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Generic "Game Account Services" Service

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Programmer16

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I'm hastily scrawling this down here, basically just brainstorming the idea that I have.

I spent a little bit of time today implementing the database structure for a generic game account services - high scores, achievements, game saves, parental controls, etc. I hate to use a big name, but the idea is basically Xbox Live/Steam for indie games without all of the store/game hosting/etc. I guess a good comparison would be what GameJolt offers through it's services, but, again, without the hosting.

Basically, I'd like to have a place to host my leaderboards, cloud saves, achievements, etc ("game account services" as I've been calling them), but without the restrictions that are placed by the other services available. For Xbox Live you have to be on the Xbox and (as far as I know) online services aren't available to indie games. For GameJolt you have to host your game there and it has to be free. Steam is a pain to get on to and some people simply do not like the service (I'm assuming Desura and such are the same.) As far I can tell, there isn't a service available that offers just the services, with no strings attached.

Originally I had planned on creating an account service like a lot of the big shot companies do (i.e. a "BSGames" account), but I don't want to add another account for users to manage and I believe other indie developers could benefit from a system (so I'd like to stay away from naming it a "Beals Software account".) To avoid the extra account, the idea would be to integrate with something else; we'll just use OpenID as an example.

So, you would go to the "Game Services" site, log in with OpenID and that would create your Game Services account. Whenever you wanted to log in there (or say a mobile app), you would log in with your OpenID credentials. When you wanted to log in through a game however, you would log in using your OpenID username and an authentication token that is made available from the Game Services site (which you can easily change/regenerate.)

The current structure already supports this (as well as a full user system in case I can't really find something to integrate with), along with high scores tables, data items (game saves), awards and parental controls. However, I'm curious if anyone else would find this beneficial or if I'm just wasting my time. Obviously I have visions of grandeur where lots of indie games utilize it, but I don't want to waste my time/energy if I'm overthinking it/missing something that already offers it.
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In theory we could have used this about a year ago; one issue with writing HTML5 games, is that there is /really/ no mainstream discovery service, or backend services for... save games, achievements, etc. etc.

...at least not that I have seen yet that doesn't require your game be 'bundleable' (non online delivered etc.) ...or that doesn't require you make IT the center of your universe (hosting etc.)

in short, such a system sounds good; I'd say the more you make it a 'service' and less a 'platform' the easier it will be to attract developers.

Would be happy to pose as an 'acid test' of sorts to see if a service you developed would/could dovetail into an existing product.

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In theory we could have used this about a year ago; one issue with writing HTML5 games, is that there is /really/ no mainstream discovery service, or backend services for... save games, achievements, etc. etc.

...at least not that I have seen yet that doesn't require your game be 'bundleable' (non online delivered etc.) ...or that doesn't require you make IT the center of your universe (hosting etc.)

in short, such a system sounds good; I'd say the more you make it a 'service' and less a 'platform' the easier it will be to attract developers.

Would be happy to pose as an 'acid test' of sorts to see if a service you developed would/could dovetail into an existing product.

That's exactly the idea - I don't want to make a platform as we already have plenty of those. I also want there to be as few strings attached as possible. Basically "Hey, I want an online leader board and maybe achievements. Add game to "Game Services", make some REST calls and I'm good to go."

 

I'm going to start fleshing it out a bit more once I have some free time and I'll let you know once it's in a workable state.

 

Thanks Raymond!

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On second thought, not owning the accounts wouldn't really be possible. It'd have to be tied to a single external service (to avoid username conflicts) or we'd have to create accounts anyway and use the Game Services username (which makes the point kind of moot) and I don't want to have it tied to a single service.

 

I guess in the end the best solution would be to utilize the standard "log in with" style system that creates an account on our system (or you can just register an account.) Some form of single sign-on would probably work well; this way if you already have an account system of sorts it would integrate pretty seamlessly.

 

(Now I'm just rambling.)

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