Thursday, October 30, 2008

Interesting endgame article

Tonight I fixed a bug, fixed a dungeon and approved a bunch of quests and still feel like I didn't do much. Bah, send your time over here, I need more. Without going into too much details, there might be an opportunity opening for me with my current employer that might help dedicate more time to Golemizer (and upcoming projects) in the long run. Anyway, waiting an answer from the boss...

So to relax a bit, I found this article where Damion Schubert talks about endgame in MMOs.

Mr. Schubert's blog is on my regular reading list (though it's been a bit quiet recently because he's working on SWTOR!) and there's some great stuff over there. So I'd recommend that you check the article if you're interested about endgame stuff. Great guidelines for my next project there.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Players' quests update now online

I posted some guidelines on how to use this system here:

Two small quests have already been approved and I can't wait to see what players will be creating.

Of course, these new tools will be very useful to me to build more content, specially targeted at new players to start with.

A press release should follow once more content has been added.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

SWTOR: Lurking around

I've been lurking around some boards related to SWTOR and I'm not sure if it would make an interesting subject for social analysis or if it's just depressing. I'm talking about every "I hope there will be X", "What would you like to see" and "If it's not in it, I won't play it" posts.

Of course, everything here just concerns those actually posting on those boards which is, as we all know, only a minority.

When I was young, Christmas was a special day because I didn't know what was under that tree. Sure, I had wishes and made a list but I knew that I wasn't the one making the final choice. Now, maybe it's a bad impression, I often see kids that expecting to have THAT gift otherwise they will go into an unstoppable rage... and their parents are letting them be the little kings.

A lot of posters seems to still be dreaming of a pre-cu/pre-nge SWG, but better. Well, they're free to dream of it but it's just not going to happen. That's not the game Bioware is doing. Whine all you want, you're at the wrong place. Nothing bad wishing this but SWTOR will not be a pre-nge Star Wars game. Why keep fighting against it?

Others are applying their "Dream MMO wish list" to this game (just like they do to every other game). If it doesn't fit their list, then it's obviously a stupid game not worth anyone's time (yes, because their point of view must be applied to everyone else...). There's nothing bad "hoping" some feature will be included but often, they go nuts about it.

I often said that the comments screen at logout of Golemizer was a wonderful tool to keep in touch with players. Well, it also bring some waste of time. For example, I'm receiving comments like "It would be cool if you could be a magician", "Hey, why not add some cool swords with special power", "Would be better if it was 3D" and such.

Is it so hard to see that Golemizer is NOT a high fantasy setting, it is browser based and 2D? I mean, there's plenty of games fitting these requests, why change Golemizer into a clone? A car is a car, why try to make a plane out of it? A chocolate cookie is made of chocolate, why try to turn it into ice cream?

"Well if you don't do X I won't play your game"... What can I answer to this! (I know clearly what to answer btw but don't feel wasting time going into a debate about it) Pay me a full salary and I'll make you the game you want! No big deal... Or better, make your own game like you want it. I'm not the first one to have done this so it can obviously be done.

Of course, it's nothing new. The same happens to every game, I just happen to follow a bit more SWTOR. The good side is that even if the game is the clear opposite of what most of these posters are wishing for, they will still be playing the game. Heh! I saw this over and over while I was playing SWG. People were angry, kept posting how much they hated the game but still had 2-3 accounts they were paying for.

I tried World of Warcraft, didn't like it. Does it mean it's a bad game? No, I just said I didn't like it. Is posting around how better it would be if X would be done would help? No, there's obviously many people enjoying the game as it is (no matter what you read). It would be cool to be a jedi in WoW, but that's obviously not the point.

As for me, I'm a bit more open about the development of Golemizer. Since there's no team of writers and 20 coders around me to help, I let players be more involved in the development in the game and try not to mind much when one miss the target by 2 miles.

Bah, everytime this pop into my mind I think I useless it is and forget about it. Well, had a hard weekend and needed to change my mind so here is this post.

As for this project, no details will be released until open beta! ;-)

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Follow game development in real time

Let's give this a try.

Wondering why you don't see me online often? Did I forgot about these bugs you told me about? Those interested to follow me real-time can follow me on Twitter:

You won't find personal stuff in there, 99% of the stuff there will be related to Golemizer.

I don't know if I'll get tired of it but I'll give it a try. It will last the time it last but overall I think it can be a nice addition to keep you updated on what I am currently working without going into extensive posts on the forums.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Star Wars: The Old Browser

ok, I get it... I need to update my browser... Well, according to the new Star Wars: The Old Republic website.

I should get a new computer in the following weeks (I swear I have suffered enough of using this old crap I still dare to call a computer). I guess that by the time this game is released that it won't be powerful enough to play it.

The good side is that by then, maybe I'll actually have some time to play a MMORPG... And yes, this time, if I actually play, I'm going for the glowstick. And yes, if I play, it will again be really roleplaying. First because I enjoy it and second because I'm bad at anything that sounds like Pv... anyway.

I said that for SWG as well and ended up roleplaying a sociopath psychotic ranger turned pistoleer turned medic turn bounty hunter. Sure it was fun but there's a little something about that glowstick that I'd like to try.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

More sand in the box!

Ok, so Vendetta online were faster than me: Their system has more features also (like the ability to spawn NPCs). But hey, is it still good if I say that players will be able to create some quests in Golemizer?

Tonight I gave access to GMs to the test server so they can take a look at the "Quest NPCs" I added. These NPCs are quest givers that can be customized to provide 4 types of quests:

- Give item
- Defeat opponent(s)
- Talk (just talking to the NPC)
- Give answer (players will have to type the expected answer)

These are the first 4 types which should be enough to get started and play with the system a bit. Not very complex but it's a start. Players can set the text, prerequisites and rewards of each quests. They can also chain multiple quests on the same NPC.

The point of this system is first to put a bit more sand in the box but also to allow GMs and me to create new content much more rapidly.

Of course, some might remember that I didn't want to put "kill 10 rats" type of quests in Golemizer. Well, ever since the launch of the game, I keep getting requests to add these... Anyway, while it's possible to build "kill 10 rats" quests, the point is to give a tool to put more lore into the world. Currently, the world is a bit faceless. Players like the concept but are having a hard time to "get into the mood". Something's missing. Not really the "kill 10 rats" itself but that old guy that talks funny in that city that wants you to kill 10 rats.

My favorite type of quest is the "Give answer". You can't chose an answer, you have to figure it out. This can be an answer you can find on Google or this might be something that you would have to find in the game.

For example, "I think Dr Mad is up to something. Go in his lab and tell me the name of his evil plan.". The player first must find the lab and then look for "the name" he's been asked. He discover a golem with a special name, go back to the quest giver and type the name of the golem. Simple but again, just knowing the Dr Mad (that could be a player!) is up to something is adding flavor to the world.

A dedicated player could build a full storyline involving his character by using these Quest NPCs. Ok, I'm obviously very excited about this but I know that about only 1% of players will actually use this system (there's this pyramid somewhere that I should look for showing that very little players are of the builder type). At the very least, it's more tools for GMs and me!

More to come later.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Server problems are over, now what?

Since last sunday, the game is now running on the new dedicated server. Finally! Everything should be much more stable now.

Yesterday's update saw the addition of rules of conduct and new commands for GMs to use (mute and ban). While I wish there will be little reasons to use those, with the crowd that keeps getting bigger, tools are needed to handle problematic situations.

With 4352 accounts created (so it's about 3000 new accounts since launch, about 1000 new accounts per week) and a core of about 100 players playing each day (and about 300 players playing on a regular basis), things can easily get out of hands.

I'm beginning to prepare myself for the next press release that should be around November 14th (2 months after launch). So far, the press release have been the main factor of the boost of recurring players. So my plan is to work on specific systems to be able to produce a new significant press release every 2 months to keep getting regular boosts of visitors. Getting people to know your website is the hard part so I'm planning to use this strategy to put Golemizer on the map. The current plan for the next press release should talk about the new tools to build player dungeons.

I'm also working on expanding the tutorial to make it more interesting as I want to have a better "welcoming" system for the next press release. I probably have lost many players in the first 2 minutes of their experience so I want to make sure they have something specific to do when they first enter the game.

Other than that, Golemizer now appears on the first page of results on Google when searching for "free web mmorpg" and is also almost on the first page when searching for "web mmorpg". The interest of this is that people that found the game from searching on Google are most likely to be recurrent players as they were searching for this in the first place. When you see a press release or an ad, you might click on it just out of curiosity but you weren't looking for it in the first place. Now that I'm almost just under I feel I did a good job on SEO.

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