Podcast (2009)
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#1 Nov 2, 2009 link link
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Summaries

Podcast #1

Q: Did the Halloween event turn out like you expected (with regards to player actions/spading)?

A: Pretty interesting question. As a whole, the event was a home run smash hit. Everyone got into it far more than I expected. I wanted to provide 3 options, a fair number people going straight edge, a fair number Eclipse, less went frat option. As far as the general path of the party, I expected volunteers to get a big boost, with volunteers selling skeletons. The other two had minor locks but caught up quickly. Eclipse path took a day or two to overtake the others. As far as spading, I was not expecting a lot out of it. The way the event is set up, it's incredibly resistant to spading. Most of what was going on there was shared, so if you convince a punk to help with Eclipse, it goes into the global pool of punks with Eclipse. I don't think anyone made any grievous mistakes. The content itself, there were a couple things that did not get triggered.

Q: How long have you been programming? How did you first start?

A: In a strange example of our education system working, I was approached around age 11 by a group which had a summer camp that for gifted kids; so did programming in C. Later learned BASIC, pascal, C++. Later, computer science in college. Funny thing is Metroplexity, written in PHP, mysql and javascript, I had never written any PHP, a little mysql, no javascript.

Q: Do you play any video games? real life games? What inspired metroplexity? Do you play much IF?

A: Some Wii. Mostly cooperative multiplayer games with my wife. Plants vs. Zombies, Bejewelled. Real life - lots of role playing, D&D (even before AD&D). Lots of boardgaming. Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, Dominion. What inspired metroplexity? Looking to fill a void. I do design a lot of games. I sit down once a week and write out a design document. A lot of ideas floating around, and they came together under the common thread of Choice. Most RPGs in general have two really big flaws: boring combat […]. Planescape Torment.

Q: How did you meet Puyo? How did you two start collaborating? (The About the Devs section of the dev blog is still very incomplete here)

A: Puyo is a Japanese/American (Japanese citizen who lives here), who among other things has a degree in graphics design. Trying to get a job job. Doesn't want her name on it until it is polished to the degree she is happy with. She worked with my wife. The two of them were in a city in Illinois, not a very welcoming place. We played D&D together. Originally, she was going to make "doll" templates that could eg. be decorated with a gang symbol.

Q: Are all the puzzle box secrets found now that Vholes found the skill?

A: No no. Mechanically relevant ones, mostly, but there's some story stuff buried there to be found. I'm interested to watch people decipher that, because there's some - it's not going to be easy to do alone without a lot of time.

Q: How much of the content would you estimate is still undiscovered? 1%? 5%? 10%?

A: As far as mechanically relevant stuff eg. items, skills, probably 5-10%. As far as story stuff, there's maybe a lot that could be put together.

Q: Care to elaborate on any plans for how the beta reset mechanism will work in the once we're out of beta?

A: The beta reset mechanism is strongly inspired by Kingdom of Loathing reset idea, which is one of the better ideas in video games in a long long time. Permanent skills, for example, are one of the things that will go in with incarnating. For the post-release game, most of the content going in there will be new paths through the game. Eg. for now the main path is meeting Lo. But what if you started the game, killed Lo, and helped the Fangs take over the Third Eye, and the story ties back in to the end eventually. And smaller diversions like helping the Third Eye.

Q: I remember you mentioning at least two more quests in the main quest line (the survivors quest, old town quest?). Do you have a plan for how many main quests there will be total? Any rough timeline for when these will go in?

A: Yes and no. I do have a plan for how many there will be. Survivors, Oldtown, and 3 more. If there's a three act structure, you're up to the first act now; Survivors, Oldtown and maybe a little more is act 2; and the rest is act 3. No real timeline. Depending on if I get a job. I'm really bad with deadlines.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself: Where do you live? How old are you? You're married?

A: [27:00-33:00] [Columbus Ohio. 28. Married for 2 years, been dating since college.]

Q: How well are the donation items doing? How many of each have you sold?

A: Doing very well. Goal 1 is to cover server costs, not a problem at all. Been a little bit extra to pay myself a small stipend and pay Puyo a bit. The puzzle box just broke 50. The other ones trail down, based on how long they've been in the store. If I had not followed the advice of not having items rotate out, there would have only been 25 puzzle boxes sold. I'm glad we went this path where we let things pile up a bit and maybe once 200 are out, I'll start removing them.

Q: Any plans for gang warfare if the game expands to 10 or 50 times it is now? It might be difficult to ever take control of an area if there are other people always taking it from you.

A: I think it will scale better than you're thinking. The reward structure does reward controlling areas, but those aren't the only rewards. Old coins you can't really get from defending. Those are more the kinds of rewards you need to get into PvP. The vigilante content might be difficult, but it's designed as more of a peacock feather. If only 1% of the population has the Vigilante avatar, I'm okay with that. Also a lot of stuff can be unlocked for the day so it can be shared between gangs.

Q: Read any good books lately?

A: I was sick lately so reread the Harry Potter. Brian Lumley Cthulhu mythos.

Q: Yetis? Voodoo zombies? Ghosts in the machine? UFOs over the lake? Lab-bred chimerae? When do we get to see these things from the news reports.

A: C'mon, you're trusting the crazy guy on TV? You'll run into most of those eventually. I'll probably add more stuff there as I go.

Q: About what percentage of your development time do you spend dealing with bug reports/fixing old stuff vs. making new content?

A: That varies day by day. Overall 75% new/25% bug reports. Most reports are pretty easy to fix, even not counting typos. I've coded everything myself so it's pretty easy to fix. Halloween took a day to do the designing, a day to do a art requisition, 3-5 more days for coding. So about a week.

Q: How long did the halloween event take to create? What do you do to code up a new encounter or new item?

A: One of the things that I did when I first started, I created an interpreter that handles all the encounter conditions, and the item bonuses. So an encounter is: I put all the text in there. Choice encounters are a little more complicated. But all of that is just handled through a simple sql interface. Usable items work very much like encounters. Equipment I just describe it, decide what type it is, list out the bonuses some of which are visible or not. For example, the containment outfit has a containment suit flag and then some encounters check how many of that flag you have.

Q: How has Metroplexity turned out different from how you expected?

A: Most of the stuff that I planned on, went in exactly like I planned it. There's also a bunch of stuff that was inspired by or suggested by players that cause things to deviate. Ghost ship and Vigilante Sidequest. That's why the vigilante pistol has a melee option, because at the time Vholes was on a huge melee kick.

Q: Were there any other names in the running before you chose 'Metroplexity'?

A: Not really. I'm really terrible at naming things.

Q: Fae Sight or Ocean Sight?

A: That choice is going to get a lot more interesting. Pretty interesting already but. Personally, Ocean Sight.

Q: Can you estimate how large the regular player base is?

A: I can run a query. 174. Not too bad.

Q: Can you smell that?

A: I probably can't. Can't really smell anything.

Q: Do you find me annoying?

A: There are times I get annoyed with individual players, or when they point out things that need fixing, but there is no one that I find annoying in the players.

Q: Teeth slot implementation? The main ingredient for the dentures of awesome power is in the game now.

A: There is a shout out to the teeth slot.

Q: How long can you bear having something cool hidden (like the Vigilante side-quest thing) in the game before giving (useful) hints?

A: A really really long time. The only reason that I gave hints for the Vigilante quest is that I screwed up the progression of the quest. Having the wall in the abandoned subway being really obvious. The wall was a marker where you use the information from the Vigilante to get through the wall. But the wall was way way more obvious than the way to get information to get through the wall. In retrospect, the wall would not have appeared originally until after you solved, or you could pass it but not talk to the guy without the Vigilante information. Not that I don't enjoy sharing cool stuff like that, but I feel it cheapens the experience of the players. There's awesome stuff from the university quest era that hasn't been uncovered yet.

Q: How much of the Metroplex do we need to burn down to meet the Herald of Flame again?

A: She'll reappear. Your personal choices, along with the choices of the group, will be taken into account. The choice that you made is not attached to your current reset.

Q: Have you played (not solely for testing purposes) Metroplexity yourself?

A: Yeah, absolutely. Of course, if there's a bug that I find as I play, I'll go fix it, but I think it's important for designers to play the game. When I made the ghost ship, the shaman showed up in the slags by accident and I didn't test that path to check it.

Q: Favourite item/part of the game?

A: Item: twisting silver blade. The plot and the fragmented kaleidoscope of memory of your character. There's a lot of extrapolation that hasn't been done, which is fine.

Q: Does Bucket Smash do anything besides making me laugh?

A: It shames your PvP opponents. Other than that, it's a bit of a goof you can throw around in combat, which I felt we were lacking.

Q: Other games you like?

A: [around 1 hour in] My brain jumps to video games, the big three Chronotrigger, Final Fantasy 3/6 and Planescape: Torment. [Tabletop games. etc.]

Q: I might be the only one in the dark but… Tell me more about Puyo… Who are they? Where'd they come into the picture exactly, and why do I never see them around?

A: See above. Puyo just doesn't come around much.

Q: What do you feel has lent the most inspiration into creating Metroplexity? To the coding? Inspiration to the theme and/or story?

A: Overall, the theme of choice I was talking about before. Coding - I owe a great amount to Kingdom of Loathing. Jick's been great, talking about us on his podcast and amenable to answering questions. Mostly just learning as I go along. There's a rich vein for the story of paranormal cyberpunk, or aetherpunk. Cyberpunk speaks well to where we are right now. Each age has its stories (eg. Jules Verne about x; 50's was about atomic power). Not that we have cybernetic implants but the large corps and inequalities between rich and poor speak of cyberpunk speak to where we are. As far as Eclipse - my wife said, if I want to play an interesting person, I can just go out and do stuff. So as escapism, adding something that cannot exist. This has been combined well, Shadowrun is very good example, and the CthulhuPunk, but it has largely been left unexplored. The story grew organically from Eclipse and such. Before I started the game even, I had Eclipse, and Midgard, and the various gangs, and the Slags. Before I decided it was a computer game even, this might have ended up a tabletop RPG.

Q: Do you intend to ever go into deep detail of the player's character's background, or do you have intentions of leaving it semi-open for player benefit?

A: More the latter. There's a lot of stuff you'll be able to document on the player character page on the wiki with a fair amount of certainty, but there will be a lot of hints, and drug induced hazes.

Q: Hmm what's the status on Downtown??

A: Downtown is still quite a ways off. Survivors, Oldtown, and it will be one of the areas after. Really excited to start working on it. Midgard HQ, organized crime, local HQ for Zaibtsu and Omnitech, hospital, nightclubs and condos for the upper crust. There's a lot going on there.

Q: When will we see more of the Herald of Fire?? (cant wait for that, hoping for a sidequest as great as the Ship of the Damned)

A: Already answer, she's definitely coming back.

Q: When will spidery stuff creep on us from webbed building??

A: Webbed building is one of those great things that I dropped in there. I think I know what will be there but it's most just there in case I ever need it. I have some great art waiting for it.

Q: So anything on the 6 floor of the abandoned buildings yet??

A: No just the same state of affairs.

Q: I think that people in Metroplex are a bunch of homosexuals - were seeing almost only males like 99% of population - how the hell do they reproduce anyway??

A: Puyo seems to prefer drawing men, so unless I ask for women it normally comes back as men. I've requested some recently that are female. The student counsel and toga partier, among others.

Q: What's you're favourite band? What kind of music do you like?

A: Lots of film scores, lots of things with lyrical density. MC Hawking.

Q: Came up with any interesting use for Mists from Eclipse Phase??

A: Not yet, still gestating.

Q: Do you intend on repeating holiday rewards? As in giving out the firework rewards from last Metroplex day next year? What about Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas? Are there plans for other holidays?

A: As far as repeating rewards, I plan to keep my options wide open. I don't think the rewards should stay the same if the underlying content changes. If the fiery-serpents are in the game next year, they'll still drop the stuff to get your charred reward. Other holidays - some rewards will come back, some won't. A lot of the candies for example will, but maybe different sides will be available next halloween with different rewards. I don't feel strongly about Thanksgiving in game, it will be along the lines of getting a message with delicious food, rather than killing unearthly turkeys. Christmas - likely get a small expansion. A little pinch of globalness. There will definitely be more limited time content. I wouldn't mind more holidays in the early-middle part of the year to balance it out.

Q: Will there be a Thanksgiving event again this year??

A: Yeah, probably.

Q: If you planned that far ahead, any hints about Christmass event?? will it be as entertaining and dependant on us as Halloween??

A: Not making any promises. The two parts of the event last year, folks giving out the trees and the snowman contest, will probably both be expanded, in addition to some more goodies.

Q: Any chance we can expand further on the old areas? Like some "abandoned" buildings in Southside that aren't so abandoned if you're eclipsed up? Or that other locked area in the Docks that we can't use yet… or somewhere further down on the docks?

A: Yes. If you think about the name of the upcoming quest [Survivors] rather than the name of the previous three [Southside, Docks, University], that is a pretty good hint on where things are going.

Q: Considering the damage done to the dorms with this latest content, it's pretty obvious it's going to be a little messed up for a while… but any chance we could go to a Hospital and see how some of the people, like the Vampiress or the Betogad chick, are doing? Also, with the sheer volume of overdosed eclipse in the Halloween Party, is there any chance we can dub the Dorms "The Slags Mark II"?

A: I am thinking more collegey like Slags Hall. As far as the hospital, Midgard is a big backer of the university, they've been gracious enough help the survivors of the party.

Q: Any chance we can do a little more permanent damage to people in PvP? I want to turn PaidPiedPiperPal and the Hounds into burning, insane, possessed husks with giant-gaping-artillery-round-shaped holes in them.

A: Well, one of the benefits of being who you are or what you are, even if you leave an artillery-shaped hole in you, or have ruptured organs that heal in ten minutes, there's not a lot we can really do to each other.

Q: Any chance we can get some random status ailments from some of the more… twisted items? Like the reused syringe - any chance we could randomly contract the latest generation of HyperAIDS or something? (HyperAIDS being a skill that knocks down all of your stats by 10%, removes 50% of your health, for instance, as well as a possible blood vomiting issue in-combat?)

A: It's something that I play around it, there are times when it can be compelling or necessary, but for the most part I try to stay away.

Q: Will the normal skills inevitably be capable of being turned permanent? Will our current reset counters get to give us the ability to choose how many skills we can obtain? Are those who reset often FSCKed? Will there be "normal" reset rewards, like some craft capable stuff? Will there be a second-generation permanent capacity? Will there be a new possible game type that forces you to not be able to use your permanent skills?

A: Yes. No. [About Kingdom of Loathing NS13 expansion.] When the final reset mechanic goes in, there will be opportunities to make skills permanent. I don't object to, but don't intend to have, item rewards for reset rewards, but there may be some once-per-reset items available. There is capability in the coding for tiers of skills, but I don't necessarily plan on using it. Yeah, there will be options. There will probably also be a middle ground that is more strategically interesting that would let you choose a slate of skills, maybe a 10-skill more even playfield. And the strategic importance of being able to pick them.

Q: Do you need any help outside of donations? I'm willing to pinch in whenever I can.

A: Don't really need any help with coding. Spreading the word, the more people we can get will get more donations and cascades down.

Podcast #2

Q: On what do PvP-clones base their technique choice/priority? (how many fights, etc.)

A: Before I get into that, quick background on PvP: When you are in gang warfare, there are several situations which create a "patroller", which is a copy of you that goes on to defend the area. So the way that works, if you are in an gang warfare area that no one controls, you'll get an encounter that adds to you patrol, which will create a patroller. One will also be created if you win a gang warfare fight. Whenever you're fighting someone in PvP is an opponent created from their statistics and their techniques. I think it works pretty well, synchronous combat kind of drives me nuts. The patrollers base their techniques on techniques that you've been using recently. So when you first join it will record what you are doing and how you are using techniques.

Q: Do these clones start at max HP, HP going into a previous fight, or HP after a previous fight?

A: Like I mentioned, there are two ways that patrollers are created, building control encounter or defeating someone; in both cases it is taking your current HP. Each patroller has its own HP total, so over the course of several attacks, they can generate down. Prevents crazy strong opponents from holding an area forever, and if you have two equal opponents, if it used max HP, it would be very binary, there wouldn't be room for just sneaking by a win.

Q: What happens when you switch out equipment/techniques very often? (will it copy both at the same time?)

A: They are both copied at the same time. Shouldn't cause any problems unless you are actively trying to screw yourself over by changing fights every fight.

Q: Your cat! Details! Antics? :)

A: Zoey and Tiff. Zoey whines, Tiff loves people.

Q: Another Clone question: Are clones affected by your active effects at the moment of cloning? Or active effects when they're faced, notably etheric (for etheric techniques)? It's hard to tell since you stopped being able to fight yourself. :)

A: Yeah, absolutely. Everything is copied when they attributes are taken.

Q: How many undiscovered avatars are there currently?

A: 2. I wouldn't feel bad about not discovering them. Not hard exactly, but not the sort of thing that would come to mind like the others.

Q: Will the final reset be incorporated in the story/setting, or more like it is now, a mechanism not really part of the world? Will the final reset mechanism involve the maelstrom?

A: Definitely the former. The reset itself kind of is the story, you've seen people that know about it. There are clues and threads about it. As far as the maelstrom, you'll definitely know when reincarnation goes in.

Q: Will there be adventuring in truly etheric places, beyond our reality, instead of etheric places in our reality like the ghost ship?

A: I would argue with the basis of that question. Most of the weird places you go like the ghost ship or charnel house are slotted into our reality but not meaningfully part of it. The ghost ship is not floating out on Lake Metroplex. There will be adventures in other weirder places. Most of the stuff you see with Eclipse is stuff that other people have dreamed up, so the weirder places aren't more pure in any sense. The ghost ship is by no means any more pure than the hounds, for example. They weirdest place is going to be a ways off.

Q: Meaning/origin of your pseudonym "Kinak"?

A: I've been playing D&D since I was nine. FOr the first few months, all my characters were called Landon. (I'm terrible at naming things.) Eventually, Kinak was the first character that lasted more than a session, and that wasn't called Landon. [D&D talk]

Q: What is the underwater city thing in the big Oil Slick adventure in the tainted shoreline? Is this just a filler placeholder or do you have specific plans for it.

A: The latter. There are exceedingly specific plans for that. It's for a branch of a quest [Survivors quest]. You'll get to visit it.

Q: How far ahead do you plan the Items of the Month?

A: Usually about a month. Once an item launches, I'll start thinking about the next one. Enough time for Puyo to get art.

Q: Are there any more big infodumps that we don't know about like, Watson Jr, or the Vigilante's chip.

A: Not those sorts. There are two pretty intense sources of information that haven't been uncovered. One of them surprises me, that it hasn't been uncovered.

Q: How concrete is the main storyline, or is it still kind of elastic in your head? Is the "Third Act" fairly planned out or just sort of vague at this point?

A: Storyline-wise, pretty solid. All of the story points that Survivors quest, Oldtown, etc. are there, but they ways that you get from one point to another are kind of vague. Eg. the Slags quest was planned, to go rescue Hel, but how you get there was less planned, there are a lot more routes into the slags, a lot more ways to get containment suits now.

Q: How many Abstract Sketch messages are we still missing?

A: I'm not sure how many you have. Looks like there are 17. I might be adding more later.

Q: Other than a master list of high-level sites, will you confirm any pattern to website names, besides telling what "type" of site it is.

A: I'm not sure I can confirm or deny that. I don't remember putting in anything like that, but there's a lot of stuff, like a lot of stuff, that went into the website names.

Q: Any secrets to the Urban Lore skill? I feel like, compared to everything else, it just seems suspiciously simple. Especially the list of names.

A: There's still a couple things undiscovered. It's supposed to be more simple than the cube and the goggles. There's a breakpoint between 2 and 1 coin items. It's more the one coin items are a day or two to get sorted, and the two coin items are easily twice as long. There's a couple things to be discovered, but all the basic summons have been found.

Q: Cooking with a capital C, ominous titling aside, what can we expect to roll out at the start (Since it's unlikely we'll have high end stores, fresh produce, or other variety stocks right away)?

A: It will probably not roll out until you have some of those things, in that most cooking ingredients aren't available anymore. The middle class person is either eating out or microwaving things, so actual flour or even cookie dough wouldn't be at a kwik-e-mart, there is instaheat ramen. Omnitech owns everything. Traditional ingredients is more in high-end stores, probably won't see that until Oldtownish, maybe later. Don't really want to add that now, there'd be like three recipes, with bat wing or truffle oil.

Q: How much internet content are we still missing? (Just broad strokes, item recipes, more code, etc.)

A: All the stuff that is just uncommon has been found. Some stuff is triggered, (or triggered and uncommon cause I'm a jerk like that). About as much as everything else. 5-10%.

Q: We've heard of the city, we've heard of the outskirts, the rotting parts of town, and the 'world beyond' (to a smaller extent). Just how 'big' are we talking? (How big is the city? The outskirts? How far can we range out?)

A: I can't really provide a very useful measurements of that. Metroplex is a huge huge city, on the scale of LA or Chicago. The outskirts extend for quite a ways, a lot of the outskirts have been abandoned, everyone collapsed into the urban centers, which is why you see places like Southside where there are more people than housing. You'll be getting a little slice of the outside. There's no reason to let you wander off to the drone-run farms and boring wilderness. Not a lot you'll need outside the city.

Q: Would you say the democratic process on the halloween events was a good or bad experiment? (Is letting groups of people define the event for the rest of us going to be more common? Less?)

A: I'm reading a bit of bitterness into that. Halloween went fantastically. Part of the reason it went so well is that people were so invested in it. Everyone's choices having consequences for everyone is a natural extension of the theme of the game, and it's not going to be integrated into the core gameplay at all, but there'll be ripples, and I'd expect to see other one-time events and halloweens using that kind of content.

Q: Fishies. We fish them, we eat them, are there more of them we haven't found… or are we finally caught up until a new water source opens?

A: Argeth and I had a conversation a little while ago in which we discovered we had only found about half the fish types. There's some sushi stuff unfound but all the fish types have been.

Q: Is there anything 'bindable' we haven't discovered, i.e. besides hounds, ghoul king, and the evil presence in the park? That's one of my favorite parts of the game, not least because it gives the Hounds a hunting pack. :)

A: I don't think so? There's some content that links into that that I don't think anyone has found.

Q: Is item #3 actually obtainable? :/

A: I keep getting asked that, but no. It was from an enemy that was from alpha, maybe very early beta. It hasn't dropped for a long long time.

Q: Any chance we could get some other "PvP" only status ailments, like how Melee gets "Broken Bone" via Beatdown? [examples]

A: I don't think PvP only is the way those will roll off in the future. Beatdown was an a case where I wanted to create a technique that gave you the effect either way, on offence or defence. As far as other stuff, there will definitely be other stuff that give effects in the future like Spore Cloud or Gas Grenade. Wouldn't be surprised to see more.

Q: So got things mixed up i was meaning to ask about the progress on Survivors Quest.

A: Progress is good. I have the first major branch done, which was the hardest one. Now it's really just a bunch of content. I realized one of the branches through was maybe a third the length of the other ones so padding that out with more content. It'll still be a bit.

Q: Are we going to get hacking as an encounter type? and some items.

A: Not sure what you're trying to ask there. If you are saying, will you get items that say "Moderately increases chance of hacking encounters", probably not. Most are wrapped in choice encounters, which wouldn't be affected by chance of hacking encounters.

Q: Would Puyo be willing to take commisions for a few metroplexity like images (Hounds and symbols), and how much would that cost? Because we may neeed some images for our newborn Hound forums:) And does she paint things in color??

A: She would take commissions, how much, no idea. We had talked about custom avatars but never came to any conclusions. I'll ask her.

Q: And when were at this subject: would you be ok with us using some of the opponents images as our forum avatars??

A: Sure, go ahead. I'd ask, please don't hotlink them, if you are using them in a big site, hotlinking can cause some bandwidth drain, and give Metroplexity a hat-tip if you use it publicly.

Q: So there are ruins of the city in the metroplex lake, but any chances for us to see some underwater Midgard facility reminescent of Bioshoc's Rapture??

A: I would not expect a Midgard facility down there, because they already have plenty of places they can hide things, they basically have the whole run of the slags. Wouldn't be surprised to find some stuff down there, whether it is etheric stuff or people with domes or whatnot.

Q: Why use the obsolete frames instead of code injection into Div with AJAX??

A: Never used AJAX much. Not a fan of javascript. Didn't run into AJAX until I was done coding the chat interface for the fourth time, and wasn't too excited to code it a fifth time.

Q: Would you be wiling to chat or trade pms about how youre framework is build?? (thing like how you store effects info, triggering different kinds of encounters etc)

A: [43:00] [details about how the database works / inventory game design theory]

Q: Any chance the podcast size be reduced below 3 megs? Over 5 megs is a tad bit pervy for me enjoyment.

A: This one might be under 3 megs if I don't get sidetracked.

Q: How about a little notes section somewhere in the game? I'd love to be able to store my oil-slick paths for instance in the game instead of on a piece of paper/txt-file that I will misplace, or the wiki, and keep some reminders in there.

A: Yeah, I could probably add to the quest log.

Q: Some kind of Gang Symbol option? Giving a leader the option of picking an item/technique in his possession and letting it show on the gang page as the gang's symbol.

A: Probably not as suggested. The item images won't expand well. Technique images themselves have the red numbers embedded in them. If I were going to do that, I would have to scare up the originals from the technique images, and maybe shrink some of the enemy images. No promises.

Q: Banning people from the forum for Kinak impersonation and threadjacking, right here in this very thread?

A: People are generally helpful. I prefer that these stay relatively clean, I am just reading these straight down.

Q: More techniques that do something other than damage?

A: Will there be? Yes. A lot of times I can't stop myself. As a general rule, techniques are for killing things, or avoiding getting killed, and they need to stay that way. [Healing in combat / dragging out combat / stunning combat discussion.]

Podcast #3

Q: If you had to imagine a theme for Metroplexity, like a musical theme, what would you hear?

A: I am actually hearing Megaman. Maybe the Sega Genesis oldschool Shadowrun.

Q: Who's your favorite villain in a game, movie, or other fiction?

A: Magneto, no question. He’s a villain obviously, but I can buy into his cause. Dr. Horrible is awesome.

Q: Mua Ha Ha? HA HA HA HA! Those FOOLS!

A: Hahaha.

Q: Do you know who Luca Blight is?

A: No, can’t say that I do.

Q: Have you ever thought about having on-going limited time global events: Like, an event that is limited to a person's period of time per reset, but its consequences/event based on the global interaction within the past few days?

A: You mean like PvP? I’m not sure exactly what you’re driving at. FinalFantasy 11’s area control mechanic maybe? I’ve thought a lot about globalness in a lot of ways.

Q: Do all opponents of the same name have the same stats? Eg. are the third eye gangers in the happy hour the same as the third eye gangers in the docks, or the same as the third eye gangers with Shard? Some seem to give more XP than others(?).

A: More or less. Yeah. I definitely can have them be different invisibly but don’t tend to.

Q: Do opponents use the draw-5-cards-from-a-deck thing for combat? They don't seem to ever run out of techniques. Is it a flat chance drawing each one equally or is it weighted towards certain techniques (from a deck of infinite cards)?

A: Don’t think I’m going to answer that one. You can spade that one, I can’t stop you.

Q: How does Leap/Ceiling Crawl work? I like the idea of two or more techniques that, when used individually, don't do much at all, but when used all in a chain, are pretty powerful. Are ghouls restricted to only use ascending chains? It wouldn't make a lot of sense to crawl along the ceiling, then leap up there.

A: There are those. Those types of techniques don’t necessarily work bi-directionally.

Q: Once the final reset thing goes in, do you plan on allowing both eg. path of war and path of peace, or gunslinger and pugilism to be learned? Or are all the skills that are currently mutually exclusive going to continue to be?

A: Well, it would be kind of pointless to have skills become permanent if you couldn’t have mutually exclusive ones. Those are the ones you really — well all it would do is save you the trouble of getting them again.

Q: Oh, also, I got to the stairs leading up to the sixth floor with no energy, no hunger and only two body left. I needed two more energy - one to talk to Hel, one to get out of the slags. I drink a cup of joe and only get 1 energy. Bah! So close to my first 2 day run. (This story is half to grumble and half to say what an excitingly fun game you've made!)

A: Haha.

Q: If Metroplexity gets big enough to fully support yourself off of donations, are you considering working on it full time? Or is it more like a hobby?

A: If I could support myself fully on Metroplexity, I’d love that.

Q: Do you have any plans for future games?

A: I haven’t been working on anything in any serious sense. I’ll design about a game a week. One week I might come up with a crazy euro trading board game, or next week a space constellation game. If anything else, it would probably be along the lines of table-top RPGs.

Q: Will saving David/Dr. A/Lo be much more important once the next quest goes in? I kind of just go into those fights expecting to lose because there's no real negative consequences.

A: Yeah. Way way more important, it’s called the survivors quest for a reason. Nothing breaks if you let the other three die but it limits your options.

Q: Discussion: I feel like one of the mistakes that KoL made was make spleen items give adventures. It suddenly obsoletes every other spleen item because the advantage of having more adventures is so great. Similarly, it seems that I very rarely use any body items other than the ones that give more turns. Do you think it would have been a better plan to leave the drugs as stuff that give effects but not turns?

A: Probably. Well, I should rephrase that. If I wanted drugs primarily used for their effects, I should have removed or reduced drugs that give energy. The appreciation of drugs that provide energy is far more appreciated by the playerbase. Even if two drugs were balanced from a gameplay perspective, I think people would always go for the one with energy. Doesn’t really bug me, just goes to prove the basic rewards are in place. If people were not taking them, it might prove that people have too much energy. It was in the original design, I didn’t want to break up the symmetry of what Food and Drugs meant. Even if they all gave energy, there’d be things like cup of Joe that people never use so we would be having the same conversation.

Q: How's this month's IOTM coming along?

A: I got the art back from Puyo, which is fantastic. Haven’t really started on it, hope to have it out by the end of the month.

Q: Has all the options for fighting Shard been figured out? Is it actually possible to lure the second guard away? Does sending Lo in actually do anything at this point?

A: I wouldn’t say they’ve been figured out; people have probably experienced all of them but not all the mechanics are spaded. Not going to say if you can lure the second guard. If sending Lo in does do anything, it’s secondary to me just wanting to give you the option to be a jack-ass.

Q: Does the "Survey the damage" or "head in" choice on the damaged building actually make a difference, gamewise (other than a different message)?

A: The different messages can mean different things.

Q: Does the empty candy bowl actually have a use?

A: I’m going to lean back and chuckle. Does it have some neat side-effect that no one’s figured out? Good question.

Q: More content like the fishing game on the lab computer where we can compete against others for a high score would be awesome! (Though preferably without Mag's unassailably high score.)

A: There’s actually one I’m going to put in as soon as I’m done with the Survivors Quest or if I need a break from it.

Q: Will there be a way to save recipes when resetting in the future? This would be especially nice for the recipes you can't get by experimenting.

A: You’re going to be sorely disappointed when that goes in. The drive behind having recipes saved when resetting is so that you don’t have to experiment a bunch of times. The non-experimentation recipes won’t be saved. I did have a realization on this topic - it may actually be able to go in before the final reset mechanism. I had an idea that isn’t going to work mechanically, so have a different idea.

Q: A way to save techniques?

A: No.

Q: Is the laughter you sometimes get when you receive a red lens item after crafting related to the Mad scientist avatar or am I going astray and is it only a random/unrelated amusing effect?

A: I don’t like to interfere with folk’s spading stuff. So no straight up answer. I think that understanding when the avatar shows up should give you a bit of a clue to what the final trigger is.

Q: Will there be more overt signs of commercialism in newer, richer areas? The current areas understandably mostly either lack or are more like the behind-the-scenes (non-consumer) part of capitalism.

A: Yeah. There’s a lot going on that actually tips you off if you’re looking for it. Things like, if you look at stuff that salvages into polysteel, you’re looking at the expanse of Omnitech’s commercial empire. Oldtown has some actual shops and a cybertech clinic.

Q: What do you think of my pacifist run (so far)?

A: Pretty cool. I intend to rework some of the stuff in the docks quest so that it’s possible to do that without killing people directly or indirectly.

Q: Any intentions of implementing an Etheric technique that damages multiple opponents? It seems fertile ground for horrifying ideas.

A: It’s certainly an option going forward. Nothing on hand.

Q: We have melee techniques… but we lack kicks. Can we get some fun kick action? (Kick = Punch, Snap Kick = Kidney Punch, Roundhouse = Crushing Punch)

A: More than likely. I don’t have any art for kicks so it would be a bit.

Q: How are you doing? I'm fine, thanks.

A: I’m sick and lagging on the getting a job front.

Q: I went to Public School! (Bonus points if you can figure out the reference.)

A: Don’t get the reference.

Q: You mention Baten Kaitos a lot (well, considering the similar card-fight style, albeit I always thought it had more of a Monster Rancher Battle Card: Episode II feel to it) as well as other RPGs. Have you ever played the Shin Megami Tensei series?

A: No.

Q: What's your ticker symbol? (More bonus points if you can figure it out!)

A: MTRX?

Q: What's your KoL account #?

A: Long long deleted.

Q: Do you have any non-RPG favorite games?

A: Console games: I play a bunch of Smash Brothers and Mario Kart with my wife on wii. We play a lot of Kirby Air Ride on Gamecube. Other than that, boardgames; Dominion, Smallworld (fantasy Risk-ish type game, but doesn’t have the problems of Risk of eliminating players and games drag on).

Q: Want to play a game over teh intarwebs at some point?

A: I’ve been asked that a few times, I probably shouldn’t. My time is already dragged in too many directions.

Q: Is there any benefit to killing the poet that we just haven't found yet, to offset the problems it causes?

A: I mean, there’s the satisfaction of killing him. Which is really the primary reason it’s an option. Not something that is intended to be a glorious optimization option, it changes some content in a couple places.

Q: Judging by some of the text in the Halloween event, there are a fair number of other hipsters aside from the poet and his friend. Are we going to get an opportunity to fight them, so that the poet isn't the only place to get the new hipster drops? Additionally, will we be having any encounters with frats?

A: Actually there are other places to fight other hipsters, you’re probably well past them if you haven’t reset. The frats normally keep to themselves, except for parties. You’ll probably going to see them again.

Q: What's your favorite Lovecraft story? / Tell me about your character — or more about your current pen-and-paper roleplaying set-up. Had any good campaigns lately?

A: Lovecraft and D&D stuff

Q: You haven't mentioned the Metroplexity analogue to "familiars" in a while. There was something about having a unique system, and then… nothing. Is this a back-burner issue, or are they coming along?

A: This is going to sound strange, but since there’s just one of me, nothing really comes along unless it’s on the front burner. I normally just work on one thing until it’s done, unless I get really sick of it. Still planning on it.

Q: Mandatory update question: When's the next neat content update? I have a few pals who're more interested in the story than spading out minutiae, and I want to keep them involved.

A: That’s an interesting question. I only have a week of work left, but thanksgiving is coming up and life’s been crazy so that all plays into the lengthening of that.

Q: You mentioned some appeal from some of the earlier suggestion threads, and there was an attempt to keep track of which ones. How are we sitting on current ideas/current tracks?

A: I have a list actually. Pets is on there, some more hacking goodies, stuff that could drop in at any time. Minor interface tweaks. Most of the stuff is waiting on more questline, so cybernetics for example probably won’t show up until Oldtown.

Q: Is it possible to predict when the hacker gains full control of a site, like from its name, image, any subtle hints(other than failed to intercept data)?

A: Yeah, there are some subtle hints. I wasn’t sure about the name.

Q: Is there any hacking option available after "browse hidden files" (apart from "view security logs", of course)? If not, does that mean blog sites have no options to sabatage, reroute, misdirect, and steal?

A: The blog sites, I’m not going to say they’re not good for much, they actually have quite a bit going on, more than some other site types, but they’re just personal people’s sites. They don’t have things to sabotage, reroute, misdirect, and steal.

Q: Does Consumer Goods sites have options other than browse public, reroute, and misdirect?

A: I think they do? I’d have to check.

Q: Is there an undiscovered processor/memory item? Is there a recipe for it? Do I need to keep browsing hidden files in Electronics Supply sites, and hope for the best, or am I heading in the wrong direction?

A: If you mean like the gold processor or mimetic sheet, I don’t think any of the major ones are missing. There might be some minor one-off ones.

Q: Is the fishing skill level capped at Beyond Reproach or is that only the last level we see? Let Beyond Reproach be +11 to fishing skill, can the skill level increase to +12 without any change in the skills description?

A: I believe so? I only wrote so many descriptions. It’s like the “increases chance of pvp encounters”, there’s only so many levels.

Q: Do we have a chance to get the Extreme Bass Player program without beating the fishing game's high score?

A: I’d say that you probably have a lot of experimental evidence for that.

Q: Do you have any further plans with Walk with the Blind yet? When will we hear more from the Blind Legion? After Survivors? After Oldtown?

A: When there are enough copies of Walk with the Blind in circulation to make it worth doing. I know what it’s going to do.

Q: Does triggering the laughter require discovering a crafting recipe new to you this incarnation? Is all this part of a plot to make me reset?

A: I seem to recall someone else was asking about resetting. I don’t think so. There’s a trigger obviously, I don’t think it’s linked to discovering a new recipe.

Q: Do you suffer from the problem the KoL guys talk about where 90% of items start with "This is"?

A: Probably. I tend to start with “this” more than I would like, I try to convolute sentences around to try to avoid that. (checks) About 60% start with this.

Q: Will there be more leaderboards like the resetboard? If so, what kind of leaderboards?

A: Yes. I’m not a liberty to discuss yet. I’ll get more complaints that I’m making people destroy their lives with the reset board.

Q: Will there ever be some kind of display case where we can show of our e-peen collectibles? An online camfeed of my apartment's display case, for instance.

A: I actually already provided a hint about this. Where? I’ll leave that as an exercise to the listener. I have a feeling that the way it will need to work people will complain about.

Q: More furniture?

A: Yeah. It’s an item type, I fully intend to add more. There’s another one that’s part of the survivors quest that’s coming up, and there’ll be coffee machines and stoves. Don’t want to add too many more until the rest of the housing system goes in. It’ll be a small trickle.

Podcast #4

Q: Could the access to Omnimall be granted for just having a net-enabled device in inventory, even if it's not equipped? I mean, it's probably not such a big deal right now, but it might become quite an annoyance when the economy becomes more developed.

A: Not in the way that question is phrased. The reason I can make it work that way for neural recordings is because there are a limited number of items and don’t need to be checked as often. There are dozens and dozens of PDAs and it’s sloppy codewise. I might make it so that if you get Omnimall access once, you can always access it in the top pane even if you don’t have a net-enabled PDA. Narrative vs usability.

Q: Could we get ceilings on stuff like learning the caffeine powder recipe from chemistry papers? Last reset I had to use 18 papers to learn it (11 in-run, 7 after, for the heck of it), and that was quite frustrating.

A: No, I don’t think so? I mean, it’s a random chance, and 18 is out of the expected range but not the end of the world. Adding a ceiling would make it unnecessarily complicated. If there were a bunch more recipes I could make it so that it gives one random recipe each time until you’ve gotten all of them, but with the handful it has, don’t think it needs that.

Q: Do you intend to implement some sort of tutorial to guide new players through the first steps of the game? I know some of the people I introduced to the game were quite confused at first (even though they were already familiar with KoL-like gameplay).

A: I’m of three minds. On one hand, it would help a lot, people are confused. But it would be a pain. Also the vast majority of people never look at the info page, so I wonder if they would look at the tutorial. I know there are different learning styles and a tutorial would help a lot more of them. Eventually probably will add something.

Q: Will we ever get techniques that cancel the opposing non-defensive technique if it kills the enemy?

A: Probably not, no. Weird in a couple ways, I don’t like combats ending without the enemy having any chance to act. You don’t really get stuns in the first position of the chain. It would not really be functional in both directions, if those were used by a defender enemy or in PvP.

Q: How do you feel about automation? (ex: Kolmafia) What about greasemonkey scripts that make playing the game really easy?

A: Another one I’m on split minds. I don’t really care, as along as you’re not breaking the rules, eg. don’t have more than one character. On a personal level, I think it’s kind of insulting and would rather people don’t do it. If you’re going to play the game, play the game. If not, don’t siphon off my server resources. I’m not going to set policy. Distinction between automation and greasemonkey that fixes up the interface. The script that manmobile made to allow you to use the keyboard to select options is great, and I would add if I can make it compatible across browsers. Things like the puzzle box minder or tainted shoreline reminder are spoilery in-game, but totally fine.

Q: What affects item/credit drops? Does perception affect it majorly? Will there ever be gear or buffs that have "+x% item drops" or "+x% credit drops" as an effect?

A: I don’t think I’m going to answer that. It’s pretty straight forward. Perception - depends on the item drop and your perception. Depends a lot on the variables. Probably not any "+x% item drops" or "+x% credit drops". They’re kind of metagamey. Not that we don’t have metagame stuff, like chance of encounters. Perception was designed to affect drop rates from the beginning, it just took me a while to code up.

Q: A few things on hacking - I don't suppose we could get program setups much like outfits? I'd admit it be pretty niche in usage but it'd be nice to have.

A: Yeah. I’ve been intending to do that for a while, it has just gotten pushed down the line. Not quite as easy as doing the outfits but it’ll come up.

Q: Also is steal funds just an attempt drive spades crazy?

A: No, well there’s a bunch of stuff going on there, which might be an attempt drive spades crazy subconsciously. You can probably spade out the variables. If I was actually trying to drive spades crazy I can normally manage that.

Q: Can you ban Mag for a while so that he can use that free time to play Planescape: Torment, Grim Fandango, Baldur's Gate and Fallout 3?

A: No, I think I’m good with Mag reporting millions of typos and keeping me honest.

Q: Think you will ever implement fights with a round/time limit, other than your techniques or HP running out? For instance, an opponent powering up a devastating attack, opponent running away if you take it down too slowly, reinforcements showing up midfight to make it harder, the bomb ticking down to zero!!

A: It’s tracked, the number of rounds, so I can do stuff off of that. I don’t want to put in an artificial limit, which is good and bad. It restricts design space a bit, a lot of things that could trigger in combat would create an incentive to spend forever in combat. I dribble out [combat mechanics] slowly.

Q: No running away-avatar? :( I hoped to find one during my cowa.. pacifist run.

A: I guess I could ask Puyo to draw one. No avatar.

Q: Can I take Vholes's place and complain about instances in the game where the narrative says you shoot people while you have been only using knuckles, swords, spider legs, etc, and the game choice doesn't tell me I will be using a gun? One might not even have a gun, having salvaged them all…

A: The game assumes you always have a gun. Not interested in coding all the ranged techniques in checking if you have a gun. It should tell you in a choice encounter if you are shooting anyone in the face.

Q: Thanks for the battered cred chip dumpster implementation. :)

A: You’re welcome!

Q: You told us in your last Podcast that there won't be any way to save recipes you can't get through experimentation. I can see a reason why - the ability to make caffeine powder out of pep pills as soon as you hit the docks would be pretty overpowered. Is there any chance we might get those recipes back after we finish the run?

A: No, probably not. For the same reason you don’t get skills and techniques back, everything is tied to your choices. Don’t want to go through and flag recipes, is this from some quest, or non-important. Never in the plan so it would be a ton of work.

Q: On the last podcast you said it will eventually be possible to perm skills that are currently mutually exclusive. So, suppose I have both Ocean Eyes and Fae Sight permed and take some Eclipse. What happens? Do I get both Ocean Sight and Fae Sight? Do I get to choose?

A: You’ll find out! It’s already coded in there, and has been as long as those skills have existed. You’ll see once you perm one.

Q: Do you worry that they complexity of the IOTMs is hampering sales from the more casual players?

A: I’ll dissect your question - the idea of casual players. Casual players probably won’t donate to the game. Some players are more into certain aspects of the game. I don’t think the complexity is causing any problems. Some of them are not that complex. They are targeted at different people, the puzzle box for people who like puzzles, the goggles for people who like crafting, and there are more straightforward ones. If you are too casual to appreciate the prototype coat, not sure what I can do for you. It’s selling about the same. Interestingly, the complexity and the cost doesn’t seem to have any correlation on how well items sell, it’s all the same curve over time.

Q: Any plans for hacking-related quests?

A: Well, I didn’t put that system in there as an end-game system. It’s at the end right now because that’s where you get hacking stuff, but there’s a fair amount going on there that will pull out of hacking.

Q: Do you worry that the complexity of the IOTMs is hampering sales from the not-so casual, but not very puzzle-inclined players? I kid, somewhat. :)

A: Also not too worried about that, I haven’t seen too much evidence of that. The only real puzzle is the puzzle box, the rest might take some spading to figure out but should be pretty straight forward to use once you know how it’s used.

Q: Will all/most future donation items require active (paying attention to it) use, as opposed to straight-forward nifty bonus-granting items: like (ridiculous example) a +10 melee defense, +10 ranged defense pair of pants? Not a complaint by the way, it's a nice differentiation and makes it so that resetting with unearthly items is not just a (boring) matter of putting them on and go, and wondering if it's an purposeful design decision.

A: I don’t think I would ever do that. It is a purposeful decision, for two reason. One, they are designed to be used from the beginning of a reset, it can’t be too gratuitous. The crystal flame is a good example, even though it’s usable from the beginning of the game, it’s not overwhelmingly powerful when you have it in southside, and as you progress, it becomes better and better. I’ve explored that a couple different ways, with the puzzle box and the goggles, look at how using them progresses over time. The prototype coat is not necessarily as useful in the early game, other than getting that chain-5 evasion technique, but the actual extra evasion power is not that useful since you can already dodge all attacks in Southside Park with Dive for Cover. They all have this arc, this story they tell.

Q: Do you prefer/use the term "donation items", "iotms", "unearthly items" or some other term?

A: I usually use donation items, but I like unearthly items. Items of the month is a misnomer, it implies it’s the item for this month and gone after that month. Even once I start rotating items, I don’t think they’ll show up for a month and then gone. Maybe 3-5 items in rotation. I like doing items that target specific player psychographics, so the puzzle box is there for people who like puzzles.

Q: Do you have any pet-peeves (gaming related or not) other than stun-lock? :)

A: I think my biggest personal pet peeve is inch-mile. If you make a change that is good, and the response is asking for additional changes in the same vein. Eg. when putting in outfits for equipment, asking for outfits for programs too. If you’re going to ask for something, wait a bit.

Q: How come there's no falling damage when you leave the Damaged buildings from a floor other than the ground floor?

A: No big reason, really. I could program it to. There’s not an explicit point when you leave it. It’s a question of when it clears the last location. It’s be a little weird. Some very good but equally difficult suggestions have come up about leaving the building by accident, where basically it would have to have its own container.

Q: Shouldn't there be some kind of OmniCereal (consisting of corn syrup, edible cardboard and negligibly toxic delicious chemical additives) in the game?

A: Yeah, there probably should be. Sounds kind of delicious. (noted)

Q: Could we, if we have all the items for the art student's portfolio, be able to give all of them to him in one adventure? Or even a string of adventures(in terms of energy) that's like <Give X> "Thanks for the X, now I need the Y" <I have an Y, take it>. It'd make farming abstract sketches a little easier for resetspaders, and I can't imagine it'd ever be optimal to make/farm all the items for the slight statboost in a run.

A: The access to Professor Evans will probably become fairly significant, so I’ll need to think about it. Technologically, it would be a little weird. I honestly think it’s fine as is, and don’t think abstract sketch farmers are a large part of the player base. I’ll think about it.

Q: Is there/can there be more interactions for the quad if you do it after you've beaten the main quest? Possibly instant dispersal if you wield the empty candy bowl? Unless the empty candy bowl already does something at the quad protest that I missed?

A: I mean, clearing the quad protest does plenty of stuff, it entirely changes that area over and grants you access to the VIP room. You can use it as part of the university quest. I don’t really feel like its value is decreased dramatically by finishing your reset. As stuff comes up, I’m sure things will come up, like the interaction between the crowd and the pool hustler.

Q: Do you have good backups of everything? Including the wiki?

A: The main system is backed up locally and remotely by my host and remotely by me. The wiki is hosted entirely separately, wikidot hosts them. So they wiki is backed up as well as they back it up. The stuff that is really clutch is backed up really well.

Podcast #5

Just coming up to the second part of the Christmas content. First part has been going well, rolled out automated properly. First time the automation for the holidays has gone off smoothly.

Q: When pets make their appearance, will they disappear when you reset, or will they stay with you? EDIT: If not, does this rule out donation-only pets?

A: If they did, that would rule out donation-only pets. But they will not disappear, at least as they’re planned now. Still a little in flux. Some of your progress of having the pet would be wiped but not the pet.

Q: What's the deal with Slick (An)Tony's watch?

A: Well, I mean, it’s obviously a watch that Anthony’s grandfather gave, and whether that is Slick Tony, it does seem a bit suspicious, doesn’t it? Doesn’t seem like the sort of thing I’d do by accident.

Q: What is the saddest thing?

A: Sad kitten eyes.

Q: How's the job search coming along?

A: Plans right now are “when unemployment runs out” not “if unemployment runs out”. Not a lot of jobs out there, my qualifications don’t look great on paper. Lease it up soon so probably moving into a much much cheaper location.

Q: How's the Survivors Quest coming along?

A: Not as well as I would like. I’ve been being all emo and not getting as much done as I would like. Now that we are moving forward under the assumption that just income from Metroplexity and my other side projects, that helps.

Q: What do you want for Christmas?

A: Big thing that I wanted was a lap desk, so that I could sit down on the sofa instead of my squeaky sofa. In general, I’d just ask that people keep donating, people have been very generous. You can donate to Child’s Play too. At some point in the future, I’d like a month where the all the Metroplexity donations go to Child’s Play.

Q: Do any opponents have +Melee Power or other attack bonuses? Or is this a pointless thing to spade?
EDIT: Nevermind - I found one (punk student). All the ones that I had calculated just happened to have +0.

A: Yeah, you’re right. When I wrote the PvP code, it works way easier to have the enemies work the same, either it’s PvP or PvE. So I went through and made it so that enemies can have the same bonuses you do, Melee Power or Ranged Defense or other obscure things. Some of the triggered effects you see from them are triggered by flags that you see on them, that you get from equipment.

Q: Does green fire (eg. from Evil Eye technique) not count as fire? Should it be susceptible to fire defense?

A: No. It’s not actual fire, just how it’s described. Not hot to the touch at all. If you’re curious about that, I think there’s a chunk in the Vigilante’s quest.

Q: How often do you check check the wiki to see how much the player base knows? See our progress and laugh at our mistakes?

A: I refresh the forum all the time, I check the wiki every couple days, see what recent changes there are. Every once and a while if someone is asking about a specific thing, I’ll check the wiki to see how oblique a hint to give.

Q: The description of the ghoul bite technique says "This may not be the only thing you can learn from the ghouls". Is this referring to the fact that you can feel on your opponents with the Ghoultouched skill or something else?

A: Just saying it’s an expandable technique, a hint that there’s other stuff you can learn. There’ll also be some more stuff you can learn from the ghouls in the future.

Q: Do you keep track of runs' turncount? If yes, could we get a small board for fastest runs? If no, is that planned for the future?

A: No, not yet. I am planning to put that in probably with the Survivors quest, when I revamp the code for that. There’ll be a different contest which is not explicitly about turns.

Q: How long (in terms of days) do you expect runs to take once the main quest line is complete?

A: I don’t have a great estimate for that. I would imagine that you’d be talking about 5 or 6 days. But total guess work, don’t hold me to it.

Q: Guess how many words per minute you can type if all the words are "a" and you use "cmd-a cmd-c cmd-v" repeatedly.

A: That would expand pretty quickly. I’d go with 256000 wpm.

Q: Is sewing/clothes-crafting ever going to enter the game, as hinted at in the sheet of scales description?

A: The sheet of scales description is hinting at armorcrafting, so that is already in. I actually have some art for clothes crafting type stuff. Not solid if I’m going to put it in. My gut says I probably won’t end up using it, not enough of a niche for it. One way to see it, looking at an MMO that has tailoring, eg. World of Warcraft, there are entire classes that can only equip cloth armor, and we don’t have anything equivalent. Pretty challenging and no benefit to separating that out. I could say, cloth gets all the +Evasion Power bonuses, and armory gets Melee defense, etc. but that doesn’t really buy us all that much.

Q: If a new craft enters the game while the red-lensed goggles are still at Zack's, would you consider a (small) back-update to include some minor goggles benefit to that craft? (No pressure here, I'm not trying to inch-mile you from the powder pouring update ;)

A: I would consider it, as long as the goggles were still in Zach. I don’t like going back and adding more things. Powder pouring, I’ve tentatively committed to adding more powders to the main 4 types of dust.

Q: Did it used to snow at this time of year in Metroplex before global warming set in? ;)

A: It used to snow in Metroplex. Global warming has set in, but that’s not the reason.

Q: Will Santa bring us a stuffed tiger in our stockings if we participate in the Abominable Snow Goons contest? Or else a box of those Sugar Bombs Wyrd mentioned in the last podcast?

A: I do have all or close to all the Calvin and Hobbes books. I don’t have art for a cute stuffed tiger, so may be a while.

Q: (Ooh, do we get Christmas stockings?)

A: No, but you might - if you read the update that went up 23 minutes ago - get a tree.

Q: The answer to the first question is 2,799,360, although lag slowed me down a bit.

A: Not bad.

Q: Have we discovered all the Lost Son quest content?

A: I believe so. I reserve the right to go back and add more stuff. For some reason, that quest, I mean it’s tiny, but I go back and add more stuff to it. A new quest that ties into it, coming up. I think you found all the skills, unless I forgot about it.

Q: Will the future truly evil bastard path include an option to kill Mikhail? Will there ever be a path that will let you (try to) kill just about every NPC you meet (and lets you progress the main quests by say notes, communication through comms or something)?

A: Obviously I haven’t implemented or even planned out, but yeah. I planned out a path for people to be able kill every NPC.

Q: Do you intend/hope to make the finished game's main quests long and possibly tough enough so that doing side quests for useful rewards and xp will be a good choice with regards to doing fast resets instead of entertaining diversions that make a run take longer?

A: Yes and no. It’s a delicate balance. For future runs through the game, that’s a lot more acceptable than your first run. There might be a run type that would be vicious enough to make you do sidequests. And the stuff that you think of as sidequests now may not be sidequests yet. For example, if you had the Docks quest but couldn’t complete it yet, getting the medicine for the Squatter King would be a sidequest. But once the Docks is complete, getting the medicine is just an option for completing that path. Similarly for getting the sludge heart for Boris. And there will be more quests that tie in.

Q: Are most people, who play regularly, donators? How many unearthly coins currently exist?

A: I can tell you how many people have donated - 58 people. And that is less than the number of people who log in in a month, but fairly representative of people who log in month after month. I’d say over half of the long-term players donate.

Q: I assume the OmniMall will continue to be developed, since it will be more important as more and more people join. The recent updates were great. Do you have any future ideas planned? I'd love to be able to browse more "Recent Buyers".

A: As far as more in those lists, I can just do that now.

Q: A number of programs are marked Quest for mysterious reasons. For example, the Advanced Interpreter is quest but the products of advanced coding are not (e.g. Blackthorns). Any particular reason?

A: Yes. The decompilers and the Advanced Interpreter are quest because I strongly suspect they will be needed in the main questline. Not sure where yet, but I’d like people to be able to, well. In the future, there will probably be a type of run through the game which will let you keep some items. As such, any items that are pivotal to the main quest, I’d like to keep as quest items. You can consider them mis-labeled for now, but easier to keep them labeled for now.

Q: With maxed out reactive defense(8) I figured it'd be useful against obscenely strong people with guns or punching, but that did not seem to be the case at all. Is it just not that good? Or does it not work against gun damage? Or something else.

A: Reactive Defense might not be entirely clear, but it’s not exponential growth. It’s linear, but it kicks in for a lot of types of damage, once it passes a threshold. If you’re talking about multiple types of attacks, but you don’t know which type of attack is coming, it is useful. Works on all physical attacks, pretty much everything except Etheric. There will be more reactive defense later.

Q: Do you think you will ever implement equipment with some kind of rollover bonus? For crazy instance, "Stomach Pump - Gadget. +2 hunger if equipped during rollover."

A: Probably not equipment. Rollover bonuses would require something let’s say, a little more invasive than equipment. I don’t think you’ll see a lot of it. Don’t want to do it with equipment, especially with the seamless rollover, it’s weird you need to switch over for that one second. I think it would be strange here.

Holiday stuff: there’s two prongs: the snowman contest, and the yearly tree giveaway in Southside Park. Both of which have their bumps. Some player interaction, some of it more obvious than others. There’s no direct competition like there was in Halloween, it might kind of look like that in the snowman contest, but everyone is going for their own thing. Your collective choices as the player base will unlock more stuff. There’s some stuff that will last through Christmas, and some stuff that is exhaustible in some ways. Hope you enjoy it and the presents. If you reset, the snowmen will still be there. I’m excited about it.

Podcast #6

Why are there not etheric versions of the wall turrets when all the other robots turn to crazy etheric stuff?

A: There’s a very good reason for that, which I’m not going to tell you directly. There’s a few hints in game, some of which you won’t realize is a hint yet. The fact that things are robotic tend to make them not show up in the ether, and there’s another thing going on there.

Q: Stream of Needles seems to chain with 4-5-? and also 8-?. Are there multiple copies of the technique with different chain numbers?

A: There was an error with Steam of Needles, I changed it from chain 6 to chain 7, and didn’t fix it everywhere. There was an error with spider drones punching people that I fixed too.

Q: Would it be a false assumption to think that all Etheric attacks use Will as the associated stat?

A: Doesn’t have to be, but tends to be. Not an unreasonable assumption for now.

Q: How is (did?) the christmas stuff turing out?

A: Still going on, more bugs than I would have liked. The automated rollout worked well, but more bugs in the content itself. People are enjoying it and getting into it. The stages are coming out at about the times I thought they would.

Q: Are there still undiscovered forms of the crystalline flame? No tier 2 upgrade without either of the fae/ocean sight skills?

A: It would be unfair of me to say that there are undiscovered forms. There’s some stuff coded in that you won’t be able to get to for a while. Forms that you can get to are all found.

Q: Are any opponents psychic? That is to say they pick their techniques after seeing what techniques I've already chosen?

A: No.

Q: What determines opponents HP? Just a number you manually enter in the database or is it based on their stats the same way it is for us?

A: I just manually enter it. I feel a little weird basing it off their stats, the players are both way more resilient than normal humans but also way less resilient than a Midgard SD1. A PC with 0s in everything still has way more HP than a bum with 0s in everything.

Q: Why did you decide to put the age warning on the character creation screen? I'd imagine that there's a big market in the 14-18 year olds who have large amounts of free time to waste on the internet.

A: An ulterior motive, more than just warning about drugs and stuff. If someone is acting stupid in chat, I can say, you’re certainly acting like you’re under eighteen, I can ban them. There’s some edgy stuff, but nothing that I would object to a 14 year old to read.

Q: Will there be / are there plans for (more?) Etheric techniques that don't consume turns of Etheric? It's hard to use an etheric deck when you burn through the energy so quickly with every little technique.

A: Etheric isn’t really intended to be your entire deck, the same way that Melee/Ranged are. But it can be. But to answer the question, there are more intended, a few coded already. The way Etheric is designed, it’s not hard to mix with the others. Most of your Melee/Ranged power will be coming from your weapon, most of your Etheric power is coming from other gear. On the flip side, I don’t have a lot of problem asking people consider whether they want to continue that chain for as long as they do, like if you’re fighting random Fang gangers. It’s nice to have options there where you can pull back. Related question, someone was asking if Etheric techniques could not take turns of Eclipse if they overkill opponents (eg. not needed to kill), but I’d like to leave that in the hands of the players. You can either use +Eclipse Duration and not care about it, or mix in some other technique types, or be a little more careful in the battles. I think all 3 of those are more interesting, and more interesting than letting the computer do it for you. But to answer the question, there will be more techniques that don’t need Etheric, but will be tied into other stuff. The theme of Etheric attacks, is that they have requirements, you need to be tied into etheric somehow, either Eclipse or other artifacts.

Q: Are the ornaments just amusing decoration, or do they do something? (Do you ever do anything just for amusing cosmetic effect?)

A: Mostly just for decoration. If you mouse over the descriptions on the tree, it will tell where they came from, more ornaments on the way, both short term and long term. I like the idea that you’re building up a collection of ornaments that show how you’ve participated in Christmas over the years. Obviously this being the first year, there’s no history yet.

Q: Why can't I beat these annoying Legion guys up to a bloody pulp? Or at least tell them that distributing tracts that nobody ever reads to the same person again and again is not very eco-friendly? D:

A: I guess for most of the same reason that you get Hare Krishnas or other folks handing out tracts, they won’t listen to you. Unlike Dave the poet. If people really want to beat them up I could drop them in there, but it wouldn’t have any real long term effect.

Q: Is there anything major we haven't found about the crystalline flame yet?

A: I want to say yes. There’s some interesting underlying stuff, in some of the messages that will come out in time. I want to say there’s a technique no one has found yet, but don’t quote me on that.

Q: Have you managed to dedicate some brain cycles to the survivors' quest lately, with the Christmas content going on?

A: No, not at all. Next year, I’ll tell people that no new content really from October to December. Been pretty hectic fixing bugs and other family obligations.

Q: How many Walk with the Blind would be considered by you to be enough to warrant quests for the blind legion?

A: I would say probably 100, but they’re not easy to keep track of because they’re a quest item that vanishes. Not going to work on that until after Survivors. There’s another questlet after that I’d like to do, that will result in less people asking me questions about it. It will be coming at some point after Survivors, before Oldtown.

Q: How many of those books are already out there?

A: (checks) 15 in various people’s inventories and 2 equipped.

Q: Why did you choose fire out of the possible elements as the one to get a separate power listing??

A: I’d love to say that Fire Power is begging for that pun. Mostly because Fire is the only thing out of the traditional elements that isn’t just another way of saying Etheric. There’s a lot of ways to do fire damage, but not a lot of ways to do cold damage, it just doesn’t work that way, unless someone invents some kind of chemical goo that gets really cold. Wanted a way for the grenades and Molotov cocktails. I was tempted to add Electricity, but I like the way it’s gone without it, it has its own identity.

Q: Any chance of us getting some ice creams or ice cubes from ghoulbiting a snowman next year??

A: Most likely you’ll get brain freeze or something like that. As much as ghoulbiting does convert almost anything into delicious cannibal chow, I don’t see converting snowflakes, even evil snowflakes, into ice cream. I’ll try to sneak something in.

Q: Stealing and changing Al's question: "Any chance of us ever being psychic (temporarily)? That is to say seeing some or all of the technique(s) the enemy is going to use before we choose ours?"

A: It’s not a bad idea. I’d have to completely re-code combat to do it, so I doubt it will ever happen. But if I had some other pressing reason to recode combat, I might do that.

Q: What did you want to be when you were little?

A: - Paleontologist. Loved dinosaurs. Game design discussion. Lyz want to be a volcanologist.

Q: Why do you think three of the most prominent gangs have animals in their names (Hounds, Penguins, and Jumbucks)?

A: Jumbuck is an animal? Oh, it is a sheep. [discussion]

Q: Did you enjoy your week off for Christmas?

A: Probably not, honestly. I’m not much of a family person. If my family were holding a Christmas thing, I may or may not go. Everyone is very scattered. I’m going to see my wife’s family, and that’s going to be crazy. […]

Q: Do you think you'll ever implement another type of techniques, and how did you arrive at the current neat system?

A: If you look at the net combat system, it’s another system of techniques. As far as Melee, Ranged, Fire, etc. it wouldn’t entirely surprise me if I did, but nothing that’s calling out to me though. Lots of ground to mine there, without even doing any more coding. The current system is the intersection of two ideas. In a combat system I was looking for: something that wasn’t boring and repetitive. I think variance and striving against the variance as the player is important. [more discussion … to 53:00]

Q: Which aspects/elements of the game are you happiest with/proudest of? And which the least?

A: Pleased with the combat, like I was talking about above. I like the storyline and crafting. Least like the user interface. I am not very good with user interfaces, making things pretty.

Q: Favourite ice-cream flavour?

A: Goat cheese with cognac figs. Also, rootbeer floats.

Q: Is there a good reason that Walk with the Blind is a quest item? Or, will there be in the future?

A: There’s a question earlier about the Blind Legion quest being added, you’ll need that to start the quest. I don’t know 100% if it will remain a quest item, but I’d rather remove it later than have to add it later.

Q: Is there, at present, anything neat with the book of sailing stories that we have yet to find?

A: I don’t think so. It’s mostly a bit of explanitoriness.

Q: I kinda feel like at the moment, credits kind of don't have any worth. You need more moneysinks in the game like the halloween event, or even just moneysinks in general, as well as expensive stuff to buy from npcs, preferably consumable. At the moment, there's not really a whole lot to spend credits on, and so whatever value the creds have just kind of continues devaluing. Unless there's some stuff like this in the survivor's quest, in which case rock on.

A: There is a fair amount of upcoming stuff that will require credits in various capacities. At the end of the day, I think the problem is more that people are not interested in buying things, player to player. People would rather just get it themselves, which is fine. As we get a larger store of rare items and items that have rotated out, I think it will grow. Right now, people aren’t really spending their money so credit inflation or deflation doesn’t really matter. If unearthly items rotated out, there might be more transactions on those.

Q: The content is great, but the game mechanics are what make Metroplexity awesome. Do you have an inspiration/creativity process, such as standing on your head and blasting loud classical music? Or more simply, how do you get your ideas? Do you have tons and tons of ideas and the task is rather to weed them out? Do they spring fully-formed or do you have a vague idea that you need to refine for weeks?

A: [1:04:00-1:25:00] Depends what I am doing. Designing base mechanics I really enjoy. [Design discussion]

Q: Want to tell us when the Snowman competition will end? If so, when? :) Ignore this question if the competition's end precedes podcast, of course.

A: There will be rewards for the snowman competition, and there’s a day when you normally get rewards. On a related note, if you haven’t gotten a Christmas tree yet, get a Christmas tree.

Q: Not sure if this was asked before, oh wait, yes, but it was in reference to the reset board I think, anyway, will you preserve boards like the snowman competition one (like the Cannon Museum stores things in KOL) after events end? Maybe I'm confusing your podcast with theirs…

A: I would like to, I’m not sure where I’ll end up putting them. I have a nefarious idea, we’ll see if it pans out.

Q: Any podcasts you listen to?

A: Kingdom of Loathing ones, a couple times. That’s about it.

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