How to encourage Team Contests...

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How to encourage Team Contests...

Postby Seven Shikami » 30 Jan 2009, 06:29

Something I've been pondering lately is why Team Fishing Contests have been virtually untouched since they launched. 7Seas is a very social activity, and folks certainly have formed friendships through it -- we aren't a bunch of lone wolf fishers who never talk to each other. So why has the 3-man team variant of contests not been too popular?

Some guesses:

Problem A) The need to have team crates or team motorboats rezzed. You need enough space at your fishing area to have the crates rezzed, and space in SL is at a premium. Sure, you could double 'em up by saying they work as ordinary seats during non-contest times, but also they're cartoony and likely wouldn't match the aesthetics of your area.

Problem B) The seats don't allow you to lock in a specific set of three people. If someone gets up from their seat, another person can hop on and occupy it forcibly in a sort of quasi-griefing.

Problem C) When the contest ends, if one of the three teammates is MIA, that person doesn't get the prize. People not getting prizes is no fun.

Problem D) Doesn't work with auto cash payout plugins (since the contest board only knows the team name, not the actual participants).

Problem E) SLers are innately lazy and don't wanna take the whole four minutes or so you'd need to organize up three people to fish as a team when you could just show up at a solo contest, turn on your autocaster, and go get a sandwich.

Insurmountable? Hardly!

While I plan to keep the crates the way they are -- having an "open team" is important for casual fishers who may drop in or out of a contest -- I'm going to add a new toy to the works which should solve all the problems above (and revamp motorboats to use similar solutions).

My current plan is to introduce a FREE (Copy+Trans OK, share with your friends) "Captain's Hat" wearable object. This hat serves the same purpose as the crates or motorboats, in that it lets you establish a team during fishing contests -- and like motorboats you can give your team a custom name.

Solution A) You don't need rez permissions and you don't have to reorganize your fishing area to set out a bunch of crates. The object is a wearable -- and since the script itself is gonna be Copy+Trans and OpenSeas based, I could see the community coming up with its own hats or wearables using the system. (Maybe sell a complete set of gear? Captain's hat and first mate and swabby? Matching bowling shirts? Etc.)

Solution B) Since this is a wearable hat controlled by the hat owner, and not a generic crate set someone could "claim" and then grief by dominating it, I can add "lock in" controls so the hat owner defines who they want to fish with and nobody else can get in on their team. No seat-occupy griefing, and it only takes a minute to get up and running!

Solution C) Since you've registered your two teammates with your hat, as long as the hat owner is in the area when the contest ends, everybody gets the prize. If they leave, it's fine, because the hat remembers who was on the team (unlike crates, where if you leave, the crates forget who you were)

Solution D) I'm not sure I can solve this, but I'll look into it. Surely there's a way to tell plug-ins who was in the winning team.

Solution E) Don't be lazy.

Thoughts? Are there any other issues with Team Fishing Contests that I'm overlooking, any ways I can improve upon this concept to make it appeal to you more?

EDIT: Bumping this to the top of the forum (or rather, testing to see if editing the OP will bump the whole thread.)
Last edited by Seven Shikami on 05 Feb 2009, 16:54, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to encourage Team Contests...

Postby Nya Raymaker » 30 Jan 2009, 07:20

frankly - the simple reason why i never hosted a team contest is that you can never be sure enough people show up and the teams are all somewhat equally strong. it is a lot more fun if 12 people battle to get on the board at ALL than if there is only 4 teams changing places around...

sure the team hat is a solution to these technical problems... btu frankly I think team fishing is jsut way less fun than individuals.

it's probably a crazy thought but if teams could maybe found "leagues" of some sort - so that the individual XP the participants in a team get during a team contest add up to a "league leadership thingee" - that might be an enticer to do more team fishing... however - that would require a permanent sign up for a team to keep track of the scores - and not sure the permanent "grouping" into a league team is easy to do.

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Re: How to encourage Team Contests...

Postby Seven Shikami » 30 Jan 2009, 08:13

It's certainly not the easy route compared to "Oh hai, fishin nau, come over", but it is entirely possible to organize leagues and keep track of totals, etc. Especially if teams are locked-in via the new system as opposed to the crates pick-up-and-go style. I think Lexa Pro's Chaos Series proves that there is a venue for a more organized contest system in 7Seas -- alongside the more casual drop-in solo contests people have. And it doesn't have to be anything hugely organized, just a contest that's announced well in advance so people can show up with a team ready to go instead of relying on impromptus would be enough.

Another possiblity would be for the system to use some sort of math gymnastics to take a 1 or 2 person team and scale up their points to match the output of a 3 person team. That's tricky business though, because if you get it wrong, then teams of 1-2 people will be formed INSTEAD of the preferred 3 person team so that they have some miniscule numbers advantage.

Finally, we could always have NPC Fishers fill in the other slots on your team if you have any that are open. They'd ape your own fishing level, perhaps cast slightly slower than a real fisher would, but would make you more competitive.

EDIT: Thinking about it, I like the idea of NPC fishers to automatically fill any open slots in your Captain's Hat. To keep it fair and make having a human fisher more desirable, they may be unable to "catch" SuperUltraRares -- that way all-human teams have an edge over teams with 1-2 NPCs, but those understaffed teams could still win a contest.

But as for 12 entries on a board being more exciting than 4, not much I can do about that. Hopefully the excitement of working together instead of just being a pile of strangers will outweigh that.
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Re: How to encourage Team Contests...

Postby Amara Twilight » 30 Jan 2009, 09:00

I like the idea of being able to have smaller contests, so that 4 or 6 could show up, either via an npc assigned to empty spots or just smaller sets of people.

The idea of a wearable for the contest is great. Perhaps to make it easier for pre-team setups a hud that would let you pick your team mates?

Joey has sent you a request to team, would you like to join? or some such. Wear your hat, click hat to say Looking for Team :) or Starting Team. and away you go!
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Re: How to encourage Team Contests...

Postby Seven Shikami » 30 Jan 2009, 09:09

Having a "Would you like to join Joey's team" popup's definitely a must, since otherwise you can draft people into your team against their will. (That'd be a sort of griefing.) The rest is also possible. Anything I can do to streamline the process (hopefully without needing a contest board update itself) I'll do.

One thing I can't control if I go with wearables -- keeping someone from being on multiple teams at once. When you have to physically sit down on a crate to be on a team, that's plausible, but if you just click OK! on a blue popup and bam you're in a team, you could click a bunch of OK!s and join a bunch of teams. Then again, given one of the issues here is not enough people to fill teams, maybe that's fine. Could even introduce a new dynamic to the concept (a pinch hitter filling in on several teams, etc).

So, between No-SUR-But-Otherwise-Fully-Featured NPCs filling in until you can recruit two people and a simple recruitment interface and no object rezzing, hopefully we'll see a rise in team events. They'll never be as popular as solos but I'd like to tear down as many barriers as I can, since right now they're practically nonexistent.
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Re: How to encourage Team Contests...

Postby Atashi Toshihiko » 30 Jan 2009, 10:02

I haven't participated in (or seen) any team contests, but the option to use NPCs would be nice.. I have only a handful of friends who fish, and I don't know if any of them have tried contests - plus there's the matter of timing, it's hard to get everyone online at the same time, let alone have time to do a contest all at once.

If the wearable object / captain hat is copy/transfer, it would be cool if we could mod it (or move the scripts to a different object), and like the rods themselves make announcements via chat and linkmessages, it would be great if the team object/script did likewise... in other words, for the team leader / members to have access to team stats, like casts, misses, catches, and rarity.

I've got a bit of a math/numbers geek in me, and one of the things I enjoy with contests is to track my ratio of hits/misses/points, so even if I'm not in the top 5, I can tell how well I am doing, and it would be important to me to be able to watch that for my whole team, if I were in a team event.

Thinking more about the NPC idea.. How would the NPC be done for casting? Would it cast when the real person cast, or be set to cast after a fixed or random delay? Would the real person be charged bait for the NPC's casts? And if the NPC was like a real player but unable to catch SURs does that mean it would catch at say a level-4 rate, or would it catch at the same rate as the real player except be unable to get the 5-point catches (eg. if it 'caught a SUR' only 4XP would be awarded)?

Cheers!

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Re: How to encourage Team Contests...

Postby Seven Shikami » 30 Jan 2009, 10:55

Atashi Toshihiko wrote:If the wearable object / captain hat is copy/transfer, it would be cool if we could mod it (or move the scripts to a different object), and like the rods themselves make announcements via chat and linkmessages, it would be great if the team object/script did likewise... in other words, for the team leader / members to have access to team stats, like casts, misses, catches, and rarity.


I can sort of do this -- the hat isn't gonna be able to hear misses, but it can linkmessage any scores it hears. If you want full accounting I recommend one of the accounting fish the community's made.

Thinking more about the NPC idea.. How would the NPC be done for casting? Would it cast when the real person cast, or be set to cast after a fixed or random delay? Would the real person be charged bait for the NPC's casts? And if the NPC was like a real player but unable to catch SURs does that mean it would catch at say a level-4 rate, or would it catch at the same rate as the real player except be unable to get the 5-point catches (eg. if it 'caught a SUR' only 4XP would be awarded)?


My current thinking is this.
* NPCs cast at the same time the captain casts. They only cast if the two team slots are not occupied by humans. To prevent firing/rehiring your teammates rapidly to gain massive score, I'll probably implement some forced delay somewhere in the chain.
* The NPC won't be charged for bait, because you earn no XP and get no fish from your NPCs. They exist only to make your score competitive against a full team and give you no tangible benefit.
* When an NPC catches a SUR, instead they catch an UR. So, SURs effectively become 4 point catches instead of 5. This makes it more attractive to have a human in your ranks instead, but still plausible for an NPC to help you win.
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Re: How to encourage Team Contests...

Postby Nya Raymaker » 30 Jan 2009, 10:58

yes I think the NPC would be a vgreat idea - as that way you do not have to worry too muhc about anyone being "left out" and not being able to have sort of equal teams.

and I think what Atashi is saying is goign into the same direction as the "team league thing" I mentioned... somehow make the team fishing more "competitive and representative"... simply having something to brag about.

it is a bit like the boasting of our levels - we know it makes no difference - but it sure SOUNDS great to have 1 gazillion XP ;) so being part of "league team x" who has won the last three team contests or "league team y" who is trying to whoop "league team z" from an underdog position really might be fun and making team fishing more competitive.
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Re: How to encourage Team Contests...

Postby Atashi Toshihiko » 30 Jan 2009, 11:34

Seven Shikami wrote:I can sort of do this -- the hat isn't gonna be able to hear misses, but it can linkmessage any scores it hears. If you want full accounting I recommend one of the accounting fish the community's made.


That would work - actually if the hat linkmessaged the team members at the contest start (uuids or names etc) then I could have a separate script listing to the rods of the team to pick up the casts and misses... and if the NPC(s) are casting in sync with the captain then I just need to catch the team scores that the hat linkmessages. Then I get my juicy numbers fix! :)

Seven Shikami wrote:My current thinking is this.
* NPCs cast at the same time the captain casts. They only cast if the two team slots are not occupied by humans. To prevent firing/rehiring your teammates rapidly to gain massive score, I'll probably implement some forced delay somewhere in the chain.
* The NPC won't be charged for bait, because you earn no XP and get no fish from your NPCs. They exist only to make your score competitive against a full team and give you no tangible benefit.
* When an NPC catches a SUR, instead they catch an UR. So, SURs effectively become 4 point catches instead of 5. This makes it more attractive to have a human in your ranks instead, but still plausible for an NPC to help you win.


That sounds good to me! IMHO it sounds like a fair way to handle it, such that NPCs are viable, but real players remain preferable. Re. the potential of firing/hiring to game the system, would it be possible to have it so the team has to be established prior to the contest start? In other words, if the contest has started, you can no longer add a player to the team? If you 'fire' a teammate (i.e. RL calls and they have to log off / crash / etc) then they get replaced by an NPC, but you can't replace an NPC with a person once the contest is underway?

Having a league with 'permanent' team members would be very cool, although I am not sure how that would work with NPCs... perhaps league teams are tied to a captain (a semi-permanent position in that they could transfer the captaincy to another player) and members of the league team can come and go, or be replaced by NPCs should the need arise? That could also allow for teams (and maybe even popular players) to be bought and sold, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on one's point of view.

-Atashi
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Re: How to encourage Team Contests...

Postby Nya Raymaker » 30 Jan 2009, 11:50

Atashi Toshihiko wrote: That could also allow for teams (and maybe even popular players) to be bought and sold, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on one's point of view.

-Atashi



hehe.. no I don't see that as a problem. since it is a level playing field and all fishers are equally strong above level 5 ;) tho I can imagine a team woudl boast having Migizi in it ;)
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