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Avoiding Survivorship Bias

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Introduction

This is more so a topic for the developers, but I hope people will add their ideas for additonal feedback. Dual Universe is looking to be an enormous, awesome game. It's trying to do what no game has done before, but at the same time it's going to share some gameplay aspects with other games. In order to make this deep, rich, and occasionally complex game a reality, lots of mechanics and ideas will need balancing and fine-tuning. A very popular game around these forums is EVE, for obvious reasons. EVE has lots of the features and mechanics that Dual Universe is looking to accomplish. As such, I would consider it foolish to not look to EVE for ideas on how to make Dual Universe better. EVE is very successful, with a huge lifespan for a game, and many of the concepts the game is based on are shared by Dual Universe. As such, it is of course a great example to look to.

 

What Survivor Bias is

However, I think it's extremely important to specifically mention survivorship bias (SB), and how to avoid it. If you know what SB is, you can skip this paragraph. SB is when you look at only the survivors of a situation, and make a judgment call based on only what made the survivors successful. You can google it yourself, but a popular example is from WWII. Lots of British and American bombers were getting shot down, and so the allies looked at where most of the bullet holes were in the returning bombers. They added extra armor to those areas, and sent them off again. But, the number of bombers lost didn't really change. Then one man realized the fallacy in the reasoning... They were only looking at the bombers that had survived. This man determined where the bombers that were getting shot down were getting shot; he didn't look at why the survivors survived, but why the failures failed. He determined where the lost bombers were being shot and subsequently destroyed, and those spots were then armored instead. The number of bombers getting shot down decreased after this, because his reasoning was correct.

 

How I've used it in games

Seems dramatic to bring such a serious matter into a game, but the reasoning is the same. I'm currently working on a zombies map for Black Ops 3, and wanting to make a great map, I looked at the generally considered "best zombies maps" (take a guess how many youtube videos there are with a title like that) and what makes people like them so much. But, I also looked at the maps people seem to like the least, and tried to figure out why people don't like them, so I can avoid the features and aspects that those maps have that the others don't.

 

(TL;DR: You'll still get the gist of the topic if you read from here)

 

Why the failures fail

Dual Universe can do the same. Looking at EVE as an example, that's great, an extremely good idea to do so. Look at what makes that game great, and try and carry those features over. But, it is also extremely important to look at what made the failures fail. Drama aside, look at No Man's Sky. It has tons of planets and creatures to discover. People say all the planets are the same aside from colors, and they're partially right. A planet may have different animals, but they lack uniqueness. Each animal hardly acts any differently than any other, and no animal offers something that another one doesn't. All of the materials and resources are found in the same form on every planet. No Man's Sky offers lots and lots of the same thing; there are tons of planets, buildings, animals, NPCs, and space stations, but none of them really offer anything that another one doesn't.

 

The problem with failures is that typically, they aren't popular so not many people know about them. I hope other people will bring in more failures of games (preferably ones comparable in some way to Dual Universe), and maybe highlight some reasons why those games failed. Maybe mention some features you don't want to see in the game. Please try and avoid drama and extreme negativity; highlight flaws, but don't verbally destroy the games, and please specifically don't turn this into a No Man's Sky hate thread.

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So, basically taking a look at all the weakspots at other games, and figure out ways to prevent Dual Universe from failing in a similar way?

In short, yes. I really don't want Dual Universe to have features that could be interesting but end up just being boring, so I feel that it's really important to understand survivor bias and why it's important. Thus, the lengthy post.

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I don't really worry about specific features per say, I worry more about feature creep and features that don't really add much to the game ie they are there just to say they are there. Looking at a game like Star Citizen is a good example of feature creep and the Dev seemingly changing/altering their goals and vision from the start based on the amount of funding they got and thinking they can just keep adding stuff.

 

I think NQ so far is saying and doing all the right things. They simply need to stay the course and work on the base game regardless of funding status or popular opinion. So that would be my biggest thing to avoid, just build the base game and add on later, not the other way around like some Devs some to do.

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So, basically taking a look at all the weakspots at other games, and figure out ways to prevent Dual Universe from failing in a similar way?

"

A good day to you, Kuritho. 

 

Yes, indeed. It is a wonderful way to provide feedback and much needed advice to the developers. Without a doubt, a significant number of problems would already have been defined and worked on by the developers, but as always: two heads are better than one. 

 

I'll bring up a game you might or might not have heard of: Project Spark by Microsoft. In more ways than one, the game offered opportunities few other games had at that time -- or even now. Project Spark allowed players to craft constructs using scalable and elements. There was hardly a single thing in Project Spark that couldn't be edited: the land was made to be terra-formed; constructs were made to be used, customised and coded; and characters were made to be customised, coded and edited. 

 

I spent well over two years on the game. But, like many people, I left it on the shelf after a while. On the 13th of May, this year, Microsoft removed the game from the Store and blocked every single means of downloading the game. On the 12th of August, 2016, all online services went dark and the game was officially shut down. It can still be played if you have it: I have it on my computer, and I am still looking for a way to back it up when I change my computer. For the life of me, I cannot imagine deleting this game or losing it. 

 

People loved it, every single one of its fans I know were upset at the game's departure. Despite its brilliance, features and bold steps, it bit the bullet. 

 

  • Many would point an accusing finger at the Marketing Team of the game. It may be unfair, but they are correct. "Project Spark Plays Your Creations" was a Youtube session held by the developer's team every month or so and it received a fair amount views (if you only take into account the player base), but ultimately, it was a much lacking in attracting new players. To be candid, it failed to bring in more people the way it was supposed to. Some may argue that the intent of thos gaming sessions was not to attract new players, but that's beside the point. If the "Project Spark Plays Your Creations" was not meant to attract new players, then what was? 

     

    E3 videos were short and did a horrible job of actually showing people what the game was about. 

  • The tutorials left much to be desired. I bumped into Arisilde Damal here on the Forums a while ago. He, Mescad and Seris Taclys were actually "the tutorials" for the game. Their Youtube channels are full of creative insight into design and especially coding. Don't you bring up the argument that a tutorial is simply meant to show you the basics. That is true, but not true of games that need codes to work. Codes in Project Spark could range from a single page of a dozen lines to tens of pages with scores of lines each. In some cases, the codes would run for more than two hundred lines. The brazen reality that the best constructs would need the best codes, put off many people. Yes, the game did provide templates, but for many people, the templates were just lines of jargon from another world. If codes are to be used, the tutorials should certainly be more indepth. Seasoned programmers may think this unnecessary, but the life blood of any game are the new blood that keep coming to it. 

  • People simpy got tired of it. Did Team Dakota introduce new content? Certainly, there was a steady stream of it. Did Team Dakota release new gamepacks? Yes, they did. But everything had to be paid for with ingame currency or bought. Believe me, if you wanted to buy new expansion or gamepacks, you would have to grind with your bones. Some of the content simply wasn't available to be bought with in-game currency. I'm glad to see Novaquark addressed the pay-to-win issue. Nevertheless, there's a fine line between making content too easy to effectively force people to work for it and putting the content out of their reach. No one wants to be Tantalus or Sisyphus for that matter.  

  • Other minor problems included the infamous ingame search engine, the failed promises of scalability and the fact that most of the content was just the same: different designs, sizes and codes--but nonetheless, much the same. Yes, the developers needed to make money and everyone else wants a free-to-play game. 

 

Hm...it would be unfair not to give solutions, although, the developers would know what to do after reading this. 

 

  1. Aggressive marketing: Brutal, intensive and relentless marketing during the pre-release, release and most importantly: post release phases of the game. Everything from SEMs to outreaches, gaming sessions to public contests. In the future, I look forward to Dual Universe Gamefests and conferences. What dampens most games isn't that people didn't hear about the game; it's that they only heard about it once or twice. 
  2. Keep adding new content. Eve has done a splendid job at this. At times, the content changes some fundamental principles...take a look at the cause of one of Eve's greatest wars: Fountain's resources; proudly brought to you by game-changing mechanics. Other updates like the Aegis were not popular with a lot of players at the time, but they did serve their purpose. Simply adding new content is not enough: everyone does that. You need to add content that enhances or changes the game to make it more interesting. Not too many and not too few. 
  3. Encouraging and providing "that extra mile" tutorials. They don't have to be the compulsory tutorials that welcome each new player (although an option should exist to allow anyone to replay those tutorials at any point in time). Efficient, informative (and perhaps exhaustive?) help should be given. No, it won't break the game. Those who put in more effort will still stay ahead. There's a saying: "you can force a horse to the stream, but you can't force it to drink." The fact is that people will ignore those efforts at extra help. We all know that. Nonetheless, they can't fault the developers for not providing enough insight. If they make silly mistakes because they couldn't take the extra time to read up (like a number of the new members to the Forums), it's their fault and their loss. 
  4. Interactive discussions. In this regard, Novaquark has done excellent. From the AMA sessions to the responses on the Forums, splendid job. But, it is not good enough to start out well. This kind of help must be sustained. For that, the members of the Community have a crucial role to play. Whether or not an informed Forum member is part of the Alpha Team, an Advanced Member or even just a member, help and discussions are indispensible to keeping the Community and the game active and welcoming. 

I will stop here for now. This wall of text should have a tl;dr. Later, of course, if ever.

 

"

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Introduction

All of the materials and resources are found in the same form on every planet. No Man's Sky offers lots and lots of the same thing; there are tons of planets, buildings, animals, NPCs, and space stations, but none of them really offer anything that another one doesn't.

I just want to point out that they've already said that some planets (At leasts Alioth, the starting planet) won't have the resources you're looking for, so you'll have to venture out and find them. They've also said each biome on a planet contains a set of typical ores, so that should add some feeling that not every location has what you need.

 

https://board.dualthegame.com/index.php?/topic/10382-devblog-scanning-mining/

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One example I can reflect on is Black Prophecy. I liked it at first, it was a nice space combat sim. But like a lot of other MMOs it relied on an NPC and mission grind that got old very quickly. There were too many single player elements which defeats the purpose of an MMO.

 

So that's one thing that drew me to DU, I like how they don't have plans for any NPC enemies/civilization and rely on player-created content right from the start.

 

I liked Eve, just a couple things I didn't like. The NPC pirate grind to make money, and the jumping through stargate after stargate to get somewhere, which won't be an issue in DU because there will be plenty of places to go within a system.

 

- Canned missions give me no sense of accomplishment, but player-created missions would I think, it would feel like I am actually contributing to something.

- Mining is boring in most games, but if there is a technical challenge in finding the materials (not NPCs trying to kill me), and the reward of creating the elements and constructs I want to build, then that is better.

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I just want to point out that they've already said that some planets (At leasts Alioth, the starting planet) won't have the resources you're looking for, so you'll have to venture out and find them. They've also said each biome on a planet contains a set of typical ores, so that should add some feeling that not every location has what you need.

 

https://board.dualthegame.com/index.php?/topic/10382-devblog-scanning-mining/

 

Aye, I know they've said this, I was just making a point. Nevertheless, thank you for your comment! I may very well have not know that. Thank you others for your experiences as well. 

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Bad things about EVE:

- Learning skills: You have 5 attributes which affect learning speed of skills; there were 2 skills each you could learn to improve your attributes in order to skill faster. It was just a pain for newbros to skill those first and then the relevant skills for new weapons/Ships (was later patched)

- 24h skill queue: You could only drop skills into that queue when the start of the last skill was within 24h - but it could then run for 60days. (was later patched - now: 50 skills at max, no matter when they start)

- weak tutorial: non existent at all, poorly made and complete crap. If you don't have someone who explains everything to you, you're fucked.

- bad newbro experience: they have no clue what to do, where to go. Eve just throws you into the fun with no explanation at all - how to fit your ship, what there is to do and so on (has gotten better through community and some patches)

 

and the worst point of all which bothers me most (and I really hope NQ doesn't make that mistake too):

- carebear catering: there is no need for a newbro to leave highsec. no story arc, no mission, no tutorial - well there are, but most risk averse players decline those because they fear lowsec/null/whs too much. No one is forced to go there, not even once. That bias is partially because of the community, which is great (don't go there, bad things happen, you die, we don't want you there,... securing an air of mystery) and because there is no need for them to even bother with dangerous space. Many players only stay in highsec and just don't get to know the whole game, they're robbed of great experiences, big battles, tactical warfare, thrills and much more because they only know a safe and secure environment (which is total bullshit btw, highsec is way more dangerous than my C6 wormhole) from the start. Everyone of you spacenerds have heard at some point about some big battle in eve and twisting plots - those are the stories which draw attention to the game and get people involved. No one wants to hear an "epic" story about a miner who sits in his belt for 10h and watching his cargo fill - that's just utterly boring.Nonetheless: when people then join eve (because of some epic story they heard) they just sit in highsec and will NEVER see such a battle or such plots. You have to force people out of their comfort zone, at least once. They have to get to know the dangerous lifestyle, the worrying about your ship, the thrill you feel while you are hunted. If they then decide that they don't want to do that again - fine, you don't have to - but they know it's there.

 

Good things:

- player driven stories: battles, plots, hilarious mistakes, even gods - all made up by players

- complicated mechanics: best part of eve. Only few people really understand the game mechanics (like tracking,directional scan, shield mechanics, engines, fitting,....) and really use them properly (like the infinite gun for example). Most just play and have some tactics to do something but they don't fully understand the underlying mechanics. They don't use those mechanics to their advantage. Getting to know those mechanics and using them properly is one of the best things in eve.

- Trailers: ccp really knows how to promote the game well. just watch: this is eve trailer.....

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I was going to say something about how utterly hypocritical your rant about "carebear catering" is, but I find myself not caring overly much. I was going to add that required resources are "out there" and not in safe zones in DU, but you already know that. Other points are well made though.

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I was going to say something about how utterly hypocritical your rant about "carebear catering" is, but I find myself not caring overly much. I was going to add that required resources are "out there" and not in safe zones in DU, but you already know that. Other points are well made though.

I know that. This is about eve and, like the topic of this thread, about bias. Those are/were issues eve had which are imho simply bad, either by design or because they patched it because of some carebears feeling unsafe

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"

The good difference between Eve and Dual Universe is that there is no highsec or null sec area -- apart from the Arkzone. 

 

All other areas are just different shades of grey. Just like in Eve's null sec, the players create the rules. 

 

I'd refer to the NBSI (Not Blue, Shoot It) and the NRDS (Not Red Don't Shoot) in Eve -- Twerk mentioned it earlier in the topic of RDMS- Invisible Tags. 

 

The two examples above really do sum up everything that's going to happen in Dual Universe. Just like in nullsec, entering a corporation's or alliance's territory without being allied to them, will get you killed on sight in most cases. 

 

On the other hand, in lowsec space, you can afford to be on the neutral side, although, I don't trust Eve players and prefer to jump 23 times manually, travelling through low sec is and always has been dangerous. 

 

There will always be the belligerents and the pacifists in every sandbox. And the rules for both will be defined in held territory and un held territory. As in the real world, nations seek to extend their sphere of influence in many ways: whether it's forcing you to be allied with them to protect yourself;  forcing you to obey their rules or moving to another system to live the life you love. Some nations love to fight and if you enter their territory or zone of influence, you have yourself to blame. 

 

Being purely good, does no one any good. There are times when you have to show your foe that you can make him bleed too.

"

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I'd love to see them focus on the exploration elements more than the building.

No Man's Sky re-hauled... made with voxels!

This game is about rebuilding civilization so i think they will focus on building. Exploring will be part of searching for materials or looking for strategic place for base or enemy positions.

 

 

- carebear catering: there is no need for a newbro to leave highsec. no story arc, no mission, no tutorial - well there are, but most risk averse players decline those because they fear lowsec/null/whs too much. 

I think the main reason is that new players are killed even in high sec by some idiots .... they feel like ... they killing me in high sec in low sec it will be even worse no way i am going there..... DU looks like will be different from EVE 

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Stating it again:

 

this thread is about your experience with other games and what you didn't like about them. What could those games do better than they did?

 

This is not so much about DU and how different DU will be, or what possible other mechanics there are in place. It's only about OTHER games and their failings.

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Stating it again:

 

this thread is about your experience with other games and what you didn't like about them. What could those games do better than they did?

 

This is not so much about DU and how different DU will be, or what possible other mechanics there are in place. It's only about OTHER games and their failings.

Indeed, thank you Lethys. It is merely to point out failures in other games that DU is vulnerable to but can avoid.

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Tutorial: I often shelf games that have isolated tutorials. "Oh you finished the tutorial? Lets throw away all the work you have done in this simulator and now you can start over with a real game." I would much rather have a tutorial system that actually begins to set me up for success in the actual game environment.

 

Combat: The result of combat in eve seems mostly predetermined by ship loadouts instead of player skill and choices in combat. This can lead do some hour+ long waits for key players to fit their ships. I'm 32 with a kid on the way, I can't wait for that anymore.

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One thing i see which is bothering me, is that everyone is trying to be allies with everyone. Which will lead to a mroe Utopian state and less conflicts. And while BOO is stating they don't want to be law keepers they themselves are sort of making a "pirates code" to basically be somewhat friendly. If this keeps happening, i believe a lot of people wont be fighting and having fun and that if it does happen most of these alliances such as cindefall would just have to disband and re adapt.

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One thing i see which is bothering me, is that everyone is trying to be allies with everyone. Which will lead to a mroe Utopian state and less conflicts. And while BOO is stating they don't want to be law keepers they themselves are sort of making a "pirates code" to basically be somewhat friendly. If this keeps happening, i believe a lot of people wont be fighting and having fun and that if it does happen most of these alliances such as cindefall would just have to disband and re adapt.

Interesting view. I believe if a utopia is reached Cinderfall Syndicate will have succeeded in what it is setting out to do. That said, the chances of all organizations working together in harmony (or at least in relative peace) is beyond remote. I don't think I have heard of a game where this actually happened.

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Space Engineers, Minecraft, and Arc (all with survival mode and with mods): My brother and I have shelved this for now. We felt like we have reached the end game of what we set out to do and the game loop has become stale. There are no more challenges we want to overcome or problems that we need to engineer a solution for. We've overcome the survival aspects of the game to the degree that it is just creative mode.

 

On the other hand we play all of the above on very small, private, pve-centric servers. We don't want to participate in pvp combat because, to be honest, we can't play all the time every day to make sure our hard work isn't lost. One success of Eve is that a thorax is a thorax and so I'm ok losing it as long as I can afford a replacement. However my creative work is much more important to me, so I don't want to put my hard work at risk.

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One thing i see which is bothering me, is that everyone is trying to be allies with everyone. Which will lead to a mroe Utopian state and less conflicts. And while BOO is stating they don't want to be law keepers they themselves are sort of making a "pirates code" to basically be somewhat friendly. If this keeps happening, i believe a lot of people wont be fighting and having fun and that if it does happen most of these alliances such as cindefall would just have to disband and re adapt.

 

This may be an overall genuine concern, but I think it's socially impossible for everyone in a society to get along. There will always be conflict, especially in a game; people will create conflict for no reason other than for there to be conflict. While it may seem like all the big corporations are creating "alliances" right now... Of course they are. What are they going to do, declare war two years before release? When the game actually comes out and the corporations that are around get built up and strong, I don't think people will be so quick to be friendly.

 

 

Space Engineers, Minecraft, and Arc (all with survival mode and with mods): My brother and I have shelved this for now. We felt like we have reached the end game of what we set out to do and the game loop has become stale. There are no more challenges we want to overcome or problems that we need to engineer a solution for. We've overcome the survival aspects of the game to the degree that it is just creative mode.

 

On the other hand we play all of the above on very small, private, pve-centric servers. We don't want to participate in pvp combat because, to be honest, we can't play all the time every day to make sure our hard work isn't lost. One success of Eve is that a thorax is a thorax and so I'm ok losing it as long as I can afford a replacement. However my creative work is much more important to me, so I don't want to put my hard work at risk.

 

I made a topic about this on these forums a while back, and I forgot about it until your post just now, so thanks for bringing it up. Making "end game items" is definitely something I see being an easy mistake to make that could hurt this game. Your minecraft example is perfect, once you have easily replaceable full diamond everything, whats really the point anymore? Might as well start over with a new world. 

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even if its not Utopian peace i feel its going to become sort of like the US where people will try to be the world police.

 

I definitely agree. I see some organizations trying to enforce their vision on the world, which probably won't work too well. 

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I definitely agree. I see some organizations trying to enforce their vision on the world, which probably won't work too well. 

Its not a bad thing to want a segment to be peaceful, but to try to make it en-masse just doesnt seem like something they should be aiming for.

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