Scientific project on MMORPGs

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mschatten
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Scientific project on MMORPGs

Post by mschatten » 21 Oct 2014, 00:56

Dear TMW community,

firstly, let me congratulate you on a beautiful piece of (quite complex) open-source software. My name is Markus Schatten, I am an assistant professor and head of Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Faculty of Organization and Informatics, University of Zagreb. I have recently won a 3 year grant from the Croatian Science Foundation for a project entitled ModelMMORPG - Large-Scale Multi-Agent Modeling of Massively Multi-player On-line Role-playing Games (http://ai.foi.hr/modelmmorpg). While this is probably the first scientific project ever to have 5 dashes in its title, I think another thing might be of interest to you: we have decided to use TMW as a platform for testing some of our hypotheses.

What we want to study is, at one hand, the organizational behavior of players (e.g. how do multiple players organize in order to solve quests), and how can we build artificial agents to do the same, on the other. So, the letter is a bit problematic, since in essence we will be implementing bots that are able to organize to solve quests. Still, we will be using our private servers and will make certain modifications to the code so they will be more or less useless to a wider audience.

Also, since we want to study organizational behavior, which is only partly needed in some TMW quests, we will implement a special "organizational" quest that shall hopefully foster players to organize so we can analyze their behavior, and build it into our agents.

We are fully commited to open source, and would like to contribute back to the project whenever there is something that might be of interest to TMW! All software to be developed during the project will be made freely available (probably under GPL). Also, it would be great if we could have some support from the community (mostly regarding code documentation and/or explanation, but also feedback from possible players).

So, my question would be, what would be the best model of cooperation with the community? I would propose for us to create a fork of the servers' code (since we have to modify some of the code and add scripts for the quest), but I'm open to other options. If I understand well the forum and IRC are your prefered channels of communication? Are there any additional things you would like us to take care of?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

With best regards

M.S.
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o11c
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Re: Scientific project on MMORPGs

Post by o11c » 21 Oct 2014, 01:35

Forking the server code itself is *probably* not necessary; if it is, just send a PR, but most likely you can do almost anything in quests. Though the event system *is* missing a couple of useful hooks at times ...

Note that right now I am in the middle of some major architectural changes to the script system, progress at https://github.com/o11c/tmwa/tree/ast

For bots you should probably use the auto-generated protocol: https://github.com/themanaworld/tmwa/bl ... rotocol.py

If you need to add new packets, pick a range > 0x8000 (let's say 0xf000 to 0xffff for experimental ones, I still need to figure out some details for permanent numbering) and make sure that every packet has the 'length' field even if it doesn't need it (i.e. use type 'payload' instead of type 'fixed').
Former programmer for the TMWA server.
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Ginaria
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Re: Scientific project on MMORPGs

Post by Ginaria » 21 Oct 2014, 07:51

Welcome at Manaworld and good luck with project :alt-3:

"If I understand well the forum and IRC are your prefered channels of communication?"
---> I am not sure, in my experience many (new) players dont make forum account or use IRC. So its not easy to get feedback of new players, what they are thinking, probably they only want enjoy the game. Probably forum is like a middleware between dev team and ingame players to talk about gaming decisions and to know whats going on at background.

Just an idea:
There should be an ingame command like @wgm (to whisper GMs) for players to report bugs @wdev and to give feedback @wfeed
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wushin
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Re: Scientific project on MMORPGs

Post by wushin » 21 Oct 2014, 14:43

mschatten,

The developers watch the forums, wiki and have our agents in-game listening as ears, mostly just by sitting in Hurnscald. These are GMs or players with old accounts. We get our baseline day-to-day reports from them; community morale, bugfixes, requests, etc. These requests either get discussed in IRC #themanaworld or #themanaworld-dev or posted to the forums or posted to TMW Github. The main developers, TMWC and advisers are best reached in IRC.

I agree with o11c, I doubt there is a reason to fork (vs. clone). The goals within ModelMMORPG align with The Mana World.

Manaplus and TMWA are well-equipped for botting. We've often discussed a Bot API and currently support 2 (ManaMarket) & (Guild). Guild bot isn't public because we are going to replace them with a private chat channel. A few bot clients are floating around in the wild. Any improvements made to facilitate a Bot API would most likely be accepted upstream.

As for Quests and Content changes, I was looking through Quest Design for ModelMMORPG and would be interesting in hearing more about the potential quests & content generated by ModelMMORPG.

It would be in our best interests to have a meet and greet between TMW and ModelMMORPG staff. As a whole, the developers are interested on what you have to offer and how we can help. We tend to be best available Friday 21:00-00:00 GMT for something with a formal agenda. However, a number of TMW staff wouldn't mind if you joined the IRC channel today and started to chat. My guess is that would help rapidly answer a series of questions I'm sure we all have.

Thanks for your time and energy,
Wushin
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