and geographical location images in a unique, cohesive style. Minimalism is fine. Stock images are not. Integrate the Wiki into the main game for added ease of transition for new players.

6. Allow older players to sign up for a mentorship program, and automatically assign new players to a mentor. Allow new players to rate and review their mentors, and to flag these reviews for staff to review, removing mentors as they become unhelpful.
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Re: What Would You Like to See in a Reset Cantr?

Postby Tiamo » Mon Sep 30, 2019 11:46 am

Wolfsong wrote:
Rocket Frog wrote:Why don't we ask, instead, whats the game language and we learn it communitarily? I don't know a thing about programming, but i can always learn something new. We all can actually.


Too many cooks spoil the broth. I'm sure the Cantr codebase is already a horrifying spaghetti of a variety of amateur programmers' work, and I don't think adding more amateurs to the mess will improve anything. Having half a dozen people with different ideas and opinions all trying to implement different features all at once, with limited skill sets, would be an absolute nightmare.

I have been in the programming division for a short while, a long time ago. The game is written in PHP/MYSQL. The (limited) original codebase is actually well written, but after that it has suffered from 'organic development'. Several forum messages suggest an effort has been made to streamline the code. Don't know the result of this.

Wolfsong, your comments show insight in which kind of features are good for a game and which are not. But maybe you are a bit pessimistic about the implementation. Dreaming about features, like PaintedWithRoses does, is not the same as proposing a detailed implementation.

You are right about players getting attached to their character(s), rather than to the game itself. In my opinion, however, death of old age is a necessity in a perpetual game like Cantr, in order to avoid stagnation in town leadership. If a single death can destroy a town, apparently being built on the efforts of a single player/character, it wasn't very stable anyway. Hopefully, and probably, leadership changes and community continuity will be better taken care of if leadership changes are a normal, predictable event. If players know their characters' lives will end, they probably adjust their play and make sure of a well timed closure.
Some sort of support for developing social structures (no prescriptions, just recording help!) might also be helpful.

Having to learn everything in game is actually interesting for new players. Playing is a continuous discovery experience. For experienced players this will be an unnecessary, boring repeat. In order to avoid repetition, a character learning the basics should be relatively easy, like an older character giving you an in-game book with the basic information and local experts training you in teaching projects. The information and skills the character has should be recorded in the form of skill/knowledge levels. New information can only be obtained the hard way: by experience, research, travel or maybe learn from an expert in another town.
This way the character will easily gather information that is available locally, but will have to put an effort in expanding beyond that. The player may know more, but should not use the info for that character anyway (CR).
This would even be an implicit support (of sorts) for upholding the Capital Rule!
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Re: What Would You Like to See in a Reset Cantr?

Postby Joshuamonkey » Mon Sep 30, 2019 9:06 pm

This is a great conversation and I hope it continues, including unrealistic ideas because it helps brainstorm.
The main thing I want to say is, please do join staff! And there are a lot of ways to help with programming that don't involve coding- e.g. organizing the work and writing out the details for things; also user experience research (join Marketing).

Wolfsong, I think you're on the right track with your suggestions. Some things are being worked on already in a different form.

e.g. reddit- I sent a couple responses there and am working on a post. I think it's silly for things that happened years ago by staff members that are no longer around to represent Cantr. Can we agree on that?
For now I'd recommend posting here to start a completely new subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/cantrII/

Wolfsong wrote:1. Send out a mass mail newsletter (one time only)

This is already very high in the priority list, but first we need to write a privacy policy.

It was already approved to have tutorial island simply be an additional character, allowing all players to have a character there, so that's it's actually interesting and not just a place to introduce yourself and wait.

There's been discussions on modernising the site or creating a completely new interface, but I don't think that will happen anytime soon- at least we can do a new landing page.
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