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A Quick Update

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A Quick Update

Post by GiGi on Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:23 am

It has been brought to my attention that because this forum has taken a slightly less active turn, some of you believe that means we are not progressing behind the scenes. I would like to assure you that is not so. Although I have been posting less, I have been using my spare time to research and to speak with developers to find out just what we may be getting ourselves into. Others here are taking time to learn code, or work on things that they think will be needed should we move forward. If you find yourself saying “hey, no one's doing anything” then I would ask you to evaluate what you feel you can best contribute to our project and work towards honing that. As others of us are doing.

While I have your attention... I wanted to share a couple things I have discovered:

#1. NI's boast of a staff of about 20; while both impressive and daunting, is not always the case. Many games are started from scratch with just five or six people. This would mean about 3 coders and 2 web designers, even when starting from square one. Knowing that this level of staffing has been successful on numerous occasion makes me feel much more comfortable.

#2. It seems that many developers start with the same set of core goals in mind: “Hey, let's make this really cool game, let's make it open for everyone to join, and let's make it free”. Quite a few developers also add to that list “let's make it browser based so there's nothing extra to download”. So far so good. But after a bit of research I've discovered a familiar pattern. The main snag where all that charitable gaming goodness seems to break down usually boils into “How in the world are we going to handle the cost/ problem of having enough server space?”. Knowing ahead of time that this is a persistent brick wall in the game developer's marathon ride gives us an opportunity to plan around it. Now I am not saying that this is going to be easy, but I do believe with a bit of planning and a bit of ingenuity we can avoid it.


I'd like to ask everyone to think about what want to contribute, do a little digging, compile your thoughts, keep working on programming code... I will be looking into server options and a few other things... so let's regroup after Thanksgiving. I apologize for not reading your forum posts last week. I promise to get through as much as I can in the next 48 hours, and as always...if you have any questions, feel free to pm me or catch me on IRC.


Thanks for all your hard work.
Keep it up.
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Re: A Quick Update

Post by Rainboy on Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:34 am

I, for one, have been busy coding GERTY to host Werewolf games. Been on my list of things to do for a while, and it's keeping me sharp for when we have a real game to code. Razz

I've not forgotten about this, nor am I inactive (in a general sense of the word). Smile
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Re: A Quick Update

Post by SgtWidget on Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:50 pm

The main snag where all that charitable gaming goodness seems to break down usually boils into “How in the world are we going to handle the cost/ problem of having enough server space?”. Knowing ahead of time that this is a persistent brick wall in the game developer's marathon ride gives us an opportunity to plan around it. Now I am not saying that this is going to be easy, but I do believe with a bit of planning and a bit of ingenuity we can avoid it.

I know I've (partially) posted my thoughts on this before, but I'll teal deer here, too.

Lots of games have this 2 types of currency deal going on that TNN has, but most make earning the second type of currency either very slow or payment-only. If the second type of currency is simply cosmetic (you can make your character look cooler, without any effect on gameplay, for example), that's fine. It's when you have to pay to enjoy more advanced parts of the game that things start to suck.

With that in mind, I would suggest that:

1. Pings (or equivalent) are still earnable, but only with some work. For example, my preferred method of ping-harvesting (and the reason my corresponding level is so high, even though I'm not order), is to put on my armor, make a couple rivals and go clear out a minefield. At 5 pings for each mine deflected, they rack up pretty quickly. I would suggest making pings still available by said method, but earning less each per hit -- more like 2-3 pings per thwart, 1 ping per forum post or PMail, 5 pings per new topic, etc. At the same time, make pings buyable: $10 = 1000 pings or some such, for those who want to play without having to expend the effort.

2. Maybe we could allow players to pay $5 to choose your own tagline on the forums? (One time only - you want to change it again, pay again; subject to approval to make sure you're not being bi.) Dav2 could finally officially be the Summertime Troll.[/list]

3. I don't like the idea of restricting avatars, but if we could make some separate aspect of the game visually (only) customizable with no effect on gameplay - your ship, maybe? - with money-only features, that might be worth looking at. People can pay stupid amounts to have their whatever look cool. I'm not sure where that would fit in, especially as that's

4. If it were possible, keeping the forums/messaging somehow hosted separately from the game while still on the same website. I have no idea if this is feasible, but if it is, it would let players communicate even if the game runs into coding/hosting/whatever issues. I truly believe that TNN would have held together far better if the forums had been maintained even after the toolbar portion of the game went down.

4a. If the toolbar part of the game can be divorced from other internal portions, perhaps this should be done, too? Mostly this means crates and DP cards, whatever we're calling them. Currently on TNN, both may be left on a user's page without aid of the toolbar; I would submit that in our iteration, they should be retrievable/usable without the toolbar/overlay part of the game up and running as well. Face it. It's fun to get stuff. And there's a distinct that chance people will come back to see if they've gotten stuff through their page even if they haven't been able to get at the toolbar in a week. I know I would. I like presents.

4b. Point of research: I'm assuming that the toolbar use of the game requires the most server resources, not the website. Someone should check on that. Perhaps Marc would know?

5. Perhaps less important, but registration needs to have a "if you don't so much as log in for over X long (a year?), we reserve the right to delete your account" clause and that needs to be made good on. If anyone feels super bad about it, whatever e-mail is listed can be messaged 14 days in advance to be like, "hey, do you care about that?" so that the system doesn't have MIA users taking up space.

(Also, if life hasn't eaten me completely, when we get there, can I be the new Burdenday with the blog and such? Please?)
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Re: A Quick Update

Post by Rainboy on Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:19 am

In regards to #4, let me tell you a bit of how URLs work.

The TLD is a single server; however, with each new layer of TLD, you redirect to a new server. The .com nameserver is a big database of all the other servers that end in .com.

Code:
Example: http://www.google.com/search?q=the+nethernet&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

When you go to google.com, the browser first pings the .com server to see where to find google's server, and then asks the google server for the file associated /search. It also gives the page a few various variables about what you want to search for and what browser you're using, signified by a ? before the first and an & between each.

Now, say you want to use google maps instead of a google search. But, look at this! Now we're on maps.google.com, not just google.com. We've added a new layer of TLD, and thus are on a new server even though it's still google.com. This is the easiest way to have several servers on the same domain name.

You can use iFrames to hide the server (so that the forum server looks exactly the same in the URL), but it would be set up the same. We could have a three server setup, where one main server simply outputs iframes of the other two. Then, if either the forums server or the game server went down, the other would be totally unaffected. The 'main' server could also be a very low tech server, as it would only be making iframes, while the other servers do all the hard work.

tl;dr
Yeah, it's easily done.
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Re: A Quick Update

Post by Rainboy on Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:41 am

Now, for the not so technical post.

I like several of those ideas. In fact, I think we should consider allowing crates to be placed on any page without the use of the toolbar. It would be relatively easy to add a 'username of URL' line to the old crate form. Then one can leave a crate using the more reliable web page rather than the toolbar, which, as is with TNN, can be far more iffy.

As far as money goes, we'll need to be very careful with what we do. The TNN micro-payments would have gone over rather well, in my opinion, if they had only given us, their future costumers, some heads up and a chance to help shape the changes. If we were to have it plainly stated that the game will be totally free for as long as we had the money to do so, I don't think it would be too hard to raise the needed money through donations.

Keep the player base well informed in regards to how much we have, how much we need and what happens if we start not meeting that, and let them decide if they want to donate or pay for certain parts.
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Re: A Quick Update

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