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Mankind is doomed!
April 26th 2000, 17:11 CEST by morn

Imagine this: a massive multiplayer game gets released and is available in the stores and isn't even playable. Imagine the same game remains in the same state for a couple of months, with barely any of the customers who paid for the game even being able to connect to the game's servers. Imagine the game still barely resembles anything that has been advertised by the developer and the publisher almost one and a half years after its release. A gamer's worst nightmare? No. It's happened, and the game's title is Mankind.

Space. The final frontier. These are voyages of French developer Vibes, on its continuing mission to discover new ideas and develop new games, to explore strange new genres, and to boldly go where no man, no one, has ever gone before: creating a massive multiplayer space conquest game in a persistant universe spanning over nine million planets. Thus was born the premise of Mankind.

"What a great idea!" thought little Morn and ordered a copy of his game in early 1999. Big tears did he cry when he installed the game only to realize that the account creation section on the Mankind's webpage was unavailable, with only a message from the Vibes (the developer), telling him to wait a couple of days while they were fixing the game. At least they promised that his 12 month license that came with the boxed game wouldn't start until they had fixed all the bugs -- so all was good. Or wasn't it?

A couple of months later little Morn received word from Vibes that the highly anticipated patch had been released on Mankind's website, that the game was now in full operation and that the 12 month license would now commence. So he quickly reinstalled the game, fired up his browser, and downloaded the patch, giddy like a schoolboy in anticipation.

And yes, his heart started bumping a little faster when the game actually -- for the first time ever since Morn had bought it -- connected to its server! It greeted him with a wonderful intro screen and some powerful welcome fanfares, making him get all excited about his nearing career as the ruthless leader of a mighty space empire, leaving a trail of death and destruction behind him on the planets of his enemies.

Until he saw the graphics. Tried to use the interface. Heard the sound (the little of it that was there). Realized that most of the screen text was still in French (a language as unknown to him as Lisp or Swaheli). Was suddenly, and with no warning, returned to Windows. Went back to the web site to read that the game was still not completely done, and for now all players would have unlimited money, and all units equal power.

"What a crock", thought Morn, and played some more SiN.

As it seems, almost anything that can go wrong with a computer game did go wrong with Mankind. So many weirdnesses have happened that I find it difficult to write a funny and entertaining text around them, so I'll just present them as a simple list. Here goes:

  • The game was released in France in December 1998; shortly after that a German version was also released. There has apparently been a UK release, too, but no US release from what I've seen. Up until Summer 99 the game simply didn't work. Players could not connect to the servers or experienced severe difficulties keeping their connection up. Even today there are severe problems with the availability and stability of the servers.

  • Cryo, Mankind's publishers, had the balls to release and advertise a "Special Version 1.5 Enhanced" edition of the game. With the arrival of patch 1.5 in mid-99 the game got only marginally more playable (read: you could connect).

  • I recently got hold of one of those "1.5 enhanced" copies of the game and have been, er, trying to play it since. The CD box contains a little "scratch me free" field that covers the unlock code I need to activate my account, with the somehow oddly composed words "Warning: please read carefully the MANKIND licence before scratching the code." The license is a very interesting read indeed, as it contains the following phrases (the most interesting bits highlighted in bold):

    "3. LINKED SITES. Vibes is not necessarily affiliated with sites which may be linked to this site, is not responsible for their content, and does not endorse them. You access any such linked sites at your own risk." - Uh-huh. I thought I was reading the manual, not a web site.

    "4. GRANT OF LICENSE. a) VIBES grants you ("Recipient") a limited, non-exclusive, nontransferable, royalty-free license to install and use one (1) copy of the software accompanying this Agreement ("Product") on a single computer located on Recipient's premises, solely to test the compatibility of Recipient's application or other product(s) which operate in conjunction with the Product and to evaluate the Product for the purpose of providing feedback thereon to VIBES. All other rights are resevered to VIBES. Recipient shall not rent, lease, sell, sublicense, assign, or otherwise transfer the Product, including any accompanying printed materials. Recipient shall not reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble the Product except to the extent that this restriction is expressly prohibited by applicable law. Recipient may not disclose the results of any benchmark testing of the Product to any third party without VIBES's prior written permission. VIBES and its suppliers shall retain title and all ownership rights to the Product. (b) Any bug reports, test results and other feedback made by Recipient to VIBES shall be the property of VIBES and may be used by VIBES for any purpose. Due to the nature of the development work, VIBES is not certain as to when or if errors or discrepancies in the Product may be corrected. (c) Recipient's use of the Product is not subject to confidentiality restrictions. Recipient is free to discuss features of the Product or details with respect to Recipient's use or intended use of the Product, provided that use of the Product shall take place solely at Recipient's site. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Recipient may not demonstrate or show the Product to third parties without the express written permission of VIBES."

    I think all this speaks for itself. But there's more:

    "5. TERMS OF AGREEMENT. a) beta test: The term of this Agreement shall commence on the date Recipient receives the Product and shall continue until terminated upon the earlier of (a) VIBES's written notice to Recipient, (b) the commercial release of the Product by VIBES, or (c) a maximum of 12 months starting from the date the Recipient receives the Product. Upon the termination of this Agreement, Recipient shall cease use of the Product software. b) Commercial release: The term of this Agreement shall commence on the date Recipient receives the Product and shall continue until terminated upon the earlier of (a) VIBES's written notice to Recipient, (b) a maximum of 12 months starting from the date the Recipient receives the Product. Upon the termination of this Agreement, Recipient shall cease use of the Product software."

    Particularly interesting in this section is the bit about the agreement being terminated 12 months after the purchase of the game. When you buy Mankind, you are supposed to buy a license to play it for 12 months. Shouldn't those 12 months start when you actually start playing the game, instead of when you buy it? Especially considering that you can't even create an account right now (see next point)?

    Here are some other funny bits:

    "7. PRODUCT MAINTENANCE. VIBES is not obligated to provide maintenance or updates to Recipient for the Product. However, any maintenance or updates provided by VIBES shall be covered by this Agreement. Servers on which operates the Product are subject to maintenance operations whereas scheduled or not and such operations, no matter how long they last shall not be considered as an alteration of the use of the Product."

    As I understand this, it basically means: if the servers are down, I don't have the right to complain, no matter if they're down for an hour or for half a year. Shhyeah, right.

    Last but not least:


  • Luckily I didn't need to scratch the code free (and thereby accept the license agreement), since Mankind's web-based account creation is (and reportedly has been for a couple of weeks) unavailable. In other words: if you buy the game today, you can't even start playing. (Paired with the "12 months" bit from the license agreement mentioned above, it basically means that you'd be instantly paying for online play time which you can't actually use.)

    They even had the balls to put up a notice saying, and I quote: "- ON GOING UPGRADE - New players registration is temporarly unavailable. The registration service will reopen later this evening. Sorry for the delay and see you soon in the Mankind Universe." Days seem to be very, very long in France.

  • Not being able to play the game myself, I went to a Mankind IRC channel and talked to some french mankind players. One of the things they told me was that even today, there are still many bugs and missing features in the game. Up until a couple of days ago, there had been a bug which allowed you to simply steal money from all other players. By fixing that bug, Vibes reportedly introduced new bugs.

  • The same people also told me that Vibes are already working on Mankind 2. I wasn't able to confirm it, so take it with a grain of salt, but if it's true, I seriously wonder if I'll get a free copy of Mankind 2 for my unused copy of Mankind 1. I have the feeling that I won't.

  • In late 99, some clever programmer hacked his way through the Mankind protocol and used the information he gathered to build a Mankind client emulator, which basically enabled him to cheat in a multitude of ways. The simpler cheats involved scanning any section of space for enemy players, but the spectrum reached to nastier cheats like cloning your own starships or making them jump to any position within the exisiting universe. Vibes/Cryo reacted with a lawsuit, and probably rightfully so, but the real lesson learned from this was that the protocol Vibes designed for the communications between server and client must have been, well, utter crap.

  • Last but not least (and this is merely my own, personal opinion): Even when it works, the game is a horrible piece of crap. The graphics are mediocre (although the website and intro artwork is pretty nice), the interface is worse than Star Wars Force Commander's on a bad day, and the controls are so horrible I'd rather play Quake with a three button keyboard.

Now, there is a Mankind community out there, and a pretty strong one at that. But from what I've been told, most Mankind players have simply decided to accept their fate and see Mankind as a huge "role playing game", with clan wars taking place rather on their webpages than within the game. When asked for the things Vibes did right with Mankind, one of the players I talked to simply stated (after thinking about the answer for a moment): "The communication system. It's like a mini ICQ, and you can give money and units to someone."

Mankind is so broken, PC Gamer UK recently gave the game their first (and only) "N/A" rating, saying it was so utterly terrible and incomplete that it wasn't really a game.

I want my DM 70 back.

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#45 by "Morn"
2000-04-26 22:17:11
Aquila: <i>'you get this thing with the license in a strange view. i'm pretty sure vibes does not have the slightest idea of what is written in there in english. it's just a rumor, but translations are not one of vibes' hobbies. most of them don't speak more languages than 'french and english sounding french'.'</i>

*shrug* Not the customer's problem. I know a couple of good language schools in the UK though. Dunno if that could help. =)

<i>'i'd like to read the _french_ version of that license agreement _before_ cryo put it into a box. there is no such license agreement on the website (vibes' work) ... right?'</i>

The manual (don't have it here at home) includes at least a German and a French version next to the English version. If you really want it, I'll type it down in here.

The English version, by the way, does sound like it was written by a lawyer to me. A lawyer who's probably sipping cocktails somewhere in Mexico by now. ;-)

Please don't get this wrong, I'm not out to complain about anything and everything simply for the sake of bitching around, and I'm not replying to your comments only because I hate you or anything. I'm just <i>really</i> concerned about how people on the net (or 'people' in general) simply seem to have stopped <i>caring</i> about these issues. The result will be an industry which will sell us <b>NOTHING BUT CRAP</b>, because they know nobody cares.

You know why console games (from a purely 'code' point of view of course) are so much better than PC games? Because all games for the major consoles go through very, very strict quality testing and need to be approved by the console manufacturer before they can be released. Sometimes I really wish we'd have that kind of quality control for PC games.

- Morn
#46 by "Aquila"
2000-04-26 22:25:38
morn, yes, you are a discussion type of person, too.

this progress of unfinished games being published has indeed started a few years ago and lead to ultima IX and mankind.

but please accept my point of view that not every firm does this because they just hate their customers and only want their money. as far as i know, vibes did not get a pfennig of your 70DM (cryo did, yannis said this once). vibes only takes the registration fee ... oops, the registration servers are down. well, it will once start to make money with the net-distributed version of the game.

where i do draw the line? merlin and feivel visited vibes and convinced me that vibes loves this game (and does not code any other games or projects). this makes me sure that they will definitly not shut down the servers (although i had much more fun than i ever got for 70DM and most money went to the telekom).

i do make a difference between a group of idealistic programmers that do their best (and sign a wrong contract) to realize a dream ... and a firm that brings out such a license agreement because it intends to fuck the players after enough money cumulated.

this is indeed the point that i like least on your 'humor' report ... for readers that don't know anything about MK it defintly leads to the oppinion that vibes is a group of bad guys that only started this project because ... well, i don't have the slightest idea how to express this :(

somehow i feel like morn just consideres my opinions less worth a debate. must be my strange grammar or something.
#47 by "Aquila"
2000-04-26 22:31:05
well, quite two completely different points of view we have.

i think that if this strict quality control would apply to computer games, the net would be dead today. there would be no more idealistic 'just for the fun' programmers.
you can't control everything this way. if you do, you get static.
you would take the consumers right to decide if they want to support this product and it's idea anyway (although it's far from perfect, but they accept it)
or if not, if you don't let all those frustrating, small, imperfect ideas slip through your quality control.
i (personaly) want to decide this.
#48 by "Ryan Greene"
2000-04-26 22:31:24
Aquila- What is the benefit of attacking a newbie? Do you get their gear when they die, loot their ship. or get to drag the carcass back to a port and fix it up? Just the pure joy of killing another player?  Basically, why would you want to attack a newbie?
#49 by "deadboat"
2000-04-26 22:32:05
What I've noticed about MMRPG players is that the powergamers and mega-rich players torture newbies simply because they are bored and have run through the game's quests and challenges.  While this may have a seemingly obvious solution (just rename a quest and say it's new) it all boils down to the fact that running around and slashing things just gets old after a while.

Say Origin were to introduce an arena only for those at GM level.  You could have a programmer assigned to maintain it.  Maybe a UO capture-the-flag game, or everyone randomly morphs into a different monster every five minutes, or a giant paintball game.  Who knows.  But if Origin just sits back and says "HERE IS OUR GAME!" and let the powergamers run through it in two weeks, then the newbie torture will begin.

#50 by "Darkseid-[D!]"
2000-04-26 22:33:27

online game like you suggest above :)

Now if you took damage in combat properly and had to service your ships, and rearm them, then the game would become more strategic. Instead of (at the present), send fleet out, fight, return fleet, add more ships, send out ....

You can never be totally out of the game in PA, because while you get your materiel from mined asteroids, which can be stolen, your home planet also has surface mines which although pitiful in amounts, would give you enough components to build a few new asteroid stealers over time.

#51 by "Rantage"
2000-04-26 22:35:52
Ryan Greene: <I>"Basically, why would you want to attack a newbie?"</I>

I can only think of two situations: first, in self-defense.  Second, if the newbie is thinking <I>way</I> too highly of himself and is attempting to steal something which is yours.

Either way, the veteran shouldn't initiate an encounter.
#52 by "Ryan Greene"
2000-04-26 22:40:01

This is an issue of making worthwhile for the grandpas to be elsewhere, one way is more powerful enemies that are actually a challenge for them, but are too dangerous for the newbies.

In order to do this, you need to plan out a way of having different areas that cater to different levels of character.

This is an important part of game design that apparently does not get tested out enough in MMORPG's... Powergamers and their effect on game balance. It's also the most fun part of playtesting, making a ridiculously powerful character and having them run through a few fights just to see what happens.

Another wya to balance a game is to have  uniquness. Only one of something gives the more powerful characters a reason to go after each other instead of newbies. If there are five components to Hagbard's mystical Armor, and having all five incurs serious bonuses on the player, you can bet that  the Grandpas are going to be cutting each others throats to get/keep it.
#53 by "Garett"
2000-04-26 22:40:55
I have read this entire thread with interest.  I remember the good old days of Trade Wars 2002, where if you had a good or evil rating, and attacking people of your own kind, good or evil, would lower you rating.  Also, if you were good and killed an evil person, you got more experience, and a better good rating.  That game could get pretty one-sided, but it was usually a result of the game running forever with only a few players.  I speak from relative idiocy on this matter, as I havent played any of the internet multi-player games out there, like UO or Everquest, etc - I am not really into fantasy stuff.   Mankind sounds like a great idea, if a version comes out that works.
#54 by "duded"
2000-04-26 22:45:53
duded http://duded
#55 by "Morn"
2000-04-26 22:50:59
Aquila: <i>'somehow i feel like morn just consideres my opinions less worth a debate. must be my strange grammar or something.'</i>

If that was the case, I'd not reply to you.

Well, as I said, everybody can do whatever they wants, and I'm not gonna stop them. If you say that Vibes are a honest bunch of people who simply signed the wrong contract, I believe you (in fact, if you read one of my first comments, you'll see that I did in fact consider Cryo to be blamed insteas of Vibes, as I've heard enough stories of publishers bringing terror and destruction to ambitious projects. And particularly in this case I would have been surprised if Vibes had been the baddies; after all, how can someone who barely speaks any English rip off gamers? :b).

But in the end it is my money that I traded in for the game, and as a <b>customer</b>, I don't give a french fuck as to who received it, I just want the damn game. As an <b>old-school gamer</b> I am not the least surprised that this kind of stuff is happening today, and I'm not counting on ever seeing neither my money nor the game.

<i>'this is indeed the point that i like least on your 'humor' report ... for readers that don't know anything about MK it defintly leads to the oppinion that vibes is a group of bad guys that only started this project because ... well, i don't have the slightest idea how to express this :('</i>

There, you just found out one of the purposes of this site: to shed some new light on how things really are in the ongoing discussion of the published stories. In the end, we'll all come out of it as smarter people, as we've learned about the mistakes we've made and bitched about those others have made. Welcome to PlanetCrap. You are addicted now. :-)

- Morn
#56 by "Aquila"
2000-04-26 22:53:51
ryan and ... well, everybody :)

as stated above and perhaps unnoticed:

the main reason for a player to become PK or for a grandpa to kill newbies is in fact because the game get's boring.

there was a french mankind guild sweeping systems from newbies. there are about a dozen PKs killing everybody just because they can do it. and there are a few players that declared war to everybody and actually let other players leave mankind because they don't stand the slightest chance against them.

i'm not talking about pirates which are neccessarey for the gameplay. i mean pure PKing. this happened to diablo on the first, if i don't forget anything. this was a paradise for PKs just because you reached the end of the game too fast.

therefore (imho) the only solution to this is (also as stated above) keeping the game of ongoing interest.

but this would mean a programming staff of hundreds.
#57 by "Morn"
2000-04-26 22:54:40
Actually, I'd <b>love</b> to have some of the Vibes guys themselves comment on this thread, as it'll most likely enlighten us all about what has really been going on.

Or maybe Cryo. Heh. Hey Cryo, this site is "Version 3.0 Enhanced". It's been up for four days! Okay, I'm not being very funny, am I.

Seriously. Vibes? Where are you?

- Morn
#58 by "Aquila"
2000-04-26 22:56:17
morn, you're right on every single point. *g*
#59 by "Aquila"
2000-04-26 22:57:50
Seriously. i will ask feivel. he will sure love to comment this thread.
aquila, addicted
#60 by "Aquila"
2000-04-26 23:02:49
a dream (actually not more than just a dream):

a few pc-games-programming guys meet and decide to put their energy together in one single game that keeps everybodies attention and never comes to an end (therefore there are never grandpas).

vibes, egosoft, the imperium galactica guys merge to one single firm and merge: mankind, X and IG 2 to one game. after a half your of code-synch there would remain a team of programmers big enough to keep the game running forever ...

well, let me keep at least my illusions :|
any millionaires in here?
#61 by "Morn"
2000-04-26 23:02:53
I said myself (err): <i>'In the end, we'll all come out of it as smarter people, as we've learned about the mistakes we've made and bitched about those others have made. Welcome to PlanetCrap.'</i>

That gives me a very funky, Jerry Springer inspired idea. :-)

- Morn
#62 by "deadboat"
2000-04-26 23:12:29
This whole situation reminds me of Netrek.  A flood of incompetent newbies came onto the scene, causing veterans to have absolute hatrid for them.  It led to new versions of the server software having "clue" checks, asking those who connect intermediate gameplay mechanics questions.

Stupid newbies tend to stay newbies.  Smart newbies tend to turn into grandpas very fast... :D

#63 by "Morn"
2000-04-26 23:12:39
Aquila, that sounds very sexy indeed. Too bad it's not gonna happen... :(  The real problem with the gaming community of today is that 99% of it don't want what 1% would like to see. It's easier to sell, say, Tomb Raider 13, than making a game that would actually please <i>us</i> harcore types.

Personally, something deep inside me is waiting for the messiah (haha) to descend from the heavens of source code to bring us the mother of all games: a consistent "anything goes" online world with a staff of hundreds acting as NPCs (or rather replacing them), not split up into different shards, enabling me to build my own areas and implement them into the "big world"; where playing a single player adventure means going to a "single player area" that was built by the developers or a dedicated fan; and everything would be available as open source, with the project still being lead by experienced developers who actually know what they're doing (I think <i>this</i> is where it gets utopic :b).

But it's easier to make Lara's titties bigger and sell it as a sequel. :/

- Morn, who will never find peace.
#64 by "crash"
2000-04-26 23:18:42
Ryan Green (#37) says:
<i>1) Do not reward more experienced players for killing less experienced ones, unless they are attacked first.</i>

easy enough. compare time played on each char. if (TimePlayedAttacker)  (TimePlayedDefender) then (Gain = 0). if (TimePlayedAttacker) 2) Tax more powerful characters, giving them a reason keep adventuring/generating income.</i>

or give them a reason to macro self-induced monetary gain to offset the taxes. or exploit various economic loopholes to do same. no in-game economy can ever match real-life economies, which is why--imho--taxation isn't a viable option.

<i>3) Reward more powerful characters for taking less powerful ones under their wing.</i>

e.g. allegiance system, Asheron's Call.

<i>4)Encourage newbies to band together, either through a common threat, or a puzzle/adventure that can only be solved by a group who works together.</i>

interesting, and has been tried many, many times, but it's nearly unworkable. and what about the solo player? oh, sorry, Charlie, your ten bucks a month isn't enough to let you play the full game?

<i>5) Give more experienced players a reason to be elsewhere, away from the newbies, be it the land tax described below, a reputation system that keeps them out of certain areas, or an incredibly low reward for killing people who are less pwerful than they are.</i>

doesn't matter. grief players will still exist, and giving them encouragement isn't enough. you must drive them out.

sup Desiato. welcome back. :) you (#38) said:
<i>Here's one effect that may or may not be viable. How about gradual inefficiency(sp?)creeping into the system. Your turrets start to degrade over time, maintenance is required. Or inflation eats up the value of the money that you've built up.</i>

macros will solve this problem. no one plays games to do tedious, repetitive stuff over and over and over. set up a client-side script to feed these keystrokes to the server--or download one off the web--and this becomes a non-issue. to get the money? see #2 above.

Aquila (#44) says (and welcome :)
<i>'fast gaming' is an effect in UO, EQ and AC as well. these players don't want to care about all such things like 'decaying ships and maintenance cost' ... they want a two hour fun because one hour online means one dollar less for them.</i>

that, and who wants to log into a game to have to work? casual players have an hour, maybe two, to play--and when they're on, they want to <b>play</b>. worrying about maintenance and upkeep and scheduling and shit ain't fun; that's work. :)

Aquila again (#56) says:
<i>therefore (imho) the only solution to this is (also as stated above) keeping the game of ongoing interest.  but this would mean a programming staff of hundreds.</i>

not really. Asheron's Call is doing it every month with a total staff of about 15 people. what it takes isn't programmers necessarily--it takes a good solid modular foundation that can be adapted and expanded by non-coders. just depends on how, and how <i>well</i>, you designed the game in the first place. :)
#65 by "crash"
2000-04-26 23:19:13
uh. not sure what happened there. must not have closed a tag. gah.
#66 by "Desiato"
2000-04-26 23:21:31
Upon reflection -- yes, the gradual decay idea may not impact players who are in it for the quick kill, but the whole idea really is to apply this principle to a large persistent universe where the players intend to stay around a while, not just engage in short-lived skirmishes.

Also -- on the whole concept of "decay"...what I mean is that the overall effectiveness diminishes in light of either the MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) or some other linear factor. I realize that computing overhead scaling multiple arrays for many players would be prohibitive, so I'm not sure about the practicality aspect.

Another idea -- my friend and I always wanted to see a general correlation to powerful weapons/units and the likelyhood that they would fail and possibly harm the person using it.

Call it a small percentage. You own the "MEGA ZAP RAY" ? Cool -- but there is an inherent chance, say 10%, that everytime you use it, you risk it going off in your face and nuking a small area.

That could make things interesting....heh.

Or -- the more units you control, the possibility that your orders to those units may become misunderstood...(think the "telephone game" where "hello" becomes "purple monkey dishwasher").....perhaps you would call it "Command Chain Bias"...the longer the chain of command (or larger the aggregate units under your control) the larger the likelyhood that your orders may be misconstrued. Heh.

Okay -- I'm done rambling.

#67 by "Morn"
2000-04-26 23:22:42
Can you people stay on topic please?


Haha, I'm just kidding I guess. This <i>is</i> PlanetCrap, after all. =)

- Morn
#68 by "deadboat"
2000-04-26 23:26:10
Desiato writes in #66:
<I>"Call it a small percentage. You own the "MEGA ZAP RAY" ? Cool -- but there is an inherent chance, say 10%, that everytime you use it, you risk it going off in your face and nuking a small area."</I>

Ugh.  I play a game to have fun, not to be realistic.  Things like these would destroy a game's economy - if there was a 10 percent chance that the item I spent weeks questing/fighting for blew up in my face and took me with it, there's no way I, nor anyone else, would go anywhere near it.  I'd rather settle for my MP5 in CounterStrike instead :)

#69 by "Rantage"
2000-04-26 23:34:44
Desiato, #66: <I>"the more units you control, the possibility that your orders to those units may become misunderstood..."</I>

Oh, God <B>no</B>.  Communication between players is enough of a problem as it is.  No need to make it <I>worse</I>.  

I like the "possibility of failure" idea....but <I>only</I> for <B>extremely</B> powerful weapons (nukes, BFGs, Morph Ovum... *g*).
#70 by "Ryan Greene"
2000-04-26 23:43:36
Crash- a part of the problem of the economies not matchis is that there is no taxation, need to feed and clothe, or need to pay for gas, as it were in many of these gmes. while they are not fun, they help keep cash flowing in the economy, and allow a a means of getting cash away from those who would horde it. maintence costs on equipment is another means of a tax, as the more gear you have, the more your upkeep costs to keep the empire running.

Real economies are not fun, and that's why they don't get implemented. "You mean that I have to pay XXX creds to maintain my mega-hyper-gee-gaw? I'll sell it first!" Again, by limiting the production of items, allowing for bidding wars, etc, grandpas can still stay on top, but it forces them to work to maintain their lead.
#71 by "deadboat"
2000-04-26 23:45:06
Rantage (hm that sounds familiar...), #69: "Oh, God no. Communication between players is enough of a problem as it is. No need to make it worse."

No kidding.  Communication and AI seem to be the spottiest parts of most games going out the door these days - whether it be unresponsive RTS units, horrible unit pathfinding, or communication problems between other players.

Besides, you'll always have the lamers/newbies who don't feel like communicating with their allies, enemies, or anyone else, for that matter.  Ugh.

#72 by "Aquila"
2000-04-26 23:49:05
believe it or not: as soon as i got my first five millions, i will make you guys the head of staff for the ultimate game, telling those programmers guys where to set priorities and making a discussing group for all balancing problems.
you would lead a perfect life and this would lead to the perfect dream.
i really enjoyed this thread and ... well, mort: we all get out a little smarter ;)
thx guys.
#73 by "deadboat"
2000-04-26 23:51:49
My solution to any type of upkeep system is what's currently in some MMRPGs: maintenance.  You need to pay XXX amount of money to get an NPC to repair your armor and weapons, otherwise they'll fall apart.

To maintain a large house or vehicle, you should have to pay a <I>substantial</I> upkeep fee - if you don't have the funds set aside when the repo man comes, your precious new dragon boat ends up at the lot and you have to pay big bucks to spring it.

I think that would keep the game interesting - having a large upkeep fee on substantial game objects would keep the game's designers from having to put arbitrary limits on the amount of, say, star destroyers, that you could have.  And if a big clan made of the top players wants to have ten, they can pay the upkeep costs for ten.

#74 by "Bit Steen"
2000-04-27 00:05:43
Well, Mankind have some bugs, flaws etc. but it is the best S&F Online Game - well, its the only one :) - (i dont count round based games).
Vibes and the players pay the price for; to be the first! Its some kind of a adventure and it is not expensiv.

cu in space

Bit Steen
#75 by "Brandon 'GreenMarine' Reinhart"
2000-04-27 00:07:04
I like the idea of decay.  Dune had that.  You had to spend money repairing your equipment because the sand would cause it to slowly loose health.

If you have to continually pay to maintain your forces, it becomes much more difficult to maintain a large military.  Maybe you have to pay your forces a salary, or maybe your forces have a % chance of revolting and becoming pirates.  Raise their pay, less chance of a revolt.

Have turrets and equipment become less effective over time requiring them to be replaced.
#76 by "Brandon 'GreenMarine' Reinhart"
2000-04-27 00:09:57
I would prefer to play Imperium Galactica II multiplayer over Mankind.  The bottom line is that Mankind is a crappy game rife with bugs.

I don't think its rife with bugs because the idea is flawed, but because it was rushed to market (and maybe because of the developer's ability, but we probably shouldn't go there.  That one always comes back to bite you on the ass. :)
#77 by "Bad_CRC"
2000-04-27 00:13:14
<i>Mankind is made up of two words,
<b>'mank'</b> and <b>'ind'</b>
What do these words mean?
It's a mystery.  and that's why so is mankind.</i>

<b>LOSE... LOSE... LOSE</b>
#78 by "Darkseid-[D!]"
2000-04-27 00:14:25
Uhm Brandon, Dune the original wargame didnt have decay.

What it DID have was encroaching damage _IF_ you hadnt built on pre-layed concrete slabs.

a nuance, but an important one.

Shame Dune 2000 was such a fucking travesty of a game.

#79 by "Morn"
2000-04-27 00:16:37
Bad_CRC: <i>'LOSE... LOSE... LOSE'</i>

NO! The ghost of PlanetCrap 2.0 has returned to haunt us! Aaaaaaah!

- Morn
#80 by "Seth Krieg"
2000-04-27 00:16:51
Pishaw morn :)

You should know better by now not to buy a game by reading the package.

People want your money. If it were legal to kill people and take their money, I have no doubt that publishers (and some developers) would. I know you know this.

It's immoral.
It's injustice.
It's wrong.
It's capitalism.

I hope whoever made the game is getting a good laugh out of this. Maybe Richard Garriot and Cryo should team up for <b>Mankind X Online</b> (followed shortly after by the less painful <b>Mankind X Online: The KY edition</b>

New paragraph; does anyone know the status of that old people vs Origin lawsuit?
#81 by "Seth Krieg"
2000-04-27 00:22:59
err, could've phrased that better. How about something like, that old civil suit of customers vs Origin.
#82 by "Morn"
2000-04-27 00:27:47
Seth, yeah, as I've stated many times before I'm not a big fan of bringing all this gaming crap to court, as I believe gamers should really do some research before spending money on a game (just like with everything else). It's made easier today by such wonderful sites like <a href="">Deja</a> and, of course, the Crap. :-)

However, I believe that what's happening with Mankind is simply so incredibly ridiculous that whoever's fault it is should be hanged in a public place, or play Ultima IX on the minimum required system for 10 hours with no break.

Excuse my choice of words, but the Mankind license agreement reads like a fucking joke. Why did they even bother to include the CD? A license agreement like this for a game like that isn't even annoying, but probably not even valid.

And what's even worse is that they're getting away with it, because they have a large fanbase willing to defend a behaviour like that.


- Morn
#83 by "kegie"
2000-04-27 00:50:31
Hi everyone,
I just wanted to point out that there's a huge well of ideas on how to solve the "powerful old player makes gameplay impossible for newbie" available in the form of MUD's ;)

I think that having an active administration, some restrictions on PvP (like for example killing someone of lesser worth means loosing some worth) and enough things to do besides killing newbies should do a lot to keep things playable and enjoyable for most...
#84 by "Sparhawk"
2000-04-27 01:07:26
dammit morn, you got my hopes up thinking we're all gonna die

#85 by "Brandon 'GreenMarine' Reinhart"
2000-04-27 01:54:33
Darkseid, I'm 99.9% sure that Wind Traps would decay with time.  Even if they didn't, the idea is a good one.
#86 by "Flamethrower"
2000-04-27 02:38:23
That licence is a joke. Computer games are normaly sold expecting to be working finished products, not development beta versions.

Therefore to sell a development beta game without making that fact clear. Otherwise the product is "Not fit for the purposes for which it was sold" ... you're expecting a working game.

I'm sure of it. In the UK, you'd be able to demand your money back if it wasn't *clearly* labeled as Beta. Does that help anyone? }ŹD
#87 by "Bad_CRC"
2000-04-27 03:40:10
<b>this is a test.</b>
<i>if it had been an actual post, there would be something useful in it.</i>
then again, since it's from me, probably not.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#88 by "Brandon 'GreenMarine' Reinhart"
2000-04-27 04:10:21
Planetcrap needs a Crapometer.  For each topic you could vote the the level of crapocity.

Some kind of voting thing.  Voting is cool.
#89 by "deadboat"
2000-04-27 04:35:31

Yeah, but then this lovely thing we have here would transform from PlanetCrap into CrapDot.  Yuck.

Am I the only one who thinks SlashDot is lame?

#90 by "Dethstryk"
2000-04-27 04:35:41
Kind of like Slashdot, right GreenMarine? They have that little rating thing, but I think moderators do that. Man, that's got to be a bitch.

Damage Gaming
#91 by "Dethstryk"
2000-04-27 04:37:09
deadboat: Wow, we didn't just hit the same topic or anything at the same time, did we? :)

I think Slashdot is pretty lame, because it's a bit too crowded for my taste. I don't like how that comment system works either.

Damage Gaming
#92 by "Andy"
2000-04-27 04:42:37
When I first heard about Mankind around six months ago, my reaction was "ah well". That's still my reaction after reading Morn's summary of the current situation. The state of this game, both now and at 'release' time, just doesn't surprise me at all.

Mankind was released like this because the publisher knew they could get away with it. More games will be released in the same state in future because the publishers know they can get away with it.

Game after game, year after year, people buy shoddy games and when they don't work, they put them on a shelf and go and buy another one. Gamers tolerate being ripped off, and that's why it keeps happening.

For a few years it was acceptable (and correct) to blame the publishers and developers for shoddy games. Not any more. Nowadays, consumers are partially to blame. Lots of companies, understandably, will work to the limits of their market. The games market has said, over and over again, that unfinished games are within those limits.

Morn quite rightly doesn't like the situation with Mankind, but by persisting with the game he's effectively encouraging another company to do the same thing. Being annoyed with a company doesn't actually do much good - you have to be pro-active. You have to take your money back from them and not give them any more. Otherwise you're just standing out in the wilderness, shouting, and nobody can hear you.
#93 by "Andy"
2000-04-27 05:09:59
deadboat - no, you're not the only one. I stopped reading Slashdot because it made me feel physically sick. Having people 'score' the opinions of others... ugh, it's just disgusting.
#94 by "deadboat"
2000-04-27 05:13:47

That, and it seems that there are more pretrentious, I-know-all-and-you-are-a-peon-and-I-am-God assholes on Slashdot every day.


Home » Topic: Mankind is doomed!

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