Resource Routes in Eleven

edited June 2015 in Ideas
Elsewhere we had a discussion that got me thinking about resource routes and what we, as players, learned about what was needed to create and maintain them. I confess, this is motivated by my (quite intense) desire to see the tools for this brought entirely in-game, without the need to resort to using third-party websites to navigate them. Of course, that kind of system would still be able to exist, I just don't want that kind of framework to be necessary for resource routes to exist.

Let's preface this by saying I was highly involved in (and have already spent a lot of time and energy on) managing the basic route architecture.

These are the key needs and pressures:

1.) People must be able to join and leave routes on their own, and
1a.) Routes need to self-heal when someone leaves.

It was a ton of work generally to stay on top of signposts and ensure the route isn't broken because someone forgot and changed the wrong sign or decided they didn't want to participate anymore. Broken routes were the #1 issue for route users.
One solution was to do away with signpost routing and use third party websites that supplied homestreet teleport links for each stop.

2.) Given iMG rewards for visitors to your homestreet it's needed to spread out the entry point onto the route so all route members are visited equally get rewards and not just those at the beginning, especially on long routes.

3.) Resource density, and to a lesser extent, placement, is an important issue for many users, but not all. People don't want to have to hunt for your resources, and generally prefer them placed together. Not everybody cares about density and placement, but those who do, care a LOT. This was a reason for the SRS routes and eventually, the websites that would map you a route built to taste.

4.) Non-resource routes have different needs that should be taken into account. Tower store (eg, furniture), community kitchen, free stuff piles, and community routes run into different problems and are used differently but still have the same architecture.

***For new readers, the current version of the resource route signpost idea is here:


  • So, I've been thinking about @"Lyrical Dejavu"'s suggestion of having a different signpost for routes, and @b3achy 's comment that five signs on the post felt restrictive, and in some senses, it has to be, and in others, routes didn't help with that. You might belong to two resource routes and a tower route, leaving you with one or two spots left. So this is my preliminary idea for a new, in-game routes system that should address all of these issues and hopefully not break the game.

    Basically, let's make a resource route signpost a thing you can build in your homestreet like any other resource node. Putting one up means you are opting in to the route for that sign, and using that sign will route players randomly to a homestreet that has one and also meets the minimum requirement of belonging to that route.

    It would be great, but completely nonessential, if the street owner could set what point you teleport in at when you use a route signpost, so that they could put it at one end of where the route resources are, and then set the route signpost at the other. This would be great so you don't have to worry about which way to go to reach the resource OR double back along your path to get to the signpost. But in lieu of that, better signs would be appreciated: something you can interpret without having to interact with it. (Like an arrow with an icon of the basic resource.)

    Let's take the spice route, for example.

    I want to get my homestreet on the spice route. How do I do that?
    I go to the homestreet resource node menu and I choose to install a new signpost, a route signpost. This resource takes up less than half the space of a basic plot. I select spice, and after adding the materials and doing the work, a spice themed signpost is born! Later, if I change my mind, I can change the resource type for additional iMG, or get rid of it entirely.

    Let's say I start working on tree poisoning badges and kill all my spice. As I plant more trees, my butler waddles up and addresses me, "excuse me madamsir" and informs me that without the minimum number/amount of spice trees, the spice route will not flow through my yard. "The spice must flow!" I keep the sign around for later, and in the meantime, use it as an easy way to hop on the spice route. Every once Ina while I get another reminder that I'm not getting any visitors via the spice sign because I need more spice for that.

    Now let's look at what using the system might entail.

    I am in a homestreet with a spice signpost. I use it and it takes me to a random member's homestreet. When I'm done, I use their spice sign to get to the next spice homestreet, also randomly. That's it. I don't get taken to streets without a sufficient amount of the resource, and the route can't be broken when people leave the route because properly, there is no actual circuit, more of a collective. The sign isn't pointing at someone's yard in particular, but back to a pool of eligible yards.

    I'm not sure what the best approach would be for how minimum numbers of resource would be calculated.
    - You could go by straight numbers: at least five of the route resource
    - you could go by percentage: at least 40% of your plots must be the route resource

    - it might be good to either allow for multiple routes with different levels of minimum resource for inclusion in the route (so like, there is a route that requires fifteen/90% spice trees, and one that only requires five or 40% spice trees.)
    (I was surprised that there were people who strongly preferred either kind of route. It should also be noted that many people liked to belong to two resource routes, or like myself, wanted half their yard to do other things with.)

    - another way to address this might be to increase the probability that your homestreet will be selected by increasing the presence of the resource on your street. So as a route user, I'd be going to yards that are more full than not more of the time.

    The key is that under any of these systems, homestreets that don't qualify are not in the running at all, but can get back in just by bringing their street back up to snuff.

    Another thought is that how long it's been since you were last selected might also factor in to the probability you are chosen.

    One concern with maintaining multiple routes, say one high and one medium density for each basic resource that can be gathered in homestreets, is why would anyone use the medium density route? I have a thought that it might cost more in some way to use the high density route. Perhaps there is an energy cost to using a route signpost, which is higher on the higher density routes. This might also serve to encourage people to gather in Ur as much as possible, and salve the feelings of those who hate routes because they make resource collection too easy.

    One big weakness of this system is it doesn't do much for non-resource routes. Some, like tower stores or furniture showrooms, might be manageable by this kind of system. Others, like the community kitchens and the free stuff piles, could be managed his way if there is no inclusion criteria set, or if it's possible to check say, items on the ground in a location. (That seems doubtful to me without making the process overly onerous, but what do I know?) Finally, some kinds of routes that are possible with a third party website (like take me to streets with exhausted plots to repair) probably can't be done this way at all.
  • edited January 2015
    I do think that a way to not break routes when someone leaves is very much needed as is a post only for routes in addition to our normal signpost, and being able to leave or join one youre own is very much needed as well. I was thinking that maybe when you click on the routes signpost, it has categories, and you simply click what you are looking for and you get transported to a street belonging to that category. So something like this category wise, a category for each type of trees, and one for all Misc types of trees, a category for each type of rock, and one for all Misc types of rock, one for Barnacles, one for Farm plots, one for Herb plots, one for All plots , one for Free Items, one for Tower Stores, one for Furniture, and one for Creative Routes (museums, poetry, stories etc) , and one for Hodgepodge Routes (a little of everything) Hodgepodge would be the default , if youre homestreet wasnt dedicated to a certain type or types of resource. Minimum for dedicated routes should be 40% +. When we had routes the game knew who had what on their street resource wise, signing up for them could be automatic and just based on what you put on your street. For Towers, Furniture, Shops, Free Items, Kitchens,and Creative Routes & Helpful Routes, youd need to sign up somehow not sure how well the game kept track of those kinds of items. When you click the routes sign, it would have a list for each category with sub categories underneath it, so if you clicked Trees, under it would be a listing for each type as well as Misc trees, and all cateogries would have the main category and sub categories set up the same way. Only the main categories show on the sign until clicked on. Youd click which you wanted and be transported to whatever applied. You could end up on a street with 40% of the resource you need or 90%, the randomness aspect would alleviate some of the issue of resources being too easy to get issue.
  • @"Lyrical Dejavu"
    One of the reasons I'd prefer to see a dedicated signpost for each route is that the way you describe it above, there is an awful lot of menu interaction and scrolling or page turning each time you switch streets. It would be preferable to minimize that.
    I also think that having to invest separately in each signpost or dedicated sign on a common signpost would be a good thing. Perhaps, people could set their regular homestreet signs to a route address, and the cost (in energy, mood, or currants, possibly) would be displayed.
  • I think on your street, it makes sense that the route-sign can lead to any route you choose. Even though I loves me some fireflies, there may come a day that I want to harvest mass quantities of something else instead. If my dedicated sign in my street just goes to other streets full of fireflies, then I need my personal signpost spaces taken up by starting points for my other favorite resources.

    So starting in my yard, I say, "ALL THE SPARKLY PLZ." From that point until I go back home, every *other* designated sign will take me to a random sparkly street.

    I also like the idea that every street on a route costs something. Maybe the cost would be slightly more, depending on how many other streets on that route you had already visited that day?
  • @Bexley hmmm ... Maybe the route signpost has an initial sign which is outgoing, that you can set to a particular route as you please. You can add an incoming sign as a way to join a route, and you and visitors using your yard can click on that sign to continue on the route. Or they could click on the first sign and go she you have it set to today. You could add up to four incoming route signs / join four routes for each signpost. It might be hard for the servers to keep trac what route to send you to otherwise.
  • I like your ideas, @Scarlet Bearsdale, but the minimum resources thing would also not work for some of the more interesting (to me) routes, such as the poetry/words route, and the random route.
  • edited January 2015
    We need a way to sign up and not have set-in-order routes. For one thing broken routes in the old system were so common it wasnt funny, it was also extremely confusing trying to figure out which signpost applied to which route and most of us were on more than one route. Another problem was the ppl near the end rarely got visited and the ones near the begining did a lot. If i recall right the most common combo was being on one resource route and one "other" type of route. If at any time we wanted to change what was on our street or exit the route it disturbed the route a lot. This is what needs to be avoided this time around. I also would like to be able to use the sign post for neighbors, instead of having it clogged up with routes. So some kind of sign for routes, and some way to be added to a pool for whatever route you are on (so not in any specific order). Resource routes since the info seems to be there already, could in theory be automatic, but the Creative(Poetry,Museums, Stories, etc) Helpful(Free Items, Free Kitchens, Animal - Cubimal re-homing etc), Stores, and anything need a way to sign up for it. If the route sign autmaticlaly teleported you that would be great, if that cant be done though, it cant. But singing up easily and exiting easily, without disturbing / breaking the functionality of a route is a must.
  • edited January 2015
    i suppose could do a combo, have the Resource Routes be automatic, more ppl seemed to be on resource routes than the other kind anyway. And have the non resource routes have some kind of sign up? I know when i wandered the non resource routes i tended to walk the whole route, whereas resource ones i got what i needed and stopped. What about a dedicated page sign up on the forum for each route? the non resource ones i mean. Actually having the forum have thier own section for routes would make the most sense. It should be connected to the game somehow and not offsight this time preferably too. Also ppl didnt seem to leave the non-resource routes and much but maybe that was just me...dunno, i know the sign up for them wasnt as big though. They dont have to be automatic so long as they are easily editable somehow
  • edited January 2015
    Ok, what about something that acknowledges the difference between the two kinds of routes? For now, I'm going to call them "Resource" and "Interest" routes.
    What if the interest route was more like a toggle button menu, with the option to turn on interests, and you could indicate you wanted to do a free stuff pile, or be a part of the community kitchen network, or both, or none. Then, you would be able to set your outgoing sign to the interest route options as well as the resource options. And that there is an option to toggle your tower to store, museum, art gallery, etc, and maybe particular types of stores; we know the data was in the API before, but as the data gets more fine grained it seems maybe like a lot for the servers to handle. And if we acknowledge that you can't really use minimums or inclusion criteria for many of the interest routes, then you have to accept that people will eventually go off mission and stop offering what they used to, so you will sometimes visit yards that don't have the things you're looking for.
  • edited January 2015
    Maybe if the automatic for the sign only pulled from a list for each type? Instead of searching for everything itd only pull from the list singed up for it, and send you to a random street in that category. Would there be a way to do a listing kind of thing? Not quite sure how to set it up as ppl left and joined routes all the time, but there needs to be a way to easily sign up and if ppl exit or join it doesnt disrupt the route. But something like that might be easier on the server
  • I definitely want to be involved in whatever the equivalent of Serious Routes will be :)
  • edited January 2015
    The problem with the routes was if one person left it broke it or if someone had the wrong sign assigned, same issue, so was trying to think of ways around that problem, that and itd be preferable to use the signpost for neighbors and not primarily routes, so a seprate sign would be nice. I was wondering if maybe we have a listing on the forum, maybe have a section just for routes, much like theres one for trade and other things, and if you wanted on a route you signed up , would it be possible to just have a button on the page for each type of route and that adds you to the route and the requirements are at the top? So add to route, exit route and visit route for each category. if someone is found to not be filling the requirements have some way to report it so they can get taken off the list. And have it transport you from the page with a button to whichever route you want to use. I dunno im trying to think of someway to get around the issue of easily broken routes if one person leaves. While a sign on everyones street that had the same tp service would be nice it might be too difficult, dunno. Could if transported from the route page simply put a sign stating what routes you are on your street near your neighbor sign. Also some kind of limit on how many routes you can be on needs to be in effect maybe 4? or around that sounds reasonable.
  • It might be best to keep categories simple, have a minimum requirement for each resource but not a maximum so maybe 50% of the resource needed . So one for each kind of tree, misc trees, and then similar for each type of resource. Free Items(piles and kitchens), Stores (any kind), Museums/displays/artwork(any kind), Writing(any kind), as well as Misc resource Routes, 40% or less of any particular resource. I dunno im just thinking the really specific routes monitoring all that might get to be a pain to do
  • edited January 2015
    ... Lyrical, it's that really specific route monitoring that inspired the OP, and why when I listed the main issues for resource routes, the need to be able to leave/join on your own, and the need for routes to be self healing were #1.

    I'd prefer something in-game to something in groups or forums, but those solutions would be better than a third party website. I think the need to be self-monitoring is also really important, so that would probably be issue 3b.

    I think the simplest solution, that I elaborated above, leaves non-resource routes out in the cold but I don't think it would be too hard on the servers to maintain a list of people who have the relevant signpost or sign on their route signpost, and also have at least 40% or 80% of the relevant resource in their yards, and to choose a member from that list randomly when someone uses the sign or signpost. The rest is just frills.

    @tis, do you think that would work? And I think that any in-game solution is a long way down the road so SRS will probably need to live again.
  • The main thing is there needs to be an easy way to sign up, or exit, without disturbing/ breaking the route. Plus to not have to make a person moderate it. As well as being able to get there easy, and to a random person in the category if possible. I had another idea though what about theres a section in the forum where you sign up to enter or exit a route, but selection to go to is in game, either in the menu under youre head icon or near the chat. you click it , which brings up a list of categorys and you click which one you want and it sends you
  • For interest routes, (I'd also like a "go to a random person entirely route" because that sounds fun), I think it wouldn't be unreasonable to have a designated caretaker who uses something in game to manage the route. This would also encourage more leadership/participation stuff. I would appreciate that, anyway. It kinda sucked before that leaders were 1) greeters, which were never really in need due to a long waiting list and then closure, or 2) people everybody knew. There was no way to join the crowd and lead/take ownership over a project without that.
  • @tis I'm all about the SRS routes, I wanna get involved in those as soon as the game is in that stage! (A year from now maybe? Two? Who can know.)

    Also @Scar As much as I would love to see an integrated system for maintaining resource routes because it would make it easier on us... I'd rather it not be something the devs of Eleven put time into. I'd much rather us struggle along with the tools we're given (Isn't that the wonder of emergent gameplay, as stoot always liked to talk about?) and still achieve pretty dang good results, while the devs work on bringing us new skills, new worlds and completely novel gameplay elements a la feats. Just generally pushing Eleven past where Glitch left off. (When we get to the point where we're discussing new content of course, so pretty far off.)
  • edited January 2015
    Ok so saying its not integrated but a list sign up, still having a section on the forum for routes would be nice. a small change would make it slightly easier to not break routes if we put a note pole next to the signpost that stated what name was the next person on the route. It was rather hard to get the exact placement on the sign you wanted and if you changed any name on it it messed up its spot, also routes tended to say we want signpost spot #1, but you had something else using spot 1 so you couldnt without rearanging and possibly dumping a different route. So if everyone put a notepole next to the signpost(could make it a requirement to join any route), stating what route and what name corresponds we wont need to worry about what singpost slot this time around only that the name for the route is on the sign. Setting up routes was a bit of a pain limitations on what you could join and what sign spot you had to use was rather ridiculous
  • On that note I definitely agree that if integrated route features never make it into the game a Routes section of the forum would definitely be cool!
  • edited January 2015
    @"Lyrical Dejavu" said: I had another idea though what about theres a section in the forum where you sign up to enter or exit a route, but selection to go to is in game, either in the menu under youre head icon or near the chat. you click it , which brings up a list of categorys and you click which one you want and it sends you

    I think the issue with this is that it would make using routes too easy. I think there needs to be some element of having to seek out the routes "physically", even if it is just /home-ing and then using the routes signpost that you built, or finding someone else's homestreet with the resource sign you are looking for.

    @"Lady Cailia" I like the random route, and yeah, it would be a great default for the "interest route" category.

    @"Liza Throttlebottom" and Lazy Cubimal: the problem with the forum or group sign on and
    leave is that you still have the issues of directing traffic and removing people who aren't participating anymore. Even with some pretty sophisticated tools, it still means relying on the person who doesn't want to be involved any more to change things, or getting the person uproute of them to change their sign, and either of these things takes a while.
    The issue with posting a note pole next to the signpost with directions is that people don't want to have to take an extra step of interaction before going to the next yard, or at least, the people who are in it to gather a lot of resources as fast as possible, don't. So you need consistency in terms of which sign is associated with a route.
    Unless there is some in game method of creating the route and monitoring it, then it is a LOT of work to maintain a lengthy, high quality route. Yes, there are volunteers but there is also burnout.

    Finally, I'm afraid I do want someone on the dev team to spend some time on this problem - after everything else is working, of course, but eventually. I know intimately what it's like to struggle along with the tools we were given, and there was a lot of emergent gameplay, but little of it had to do with the actual route administration. What's more, it promotes "I'm the boss of you" behaviour that is not all that collaborative. Tiny Speck was thinking about how they could support the routes in game, and iMG for visitors was not the whole of it, as I was made to understand. So my contribution to the work right now is just to think really hard about architecture and implications so that there is a solid idea, or better yet, ideas ready to go whenever someone is willing to take up the problem.
  • Another approach, make it possible to give another player permission to change one or all of the signs on your signpost. That would alleviate the biggest issue without any new stuff in game.
  • like in Second Life you can give other players different permissions, like allowing them to edit your objects (or something, it's been awhile)
  • @Scar That's definitely a good idea : ) It's a simple additional tool that would alleviate a good bit of stress!
  • edited January 2015
    If we had that kind of permission, and the ability to hand it over to someone else, and we could resurrect the SRS, HRR and other resource route websites, then it would be a lot
    less work, but still require active, daily management from one dedicated person per route.
    The reason I think you should be able to hand it over is so that when the route changes hands you don't need the entire route to do it one by one. Maybe you could get a notification via butler about if you agree to it next time you go /home?
  • I just want to take this moment to say that I laughed RAUCOUSLY at "The spice must flow!" Did the spice trees say that before? I can't remember. I've only read Dune in the last year, so if they used to say it, I didn't get the joke. Hilarious now. XD
  • Thanks, @Ariaste. Never let it be said that I didn't make the obvious joke.

    And, thinking About menus, and groups and forums ... Why not have the signup request and acceptance go through the butler? N actually, hear me out on this.

    Let's say that above a certain level and after gaining cerain qualifications, you can interact with your butler to start a route. You can set the resource qualifications* or write a short (like Twitter short) description of a specialty interest route. Your butler will use this phrase when referring to your route to visitors.
    * I'm imagining that you say at least as many spice as I have, and then explain any more complicated requirements via a note pole, or other means. This actually means you could start a really specific route, like, at least as many spice, sparkly, jellisac and fireflies as I have.

    To join the route, people come to your homestreet and ask your butler if they can join. By asking, they are giving you permission to change their signs on their signpost. To accept, you agree to their request via your butler and then visit whatever homestreet signs you need to to include them in the route. To leave they can request to leave, but if they forget, the owner can still route around them.

    What I like about this version of the idea is that it leaves the sophistication of the level of route monitoring up to you. You can use a third party website, or you can walk around your route and use the eyeballs method. You can start a group, or advertise in the forums, or whatever. It can just be you and your friends. It's up to individuals how to organize, and how much work to put in, and how fancy the tool to use. I think this would continue to promote community.
    And no new elements need to be added, just a new form of messages being left with butlers (like asks), and the game only has to keep the permissions information straight, which is kind of like keys.

    It would be additionally great if you could pass an established route to a new person, and then each route member could agree via their butler to give the new person permissions. I think you could do an awful lot with those three things: join/leave/start via your butler, granting permissions via the join request being accepted, and passing the route to someone new. That would really make routes more accessible. And I think you'd still see a few big players shake out, and a bunch of really interesting specialty routes.
  • It was far too difficult to maintain them it may not need to be fully accessible in game or fully monitored by devs, but something needs to be implemented at some point to make it easier to not break them, add ppl, not use the singpost that were meant for friends and have a list of what kind of routes there are for sign up or exit.
  • fwiw @Lx still has the Serious Routes website
  • I think the Butler/Signpost access idea would probably be just as much effort to implement (possibly more, because authorization and all the headaches that go with it) as a route signpost that will take you to a random street with the same signpost, so if anyone's going to spend time on it, I figure they might as well go whole hog!
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