The Rock- Paper- Scissor Network
This is a simple network involving people playing a game with someone in their immediate surrounding. The point of the network is to provide people with a framework for meeting people around them and to simply play a game with them. The choice of Rock- Paper- Scissor is because there is nothing extra used except for the hands of the players. There is nothing for them to lose in transferring the game from one person to another except the notebook to track the progress of the network.
The network is created by a player, who has the notebook that tracks the network, challenging another person to a game of Rock- Paper- Scissor. A game is played by the two players with one of them gaining control of the notebook. In the network, control is gained by two different methods, either losing or winning. For this example we will discuss the winning method. The player that wins the game of Rock- Paper- Scissor gains control of the network and can choose to continue the network by challenging someone else. The limiting aspects of the network are the rules created to force players to find other people to play rather than constantly playing the same person. A player cannot challenge the person that gave them the notebook. They can also not rematch a player right away, but must first challenge another person. This causes players to be more social in their play, but also forces more of an investment in the game.
The added investment can be one of many reasons this network will fail. Other reasons include single point of failure. If one player decides to stop playing and they are in possession of the notebook, the network will fail. It requires that every person who touches the notebook continue the game or cause a system wide crash. It also requires for people to interact with others, not a computer or through something. Players must actually find another person to play with, not just do an action and continue on their way. This extra investment required for the network can severely limit its growth, as many people will be reluctant to continue when busy with their own things.
I believe the network will find itself played by about 10-15 players before reaching its ultimate demise. I think many people will find them self unsure what to do when they receive the notebook (in part because of my hand writing), and due to their busy schedule, they will ignore it and continue with their work. I do hope that the network will get beyond the 20 node mark, but even more than that, I hope the network crosses the same node more than once, i.e. someone plays the game once, and is later challenged again by another person. I think this will present an interesting action in the network as someone is reintroduced to the game as a new node, and to see how they approach the game differently.
When I finally implemented the network, I first found the importance of making the protocols clear. Unfortunately, I wrote them down as apposed to printing them out. Since I have very unclear writing (a teacher once told me I suffer from dysgraphia), I do think a few people could not understand what to do. This definitely made the network harder to follow for the nodes. I also wish there was a better way to transfer the information. I was limited to using a simple journal bought at Staples, which can easily be lost or missed placed. I attempted to clearly delineate that this journal was part of a school project, but I still believe that some people might have mistaken it for trash. I would have also been interested in the choices people made, for example if some one only played Rocks did they have a winning strategy? I did not ask for people to write what they played, but I would have also liked to know where the game was played. I found that this might be a little excessive, so simplified the information I sought. Instead I just asked for who played, who won or lost, and at what time. While this information is by no sense complete, there is enough for me to make some judgments on the outcome of the network when I receive the journal.
Unfortunately, the journal was never returned to me and the network never completed. As far as I can assume, the network reached a “bad node”, a player who was too busy to play the game or did not understand the protocol. I do wish the journal cam back so I could analyze the network and discover what happened and how people played. It would also be interesting to see how long some players held the journal for. Next time, I would make it a little more clear that they should give it back to me, because in this one, it was just at the end of the journal, a place I don’t think anyone looked at.
It is now a week later, and I have sent out two more journals, this time with the rules printed inside as opposed to my writing. I also found both journals I sent out before, with the hand written instructions. The first one, with the winner keeping the journal, has fourteen entries, or connections with fifteen nodes. Only one player won more than twice, Tonto, who went on to win four games, before losing to Tom. The second journal, with the loser keeping the journal, has eleven entries, or connections with twelve nodes, with two players losing 3 games in a row. I found that both journals of them seemed to have lasted only a short time, the first one lasting a few hours, and the second not even making it past the first hour. I believe that the journals met their demise due to “bad nodes” or people who were uninterested in continuing to play the game and pass the journal on. The nodes must have felt that the connections were too expensive and time consuming to make, and therefore let the network fail, with them becoming the point of failure. Unfortunately the network is flawed with any single point of failure bringing down the entire network. If anyone decides to kill the network, all they have to do is remove the node currently in control of the information, and the network is dead. Since the network is more of a straight line, with a few places that branch out (when a player retains the journal for more than one game) there is no redundancy to keep the network alive if there is any failure. Since the transport is based on the game of Rock- Paper- Scissor, a player could also end up constantly winning or losing and always have to hold on to the journal. The address was specified by asking players to write down the time every game was played, which allowed me to analyze the distance (in time) that the journal traveled.
I also received back one of the journals that included the printed instructions. Unfortunately this journal only made it through four connections, before Preston won and wrote “…power down.” This is further proof that the network will fail once it hits a node unwilling to continue and make another connection. In the words of the famous proverb, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” and this network is only a chain of connecting nodes, with a weak node destroying any hopes of the network continuing.
Here are the instructions I tried writing in the journal, but for some reason didn’t look as nice in my writing as they did when I printed them:
The Rock-Paper-Scissor (RPS) Challenge
1. Walk up to a random person and challenge them to one game of RPS.
2. In this notebook, write down your name and whom you are challenging and the time/ date.
3. Circle the winner of the game.
4. If you are the winner, keep the notebook and challenge someone else. If they are the winner, hand them the notebook and tell them to have fun.
Some rules to help in your play-
1. You will play only one game; there are no rematches.
2. You may not challenge the same person twice in a row.
3. After receiving the notebook, you must find a new person to challenge; you may not challenge the person that gave it to you.
4. PLEASE, do not take it off the floor.