Suggestions Dos and Do Nots
|Suggestions System Closed|
|UDWiki's Suggestions section has been closed indefinitely, as per this policy vote. This page remains here as a historical archive.
Please direct any general suggestion discussion to Developing Suggestions.
After reading this page check out the Frequently Suggested/Dead In the Water page to find concepts unsuccessfully proposed in the past.
Before You Begin
Read these pages and keep them in mind when you write your suggestion. If your idea violates the basic game ideas, or doesn't include the necessary information, it will almost certainly be shot down.
- Urban Dead FAQ - Kevan explains how he sees the game; everything stems from his intentions. There's no point suggesting something that the game's creator and owner has no intention of adding.
- Game Assumptions - A handful of basic gameplay concepts.
- Suggestion Guidelines By Type - A basic guide to what your suggestion should include.
About the Guidelines
Very few of the following guidelines are absolutes, but they are considered very strong guidelines. It is possible to make a good suggestion that breaks some of the guidelines, but before submitting such a suggestion it is important to understand the reasoning behind those guidelines.
This page is organized into general sections, with subsections of similar ideas that contain the guidelines themselves. Before each subsection is a brief introductory paragraph, which you should definitely read. If you want more information and specific examples, continue on to read the rest of that subsection. It is highly recommended that you read this entire page. Many voters on the suggestions page will cite specific guidelines on this page, and being familiar with the guidelines set out here will help keep your suggestion from being shot down.
Mechanics and Technicalities
There's only one person (Kevan) who writes the code for Urban Dead. Suggestions that are far too technically complicated are unlikely to be implemented, even if they make it onto the peer reviewed suggestions page, which they probably won't. The more simple your suggestion, the more likely it is to be approved.
- Keep it Simple
- Remember, somebody has to code these suggestions if they are approved, and Urban Dead is a fairly simple game. The more complicated your idea becomes the harder it will be to actually implement. A key area of implementation you should consider is server load. Is your idea going to add much to the already stressed servers? Anything that requires more than one or two server calls is drastically more likely to be shot down.
- Don't Create Multi-Step Skills
- Performing actions in the game as you would in the real world is just too complex. Suggestions that involve separate actions for each step are too tedious and are probably too complicated to be implemented. If your suggestion requires several actions to be completed in sequence, don't propose it. This same argument applies to temporary stat boosts. If your suggestion boosts character stats for a limited number of turns, it will almost certainly be voted down.
A lot of people have been playing Urban Dead for a long time, and a lot of people play at the same time. If your suggestion would create havoc if many people used it at the same time, don't even bring it up. If your suggestion requires altering other people's characters, it will not be approved.
- Don't Reset the Game
- Suggestions that involve recalculating the way experience points are earned and spent, or ones that drastically alter gameplay mechanics (permanent death, character wipes, etc.) intermittently crop up. These ideas are bad, because you'd need to completely reset the game. Other players have spent too much time and energy into building up their current characters, and suggestions that rewrite core aspects of the game just won't fly.
- Multiply it by a Billion
- Urban Dead is a big game. It's thus important to remember that a significant portion of that gigantic number might wind up using the suggestion you're putting forward, potentially all at once. If the results of that would be unbalancing or destructive, your suggestion needs work.
Many suggestions fail because they are unbalanced, usually because the person suggesting them didn't think well enough about what balanced means. If something is balanced by making it rare or very costly, it's still overpowered. If something is balanced by making it nearly worthless, it's still underpowered. If something requires no cost or would dramatically alter the game, it's just a bad idea.
- Costly Does Not Equal Balanced
- If the cost of using your suggestion is so extreme as to use significant amounts of AP, HP, or XP, it is likely overpowered. If the inherent price to be paid in using your idea is greater than any other in the game, it should be obvious that your idea is likely more powerful than any other thing in the game, and the benefits of your idea should be lowered before you propose it.
- Rare Does Not Equal Balanced
- This is especially true for infinite-use items. Making something rare does not make it balanced. It just means the few people who do acquire the item will gain a huge advantage over everybody else.
- On a similar note, anything so powerful that it must be restricted to a certain amount in the game as a balancing mechanic is probably too powerful, and such a measure will only give the few people who manage to acquire the item/skill/whatever a huge advantage over everybody else.
- Underpowered Does Not Equal Balanced
- Don't suggest a skill that nobody will ever purchase, or an item that everybody will drop. It'd be pointless to put into the game if no one wants it.
- Don't Give it Away
- One of the important assumptions used in the development and expansion of the game is that nothing is free. Every action (with the exception of dropping items) has an associated cost or sacrifice. One of the things you should therefore consider is "what does it take to use this?" If the answer is "nothing," your idea is quite possibly too powerful. Free-use attacks, or abilities that you can make use of just by standing motionless in one spot, cost nothing to take advantage of and thus wind up abused.
- Likewise, large quantities of experience gain should come with associated large quantities of risk. If you're gaining more XP than books would give you, and you're not in any greater danger, there's a problem.
- No Stopgap Balancing Measures
- While the unbalanced number of zombies and survivors is indeed bad, suggestions which give either side significant boosts could very well unbalance things in the opposite way in the long run. Suggestions that make it easier for one side to play should change things only slightly, so that the game becomes more balanced in the long run, not unbalanced in the opposite direction.
AP, Inventory, Skills, and Barricades
Suggestions that alter the AP system, other player's inventories, or other player's skills will not be accepted. Similarly, suggestions that nerf barricades will almost certainly be shot down. The current limits are in place for a reason. Don't try to tamper with them.
- Leave Your Own AP Alone
- Don't suggest a skill to increase it, nor trade for it (AP for HP), nor in any way raise your AP above the current rate of gain. You get 50 max, at 1 point per half hour. That is the same for everyone, and it should be enough for now.
- Leave Other People's AP Alone
- Don't suggest skills that cut massive amounts of AP off an opponent. Remember, that character is run by another player. Unless you are willing to have one single AP point every 24 hours, don't assume that someone else is!
- Leave Other People's Inventory Alone
- Many suggestions involve destroying things in other people's inventories. Remember - every opponent in the game is still another player, and what you might do to them they will do to you! If you don't want your items destroyed, don't destroy theirs.
- Leave Other People's Skills Alone
- Skills are the "plateaus of accomplishment" for Urban Dead - once you've obtained a new skill, you've successfully moved up in the world. If you wouldn't want to have your skills nerfed, don't nerf someone else's.
- Only Skills and Items Should Confer Gameplay Benefits or Penalties
- Many suggestions involve being in a particular group, or around a certain number of other people, or things like that. None of these things should ever affect your character's skills. These conditions arise incidentally during the course of the game and should not confer special bonuses or penalties.
- The effects of being in a particular situation are beneficial or harmful in and of themselves, and should not influence things additionally. Only skills and items should confer gameplay benefits or penalties (movement, healing, attack, search, etc.).
- Leave Barricades Alone
- Barricades are a central mechanic at the core of Urban Dead. A turn based game requires its players to leave their characters unattended for long periods of time while they wait for their AP to recharge. Without barricades, survivors would not be able to protect themselves while they are gone. Barricades are designed to be easier to construct than to destroy because survivors need extra protection. Avoid suggestions that excessively weaken barricades or allow zombies to bypass them entirely.
Gameplay and Flavor
One of the most important things to remember is that every other character in the game is played by another person. If your suggestion would make it less fun for someone else, it's a bad suggestion. Don't make the game something that other people wouldn't want to play.
- Don't Penalize Players for Playing in Character
- Survivors are meant to kill zombies. Zombies are meant to kill survivors. Anything that harms survivors for hunting zombies, or harms zombies for hunting survivors, is a bad idea.
- Don't Reward Players for Playing Out of Character
- Survivors are meant to kill zombies. Zombies are meant to kill survivors. Giving zombies ways to gain XP that doesn't involve harming survivors is a bad idea. Likewise, giving survivors any ways to gain XP without harming zombies (exempting healing and spraypainting, and reading) is a bad idea.
- Put Yourself in the Other Person's Shoes
- Once you have created your suggestion, read over it. Now pretend that you play as the opposite class and are someone who has just come across the suggestion. Read over it again. Do you still like the suggestion? If you don't, then that means that most likely other people won't like it either.
- No Retroactive Penalties
- Simply put, don't penalize people for having existing leveled characters who have already purchased skills available in the game. Balancing something that many players have already obtained by making it worthless or even detrimental to possess is just unfair. There are other ways to make a skill less powerful than harming the people who have already bought it.
- Make it More Fun, Not Less Fun
- Urban Dead is a game, and it is meant to be fun for people to play. This means that, where possible, your suggestion should work to maximize the fun that everyone in the game can have.
- The conflict that exists in Malton between zombies and survivors is part of a framework which exists to give structure to the playing. Instead of making the game worse for other players, focus on finding ways to make your own side better. As a general rule, it is better to make everyone equally happy over making everyone equally mad; if your suggestion will bring people down to you instead of bringing you up to them, try to find a different way.
Remember that Urban Dead is a game, and try to keep things fun. If your idea doesn't increase the entertainment value of the game, or actually decreases it, it will almost certainly fail.
- Make it Fun!
- No matter how well-balanced and in-theme your idea may be, if it doesn't actually add entertainment value, then it's not worth adding. Ideas that don't make the game more interesting or fun to play have no point.
- Don't Find New Ways to do Old Things
- Having more than one way to accomplish the same thing adds nothing to the game. Complex methods that involve searching for numerous ingredients or components to combine into health potions or ammunition are intricate, not interesting. Players want new features, not complicated versions of existing features.
The Suggestions System
Writing New Suggestions
When you're writing a new suggestion, it's important to remember that first impressions count. People will probably only read through your ideas once, and if they're hard to understand, overly complicated, boring, or poorly thought out, it's unlikely that it will get much support.
- Don't Connect Suggestions
- Don't make a suggestion that references other suggestions that aren't in the game. This just complicates the process and endangers your proposal more with every extra idea you chain on to it. Try to consolidate everything into the same suggestion.
- Don't Knowingly Post Unacceptable Ideas
- If you feel you must start your suggestions with a statement like "I know this will get shot down" or "This isn't the best idea," you're right. Don't post it. The purpose of the suggestion page is to vet suggestions for possible inclusion in the game. If you know your idea will be a failure, you're just wasting everyone's time by posting it.
- Proofread and Preview First!
- The manner in which you present an idea generally has an effect on how people perceive its value. You want your idea to convey the sense that you've given it some thought, considered its implementation and greater impact on the game. No one will want to use your idea if it is garbled, rambling, or simply incomprehensible. You should draft your suggestion at least once before giving it an audience. The preview button is there for a reason! More specifically, check on the following before you submit your suggestion:
- Does your suggestion follow the Suggestion Template? If it doesn't, you should fix it so that it does.
- Does your suggestion break the wiki? If your formatting is bad enough to be unreadable or harm anything else on the page, fix it first.
- Is your suggestion spelled correctly? One of the easiest ways to judge whether a suggestion will pass the voting process is to look at the title. If you have typos in the title of your suggestion, or even in the main text, it will probably fail.
- Did you use proper punctuation and grammar? Oftentimes the difference between an idea that is intelligently considered and an idea that is rejected offhand is the way the suggestion itself is laid out. If it's tough to read, or difficult to find meaning in, most people won't give it a second chance. Run-on sentences, misplaced clauses, and other such problems can cause people to interpret your concept in an entirely different way from how you intended for it to be read.
- Do you speak English? The Internet is a big place. Perhaps you're not a native English speaker. That's okay! Anyone with a good idea can post here. But if your grasp of English isn't total, please run your suggestion by someone who does have a full understanding of the language before you post it (some of the Project Mentor volunteers might be willing to help). Otherwise, it can be very difficult to discern exactly what you're trying to convey as a concept, and that's always a shame.
- Remember, your idea only appears as intelligent as you MAKE it appear!
- Don't Think Only in Terms of Mechanics
- You might have a great idea that is completely balanced and will add to the richness of the game, but think about the plotline too before submitting. The game is based in the present day, in a city. While the plot is vague and subject to creative vision, your idea must fit within the bounds of the game's reality.
- The Urban Dead style is largely influenced by modern zombie flicks. Malton is an urban environment, most likely in England (although nobody knows for sure). The general feel is that of desperate survivors fighting a guerilla war. Survivors are using weak, improvised weapons most of the time. The city has been infected by a virus (or something along those lines) that turns the dead into zombies. Your suggestion should fit within this theme.
- Don't Think Only in Terms of Flavor
- Don't create suggestions that would really fit great in a zombie game while completely ignoring its practical effects. While your idea might sound cool, be sure to think about it first. Is it going to be unfair to zombies or survivors? Will it totally unbalance the game? Will it be too hard on the server? Your idea must fit within the bounds of the Urban Dead game to even have a remote chance of being accepted.
- Pin the Details Down / Don't Give Options.
- Voters want to know exactly how your idea will work. You should provide them with the precise details of how your proposed change will operate. For instance, suggestions for a new item should say in which buildings it will be found and at what odds; for a new skill, where in the skill tree it would be; for a new attack, the damage and hit percentages with appropriate skills, etc etc.
Arguing for Your Suggestion
If you're having a lot of trouble getting support for your suggestion, take a step back and reevaluate it instead of arguing with everyone who disagrees with you. Don't react too quickly to new game changes, don't just complain about the way the game works, and don't try to justify your suggestion if you're getting no support. If your suggestion is good, it will be accepted. By and large, the people who vote on your suggestion will be harsh, but fair.
- Make Suggestions, Not Arguments
- Even if you don't like something about the game, when you post a suggestion, you need to explain what you would change with the things you don't like. What exactly would your suggestion alter? If you're posting a suggestion that doesn't include some constructive change in the way the game operates, or that tries to argue for obviously destructive options, then you're not making a suggestion, you're making an argument. Don't do this.
- Don't Defend Your Suggestions with "Kevan Can Decide"
- This suffers from a serious logical inconsistency: namely, this argument could be applied to every single suggestion. Kevan does ultimately decide what goes into the game, but it is the Urban Dead community's duty to filter what he does and does not see on the "Peer Reviewed" page.
- If your suggestion is obviously disliked, instead of arguing about it, rewrite and resubmit it and see how it fares then. If somebody believes you have a bad idea, then they are freely allowed to point it out. If your suggestion has enough merit to pass despite objections, then it will pass.
- Aim for Believability, Not Realism
- Don't argue that something is "more realistic" when defending your idea. This is a game about the Living Dead. ZOMBIES. It's hard to get more unrealistic than zombies shuffling around downtown. It's not a mistake that things are not realistic. Making the game realistic does not necessarily make the game fun. On the other hand, do argue for believability. A good suggestion wouldn't be jarringly out of place in Urban Dead's universe.
- Give New Alterations a Chance!
- Quite often, new alterations to the game immediately come under attack on the suggestions page hours after they've been implemented. It is impossible to judge the full effects of changes in such a short time. Wait at least two weeks after an alteration has been made before you suggest any modifications. If the new features have glaring bugs or exploit issues, many more people will have noticed them by then and your suggestion is much more likely to pass.
- Give players a chance to experience new features before you suggest changes to them!
Useful things to know
- Most suggestions get rejected. Even people with a lot of experience making suggestions still have many of their suggestions rejected.
- A rejected suggestion is not the same as a bad suggestion. Voters are a flawed bunch with their own groupthinks and biases, and good ideas do get rejected. Sometimes Kevan implements rejected ideas.
- All suggestions are archived. Even if your suggestion is spammed, it will not be lost. All suggestions made on the wiki since early November '05 can be viewed in Previous Days Suggestions.
- Emphasize the important points - If your suggestion looks similar to a bad suggestion, but has one important redeeming feature, writing that feature in bold will help voters notice it.