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05 March 2006 @ 11:26 pm
Finishing a project feels so good. Of course, any proper project is never really finished.

First, I got the Avida-ED port working on Windows. Avida-ED is an experimental platform to teach principles of evolution. There's much more to it, but that's the rough overview. So now anybody with a PC can try it out. Took me a good half-year almost, but it's done.

Second, and probably far more interesting to all the Warcraft lovers out there, is a new addon I'm developing. How many times have you grouped with somebody, only to find out they're a total twink? Wishing we could brand them with a big scarlet T? Well, I have the solution. Click below for more :).

Imagine an eBay style feedback system for WoW. Somebody up and leave your group in the middle of an instance? Just leave them negative feedback. Find an awesome player to group with? Leave them positive feedback. Before grouping with anybody, pull up their feedback (preferably inside the game.)

So, I set out to create such a system. Blizzard has opened up much of the game to 3rd party developers, allowing them to create AddOns scripted in Lua with the GUI written in an XML language. I found another project somewhat similiar called Karma, but it's missing the core feature, sharing of reputation info. Possibly because Blizzard makes it difficult to move data into and out of the game, to prevent cheating mostly.

Anyways, a week later, and much wrestling with SOAP libraries, window toolkits and Blizzard's wonky XML format, I have the outline of something working. Below are some screenshots. I hope to have an installer available later this week. Everything is done with cross-platform libraries, so Mac support will be possible.


Negative or Positive rep on a player:

Player list:

Uploader program:

The web page (obviously needs some help from _ninjakitty_):

So yeah.. it needs some UI work, but the code is there. And the voting system may change. Deciding on a fair voting system is an interesting problem in itself.

Oh, and btw, HotNightElfOrNot.com is still available for anyone interested.
Current Mood: groggygroggy
Current Music: Planet B.E.N - Orange-u-tangent
(Anonymous) on April 26th, 2006 04:54 am (UTC)
How do you intend to secure the system? Is there anything stopping me from capturing your SOAP request, changing some of the parts and then submitting?
(Anonymous) on April 26th, 2006 07:27 am (UTC)
Re: Security?
Which SOAP request are you talking about? You are submitting data gathered by yourself on your computer so what would be the point of hacking and resubmiting it?

(Anonymous) on April 30th, 2006 10:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Security?
The point would be to screw over people you really don't like.

Look! Not only do I think they are a moron, but these 500 other people also think they are a moron.
MonkeyModulator monkeymodulator on May 2nd, 2006 02:46 am (UTC)
Re: Security?
That is a problem. Currently there is no security implemented. One of my ideas was to use a trust system somewhat similiar to Advogato's. This is probably the weakest link in the system right now. Anybody can submit a SOAP request impersonating other users.
(Anonymous) on April 26th, 2006 07:34 am (UTC)
Great idea

I like it.

Whether it will be a success depends on the implementation details and easy of use.

Few things to consider:
- You will need users to have a server side account and submit data to this account only after being authenticated
- Consider letting users update, edit and add the data on the Web application itself, not only through the in game addon client
- Consider letting users adding feedback comments and/or tags, not only positive/negative score

Keep it going, it can turn into something really usefull.
MonkeyModulator monkeymodulator on May 2nd, 2006 02:47 am (UTC)
Re: Great idea
I like the idea about tags/comments. Comments are one of the things I'm working on right now.
Jamie McCarthy jamiemccarthy on April 26th, 2006 06:00 pm (UTC)
I'd like to help test, if you need testers on the Mac. I'm one of the developers for Slashdot's reputation system (the original Karma :) and I have a hot night elf.

I've thought for a while that WoW desperately needs something like this. Right now endgame reputations are, as far as I can tell (I'm not a hardcore player), managed mostly by the leaders of respected guilds. The main disincentive to ninjaing (or sucking very badly) is that if the top guild finds out and jots your name down, it will be months before you can join a good endgame guild. So basically the game you spent good money on ends three or four instances early (just before Molten Core, probably).

A more grassroots system would help the game a lot. Honestly, Blizzard should have written this a year ago, and if they aren't writing it right now they should be. But you'll probably beat them to it.

I'm not sure where you're going with the XML parsing and uploading. I'd have thought you'd do what DamageMeters does: reserve a channel name for your addon. Whenever the player interacts with someone new (whisper, join group, etc.), send out a request: "anyone have any opinions about Barlant?" Anyone else running the addon who has a nonzero rep for Barlant whispers back that number. When new data comes in it's integrated into the player's data and a reputation for the new character is (mumble) generated.

But it sounds like you're wanting to send to the data to a website instead? I'm not sure what the gain is there.

And yes, deciding on a fair voting system is a very serious concern. Not to add too many crazy ideas, but: guilds should be involved. Reputation should spread through a guild (if you know 5 high-rep people in a guild, that should reflect on strangers from that same guild). And if the idea I suggested above sounds like the data flow in the channel would be insanely high, perhaps the solution is for a player to sync data only within their guild; requests for rep info between guilds might be sent only to chars which their guilds have specified as being one of their "reputation go-to people." Whether to trust reputation info from a guild could be decided either by your character specifically (for fine control), or your character's guild (since your guild's "reputation person" probably has more time than you do to make such decisions).

Drop me an email if you want...
(Anonymous) on April 26th, 2006 08:44 pm (UTC)
Restrict only to people you party with
Ebay restricts reviews to only people you have transactions with. That way I can't decide to gang up on user X and give him tons and tons of nasty feedback. Only if I have a bad experience due to a transaction can I leave it...and then only one.

You'll need to limit things in this way too or else it will become insanely abused. Limit feedback to only people you're currently in a party or raid with (or just recently left). And limit the comments to one user-to-user comment per day, and only if both users are online (or just recently logged off).

This is probably something that would be better off created and run by Blizzard, and they should definitely consider it...have you suggested it to them?
(Anonymous) on April 26th, 2006 09:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Restrict only to people you party with
I'm not sure Blizzard would bite on running this themselves, as this system may likely lead to poor players leaving the game. While it won't hurt our feelings too much, that's lost money to Blizzard.
(Anonymous) on April 27th, 2006 04:50 am (UTC)
I don't play WoW myself, but I find your system interesting. In a way, yours is one of the first tools for spreading social capital.

The question of voting sytems is also important. Most offerings vary between pure democracies (mob rule) and aristocracies (the highest ranked users count the most). Nothing's changed in 3000 years in that regard.

It would be harder, but letting individuals subscribe to discrete closed networks is usually a better solution. These communities are usually internally policed and by all external approximations, internally consistent. You need a tool for rate sharing groups to purge members who don't go with the flow of course.

The side effect of such a tool is that there is no need to have any user recognize a negative rating of him or her self in order to use the product, so it merely becomes a networking or co-recognition instrument. Internal rankings then become positively competitive and reveal figures of natural leadership or group icons.
MonkeyModulator monkeymodulator on May 2nd, 2006 02:50 am (UTC)
The closed networks is an idea. Maybe allow groups to setup a list of "authoritative" sources, such as other guild members in the same group. Those authoritative sources would then more greatly influence the ratings.
katyajuxek on July 15th, 2008 02:16 am (UTC)
I don't play CoH/V, but members of my EVE Online corporation do. As a result, I have a good idea of what the game is like (a better idea than I can get from the press), and I'd have an instant group of co-adventurers should I decide to join, a group which would provide me with tips and aid to speed the process of my getting acclimated (and grinding out my time there).