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marc40000

Searching advise for enhancing my free game

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Hi ! I developed a free to play MMORTS - a RTS game with a persistent world. I launched it in January and so far it seems to be technically working. The basic game mechanic: The world consists of islands. Each island is a map like in other RTS games, there is terrain, an obstacles etc. They are connected via teleporters. Each player creates an Empire when he starts playing. He gets his very own Island only he can play on that is connected to the main world by a teleproter. Now he can construct buildings, create units, gather resources, and explore the world. When he meets another player he can create an alliance or declare war. The whole world is persistent, so whatever a palyer builds or does will be there when he comes back the next day, unless someone destroyed it of course. His private starting island can't be reached by other players so that island is save. About 100 people tried the game so far, some came back a few times, some just disappeared after playing between 5min to 60min. I asked them why they stopped playing the game, and the answers I got was "It's promising, but" followed by either some very detailed things they didn't like - or - a more general "there is no fun in it (yet)". I can enhance the details as they are very specific, but enhancing the "fun" is not so easy. I mean, I have ideas but maybe they aren't fun either. Since my time is somewhat limited as I'm doing it besides my job, I thought I'ld ask the experts here. Maybe you can have a look and post ideas what you think should be different to make the game more fun? People in here probably have more experience in analyzing this than the average player. Here is a link to my game: Confrontation Unlimited: http://www.confrontation-unlimited.net Thx Marc [Edited by - marc40000 on March 3, 2010 5:11:07 AM]

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Well, telling what will be fun is like telling the future.

There're some game mechanics which seems to work in similar games, I think of galaxy war like games, where you have to conquer planets and star systems.

Some ideas:

Do you have a tech tree ? Add an tech tree which evolves in real-time. It's like a teaser of the next episode of your loved tv series.

Appearance: Well, your game looks cool, but some consistency would help. Take a look at darwinia, games don't need photorealistic art to be fun, but at least it should be consistent. At the moment it seems that you collect some free models, try to design your "own" art style, which could be very abstract or simple. Even as a coder you will be capable to create some decent art ^^

Nevertheless, you have done well so far and your game concept sounds really interesting. Some polishing will always help, but to be honest, I think that most of your first time visitors will not come back. This is not a problem of your game, but people tend to probe different games just once. In my opinion this is ok, just try to build up a small community of core games and try to improve some visuals to attract more people.

Some PR will help too, i.e. whenever you have some major update, leave a little note in the "announcement forum" and don't forget to add a little eye candy (=screenshot) :)

Good luck.

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Not really enhancing fun, sorry, but you should consider to handle the character encoding for the PHP pages. I mean especially the Ladders page. Its a Good Thing to have online score lists, IMHO, but its not so good when the names are not displayed well because the browser don't know in what encoding the page is. (See e.g. "Lord Fremdkörper" on the Ladders page, and the copyright sign on the Disclaimer page.)

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Quote:
Original post by Ashaman73
Do you have a tech tree ? Add an tech tree which evolves in real-time. It's like a teaser of the next episode of your loved tv series.

No I don't have that yet. Right now you can see everything you can build immediately in your buildable things list, but at the beginning, you don't have enough resources to build them. But a tech tree is probably better for the teaser aspect I agree.

Quote:

Appearance: Well, your game looks cool, but some consistency would help. Take a look at darwinia, games don't need photorealistic art to be fun, but at least it should be consistent. At the moment it seems that you collect some free models, try to design your "own" art style, which could be very abstract or simple. Even as a coder you will be capable to create some decent art ^^

Before this game, I made a few smaller ones which were only 2D (which you can find here and here btw :) but they were always judged as lacking nice graphics. In 3D, it's even harder for me to create something that looks good.

Quote:

Nevertheless, you have done well so far and your game concept sounds really interesting.

Thanks :)

Quote:

Some polishing will always help, but to be honest, I think that most of your first time visitors will not come back. This is not a problem of your game, but people tend to probe different games just once. In my opinion this is ok, just try to build up a small community of core games and try to improve some visuals to attract more people.

Hmm, interesting. Are there some stats showing the average amount of one-timers for non-AAA games? I know for websites, if the bounce rate, the amount of visitors that leave your website immediately after seeing the first page, is above 35%, it's said that's most liekley because there is something wrong with your site, e.g. layout and look, not necessarily content. Maybe there is some similar bounce rate threshold for games?

Quote:

Some PR will help too, i.e. whenever you have some major update, leave a little note in the "announcement forum" and don't forget to add a little eye candy (=screenshot) :)

You mean the announcement forum in gamedev.net? I haven't done much advertising yet. I thought since the 100 people who tried it and mostely left, there won't be sense to have 1000 people trying and leaving it. But if actually statistics say that you can't expect many people to stay if only 100 test it, maybe I should advertise now?

So basically, you say as well, the idea is good but the details need work (like, adding a tech tree, make pathfindeing better, enhance graphics etc.)?

Quote:
Good luck.

Thanks for your opinions. I noticed you develop an rpg/rts. Is it somehow similiar to my game? The screenshots look amazing compared to my game :) I'ld like to have a test run if possible. Maybe we can help each other with giving feedback and tips etc.? If you have ICQ or skype etc. you can send me a PM :)

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Quote:
Original post by haegarr
Not really enhancing fun, sorry, but you should consider to handle the character encoding for the PHP pages. I mean especially the Ladders page. Its a Good Thing to have online score lists, IMHO, but its not so good when the names are not displayed well because the browser don't know in what encoding the page is. (See e.g. "Lord Fremdkörper" on the Ladders page, and the copyright sign on the Disclaimer page.)


Oh thanks! I wasn't aware of that problem. Even though I am in Germany right now, I have an English windows installed and the characters like ö etc. showed correctly for me. I never thought about how that's possible. I made the website utf-8 now :) I hope that fixes the issue for you. It's hard for me to verify because it looks the same as before to me.

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Well, I downloaded your game and played for about an hour. Here's my thoughts:

- Pathfinding. Having to order every unit individualy right up to where it wants to go is just a pain.

- Automation. Woodcutter cuts wood. Tree runs out. Woodcutter stands and thinks 'Yay lunchtime!'. In this case the woodcutter should find another tree, and, when full, return to base.

- Empire map. I saw some random squares, some bars and differant colours. What do these mean?

- Graphics. As said before, the models need to be similar in design if you want to look professional.

-Bikini Lady. Get rid of her. Now. EVERY GODAMMNED MMO uses her or one of her cousins. The bare chest wont get you players. This is the internet. We're used to it.

--------------------------------
Overall though you have a solid idea, potentially awesome gameplay and at least one player who's gonna come back. For an MMO, it's a start. Just keep the developing up!

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Creating an MMORTS is a very risky Investment. Mankind is the example of it. It was created by O2, a Telecoms Company which I am sure does not have any Budget problems. I think Persistent RTS is still a baby. There is something missing to make this Genre successful. You could find that something, or if you want to cash in with your Game in the short Term, you have to RPG it a little bit.
Or alternatively change the Scale of the Units and go the Evony/Travian way.

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I have to confess that I haven't played it but heres some ideas that you can use in a persistent setting

First of all you should focus on empire building as its probably the only long term goal you can have in a persistent setting

My recommendation is to inspire yourself from various RTS management games as well as city building games and trading games(cesar 3,cultures 2,patrician 3,anno series etc)

I would recommend a permanent resource stream(like cossacks 1)or make resources abundant(cultures 2) as well as different types for different things
Probably the most important factor in your game would be logistics(and the reason I focused on the above games)

If you don't have the absolute best logistics to stop lucky players for exponential expansion someone will horde some best units and start conquering everything in a persistent setting

An good example of logistics is in cultures where you have to do allot of stuff till you get some warriors and still need food and a roof(those bastards) not to mention carts and roads needed for further expansion

Also if the world never sleep you'd have to add allot of automation to keep players safe when there off preferably by letting the players chose what reactions they should have in different circumstances

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Sorry this isn't game design related, but looking at your website I would suggest that you should try a different style or page layout.

Otherwise I would agree with everyone else and just start with a small core of people and keep developing. Perhaps even have the community help make it better (Of course that has its own pros and cons).

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Quote:
Original post by JamesPenny
Well, I downloaded your game and played for about an hour. Here's my thoughts:

Thank you :)

Quote:

- Pathfinding. Having to order every unit individualy right up to where it wants to go is just a pain.

I know about that. You aren't the first complaining about it ...

Quote:

- Automation. Woodcutter cuts wood. Tree runs out. Woodcutter stands and thinks 'Yay lunchtime!'. In this case the woodcutter should find another tree, and, when full, return to base.

I know about that as well, but making it automatic like that has problems as well. They might run into bad guys. What should they do in that case? Running home? Running somewhere? Luring the monsters somewhere as well? I guess I'll just implement it that way and see. Maybe it's not that problematic.

Quote:

- Empire map. I saw some random squares, some bars and differant colours. What do these mean?

I know about that as well. I have just released a new version with a tutorial that explains the world map. Every square is an island. The bars and colors represent the empires that have stuff on these islands and the Empire which controls the island.

Quote:

- Graphics. As said before, the models need to be similar in design if you want to look professional.

This will probably be the most complicated thing for me, but I have to think about that I guess as it is mentioned a lot.

{quote]
-Bikini Lady. Get rid of her. Now. EVERY GODAMMNED MMO uses her or one of her cousins. The bare chest wont get you players. This is the internet. We're used to it.
[/quote]
Sex sells :D I'll think about that. While I'm personally not much pro or con on the graphics surrounding the website of the game, if I want to remove her, I will need something else to put there first.

Quote:

Overall though you have a solid idea, potentially awesome gameplay and at least one player who's gonna come back. For an MMO, it's a start. Just keep the developing up!

Thanks a lot for taking your time and giving me feedback. I'm happy that you like the basic idea. :D

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