Humble Hobo

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  1. [Survey] The Price of Freedom

    Thank w00t for taking the time to post. I believe your right -- that there is still some hesitancy to just try all the free to play games out there (not much, but some). Perhaps that will change in time, but you'd be amazed at how closely your scores reflect the average so far! Apparently there's quite a few bloggers and designers who agree. I've posted this on a few MMO-related forums and blogs, and the numbers are remarkably consistent. Often the argument is made for free-to-play that "it removes the barrier to entry". But as a subset of all players, "developer-like" players who actively voice their opinions still have a small resistance to F2P and score one point less than a 30-day trial. I'll let this run for perhaps a week on the various forums and post my results. Thanks for posting your thoughts (and more importantly, the reasons for them).
  2. [Survey] The Price of Freedom

    This isn't explicitly game design, but the business model of an MMO does impact gameplay to some degree, so I feel justified. I'm taking a software business class, and I'd like to hear your opinions. This survey about Free-to-play is 4 questions and takes only 30 seconds. If you could answer as yourself, and not as an 'average gamer'. If you're reading this right now, you're [i]already[/i] within the target (MMO veterans, armchair designers, forum-goers, and bloggers). [url=""][/url] If you'd like to continue the discussion here, feel free to leave a comment when you finish. Here are the discussion points: 1 - Subscription required to try 2 - Free 30-day trial 3 - Free unlimited-time trial 4 - Completely free-to-play The focus is[list] [*]What do [b]MMO veterans, forum-goers, armchair designers, and bloggers [/b](i.e. [b]Not[/b]-The-Average-Gamer) see as the maximum barrier to entry [i]to even try an MMO in the first place[/i]? [*]Just how big is the gap between Free unlimited-time trials and Free-to-play for you? If there is a gap, why does it matter to you? [/list]
  3. Fathoming the Unfathomable

    Mratthew, you make a strong point that I don't think about much. Realistic animation goes much farther for immersion than high polygon count. Journey for the PS3 was in 3D, had minimalistic environments, and stylized graphics. But the animations were spectacular. All cloth moved exactly like cloth in the wind. Wind and sand and snow were animated so fantastically that you could [i]feel[/i] the texture under your feet rather than see it. It seems immersion is partly about good design, but also partly about putting your graphic resources into the areas that count -- like animations. Thanks for the comments, this has been a real eye-opener for me.
  4. I'm highly inexperienced in terms of network programming, as the wording of my question will no doubt reveal: Is it possible to use many servers via horizontal scaling (like Wikipedia and Google), to support a single-server MMO? Using multiple servers to provide the muscle for a single instance of the world, could horizontal scaling be used to support 100,000 concurrent players? Even more? I don't fully understand how this works, but I'm simply curious if large-scale single-shard worlds are possible (if not via horizontal scaling, then by some other method)? Thanks in advance for the clarification!
  5. My Dream Game

    Don't give up your dream, but don't be afraid to change your dream a bit if needed to meet your goals. It almost sounds like a more complex, simulator-focused version of [url=""]spore[/url]. Kind of like sim city, but with God powers. Not so great as a multiplayer/competitive game, but as a rich simulator it'd be fun, I think. Simulators are a strange genre of game to me, but if you add more features to them and market them correctly, they can be wildly successful (Sims and Sims 2 are both in the top 5 selling PC games of all time). Start small and build up! With effort and with good game design, you can make your dream appeal to even more people. [edit]: Silly grammar.
  6. Fathoming the Unfathomable

    Perhaps a different approach -- Immersion then is related to our emotional response to the story being told (or participating in). Things like fear, suspense, and excitement are among the easiest ones to toss into a game. But when I think about it, it's more than just emotions. There's something present that makes a digital world [b]feel[/b] like a living, breathing world. Perhaps ambience, perhaps interactivity, perhaps NPCs or the world reacting to your presence and remembering you. I guess the core problem here (and one I've not thought about enough) is that I'm at a bit of a loss as to describe what immersion really IS, and that [i]my initial stab in the dark was terribly weak[/i]. I know that it's desirable and provides memorable gaming experiences, but I might need some help with that fundamental definition. The problem then really has nothing to do with 2d or 3d, medium, or format. But first, [b]What is "Immersion" for you?[/b]. [Edit] @Sunandshadow, I'd be interested to hear your take on immersive 2D top-down RPGs. I know that for some they are quite immersive, but I personally have a nightmare of a time 'getting into' older top-down RPGs because (and I know this is shallow), low-quality tile-based graphics to spring to mind. At the time, I was picturing how hard it was for me to be immersed in a world where I could only see 2 isometric sides of buildings, and the top of my head. This is of course, rather narrow-minded so I'd like to hear more from you about it.
  7. I'm trying to get my head around this concept, and I'm drawing a blank. [b]The Question:[/b] [b]Is it possible to create a game in 2d that is just immersive than its 3d counterparts?[/b] Obviously, good design is the key, but from my shortsighted perspective, 2d is inherently limited on how immersive you can make a world. What are the inherent advantages or disadvantages [b]in terms of immersion[/b] for 2d and 3d? [b]In the end does it matter at all?[/b] The most interesting games I've found in 2d are sort of puzzle sidescrollers like Limbo. Unfortunately, many people take one look at 2d games and instantly relegate them to the realm of "$0.99 app that I might try if it goes free, but otherwise not worth my time." I bet that could change though. I ask because I'm interested in developing 2d games focused on immersion. I simply don't have the technical skills or billions of hours of free time to learn to create 3d graphics that could be considered 'immersive'. The "bar" by which players judge good quality 3d graphics keeps raising higher and higher. [b]My thoughts on the matter:[/b] 1. Yes. Immersion should be possible through good design. 3d lends itself well to visual immersion, but emotional and gameplay immersion should be done through design. 2. Really feeling like you are part of a living, breathing world might be impacted by additional visual/audio stimuli, such as foliage rustling as you walk by, ambient sounds, and lots of interactions with the environment. In theory you could make even make a stunning world from a top-down perspective. 3. Good story, and good NPC/world interaction can make you forget that it's 2D.
  8. Just a quick question regarding designs

    You're doing it right. Large-scale ambitious next-gen projects are great and all, but they rarely happen in people's garages. If you're an indie developer (or even a hobbyist), it makes sense to use an iterative design and evolve from there. Personally, I'm always tempted to design too much too early. I usually spend too much time detailing out all the theoretical mechanics, and so many of my projects are never realized. It wasn't till recently that I've move to the iterative approach, and that's made all the difference. I've got a core group of friends and family, and though they're not representative of the entire gamer population, I get constant feedback from them. This is kind of a sanity check to ensure my ideas are even wanted or needed by gamers in the first place. For me, I've still got loads to learn about design. This was just one of the lessons I had to learn to start designing better.
  9. Main menu for game

    I'm not an artist, so I can simply give you feedback as a player. I spend about .05 seconds within any given main title screen of a game before choosing an option. I think the background's fine, but the buttons look pretty rough, and are kind of hard to read. Even though I spend so little time on a title screen, I do usually appreciate a nice animation when an option is chosen (all the buttons ease out and fly off screen or something). Players probably won't judge your game too much by the title screen, since if they're looking at it they already intend to play it. Otherwise they wouldn't have downloaded/bought it. So it can't harm you that much, but a really smooth title screen with some creative interactivity can definitely help. Check out "Gemcraft Labyrinth"'s title screen. That's probably a good style fit for what your background looks like. Smooth animations too!
  10. A Nameless Dread - Naming a Character in an MMO

    [quote name='Recoilthreat' timestamp='1339663200' post='4949085'] now heres a idea what about morping the players name like the player would name there toon lets say undeadlord then you lore system would take that and convert the lettering in to a new language that fits the lore this keeps two things you have a name that fits the lore and the palyer also gets to choose there own name and can be identifyed as both so if the player has a firend thats looking for him/her they could look it up either way example toon name: player types in: undead toons lore name: nem?tvi and can be dispayed as both or players option just a idea to toss out there [img][/img] [/quote] That's certainly interesting. It makes me think of Japanese. Japanese lacks a lot of sounds and phonemes of other languages, so when they take a foreign word and try and put it into Katakana, it usually sounds somewhat like the original, but still very clearly composed of standard japanese syllables. In that case, "HaxXxor might even become something lore-friendly, like "Hashore". "ToeSmiter" becomes "Joe Schmidt", or the closest possible name that makes sense for their race/class. Likewise, even other locales might have a different lore name. A username of "PantelonesDelFuego" might become "Patrick F. O'Niell", or something. An interesting idea. I could actually envision that working if: 1. The algorithm result sounds pretty close to the username (or even better, gives players a range of 'close' options to pick from at startup) 2. The lore name doesn't ever sound stupider than the original 3. Players are still welcome to see each other by their username or lore name, NPCs refer to you by your lore name only. If you get a statue built after you or something, it'll be your lore name that's displayed. Nifty idea, I wonder how a playerbase would react to it. Cool or still restrictive? I'd think cool, but I'm not most players.
  11. A Nameless Dread - Naming a Character in an MMO

    [quote name='Platinum_Dragon' timestamp='1339522466' post='4948572'] [color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, verdana, tahoma, sans-serif][size=3][left][background=rgb(250, 251, 252)]RPGs therefore, should not be called role-playing games since the players don't role-play[/background][/left][/size][/font][/color] [/quote] Sorry, I just got this bizarre image in my head of a conversation, "So what kind of games are you into?" "Oh, I play a lot of Gs. They're like RPGs without the RP." Terminology aside, I'd agree, and guess that the majority of all MMO players today don't want to RP. One of the goals of this naming system (which is part of a bigger plan), is to gradually re-introduce RPing in structured ways. If the world can react to you and learn your name, it is essentially doing a little RP for you. With a naming scheme that simply avoided blatantly lore-unfriendly names (brand names, swearing, l33t), instead of allowing only 100% lore-friendly names, I don't think player's would be too upset. Now for locale and romanization. Most languages today are capable of some form of romanization to english. As it just so happens, this is easy to justify because the players' characters are from Earth, so non-english names are to be expected.
  12. SWG - Abandon Ship!

    I've been doing some research into SWG's crafting, particularly it's ship crafting/building mechanics. There's an overwhelming response on the internet about how fun it was, but as I've never played the game I don't have firsthand experience. I'd like to do some more research into other games where you can actually sail/fly the finished product. In fact, I've never actually played an MMO (or RPG) that involved some sort of ship/vehicle crafting, in which you could actually sail/fly the finished product. [b]So, My question to you:[/b] [b]What MMO (or other game) did you have the most fun designing or building a ship?[/b] Was it the sheer number of options and customizability? Was is the thrill of min-maxing? (you have to admit, there is some joy to be found in min-maxing). Or was it something else entirely? For me it was Escape Velocity: Nova, an older Galactic Conquest/Trading game. It probably wasn't original at all, but it was my first game of that sort, and so offered a world of fun. Customizing and trying to run an efficient merchant or mercenary ship was a great experience.
  13. A Nameless Dread - Naming a Character in an MMO

    [quote name='TexasJack' timestamp='1339006948' post='4946831']If the different design parameters allowed enough diversity, could the game potentially get away with vetoing identical players (both appearance wise and name wise)?[/quote] Interesting idea -- a name generated by looks. Potentially, yes. Ultimately no, because I think it detracts too much without gaining anything substantial. 1. Developer - wants unique names among all the characters on a server, and avoid stupid or offensive names. 2. Player - wants to name their character whatever anything (including stupid and offensive names) On one hand, players will most likely be outraged if the naming is too constrained. Some modularity can be accepted if there's enough diversity, and some players just won't care either way, but many will be annoyed. Most MMO gamers have a favorite set of character names, and would feel slighted if they couldn't use them (especially if no one could). To have your name auto-generated for you would feel a bit controlling. On the other hand... well why do developers care about unique names anyways? To give them a feeling of individuality and purpose? Or as some unique id for programming reasons? Come to think of it I'm not sure why it's advantageous to force uniqueness. I'm tipped towards thinking that a set of reasonable naming guidelines to avoid outright stupid, offensive, or haXX0r names would do just fine. Players might even be more willing to understand why they can't use numbers or symbols if it's possible to be incorporated into the lore of the world.
  14. TTRPG Design Project: Thermal Shock

    [quote name='Shyft' timestamp='1338764887' post='4945947'] [left][background=rgb(250, 251, 252)]I'd love to hear any thoughts on the project. [/background][/left] I can't accept a lot of suggestions, too many cooks spoil the broth and all that...[/quote] It does come off as a bit contradictory. I believe I understand what you're trying to say is: "I want your feedback, but I certainly can't promise that they'll be implemented in my game." So to the meat of this... here's what I got out of your post: [b]What is your purpose for making Thermal Shock?[/b] 1. make a complete game to get experience, and have something to show companies when you apply 2. prove to yourself that you can do it [b]Why tell us about it?[/b] 1. get valuable feedback, opinions, and advice 2. request our participation in development ([i]in which case this should be in help wanted[/i]) 2. exposure ([i]I'm not sure how this applies here... you might get a couple dozen curious gamedev forum-goers to swing by the website, but this isn't exactly the prime location to recruit players[/i]) [b]My $0.02 (what you should do)[/b][list] [*][b]Definitely[/b] start your developer journal / blog. That's a fantastic way to increase exposure and also prove to employers you've experienced the start-to-finish process. Learn the ways of the blogosphere and rope in other interested game bloggers once the thing is playable. [*]Lurk around these forums, asking for [b]specific[/b] design or technical questions about your project. Too many cooks may spoil the broth, but in game development, that broth is going to take years to finish simmering if it's just you by your lonesome. Besides, cooks can only spoil the broth if all the cooks have absolute say in the outcome. My advice: take all the advice you can get, and select the bits that you like. Who knows, maybe a great suggestion will save you time and effort? [*]If/When the time comes that you need more developers to build the thing, post it in the help wanted section. [/list] Good luck, I hope you succeed with your project, show employers that you can do this stuff, and land a job somewhere you love. Cheers! edit: You've got a very solid, well-worded, thorough progress blog. Looks like you put a lot of work into those mechanics.
  15. Great work! You've thought it through, and took the time to make helpful videos. Feedback: [b]The Good:[/b][list] [*]Easy to learn [*]There's always a chance to turn the tables in your favor, making for a strategic and interesting game. [*]Video clarifies all questions I had after reading the rules. If you have a rulebook or something, include pictures of confusing instances. [*]It's expandable -- once converted to a digital format, it's simple to add more attributes and rules that the computer can do for you. [/list] [b]The Bad:[/b][list] [*]Might want to be more explicit on determining the 'middle' between two characters. Perhaps 'round up' towards the passer. [*]There's a few edge cases, like if a pass fails (too low), and there is a cluster of 3 opponents between the passer and the pasee. There's not really any good 'in between' to put the ball. [/list] [b]The Neutral:[/b][list] [*]Make sure to account for longer games (more points, more phases) when it's in digital form and the steps move quicker. Is there anything that becomes tedious or repetitive once the game is longer? [/list] Good stuff! Have friends playtest it a ton and see if there are any common strategies that people lean towards, or any exploits. edit: modified for readability