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 Post subject: Disruptive emails idea
PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:52 pm 
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Dangerous
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Location: Niagara, Canada
Quote:
suggestions ... welcome
Maesin is a TL1 Anarchy, but is fully connected to the galaxy's email system; which I've just realized could be ideal conditions to add an Oolitish variation of a real-world annoyance, which I suspect this addon has the infrastructure to build, if you want to include it: some version of Nigerian Prince spam.

Swap out 'Nigeria' for 'Maesin', 'Prince' for some random item from a list of suitably rodentish titles, throw in some verbiage about inducting the recipient into a Maesinian animist religion (for the same reasons the Black Monks exist); and once the email is sent, add some game-logic so that in the F3 buyables screen, add a couple of items to either 'Wire money to Maesin' or 'Delete Maesinian bank account numbers'.

As a further complication, perhaps at least one such spammer actually is a hard-working young Maesinian priestess/trader who really just does need a few crowdfunded/kickstartered/Patreoned credits to refuel/maintain/repair/upgrade their vessel, and fully intends to repay their donors should she survive. (Perhaps the game-logic would even let their vessel be spawned if the player visits Maesin - and their crowdfunding requests would stop if said vessel is destroyed.)

Of course, that all involves adding a version of a real-world annoyance to a game, which may not be what you're interested in doing with this addon. Maybe it could be forked? I'm just blue-skying here, and am quite open to this whole concept being shot down, rewritten, or otherwise improved upon.

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Thank you for your time,
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DataPacRat
"Does aₘᵢₙ=2c²/Θ ? I don't know, but wouldn't it be fascinating if it were?"


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 Post subject: Re: (WIP) Home System
PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:59 pm 
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Dangerous
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Joined: Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:21 pm
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Location: Niagara, Canada
Quote:
Quote:
suggestions ... welcome
Maesin is a TL1 Anarchy, but is fully connected to the galaxy's email system; which I've just realized could be ideal conditions to add an Oolitish variation of a real-world annoyance, which I suspect this addon has the infrastructure to build, if you want to include it: some version of Nigerian Prince spam.

Swap out 'Nigeria' for 'Maesin', 'Prince' for some random item from a list of suitably rodentish titles, throw in some verbiage about inducting the recipient into a Maesinian animist religion (for the same reasons the Black Monks exist); and once the email is sent, add some game-logic so that in the F3 buyables screen, add a couple of items to either 'Wire money to Maesin' or 'Delete Maesinian bank account numbers'.

As a further complication, perhaps at least one such spammer actually is a hard-working young Maesinian priestess/trader who really just does need a few crowdfunded/kickstartered/Patreoned credits to refuel/maintain/repair/upgrade their vessel, and fully intends to repay their donors should she survive. (Perhaps the game-logic would even let their vessel be spawned if the player visits Maesin - and their crowdfunding requests would stop if said vessel is destroyed.)

Of course, that all involves adding a version of a real-world annoyance to a game, which may not be what you're interested in doing with this addon. Maybe it could be forked? I'm just blue-skying here, and am quite open to this whole concept being shot down, rewritten, or otherwise improved upon.
Just thought of the obvious method to turn the spam half of that idea into something a player might want: Spawn a Hacker Outpost in Maesin, nominally the one the emails are coming from, and let the player have the opportunity to enjoy the catharsis of blowing it to smithereens. :)

_________________
Thank you for your time,
--
DataPacRat
"Does aₘᵢₙ=2c²/Θ ? I don't know, but wouldn't it be fascinating if it were?"


Last edited by DataPacRat on Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: (WIP) Home System
PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:30 am 
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Above Average
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Posts: 16
Quote:
Swap out 'Nigeria' for 'Maesin', 'Prince' for some random item from a list of suitably rodentish titles, throw in some verbiage about inducting the recipient into a Maesinian animist religion (for the same reasons the Black Monks exist); and once the email is sent, add some game-logic so that in the F3 buyables screen, add a couple of items to either 'Wire money to Maesin' or 'Delete Maesinian bank account numbers'.

As a further complication, perhaps at least one such spammer actually is a hard-working young Maesinian priestess/trader who really just does need a few crowdfunded/kickstartered/Patreoned credits to refuel/maintain/repair/upgrade their vessel, and fully intends to repay their donors should she survive. (Perhaps the game-logic would even let their vessel be spawned if the player visits Maesin - and their crowdfunding requests would stop if said vessel is destroyed.)
I just had a totally evil thought:

Perhaps some more desperate/morally flexible players would choose to engage in such... alternative funding schemes...? Your fellow pilots might well be annoyed with whomever is sending this dreck, and would deal harshly if they IDd you.

Even worse, there are rumors of a very scary small, furry being that compulsively hunts such pilots. Not a rodent, and certainly not a feline. There is no indication of what it actually is, but the rumors generally paint it to be an herbivore by nature. It appears inoffensive, flying a fairly harmless ship. (Again, the rumors are incomplete. Sometimes its an Adder. Sometimes a broken-down old Moray. The craziest state that the being is so small that is travels in a ship the size of an escape pod.) Harmless? Ha! Four Mil lasers, multiple missiles, and can soak up damage that would cripple a BCC!

If you spam for any length of time, it will come for you!


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 Post subject: Re: (WIP) Home System
PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:38 pm 
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Quote:
Maesin is a TL1 Anarchy, but is fully connected to the galaxy's email system; which I've just realized could be ideal conditions to add an Oolitish variation of a real-world annoyance, which I suspect this addon has the infrastructure to build, if you want to include it: some version of Nigerian Prince spam.

Swap out 'Nigeria' for 'Maesin', 'Prince' for some random item from a list of suitably rodentish titles, throw in some verbiage about inducting the recipient into a Maesinian animist religion (for the same reasons the Black Monks exist); and once the email is sent, add some game-logic so that in the F3 buyables screen, add a couple of items to either 'Wire money to Maesin' or 'Delete Maesinian bank account numbers'.

As a further complication, perhaps at least one such spammer actually is a hard-working young Maesinian priestess/trader who really just does need a few crowdfunded/kickstartered/Patreoned credits to refuel/maintain/repair/upgrade their vessel, and fully intends to repay their donors should she survive. (Perhaps the game-logic would even let their vessel be spawned if the player visits Maesin - and their crowdfunding requests would stop if said vessel is destroyed.)

Of course, that all involves adding a version of a real-world annoyance to a game, which may not be what you're interested in doing with this addon. Maybe it could be forked? I'm just blue-skying here, and am quite open to this whole concept being shot down, rewritten, or otherwise improved upon.
Quote:
Just thought of the obvious method to turn the spam half of that idea into something a player might want: Spawn a Hacker Outpost in Maesin, nominally the one the emails are coming from, and let the player have the opportunity to enjoy the catharsis of blowing it to smithereens. :)
Quote:
I just had a totally evil thought:

Perhaps some more desperate/morally flexible players would choose to engage in such... alternative funding schemes...? Your fellow pilots might well be annoyed with whomever is sending this dreck, and would deal harshly if they IDd you.

Even worse, there are rumors of a very scary small, furry being that compulsively hunts such pilots. Not a rodent, and certainly not a feline. There is no indication of what it actually is, but the rumors generally paint it to be an herbivore by nature. It appears inoffensive, flying a fairly harmless ship. (Again, the rumors are incomplete. Sometimes its an Adder. Sometimes a broken-down old Moray. The craziest state that the being is so small that is travels in a ship the size of an escape pod.) Harmless? Ha! Four Mil lasers, multiple missiles, and can soak up damage that would cripple a BCC!

If you spam for any length of time, it will come for you!

To me, the above sounds very much like the basis for its own dedicated OXP.. As it doesn't really fit in with the intended scope of Home System, and I can see many people wanting the Home System or the Maesin Scammers features, but not necessarily both in the one package.

_________________
Most games have some sort of paddling-pool-and-water-wings beginning to ease you in: Oolite takes the rather more Darwinian approach of heaving you straight into the ocean, often with a brick or two in your pockets for luck. ~ Disembodied


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:10 pm 
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Variations on the scamming theme could include cut-price deals on the miracle wonder drug Placebo, and opportunities to collect an unclaimed inheritance/prize (with a few genuine ones thrown in, just to keep the player guessing: more ideas at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_email_scams ).


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:46 am 
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Quite Grand Sub-Admiral
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Disruptive emails discussion moved to own topic at the request of phkb.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:20 am 
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Location: [p]laying [h]ard and [k]icking [b]utt somewhere in G7...
Thanks, a_c!

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:25 am 
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So, the idea of scam/spam emails. This came up briefly during the development of the Email System, and were this to become an OXP I think it would probably be an extension to that OXP, rather than Home System. I designed the email system so that some emails can be sent with required responses attached eg for an email that says “Do you agree to these terms?”, the player can be offered a Yes and No response, that can each trigger different actions. That means that you wouldn’t need to add anything to the F3 screen, all you’d need is an email with a “Wire money to Maesin” as one of the available options.

The main problem I see is how to convince the player that some of these emails are genuine. Today, as soon as we see an email like this, we know (or we should, anyway!) that it’s a scam. We delete them as soon as we get them. And a lot of filtering is now in place by email providers to stop us receiving them at all. So, what in-game logic and systems exist that (a) allows these emails to be delivered in the first place, and (b) broadcasts to the player that some could be worth pursuing? While Oolite relies heavily on RNG for many parts of the gameplay, just having a random outcome with no way to tell the difference is frustrating for the player.

I’ve included some tools in the Email System that might help (a trace route for each email in particular), but some other factors might need to be incorporated, for instance having key personages mentioned in GNN news items. Essentially, it should be possible for the player to research the facts about the email, and work out, perhaps to within 80-90% certainty, that it’s true (and worth pursuing) or false (and should be deleted).

Some thought should also be given to the risk/reward factor for these emails. If the email just has a “Wire money to Maesin”, there isn’t a lot of risk involved. Yes, the player might not get their money back, but if all that happens is they get another email saying wire more money, there’s not much risk in just not replying. Part of this comes back to the gameplay side of things, and how this links in to other game elements (spawning of bad guys, bases changing offender status, etc). There needs to be more to this than just wiring money back and forth, which isn’t very interesting in itself.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:27 am 
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Dangerous
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Quote:
The main problem I see is how to convince the player that some of these emails are genuine.
Quote:
There needs to be more to this than just wiring money back and forth, which isn’t very interesting in itself.
I currently have a hunch that a more productive approach would be to start working through a scenario involving some form of entirely legitimate crowdfunding, and once a workable version thereof is figured out, then scammy variations could be added in and balanced against the legitimate ones. (I also suspect that I should re-read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Prisoner and its linked references, to better be able to figure out Oolitish approaches to Nigerian spam; but I'm having to work to keep my eyes open just now.)

In fact, maybe this method of brainstorming could be turned around: What if it's the player/pilot who has the opportunity to fire off emails, either legitimate or not, begging others for money in exchange for some sort of promised return? What would that look like if it works or doesn't, how would it be started (somebody offering to sell a turnkey mass-mail computer box?), could arrangements be made to spawn hostile ships hired by angry would-be investors, could there be a side-plot involving the Black Monks, could the player be tempted to try to start a full-scale Ponzi scheme, could the player actually /succeed/ at running a Ponzi scheme well enough to end up with profit by the time it collapses, etc, etc?

_________________
Thank you for your time,
--
DataPacRat
"Does aₘᵢₙ=2c²/Θ ? I don't know, but wouldn't it be fascinating if it were?"


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:39 am 
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I think, for any in-game con to work on the player, it would have to be reasonably sophisticated. And there would probably need to be some chance for the player to get some sort of payback, too, if they were prepared to work at it.

If the email system sent players real job offers - go to X, pick up a cargo of Y, take it to Z - then it might be possible to stick some sort of advance-fee scam into that system: a really lucrative contract that requires an advance payment from the player, but with a promise of big bucks when they make the delivery. Except that when the player gets to X, there's no cargo to collect and nobody has heard of the merchant the player was dealing with.

The difficulty is how to fool the player without it just being annoying. The player has no real information to go on, besides what the game gives them: no social experience of the gameworld, no sense of what sort of deals are possible/probable/likely to be scams. And from a gameplay point of view, I think the player would need to have a chance to take revenge, somehow.

It might be possible to tie up a player in something like a Gold Brick scam. The player is lured to a rock hermit somewhere, told that miners have hit a particularly large lode of gold/platinum, but they're worried about pirates and want a capable ship to get their treasure to market: the player has a "good reputation, can keep a secret", etc. "We don't want to broadcast our location right now, but if you're interested, head towards … [somewhere several jumps away]". As the player gets nearer, the emails keep coming - more news about the size of the find, more concerns about pirates, how long will the player take to get there, what's the holdup?, and so on.

When the player gets to the right system, they're given a location beacon for a rock hermit. At the asteroid, they're greeted enthusiastically by the "relieved miners" and offered the chance to buy a very large amount of gold/platinum at a big discount: the miners "just want it off our hands … there's been a Black Dog pack and escorts cruising around in the last day or so … you know your own ship of course but we recommend you jump out to another system immediately - perhaps [somewhere nearly 7ly away], they have good prices for precious metals". There could even be arguments among the miners, about the size of profit they're giving to the player. Of course, when the player gets their cargo to another station, instead of (say) 8 tonnes of platinum, they find they're carrying 8 kg of platinum, 1 tonne of alloys, and 7 tonnes of minerals.

If the player ever heads back to the rock hermit, by the time they get there it's abandoned - but there might be a clue as to where the fraudsters went with all the player's money.

Another possible scam would be to get the player to invest in a rock hermit that's "hit paydirt" - or even just offered the chance to buy "the location of a sweet lode of rich rocks". For the latter, the player might turn up and find a dozen other suckers all zapping away at a few (worthless) asteroids, and indeed at each other …

These sorts of scenarios would all necessarily be one-off player missions. I don't think it would be plausible to expect the player to play through these sorts of things more than once.

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