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Inane Wanderings
A blog about....well about....something. Really.
On Designing Gaia Games: How Long Do You Want To Play?
In the last entry on game design, I talked about basic probability, and how to set up the random number criteria so as to make the conditions fulfillable in a known amount of trials.

Now let's look at the rest of the game, or how long is it likely to take for your players to complete that amount of trials.

To start: there are 15 posts per page in a Gaia forum. There's a timer limiting posts - I know it's been changed from a standard time between posts(*) to so many posts in a certain amount of time. I'm sure it's documented somewhere, but it averages out to still about 1 post every 30 seconds, so I'm going to run with that.

(*)It still is a strict timer in guilds because guilds haven't been updated in ages. I'm not sure if it's 30 seconds or one minute, I just know it seems like forever.

So going back to our 1d20, or "generate a random number from 1 to 20" scenario from the previous entry, (where 20 is the win condition) we know we can expect 1 winner in every 20 tries. Since there is 1 try per post, that's 20 posts. Or 1 1/3 pages.

However, if we set up the contest as 2d10 with 20 as the win condition, we can expect it to take 100 tries. Or 100 posts. Or 6 2/3 pages.

How fast you fill those pages depends on the number of players and the number of tries you permit each player to take each day.

So let's look at how some scenarios play out.

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This is a spreadsheet calculating how many days it will take to reach the number of pages in which you can expect a winner.

Going over a couple of scenarios: if you are running a 1d20 contest, and you have 5 players, and you limit them to 1 roll per day, you can expect to have to pay off a winner every 4 days.

However, in that same contest, if you have 10 players, you can expect to pay off a winner every 2 days.

Now, change that to a 2d10 contest. Those same 5 players, rolling once every day? You're looking at 20 days to find a winner.

The few players are really likely to give up or decide you're not really serious about giving away the prizes in that last scenario.

How do you figure out how many players you're going to get? Look at similar contests. If you're running it in a popular forum or guild, you're likely to get more. If you're running it in a smaller guild, you're likely to get less.

The one thing to remember about more than one try per day per player is the wait time between posts. 10 tries per day sound great until the player starts....and it takes between 5 and 10 minutes just to roll those numbers. They're likely to get bored or lose interest.

Yup, it's all a balancing act.

I'm planning one more post in this series talking about corner cases, matching random numbers, etc. Given my real life, it's probably going to take some more time for me to be able to sit down and write that, but you never know.

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