Breakable wrote: Something simple, implementable and easy to get addicted to:
Hilarious! Thanks! Just tweeted it.
This post in from someone who wishes to remain anonymous. Yay! More blackmail ammo for me. Only *slightly* edited.
What you really want is not Farmville but a massively multiple-player game. You need to have players both trying to make fusion work, and those who are trying to stop it. You have choice of various avatars. There are a variety of fusion scientists and assistants (choose your own characteristics, attire, wild hair, working style, igors), shyster lawyers whose game is to make the highest fees; high-roller capitalists scheming to take over the operation; agents of oil and gas companies—and the CIA, of course, trying to blow everyone up; unscrupulous suppliers selling faulty switches trying to sabotage the works and of course the glamorous, slightly exotic female free-lance fusion advocate who is trying to outsmart everyone and steer the project to its goal.
Unlike the standard games where everyone is accumulating gold to buy their way to the next level, each avatar is after their own point-equivalents. So the fusion scientist is accumulating fusion reactions, working up toward breakeven (and trading them for dollars to keep the show going) , the shyster lawyers are of course after dollars, the Oil and Gas characters after explosions and body counts, while the advocate is accumulating fusion converts. And of course you throw in the good old game idea of a race, with massively multiple labs all trying to get to fusion first, and massively multiple villains standing in their way. Anyway, you get the idea.
In farmville, the mechanics of farming are key.
Likewise, with fusionville, we can build the game around the mechanics of setting up a fusion lab. We have a variety of reactor types / experimental approaches to choose from – so the players get a choice of what type of facilities to work in.
Naturally, those people who want to “farm” with a tokamak will need really huge facilities. So they’ll have to go in together with a lot of other people to make the huge thing. This will be an important design factor – figuring out how much things “cost” so that proportional “fusioncash” is used for each reactor.
This will give people a sense of proportion. You’ll be able to SEE that one ITER costs as much as hundreds (thousands?) of smaller scale research endeavors.
Other reactor types can get off and running with smaller teams and resources.
Activities revolve around:
Pulling together the resources,
people with skills and resources (recruiting other players to your team)
Sustaining damage to the machine – and repairing it
coming up with new fixes and ideas for improvement of the machine
Diagnosing what’s wrong with the machine
Getting fusion results
Experimental machines do achieve fusion – we just don’t have net energy yet.
So…the game machines also get fusion, and that’s one way to get points. Measuring your neutrons or alpha particles – coming up with ways of harnessing the output energy. Also, for those trying aneutronic experiments – different output is measured (not neutrons – except at stage 1)
Of course, you can have breakdowns and defective parts with all of the above, so your instrument doesn’t work (we’ll have a randomizer added to the game to alert you that it’s not working, or you may notice anomalous results).
You can also publish false results and see how long it takes for people to peer review you back to reality.
Actual results from the real world:
The game could be set up to be linked to real world events. In other words, as a real fusion project goes forward, the homage project in fusionville gets to incorporate the results – we’ll have to set up an algorithm for that. So, if a project in the real world shows an improved density-confinement – you get a boost in your game, and your stocks go up. If your real world project starts breaking down, you likewise lose energy points.
Now we’re talking! This game design could easily spill over into the parallel universe often mistakenly referred to as “reality”.
i don’t see how this game will help to get anything real done.
vansig wrote: i don’t see how this game will help to get anything real done.
The immediate aim is to get people aware of the technologies and challenges by playing the game. Those willing to do their homework should do better, as well as become more involved in the offline fusion world.
Rezwan:I like your idea, but it will take more resources than FF to implement. Maybe we can do it after singularity ? 😉
Breakable wrote: Rezwan:I like your idea, but it will take more resources than FF to implement.
Absolutely! That’s why we have to outsource. So we’re putting these ideas out there, and hoping someone takes the initiative to do it. They are free to profit from the game if they design it. We just want the publicity, and some input into the design.
As a professional programmer, I’d like to throw in my 2c, trying to summarize a bit what’s emerged so far, putting myself as much on the “regular player” side as much as possible: the fact that I’m actually developing kids game (albeit on mobile platforms), perhaps gives me a bit more of an inside view…
FoldIt: Nice, really nice! What’s intriguing is that the players don’t understand, and don’t need to, anything about biology and molecules, they’re just solving puzzles. I’d love to find out something similar for fusion, but I don’t see any possibility right now: there could be some merit in building up a simulator, however, and let people play with different configurations. My personal knowledge is too little to understand if there could be entertainment in that…
MMORPG: Oh well, that’s a multi-million industry, big firms spend huge resources developing those worlds, and keep them interesting enough so players don’t drop off… Yes, there are minor publishers that have their hardcore fans: probably the nearest to our ideas I could think of is EVE Online (space-themed, where technology development has a high value), but there are decades of sci-fi books & movies that have built up awareness of the possibilities (either real or not), thus it becomes a way to “see” your imagination at work. That is the main point , after all: who in his right mind would play as a lawyer? :vampire:
I wouldn’t start with that, the awareness isn’t here yet (that indeed was the initial point for publishing the game), and at this stage it would probably fail in keeping people involved for long.
MafiaWars: The accent here isn’t so much in building up something, but in doing so in a very competitive way: crushing down enemy gangs is as rewarding, or possibly more, than dealing with day-to-day tasks! Would you build up a community spirit with that? I think not… Most of the clones I’ve seen rely on the same schema, it isn’t surprising many sports are represented this way: sports are all about competing…
FarmVille: As it has been said, it’s quite dumb: no real knowledge of how a real farm is built, it will not get any better while you proceed in the game, nor there’s any connection with real-world agriculture as a whole… Still, people like to play it (and its clones): why then? Well, my personal answer is that there’s pleasure and entertainment in the sheer beauty and harmony of your creation! Showing it off to the other players, and searching cooperation for the most difficult tasks, is part of the “social” side, still the small adjustments here and there have little purpose other than make everything look as pretty as possible to one’s own eye.
I still think this is the better approach for a game where fusion could have a role, however there should be a special attention to make it entertaining and elegant at the same time: as it’s not a simulation, no real need to mimic the real world issues, exactly like FarmVille wouldn’t help farmers to work any better.
As a personal comment, in this phase I’d focus more on the general “energy management” side: there IS indeed awareness that energy is and will be of the outmost importance for our future, the simple fact that fusion reactors would be present at all in the game, and in all its forms, should be a good start…
All the above IMHO, of course: I’m a programmer (and willing to help), not a game designer…
BTW, pardon my English, I hope it’s been clear enough…
As a personal comment, in this phase I’d focus more on the general “energy management” side: there IS indeed awareness that energy is and will be of the utmost importance for our future, the simple fact that fusion reactors would be present at all in the game, and in all its forms, should be a good start…
Welcome epimenide; great first post (though I hope you do not fulfill the Cretan criteria yourself)
I think you have hit the nail on the head. The really exciting part of the game comes when the player starts to recognise what “could be” if energy is readily affordable by all, clean and (relatively) easily distributed. If this can be built into the “rewards-for-clicks” aspect of the game people should be beating down the doors to put this into (the place generally accepted as) the real world.
Maybe something like “Civilization” can be used too. It simulates an civilization from 4000 BC until 2100 AD. Fusion Energy is part of the achievable technology advances you can develop whilst playing.
There is an open source implementation called FreeCiv. Maybe it is possible to get them implementing a “grassroots fusion device”? A DPF? Requirements: Internet, Grassroots Collaboration, Search Engine, Plasma Physics.
Question: What do you get, if you’re convincing people that energy will be eventually free?
Answer: They will waste more energy now, because tomorrow it will be free anyway. But how far is that tomorrow away? One year? Ten years? Fifty years? Thousand years? Million years? After the sun dies?
an Open Source framework is a great place to start. 🙂
“Free energy” will begin with the business community seeking competitive advantage. At the local household level, it can’t be free because of the need to maintain and repair the local distribution network- the last mile or few from the substation. Besides, US energy prices are nowhere near the sacrifice level required to get entire families to pull together for conservation. i.e.- “It’s one of Dad’s rules”.
Mr Henning; energy is already free. It is only man’s endeavours to capture it and turn it to his own ends that costs. As with so many other things.
Phil’s Dad wrote: though I hope you do not fulfill the Cretan criteria yourself.
Well, that’s my usual disclaimer… 😉
Henning wrote: Maybe something like “Civilization” can be used too. It simulates an civilization from 4000 BC until 2100 AD. Fusion Energy is part of the achievable technology advances you can develop whilst playing.
There is an open source implementation called FreeCiv.
That’s a possibility, and it shouldn’t be too hard either: here you can find some info, and as it is community driven it’s no problem to add a new mod, having the skills… In the standard game, though, fusion comes at the end, after 6000 years, don’t know if and how the timeline could be redesigned as much… There is also a FB-available app for it (I don’t find it exceptionally involving, though), I’d be curious on how many players it has…
What I had in mind, OTOH, is more on the line of this, but energy-driven instead of farm-driven.
Something like this? Only for DPF or a variety of alternative fusion candidates. Graphics can be fairly simple, just a sprite for the plasma on a static background. The math is where the real work happens. Maybe give it a collaborative/competitive aspect similar to Foldit. Speculative results may be unavoidable, but note that the Virtual Tokamak allows a Q of up to 100. The highest score I’ve achieved so far is 48.37, which is well above breakeven (score of 25), and all I’m doing is blindly manipulating three variables.