Re: The games are all crap; let's make a decent one.

From: Emlyn (onetel) (
Date: Wed Jul 19 2000 - 21:27:51 MDT

> "Emlyn (onetel)" wrote:
> > I know it's been tossed about before, but I'm wondering if the various
> > computer geeky extros might like to put together a TH game? Between
> > those with coding skills, artists, musicians, and game design talent
> > (anders, that's you), we've got the right people. I know none of us
> > has a lot of time, but together maybe we can make something. I'd be
> > thinking an opensource project (via sourceforge). I'm sure I contacted
> > someone here about doing a game some time ago, and never followed up
> > (sorry). If there were a few of us, we'd all be comitted (to each
> > other).
> Been there, done that, wrote the obit. (I think there are still pages
> out there touting Project: Von Neumann, if anyone wants to go
> searching.)

Sad to hear your project died; much similar experience.

> If you want to do this, then define what the game *is*, and *is not*, up
> front. If it's going to use a 2D sprite engine, so be it - once that
> decision is made, there can be no more "wouldn't it be cool if we did
> 3D" decisions. Likewise, if you decide to do it as 3D, then commit to
> it - either get an engine or get someone to write one that suits your
> needs - and don't backpedal into a 2D sprite engine. Otherwise (in
> either case), you wind up in an infinite loop of suggesting new features
> that no one wants to write, exiting only on project abandonment, like
> so:
> Moderator: What do we want?
> Others: X! It would be so cool if we had X!
> Moderator: Ok, who's going to do it?
> Others: ...
> Moderator: Ok, we're not doing X since no one's stepping up. What else
> do we want?
> Others: X! It would be so cool if we had X!
> Moderator: >_< I give up. See ya.
> Others: It would be so cool if we had Y! Yeah! Umm...hello? Anyone
> still out there?

Defining what it is/is not is definitely something I want to do up front.
For starters, I don't really want to do a graphics based game at all. Yes it
would be cool, but it's got such a low probability of coming together, that
I'm just not interested.

An nice tool for getting a project happening is to define phases. Phase 1 is
what we do now, and what will definitely be delivered. Phase 2 is what you
do after you've got phase 1 working (if things get that far, and there is
still momentum). Phase 3 is the "real" project, the full wishlist, ie:

Hey, what's to say you never get to phase 3? You might. Don't put serious
money on it though.

This kind of framework copes with scope creep rather successfully, in my
experience. All the "cool" stuff goes to phase 3, or phase 2 if it is
practical without major rewrites. Phase 1 gets defined up front and doesn't

> Now, the problem with an open source project is that you don't *get*
> that kind of control. This can be fine once the game is developed and
> people are playing - few will seriously listen to someone who whines
> about the existing game not being 3D so long as it *is* existing - but
> in the early stages of the project, when all anyone can do *is*
> speculate and offer feature suggestions, this kind of feature creep can
> be fatal by preventing version 1.0 from ever materializing.

Fair enough. Hopefully anyone who is interested will read the above, and
take it into account.

> > I'd be most interested in doing a massively multiplayer online game;
> > might even be able to provide hosting. If there's enough groundswell,
> > however, I'll back whatever everyone wants to do; I must be involved
> > in writing a serious computer game at some point before I die
> > (hopefully that's not soon, but hey).
> If you want to make a MMOG open-sourced, perhaps the worst problem
> you'll face is people hacking the code. For example, VR is only
> pseudo-real so long as the artifacts of it being a computer program are
> not allowed to dispel the illusion; someone concerned solely with
> racking up points will want to reduce the program to what it is, with no
> concern for the illusion of reality which that user does not share.

I have stated elsewhere that I'm looking at a browser based, html based
game. No client, so no hackability.

> Unless, of course, you want to encourage hacking, and see the effects of
> a Matrix-like envrionment where power goes to those who can manipulate
> "reality" the best. Which might well fit in with the themes you wish to
> explore, though note that this kind of game would devolve to being about
> the game code itself, possibly including bots and other low-intelligence
> AIs, but not any elements that are in the game only by simulation...

That would fit extremely well into Phase 3.

> (BTW, I'm only playing Devil's Advocate here to make sure you don't
> spend your energies on a project that will go down the tubes. It's
> definitely possible to pull this kind of project off, but only with
> careful guidance, at least until you have a full game that can be played
> without spending significant energies to work around the installation or
> the bugs. Either sucess or investment elsewhere would be preferable to
> failure.)

Thanks for your feedback. I'm wanting to do something very small and
managable, by aiming at a browser based, html based, massively multiplayer
game. Free (as in free beer) for players, and accessible to all because you
don't need a particular web browser or to run particular client software.

I think people automatically read "graphics" when you say "game", and
underestimate the market for quality non-graphical games. After all is said
and done, the graphical games are just so much eye-candy, which is cool - I
do have a certain thing for arcades, after all. But a good cerebral strategy
game that allows lots of players (designed to accomodate occasional players
and heavy players alike) has a very strong appeal, to exactly the kinds of
people who might seriously consider transhumanism, in my opinion. So a
useful mmpg game could be both doable (ie: manageable) and perform some
important meme-propagating functions.


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