Neighborhoods Feature Suggestions and Player Retention Ideas

Discussion in 'Gameplay Designs' started by Wink TartanBelle, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. Wink TartanBelle

    Wink TartanBelle New Member

    I want to start out by saying how much I admire and appreciate the efforts of Rhys and the entire FSO team of volunteers. You folks are generous, magnificently talented, and seriously skilled in ways I am probably too stupid to even notice. But I do notice that you are on a higher plane than most of the coders and artists found in gaming. And you do it for the love of the experience. Mind blown. Thank you, all of you.

    I've play tested a few games in the past 3 decades or more, and played a bunch more. I can't always remember the specifics, so even if the NDA no longer applies, I might leave out something. But I do remember a game that had regions akin to neighborhoods. These regions got valuable ingame perks from being more visited/populated, and from winning battles against other regions. They even had options for land grabs in some situations. PvP rankings also figured into the equation in some circumstances. This game never went live, but I later saw certain bits and pieces of the above in other games. When the neighborhoods feature for FSO was recently announced, it got me to thinking about these features from other games and considering what might be used to to highlight the social dynamics of FSO. I also thought about the (Stratego) war games group skill object, and how it is like a game of "Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock" (Big Bang Theory reference ftw!). Could we perhaps relate each property category in FSO to another, like that skill object does the military regiments, and take the rankings of those properties (or visitor hours) in a given period of time to go against the rankings/visitor hours of category properties in another neighborhood, to be interpreted as a "battle" between neighborhoods? So instead of using the overall total of visitor hours in a neighborhood (which currently can be hugely skewed by a single property), we'd be encouraging each category of lot in the neighborhood to have higher visitor hours. And also encouraging more diversity in lot category within neighborhoods?

    I'm sure that is confusing AF. I'll work on a walk-thru and try to flesh it out, and post that later. Maybe someone else has played games with such a thing, and can contribute to this idea? Please? I don't do game coding, so I can't speak to that side of it at all, nor even to the feasibility of such a feature. What could the game perks for winning be? How would the winners be announced? What about the possibility of properties moving to the perceived "winningest" 'hood and leaving the rest of the map dead? How could we engender more loyalty to the 'hood you came from, so to speak?

    What the objective of this feature would be is to up the value of social cooperation and activities, to increase interest in properties other than one's own, and to decrease the desire of new players to buy their own properties before gaining game experience, skills, and adequate funds. Seeing new players buy up lots, have no funds to make them fun and playable, and then just leaving the game in frustration gives me the feeling that something fundamental needs to be changed. Perhaps simply increasing the initial cost of purchasing ANY lot will do the trick. Maybe all we need is every starter lot to cost no less than $25,000? Maybe do away entirely with the no-roomie/cash-only option of increasing lot size? I don't want to force anyone to change their playstyle, but it seems clear to me that something fundamental needs to change to help with new AND old player retention. Not everyone has previous experience with TSO or The Sims franchise, nor, in my opinion, should that be a prerequisite to enjoying FSO. Developing an inducement to cooperate within neighborhoods, and valuing diversity of lot categories more highly could be a start. Increasing the perks of being a roomie in some way might help, too. Adding a deeper layer of interaction between property owners and roommates, with more strategic thinking involved, could help decrease the burnout and ennui of long-time players and perhaps appeal to a different type of player more than the current model does. Having goals within the game might also help more players stick with us for the long term.

    Again, I cannot express enough my gratitude and admiration for the FSO team and collaborators. I don't want this to read as criticism in any form. Most of these "issues" existed in the original TSO, and are in no way the "fault" of the FSO team. I love this game, both when it was TSO and as it stands now as FSO. I constantly lament that I have no skills to offer, and can't even donate cash to the cause. All I can do is offer honest opinions and the rare idea. Thankfully, the FSO folks are not only generous with their time and efforts in giving us FSO, but also in allowing us to make constructive suggestions and offer ideas to improve this game. I don't take that for granted.
    Queenofthedelta and mrpenguinb like this.
  2. Queenofthedelta

    Queenofthedelta New Member

  3. Wink TartanBelle

    Wink TartanBelle New Member

    So ok, been kind of kicking this idea around for a while now. Playing around with different aspects in my head. Let's see where this leads. Just some simple examples here.

    Neighborhoods called Alpha and Beta and Delta each individually have properties representing every category in FSO. Each property has been active within the past month. All neighborhoods meeting this criteria are considered qualified to participate in these "battles". A random property category is selected to represent each qualifying neighborhood for a "battle" period. Players don't know which category it is, only when the "battle" begins and ends. We'll take a category and look how it would work. Let's look at these Skill lots over the past month (No these are not realistic numbers, just for example): Alpha Skill has 10 visitor hours; Beta Skill has 190 vh; Delta Skill has 210 vh. For that month, Delta Skill has more visitor hours, so would win whatever the award is for that period of time (such as an added bonus to the usual lot bonus, a buy catalog discount for a short period of time, higher lot efficiency/speeds for a period of time, reduced price lot expansion costs, points towards a special award/object/perk at the end of a quarter or year, w/e).

    This could be made much more dynamic and complex by factoring in number of active roomies on each lot and using that number to adjust the gross number of visitor hours. To encourage players to try being an active and helpful roomie before purchasing their own lots, this might help by increasing the amount of cash a player can accrue even without tipping. Add in an increased lot price, and players might become more socially engaged and active, more helpful and useful, less liable to buy up lots that never get built out. It also encourages property owners to actively recruit and retain good roomies, encourage good service and active play.

    It is important to note that the rewards for winning this "battle" need to be temporary and expire before the next "battle period" commences, so the slate is wiped clean and all properties have an equal chance during the next "battle". So for example, we'll have three month long "battles" held twice a year, with the perks for each "battle" winner lasting one month. That gives a couple of months for things to come back to equilibrium before the next "battle". Any object or award needs to be something that does not directly affect gameplay. Perhaps the yearly reward might be something that boosts motive(s), room score, or is otherwise desirable. Something like a piece of clothing/accessory, or even an interaction? And it should not be transferable or have any buy-mode value.

    This system is not meant to create dynasties or have the same few properties always being the winners. It is meant to encourage friendly and dynamic competition and diversity, to feature good service and intelligent and creative property design, and to promote an entertaining and interesting atmosphere.

    That's all my brain can tolerate for the time being. I'm certainly open to any other suggestions or changes. Any critique is welcome. I'm just throwing this out there for consideration. There always seems to be more than one way to do anything, and sometimes in complex situations like a game, changes have unintended ripple effects. More eyes and brains looking at problems can be helpful.

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