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TUG is a multiplayer open-world sandbox-RPG using new technology and social sciences to directly involve players in the game’s design.
7,231 backers pledged $293,184 to help bring this project to life.

Data Driven Design

Posted by Nerd Kingdom (Creator)

Not only is the voxel engine built on a data driven foundation, but almost every element of the design phase of TUG, including social structures and market interaction, will be guided by recursively assessing player feedback, habits, behaviors, and attitudes. This allows us to react to player behavior in a way that fosters positive interaction and immersion. We're bringing to the table a very unique set of interdisciplinary tools that run the gamut from mechanism design, statistical estimation, and machine learning, to full-scale behavioral experimentation.

Consider asking a few basic design questions:

  • How to structure the environment so that players are more or less likely to come into conflict with one another? 
  • What is the best distance allowed for communicating with other players to foster the most positive interaction? 
  • How do NPC AI characteristics affect players’ likelihoods of trading versus fighting?

Insight to help guide answering these questions is out there, and we plan to use TUG’s framework to find it.

I know Jeff Lin at Riot and his team have been trying to tackle some very interesting issues related to player toxicity (corrosive behavior online) and game design. Something as simple as the color of the message displayed on the screen can correlate with a player’s mood and subsequent attitude towards others. This is especially important in online games where one player’s bad mood can have a destructive ripple effect throughout.

Not only will we use this research to improve the state of TUG, but we want to share this information with the public to try and improve the overall state of the industry -- one that, for too long, has been strong armed by too few with too much say. By integrating the gaming community into the design feedback loop, we can make game design truly adaptive and responsive to our players.

While some players might think that this resonates as a cop out (by us) in an attempt to circumvent blame for making a bad title (and we’ll take full responsibility if this approach fails, but keep in mind, this is a very NEW approach we are taking), the likelihood of the game sucking will decrease dramatically if you have constant support from a large enough cohort of gamers that are interested in helping fix it.

We are confident that we’ve assembled a very capable and specialized group of individuals to deliver something very unique by incorporating multiple perspectives before the fact -- we truly believe that this project can be a real game-changer. We’re promising that what you’ll get in TUG will be borne from an entirely different approach to game design. Whether or not this approach works is sensitive to the degree and quality of community involvement in the project.

It is no secret and we will not be shy - we need YOU!


p.s. We finally have an official Facebook page for TUG!!! Follow us there for news, updates, art, and more!

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    1. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Chris, there will be some fairly simple in-game ways you'll be able to protect your belongings, or set up security systems on your "property." Of course, there will also be ways around these systems, and a skilled thief may still get the best of you... but we'll be constantly tweaking and fine-tuning these systems in the interest of finding a solid balance and making play fair and fun for everyone.

    2. Missing avatar

      Chris Bench on

      @Nerd Kingdom

      The potential of conflicts lies also in the range of possibilities besides the chat with which the players can interact with each other; and I think it will be pretty hard to find a harmonic relation between the rights of one play and the rights of the others. What is the goal of your player-to-player-interaction design? A preferably peaceful and friendly atmosphere? If that's the case, then the question whether actions by which you can harm other players intentionally (like stealing, killing, ...) is allowed or not should be very important. When I think about TUG, I think of an MMO with a great, mysterious atmosphere and lots of possibilities. So is it really possible to ban all possible conflicts? I mean, when you are able to construct and destroy things, to store and gather goods, how can your property be safe when you are offline and tons of players can destroy your buildings and steal your things unseen? I often mentally compare TUG with Minecraft, and when I think about big servers where people are able to kill, destroy or steal things, I'm really concerned: each minute someone vents his spleen about his destroyed base in the global chat and many moderators are very busy to kick those players; the culprits temselves can't be punished. But more peaceful servers highly restrict the rights of a single player; no PvP action is allowed, you can only build or gather ressources where moderators allow you to. And I think both ways aren't the best.

      I can't really find an escape from that dilemma: in a game, where you can freely form your environment, your creations just aren't safe. And giving every player an area where he can do what he wants isn't the right way.

      So I would like to know how you would solve the following scenario:
      one player, that played online since a few days and had already built a little home in a landscape he liked and maybe stored some things in chests etc. However, while he is offline, an other player, maybe greedy or just bored, destroys the players house / steals his things / destroys the landscape; actions, that can't be really registered. How is it possible to prevent these offenses? By moderators, that can check which players have interacted with the affected area in the last time and punish those for example?

      But maybe I've got a completely wrong idea of how the environments and the abilities of the players in the online mode will be designed.

      PS: I really look forward to the game, but I'm afraid the structuring of the online interaction could be really complex.

      PPS: And I think it would be very cool if you could use an global chat, but for this you must use a special item or device which is hard to achieve, and violent players should be banned from this chat by mods or other players. If one has to grind out the ability to use the global chat he will more respectful using it, I think.

      PPPS: I'm sorry if I expressed myself confusing or impolite, my English really isn't quite good ^.^

    3. Aneka K. Bean on

      We've made things pretty crazy unintentionally as consumers, what with all these different social networks we expect people to be part of. It's fascinating, but I miss simpler days.

      Though I guess there are a lot of options out there now to post to multiple places via one dashboard. Thanks for clearing up that worry, I've had a few smaller development projects I invested in kind of drop off support for my platforms because they decided to go all in on steam, and I would hear nothing about it because they were only on facebook with the updates.

      I really appreciate you guys being really active with the huge mob of interested gamers you're gathering.

      Speaking of mobs,I like the idea of mobs reacting to party sizes. Maybe certain mobs could be more likely to attack a bigger party, or a party more well dressed.

    4. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Chaonic, those are some great ideas and suggestions!

    5. Chaonic on

      These questions woke up my interests again! :D
      By making it easier (maybe safer) to wander around with other players by decreasing the spawnrate of aggressive mobs OR decreasing the aggressivity of mobs around them, so they more likely just run away instead of attack may be one solution in making people come together, if you ask me =)
      The distance to chat with others should be about 20 metres. Maybe a wisper/shout version of the normal chat would make it even better, so you can find others and talk to your friends, which are much closer to you.
      Wisper could be 4 metres and shout 100. Imagine it with surround sound, where you actually hear, where the message comes from with some voice of the character. I don't mean, he should read the message, but about maybe 10 standard texts in a different language and a system, which analyses the message about standard smilies to make it more likely to sound funny, when you write a ;) smiley.
      I think, some innovations in the chat system would change the whole game genre a lot! =)

      NPC's could analyze the player's character about what they like (more muscles, bigger stomach), which could be completely randomly in the beginning, making a NPC more unfriendly, if he doesn't look good for him. This could change by experience about what kind of players (behavior too) are more friendly than others. Maybe making a NPC more "happy" could make him more rich and he could have more stuff to trade for a better price, but maybe more loot too.
      NPC's really should have some kind of personality and be able to interact with the world too by hunting, farming, smithing, gathering wood and find some companions, so they can defend themselves. By helping them in a fight, they could like you more and become companions too.
      My post is starting to become out of control, so I end it here! =)
      I can't wait for your next update!

    6. Pie or Cake on

      I too have abandoned Facebook - I've moved to Google+. Perhaps you could create a profile there, and post updates to the Gaming on Linux community? It's where I first heard about TUG on Kickstarter, and decided to become a backer.

    7. Devon Mullane on

      Player toxicity is mostly a condition of anonymity. Without any real punishment, there are plenty who slip of the shackles of society to indulge their reptilian natures. After all, if you instigate the death penalty for swearing, of course you'd see a decline. What LoL did with the Tribunal is essentially use public transparency to combat the problem. When other players can see who you are and what you've been doing, the offending party is more likely to stop.

      Regardless of the color of positive messages.

    8. Glitch2210 on

      ok the approach NK has taken for the game development process.

    9. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Aneka, of course! It's just another way for us to reach out to and build our community!

    10. Missing avatar

      Charlotte Orchard on

      .. That looks like Liar Cat from the comic Saga D:
      Also, yaaay new update :]

    11. Missing avatar

      Jive_Turkey on

      It seems reasonable to assume that KS is a good way of finding dedicated players.

    12. Aneka K. Bean on

      Interesting article linked, thanks for the redirect. Does this art suggest we may possibly have savannah biomes, or is it just a fancy doodle by an esteemed tug artist?

      I hope you will still update equally in non-facebook locations. I am not a resident at that particular walled garden. :-/