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

From: Emlyn (onetel) (
Date: Wed Jul 19 2000 - 19:07:39 MDT

What I'd like to do is something really simple initially, you know, keep the
scope limited until we could prove we could manage to do anything at all.
Most likely if the initial concept to be implemented is too big (read "more
than quite tiny"), there's about a 0% chance of us actually succeeding in
doing it.

Often if you come up with a really complex game idea, you find that it can
be decomposed into several standalone subgames; like the combat system might
standalone as a little arena bash game, or a travel/trade subsystem might
stand alone, or a roleplaying aspect might stand alone. If we did come up
with a complex idea, I'd seriously suggest breaking it into atomic
subgames, and implementing those one at a time, hoping to tie them together
at some point in the future.

I'd be looking at a strategy style game, html based (that's the modern
equivalent of text based), same tech as some of the existing browser based
games. This has many advantages;

1 - No client software to write
2 - Easy access; people don't have to buy stuff or download software or
3 - Required server resources is relatively small, allowing you to run the
thing on a reasonable server(s), rather than having to spend a fortune.

Something like this, if it's good, and attracts a lot of players, might even
carry itself financially, because you'd carry ads in the game. No one will
mind; people understand where free beer comes from these days. I don't know
what revenue you could expect (lots of continued views by a fairly definable
demographic), I'd be proceeding on the basis that we'd hope to defray costs
at some time in the future, and that some support in the future might even
be paid (some miserable pittance) for. Basically, I want to make a game, if
I wanted to make money I'd do something else. If it makes money enough to
pay for itself, then that's a huge, unexpected bonus.

On the subject of ongoing support (thanks for raising it Ryan); I'm happy
with that. I'd really like to get a game to the point where it had a
(growing) userbase, and I was providing ongoing support. With the online
strategy game genre, this is not so onerous a task I think; certainly
nowhere near as bad as writing the thing in the first place! You don't even
need to build in intensive "quest" type stuff; just make a minor rule change
now and then, and watch the entire landscape change!Anyway, that support
part is a really fun stage; the community grows, which you are an important
part of, and you respond to what they are doing. It's like the meta game for
the support crew.

Trying to tie back to list subject, an important part of the game would be
that it was a TH meme propagator of the first order. These people who'll
play a cerebral online game (no fancy graphics, just a really challenging
mental environment) are, I think, ripe for transhumanism. I've noticed that
many people are very strongly influenced by the more subtle ideas that
perfuse their gaming environment.

Also, a thread or two back I mentioned the possibility of putting real
economic and/or political models to the test in an online game, with lots of
players as willing guinea pigs (I'm not suggesting any deviousness). Some
real value could be gained from such work, especially if a "bought from the
shop" social scientist, like Robin, were to get involved.

Anyway, no rush, there is much blabbing, grumbling, mumbling and ranting to
be done before anything crystalises. No reason to force it.


(ps: Even though I said no fancy graphics, that doesn't mean no fantastic
artwork; let's hear from interested artists. Musos too)

----- Original Message -----
From: mjg223 <>
To: <>
Cc: Extropian List <>
Sent: Thursday, July 20, 2000 2:47 AM
Subject: Re: The games are all crap; let's make a decent one.

> On Thu, 20 Jul 2000, 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).
> That sounds like a great idea - I'd love to see what you have in mind.
> Perhaps the first thing to do is get setup at sourceforge: That'll give
> you a place to start posting some ideas, and set up a couple of discussion
> lists to get some brainstorming going. If you're doing something exciting,
> I'd be interested in getting involved.
> I've been interested, on and off, in some sort of distributed mud-like
> system. I'd like, for instance, to be able to walk through a door and
> seamlessly be talking to another server. Or manipulate objects whose
> behavior is being computed on another machine somewhere else. You'd figure
> out some system where by objects (a stove, a book, etc.) declare the ways
> in which they can be manipulated (open, close, read, etc.), along with
> verb mappings, then anyone can drop new objects in, run it's innards
> anywhere, and let people play with it. Some sort of Corba'ish/RMI deal.
> -matt

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