More than gems on the table

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By balder Comments (72)

Tuesday is News Day

And the bad news usually goes first. We're doing a planned skip today, for very good reasons unrelated to the rest of the stuff in this post. So this Tuesday is only News Day, but expect updates to resume as normal, starting with a comic page on Friday.

Free Cards Day is looming

On to the good news, of which there is a pile!


Since the last news post less than two weeks ago, we have closed more than half the distance to Milestone 4. Milestone 4 is $2000 pledged per on time update, and if we bill that much for even one update, it will unlock Free Cards Day. We'll be sending physical decks of the Erfworld Bicycle® Playing Cards, to active Tools at all levels. (You will need to confirm/update your mailing address to receive them. See the Toolshed page for more.)

Free Virtual Cards Day is now

Have a card, any card! Check your user profile, it's there already! Whaaaat?

What Carnymancy is this?

As I said in previous posts, the gems are only part of the larger stuff the dev team's been working on since the end of our Kickstarter last year.

I'm pretty proud of how that project (to fund the playing cards) turned out. When I pick up a deck and rifle through the cards, they're still stunning to me. So thank you again to all who supported us last year to make it come true. Every backer who filled out a survey should have received all rewards long ago. Contact us through BackerKit if that's not the case.



We did have two stretch goals—a unit collection system and a live gametable—which are still to come. Creating the gems for Mine4erf was sort of a side benefit from that development. The gems are a proof of how far along we've come with many difficult things (reliably rendering 3D objects in browsers, building a custom Shmuckers-based marketplace, tracking item generation and exchange, generative icons, the list is enormous).

So is this new thing. (Which probably should have been its own stretch goal, in retrospect.)


The playing cards themselves are now collectible/sellable/mineable objects on! 52 suited cards (no jokers for now), for red, blue, and black decks of cards. So whether you pledged the Kickstarter project or bought a deck or not, now everybody can see Xin Ye's beautiful artwork (with a substantial amount of design help from Lauri Ahonen) right on the site.

If your account was created yesterday or before, all you have to do to see your card is visit your user page while logged in. If you create a new account, you won't automatically be given a cards unless you visit the card forums and say, "I created my account for the card, could I have it please?" and somebody on the team will assign you a random card. Unlike gems, you *can* sell your last card on the marketplace

Active Tools get extra cards now, and more going forward

In addition to the free virtual collectible card, active Tools also get one starter free one for every level they're currently pledging. A Level 4 Caster would therefore have 5 cards just for logging in today. All cards given out today will be from the black deck. In the future (starting in the April billing cycle, around tax day, but *not* the March cycle because we're not ready yet) you will get one random card from one of the three decks, per update you were billed for (not per level).

Cards have been added as a bonus spin to Mine4erf

For our miners, the playing cards have been added as items you can win in a bonus spin. The bonus spin only happens if you don't win a gem on your spin. All three colors of cards can be found.



Collecting and trading playing cards

This is going to flood the marketplace right off with cards, and we expect them to be sold for a lot less than gems. If a 3 of diamonds is for sale for 12 Shmuckers, and even small no-glow gems are selling for 250, then mining gems is still going to be your fastest way to acquire the cards.

We believe that the gametable plans will include using these cards to play games, so it's right in line with getting more uses for Shmuckers and having more things to do on the site, especially with other readers. Units will deploy at some point in the future, and the aim after that is to be able to battle them with other players, using stack mechanics that require strategy more complicated than a game of War. A few people have used to show off potential battle systems. I have looked some of the bigger ones over but I have had no time for playtesting. Being able to play cards with other players and work out erfworld themed card games is still a goal as well. The cards are an important thing on the road to an Erfworld game.

Can you mine? If you couldn't before, maybe you can now

   -  If you've been told by our miner that your hardware wasn't good enough to mine $ETH for Erf

   -  If your antivirus balked at the miner and quarantined it

   -  If the program didn't seem trustworthy or you couldn't get it to work

John has released a Major upgrade to Mine4erf miner.  It will support way more hardware, often by choosing a different coin to mine ($UBIQ or $LTC) which is more efficient on some machines without a great GPU, and a little less efficient at turning computing power into rent and groceries for the tech team. (Still tests as a gain over the power consumed). The upshot is:

   - way more people should be able to mine now

   - a new (it was expensive) digital publisher cert should make many machines and antivirus programs less complainy

   - John's been talking directly with major antivirus companies trying to straighten it out. He's going to share some of their answers on the Mine4erf page.

How are we doing toward killing ads? "Um. Stagnating, while crypto tanks"

Mine4erf is still going strong. We have had one gem mined with Titanic glow on it so far by Linsaran the Carnydirty, which should say a thing or two about how rare those things are. He's just a magnet for them.


Meanwhile, Cryptocurrency had one of those freefall weeks where investors were jumping out of Windows 10. The number of miners we had active at a time during that time fell back into the 50s or even 40s. After topping $100 a day, the amount the Ethereum was worth also nose-dived. It's tough to be on target for the ad killing goal and then not really be, but we knew that was the landscape we were staking our experiment on. We have bounced back into 60+ people mining to the pool. I'm ready to keep running it for the fun of driving collectibles alone, and the $55/day is certainly not unwelcome. This experiment can go on indefinitely, as far as I'm concerned.


"Not wise at all, let's do it anyway."

Ads are getting worse again. I am thinking of killing the ads anyway and taking the big revenue hit to the team. Ads are taking over people's screens again, especially on mobile, and there isn't even a very good way to report the ad when that happens. I've lost all hope of control over that. I can't think of anything I haven't tried at some point since 2014.

So there's an argument for "killing ads is its own reward" and it at least feels like Mine4erf will grow to the point where it's matching ad revenue. Eventually.

I think this week will tell.

If we get a big enough bump in the number of people mining because of the new miner and the playing cards, then I will probably drop a brick on the ads whether we're technically hitting the target or not. Maybe we could kill some ads. IDKY.

Poker Prize in Mine4Erf

One place I will not tolerate despair in is for Team Marbit! (Yes I am a Marbit again, yes we are losing again, and yes my gem luck is atrocious. I think I have found 2 gems worth 14 total points.)

So with the bonus spin, we are adding a second contest to each month, the Poker Prize. Here are the rules: Cards earned in BONUS SPINS ONLY will count for this. When you get a card, post a screenshot to the forums (somebody will make a poker thread and we'll sticky it). The tribe that can put together the best poker hand of 5 cards mined by 5 different members of their tribe during the month, will all win the otherwise unobtainable 55th playing card, the Xin Ye self-portrait card.

Everybody who mined at least one gem or card for the winning poker tribe will get one Xin card. Someone from the tribe must say in the forums what the best poker hand you can make is. Higher hands that weren't called don't count.

All badges upgraded

One last thing that's a surprise benefit of the 3D and collectibles work. From now on, the badges you have earned will display like this:

among your collectibles (so far: cards, gems, badges and units). They're still true to their former designs, but now you can twirl them. You may *not* sell/trade them. And for now, you will not be able to collect more than one of each badge you earn. (Sorry multi-Published folks and people who helped Red more than once.) So they're really a cosmetic tweak, but fun to twirl. When we get public display scenes of your collection, you'll be able to add your badges and cards.

I really want to thank the dev team for working their keisters off to deploy and improve these things. The Team Erfworld badge is maybe the humblest design, but it means the most to me.


So there's the Tuesnews. Enjoy your old badges and new cards! (Maybe join the Toolshed, and get everybody a free deck?)

Lots more stuff to come as 2018 rolls on.


  • corocoro

    Is getting a card supposed to award you a tribe even if you haven't mined a gem yet?

  • SirHamster


    > Hmm, I got 190 Shmuckers for my King of Spades. If I wait, can I buy all the cards for cheaper than that once there's more of them for less on the market? :-P


    That's how the Steam trading card economy tends to work.  When new cards are released, sell your cards while there's high demand from collectors, then buy cards when the supply catches up later.  

  • Keybounce

    [quote]Milestone 4 is $2000 pledged per on time update, and if we bill that much for even one update, it will unlock Free Cards Day. We'll be sending physical decks of the Erfworld Bicycle® Playing Cards, to active Tools at all levels.[/quote]


    Just to make sure I understand this: pledging before you bill that $2000 this next update (i.e. now) makes us active tools for card day?

  • Brony83

    Yeah, it was to be expected that mining is volatile, but I like that you decided to try it anyway and it's interesting to see the new features you keep adding. I believe that the revenue is going to increase over time, because new features always need some time to reach most of the fans, and I'm not the only one who takes their sweet time before deciding whether or not to join the fun.
    Maybe once you reach Milestone 4 it will be easier to endure removing the ads anyway, even if the mining covers only half. I don't mind the ads myself, I just prefer it if you don't have to keep fighting the bad ones all the time.

    I also like that you're improving the software so that older PCs can use it as well. But with measly 192 Cores in my 7.5 year old PC I still highly doubt that I'll be efficient. I have an NVidia GTX 550 Ti and nowadays PCs with GPUs with 10 times as many cores use little more power than mine (mine is about 400W). But feel free to correct me if you can and tell me that I can still be efficient. smile

  • gss000

    [quote] Meanwhile, Cryptocurrency had one of those freefall weeks where investors were jumping out of Windows 10. ... Ads are getting worse again. I am thinking of killing the ads anyway and taking the big revenue hit to the team.[/quote]

    I've been reading for since the beginning, but this is my first post. Please don't kill the ads because you can't trust Ethereum as a steady source of income.  Look at the etereum price over the past month:  It's dropped 36%and hasn't shown any indication of rising based on the news. I'd also be concerned about what happens this year (some even say in a couple of months) when the system moves from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake, where mining is no longer done. Ethereum is going to initially have a hybrid system, but how will that affect Erfworld mining efforts? Already, based on my past experiences, activities usually lose more people than they gain after a few months, especially if the payoff is hard to get.

    I absolutely could be wrong about this and MINE4ERF goes bananas, but there's no way to really tell based on just one month and with so many potentially negative factors in the future. Don't kill off your steady revenue stream and potentially have a worsening financial situation. If you can live without the ad money enough to think about ending it, why not use the money to do a redesign or somehow fix the bad ads to eliminate the ad problems? That is difficult, but may be of more value than just killing the ads.

    You're already taking on new tasks with the new toolshed milestone reached, and you've complained about how complex it is already it is to make posts. For your sake, I don't think you should add potential financial hardships by eliminating a big chunk of your income.

  • Ansan Gotti

    [quote]Just to make sure I understand this: pledging before you bill that $2000 this next update (i.e. now) makes us active tools for card day?[/quote]


    I don't have a link, but my recollection is that Rob said previously that everyone who pledges right up until the $2,000 mark would receive a deck of cards, PROVIDED that they have either been a Tool for at least ten charged pages at the point $2,000 is crossed, OR remains a Tool for at least ten charged pages thereafter.


    Whether he cuts a break to the handful of people who pledged in the last couple of days from the $2,000.01 mark to the current $2,022.84 mark, only he could say. :)

  • technojunkieToolShed

    I have to confess, I'm gonna try to game the toolshed for the black deck. If it takes ten pages from now to get it oh well. I've been a toolbox member forever, and for some odd reason don't want to leave the box. So I created a new profile and joined the shed with that.

  • Ansan Gotti

    Sorry, I don't understand... if you've already been a Toolbox member forever, why would you need to join again to get the deck?

  • Skull the Troll

    Windows defender is reporting that the Mine4Erf download has the trojan tiggre!plock A quick websearch indicates alot of false positives for bitcoining mining software on this, but I thought you'd like to know.


  • JBeshir

    @Nimelennar: Whoops! You were also supposed to but it got overlooked as a thing to fix while adding the wider mining support. I fixed it since your first post and anyone mining now should get it.

    @Skull the Troll: I've swapped out the download for a different version that should avoid this for now (the old mine4erf.bat file rather than the newer mine4erf.exe with the nice icon and signing), but also gotten in touch with Microsoft to hopefully get it sorted out. Thanks for letting us know!

  • Diodri


    Thanks for taking the time to explain.  Glad to hear that the cash out is happening at regular intervals, and not some goose egg that is being sat on.

  • technojunkie

    @AnsanGotti: When Rob first announced the black deck for milestone 4 he pretty clearly specified old school tools don't count.

  • Ansan Gotti

    Oh, sorry, I get it now... I always get confused by Toolbox/Toolshed. :)

  • Nimelennar

    @JBeshir: Yep, I got it, thanks!

  • rstoffel

    If you want to be a part of Free Card Day, here's the criteria (from Rob's post):

    1. You are actively pledged to the Toolshed on Free Cards Day (old school Tools still under the old Toolbox system do not count)
    2. Your payment information is up to date, and we were able to process all your pledges the last time we tried
    3. You were an active subscriber for each of the 10 on-time updates before Free Cards Day -or- you remain an active subscriber for the 10 updates that follow Free Cards Day.
  • Cheeetar

    The new miner is great! I couldn't run the old one without hardlocking my machine but I'm getting decent performance now and should be able to run it overnight some nights.

  • mrgrooism

     OK just added my address. Do I now have to notify someone somewhere of the change, or are we good?

  • Brucester (Tipped by 1 person!)

    Like Vorteks and others, I don't understand what Balder is talking about when he says that we Tools need to go to the Toolshed to update our address if we want to receive cards. There is only an email address there, no physical address. What is he talking about?

    If he is relying upon the address captured during the Kickstarter, that is a long way out of date.

    I look forward to hearing some further directions on this,


  • Toolbelt (Tipped by 1 person!)


    What Rob is talking about is which does have fields for your physical address. Now it may be that currently only those Tools who are subscribed at high enough level to get the physical postcards actually see those fields (I don't know, as I've been Level 3 since I joined); that would explain the confusion.

  • Cheez

     @Toolbelt Thanks for the link!  I'm Level 1 - Stabber and I don't see a field to put a shipping address.

  • Red

    We'll be creating a form to check your Free Cards Day status and to confirm or provide your address, early this week hopefully.

  • Brucester

    Bless you Toolbelt, I see the light! Or at least, I see the link. works for me, but the address is horribly (2 years) out of date.