Fraps – Easy Way to Create Game Videos

Fraps offers an easy way to record video while playing your game. I made a small video from Abyssfire game package. It was easy and fast.

Some usage hints:
- Start your game in fullscreen in order to record it (I couldn’t record windowed game)

Compression tips:
- Download VirtualDUB to compress the recorded video
- After launching the prog, remember to use “no sound” option
- I used “video > compression > Indeo video 5.10″ with “80% quality” (thanks to Tim for this hint) to get the file size lower
- File > Save as AVI and you are done.

Creating Your Very Own Massively Multiplayer Online (Role Playing) Game

Creating a MMOG (or MMORPG) is a dream for many developers.

The biggest problems with MMO game development are pretty much the following:
- Time
- Money

Basically they are too large projects for individuals or small teams to handle. The need for solid network code and huge content is something which will take ages to complete. And those are just two aspects of programming. The need for servers, bandwidth, billing systems require money. These are simply something which small indies cannot afford. Small team making a MMORPG from scratch is waste of money and time.

Google can show us several (open source) MMORPGs that have been started, but I haven’t seen any finished indie MMORPGs
(If somebody can prove me wrong, please let me know.)

Edit #1: didn’t take many hours to prove that Dofus and A Tale In The Desert were created by indies… I should remember: there are always exceptions to the law. Thanks people!

Edit #2: Dofus had a million dollar budget. I doubt any indies can afford that – there’s most likely some invested money there…? I presume ATITD is the only one that has been developed and published by a self-funded company? Recently a person at GameDev mentioned “RuneScape” – which leads to the discussion about “what is the definition of Massively multiplayer online games”… Are MUDs considered MMO games as well? In any case – the MMO games made by indies are minority. There are lots of more unfinished mmorpg projects than actually finished games with massive amount of simultaneous players (exluding browser based) made by indies.

Luckily, there are alternatives.

Kaneva Game Platform
Recently I found a game development kit called Kaneva Game Platform. The main idea seemed very interesting. Kaneva let’s you create your own MMO game. The basic features & benefits are said to be:
- No fees, money is paid using royalties
- Editors to script your game
- Possibility to modify the engine using C++
- Kaneva hosts your game and handles billing

Unfortunately it seems that Kaneva uses 3D Studio Max (which licencing fees are way too high for indies) and secondly: the Kaneva crashed my Windows XP every time after 15 seconds. I really hope they get the game system stable. It looked interesting, the concept is nice – but the execution is not good. At least not yet.

Multiverse
Multiverse offers similar solution for indie game developers. They started offering their MMOG platform at the beginning of the December (2005) and their system is said to be:
- Make a complete Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) or virtual world for less money and in less time than you could have dreamed possible.
- Participate in the game industry’s most exciting frontier.
- Build the features that make your game unique, leveraging the expertise of the networking and infrastructure experts who helped build the web.
- Deliver your vision to a built-in market of players–without having to ask a publisher’s permission or give up your intellectual property.

And they have similar offering as Kaneva:
- There are no upfront costs. We only make money when you make money, and if you never charge a cent, you never have to pay us anything.

At the time of writing, Multiverse is in closed beta phase so I didn’t have the opportunity to test the system yet. The screenshots they provided looked quite similar to any MMOG out there.

I believe more and more MMOG options will be available for indie game developers in this year 2006. Keep your eyes open.

Excellent place to start Game Development

New year. It’s excellent time to start making that game of yours today. And here’s an excellent place to check out right in the beginning:

Devmaster.net provides a long list of game engines with descriptions, features, pricing options etc. This is a great place to go when you are starting a new game project or are thought about making a game.

Use the site’s search engine. Put the necessary requirements (such as $0-100 price, windows platform, client-server network etc.) and do a search. The site will give you a comprehensive list of engines to look.

How to Start Game Development?

Roughly speaking, there are three ways to start game development

1) Building your own game engine from scratch

2) Modding existing games

3) Picking an existing game engine and developing game with that

For me, option #1 seems terribly lot of work. If you are a solo game developer I think this option is not possible: it simply takes too much time just to create the game engine – not to mention the actual game development.

Option number #2 is fine, but the business opportunity is minimal: there aren’t many developers who have made modded an existing game and sold that. Counter Strike and Battlefield 1942 have had successful modders. I think modding is a good playground and a very good place to prove your skills, but to make actual business out of modding might be difficult.

For beginner (and advanced) game developers I recommend checking existing game engine. There’s a big list of game engines at DevMaster.net and I recommend taking a look at them. Very popular choices are OGRE, Torque and Blitz3D.