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161  Economy / Marketplace / Next Dragon's Tale session: Friday, Oct 15, 2:00 PM EDT (GMT-0400) on: October 14, 2010, 09:01:38 PM
The last session was small, but much fun. It's especially cool being able to "meet" fellow Bitcoiners. We'll do the next one tomorrow:

  Friday, Oct 15, 2:00 PM EDT (GMT-0400) until 3:30

If you haven't tried Dragon's Tale, it's a Casino MMORPG that I'm building: Everything that you see, everything that you touch, you can bet on, either individually, or with friends. There are no traditional casino games in Dragon's Tale: No dice, no card games, no roulette wheels. However, you may come across a coconut tree and shake it: Between 2 and 20 coconuts fall; if an odd number fall, you'll double your bet.

You may climb a mountain and discover a bench next to an ornate table. In the middle of the table is a lever. Pull the lever and 5 fireworks shells launch on the other side of town: If 3 of the shells match, you win some Bitcoins. If 4 or 5 match, then the jackpot can get quite large, nearly 300 BTC for some combinations.

Or you may come across a humble garden. Grab a shovel and dig -  it turns out that the soil is rich with Bitcoins, and finding successive bundles will double, triple or more your winnings. Jackpots in the 100's of BTC are possible.

Everything takes place in a 3D persistant world powered by the same technology that runs A Tale in the Desert. If fact, for now, the way to get into Dragon's Tale is to download the ATITD client software, and when you launch it, select "Dragon's Tale" rather than "A Tale in the Desert." The client can be found on our website:

Also, you will need some Bitcoins to join the session. Bring as many or as few as you'd like.

I play the character "Di" - Looking forward to seeing everyone once again!

162  Economy / Services / Web Designer Needed, will pay in Bitcoins on: October 11, 2010, 09:40:19 PM
I'm looking for someone that can create a website for Dragon's Tale, the new Bitcoin based MMORPG casino. I'm not looking for bleeding edge technology, but a good clean design with well written copy is essential.

I'll want to see some examples of other web sites you've done. My budget for the first version is 1000 BTC.

163  Economy / Gambling / Re: Dragon's Tale - a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG/Casino on: October 09, 2010, 05:59:27 PM
I'll be in both #bitcoin and #dragonstale on Freenode IRC to help with any tech problems.

164  Economy / Gambling / Re: Dragon's Tale - a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG/Casino on: October 08, 2010, 02:14:45 PM
Yeah, I've used ATITD art in a lot of places while my artist creates the real stuff. You'll see this change over time - for instance, the Zodiac Fire launcher is new as of yesterday, the Bitcoin models now all look like Bitcoins instead of that medallion with swords, and the artwork for the Palace Garden game (you may not have seen this yet) is much improved.

Each species of plant has different rules, not each particular plant. The payoff math on plants was actually non-intuitive (to me!): My first though was to set the initial jackpot amount to some number, say, 5, and set the cost to play at 1, and then payoff 10% of the time, and when you don't win, add 1 BTC to the jackpot for that particular plant. When playtesting that I seemed to be doing *really* well. A simulation revealed that the rules above have an expected return (far) above 100%.

Most of the content is coded where I can create variants with different payoffs to give a different feel. Try playing Palace Garden and then try Lucky Garden (west of town) and Hidden Garden (north of town in the VIP area; I need a better name for that area.) To get into the VIP area, complete the "Won at 5 different games" achievement.
165  Economy / Gambling / Re: Dragon's Tale - a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG/Casino on: October 08, 2010, 12:17:09 AM
Yeah, the Bitcoins are live, so you can actually win or lose. Bets are small - most are 1 BTC minimum, and returns are around 95% in most cases, though there are some bad bets which are as low as 89% return, and some good ones that can be close to 100%.

I did a play session that introduced A Tale in the Desert players to Dragon's Tale and to Bitcoins. About 10 people showed up and maybe 6-7 of them came with more than 1 Bitcoin. (I required a balance of at least 1 to get in to the session.)

Overall the house earned 49 BTC in about 90 minutes, and people were playing pretty much constantly from my casual observation. So you can work the math out for average cost per player per hour. I noticed this one guy was up 15 BTC, withdrew them and left  Cheesy

166  Economy / Gambling / Re: Dragon's Tale - a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG/Casino on: October 07, 2010, 04:07:12 PM
Here's a couple screenshots - they're not "carefully" done - just ones that I grabbed from my client.

In these, the character Di is playing "Zodiac Fire" - pulling the lever on the table launches a set of 5 fireworks shells on the far side of town. The goal is to match 3 or more shells from a launch.

In the distance you can see plants, a lion statue (right of the road), a side-path - all of these have unique games to interact with.
Here's one more screenshot showing the palace - that's the most traditional game - the windows open and it becomes a giant slot machine:

The games do all take, and pay, real Bitcoins, and deposits and withdrawals are instant. I need to add code to allow the first 50(?) BTC to credit with 0 confirmations and additional ones with 1 or 2 confirms, and to prohibit withdrawals until all deposited BTC are confirmed. But for now everything is instant.

I didn't build in any free-play preview mode, and I'm undecided on whether it's worth doing so. It's a non-trivial amount of work to go from a single currency game to a multi-currency one, where "fake Bitcoins" would be a second currency. IOW, am I better off spending time on that, or on creating more games.

There's a very robust banking system behind the scenes. For instance, the house will never take a combination of bets where it can't pay theoretical maximums on all outstanding bets.
167  Economy / Gambling / Dragon's Tale - a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG/Casino on: October 07, 2010, 02:26:16 PM
Some of you may know me as lead designer of A Tale in the Desert I think that game designers all have far more ideas than they can possibly implement, and over the years I've had my share. When I get an idea, I write it down in a file on my computer, and I periodically peruse the list.

One idea has been on that list for almost 10 years, and it's one that kept grabbing me: What if there were a truly different kind of casino that existed as a persistent world? A world where everything that you see, everything that you can touch, was in fact some sort of game. No traditional slot machines, card games, dice, but an RPG where your character advances by success at games of chance.

Bitcoins rekindled that idea, and since learning of them, I've been brainstorming such a world. In September I started coding Dragon's Tale, an MMORPG set in China, which uses Bitcoins exclusively. The game is built on eGenesis System I, the same client/server that powers A Tale in the Desert.

Earlier this week I had a few Bitcoin veterans in for an early look, and based on their feedback, I think I'm ready to open it up for another preview. I'd like to invite all of you to join me for a play session of Dragon's Tale:

    Saturday, October 9, 2:00PM EDT (GMT-0400), for about 90 minutes

You'll need the ATITD client, which can be downloaded from
Native clients are available for Windows, OSX, and Linux. You'll also need a few Bitcoins to participate.
(If you're on a slower connection, you may want to download just the "launcher", which will pull files as needed.)

I'd be glad to answer any questions about Dragon's Tale here, and look forward to meeting everyone!
168  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Message Encryption as a built-in feature? on: September 15, 2010, 06:08:46 PM
It's an improvement because payments can be made without running the game software, or made on behalf of other players (which is common in our game at least), or made for several secondary accounts quickly (also which is common in our game.)

Though it doesn't apply to ATITD, it would also strengthen anonymity for those who need it: A website could be set up on a static datastore like Freenet, rather than requiring a live network like Tor.
169  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Message Encryption as a built-in feature? on: September 15, 2010, 02:09:55 PM
I've been wanting something like this since day 1.

A Tale in the Desert V accepts Bitcoins now. Each month, the procedure is:

1. Player clicks an in-game menu item "Pay for my subscription using Bitcoins." A unique address is created.
2. The game says "Send 150BTC to this address: xxxxxxx" (There's a "Copy to Clipboard" button on the dialog.)
3. The player sends the BTC
4. The player clicks "I have sent the Bitcoins." (System then verifies and activates account.)

The procedure only takes 15-30 seconds total - probably quicker than typing in a credit card number. However, with the ability to attach a message, the procedure becomes:

1. Player sends 150BTC to the standard ATITD Bitcoin address with his character name in the message field.
2. Player clicks "I have sent the Bitcoins." (System then verifies and activates account.)

We already have a couple players using Bitcoins to pay for subscriptions. One has generated his BTC, and the other has purchased some on one of the markets.
170  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Slashdot Submission for 1.0 on: July 10, 2010, 02:29:22 PM
I've submitted it - we'll see if it gets accepted. Anyone that frequents Slashdot should go to the "Firehose" section and "+" the submission.
171  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Slashdot Submission for 1.0 on: July 07, 2010, 06:01:13 PM
Ok, most of the suggestions have been integrated above, but one final question, mostly for satoshi, though others should chime in as well:

Should we actually try to get press right now, or wait until we do have a so-called "1.0" ?  It's going to be easier to get accepted when "1.0" is out, and trying for two Slashdot stories might be a lot to ask for.
172  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Slashdot Submission for 1.0 on: July 05, 2010, 04:07:52 PM
Unless anyone else knows a Slashdot editor, I'd be willing to submit this when 1.0 is released. (More people submitting their own versions will improve the chances of hitting the front page.)

(Technology Section)
Headline: Bitcoin releases Version 0.3
Tag: Encryption
Body: How's this for a disruptive technology? Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer network based digital currency with no central bank, and no transaction fees. Using a proof-of-work concept, nodes burn CPU cycles searching for bundles of coins, broadcasting their findings to the network. Analysis of energy usage indicates that the market value of Bitcoins is already above the value of the energy needed to generate them, indicating healthy demand. The community is hopeful the currency will remain outside the reach of any government.


[Edited the "energy backed" language.]
[Eliminated the 21M number, as db suggested. Mentioning subdividing would be too wordy.]
[Incorporated some of amall's suggestions, including eliminating the passive voice in the final sentence.]
[Integrated satoshi's suggestions, eliminating the word "anonymous", mention of Hashcash, and the "developers expect" taunt.]
[Changed the closing sentence to dwdollar's " is hopeful..." language. Satoshi, are you OK with that?]
173  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Beta? on: June 28, 2010, 06:38:46 PM
I agree as well - "version 1.0" is ready-made for Slashdot.
174  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: Transactions and Scripts: DUP HASH160 ... EQUALVERIFY CHECKSIG on: June 23, 2010, 03:07:11 PM
This is interesting, and is a possible way to embed messages inside anonymous payments, at the cost of transaction fees.

So if a payment contains a No-op string that says "Message encrypted for Public Key [xxx]: [yyyyy]" then that gets passed along to the destination? Or even "Cleartext message to recipient: [zzzzz]."

Of course the content of these messages - the [xxx] or [yyyyy] have nothing to do with Bitcoin, but they could be used as part of a layer on top of Bitcoin.

The reason I'm so interested in embedding messages is that they allow use of a "static" anonymity network like Freenet, rather than a "live" network like Tor or I2P. Live networks have exit nodes, a few of which can be compromised. If a government compromises 1% of all exit nodes, then they have a small chance of figuring out where a given site is hosted. So to use my Heroin Store example, they would send an N byte message to the store and watch all of their compromised exit nodes for N byte messages. They'd do this over a few hours, watching where N byte messages got sent to, eventually discovering the IP address of the store.

In a network like Freenet, data just floats around - there is no one machine where a website (for example) lives. You publish data to the cloud, and as long as people access it periodically, it stays around.

175  Economy / Trading Discussion / Re: A Heroin Store on: June 23, 2010, 02:23:04 PM
What flaw do you see in my description that would allow either the buyer or seller to be discovered, including statistical attacks?

The government does have huge resources, but they have not, to anyone's knowledge, broken PGP.

See if you can come up with a specific attack that the government could do that would allow either a buyer or the seller to be discovered.
176  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Re: 0.3 almost ready on: June 22, 2010, 02:15:24 PM
Should we try for some publicity? Slashdot is good if we can get it.

I've had a number of submissions accepted, though always by one editor that no longer works there. Anyone else with a Slashdot connection?
177  Other / Off-topic / Re: Distributed social networking + reputation systems on: June 14, 2010, 06:01:37 PM
I'll describe the art judging system (not quite the same as a reputation system, but related) used in A Tale in the Desert. Despite intense pressure to game it, and a really smart userbase, it has stood up remarkably well, and I think it may be as game-proof as any system could be given the constraints. Maybe some concepts from this can be used in a reputation system.

Background: Players create location-based "real" art within the virtual world. Progress in the game based on how good their art is. "Good" is judged by fellow players (competitors in many cases.)

Ok, first the constraints: Anonymous judges, known artists, continuous judging period, costly (in terms of player time) to judge the art.

The big idea: "A good judge is one who tends to judge the way other good judges do."

Details: A judge's Influence is the produce of his Quality and Worldlyness. As a judge, your Worldlyness is a score 0-1 based on the number of other judges that have judged a piece of art that you have judged. If you have co-judged any piece of art with another judge, then you are considered Peers. As a judge, your quality is a measure of how closely your scores on specific pieces of art correlate with Worldly judges.

We limit the peer list on a given piece of art to a fixed number, and then randomly rotate judges out. This prevents a few frequently judged pieces from dominating the Worldlyness computations.

We give limited feedback to judges in the form of "You tend to score paintings higher than your peers." We don't provide feedback of the form "Your scores on paintings tend to be opposite your peers."
178  Economy / Trading Discussion / Re: A Heroin Store on: June 09, 2010, 06:27:34 PM
Yes, I2P or Tor would work for such a website. Freenet is probably more secure because there are no entry/exit nodes to monitor, but Freesites can only serve static content, and anonymous Bitcoin payments don't have a way to include a message with them.

If every package originated at the same mailbox, then yes, I could imagine the government being able to detect the drug dealer by intensive surveillance. If the drug dealer used a random local mailbox, then it would get quite difficult because the set of people that use one of (let's say) 20 mailboxes would be huge.

And if the concept really is bulletproof, then I'd imagine 100's of such websites would quickly spring up, making LE's job even more impossible.
179  Economy / Trading Discussion / A Heroin Store on: June 09, 2010, 03:22:26 PM
As a Libertarian, the thing I love most about the Bitcoin project is the chance that it could be truly disruptive.

I think that drug prohibition is one of the most socially harmful things that the US has ever done, and so I would like to do a thought experiment about how a heroin store might operate, accepting Bitcoins, and ending drug prohibition in the process. We'll assume that the drug store is very high profile, and that law enforcement makes discovering the operator a high priority. We'll also assume that heroin is cheap when bought in bulk; the street price reflects the risk that street dealers must take to sell their product.

A drug dealer would set up a website that accepts Bitcoins for heroin. Orders would require a physical address for shipping. When an order comes in, the dealer would send heroin through the mail to two addresses: the address provided, and another random address. Because packages of heroin are now arriving at addresses across the country, receiving a package does not imply that you ordered it. Random addresses would be heavily reused to prevent law enforcement from making a statistical argument.

Now law enforcement could set up such a website as well, in order to discover buyers. So, the drug dealer must take half of his profits (and remember, he's already shipping 2x the amount paid for), and use them to buy heroin at other random websites, on behalf of both his customers and the random addresses that he has used.

If the post office knows that a package contains drugs, then they could send an undercover officer to deliver the mail to your door, or surreptitiously watch your mailbox to see who collects the mail, and then get a warrant to search your house to see if the package has been opened and not discarded. (IIRC, discarded materials are no longer considered in your possession.)

So, it would be important for buyers to not open any package that they suspect may contain their heroin, until they wish to consume it: they would only be in danger of possession between when the package was opened and when the contents was consumed.

Can anyone see a way to attack the store?
180  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Proof-of-work difficulty increasing on: June 02, 2010, 02:27:45 PM
A nice addition to the GUI would be an estimate of how many hashes/sec it's computing. Either present this as a raw number or a "you can expect to generate X packs of bitcoins per week."

This might partially solve the frustration of new users not getting any Bitcoins right away.
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