Bags of Money

I wish I was posting to tell you I won the lottery and would from this point forward be wiping my ass with hundred dollar bills, but I didn’t and I’m not.  Besides, I’d pay someone else to wipe my ass with hundred dollar bills.  Duh!

Anyway… One thing people often complain about in the design of games is the over emphasis on the monsters you fight in an MMO of being “floating bags of experience and loot”.  Seriously.  Think about it.  In a game that is a grinding exp-fest, you track down monsters and then beat them until they break and gift you with progress.  In some games, like WoW, they try to wave a hand over to the side to get you to forget about the bags of exp by hiding them behind quests.  It’s still the same thing though, to the point that when a player enters town and sees a sea of quest icons floating over the heads of NPC, there is often a rush of excitement at all the exp and loot you’ll be earning.  Any time a player focuses too much on the bags, they usually experience a decrease in “fun” while “progress” speeds up.  This leads to many players grinding the bags until they reach the “end” where, I’ve been told, the game really begins.

So, Darren, who has been outspoken in his opinion on $10 and $25 horses has written a little diatribe about how companies view players.  To be honest, for a “for profit” business, players are bags of money, just like the monsters in games are bags of experience.  The trick is for companies to get money out of the bags without the bags ever realizing that they are, in fact, bags of money.  So different companies toe different lines.  In the case of WoW, they’ve made their game “fun” enough that a whole bunch of bags people don’t mind $15 a month being taken from their wallet, and the recent foray into vanity pets and the sparkle pony is them sketching out another line in the sand, see if they can get a little more money from some bags people without losing too many of the bags people that are at their limit with $15 a month.

Obviously, there are many examples of games that have crossed lines and caused players to notice their bag-ness and they leave, and there are many examples of games where despite practically labeling their players as bags of money a segment of their players don’t mind at all (see: Zynga) to great profit.

I don’t really have anything to add to this, I just thought it was an interesting thing to notice.

Writing and writing

Script Frenzy has begun.  If you care, you can follow my progress on their site.  A good start for two days, I’m on target anyway.  While working on it, I found myself needing to step away, not from writing but specifically from the script while I sorted out a detail, and found myself polishing up chapter 2 of T.A.S.E.T. I finished it.

It feels good to make progress.

The Tipping Point

Have you ever been right at the edge of doing something potentially life changing?  Where the risk is success or complete financial ruin?

Over on the right you’ll see a new progress meter called “Business Application”.  I have an idea, and surprisingly when I searched the Internet to see if it already existed, for the first time ever I wasn’t flooded with dozens and hundreds of people already doing it.  So I have decided to pursue the idea.  As the progress meter fills, that is me approaching the last gasp.  When it hits 100% is when I’ll have to make the final decision to put real financial investment, real risk, behind the idea.  Until then its just research and design and testing, all of which is either free or can be done with tools and services I already own.  100% is when the game changes.

I look at it, at the pages of design doc I’ve already written, at the tasks ahead, and I get butterflies… I get excited.

Dead Rising

This week’s Zombie Wednesday is going to stray, just a little, from my thoughts on the Zombie MMO I would design, and take a look at one of the best Zombie games I’ve seen in a long while: Dead Rising. Taking a look at this game shows alot of the play style elements that I want in my own game, minus the shady organization giving you missions. If it can be picked up, it is a weapon or it is food.

One of the things that I love most about it is the variety of zombies. Some almost run toward you, some shamble, some barely even notice you at all until you get right on top of them, some grab at you slow, some lunge quick once you are in range, and more, and any combination of those. It shows that much can be done without breaking the traditional zombie standards.

Personally, this is the first time I’ve encountered the “Save progress but Start over” type of game. As you level and learn new tricks, you can save your game and keep going, and if you die you have the option of loading that save and losing everything you’ve done since then, or saving your character progress and starting back at the beginning. This method results in some odd happenings sometimes. My brother, for example, was playing and got to a point where the main character is kidnapped and all his possessions, including clothes, are taken. The result: when he started the game from the beginning, all the opening cut scenes featured our hero wearing only his boxer shorts.

All in all, the game is great. The only thing it lacks is multi-player, but rumors abound that it might be coming in the Platinum Edition of the game or as downloadable content. If you love zombies, the game is worth it, even at twice the price.

A Work In Progress…

I’m not really looking for work. The company I work for is doing okay… and by okay I mean that on any given day we could either go bankrupt or close the deal on a project that would leave us all set for life. But that doesn’t mean I’m not looking. I’m always looking, its the nature of the IT beast.

So here is my resume. I recently reworked it because I needed to send a copy off to a posted position, so I figured I’d slap it in a news bit as well.