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About ShawnCowles

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  1. So, I just had an interesting idea. Completely unrelated to my current project but I thought I'd share it in case it was of benefit to someone else. The idea is a game where each player has their own section of the "world" that is theirs alone. They can add friends who can visit this area, or travel to random areas that may or may not have other players. I framed an implementation as Space Minecraft, which the player can build stuff in space as well as build their own spacecraft in the familiar minecraft way. Each player has their own "zone" of space which is filled with asteroids that they can disassemble and use for construction. They can make friends and travel to their zones for visiting or whatnot. An guild could even could set up a zone as a space port for their members. Griefing is prevented by only letting players travel to zones that they have been given permission to travel to. Players who need more raw materials could travel to a random zone for harvesting, which may or may not have other players in them. PvP would be a logical consequence of this. The server for each zone would be the computer belonging to the zone's owner (random zones would be served by the developer), which should drastically reduce maintenance costs. Furthermore, players could play offline without the ability to have friends visit or to visit friends. Likewise the random zones they traveled to would not have anyone else occupying them, and would probably have reduced resources as well. (to reward players for chancing PvP online). Might be tricky to implement, but I think it could pay off in lower costs for running the game. I supposed you could kind of view this as a peer-to-peer mmo.
  2. ShawnCowles

    making map briefing

    Check the forums on in the Technical area. Also try running your posts through a spell checker.
  3. ShawnCowles

    Amusing Apps

    Not sure how difficult this would be, but an app that lets the user play Risk (or something similar) using their surroundings as the board. You could use google maps to find nearby cities (use those as territories) and major roads (those link the territories)
  4. As Samoth and SimonForsman mentioned above, it's not really fun for the victims. Why should I play on a PVP minecraft server if I just want to build a castle? I could build the same castle on a PVE server and not have to worry about some "wolf" coming around and flooding it with magma or murdering me while I build a wall. There's no benefit for me to expose myself like that. I have a proposed solution: Assume a space trading / combat game. There are centers of NPC (or player) faction power with starbases, fleets, etc. These centers are separated by lawless space. The non-combatant players in this scenario would be traders, making profit by moving goods between starbases. There is a little profit in moving goods around secured space, but more profit for moving through lawless space. The "wolves" can freely move around lawless space, but due to killing merchants they are hostile to the NPC factions and cannot enter their space without risking attack. This is something of a combination of SimonForsman and Caldenfor's ideas, and could probably be adapted to other settings without too much trouble. I think it's as close as you could get to your idea while maintaining a fun environment for everyone involved.
  5. ShawnCowles

    c#: Game of the Generals

    vb and c# are two entirely different languages. Do you mean VB .Net?
  6. ShawnCowles

    Alternative minecraft

    The far version is a little rough on my machine, but I have a 5 year old video card. Looks good so far.
  7. ShawnCowles

    Alternative minecraft

    I think you're holding yourself back with that statement. A computer can handle much more than a mobile device. If you aim to have an identical experience across all platforms then the computer version won't stack up well against other computer offerings. I would recommend you take another look at C# though. Using c# gives you Windows and Xbox platforms right off the start, and Mono (open source implementation of c#) has been ported to iOS and Android.
  8. ShawnCowles

    Alternative minecraft

    This may be a bit far removed, but awhile back (during the Minecraft-is-really-popular phase) I had an idea for my own version of a voxel building game. Instead of traditional flat world the world would consist of chunks of rock floating in the air. The player would be able to jump or fly from chunk mining, etc. Eventually the player would gather enough materials to be able to build a "helm". Placing this on one of the rock chunks would give the player control of it, letting them fly it around as their own personal fortress. Further structures could be built to add walls automatic defenses, spotlights, etc. If you went down the world would get darker, with more frequent floating rocks and monsters. Going up the world would get lighter with fewer monsters. I liked the idea but eventually gave up. I didn't want to be seen as a minecraft clone.
  9. ShawnCowles

    User retention: 22%. Why is it so low?

    I just started playing it and a couple things came to mind: (I'm using Chrome in Win7) The movement could be more responsive. Feels like a half-second delay between me pressing the button and my little wizard moving. Sometimes it feels like the game misses my inputs entirely. (this is with using the arrow keys to move) Some sort of animation would be nice during battle, instead of just the characters moving back and forth. Since my character is a caster maybe a little fire bolt, or at least a swinging staff icon. The way the roc's flying attack works is good. I can really see that it flew over to claw the little rat's face off. The characters are a bit small on the navigation screen as well. I'm not entirely sure who is who. If I could mouseover them to see their names, that would be nice. After the tutorial duel I had to stumble upon the way out of the castle, better placement or indicating would help. The way I found was along the southwest side, near stairs seemingly heading up, but the entrance appears to be on the southeast side. A quest log would also be a nice addition. Climbing on top of people to talk to them is a bit awkward. What if, instead, you talked to people by trying to move into their square, and started conversation instead of moving. The compass is kind of hard to see, I didn't even notice it until my wizard mentioned that I had one to an NPC. The colors could be bolder for it. As a side note, when I left the map section outside of the castle and encountered that miner, it seemed like I just mugged him for his ore. He could have had kids to feed, you know. Maybe you could add some lines of dialog indicating that he's a bandit. Like "This ore belongs to the Brownhill Bandits, back off!" Nothing indicates that there's a menu hiding in the upper left. And the map being a window over the town, that I can just close seems a bit odd to me. Likewise that I can just click the city gates to put me back in he forest again. Also the menu pops out behind the map window. When I equip an item to my main hand, the main hand slot just gets highlighted. I'm not sure if this dagger is equipped or if the game hasn't gotten around to it. My stats don't change, so I think it's just not getting equipped. I like the idea of having a village, it's a nice touch that I haven't seen before. The actionable buildings in town aren't apparent until you go hunting with the mouse. Maybe an old-style signboard out front of them to show that they're special buildings, or names next to them, or subtle highlighting around them when not selected. Something to help them stand out. Word bubbles from conversation stick around a little too long, in my opinion. I can see that if you had 7+ people in a zone the screen could easily become cluttered with them. I did eventually notice that you can click on them to make them go away, auto hiding would be handy though. Also the zone map only takes up some of the available screen space, I'd estimate as much as 40% wasted screen area. A larger character/tile size combined with a scrolling map would fix that. The squares around the player showing where you can and can't move is nice. Toggling that for the entire map might be handy, but that's just a little thing to me. That's all that came to mind during my time playing this morning. I don't mean to be overly critical. I think the game has promise and am looking forward to seeing it progress.
  10. ShawnCowles

    Crafting System [ What is ideal ]

    I haven't seen this "in the wild" but an idea I thought up and developed a little bit uses a component model. For example, say you want to make a sword, you know it takes 1 handle, 1 leather wrappings, and one medium blade. Thats all the recipie specifies, you could use any leather, wood, or metal for the parts, and each material could give a different effect. Each component could also be made with an additive that would also add an effect. Continuing the sword example Handle Make the handle from Ironwood, to give the sword more durability, Wrappings Just normal cow hide, no special effect. Blade Forge the blade from Skysteel, which makes it lighter and attack more quickly. Quench the blade in Dragon's Oil, which will add fire damage to it's attacks. With a few dozen base materials and additives you could have thousands of unique weapons as a result. And the player's skill while making components (and assembling the finished product) would also contribute to the effectiveness of the weapon. A system like this would really add some depth to crafting, I think. You could also make crafting more fun by turning it into a skill based minigame. Take forging a blade, you could have X times to reheat the blade, and while the blade is cooling you have to quickly hammer out impurities. Sort of like whack-a-mole. The better you do, the higher quality the resulting blade is.
  11. That's how battles run in the Mount and Blade games. While you're in the battle the outside world is paused. I tried doing a simple space combat game where the outside world ran while the player was still in a battle. The result was pretty frustrating, enemy fleets that weren't even in the same star system when the battle started would show up and totally overwhelm you before you could finish off the fleet you attacked.
  12. ShawnCowles

    Shameless fan service

    I don't see why not. If done properly the male-centric fanservice will present a desirable image to both sexes. The men will find the character desirable, and the women will see the character as someone they can identify with and project into. Likewise for the reverse. Of course this would require more finesse than the standard "look she has boobies" method. Personally, I'm disgusted by the extents that some games to go sexualize their characters. I would much rather see properly proportioned characters with complex personalities who are clothed appropriately for the situation. EDIT: stray punctuation, clarified a point
  13. You could dramatically increase the time it takes to raise troops and build things, letting you run at a faster rate of time, so battles would only take days instead of months. In game-play terms you'd order your cities to build things and they would be done the next real-world day.
  14. ShawnCowles

    Statistics on successful game designs?

    You'll probably easily find the most popular genre. Besides that... What's the point? It's not like it'll help you design the next blockbuster title. [/quote] You could analyze the design of the most successful games to gain some of that insight, but you would also want to examine the marketing behind the games.
  15. ShawnCowles

    Feedback for a competitive TPS

    Sorry to say that a) I don't have much experience with it and b) I am exceedingly busy with work, school, and my own project. It's called Kismet though, and from what I've seen UDK has a great online community for help and tons of tutorials on youtube.
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