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So, I bit the bullet. Here are a couple of links. These are informational, but give context and a direction to a definition.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Materiality_(law)

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Material

I have been unable to find a definition for "material part", but, material as shown above is well covered in legal definitions. There are many common words used in the definitions from the links above, and the ones I can see as being recurring to the greatest extent and having the most importance in the definitions are "important", "significant" and "substantial".

I believe it would be fair to say, that "material part" in this case means an important, significant or substantial part in the outcome of the game.

 

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Hmm. So my mind may have changed unnecessarily, and LL may actually mean significant in using the word. I can understand it both ways.

I'm going to have to do what I always had to do - leave it to the game creators and their lawyers to puzzle over what LL meant - at the creators' expense, of course.

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Again, I don't mean to seem like I am on your case, but, 

1) whose outcome is determined by skill, and is not contingent, in whole or in material part, upon chance;

If the outcome is the player winning L$ and those L$ are paid out as a result of a random spin of a wheel/topper/wink, surely that falls under this policy as the outcome is in no way affected by skill.

I'm not saying you are wrong or that I am right, I'm making the point that the outcome could in fact be the payment of L$ to the player and as such, what causes them to be paid comes under the definitions and terms of the policy. 

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Valareos wrote:

Durandir, I agree.  Interesting thing though, the toppers wouldnt be against the new rules, because they dont influence game play, only payout, which is triggered on a win. If those toppers had a chance to give something less than 1x bet back, it would fall foul.. SInce the toppers can be removed and not have any impact on the game, they would not be concidered material

There are toppers which have a 0.5x multiplier - so even when you "win", you get only half your money back.

And I see toppers as a part of the game. Even if you don't pay in into them. They are connected to the game. The game itself does not pay out, but triggers the topper/wink.

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I agree, and I believe this will cause it's own issues for the game creators, as in the past 'Add-Ons' (wheels, toppers, winks, replays etc.) were created by other creators, but as an operator you added them, so that they determined the outcome of yours games, in terms of L$ payment to a player.

I assume, if L$ payment to players is deemed as the "outcome" of the game, no creators will be allowing other creators to do 'Add-Ons' that could make their games non compliant. It would be suicide to put your legal compliance in the hands of somebody else in the hope they don't screw you over.

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Guy Gossamer wrote:

Take two games.

Candy Crush - In the background there is an alogorithm that calculates which candies appear. It is a calculated numerical 'chance' that the candies you need at certain points will be there.  When playing the game, chance in constant throughtout the game, however, it is the player actions that determine the outcome.  Chance is not material in the outcome of the game. The skill of seeing and matching patterns is, and creting bonus/super candies determines the outcome.

Bugz in SL - (sorry to the creator) - chance is the only way of winning the game.  You match the numbers, chance whether it happens or not.  You get the bonus things at the end. Chance whether you hit the right bonuses to allow you win the game. Chance has a material part in the outcome of the game.

So, yes, chance can be in the game, but it cannot be a material part in the
outcome
 under the Skill Gaming Policy. 

Valareos is suggesting chance can not be in any part of the game, which is wrong.

 

This is the definition of "game of skill" that bothers me.

Using the everyday, common sense, meaning of the words, "a game [...]  whose outcome is determined by skill and is not contingent, in whole or in material part, upon chance,"  I would take to apply to a game like chess, where chance may play a minimal role (who plays black and who plays white) but where the two players' respective skill determines the rest.

There's room to extend it, certainly, since "in material part" allows some room for manoeuvre, but I'm very dubious about a definition that includes the ability to deduce, and then apply, a hidden algorithm.   I mean, if I create a game that apparently depends on the random roll of a pair of dice, but in fact uses, in turn, from a list of 10,000 throws I've previously generated, then it's literally true that chance plays no role in the outcome.   My dice will always fall in the same order, and someone who observed the game long enough,  noting down the numbers, would, eventually, come to realise this and always be able to win, since he'd know exactly how the dice would fall. 

In practice, though, I'd say my dice game was a game of chance to all intents and purposes.

 

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..but it's not about chance playing "no role" in the outcome.

Do you think that for every computerised chess game, there is a real person sat at the other end playing the 'player', or do you think the creator had the ability to "deduce, and then apply, a hidden algorithm"? Maybe the creator went so far as to apply algorithms for beginner, intermediate, professional. Just because a game has an alogorithm doesn't make it any more of less dubious (for want of a better word) .

The fact you have defined your game as the "random roll of a pair of dice", to all intents and purposes, suggests it is nothing more than the role of a pair of dice. There are no rules, no requirements, hurdles, outcome metrics.

So I agree, you have a game that is a roll of dice.

 

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I've actually stopped reading most of what's being written as it's getting complicated for me; I don't have a gaming place now and do not plan to...and I hate to knit pick...but you did miss one other thing:

User:

  1. Must be over 19 AND Can legally agree to the policy AND
  2. live somewhere where skill gaming is legal AND
  3. accessing the skill gaming from somewhere where skill gaming is legal AND
  4. are legally old enough to participate in Skill Gaming where they live.

If any of the above can not be met, then you can not play Skill Games Legally (AAN Operators require ALL to be met)

AND......"In order to enter a Skill Gaming Region, you must establish and maintain a Second Life account with accurate, current and complete information about yourself, including a valid payment method"

Let's not forget about that...and THAT is what's going to be keeping me out of all the new gaming sims.

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Any single player game is going to require an aspect of randomness.  You could have prerolled tables of dice rolls that never change, or multiple tables that you switch between, which would create recognizable patterns and negate the "random" aspect.  Or you could create an algorithm that does the same thing, creates quasi-random patterns in your game.  Recognizing and memorizing patterns isn't what I would call skill per se, but having that advantage over pure chance or randomness tips the balance in the favor of the player.  I think this is what the "material part" is referring to, chance not being a significant factor in the outcome of the game, but rather skill--whether that be pattern recognition, memory or strategy, it's all valid because the player is using their cognitive abilities to win the game.

It's my opinion that the "material part" is to ensure the player doesn't get bilked on a regular basis by chance or randomness.  If that's not happening in the current games at least once per play, I'd be pleasantly surprised.

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Guy Gossamer wrote:

..but it's not about chance playing "no role" in the outcome.

Do you think that for every computerised chess game, there is a real person sat at the other end playing the 'player', or do you think the creator had the ability to "
deduce, and then apply, a hidden algorithm"? Maybe the creator went so far as to apply 
algorithms for beginner, intermediate, professional. Just because a game has an alogorithm doesn't make it any more of less dubious (for want of a better word) .

The fact you have defined your game as the "random roll of a pair of dice", to all intents and purposes, suggests it is nothing more than the role of a pair of dice. There are no rules, no requirements, hurdles, outcome metrics.

So I agree, you have a game that is a roll of dice.

 

I'm talking about the games from the point of view of the player, not the creator.   Obviously the creator used skill, not chance, to develop the game in the first place, but that's not the point.

The difference between a computerised chess game and most things that in SL purport to be "games of skill" is that the rules of chess are widely understood.   I don't have to deduce anything -- I simply sit down and attempt to develop my strategy, modifying my strategy and tactics in response to the moves my opponent makes.

Similarly, if I'm playing a computerised game of backgammon, the dice clearly introduce an element of chance that affects both sides equally, but it's how I apply my knowledge of probability and my tactical understanding of the board at a particular point in the game that determine my moves.  

Neither depend on my deducing anything about how the game is actually programmed.   Certainly I can win if I know, for example, that my computerised chess opponent will always accept my sacrificing a high-value piece to take a low-value one, even if that means next move I'm going to check-mate it, but that's not really how I win the game.

To my mind, if the game is really a game of skill, I'm not normally going to have to infer much about its internal workings to win.   I keep on seeing references to how, in particular games, it's necessary to do things in a particular order.    Is all that known to players before they start?  

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Innula Zenovka wrote:

To my mind, if the game is really a game of skill, I'm not normally going to have to infer much about its internal workings to win.   I keep on seeing references to how, in particular games, it's necessary to do things in a particular order.    Is all that known to players before they start?  

Exactly my thinking on skill, except for the fact that games have to be learned in one form or another.

Let's dig a little deeper.  These are definitions of skill from Merriam-Webster:

 

skill noun: the ability to do something that comes from training, experience, or practice: the ability to use one's knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance: dexterity or coordination especially in the execution of learned physical tasks: a learned power of doing something competently :  a developed aptitude or ability <language skills> 

 

One could take from this that, after you learn a game's nuances, it is then considered skill to navigate and win on a regular basis. Ok, so if you are skilled at a game, winning should be consistent, barring the odd mistake.. UNLESS chance plays a bigger factor and throws a wrench into your use of skill, keeping you from winning.

An example of a game that is purely skill based, despite chance:  Word games (excluding word search).  Word games rely on language skills and knowledge (and sometimes math).  Randomized letters are just a slight inconvenience that can be overcome given enough turns.  If you suck at spelling or have a limited vocabulary, you should've paid attention in school. *grin*

Product creators are at the mercy of the market and are not guaranteed a profit.  Game operators are not at the mercy of the market, didn't create the game, but are guaranteed a profit by design of the game, as long as people are playing the games (per Sorina's posts on a percentage of profit).  If skill is the dominating factor in these games, it makes sense that game operators shouldn't see a consistent profit over time, because skill would make it inconsistent.  If said games are designed to pay out a steady profit regardless of game outcome or skill, is it over-riding skill to guarantee a profit with chance or some other mechanism?  If so, then skill is negated for profit.  Now I'm only going by what Sorina said, I have no personal experience with these games vs profit, just speculating.

UPDATE:  I was just reading one game manual, which has a "stop loss" feature.  If a game goes below a profit margin, it shuts the game down until the game operator resets it.  It would seem that, at least this game, has the potential to lose profits.  Having such a shut-down mechanism would guarantee profits by not allowing further loss.  Then a game operator can claim it's skill based (*whisper* ...until our game shuts down and prevents further profit loss).

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You brought up "deduce, and then apply, a hidden algorithm" in your initial reply to me. So, to be blunt, I haven't a clue what your point is any more, and I'm not even sure you know.

I know the rules of chess on a very basic level, barely, but I don't know what the millions of potential moves are, but, does that mean that because I don't know how to really play it, that it shouldn't be a game of skill?  Is there a rule that suggests I go and learn 'the rules' before I play? The point you are missing, is if you are not playing a real person, you are playing an alogorithm. So, if in one game you are playing an alogoritm having learned the rules, how is it different to playing an alogorithm in a different game with different rules that you also have to learn? I'm speaking clearly from the players point of view, just in case.

What you are suggesting is that you may take a strategic move based on the possibility that a computerized game of chess (alogorithm) may make a move to take a piece allowing you a further move in your strategy, is different to a computerized game of any type giving you an option or not based on an alogorithm, like I suggested with Candy Crush.

Just because you know the rules of chess and a lot of others do too, doesn't make any other type of skill game less of a skill game, in my eyes, and a lot of other peoples eyes too, including most importantly legislators. 

As for your question about doing stuff in order, I believe that refers to the speculation of others on how games are won or not. I'm guessing there is a type of 'doing things in order' mechanism to winning at chess? (I'm sure everybody is informed of that beforehand)

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  • Supermarkets and stores make profit without creating produce. The amount of profit they make is irrelevant.
  • Second Life product creators & Resellers make profit, from the sales of products that are re-sold by people who are not the creators. The amount of profit they make it irrelevant. 
  • A Second Life gaming business makes profit without creating games. The amount of profit is irrelevant.
  • A Second Life game creator makes profit by selling games. The amount of profit is irrelevant. 

See the theme? The profit of a store/product creator/gaming operation is nobodies business except for the person/people who took the risk, financial or otherwise, and made the investment to try and make the business a success.  (yeah yeah on IRS)

 

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Guy Gossamer wrote:

  • Supermarkets and stores make profit without creating produce. The amount of profit they make is irrelevant.
  • Second Life product creators & Resellers make profit, from the sales of products that are re-sold by people who are not the creators. The amount of profit they make it irrelevant. 
  • A Second Life gaming business makes profit without creating games. The amount of profit is irrelevant.
  • A Second Life game creator makes profit by selling games. The amount of profit is irrelevant. 

See the theme? The profit of a store/product creator/gaming operation is nobodies business except for the person/people who took the risk, financial or otherwise, and made the investment to try and make the business a success.  (yeah yeah on IRS)

 

The point was how skill can be negated by chance, or in this case to ensure profit.  A person of skill makes too much money on a game unit, game unit shuts down because skill is taking away from profit.    Easy fix, right? Just move on to another active game. I'm not saying it's wrong to make a profit, just making a point that as skill games are concerned, there might be underlying factors that affect the player's ability to use skill effectively to win vs chance.  Loss of profit shutdown is a roundabout way of saying, wait a minute, you're winning too much--we can't have that.  Such a feature wouldn't need to exist if a game were not allowing skill to win, so the game gets a positive for skill at least.

An ideal skill game would be balanced to give modest profit while having a decent payout.  Both the game operator and the player win in the long run and it's a happy relationship.

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In the end, still becomes how Linden Labs interprest,s and as others have pointed out, they making it vauge and requiring US to get legal advice if we want to create a game.  

One should however be able to see if their game blatently fails the idea of a skill test vs game of chance.  and trouble still comes to is on whos side does game of chacne apply? to the game mechanics, or to view of player.  Here is an example.

 

A person creates a Bugz type game. They have it that what shows up in the game is based on an algorithm that uses a seed to determine what numbers are displayed, and what numbers you get in roll. Game is won IF you clear off the board.  Each seed is designed so game is always winnable if you make the right move, but you dont know the moves that will come up before hand.

WHen initialising the game, the owner can CHOOSE to use a random seed to start, or put in thier own.  This way, the random seed does not becomes a material part, as if you take it out the game still functions. After every game, the seed changes by a preprogrammed amount, not determined by chance, but an amount hidden by the player and owner.

What happens is two games with the same starting seed then play exactly the same for eacha nd every round after, and that it becomes the player who develops a better strategy that can complete the game. If you clear all, you recieve a set payout

 

For the game, Nothing is random, and whether you win or lose depends entirely on the player and his strategy. To the view of the player, the numbers that appear that he has to clear appears random.

 

Does the above constitute a game of chance, or skill? It all becomes a matter of intepretation

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I can't go through every post here to find one answer--BINGO.

Is BINGO a game of chance, though the operator doesn't require a fee to play (fee would constitute consideration)?

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Yingzi Xue wrote:

An ideal skill game would be balanced to give modest profit while having a decent payout.  Both the game operator and the player win in the long run and it's a happy relationship.


Such systems existed. I can remember playing on machines with skill involved, where different players competed against each other. After 5 games there was a proportional payout of 95% of the pot to the players. The owner had a guaranteed 5%. That was fun & fair.

I'm afraid even when the operators use skill games after September 1, these will be set with scores which always guarantee a profit to the owner. No matter how skilled you are. Mainly you do not compete against other players, but against the machine/owner. And the latter one will always keep an eye on his advantage. 

 

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Others may have their opinion on it but.. Yes, Bingo would be a game of chance. It involved both random cards, and random ball selection.  So you have to look at the next question

 

Does the game you referring to pay out lindens or anything of value?  If No, not only does it not meet the requirements for a wagering machine, but it also fails the definition of a Skill Game as it does not pay out lindens.

If Yes, then question becomes, Does it accept lindens in payment? If Yes, then this would be labled as a wagering machine. If No, then LL may allow it as there is no cost by the player, and it also fails the definition of a skill game as it does not accept lindens, and as such should be fine to use.

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While I understand the endevour of your point, you point suggests that it is a game of skill when the gaming operator is losing money on it, and is then not a game of skill if the operator is making money on it. 

Profit doesn't enter into the equation in determining whether a game is a game of skill or chance. In case you think I am defending any of the games with the stoploss feature, I am not. I'm merely making the point, that profit doesn't and shouldn't enter the equation in the determination of skill over chance.

Modest profit is subjective. If every operator is operating to the exact same definition of modest profit, there is no competition. There is currently a lot of competition in the SL gaming sector. 

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If the Bingo object does not require or permit L$ to play, it does not come under the Skill Gaming Policy.

Outside of that, it doesn't matter whether it is a game of chance or not.

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Phil Deakins wrote:

In all honesty, your original 'flowchart' post stated quite categorically that no 'chance' is allowed at all in skill games, or at least anyone reading it would understand that from the post.

 

agree pretty much on the general point

+

does chance play a material part in an outcome?

in the convo others have kinda literalised this to pieces. Usually bc people mix up chance and probability seems like

examples of literalise to pieces to make it meaningless

soccer is a game of skill

is a probability that the best player/striker in our team will break their leg, materially affecting the outcome of the game (except when our team still win anyways)

bc is a probability that our striker will break their leg then can literalise this to pieces when treat as chance

broken leg = chance = effected outcome = material effect

car race: is a probability the driver will crash. is a probability that the engine will fail, etc

online game: is a probability that the server will fail/disconnect at a point in a play which may materially effect the outcome of our own action/game. Others who do not experience this fail/disconnect are not affected

+

i think the fundamental question that anyone who creates/operates a SL (online) game has to answer for themselfs is:

is the random/chance element under the control of the game designer and game rules. Does the design of the online game manage the chance component, and can the outcome of the game for the player be materially affect by this?

sometimes people will edgecase their argument with pseudo-random gen something something. but is not true this kinda edgecasing bc is a computer program/script

in a online/computer game we not tossing actual physical coins or spinning physical wheels, drawing balls from a physical shaker, etc. The script/program may be emulatiing these things onscreen but the probability component materially effecting the outcome according to the rules/design of the game is fully under the control of the program/script

 

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Durandir Darwin wrote:



I'm afraid even when the operators use skill games after September 1, these will be set with scores which
always guarantee
a profit to the owner. No matter how skilled you are. Mainly you do not compete against other players, but against the machine/owner. And the latter one will always keep an eye on his advantage. 

 

if is no expectation (guarantee even) of profit then is no point in pay-to-play games. the landowner/operator has to pay their tiers. the game designer has to pay their bills also

if is a work of love then landowner/designer will make/operate it for love and bear these costs themself

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I've only skimmed the thread, so I could be way off base here...

What's the bigger issue; what constitutes "skill" or the size of the Skill Game Region license costs (both the direct fee and the time and external cost of registration for the region/game)? I don't know what the costs might be, but I wonder what L$ volume a game would have to move to make such fees tolerable. If the fees end up being exhorbitant (what Linden fee here isn't ;-), and If the only way to avoid the fee is to eliminate any payment into the system by players, then the skill/chance discussion is moot. The only games here will be those in which nobody pays to enter.

Did I get this wrong?

ETA: I think I read that payment into skill games can only be done from PIOF accounts. That's another dissuasion, no?

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you would thing so, yess. but the wagering policy allows for a game that recieves no money from players, pays money out, and uses chance can still be concidered a wagering machine. that was to stop :free casinos popping up where you can buy game credit off of sl

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