# Developing an FPS Where Real Money Changes Hands

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Hello All, I apologize for my first post being one seeking consultation, however here goes: I am looking into the idea of making a Half Life 2 Mod (or similar) where players load their account with real money, and on being killed a token amount (10 cents?) is transferred to the player who killed them. This would add a level of excitement to the game. I know this has been done before, Kwari for example, which didn't go down well. But I would put this on the poor graphics, and game play more than the idea. I have little knowledge of programming, and so I am looking for advice on feasibility. Also, so you know this is not a pipe dream I earn roughly $5 million per year and would be financing this venture myself. One question I have is would the Half Life Mod allow to incorporate a secure, billing system? Or is it too closed up. Open for advice, and criticism of the idea. Thanks for your time. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Advertisement My immediate thought: if you thought cheaters were bad enough in multiplayer FPSes, image what it will be like when money is on the line. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Yep that would be a concern. Another is laws relating to online gambling, though Kwari seemed to get round them. Thanks #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites A half-life mod consists of a C++ DLL running on the server, and one running on the client. There's no (technical) reason why the server DLL couldn't open up a SSL (or other secure connection) to a central transaction server to report game-statistics, which could later be processed into monetary transactions. Obviously with cash involved, people are going to try and game the system, such as running their own hacked servers and pretending to kill people, etc... so you'd probably have to make the game client connect to this central secure server and report their version of the game-statistics as well so that you can detect any data discrepancies (such as a server reporting stats on a player who isn't actually playing!). Alternatively, you could not publicly release the server-DLL and just run your own game-servers privately, which would reduce the amount of effort required to keep fake game-stats being uploaded. Obviously this would drastically increase operational costs though. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Quote:  Original post by HodgmanA half-life mod consists of a C++ DLL running on the server, and one running on the client.There's no (technical) reason why the server DLL couldn't open up a SSL (or other secure connection) to the server to report game-statistics, which could later be processed by your own private money-transaction server.Obviously with cash involved, people are going to try and game the system, such as running their own hacked servers and pretending to kill people, etc... so you'd probably have to make the game client connect to this central secure server and report their version of the game-statistics as well so that you can detect any data discrepancies (such as a server reporting stats on a player who isn't actually playing!). Yeh, good advice. And is it free to create a HL mod? Do I need an agreement with Valve? How does the ground lie there? #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Apart from the technical issues for cheating, there's also social ones that you'd need to address. For example, it would be dangerous to allow people to choose their own matches, as there'd be nothing to stop a team of people to collude in working together. There's also legal issues: if you were to mod an existing game, you'd need to contact the dev team and publisher to check whether it's okay to make money off of their game. Edit: didn't see your last post. I'd check the TOS of Half-Life 2, but I'd be contacting Valve to see it's okay regardless. Obviously you'd be needing a lawyer to check everything's tight before going too far with this regardless; this is the sort of thing that you want an iron-clad legal agreement for everyone involved before going live. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites I am pretty sure all HL modes must be for non-commercial purpose. Aka, valve will not like this idea on bit... #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Quote:  Original post by KoobazaurI am pretty sure all HL modes must be for non-commercial purpose. Aka, valve will not like this idea on bit... There's the clanger, I'll look into that... However what other engines are there? And how much harder is it to develop from scratch? #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites As Koobazaur says, Valve's game engine and modding tools are for non-commercial use only. You would need to get a license from Valve to use it for commercial purposes which would require either a big up front payment or a 50% back end royalty. - either way a big dent in your project. Also, as others have pointed out, cheats would very quickly ruin your project. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Quote:  Original post by ObscureAs Koobazaur says, Valve's game engine and modding tools are for non-commercial use only. You would need to get a license from Valve to use it for commercial purposes which would require either a big up front payment or a 50% back end royalty. - either way a big dent in your project.Also, as others have pointed out, cheats would very quickly ruin your project. Ok thanks. This is fast being shot down, with logic... Though are there any other engines similar to Valves? If not how hard to develop my own? And how much would it cost,$1, $2 million etc. ** Edit ** ... Just doing more research and saw this open source engine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Id_Tech_3 Any comments? #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Quote:  Original post by TheWebdevOk thanks. This is fast being shot down, with logic... Though are there any other engines similar to Valves?If not how hard to develop my own? And how much would it cost,$1, $2 million etc. With your money, I'd approach an existing developer, pitch the concept, and throw down a few million to get the ball rolling. There's no reason to get your hands dirty as the financier. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Quote:  Original post by TheWebdevI have little knowledge of programming, and so I am looking for advice on feasibility. Also, so you know this is not a pipe dream I earn roughly$5 million per year and would be financing this venture myself.
Can I ask what you do for a living?

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Original post by Obscure
There was a another company called Skillgaming who set up to do the same thing. They failed and went bust.

It is entirely possible to do but as above the main problem with an existing engine (or any new one) will be security. It is far to easy to cheat.

Quote:
 Though are there any other engines similar to Valves?If not how hard to develop my own? And how much would it cost, $1,$2 million etc.

There are lots of engines that range all the way from a few hundred $to license (Torque) up to$1 million (Unreal). The Half Life and top end id engines are close to the top end of that scale.

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If you ask me (which you don't have to), having a game like this requires too much in terms of the technical aspect.. You would have better luck doing a tiered pseudo tournament style trust system. Where each server has a form of value with a single master server that all servers report kills/cost to by user. Take a small % for yourself out of each payment.

By doing a trust system you rely on the player community to weed out the losers, give them some online tools to do so. Require players to pay out to each user by the end of the day. This payment system would be robust with all types of payment methods accepted of course, but not builtin to the hl2 engine. Make the billing a completely separate online interface.

Now this is open to all the other flaws others have stated, but the tiered tournament idea comes in when you allow servers to set (with approval) their kill to cash rates. So a newbie server would cost $0.001 per kill lets say, a practice server would =$0. This way if you don't get paid out for those kills, hey it's a few cents then you can give that user some form of online record of being an a**, and ratings mean close to nothing for this $$amount. But the higher the risk server the more likely people will refuse to play with questionable players, and the REALLY high value servers could have such a high$$ value that it pays to have dedicated monitoring.

This way users can still host servers, but must register to a master server (yours) somewhere to charge per kill. Then they need to be approved for a  amount. And dispute support would be essential, not only for cheating players, but cheating servers. However, by not approving a server for more than a \$0.01 value, nobody really looses anything (just time with some ratings quarrels).

Just my 2 cents, seems like it could work, but you need to build the idea out fully first. And the game play without the money needs to be good!