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Bogdanovist

Member Since 03 Apr 2013
Offline Last Active Private
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Topics I've Started

How to structure payment for a freemium web based game with multiple mobile app and fac...

21 April 2013 - 05:19 PM

I am making a web based multiplayer game in HTML5 (plus some python code for some server side stuff). My original plan was to try and monetize this via a freemium model (with realistic expectations..). I am intending to use phonegap to package the HTML5 into webapps for the iOS, Google Play and Windows mobile stores, as well as hooking into the facebook game API. All of this is in addition to accessing the game via a browser on any device straight to the main website of the game. I planned to make the 'app' freely available from app stores, with the in game purchases handled (somehow) seperately from any single app store, since the app is just an interface to a game that exists outside of the app and players may well be playing from multiple devices all accessing their same player account.

 

It occured to me though that the various app stores might frown on this and I don't want to jepordise the chances of the app being accepted. On the other hand, it makes no sense for someone to purchase something in game through their iPhone, but not have access to that when they login to the game via their Android tablet, or web browsers on their home PC. The same goes in reverse, if they buy something directly through the website from their home PC, they should have access to it through their iPhone.

 

This issue must have been encountered before with many other games, so what are the ground rules? Note that I'm not trying to get around the app store commissions, I'm just trying to ensure players can access the game smoothly and consistantly through multiple devices.

 

Note that since it is in HTML5 (and doesn't use any native app APIs like the accelerometer, geolocation or camera), I could simple do away with the app stores and simply have mobile players go straight to the game URL via their browser and their game experience would be the same. The only reason to use phonegap to convert to something that can be packaged through the app stores is for marketing purposes.

 

To give some further detail of the freemium model (in case that makes a difference to the answer), I am planning that the in game purchases are not in game commodities as such, but rather the unlocking of features. Free version players will have basic features, then I'm planning on two tiers of extra features that can be bought for limited time. The reason for this is to give players the confidence that while paid version players have an advantage, the advantage is fixed rather than having an infinite ability to simply buy more and more stuff. To my mind, in the context of this game, this would make people more likely to pay as they know paying that small amount is enough to ensure they will be at the same level of advantage as other paid players. To be extra clear, this is a sports management/simulation game. The extra features are things like better training facilities etc.

 

I'm sure this question, or something similar, must have been asked before but I couldn't find anything using the search function. Maybe I missed an important keyword.


Structuring the server-client interaction in a tick based multiplayer online game

03 April 2013 - 06:28 PM

Hi All,

 

I am an experienced programmer, but my background is in scientific computing (number crunching..) using old school languages (mainly C/C++ but also FORTRAN). I am looking to get into web game dev as a side project and have been learning some more modern web capable languages including java-script/HTML5/CSS and python for server side scripting, but I'm still a novice and don't have 'the big picture' of web programming fully formed in my mind yet.

 

I've written a bare bones prototype of a web based sports manager game which uses HTML5/JS for the client side (training players, selecting sqauds, setting tactics etc) and python for the server side computations of the game result. I am after 2 things, the first is a sanity check that the basic structure I'm planning and have partially implemented is sane and the second is where to host this in order to alpha/beta test the game once it's closer to completion.

 

Here is the basic structure of the game at present:

 

* Client side in HTML5/JS running in a web browser on desktop or mobile device sends info to server about team management. All this info is to be stored on the server in a MySQL DB. I'm shaky on implementing JS for clients to modify DB contents, any hints here?

 

* At regular intervals (probably once a day) games are resolved on the server using the python code reading the setup for each team from the DB. This outputs to the MySQL DB the game results as a time series of co-ordinates, angles and states (i.e. standing, running, knocked down...) for each player and the ball. This part is implemented (although only a bare bones version at the moment).

 

* Clients use the web interface to view match replays which are rendered in JS (using jQuery.spritely at present) from the co-ordinates obtained from the server. I've partially implemented the JS animation (very ugly at the moment), though only from a fixed co-ordinate set, not talking to the server yet. I assume I'd use AJAX/JSON (or XML??) to obtain this info from the MySQL web DB to do this but again I'm shaky on how this should be implemented.

 

That's the basic outline of the game. Does that seem to make sense? Is there a better way to acheive what I'm trying to do?

 

The next part is where to host this. My home ISP has some free web space that I've used before for simple HTML and I had planned to set this up for alpha testing on that, however it turns out they have very bare bones set of tools, with only perl, PHP and MySQL supported (not python). So, what are some good options for a free or very cheap (<$10 a month) hosting of this game that would allow me to test the full setup with a small number of players? Ultimately of course I'd dream of growing this into a game with a decent player base that may in the fullness of time outgrow a free/cheap option and require a decent web server. Therefore a hosting option that allowed a relatively seamless transition to a meatier option would be good. I've scratched the surface of Amazon Web Server info which seems a reasonable option. How does this compare to other possibilites?

 

Thanks in advance for any help or advice.


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