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Towards a set of rules for moderated online multiplayer games

Started by moblet, August 08, 2011, 08:21:52 AM

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We will shortly launch a custom multiplayer map for pak.128, on a new server generously provided by Timothy. The intention with this map is to play with a set of rules enforced by moderators acting as the public player. The point of having rules is to foster co-operation, civility, efficiency, and aesthetics.

Here's some opening suggestions for a rule set. Feel free to comment and augment.

The first rule of multiplayer is that there is room for everyone.
The second rule is that negotiating space and supply with other players is integral to multiplayer. If your goal is to monopolise the map, beat everyone else by any means possible, or confound others' efforts then you do not belong in a moderated game.

Urban development
Players servicing passenger and mail transport in a given city have the right to shape the course of its development. Players providing goods transport must respect this right, using space-efficient modes and locating infrastructure in accordance with passenger/mail players' wishes. Passenger/mail players must allow for adequate access for freight movement and may request the construction of public infrastructure to reduce land consumption.

Vehicle selection, routing and scheduling
On motorways players must use the fastest and most powerful vehicle available.
(Road) No use of waiting to load on or within 20 tiles of a public road or double the number of tiles as there are vehicles on the route, whichever is the greater.
(Road) All use of waiting to load must include a month wait time of no longer than 1/8 except where the route is entirely contained on private ways.
(Rail) No use of waiting to load in public yards, across level crossings, or where it is physically possible for a queue of trains to obstruct any public way (including level crossings).
Players may not connect to any producer already connected by another player without the consent of all connected players. The already-connected player(s) must give consent unless the new connection would cause significant product stoppages or shortages on their existing network. If the incoming player is able to connect to the producer without disrupting existing connections (e.g. by delivering additional input sufficient to provide for additional output) then consent must be given.
Players may only deliver a product to a consumer already connected by one or more other players if the already-connected player(s) do not have the existing capacity to saturate the consumer with that product. The public player may authorise delivery regardless if the already-connected player(s) consistently fail to deliver to that capacity.
Players may not duplicate other player's routes without consent. The public player may authorise duplication without consent if the connected player consistently fails to meet demand on the route despite adequate warning, and should encourage it if this failure affects the performance of other players' networks.

Building ways
Only connect to motorways and other limited-access roads at the points provided.
Bridges may not be built across lakes.
Limited-access roads built above-ground through congested areas must be designed for use by all players and made available as such.
Negotiate space for ways with other players. In case of conflict the player with the highest utilisation has priority, e.g. the lower-utilised way should bridge or deviate around the higher-utilised one.
Do not build unused infrastructure to reserve space on the map.

Building other infrastructure
Goods depots must be built off the right-of-way (i.e. no closing a through-road by placing a goods depot on its alignment).
Passenger and mail stops may be built on the right-of-way in urban areas.
Passenger and mail stops must be built off the right-of-way in rural areas.
Airports or distribution hubs may not be directly connected to any factory unless separated by a distance of at least six tiles and the connection is made underground. Players do not need to relocate airports or hubs if a factory is later auto-built within this range, but must allow access to other players if requested.
Airports may not be built in urban areas. Airport owners can be required to relocate their airport if reached by urban expansion.
Only the public player may build power lines. The public player is obliged to supply electricity to any factory upon request by any legitimate player, and to relocate any power lines upon request by any player.

General rules
Players must use public infrastructure where provided and not duplicate it.
Obey requests by the public player to move/remove/upgrade infrastructure or vehicles, or alter schedules.
The public player has the right to alter or destroy player infrastructure that obstructs public or other players' infrastructure, other players' movements, is excessively space-consuming, or conflicts with the character of the map. In non-urgent cases the public player will place signs requesting changes and give the player a reasonable amount of time to respond; in urgent cases (e.g. queues obstructing other players' vehicles) changes may be made without notice.


Moblet, thanks for your work, I totally agree with these rules.
But I think that another rule is needed : One player can only operate one company, otherwise the companies' list may be full and new players can't join, but also to respect everyone and don't monopolise the map.


No bridge over lake but okay for sea? ???

Then we also need list of public service's rules and responsibility to avoid abuse of power. What do you think?


"Bridges may not be built across lakes." as said moblet, so over seas too because seas are bigger than lakes. In seas ships are useful ( ships for all goods, so no problem ). But we can make bridge at a particular point : estuary,... 2 points that relatively close and realistic IRL.

You seems to understand that admins may abuse of power. Admins and you make the rules, so you can propose a rule(s) to avoid it, but if we need a rule for everything...
But I can say that admins will not do it because simutrans is a fun game without interest IRL, no money,... We are all voluntaries to construct this game, playing,... not to cheat in it  ;)


I think so. I have played multiplayer in Entropy server since early this year, especially 128 server. There is usually some kind of convention between players in the game. We have some good conversation in game. There are some abusive player, but most of them later find that it is not good. There are some annoying player, but many of them are newcomers that dont know the convention. Some player have a little time to play, so they dont aware that he cause backlog/bottleneck in public station. Sometimes we have to share factory because that is the only factory. I ever built long bridge over the lake because there is a little land left. I am afraid that the rules above will cause some fear to players and make the game less fun. Let's just keep the rules and convention in game, and keep a good conversation. Scroll down the chat window to see what people talked before. We can ask public service to kick abusive player if it needed.

Maybe someone block your way and cost you millions in game, but it is less annoying than someone park his/her car in front of your garage IRL.

But if abusing other player is something fun, then... ;D


I won't disagree with anything you've said Vonjo, the idea here is to set up a new server - without affecting the existing ones - with different, and clear, expectations of gameplay. Players who want the freedom to do just anything, or who are intimidated by the rules, can still play on the existing server. On the other hand there are players, such as Guillaume and myself, who get frustrated by the absence of limitations on what players can do, and this server is intended to be for those players. We are happy to scare off those players who do not wish to conform to the expectations, and they still have the existing servers on which to play.

Also, if we say at the outset things like "no waiting to load" we may be able to head off being repeatedly affected by every new player going through the multiplayer learning process of blocking everyone with their queues. You can tell the person who parked in front of your garage today and they won't do it again, but then someone different does it the next day, and someone different the day after, so every day you still have someone parked in front of your garage. Alternatively, you put up a sign. That's the thinking here.


This sounds like a very interesting concept, I'll be interested to see how it turns out :)
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I appreciate I don't post much, but figured I'd add my bit based on playing on the entropy servers :)

Regarding the no waiting to load rule - is this not something that the server admin could set when creating the server? Put a message box on the start screen advising players?

I agree with Vonjo, does seem like an overly long set of rules but if it helps you to have fun, then why not - I doubt you'd get too many casual players though.

Slightly off topic, but the traffic jam issue is one of the few things I dislike the game - would be great if there was a server based override to unblock a jam after a defined period ie override the wait so that traffic has some chance of moving, albeit slower than normal.


moblet: "(Road) No use of waiting to load on or within 20 tiles of a public road or double the number of tiles as there are vehicles on the route, whichever is the greater."

This rule could be relaxed if city cars were turned of. They don't contribute to the game a lot anyways.

"Bridges may not be built across lakes."
+ except at the narrowest points for elongated lakes.
Else in maps as the one now on would be very much blocked, players could only use the roads for goods transport, with those very long lakes you use as waterways.

i would suggest a first rule:

When joining a server players should as their first action look at the chat log.


Quote from: sdog on August 10, 2011, 12:16:50 AMThis rule could be relaxed if city cars were turned off.
sdog to the rescue with his concise and precise solutions, as always :)

Turning off citycars in online multiplayer is a really good idea. I've found that just a few players can generate plenty of traffic congestion all by themselves anyway, but mainly it stops the queue length being a stochastic thing that is really hard to plan around and forces us to consume lots of precious map space building crazy detours to absorb the citycars. Does setting citycar_level to zero switch them off altogether?

Quote from: sdog on August 10, 2011, 12:16:50 AM
"Bridges may not be built across lakes."
+ except at the narrowest points for elongated lakes.
Else in maps as the one now on would be very much blocked, players could only use the roads for goods transport, with those very long lakes you use as waterways.
Well, we would say they are rivers for most of their length. This is about realism and aesthetics, which is what most of the rules are trying to achieve. If we all get squeezed around the edge of a lake or mountain then that is realistic, and we would like to find ways of resolving that other than building unrealistic bridges, e.g. create some public infrastructure players can share through the squeeze point, or divide the map between players so only one player needs to build through that area.

Another rule we thought of is that all water-based industries must be accessed by water craft only, and we are also thinking about how to stop players building railways straight over the top of the Swiss Alps because it's cheap and fast (the only ideas we have so far are to ban way building above a certain height level, or place a ring of trees around places where ways cannot be built). Basically we are trying to say that this server should be for those wanting to put realism and aesthetics ahead of squeezing the fastest possible euro out of the map, and also for those who want to work with their fellow players rather than beat them. Should we just say that instead?


Ok, you define river-like water squares as rivers. I was not sure if it applied to all water-squares as they could all be considered sea.

Reading those rules i'm not sure if it is too wise to do so. They are complex enough to leave ambigouity. It's more harm done if players start to fight over how to interpret a rule, than having a direct violator.

I can see that those claims are really relevant, it is also something i don't like in games too much if it happens. But perhaps you are much better off if you reduce it quite a lot and have a "minimal impact", "moderately realistic looking", "fair use" approach. Then you can describe what this means in prose, in a different document.

This would also have the advantage that it is more likely to be read and comprehended. At the end you can leave it in games to the arbitrary decission of an admin. This will shape the community in the mid term. People learn what is allowed and what not by probing the limits.