Re: Games reflecting life [was Re: No AI for Nano/No Nano for copyloads]

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Mon Jul 17 2000 - 02:47:09 MDT

On Mon, 17 Jul 2000, Emlyn (onetel) wrote:

> It sounds really cool; similiar to Utopia. Looks like they stole a time
> machine, came forward and saw Utopia, then went back in time and made their
> own copy. Or else Utopia is a rippoff.

I suspect that Utopia is a son-of-son-of-son-of-Empire.

> I didn't see anything about the usual number of players per game. This power
> of having so many players was the gist of my previous posts.

It depends on the size of the world created. In the early days it would
usually be support 16 or 32 people (computers were small back then...).

But there were no real barriers to creating a very big world that
could support a lot of players. For the game to be interesting
you have to have space/player work out to something like 64-256
sectors/player. That gave you room to grow and sectors to specialize
before you "bumped" into your neighbors (most of the time).

> Utopia is not a great game. It's fairly mediocre in my reckoning; it's full
> of clunky fixes to try to retain game balance, each such resulting in rule
> changes so that each round, the rules have been changed to stop an
> unbalanced tactic from the round before, and which invariably introduce
> their own new problems.

Empire went through the same process as people discovered loopholes
and they were blocked which then made more complex loopholes.

> But it is 60,000 players, and an entirely simplistic abstract geographical
> model (if you want to think in terms of a map, it is as if you were adjacent
> to every other player), that makes the game incredible. It is just soooo
> many people; such a game is qualitatively different from any small scale
> game. Strategies that work for 2 adjacent opponents, or 4, or 20, do not
> work for 60,000; new strategies emerge which are innapropriate in games with
> smaller numbers of players.

If you are adjacent to every other player, then it is N-dimensional
(which is an interesting concept). Empire was entirely reality based
(2-dimensional), which made the formation and keeping of treaties an
interesting exercise.

> I loved this quote from the Empire description:
> "To prevent the more fanatical Empire players from staying logged on all the
> time, Empire places a limit on the amount of time you may be logged in per
> day. This limit is settable by the deity, usually 1000 minutes. If you run
> out of time, too bad! You can't log in again until the counter resets itself
> (usually at midnight). "

This is probably a post-original-empire version variant. In the original
version, you had no login/command limitations (that became unfair to the
players who had "real" jobs or studies). Then it was switched to
administrative "directive" limits (the president/king only has "so much"
time to give orders). Then that was balanced, I think, by the ability
to dedicate some of your population/capital to "administrative" centers
to allow semi-automated management (with an associated cost).

> If you use 1000 minutes in a day, you are in serious, serious, serious
> trouble!!! I don't think I've racked up that much time on Utopia in a day -
> too often.

I am sure that there were a few Empire players in the early days who
may have managed to do this. Ultimately it got constrained so the
most you could spend on it was about 2 hours per day (online).


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Oct 02 2000 - 17:34:45 MDT