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Member Since 28 Sep 2011
Offline Last Active Jun 30 2012 08:27 AM

#4869310 References to other games in an XBox Live Arcade XNA game

Posted by on 05 October 2011 - 02:58 AM

This is a matter of both principle and risk, and I tend to agree with rip-off over frob here (though they're both right, of course).

If you're making a genuine parody, and really making obvious jokes about this stuff (never "playing it straight"), that is supposed to be protected under fair-use. It is a fine line, though- for example Penny Arcade's "American Mcgee's Strawberry Shortcake"- a violation because it was parodying American Mcgee (OK) but using Strawberry Shortcake to do it (Arguably not OK, since Strawberry Shortcake wasn't the real subject of the parody). Due to complications like this, you should at least study the law if you don't consult a lawyer. Particularly important is case law to establish precedent for your use within the jurisdiction in which that the lawsuit would occur- courts usually follow precedent (unless the issue is political and the judges are corrupt, as in certain cases); if you can show an example of another suit where somebody did more or less the same thing you're doing and the court ruled in their favor, you'll be fairly safe.

Yes, they could still sue you, but a company you've never heard of could also sue you for infringing IP you've never seen before because you accidentally created a character or item that (by pure dumb luck) looked kind of like something they made ten years ago.

On principle, the argument could be made that we shouldn't kowtow to copyright holders and give up rights that we should legitimately have, and I tend to agree.

But the reality is that copyright holders push around weight frequently, and bully smaller companies (and even media) into licensing their property or not publishing negative critical articles about it for threat of lawsuits. Indeed, copyright itself, despite the intention of limitations, does inhibit freedom of speech by vice of mere legal bullying. You should have some protection in case the feces hits the flabellum.

Whether you make a parody, or you accidentally make something that resembles another, either could cost you extremely large amounts of money, and both have legitimate defenses. Such is the nature of our legal system to favor the absurdly rich.

Large companies, for their part, frequently violate copyright and effectively ignore or dismiss most suits against them, or they settle out of court in the way of, "We will make sure that this lawsuit will be so expensive it will bankrupt you, and you'll never see a penny. Or, you can have this shiny nickel now, and we won't break your kneecaps."

Law is supposed to be fair, but unfortunately it doesn't even approach fairness on the mean. You should be safe... but you aren't.

But there is a legal mechanism that many people seem to have missed that can keep you out of the poor house if your company makes a mistake (or doesn't make a mistake, but gets punished for it anyway): Incorporate.

Form a legal entity for your business. Yes, you may pay more tax on capital gains, but it's a form of insurance. Your business could go bottom up, but there are some safeguards there to keep you from losing the shirt off your back. Yeah, there are always ways to get in trouble, but if you're serious about doing this and making money, it's a smart bit of insurance that distances you a little from financial threats. Criminal culpability still exists, but it is much less likely to threaten you due to the differences of burden of proof (innocent until proven guilty, instead of the preponderance of evidence).

The only other real defense is to simply have no assets to lose.

Getting insurance might not be a bad idea either, but for a small project that's probably going to be prohibitively expensive.

I hope that helps!

#4868218 Game engine market share

Posted by on 02 October 2011 - 03:54 AM

It's a shame you didn't put your money on it. Because they are making millions already :P
"Funding: 7.1M"
- http://techcrunch.co...-creation-tool/

Well, investment I can definitely believe, but that isn't money 'made', it's money risked. Most of that has probably gone into the website and marketing effort I'm witnessing, a little into development.

To date, GameSalad has been used to create powered over 8,500 titles in the iTunes App Store including more than 30 top 100 U.S. Games in Apple’s App Store.

The pro license costs $500 per year. That would put them at maybe $2M revenue (many of those games are created by the same people) if all of those developers were pro, but that would be an unrealistic estimate, since those kinds of numbers are largely due to free users (and it shows, skimming their titles). If I was masocistic enough, I could estimate what percentage of games use the pro license based on the feature set among free titles (free in the app store), and we could assume all non-free titles use a pro license.

Being very generous, we could probably estimate one million in revenue. But given their development costs up until that point (it seems like a pretty nice tool set; I definitely don't want to underestimate what they've done), it doesn't seem like even that would be much real profit. There were a lot of people being fed on that (and savings), probably for the better part of a year. I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't any profit yet.

There was definitely enough activity to get investors interested, but I think they may have misstepped personally (not that I'm not happy to see investment being made in this economy; that's all good).

There are probably around 200k developers for iOS, and maybe 50k games, and something along the lines of a half-million apps. So, we might be able to guess that games make up 10% of apps, and probably make up around 10% of developers.

That's 20k developers, which with 50k games is roughly in line with polls indicating that most developers have made around 2 to 2.5 titles on average.

If all of those developers bought a pro license, it would yield $10M. Out of a $7.1M
Considering something like 30% of apps are free (I don't know if games are more so or less so), they might even be looking at less than a $6M return on a $7.1M+ investment.

That's not a good return on any investment, particularly one so risky.
Particularly when from the looks of popularity searches, Unity owns the lion's share of overall popularity in the iOS development market (though not the majority of games- I suspect that is because the GameSalad users are cranking them out faster, and there are more *completely* free users- Unity costs about $400). Even without Unity, there are a lot of other fingers in that pie too. Right now GameSalad seems to have only 16% of the games on iOS, and try as they might, they're unlikely to dislodge current developers from the technology they're already comfortable with (and already have licenses for, or already know how to use) with the feature set they're offering.

Honestly, if the Unity team (having the perspective and numbers they do) thought producing some more indie tool-sets would be worth it, I think they would have done that and made it more accessible than it is by now.

GameSalad even breaking even would seem to be contingent on the continued growth of the iOS platform- a market which Android is pushing in on quickly, particularly on the indie side- note more free apps, and a lower barrier to entry.

I just don't see it...

I really wouldn't put a penny into it. Too risky, and not enough potential for return given my understanding of indie game development and the nature of the consumer (and the propensity to *not* purchase).

Of course, I could still be totally wrong. All of my numbers are a few weeks or a couple months old, and I may be missing something obvious. Most of this kind of estimation is an ass-pull without very extensive work, personal surveys, etc.

Can you tell me more about your target for the engine, and the tools you're wanting to build?
If you don't want to give too many details here, feel free to PM me more about your plans; I'd be happy to give feedback.


EDIT: YoyoGames, on the other hand- the price point is much more reasonable (in the important impulse buy range, although near the end of it, where GameSalad is not), and they're drawing from a longer game maker tradition, with a broader scope, and more tempered and reasonable expectations. I don't expect them to become fabulously wealthy, but if they're careful and take care of their community, I suspect they'll be around for a long time.

#4868202 Getting started with AS3

Posted by on 02 October 2011 - 02:17 AM

Oh, yeah, FlashDevelop is a good one. I have used that! Really, just about anything will work to get your started.

I have no used FlashPunk, but it looks good.

My main goal is to make a strategy 2D board game that I can throw up on the web as a free to play game. Flash is the best option for this right?

Flash sounds very nearly ideal for that kind of application. You'll have a wider audience with Flash than with Java.

However, you might consider JavaScript if you're up for the challenge. Since it's not graphically heavy, JavaScript should do the trick.

With regards to networking, though, are you connecting to (or through) a server, or do you anticipate a need for peer to peer connections?

#4868159 Theoretical Infinate Storage

Posted by on 01 October 2011 - 10:17 PM

BUT if you are procedurally generatig and keep all variables for generation constant at rutime everytime, the data can quite wasily be drawn up completely identical to the last time. There, at least, you can effectively work around the hardware limits.

Certainly procedural generation can make it appear like there is more data stored than there really is, but ultimately it's a visualization of a very limited amount of data in the form a fractal that suggests more complexity than actually exists (if analyzed sufficiently, one would always find the same repeating patterns).

Just as we can easily write "turtles all the way down" and yield an infinite number of stacked turtles, it's not really an infinite amount of information; just the same piece of finite information repeated over and over again without end- a very, very small amount of actual information.

If your goal is repeatable procedural world generation that is truly infinite (instead of just repeating), you have to use a seed based on an irrational number that can be computed as one progresses through the world (starting locally with the highest decimal place, and moving out from there).

That would give you an infinite world, which is not simply a repeating pattern, and would look the same every time.

Of course, the problem with that is, as you expand outwards, the computation becomes more and more difficult, so either your progress slows to a crawl (taking hundreds of years to take a step, then millions of years, then billions of years) with increasingly larger computers needed (with increasing memory), requiring solar systems of space, then entire galaxies... Or you find a new irrational number of calculate.

Stepping ahead to the next irrational number just delays the problem. Eventually you are into the realm of the googleplex googleplex roots, and you run into the wall of processing power and computer memory again to merely fetch the next needed seed.

Consistent or complete- choose one. Gödel's a bitch, isn't he? :wink:

That's not to say we even need truly infinite worlds. Just with the information we could store on a thumb drive, it could take a human lifetime to explore.

#4868147 Sell minigames

Posted by on 01 October 2011 - 09:38 PM

I don't know if Google offers any way to easily put ads into a game, and they wouldn't pay for any manually inserted ones. Google only works if you put the game on a web page, and everybody goes to that web page to play the game. Keep in mind people will steal the game from your web page and repost it elsewhere if it's good, meaning you get nothing from the advertisement then.

Your options basically boil down to either:

A: Using a system like MochiAds: http://www.mochimedia.com/

That loads advertisements from the internet whenever people play your game, and Mochi keeps track of it, and cuts you a check later based on how many hits they got from you. The provide code that you include in your game to load their ads.

B: Contacting a company more directly to negotiate a sponsorship deal.

There are sites designed around auctioning games for sponsors, but you could also just walk up to a company, make an appointment, make your pitch, and sell your game.

Sponsorships usually run from $200 - $500 per game. A really amazing game can get a few thousand.

In that case, there's usually an advertisement for that company when the game starts up, but you could even go so far as to make it all about that company.

Moving company? Make the game some kind of clever mechanic involving moving men who have to move furniture, etc. from place to place in the city as fast as they can without losing any.

Bottled water delivery company? The game mechanic is (very similarly) about delivery men running around the city, and getting the bottles of water to the customers before they dry up and crumble to dust.

You probably get the idea.
The same basic mechanic/game can be "skinned" to fit any number of themes. If you do make the game all about one company, you can get some serious cash for sponsorship (particularly if it's very good) because of the sheer magnitude of advertising value that provides.

In the latter case, you can get a lot more money, but it involves a little more leg work, and a lot more politics, with a very charismatic presentation to sell the idea.
Oh, and also? It means your game can not do anything offensive to the company, or possibly offensive to customers- it's kind of limiting.

I suggest going with A. if you don't have any experience in sales. But then again, trying for B and defaulting to A couldn't hurt (well, except maybe a bruised ego if your presentation isn't good and you get laughed away).

I hope that helps.

Best of luck with whatever you decide to do!

#4868143 Game engine market share

Posted by on 01 October 2011 - 09:17 PM

There are firms that specialize in brokering in this kind of hard to get data. Tools of the trade range from the more benign legal practices of surveillance and scrounging any shred of public evidence, to corporate espionage (posing as employees to get hired, and violating NDA), hacking and other criminal behavior.

Let's just say that the information doesn't come cheap. It's kind of exciting, actually; it's one of the last frontiers in the classical field of secret agents.

Regarding what you're looking for, though:

2d engines are relatively simple compared to 3d engines. Outside of the indie sector, there's not much sale going on (save for wholesale purchase of entire companies). Companies usually have internal technology that they do not sell or license. The overwhelming abundance of free libraries for 2d games (which are generally better made and documented) may weaken the market for those kinds of products more. Why pay for something when you can get a higher quality substitute for free, with better community support?

Gamesalad is very ambitious, particularly from a marketing perspective, but personally I think its reach will end at very inexperienced indie developers (who would be better suited to the modding community), and probably produce a profusion of very poor games. I kind of doubt that there's a market for what they're trying to sell that's anywhere nearly as large as they seem to be anticipating. I'm a little surprised to even see that this exists at all.

But hey, I could be totally wrong and they might make millions. I wouldn't put my money on it, though.

I'm not sure if that helps at all, except to say don't feel bad for not finding anything.

If I may ask, what do you need this information for?

#4868137 Getting started with AS3

Posted by on 01 October 2011 - 08:46 PM

Hi Darkbouncer,

Yes, Flex Builder is one of the easiest ways to get started (it's how I did).

It's pretty much just a simple IDE.

It's pretty easy to use.

If you're making games, I'd recommend starting with a game library like Flixel, using Flex.


There are some great tutorials that will take you step by step through everything you need to do, and get you running building their demo games. If you know how to program, in any other language, AS3 is a breeze to pick up one you're set up.

I had always thought that Flash was just a method of getting graphics on the screen, but it seems like it's an entire scripted programming language? I may be using the wrong terminology here, is Flash just something that runs ActionScript?

You've got it. What flash does these days is interpret ActionScript. AS used to just be a tool to improve the usefulness of flash, but now, because it was so much more useful than their dev tools, it has pretty much *become* flash. I don't think I know anybody who actually uses the Flash program anymore, except maybe to import animations.

It's an interesting progression.

Is it actually feasible to have a Flash application that will run in the browser and on smart phones that support flash?

Totally, but there are some limitations to flash, particularly in full screen mode (on key use). Also, flash is really pretty slow for more intensive applications (so consider carefully if you really need it).

Lastly, are there any free IDE/SDK out there for working with AS3? It seems like only adobe has anything, and they are greedy bastards!

I think so... but I'm not really familiar with them. I suggest you stick with Flex until you learn a bit more about AS3 and venture into other waters.

I do believe that Flex is all open source, though, so there's really no good reason not to use it just to spite Adobe if you're still using Flash anyway.

Hope that helps!

#4867585 Getting started with Flash

Posted by on 30 September 2011 - 08:39 AM

I recommend starting with Flixel: http://flixel.org/

That'll put you on the right path. You can find many tutorials related to that to get started (including links to good IDEs)

Once you've used it for a bit, it's easier to graduate to writing your own stuff from the ground up (or, if you don't need phenomenal performance, you could just stick with a useful library).

I hope that helps. Please feel free to PM me if you have any problems or questions about it.

#4867521 Covered or Naked, That is a Question?

Posted by on 30 September 2011 - 04:46 AM

It's not just a consideration of sex appeal.

All of these naked people?

Also cheap.

It's easy for concept artists, because they don't have to design much in the way of interesting clothing, and it's easier for the modelers because there's barely anything extra to model, and sometimes it's even just a multi-texturing job.

Intricate articulating armor? We're talking thousands of dollars just for the modeling, and the concept work needs to be much smarter too (to allow for easy articulation, taking into account historical armor engineering).

I'm much more likely to pass off a simple cookie cutter bikini design straight to an art team than I am something more robust (which I would have to personally supervise, and for which the concept art alone could take a few days of iterations if it's not directly copying something).

In art direction, I'm a nightmare because I make my artists come up with more original concepts and style direction. I throw the bikini-clad anime girls back, and I think the body of work that results is the better for it.

As a player, it's hard to care less about sex appeal. I want to see novelty, and good design.

As far as sex appeal goes in playing a game, it has more to do with the dynamic nature of the pose and actions; teasing or clandestine context does more than clothing or lack thereof.

Where advertisement is concerned... boobs *are* an easy way to get attention (keeping it is another matter). I'm more intrigued by well designed creatures in adverts... but, of course, as I mentioned earlier, that kind of thing is substantially more expensive when the old formula of copy and paste boobs is more or less free and works almost as well.

#4867416 Possible neutrinos travel faster than light

Posted by on 29 September 2011 - 06:46 PM

Causality in philosophy already is logically incoherent, so not big loss here.

Causality isn't incoherent, it's a set of dependencies of more minute details on grander information that they modify- outside the context of the past, the future is incoherent. In the context of MWI (which is the only coherent interpretation of quantum physics in terms of relativity), it's easy to understand.

Violations of causality within the context of a causal relationship create contradictions; they provide a genesis of information.

Time-symmetry in simplified Newtonian physics poses no problems for legitimate causality, nor does it negate it; causality is about accumulation of information on the quantum side of things (which is erroneously ignored in Newtonian systems), and segregation into discrete realities. Quantum physics is not non-deterministic in the context of legitimate interpretations.

If none of that convinces you, I don't think I'll have time to explain more. Although discussion of causality can be fun, this could be a much more lengthy philosophical discussion than I was bargaining for (I was hoping to stick to light conversation topics like relativity and quantum physics), so I think I'll (try) to leave it at that.

So in conclusion: I'm right and you're wrong. :P

Probably. I simply do not know enough to exclude any entanglement-like setups, where we can post-factum establish, that neutrinos in CERN and Italy "appeared" within certain time interval but not have enough control in CERN to "set" the starting point of given time interval with enough precision.

That is at least part of what they were investigating as the possible cause over the past couple years. Experimental controls have to be pretty tight to prevent noise from giving false positives.

There always remains the possibility that there was something wrong with the experimental set up- which is why I prefaced everything with a gigantic "IF".

Why is gravity "the only thing" that could have slowed down light?

How about our theory of light is completely wrong and it never moves with speed C but always slightly slower depending on other factors than gravity? Thus both special and general relativity can still hold (as C being constant in all reference frames but not the speed of light).

"Slowing down" is admittedly a bad way to phrase it, but there is little else available in the English vocabulary (As Discount_Flunky pointed out, the relationship is complicated).

Anyway, that's why I gave a definitive 'no' to the other explanations, but only said that this one is 'very unlikely'.

Our observations of light have been extensive, and there's nothing I'm aware of to suggest additional forces coming into play here. Most of those aren't so much theories as hypotheses- when they propose a means of being tested and falsified, they can become theories (in which case, they'd be tested and disproved or proved pretty quickly).

The speed of light in vacuum on Earth is consistent with that expected from time dilation predicted by relativity.

Maybe vacuum fluctuations are slowing down light everywhere (and effectively slowing down out perception of time everywhere, light being the principle means of measuring time), but not slowing down neutrinos because of a weaker reaction with electron-positron pairs (for as long as they exist). But along with that would have to come an explanation for our observations that, on astronomical scales, light moves a bit faster than neutrinos. Maybe there's dark matter in between here and the observed supernovas that slows down neutrinos, but not light?

Eh... yeah, we could test part of that.

Set up some electron beams in a vacuum and shoot light through them to measure the speed of light through a haze of dispersed electrons with density of variable X to plot a curve of light speed through dispersed electrons at variable densities. Assuming positrons to be identical to electrons (which is a very fair assumption), we could estimate the speed of light from that curve given the average density of positrons & electrons in the vacuum. Then we could compare that to the speed of the neutrinos and see if that accounts for the difference.

Then we'd have to assume some other exotic matter in space is slowing down neutrinos there, but not on Earth.

For all I know they already tested that (or it has already been tested elsewhere) and ruled it out, but maybe not. I'm not read on every experiment that's ever been done regarding light speed (it's pretty extensive).

OK, you win that one. I'll change my "very unlikely" to just regular "unlikely". I'd have to do some research to see if there are any experiments along this line.

#4867111 Name for MMORPG

Posted by on 29 September 2011 - 03:10 AM

Naming and branding for public release and advertisement is often one of the last things done. projects have working titles to be referred to internally, but aren't often finalized until they're being published.

I'd say stick with something simple. "Apprentice war" or the like. The name is not very important until you're making advertisements for players.

#4867000 Possible neutrinos travel faster than light

Posted by on 28 September 2011 - 05:53 PM

Neutrinos moving faster than light in vacuum does not automatically refute the theory of relativity.

  • It may be, that relativity still holds, but light itself moves slower than C
  • It may be, that neutrinos travel faster than C, but this process does not carry information
  • Even if neutrinos can carry information faster than C it may mean, that relativity still holds but causality, as we know it, does not exist in physical world
In any case, relativity, faster-than-light communication and causality do not seem to fit together. I personally hope that the last one will be thrown out and the universe turns out to be perfectly deterministic again :D

3. Don't worry, the last one is definitely not the case. Violations of causality are prone to logical contradictions. Logic is the only thing we can always assume in any coherent discussion- with out which, the principle of explosion makes the conversation itself meaningless. In so far as we're thinking or talking about anything, logic holds- and so must causality.

2. Neutrinos carry information; that's how they were detected. Neutrino vs. no neutrino is information.

1. This is... extremely unlikely. Like I mentioned in my post above, light may be being slowed down by something, but the only thing that would have been slowing down light in this experiment relative to cosmic observations would be gravity, and if we allow for gravity to slow down one thing, and not another, we have to disassociate space and time, which refutes special relativity by creating a special reference frame (space) independent of the passage of time experienced by different matter/energy in different places.

#4866998 Possible neutrinos travel faster than light

Posted by on 28 September 2011 - 05:40 PM

For instance, sending information back (and possibly forth) in time might all of a sudden become a practical problem rather than a theoretical one.

Sorry to take the magic out of it, but that's not the case.

Neutrinos do not travel back in time, no matter how fast it turns out they were moving.

The principles of time-travel in relativity are due to a lack of a single fixed reference frame- which are the same principles that set c as the universal speed limit. It is in the nature of space-time as a single substance.

IF this turns out to be true, it means one (or more) of several things:

Something is effectively reducing the speed at which photons propagate (and perceived passage of time, since the electro-weak force is involved in material processes) that isn't affecting the neutrinos, or is not affecting them as strongly.

Cosmically, neutrinos do travel slower than light (such as from distant super novae); this may be a matter of context.

The neutrinos are not traveling faster than light if you don't factor in the space-time dilation caused by Earth's local gravity field.

That is to say, gravity may be slowing down time for light, but not for neutrinos, thus giving them an apparent relative boost.

The important consequences of that would seem to be that, yes, Einstein would have to be partially wrong.

Special relativity would have to be thrown out, along with the inherent coupling of space and time, because in this case Neutrinos would provide evidence of a special independent frame of reference.

We would then have to offer alternative explanations for gravity, the perceived relativity of light speed, and time dilation.
It's relatively easy to compose working theories that fit the observations based on quantum mechanics, and I could go on to do that, but I'm already a little off topic.

The point is, that with a special frame of reference, space and time are independent of each other, special relativity is wrong, and velocities faster than c do not result in time travel.

Likely all this would do in the near future is give us a more accurate picture of gravity, solve UFT, explain dark matter and other Astronomical quirks, give us an irrefutable model of the start of the universe... which is nothing to sneeze at, but pretty much just academic. I wish I could say it would result in world peace by unifying the belief systems of all people in science... but that's not going to happen any time soon.

I would say, relevant to everyday life, it would probably give us a small leg up in quantum and optical computation resulting in profound annoyance to cryptographers. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not, yet. Are we ready for post-quantum cryptography?

What I have to wonder, though, is what does quantum computation offer gaming? Maybe better sorting methods? I'm not much of a programmer, so I'm not sure.