Monthly Archives: June 2010

Do You Own More Game Development Creation Software Than You’ve Finished (Developed) Games?

By “game development creation software” I mean any tools that can be created a fully working game. For example, “GameMaker” or “Blitz3D” counts, “Ogre lib” or “Raknet lib” does not. By “Finished (Developed) Games” I mean game projects where you at least participated developed a game that was finished.

So, let’s here see some votes.

Do you have more game creation tools than finished games?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

And what does the result tells about us game developers?

What Would a 2.99 Price Point Do To Casual Games?

I’m asking because Big Fish Games just let me know about the Catch of the Week: which basically means they have an expiring offer for a game that costs only $2.99.

I’m sitting here in front of my computer and thinking:

“What these “weekly deals” will do for casual games?”

Maybe these and other deals slowly but unsteadily mean that other portals will start doing the same. And when everybody is doing weekly deals, it won’t last long for others to start do weekend deals. And then daily deals.

And soon the expensive $6.99 turns into $5.99. Then $2.99. Soon iPhone games will cost more.

Who knows when eventually casual games also start doing micropayments and “selling extra content” inside games. (For $0.99 to $2.99 per package).

Your thoughts?

8 Points About Facebook Games (Here’s What I Think of #socialgames)

I made a couple of blog posts about social platform (or Facebook) games, and I try to remove the trolling part in my message and just summarize some points that perhaps reflect what I’m thinking:

  1. First of all, I think gaming market is expanding. Facebook as a platform will bring new players in the genre. Not sure if some leap from downloadable casual games territory (I’d presume they do), but this might happen. I believe FB is a good thing for games. It expands the market.
  2. With that being said. I hate about 99.8% of facebook games: “[Insert something here] Wars” and “Farm [add something here]” clones. Well, hate is too strong word. Let’s say that I just consider these games to be utter piece of crap that I wouldn’t touch with a very long stick.
  3. With that being said, I believe the makers of these games are pure geniuses. These guys have done something that major gaming companies struggle with: tons of donuts.
  4. Sure, you can say that the Farmville whatnot games are “stupid repetitive mouse clicking” but hey, just look at what World of Warcraft is (according to some players). Does word “grinding” ring a bell?
  5. And a word about “cloning games”. Yeh, that’s a bit sucky thing (especially as an indie I sort of dislike the clone wars)… but unfortunately there’s not much what I can do about it. Same phenomena can be seen pretty much in all genres and platforms.
  6. I think the comments like “you bloodsuckers (=Zynga) are not playing farely, you are deceiving the players!” are partially (perhaps for the most part) just jealous talk. My bet is that 7 out of 10 of these talkers are just jealous that they didn’t invent this idea. Okay, Zynga has done bad deals (one could say they’ve been deceiving with ad partners in the past) and shown some bad customer support (I read about some kid who managed to make big credit card bills for the parents without their knowledge, perhaps legally Zynga was right… but morally?), which in my opinion is very unacceptable. Yeh, I think there’s some evilness in Zynga (and perhaps other companies)… but 81%-wise I think that these companies are being successful somewhere where others have failed.
  7. FB can make things go viral. With hundreds of millions of users who have simple way of sharing things… that’s virality. Naturally there’s the risk that the more games there will be the more saturated the FB platform becomes, and the less there’s virality in games. After all, it’s easy to suggest 2-3 great games to friends, but you don’t want to share 250 different games with your buddies, right?
  8. …and one more thing: I’ve never thought that there couldn’t be great games in Facebook at some point. Currently, I think many of the hit games are relatively similar (“snowball growing” games) and there’s quite little on the innovation side of things. But that doesn’t mean a witty indie couldn’t make something totally cool there.

Thoughts?

Okay, Social Platform Might Replace Something…

On my provoking last blog post I pondered that social platform will expand the gaming market: players who have never played anything, will join the ranks and play Facebook games. I stated that FB would not replace anything though: people who play their World of Warcrafts keep doing that.

It didn’t take long to jtrencsenyi to point out that there’s already 3D realtime shooter in Facebook… which sort of took the carpet under my feet.

The morele of the story, I will admit that yeh, when more games become browser based and work realtime (like, real competitors to Left 4 Dead or whatnot) then there’s chances that FB gaming replaces something. Those Farmville clones will never stop any Fifa ’10 player to from playing virtual football. (Maybe).

But… when? The Paintball game there uses Unity. So yeh, when there’s decent option for browser based gaming (like Unity does) and when there’s more than 1 realtime game to play there… then there’s some chances that some gaming might go to that direction.

But morally I was right.

The Reason Why Social Games Will Never Replace Anything

I have a poll here:

You play facebook (or other "social network") games?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

(Define “playing” as you want, “short testing” is not “playing” in my books)

And by the look of results, everybody and their mom will notice that no game developer really plays these games. Okay, there will be some odd sheeps that play these games but 89%* of the developers will think like whadda heck are these social players thinking. FB games won’t replace their playing habits.

*Fact that will reveal itself after we see some replies on that above poll

I’ve tested some facebook games. Tried Mafia Wars. Tried Farmville. Maybe tried something else I cannot remember. Stopped playing every single of them. They were no fun (to me). Pretty much the only browser based game I’ve ever played more than “just tested” is Urban Dead (among Werewolf) and here I’m slowly getting to my point.

The reason why I think social games will never replace anything is pretty simple. It’s a different market. The people who play WoW or the people who play fast paced games… or strategy games or any anti-social games will keep doing that.

A quick look on Farmville makes it easy. It’s just not my thing. If I want to play a match of let’s say Left 4 Dead, I don’t seek to use facebook. FB games are not realtime. The people who play hardcore games won’t touch FB games. FB gamers hardly will touch hardcore games.

I believe FB and these social games are expanding the market. Maybe some MUDders will join the fun (since you can have those type of games in Facebook) but I think this is mainly about expanding the market, not replacing it.

And… the few people who play FB games are doing this on their work days, so the only thing Facebook games are replacing is “work time” that turns into “playing time”.

But of course I know shit about this whole non anti-social gaming so take my word as a grain of salt.

As always.

How Not To Design Speakers

Sigh.

My computer speakers have 2 buttonthings: “power/volume” and “tone”. The first button let’s you adjust the volume, and if you turn it to zero then the power goes off. The second button does something that I never use.

Now, whenever I try play something, I need to always turn the volume to the proper level. There’s no much visual feedback on this Creative speaker, so I just need to listen to it every time I launch a game for example, and adjust the volume carefully. (This is due the fact that every time I shut down computer, I also turn the volume button to minimum, in order to power off the speakers).

I know it’s a cheapskate issue, and I admit I was acting stupid buying these speakers. A much better user interface would be “power” and “volume”. Who needs some “tone” anyway? What I care is the volume.

Okay, the speakers cost like 40 eur.. But still. One could argue that equally good way to set buttons would be to make it so that “when Tone goes to minimum value, the power is turned off”. (That makes no sense either, but at least adjusting it back to middle default value would be handy.)

As it does not make sense to have it on volume button. It’s the button people use most, why ruin it by adding 2 most important functionality into one button, when they definitely should be separate.

Okay, enough of ranting. I just go and buy a speakers that have a power button. But I know I’m right. Aren’t I?

Game Dev Competition, Win a Deal Worth 65 000 Euros

There’s a pretty good looking game devlopment competition going on: exact details can be found via the Make ‘Em Up website.

I checked out the contest rules and read the fine print and to my eyes the deal looks just fine. Might be worth considering joining. Deadline is August 15, 2010. Be sure to check out the “Deals” page on that website to get a better idea about the contest.

P.S. There’s also some discussion at the Indiegamer boards about this contest.