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There's nothing to see here except for shadows of the past - and these ones won't be returning.

I'd point you to my next project here - but I'm not that organised. My style is to act and then sort out the consequences, rather than the other way around. Oh, and lying. I do that a lot too. (i.e. if you look closely, you may have seen some links appearing roughly once a week)

Vitenka.com is registered to me for the forseeable future, so you might find something there.

Edited by Vitenka at 2003-04-09 08:22:54

 
Vitenka : Mon 30 05:27:00 2002
[This is another column from Dan. He is less sane than I am. Long live little fluffy clouds, that may or may not, acually be peach melba yoghurt pots.]

Dungeon Keeper II Lab Manager.

Dungeon keeper II. A nice, twee and very evil little game. Excellent. But it could never approximate reality, could it?

Well, have you been to a university lately?

It struck me the other day, exactly how strong the parallels between dungeon keeper 2 and an academic science department really are. Changing the name of a few things, and the look of a few others, the two are effectively interchangeable at a fundamental level. Oh dear.

First of all, there is the rationale. The rationale of Dungeon Keeper is to kill the opposition. In academia, a pessimistic view of the exercise is to destroy the opinions of those research groups who you face off against so that your ideology reigns triumphant, and thusly advance science in your image. Two not fundamentally divergent aims. Then there's the fact that everything fits so very well. Maybe someone out there works for Bullfrog, and weíll see the game "Lab Manager" in the shops next Christmas (or a mod patch on the net).

Firstly, letís look at the mechanics.

Gold.

Gold translates pretty much as is, as departments are expensive to build and maintain. Gold buys your rooms, and pays your minion's wages.

Mana.

A bit more intangible, this one. I think that it maybe it represents kudos, the status of your department relative to others. Via the use of the "displace gold" spell, you can use kudos to pay your minion's wages (much as oxbridge do, since they don't actually pay too well but have people queueing up to work for them because of their huge kudos scores). Kudos can also be used to hamper enemy minions by the use of "create migraine", or to recruit more imps postgraduate students.

OK. Then letís have a look at the rooms.

The heart of every department is the head of departmentís office. Itís usually quite roomy, and has a high-powered secretary who has access to the petty cash (larger amounts are stored in the "accounts" room).

Then we must move on to creature comforts. In order to have a functional department, the minions need a place to rest (their offices) and a place to recharge (a coffee room). In game mechanics, the coffee room produces cups of coffee at a rate proportional to its size. The offices of course work just like lairs, and are typically either small (one to three tiles) or open plan (large tiles like 5 x 3), depending on the available area.

Training rooms are modelled very well as lecture halls where training might take place. Of course youíll need to give the goblins undergrads the odd slap now and again to stop them falling asleep and increase their productivity.

Libraries actually survive the transition much as is, and attract genuine researchers to your dungeon department, rather than freeloaders.

Workshops would be prep labs under the new regime, and would attract trolls technicians to work to produce traps equipment and lab reagents.

Accounts rooms allow the department to store more gold but have the unfortunate effect of attracting accountants and embezzlers, who cost gold to retain. Most departments prefer to be impoverished.

Prisons. These are the computer rooms, where postgrad students go to write up. Obviously, they aren't allowed to leave until they have finished. Typically, the denial of social life and diet of caffeine causes them to rise up as undead, looking as they do like gaunt, twitchy skeletons.

Graveyards. Well, when a professor reaches the end of his tenure, he has two options. To retire gracefully, and enjoy his academic pension, or to carry on working, developing an awesome jungle of spectacular office plants, as he rises as that most dreaded of undead, the vampire emeritus professor.

Torture chambers. Obviously, the torture chamber is where all of the useful information is extracted, and is represented in our new world order by the laboratory, where imps postgrads torture samples in order to gain information for publication.

Temples. Being one of the most expensive rooms available, the temple machine lab is where raw information is converted into Kudos by your minions. Samples are placed within the mass spectrometer/NMR machine/synchrotron/particle collider at the centre of the room and kudos is automatically generated (at least this is how it appears from your lofty position as the dungeon keeper head of department).

Seminar rooms represent combat pits when enemy academics invade your department, and your academic minions can sharpen their teeth on each others reputations, while others merely spectate the fireworks. Doing well will enhance your creature's reputation, causing them to advance within your hierarchy, along the ladder undergrad - postgrad - postdoc - researcher - reader - lecturer - professor. You may also capture and convert enemy academics using either the laboratory or the seminar room.

What about the inhabitants.

Postgrads do the work of imps, and carry out the menial tasks around your dungeon, like research. The presence of a head of department automatically maintains four postgrads.

Undergrads are the lowest form of life, and consequentially are goblins. No need to even change the dkii models, here. :-)

Technicians manufacture research items in the prep labs.

Readers locate interesting references in the library, and come up with interesting uses for kudos.

Researchers are attracted by the laboratory, and suffer no ill effects from the highly solvent-charged atmosphere that generally reduces the mind of any sane being to mush.

Professors are attracted by large volumes of coffee and large opulent lairs. Emeritus professors are attracted by well-furnished offices and houseplants. High-level corpses are required to generate them though. Skeletons are created by computer rooms, where postgrads turn into mindless zombie-like automata.

When the game gets really advanced, you could summon Horny the Research Council Auditors to perform a Research Assessment Exercise. Note that if your minions are found lacking, or there are not enough enemy academics to be culled by the inevitable round of job losses, the results of the RAE could hurt you quite badly.

Summary

I think I make a pretty compelling case, don't you? Seriously, I'd buy this game, if I wasn't already living it. Ah, I am being summoned to the working face of the laboratories. I must go and heed my dark master's wishes.

*/SLAP/*

ouch

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