Internet Trading Game Idea

Reviving parts of my old MuMer idea, I thought of this trading game yesterday. Before I start hacking: What do you think? Who would want to be beta-tester? Any other things to consider?

The idea is to freely trade goods (think wood, stone, gold as currency etc.) online, on your trading partners website. The whole point will be that you will more or less stumble across other people to trade, e.g. on their blog, on some wiki page or their myspace or StudiVZ page. There you will see that he wants to trade MuMer goods, maybe with a list of things he’d sell and buy, and for what price. From there (and only from there) it is only one click to the MuMer page where you can actually trade, maybe leaving a message as well.

On the MuMer page itself, there would be no list of users or so. To find someone to trade you’ll actually have to look somewhere else and trade again you have to go to the other persons’ blog again. (I imagine this can be reasonable enforced by checking the referrer.) So taking part in the game, you also draw some people to your web site.

For the reward I could imaging that once you have a certain amount of specific resources, you can buy special items or even buy the skill to manufacture more special and hopefully attractive items.

This is the rough sketch. What do you think?


The idea in general sounds fairly OK to me. Though, the MuMer server is the point of failure, yet it is what will prevent the cheating.

Either way, without anything interesting that can be gained, you won't be able to lure the users. Also, how would having each of the stuff (wood, gold...) will effect the user? What is the objective of this game?
I think you should answer those questions before starting to code this game.

Also, I think I'd like to beta test if the answers are going to be good enough.

I would like to thank Firefox for saving my comment after the crash.
#1 bug (Homepage) am 2007-08-29T10:58:47+00:00
I hope my website was not responsible for the crash...

The objective is to trade and have fun, and maybe observer interesting economical patterns (e.g. a surplus of wood within the Debian community, a surplus of stone within the Gnome community and some people making good gold by trading between these two communites).

But the question of motivation is justified, and I’ll be happy to hear more ideas. My only idea is that you can convert the resources to more prestigous items, e.g. two wood and one gold can be swapped with a chair, and with 20 gold you can by a ruby gem (the stone, not the software). Or maybe just a plain score in points...
#2 Joachim Breitner (Homepage) am 2007-08-29T11:41:01+00:00
Well, where would the user see his chair? What can he do with the chair?
Plain score points is something you see everywhere. Therefor, may not attract people to trade in this.
I know I'm `killing` ideas, yet suggesting none. But I just lack them at the moment, so I try to give pointers.

Maybe if there would be real gain from it. Like, when you get XYZ points, you get something you can really put to use. Say some nice graphic, or some neat tool. I know I like Iconbuffet, which lets users trade icons :) {Though people do rush there for score :P}
#3 bug (Homepage) am 2007-08-29T19:10:32+00:00
In my original MuMer idea, you were rewarded by your virtual house and estate that you can extend (bigger house, nicer fence etc.). The view would then be rendered by PovRay...

Maybe the house could be displayed in the trade “window” on your page. It’d basically be some personalizable visual score display :-)
#4 Joachim Breitner (Homepage) am 2007-08-29T20:30:29+00:00
I'd like to be beta-tester :)
#5 Jenny am 2007-09-04T11:37:06+00:00
Do you have a good idea how to make the game more rewarding?
#6 Joachim Breitner (Homepage) am 2007-09-04T11:55:24+00:00
What about this: In addition to the basic trade items, users can offer real-world services and specify how much they cost. E.g. "A beautiful poem to your girl/boyfriend" for 200 (virtual) tons of stone. There would need to be some people who check these services, though.

But still, using wood, stone etc. then makes no sense. Perhaps you could just invent several own currencys and daily change the amount of money that is produced in every currency.
#7 Pascal Maillard am 2007-09-04T17:33:44+00:00
Hmm, not sure. I don’t like how it “leaves” the game what you do.

On the other hand, services are a good way of “destroying” money in the game. After all, if resources (and money) are created, they have to be destroyed (“used”) somewhere, otherwise their value will drop indefinitly.

Maybe some services that somehow fit into this trading game world?
#8 Joachim Breitner (Homepage) am 2007-09-04T18:18:05+00:00
Money doesn't necessarily need to be destroyed. In our world it isn't, neither (at least not that much as is created). Inflation is even good for the game as it forces the players not to save their resources but to spend or trade with them.

If everything shall fit into the gaming world, we still need something inside the world that attracts people. The idea of the house is still the best here, in my opinion, though I find that too materialistic.

Perhaps a look at Diablo helps: Many people play this game because of the special (unique) items. So for your game, collecting items could be a sufficient motivation.

What about this idea: There are several computer players that possess items with differing value. These computer players have a particular profile, e.g. one can represent a factory that creates things made from wood, so it primarily needs wood. The human players can now buy these items from the computer players if they have enough of the ressource(s) the computer player wants to have. The items could also be auctioned. The computer players could also request as a price items produced by other computer players. There could also be bonuses if someone collects, lets say, 10 different items from computer player X or items from 10 different computer players. Of course, the human players can freely trade with these items too.

I hope that
1) purchasing these (possibly unique) items will be motivation enough and
2) human players will specialize and give themselves a particular profile, e.g. one could specialize on trading with food etc..
#9 Pascal Maillard am 2007-09-04T20:34:12+00:00
Yes, I like this idea of special items. Maybe these items would show up in the trading box, not to sell or buy, but just to show off :-) (And of course to make people offer me lots of stuff for them)

But where would these computer players be? Note that the idea was that nothing can be found directly on the mumer site... but maybe it is ok if the computer players can be found, as long as you still need to find other regular users to play.

Jenny, what do you think here?
#10 Joachim Breitner (Homepage) am 2007-09-04T20:54:49+00:00
You could create websites just for the purpose to host a mumer computer player and people would have to find them with a search engine. There would possibly also be players that sell information about these computer players :)

Or there could be one public computer player that sells information about the locations of the others.

In either way, the number of players and the special items would remain unknown which is also very attractive.
#11 Pascal Maillard am 2007-09-04T21:26:58+00:00
Or perhaps the computer players don't "trust" humans if they haven't traded with a "friend of the computer player" before. This could be implemented with keys or passwords: When trading with a computer player, you get a key for another one.
#12 Pascal Maillard am 2007-09-04T21:30:04+00:00
Ok, this thread is indenting too far :-)

Looks like we have some ideas ready. What’s stopping us from implementing it? :-)
#13 Joachim Breitner (Homepage) am 2007-09-04T21:31:59+00:00

Have something to say? You can post a comment by sending an e-Mail to me at <mail@joachim-breitner.de>, and I will include it here.