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Number 11

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I'm working on Daily Puzzle Number Eleven, named Meltdown. It's basically a hexagonal version of Splash Back, which itself is similar to an old two-player game of mine called Core Meltdown which itself is inspired by an old game for the Amiga (that I never actually saw but read a description of in a magazine back around 1995).

John humbles himself to the Amiga zealots of the 1990's and admits that, yes, the Amiga did indeed influence everything that followed it.

So suffice it to say it's no groundbreaking technology, but it certainly is fun to play. It's got a lot more animation than previous games. I went with an atom-theme for it, where clicking on an atom slams a new particle into it. Once an atom is too big, it splodes and sends particles into neighboring spaces.

It's just down to the point where I have to tune it up a bit, playtest it, write a playback app, and update links in about a dozen places.

On a similar note, check out IconBuffet. It's a site written by a few guys in Texas who are selling stock icons, but they had a little fun with it. There are loads of free icon sets (around 75 of 'em), but you can't just download 'em. They'll give you one set for signing up, and you have to get the rest by trading with other members. The way the site used to work is that every icon delivery you took could be delivered to other people five times, and the way you found other traders was via their web-forum.

But they recently changed the whole scheme. Now every user has a little "homepage" where you can add friends and such. You can also offer icons to people which they can buy by giving you tokens.

It's still quite fun, but I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the whole thing, as they went a bit overboard with their model. They have tokens (which you use to buy icon sets), stamps (which you use to send people offers), points (I have no idea what they do), and badges (which are similar to the trophies I give out on my games).

While their model is a bit convoluted, it's still lots of fun. And it appears to have an attraction to people, mainly for the collection aspect of the whole thing. Kinda like pokemon cards.

Anyway, I was wondering if this kind of model could work for games. I was bandying about the idea of a casual-game MMORPG with a colleague a few months ago, and I cooled on the idea, mainly because I couldn't think of anything that could differentiate ourselves from the existing (and much better financed) Flash-based MMORPG's out there (CokeMusic, Nicktropolis, GoPets, etc etc etc)

But what if the MMORPG was not so much a world that existed for its own sake but was a world that existed to facilitate trading small games.

For example, you go to the site and sign yourself up. When you sign up, you get a small amount of virtual cash. Then you wander about the world, adding friends and such. Suddenly you get a popup on your screen saying "Zippy has Super Tetris Bejeweled Attack. Would you like to buy a copy for ten quatloos?" If you accept the offer, you can then download the game to your desktop and play it like an ordinary game (probably as an Apollo app, but I'll talk about Apollo later). You can also sell the game to other users.

Of course, there's little to stop a user from just sending the downloaded game to friends by slapping it up on a bittorrent site (much like there's little to stop me from zipping up my IconBuffet icons and sending 'em to you). If that happens, though, the game wouldn't appear in one's little online collection. And there's a "completist" aspect to the system that appeals to collectors.

Of course, such a system would put a burden on the developer to keep developing, mainly because the trade-able games available necessarily must grow. If the IconBuffet people stop producing new icon sets, eventually everyone would have all the icons they want, and they'd stop trading. So it'd be necessary to come out with a couple of new small-format games a month to keep the system alive and keep the trade hopping.

Also, the MMORPG aspect is a bit tacked on. Iconbuffet is doing something very similar, only with plain browser-pages (and an overly-complicated points/stamps/tokens/badges system). The Principle of Parsimony would discard the live-MMORPG aspect unless I could show that it actually improves the overall process (or makes it more fun, which would likely be the case).

Anyway, just musing.

Oh, and if you wanna play with iconbuffet to see what the heck I'm talking about, email me (john@thecodezone.com) or leave your email address as a comment and I'll send you an invite. If you sign up via an invite, I get points :)
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Your idea sounds a lot like Puzzle Pirates. They have a wad of minigames with some collaboration and a pretty productive community.

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