My First Bells

Um, yeah. That title is an obscure reference to a cassette-only release by the Minutemen in the early 80’s, so it’s probably more mysterious than meaningful to anyone other than me. :D

That was a typecast I did yesterday on the Ollie 21 early in the day, then I got Ryan’s email saying the trade was on, plus I managed to hitch onto the Yahoo group drama, so this typecast was quickly superceded by the one I actually posted yesterday, and by the one below which was written later in the evening. My actual typecast output is something like this; sometimes 2 or 5 things written and zero or one posted. Usually the rejects are (like the one below) rejected because they’re full of aimless speculation and restating things I’ve already said. Sometimes it’s because they’re incendiary and unrelated to typing or typewriters. Sometimes they’re just boring…

Updated: March 23, 2011 — 7:09 am


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  1. Congrats on your new typewriter! The game you outline sounds like good fun – may a good software designer (which I am not the least) read the typosphere!

  2. I really love the idea of Orator typeface! And getting it in a trade is a really good deal; I have seen sellers price-gouging for similar machines on eBay and Etsy. Can’t wait to see it featured in a typecast soon!

  3. The game has potential although gamers inside the typosphere and/or typewriter enthusiasts is really niche. With that being said, something simple would probably work best. I could see a type of “Drug Wars” clone, where its a random element (prices of keys in different cities) and resource management. That would have some novelty and the game is tried and true. Adding some extra mechanics (maybe stuff like after collecting enough keys you can build a new typewriter for some sort of bonus, mechanic training to upgrade some gear you have and/or give you better prices in certain cities) would be good.

  4. I seem to be good at coming up with ideas that appeal to only a very select few. I prefer to think of it as “the elite of the elite”, but I suppose that’s likely “glass half-full” thinking.

    I’ve never actually played Drug Wars. Interface-wise, is that a rouge-like?

  5. Hmmm…yes and no, on being rogue-like. I mean, graphically, I suppose it is, but Drug Wars is basically just text based. In the original, you basically have a screen informing you what city you are in and the current prices for a handful of drugs. You have a certain amount of money to start with (which you can also put in a bank to minimize your losses for random robbings) and buy x units of said drug. You make money by traveling to another city and selling drugs for profit and as you get more money, you make more. You can also buy a coat so you can hold more drugs, so there are really only two game constraints, quantity to carry and money.

    Some cities have better prices on certain drugs and there are some random elements, like a shortage of a drug which makes all sell prices go up. I’ve seen clones of this with space games trading resources on different planets and non-drug related games of generic resources (grains, meat, wood, etc.).

    I think some versions I saw a static image for each city, but the game itself is pretty basic. Keyboard input only, usually, as you are just selecting buy or sell and then how much.

  6. Balance would be tough, I think, because it’d be overkill to introduce “market forces” comprised of an NPC force which varies the price of typewriter-key jewelry (made by keychoppers) and the introduction of new machines into the supply. I can’t think of anything that would approximate the value coming in on the keychopper side that would work for the typerati side except maybe “pride of ownership”, since typerati “collect and preserve” and are certainly not in the habit for financial gain like keychoppers would be.

    Given the format of the H&P engine (rouge-like, but with live PvP interaction, IE: you can see and interact with other players in real-time), I have considered doing away with “market forces” and just making it so that Typerati could catch and “mug” keychoppers to grab the machines they’ve collected before they have a chance to turn them into jewelry, and vice-versa – keychoppers mugging typerati to get the machines before the typerati adds them to their “home collection”. Considering the size of the average H&P universe map, this could be a viable PvP method, but would likely just encourage players to race back “home” as soon as they pick up any machine.

    So yeah, since the motivations for each side are so different, it’s difficult to come up with a balanceable economy.

  7. True, but I was thinking more akin to “drugs” being certain types of typewriters with keys. Glass keys, round, tombstone, etc. You would throw in different model names. You’d want a list of say, 12-24. Prices would be set similar to the base game, so the typerati goes to Chicago, for example, and sees a list of say 6-8 typewriters available, at different prices (better keys are worth more). The typerati would spend money to buy/save the typewriters or could sell his “knowledge” of the typewriter in question for even bigger profit (so he could buy even more in the next city). Its basically just cloning the existing game, but putting some new labels on it and maybe throwing some twists into it.

    So, the keychoppers sell machines/keys setting the prices and the typerati buy/save the machines in that market, but can turn around and sell their “saved” inventory back to the market to “good homes”. So money can still be the gauge, its just that the money the typerati are making is “good money” and used to buy even more from the keychoppers. Again, its just re-skinning an existing game, which has been done many times already, just not with this slant.

    Granted, this is a single player game and more a short distraction and novelty then really making a cool game. Drug Wars is fun, but after playing it a few times, you move on. But, I’d think the impact would be about the same, whether you reskin an existing game as novelty or really make something new and good. The latter likely requires a lot more time investment though, which is why I suggested the former (quick fix and same impact).

  8. Should be some open-source Drugwars clone out there for PHP/MySQL, although a cursory google for it doesn’t turn up anything useful. No player/player interaction, though? The Typosphere is a social entity – does it not deserve PvP?

  9. No PvP, unfortunately, and I do agree, we do deserve the social interaction.

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