Monthly Archives: May 2009

The “More The Same (But New)” Tactic – Battlefield 1943

I just heard about Battlefield 1943 (off-topic prediction: I bet battlefield1944.com, battlefield1945.com were immediately taken by some domainers…). It’s pretty interesting that I heard about it via twitter (and made a retweet) and it’s also interesting to see that there’s also the official BF 1943 twitter account. Big studios seem to be moving there too.

Anyway.

I loved Battlefield 1942. At one point it was almost like the greatest game ever. I played it a lot and enjoyed it a lot. Now I watched the Battlefield 1943 youtube video (see below) and the most obvious thing is that I can see loads of “same stuff”. I suspect there will be new stuff as well, and this probably is the proper way to go on. After all, people want “familiar but new stuff”.


(off-topic, I’m so changing my website layout as soon after Dead Wake is out. This wide format is messing things)

From that video, you can see trees falling due explosions (which is a new feature compared to previous games they published), and (of course) they’ve updated the graphics. More the same, but also something new. That’s pretty “easy” (and working) tactic indeed.

Don’t know how good the game will be, but I’ll be checking out it at some point.

W00t! \o/

I still don’t really know whadda heck that title exactly means, but the first time I saw some kids using this in a chat I was like: O_o

Seriously.

SMS is 160 character messaging.

Twitter is 140 character messaging.

People use stuff like this to communicate.

They invent all kinds of odd short phrases.

Where the heck is humanity heading?

“Frak”, “Lords of Kobol” And Other Oddities…

I’ve recently played the Battlestar Galactica board game (totally awesome by the way) and been watching the series (started first episode some time ago). There was couple of “odd” things that kind of make the series less “immersive” (so to speak). I thought this could apply pretty well to gaming world so thought to share my thoughts.

In the series (which is rated K18 here by the way, Sweden & Norway having it at K15 I believe) they use word “Frak” (instead of “f***”). Whenever somebody is about to curse, they say “Frak”. The first thing I thought was “Frag” (as in “fragged by somebody” in Quake). The next thing I thought that it was bit funny, and kind of gives a slap to the watchers face. It’s like… I’m watching this television series they gave K18 rating and they cannot use word f*** (my blog is pretty family friendly as you can see)

It feels odd that grown up people use the word “frak”.

But anyway, other odd thing is that instead of word “god” they use words “lords of kobol”. I think this is also something that doesn’t quite fit in. Everybody speaks English and are human and are doing things American style, and then they replaced “god” with “lords of kobol”. This is okay with me – I just feel that it just doesn’t quite sound right. It sounds… fake. Kind of.

Don’t get me wrong – I really enjoy watching the series.

The point is this.

If there’s something in your game world that doesn’t “fit in” (and follow the logic you present in your game), it means that you might be taking away something from the immersion. It might make the world less believable place.

Just a thought.

(P.S. No spoilers in case you comment, please. :)

Mini-game #4: Nudgers “RPG” Continues In Different Account…

Just a small note that we shall continue the Nudgers RPG on Nudgers. This is due the reasons that:

  • This way I’m not spamming my personal account (Thanks Oliver, MichaelJW and Steven Egan for showing me the way) and other points mentioned in the original post.
  • That’s it.

I’ve updated the “rules” for participation. (Basically now you need to reply to @nudgers instead of #nudgers, and search @nudgers instead of #nudgers).

P.S. The “hire people smarter than you” is so good piece of advice.

Come2Play’s Non-Contest, Contest For Flash Game Developers

Come2Play is a gaming platform that enables developers to create multiplayer games using their open multiplayer API. These guys are having a pretty cool contest.

The gist of the contest is that they are paying developers $5,000 – and up – in bonuses. The bonus is based on the number of matches their game records in a 3 month period after the launch of their game. Each additional 2 million matches awards the developers an additional $5,000. There is no limit to the earnings.

On top of the bonus, they are giving developers all the in game ads and the ability to resell the sponsorship of the game.

Come2Play does a lot of the distribution work for developers sending their games to social networks as apps, start pages and partner sites. In addition, they give them tools to distribute their games as SWF files with invite friend features.

Here’s example game. Cool eh?

Head to Come2Play non contest contest-

Mini-game #4: Nudgers, The Twitter RPG

NOTICE: THIS TIME WE HAVE A ‘PROTOTYPE’ ABOUT A GAME THAT’S ROLE PLAYED VIA TWITTER. NOT MUCH TO DOWNLOAD, NOR MUCH SCREENIES TO SHOW HERE.

Okay, it’s time for the 4th mini-game of mine. This time it’s bit different (you don’t get to download anything, well maybe Tweetdeck but that’s it). The 4th game is played in Twitter, and this is an role playing game called Nudgers. Nudgers are few inch long, almost liquid-like creatures that live inside humans. Their main way to do anything is to nudge (or poke) human’s brain to get it to do something useful.

What you need is:

Game flow:

  • Participate in the game by creating twitter messages (tweets). I’ll explain more about this later.
  • Each day (or twice a day) the game progresses and I’ll describe what happens.

Goal of the game:
The objective is that all of you who participate (by everybody via “search @nudgers”) will collectively decide what you should do next.

I, as a “storyteller”, will tell what happens based on the “votes” you have given.

There is no specific goal, or it might be revealed during the game. It’s role playing game you know.

Here’s some rules

  • This game lasts for 7 days.
  • I’ll write some tweets that describe what’s going on the world of Nudgers. I’ll present you with some options that you guys can use. Each of these tweets will contain phrase “@nudgers” (so that it’s easy to follow by doing a search for @nudgers in the client). For example, I could write “#nudgers You see a huge creature approaching, what will you do? Round 1: ATTACK – FLEE – NOTHING – TALK“.
  • You will need to write what you think you should do (for example “#nudgers – round1 – ATTACK“)
  • After 12-24 hours, I’ll collect the answers and see which action you guys collectively decided to do, and describe the next round (if you are still alive…)
  • All this takes place in Twitter (my nudgers account being the central place to follow, @nudgers search being the the place where all messages will be visible)
  • You (per twitter account) control one Nudger living inside a human body – all other player controlled nudgers will also live inside the same body.
  • You are allowed to vote ONE ACTION per round (and not allowed to change your mind: what’s nudged is nudged).
  • It’s a must that you write your action in UPPER CASE, otherwise it won’t count.
  • You are allowed to suggest an action and argument why you guys should flee/attack/whatnot. Simply type your suggestion to @nudgers channel and say why exactly you should attack. Maybe others will follow your advice…
  • I trust you not to try to break the game, since I believe that could be easy. :)

In summary:
Just see what goes on in the @nudgers search and tweet “@nudgers – round X – ACTION” when new round is available.

If anything is unclear, don’t worry – I neither really don’t know how well this will go.

To participate:

  • Join Twitter
  • Follow my Nudgers account or check my page twitter.com/nudgers
  • Keep eye on the #nudgers search
  • Bonus: I really recommend downloading Tweetdeck or some other software, it will make your Twitter-life much easier. Don’t even bother with the website interface.

See you there…

Notice:
This game will last 7 days and your Nudgers might die during it. I don’t know what will happen – it’s up to you. And I have absolutely no plans to run another game after the 7 days.

I know this might sound bit odd, but let’s just try and see how this goes. I’ve done bit similar thing with 5-6 guys… but don’t know what happens if many of you really are gonna participate. Well, I guess that’s the reason this is called a prototype…

World of Nudgers – the introduction
Humans. Those large creatures think that they are in control. Little do they understand that there’s higher force controlling them. Well, not perhaps a higher force, but at least a force: Nudgers. Nudgers who have sticks.

Nudgers are small creatures who wander inside human bodies. These troll-like creatures are only couple of inch long, but like to use their stick to poke the human brain. Whenever a human person brushes his teeth, you can rest assured there was Nudgers nudging his brain. Whenever you see humans doing stupid things, well, there’s Nudgers who caused that.

In one stormy night, a group of Nudgers had invaded a new human body that was lying motionless in a forest. You notice several nudgers around you and must now decide what you plan to do next. continues here…

3DRT.com – Bookmark This Site For 3D Art Source

I’ve been using art by 3DRT in my Dead Wake project and today I accidentally spotted that they have made a new zombie pack available. I immediately thought that this style is really good for my own game and decided to buy the pack.

They have huge variety of 3d models for games available, and I’ve always got friendly replies to anything I’ve asked from them. Anyone into 3D (or anyone who wants to use animated models to render 2D) could benefit from bookmarking this site.

They come with indie friendly pricing (and their newsletter offers discounts too).

(I know that for my project, this new zombie art pretty late, but I thought that this looks much more of what I wanted so I decided to give this a go.)

Free And “Free”

Today I got a phone call which I knew was about selling magazines. For some unknown reason I thought I would listen to what the caller has to say (Usually I simply say “not interested, thanks” and hangup). First the caller asked me some questions where I needed to rate magazines either good or bad. I said this and thought what would come next (perhaps I wanted to see what sort of trick there was coming).

After that, the caller thanked me and said that he would like to give me 8 months free for any magazine of my choice. I said one of the magazines (Roope Ankka of course) and then the caller said that it would cost me only 4 months. I said that paying 38 euros (or whatever it was) was pretty expensive price to pay for a free magazine.

At that point I thought that “I’ve taken time to listen to you, replied to your questions, and you want to reward me by trying to sell something for me”? Of course I knew that this would happen, but still I think that this type of “marketing” (if you can call that marketing) gives bad image for all sorts of advertising. I personally don’t mind ads. In fact, I’d hope that those who deliver ads would know 110% of what I want and when I want it. It would be really cool if the ads I see would be totally tailored for me.

But… instead I get “free” offers (that end up costing bloody lot, and just waste everybody’s time). If you offer something free, then make it free. If you are giving a “free bonus”, then make sure that this bonus is indeed a free (and that normally nobody would get the bonus).

There’s a difference between “free” and free. Whenever companies try to insult us by trying to con us into buying, they are perhaps making more sales – but they are also giving a bad reputation for the whole industry.

It’s okay to offer me stuff to buy when I’m interested about it.

But it’s not okay to offer me to buy “free stuff”.

I’ve Played Loads of Computer RPGs, But Only 1 Of Them Was a Role-Playing Game (After I Made It Such)

I’ve played all sorts of pen & paper role-playing games when I was a kid (nowadays I’ve played board games instead). Then at some point I started playing these “role-playing” games in computer. No matter what the game, the idea was something like “kill monsters, get quests, get experience and repeat”. I remember playing one MUD where I tried to role-play my character troll character: acting like I was “strong & stupid troll” (didn’t know about MUSHes at that time), but it kind of didn’t work for so long as the game was still much about “kill monsters, get quests, get experience and repeat”.

At one point I got Fallout 1. I liked the game quite a bit, and played. And I almost could call it a role-playing game, but it really wasn’t. Again it was more about “kill monsters, get quests, get experience and repeat” with a very deep storyline where your actions could affect the world. But it wasn’t roleplaying. The fact that you get additional options for speech if your character has high intelligence doesn’t make a game a role playing game. Gaining reputation doesn’t make it a role playing game.

Don’t get me wrong: Fallout 1 is a good game. It’s a deep in story. It has a great world. But it’s not a role playing game.

You don’t really get to play a role nor have a game where you could do things that you can do in a pen & paper role playing game.

In year 2001 I got Vampire the Masquerade PC game. I played the game a bit but thought that single-player game was a bit limited. Then I tried the multiplayer mode and thought that it was brilliant. I knew that this is a role playing game. I started finding out how the storyteller mode works and took notes on what kind of sound effects there are and things like that.

Storyteller AI beats computer AI…
Then I took time to write a brief vampire session. (As a side note I have to say that I just spotted the old notebook – it’s still here, and there was several pages of texts listing item, character, sound and other file names. Not to mention something about the story I had created.) My notebook didn’t have the full details in it, but I think the story was something like this: “Players go towards a weapon shop. They meet a strange man (it might have been Ventrue Prince) who gives them a piece of paper to be delivered to somebody (sorry, can’t remember who it was). Players visit a hacker who helps them locate somebody. At some point the players meet some really old vampire who gives them money (this might have been in the really beginning) and then the players go to fight Brujah vampires in the area. (hey, it’s like 8 years since I wrote the session, don’t expect me to remember the details)”

Anyway, even though the story was really basic (“bring paper to somebody, get guns and kill somebody”) it had something that typical video game RPGs don’t have: human player as the storyteller. When players met some stranger in the streets, they could have done anything. They could have attacked him, but they choose to talk. As they talked, they used their own words and the stranger replied exactly to their words (since I was handling the NPC talk anyway).

When players discussed with the old vampire, they needed to act politely – if not, they would be in trouble. When players met the computer nerd, he discussed them first and asked all sorts of questions (and gave answers) based on what they wanted to know.

The “final boss” was also first discussing with the players, but eventually they ended up fighting.

There was other factors too…
In Vampire, the enemies actually didn’t have to have hitpoints. Thus, players could try attack them but no automatic reduction happens. This meant that I could bring an enemy in the field, and if players chose to attack it… I could control how it went based on what was going on.

I could also play sounds in the game, so players would hear the hacker typing the computer… or a sound of thunder when the old vampire was speaking.

The difference was, that the storyteller could react to what players were doing. In some games they attempt to do this (for example, Fallout has very deep dialogues) and Never Winter Nights might have been one of the the best roleplaying video game made after this as it allowed some sort of storytelling (I never really tried the game though, so don’t really know how well they handled it).

Analogue with books versus movies
I kind of feel that computer role playing games versus pen & paper roleplaying games have an analogy with books versus movies. Lord of The Rings movie had actors who tried to look like elves but failed 90% of the time – they didn’t look the way elves should look in my mind. Gandalf from the movie looked exactly like it should have: that’s the guy I “saw” when I read the book. Hobbits were sligthly different too. Orcs (Uruk-hai) were really good – just something my mind would accept.

The thing is, movie was a representation about the stuff what was in the book. It was visually displayed – but it wasn’t the same that I had imagined when I read the book. My own imagination brings me my own ideas about how the characters look.

I think it’s bit same with computer RPGs: they kind of like sometimes try to be something that they aren’t. In pen & paper role playing games, the imagination is the end. In video game RPGs, the code is the limit.

And… to me there’s hardly any role playing video games available.

But that of course doesn’t mean that these “RPGs” weren’t good. I just think they should replace the “R” with “A” (for “adventure”).

Thoughts?

I Wonder Why They Try To Motivate People With These…

Some companies seem to try to reward workers by buying some crap to them. I read some article somewhere about saying how employees could play table tennis at the workplace. It was mentioned how motivated the workers will be when they have these sort of fun toys to play around.

I kind of disagree.

To me this sounds like “working feels horrible, so lets ease the pain with something else”. I think the focus should not be on purchasing tennis tables (or whatever stuff). Focus should be making working fun. If you feel great to be able to work and have really interesting tasks, you really don’t need external toys or rewards (they can be nice addition, but not really necessary). The work in itself is so rewarding that you’d hate to stop working. (Money is needed for practical purposes, but if the work is really rewarding, having a big salary isn’t all that important).

The main goal could be to create such environment where people feel privileged to work. Whenever somebody is thinking: “I even get paid to do this which is odd since this really doesn’t feel even work to me!” he is on the right path.

In my pretty humble opinion, I think teams should focus on making the work feel a reward in itself. Buying stuff to reward somebody should come after that.