SPWA Week 0 Response: A Strong Start «

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As mentioned in the rules for So Play We All, we’re required to respond to each other’s progress update. I’m going to be doing the Oaqn progress updates on that blog but the feedback here, mostly to keep that blog focused.

Showing off his superior time management skills, Jim quickly posted about Allabrilyn. It sounds like a collectible card game (or maybe LCG). That the collectible elements are units for a tactical game is… awfully familiar.

I dropped Athenge as a project because I realized I love the genre, but it’s actually really uncommon. Tactical wargames have a hardcore fanbase (a blessing and a curse), but it’s certainly not a big one. And building a game around PVP that’s mostly based on the player’s skill progression means there’s going to be a lot of dissatisfied bad players who don’t want to participate. So I think it’s great that Jim is building my kind of game, but I worry about his market. (And Jim – don’t just sell random packs, add a premium currency that players can use to auction/sell cards between themselves with so that you don’t create a secondary market that gives you support hassles but not income.)

Next up, Luke explained Fantasy Adventure Game. I loved this post (though of course, not so much that I voted for it over myself). He’s immediately willing to be imperfect in public by beginning with a terrible working title. It’s a great sign for getting over embarrassment to develop something great. I’m terribly jealous that he included financial info from the start; I’d wanted to but it slipped my mind. More guts!

As for the game itself, it leaves me a little flat. I’ve seen too many games default to fantasy; I hope he finds ways to turn his ignorance into interesting genre redefinition rather than middle-of-the-road generictown. It really sounds like it’s a single-player RPG (having not played KOL), so I think he’s going to have problems with producing content (items, quests, skills, etc.). Multiplayer interaction, competitive or cooperative, is wonderful content because you can set up systems that players fill up with content. It takes a fraction of the time to code a PVP game like chess than it does to write a text adventure like Adventure, and chess is probably fun for far longer because it becomes about other people, and people are interested in people.

I also have one criticism to level at both games: there’s nothing for the player to identify with. In Oaqn, the player controls a single caravan, that’s them in the world. (And I very likely will add some kind of human player avatar to play dress-up with eventually, because that’s even better.) In Allabrilyn and FA, the player controls a collection of characters, so there’s nothing for them to feel represented by or invest in the well-being of. This is why RPGs (and many other games) have a heroic mime character leading the party, so the player has an empty template to fill up with their personality. It’s much harder to do that with a deck of cards or a small troupe, and it’s a powerful motivator for casual online games.

My lengthy braindump rocked this week’s poll, with 6 votes for me, 1 for FA, and 0 for Jim (who I guess is not even active enough on the forums anymore to even vote for himself). I’m happy for that, but I think I’m going to face stiff competition that’s constantly thinking of things I’ve missed. So all I can do is plan to steal those things like revenue details for next week, muahaha! (Speaking of which, I’d better go put in my hours before I wind up owing these guys money.)


  1. Nice post. And, yeah, I’m worried about my demographic as well. Especially since, initially, I’ve targeted a PvP-only audience. I do intend to grow additional ways to play the game, but if I worry about that right now, it’ll never get off the ground. lol

    As far as the business model, don’t you worry. I’m actually sitting on an 850+ word document describing exactly how I intend to monetize the playerbase that DOES show up. Honestly, I’d rather have 10 PAYING customers than 100 FREE customers… I actually fooled around with the idea of making it a pay-to-play game… but I just don’t like that thought as I think it’s a bit TOO far for my taste. I have a low operational overhead on this so unless I get a large number of players (which is exactly what we’re expecting NOT to happen), this project pays for itself after just a few transactions. Well, pays for the overhead at least… it’s not coming NEAR paying for my time at a professional level… but we sacrifice for our games. lol

    As far as not having a component to “identify with”, that’s intentional on my part. I want the player to think of their units as disposable. If you build too much attachment to them, people grow too hesitant to throw them into combat and your tactical war game becomes more of a “chase the scare-dy cat!” game. lol

    And, yeah, I haven’t logged into the forums in a long time. I think I went to my “goodbye” thread a couple times to see if anyone left contact info (a bad idea for someone to leave their contact info publicly… but even the highest-level genius does stupid things every now and again lol) but after the first week or so, I haven’t gone been back. I didn’t even SEE the post until the results were posted. lol

    I will also state that I will not be voting… for myself or for others. If the point is to have OTHERS judge the success, I feel it’s unfair to attempt to influence that outcome. As far as whether I feel people will vote for me or not… I dunno. I seem to be one of those people you either love or you hate. Which is fine by me. I’d rather win based upon the fact that I DESERVED to win than because I had brainwashed a bunch of people into voting for me. lol

    I don’t expect to win many of the popular votes. :P

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