Guides:Dan's Guide to Making Suggestions

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There's a reason I put my name in the page title, and it's not just to toot my own horn. It's to emphasize that this is just how I see things: not a statement from Kevan, not consensus of the community, not even a majority view. Follow my recommendations perfectly, and everything you submit may still be ruthlessly mocked and mercilessly spaminated for being out of touch with the values of the electorate. But at least they'll be good suggestions.

Writing Suggestions

Think About the Game

What do you like about Urban Dead? Obviously you like the game, or you wouldn't be hanging around posting suggestions on this wiki. Is the flavor text a big part of your experience? The strategy? The meta-gaming? The slot-machine buzz that comes from having "success" and "failure" be subject to the whim of the random-number generator?

Write for a 12-Year-Old

Most of your readers aren't stupid. But a lot aren't really paying the kind of attention they would devote to a legal brief with matters of life and death hanging on the outcome. And even smart people make mistakes and misread things, even when they are paying attention. So make it easy on us. Some writing needs to be hard, just because of the subject matter. But you're not expounding on rocket science here, just coming up with ideas for a game. So if the average twelve-year-old would have trouble making heads or tails of your suggestion, rewrite it.

Don't Expect Your Suggestions to Pass

We like the game pretty well the way it is, ok? Otherwise we wouldn't be hanging around here either. And the bits we don't like are mostly hot-button issues, where it's hard to change people's minds on either side.

If At First You Don't Succeed, You're a Failure

Don't be afraid to keep revising and resubmitting. Some people will cast Spam votes on the first through last versions of everything, and tell you to give up. Don't listen. There are a lot of suggestions in the Peer-Reviewed pages that went through multiple versions before they got the thumbs up.

Suggestions should not be useless

Concern about having them be overpowered is reasonable, but it usually gets taken too far. We're supposed to be suggesting changes to the game, not things that leave the game unaffected because no one would ever want to use them. Look at the changes Kevan actually makes: 50% find rate in powered malls, for example. That would have been spaminated with heaps of abuse if he had made an anonymous userID and suggested it on this wiki. Most changes should affect game balance. Then other changes affect it in the other direction. Any suggestion should be considered on the assumption that some other change will balance it.

Suggest With Whatever Level of Specificity the Idea Deserves

Would providing more details improve the suggestion? Then provide them. Would they be irrelevant and detract from it? Then don't. But be aware that suggestions without details will be spaminated, whereas suggestions with details will merely be misread and dismissed as too complicated.

Do Run the Numbers

If your proposed item stores more AP per inventory slot than a pistol, it had better have a really big drawback to balance that. Likewise if it does more damage per combat AP than the shotgun. Do the calculations before you post the suggestion.

The Dos and Don'ts

Be Bold: Don't Leave the Barricades Alone

Read the Suggestions Dos and Do Nots, but don't take them as immutable laws. They were written by mortals like you and me. Anything that significantly weakens or strengthens barricading would be a drastic change to the game, and you should have a very good reason for it. But a change that slightly modifies the effectiveness or the AP cost of the barricades could still be a good change. It will be spaminated, of course, no matter how good it is. But don't let that stop you.

Finding New Ways to Do Old Things is Good

This is a zombie game. We're not going to start mining ore, conquering planets, or making magical jewelry. We're going to go on doing mostly what we're here to do: barricade buildings, kill zombies, heal survivors, smash down barricades to get at the survivors, and kill survivors. But we can have more depth to the game by adding new strategic and tactical choices about how we do it.

With Some of That Stuff, They're Quite Right

Multiply it by a billion. Leave other people's inventory alone. No retroactive penalties. And there are at least five more that are very good advice, to the point where they might as well be made into rules. If you didn't find that many, read the dos-and-don'ts page again.

Making the Details Work

First, Think About What You Want to Accomplish

Do you want more specialization? Do you want to balance firearms with melee? Do you want to add more tactical decisions? Do you want to get survivors out of the malls and into the hinterlands? If you just start with something that seems as though it would be cool, you're not getting anywhere yet: what is it good for -- and is that something you want to do to the game?

More Demands on Inventory Would Enhance the Value of Melee

If your character wants to have ropes, toolboxes, who-knows-what else in inventory, that's all the more reason to attack with an axe most of the time. Currently, firearms are pretty thoroughly better than the axe, and other melee weapons are absolutely useless. If sticking to the axe enabled me to use that inventory for something else, that would be an advantage of the axe relative to firearms. There's stocking up in FAKs, but I can carry a pretty good load of those and still have room for a couple pistols and a couple shotguns. A few more demands on my inventory would make it worth giving up the firearms and becoming a full-time axe-wielder.

Requiring Nonconsumable Items in Inventory would Encourage Specialization

For a silly example, suppose you're proposing crocheting doilies to put on top of the barricades. If you expect people will find it worthwhile to have four balls of yarn in inventory (and the crochet hooks are already stuck in the ball of yarn when found), you can have it be just as effective if a ball of yarn makes 33% more doilies and you also need to keep a crochet hook as a separate item. But then it's a more efficient use of inventory if one person specializes and keeps six, while another person doesn't keep any (seven slots total, instead of eight).

Skill Requirements are No Limitation

Most characters already have all the skills for the side they normally play, and have several hundred XP sitting around. Sure, have your new ability require a skill if it makes sense. More levels are nice. But don't think that you've done one iota to balance an idea, just by making it require a skill.

One Last Point

Use the Talk Page

Using the Developing Suggestions page to improve your ideas is well worth a try. But give something back to the talk page too. Look over the developing suggestions, and critique them or brainstorm with other suggesters.

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