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 Psst! Hey pal -- wanna buy a pair of Darkvision Goggles?

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Florian Lord
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PostSubject: Psst! Hey pal -- wanna buy a pair of Darkvision Goggles?   Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:31 am

Warning! Long post ahead with lotsa numbers!

Okay -- there are some people around these parts who have averred that Darkvision Goggles give your character an edge in card hunting. Being of an inquiring mind (no, I do not read National Enquirer -- except when I need a laugh), I thought I'd run a little experiment to see if I could prove or disprove their effectiveness.

The setup: I created a new group of adventurers and had them explore, always at level 1, for 30 days while I recorded the number of AP they used and the number of cards they found per day. I treated them more-or-less like I would a normal group of characters, in that I equipped their cards, filled out the empty holes in their inventories, and had them come home when either their hitpoints got too low or their hands got too full to carry more loot. I also gave them the 60 bonus AP from the Zork Toolbar. When counting their AP, I only included ones used actually exploring -- the AP burned to return to base were not included.

Allow me to introduce our intrepid band of guinea pigs :
Donna Angier, of the Frobozz Magic Spell Book Company
Mick Fuquay, of the Frobozz Magic Goggles Company
Alan Dunn, of the Frobozz Magic Sword Company
Lydia Erwin, also of the Frobozz Magic Goggles Company
Alice Godwin, of the Frobozz Magic Cave Company

Now the numbers, presented in order of best card finders to worst:

First 15 days:
NameAP UsedCards FoundAP per card
Second 15 days:
NameAP UsedCards FoundAP per card
30-day totals:
NameAP UsedCards FoundAP per card
(The names in cyan are the ones with the goggles, just as a reminder.)

I don't really think this is the definitive answer to this question -- the sample size is too small and there's probably a tighter way to run the experiment. But as you can see, the two subjects with goggles were only one card ahead of two of the subjects without, and three behind the other one. Quiltgirl is of the opinion that some characters are just "born lucky" -- the system generates a random number seed for every character that determines things like card drop rates, and if you have a good one, you'll get lots of cards. We don't know that there's a mechanic like this behind the scenes, but it feels that way sometimes.
You can also see that the first 15 days look a lot different than the last 15 days, as well. Mick held a commanding lead in number of cards up until day 20, when he had his first day without finding a single card. After that, Donna kept outperforming him until she took over the lead. In fact, both goggle wearers had big drops in performance and only their stellar numbers in the first two weeks kept them ahead of Alan and Alice in the totals. So in the end I can't say that I feel Darkvision Goggles actually help your card finding. But I don't feel like I have enough evidence to say they definitely don't, either. But I think the numbers tend that way.

Now the trivia, because I love trivia. :grin:
Final hand values, as calculated by this website:
Donna: 48, 48, 24, 20
Mick: 62, 42, 32, 20
Alan: 56, 52, 32, 20(*)
Lydia: 36, 32, 20, 16
Alice: 62, 42, 40, 16(**)

(*)I have 56, 48, 32, 32; because I'm willing to give up 4 points in one hand to get 12 in another.
(**)Alice may have ended up at the bottom of the pack in card finding, but you could make the argument she went for quality over quantity.

Donna proved to be the Sublocation Queen in this test, finding two sublocations every day just like clockwork for a total of 60. She'll be able to grow old and die exploring those someday. Surprisingly, Alice, who as a Magic Cave ex-employee is supposed to have an edge at this sort of thing (IIRC), came out dead last in number of sublocations located, at a mere 34.
Lydia, at day 18, received the Double Fanucci trophy A Whole Lotta Nutthin'. There are 15 suits in Double Fanucci, not counting the portrait cards. She had 22 cards at the time of winning. I'll let you work out what that meant her hands probably looked like. Alice also managed to achieve A Whole Lotta Nutthin' on the next to last day of the test.
As I mentioned above, Mick had a 19-day streak of always coming home with at least one card, if not two, the only character to do so. No one else even came close, having at least one day of coming home empty-handed about once a week. He made up for it at the end, unfortunately, empty-handed four days out of the last ten.
Alan's first six cards or so were all from the same two related suits -- his Fanucci gambit was twice (if not three times) bigger than any of the others. Sadly, he then went almost two weeks without receiving another card that would slot into his gambit, by which time his was one of the lowest in the group. Lydia, the aforementioned Queen of the NileNaughts, was the only one lower.

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PostSubject: Re: Psst! Hey pal -- wanna buy a pair of Darkvision Goggles?   Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:20 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Psst! Hey pal -- wanna buy a pair of Darkvision Goggles?   Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:34 pm

Very interesting!
So what I did was
Assume that the chances of finding a card whenever ones takes an action are independent of everything else, that the odds are whole percentages, random distribution etc.
Then worked backwards using the bionomial distribution stuff
If the probability of card discovery is 4% then the data all fits within one std, with Donna being lucky and the others unlucky (Donna 0.2 above and Alice 0.6 std below the mean.)
Using 3% makes them all incredibly lucky with all greater than 1 std and Donna 2.1 std's away from the mean. Assuming 5% and they are all unlucky with Alice 1.9 std's away from the mean. So a 4% base probability seems reasonable.
Assuming that the glasses give a 1% bonus on a 4% base chance then Mike and Lydia are unlucky and are 1.6 std away from their mean.
The base probability of find a card is around 4%.
Not enough data to decide if glasses give a bonus but I am 88% sure that the bonus is less than 1%.

For each character calculated the mean as np and the std as sqrt(npq) where n is the number of actions, p is the probability of finding a card and q is (1-p).
I am a mathematician not a statistician so what I have said above might be teka.

Last edited by derfderf on Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:53 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : grammer)
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Florian Lord
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PostSubject: Re: Psst! Hey pal -- wanna buy a pair of Darkvision Goggles?   Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:09 pm

derfderf wrote:
I am a mathematician not a statistician so what I have said above might be teka.

I'm neither, which is why I just presented raw data with no analysis to speak of. Smile Quiltgirl was doing a similar experiment, only with two groups, one all with DVG and one without, and geared the same otherwise, and not equipping cards, but her interest in Zork is waning in favor of something called "Star Pirates". Doing the experiment was making Zork seem too much like work, I think.

However, she might yet decide to finish it up and post her results here.
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Jet Mattix
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PostSubject: Re: Psst! Hey pal -- wanna buy a pair of Darkvision Goggles?   Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:33 am

chicken. drunkeness. spelling errors that offend. SYLVATON!!! do not discredit the service you have provided.



time consumeing

more unneeded speeling mistakes

the forth has nothing to do with you. however. i must salute you and the crazy chaos you had to wadd;e threw just to get these results


^--((please disreguard everything))

besides the praise that is

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