Relativity and skill levels

In my 6-7 years of engaging with video game communities thanks to Fanime and college, there is something that I’ve learned about the remarks of video games of all skill levels:

Remarks from those of different skill levels, from the very beginner to the world record class, must be segregated based on their skill level.

I’ve seen people downplay their own abilities many times when it comes to video games, and something I’ve observed quite a bit is when people of lower skill levels see someone of an obviously higher skill level than them say that “they’re not very good” or that “they suck”, then feel like their efforts were downplayed even further as a result, merely because they’re not at this player’s level (nevermind any possibility of them not knowing how to play at a high level, let alone having the practice to). I’ve also observed the exact inverse as well: when people of higher skill levels see someone of an obviously lower skill level than them say the same thing, then feel the need to remark on how easy it is instead, leading to a somewhat close source for “git gud” remarks (nevermind how much time, practice, and perseverance it actually took before it became effortless, and that’s if they even remember the struggle at all). There’s an obvious difference in weight that needs to be observed from both lower level players and higher level players, and one must understand that the remarks that different players make in regard to skill are almost always RELATIVE, NEVER ABSOLUTE ON THE WHOLE SPECTRUM.

This is why it’s foolish for a high level player’s downplay to be treated with equal weight as a low level player’s downplay…because it isn’t. When I say that I’m bad at shoot’em ups, it shouldn’t be treated in the same light as when, say, dwrkoa says that he’s bad at shoot’em ups. Or when I say that I’m not fast enough at Tetris Sprint, it shouldn’t be treated in the same light as when, say, S2LSOFTENER says that he’s not fast enough on Tetris Sprint (and, by extension, all of competitive Guideline Tetris as a whole). The gap in ability must be considered to better keep all players happy with their own state of progress; failure to do so will end up either giving you a false impression that the barrier to entry is impossible (in a LOW -> HIGH impression: “I can’t play as good as them”) or make you come out as arrogant, even if you don’t mean to or even realize it (in a HIGH -> LOW impression: “How can they possibly be struggling on this when it’s so easy?”).

When you accept that remarks of different skill levels must be segregated from each other, it allows you to focus more on what’s within your reach, especially for a lower level player whose only meaningful progress is upwards. It also reduces the tendency to downplay your own abilities when it’s perfectly fine to just go through the motions at your own pace. You’re in your own league, and they’re in their own; there’s no need to worry about something that’s beyond what you can grasp right now.

Kairosoft – Best Simulation Game Developers of Mobile Gaming

Kairosoft CO., Ltd. is a Japanese video game developer located in Tokyo, and they mainly develop games for the iOS and Android (they also have PC games). Kairosoft was founded in 1996, but wasn’t big in the mobile gaming industry until 2010 with the release of their first mobile game, Game Dev Story, to the iOS and Android. Most of their games are “pay once and play”, though they do have several games that are free with in-app purchases.

Kairosoft games are a great way to pass the time. The list below are five of my favorite Kairosoft games, ones that I constantly restart to try and incorporate new strategies and do better in.

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Blast into Gaming’s Past – Roller Coaster Tycoon

One of the things I decided to do at the start of 2017 is get back into the games I like playing. One of those games is Roller Coaster Tycoon. I bought Roller Coaster Tycoon Deluxe on Steam back in 2015, but never really played much until this year.

I’m currently working on a park in the Loopy Landscapes expansion, Arid Heights, a large desert park with a small portion of a lake to the west available to the park for building. The best perk of this park: no financial burden. Build to your heart’s content. The objective: to have 2,000 guests in the park and not let the park rating fall below 700 at any time. Other than that, with no money problems, the park is a nice, blank slate to work with.

I intend to give an overview, a tour, of my themed Arid Heights park, named Wizarding World. This park is still a work in progress park.

On with the tour!

Continue reading “Blast into Gaming’s Past – Roller Coaster Tycoon”

Experiments in Unattended Rollercoaster Tycoon: Exhibit A – Post-game Forest Frontiers

In our first exhibit of EiURCT, I present my post-game save of Forest Frontiers. The original objective of 250 guests by the end of the 1st year with a Park Rating of 600 or above was met with ease due to a healthy dose of rides and amenities.

Included with this park are five handymen, three which are assigned to grass mowing and garden watering, a pair of mechanics, and a single all-around entertainer; none of the staff are zoned to any section of the park. The park is fitted with a merry-go-round front and center at the entrance of the park, surrounded by a ferris wheel to the right and a transport station to the left. Into the park is a swinging pirate ship, a miniature lake for a boat hire, and a small and simple mini-steel rollercoaster. There’s a modestly sized food court with the only bathroom being located at said food court. Finally, there are three transport stations, each which takes guests to different ends of the park. All of this is bundled with a moderately healthy park rating of 758, alongside a current population of 405 guests.

As for financials, the save has 25,000 spare yen on hand upon load, though the save still has a million yen on loan (which explains the indebted company value of -338,570 yen). The park itself is priced at 2,500 yen for entry; all rides are free except for the transport stations which charge 100 yen per station ride. The food court is relatively inexpensive (100-200 yen for items), as is the information kiosk items (defaults of 60 yen for a map and 250 yen for an umbrella).

The game will run unattended for roughly an hour starting with my lunch break at 12PM PST. This post will be updated with pictures before and after the experiment later today.

After one hour

The short verdict is that the park managed to sustain itself in an hour.

Of the tangible things I’ve observed, the park rating rose to 794, a 36 point increase. Alongside that, I also saw an increase in guests–543 to be specific, which is a 138 guest increase. The park’s yen on hand rose to 430,830 yen, enough to pay just a bit over a quarter of the initial loan. Two of the ten flower beds were completely wilted, and another four were on their way to wilting.

Untouched, the game managed to turn a profit in its first few months from when the save was loaded, but the later months started seeing a slight dip in profits, presumably due to a decrease in park tickets from new attendants. Company value was still in the negatives, though it’s much better off than when I first started off. Park value was at a steady decline, and as mentioned just previously, so were profits.

I have a feeling that if this park were to be unattended for more than an hour, time and park neglect would start to see its toll as rides break down more frequently and the novelty withers away like no one’s business.

After six hours

The short verdict is that the park still managed to sustain itself in six hours, albeit with a lot of debt (876,700 yen in debt, at least for what was on hand).

Of the tangible things I’ve observed, the park rating slightly fell to 755, a 3 point decrease. There were still more guests than before, though, with 470 guests (+65) gracing the park by the 6 hour mark (August, Y8 in-game). The flower beds were at varying degrees of wilt, indicating that the handymen were at least doing their job of watering them whenever they could.

As predicted from my one hour run, profits dipped like no tomorrow. Very few guests were entering the park, and the transport stations were seeing no more business from anyone. Company value was way further into the negatives (1,548,960 yen into the negative, to be exact), though the park value managed to stabilize somewhere in the sub-300k yen range. As a result of dipping company value, I was eventually rewarded with the “Worst Value Park” award, though fortunately it was still sustainable enough to get “Safest Park” and “Tidiest Park” awards as well.

Additional observations were that at some point, the current asking price ended up being too high for those wanting to come into Forest Frontiers (which explains why there were few ticket sales). The transport stations also had significantly more down time than any other ride at 15%; this is only followed up by the ferris wheel with 8% down time. Overall, all rides were breaking down more frequently: about 3-5 rides would break down in a given month.

Introducing Experiments in Unattended Rollercoaster Tycoon (EiURCT)

Recently, I bought the very first Rollercoaster Tycoon (with the Corkscrew Follies and Loopy Landscapes expansions) on Steam after seeing GraphiteHelix playing it one weekend on his laptop. This is going to be the first in potentially many experiments in leaving a game of Rollercoaster Tycoon running without any player input. I’m personally going to expect the following with these experiments:

The best-case scenario–which will probably include properly zoned handymen, a handful of mechanics, and possibly appropriately timed inspection settings for all rides–will probably lead to a slight decrease in park attendants, a small decrease in profits and park/company value, and possibly a slightly decreased park rating.

The worst-case scenario–which will most likely not include any of the above for the best-case scenario, and will probably be expected on parks that are pre-made e.g. Diamond Heights or Alton Towers–will probably lead to a dramatic decrease in park attendants, a massive decrease in profits, park/company value, and possibly even bankruptcy, and a massive dip in park rating.

Of course, the other thing that needs to be factored in these experiments is the amount of time the game is running unattended; this can range from as little as an hour (i.e. a lunch break’s worth) to a quarter of a day (i.e. when I’m sleeping) to maybe even half of an entire day (i.e. an entire day at school, or even a weekend at GraphiteHelix’s place). I’ll be starting one of these experiments very soon, so keep an eye out on this blog for the first exhibit of Experiments in Unattended Rollercoaster Tycoon (´・ω・`)