The One Man MMO Project
So as of yesterday I'm Tweeting on Twitter. The writer in me quite likes how Twitter forces you to refine your thoughts to make them fit in just 140 characters.
I'll be Tweeting links any time I put a post here, so if you prefer Twitter to RSS, go ahead and switch over.
My tweeting is a result of me attending the Canadian Games Conference this year. One of the more interesting presentations I went to was the social marketing talk. You can check out the full talk on video, there's a link here: http://onemanmmo.com/?cgc11.
I also wrote a URL-shortener for the blog. It is something I've been meaning to do for a while - ever since I first considered using Twitter. In an ironic twist, there's no point in having a URL-shortener with Twitter anymore, since they shorten all URL's with their t.co service. But I've long wanted to be able to post more human-friendly URL's for pages on this blog, so I did it anyway. Only took a couple hours to add the database table and forms for entering the short URL's. In case you're looking, I haven't made it a public service. I will probably integrate it further into the blog in the future. Baby steps.
My Twitter picture looks like I'm looking at the birds on my Twitter page. Note to self: get a new picture.
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This is appalling.
Not that Hangame lost their data due to botched backups. That happens all the time. It's that they're killing the game over it. What that says to me is that the game wasn't really economically viable anyway and maybe that one of the commenters on the story is correct that "it is a ruse and [they] are taking the money and running."
For the rest of us working on microtransaction games, this is the doomsday scenario.
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I've been following Star Corsairs which is an indie MMO being developed here in Canada by Dave Toulouse. (He also wrote another MMO called Golemizer.) A couple of months ago he got laid off (like me) so he decided to work full time (like me) on an independent MMO (like me.) He developed his game in just 4 months (not so much like me) and released it in October.
This weekend he announced he is quitting as a full-time indie to go back to outside employment, just 3 weeks after the launch of his latest game. He got a reality cheque - for $273.31 - his game's total income for the first two weeks after release.
For me that's very troubling, given that this is his second game and at least 100,000 people have heard of Golemizer. This single data point has forced a rethinking of my schedule. Up until now I've been building features based on the theory that all core features are needed equally, so it doesn't really matter what order they're done in. I've been doing them in whatever order is most convenient. That changes today.
I realized I've been making a classic error. One I've been warned about, and to a certain extent, one I recognized I was doing, but one I was nevertheless still making. I failed to recognize the urgency of the situation until I read about Star Corsairs launch. So thanks Dave, for sharing.
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I broke 100,000 lines of code this week! 100,223 lines in 642 files. This doesn't include libraries I'm using that I didn't write - Berkelium alone is 40 times the size of my game code. My game isn't a million lines like some of the games I used to work on, but the build times are sure a heck of a lot shorter.
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I've been working on adding a more-complete user interface to my game. The UI screens I've done up to this point have been static pages (splash screen) or simple forms (login screen.) This week I've really gotten into it. I've been adding a HUD. The HUD is tricky because it needs to interact with the game, as well as update its internal state and display based on user input. It needs to be slick looking and responsive.
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EA is banning players from all of their games because they're (perhaps unknowingly) playing on pirated servers.
Tobold got himself banned from Facebook for not using his real name. He has put money into Facebook games, now he's looking to get some of that money back.
That got me thinking about the funds attached to game accounts when they are banned. Should a company refund them?
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I spent yesterday coding up the screens and code to create new characters (I don't really have characters, but characters gives you the idea what I'm working on while I remain vague about what I'm actually doing.)
When I added a delete character button to the screen, it occurred to me that I was working on my first official microtransaction feature. Because no matter how many times you ask the user "are you sure?" a few of them are going to barrel right through the red text and blinking lights and delete something they didn't mean to.
In the old days, you'd add the delete button, have it nuke some files and that'd be it. There was no reason to build an undelete feature into most software.
But with an MMO with microtransactions, you have an opportunity to earn some revenue by adding a user-friendly feature.
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From the time I originally envisioned this project until today, I have been dreaming of a fully persistent world. It's time to let that dream go.
Lately I've been finalizing my game design. Refining the big picture feature set. Taking the features I've decided to do and figuring out how they are actually going to work. That has involved a lot of navel-gazing, competitor research, and reading an unbelievable amount of game criticism, armchair design blogs and game theory.
No matter how I slice it, I just can't think of a way to build a purely persistent-world game where the no-lifers don't eat the newbs for breakfast. You can help out new players, give them extra powers, add safety nets, but at some point, they're going to have to sink or swim in a pool full of pirahnas. This isn't the ideal scenario for retaining a healthy volume of mainstream players.
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Up until now I've been working with a subset of my world data - only 1/9th of the final size. The world builder program which processes that subset of the world data uses about 3.5GB of RAM and takes 35 minutes to run to completion. With my porcupine rendering bug fixed, I decided it was time to load up the full world data set.
I knew my 32-bit world builder wasn't going to do the job. I needed the additional address space a 64-bit application offers.
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Project Line Counter in Visual Studio 2010 - 2014-04-06 23:28:02 (3 comments)
TURN BACK, ADVENTURER - Beta Lessons from Bethesda - 2014-04-05 11:33:30 (3 comments)
Most companies don't care customer support, which is important to keep audience. Just quickly release a game, get payment and let's jump to another title...
The Wisdom of the Internets - 2014-03-31 12:36:00 (2 comments)
A better excuse is the hours terrain processing takes, but yes.
The Wisdom of the Internets - 2014-03-31 08:04:53 (2 comments)
No! This is the perfect excuse to get 64GB of RAM installed :)
Three Normal Mapping Techniques Explained For the Mathematically Uninclined - 2014-03-30 01:41:45 (7 comments)
Thank you robert. Now I have to check what is wrong =D
Btw, good luck with our game, seems really interesting. I'm following you on twitter =D
(I'm working with opengl and normal maps only for experiments)
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