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Old 12-14-2007, 03:38 PM   #21
Newworlds
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Re: Games as service

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Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
If it was more difficult, there'd be a whole lot less hobbyist MUDs and a whole lot more commercial MUDs. I've done both and pressure in a hobbyist environment doesn't exist in the same way it does commercially...(and on)
This thread seems to be going the way of that huge "Free vs. Pay" thread went. I have to say though, being one of the only "truly free" muds out there, I still agree with the_logos on the above statement: It is MUCH easier, less stressful, and an entirely different way of operating a commercial mud (or business) vs. a hobby/free for all Mud.

And I will continue to say that in many instances you get what you pay for. I can't imagine the difference in style of administration/advertising/tax issues/staffing/liability/credit/registrations/data base/cheating issues/ and on I would have to deal with if NW were to turn commercial.

Before everyone starts yelling "Hey, commercial doesn't make you better!" let me just say that EVERY game has it's advantages and disadvantages and the choice of better or more fun game is subjective by the consumer, but the statement still holds true in "most" situations and that is: "You get what you pay for." I can cite a hundred examples of this in the business arena, but I think everyone is smart enough to understand this concept.

So, for those that run commercial Muds, "Merry Holidays and I hope you do well this season and next year!" and for those that run hobbyist Muds, "Merry Holidays and let's all take a break for a couple weeks, kick back, put our feet up and do nothing...why not? No one is paying us to slave away over the holidays!"

Cheers!
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Old 12-14-2007, 06:27 PM   #22
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Re: Games as service

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Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
If it was more difficult, there'd be a whole lot less hobbyist MUDs and a whole lot more commercial MUDs.
My comments were made within the context of your earlier statement "It's so trivial to start a hobbyist MUD" (emphasis mine). As I pointed out before, it's certainly trivial to start a stock mud, but a game isn't suddenly going to become more difficult to create just because the players start sending you cash.

If you were to only compare muds which had been started from scratch (rather than based on a stock engine), I'd be surprised if there was a huge difference between the number of hobbyist and commercial muds.

And before someone takes offence at that comment, please remember that we're explicitly talking about starting a mud - it's trivial to download, compile and start up a stock mud, and that is without doubt one of the main reasons why there are so many fly-by-night muds.

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I've done both and pressure in a hobbyist environment doesn't exist in the same way it does commercially.
Sure, agreed (assuming we're talking about muds that are operated as a full business, rather than just selling a few trinkets to cover their hosting costs). But before you can start charging your players, you first need a running game for them to play - and the development phase is the hurdle where I've seen most muds fail.

I've seen numerous mud projects that had (what I felt was) great potential, but hardly any of them survived long enough to produce anything playable. Were they failed commercial muds, though, or failed hobbyist muds? Who knows - they never got that far. And the same could also be said of the muds that start from stock; most fail, but they never reached the point where going commercial was even an option.

That's why I think it's difficult to compare the number of failed hobbyist against the number of failed commercial muds - because many of the former might well have become commercial had they not failed. A common question you'll hear among hobbyist mudders is "If your game becomes successful, will you go commercial?"
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Old 12-16-2007, 02:20 AM   #23
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Re: Games as service

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Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
A common question you'll hear among hobbyist mudders is "If your game becomes successful, will you go commercial?"
I think the simple answer is, "Yes, if the costs of operation outweigh the benefits of staying non-commercial."
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Old 12-16-2007, 08:43 AM   #24
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Re: Games as service

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Just consider that you're making two different experiences in that case, and that what you do while offline cannot really count towards what you do while online because of hacking issues. The client is always eminently hackable and if the game resolution is done client-side vs. server-side then you can't trust that anything that has been done was really done.

So, for example, gaining gold or xp while offline couldn't really translate to the online experience because you can't trust that they have actually been earned as opposed to hacked in.
You could still have an offline campaign to play. It could also be possible to let the user modify things and then upload to the server. For example you could work on customizing parts of the game offline, e.g the character. Look at Neverwinter Nights. It is an offline game but you can also play it online on player run servers. Some servers even allow your offline character to be used online, others use "server vaults" only for characters.

So what I suggested is a bit of the opposit. An online game, that you also can play offline. You could download the character from the server to offline mode, however you wouldn't be able to upload everything to the server. Mainly customizations.
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Old 12-16-2007, 02:41 PM   #25
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Re: Games as service

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Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
So, for example, gaining gold or xp while offline couldn't really translate to the online experience because you can't trust that they have actually been earned as opposed to hacked in.
--matt
The first game I hacked when in my heavy hacker days was Dune. I tried to win it normally and found it impossible at the higher levels. Even with the hack it was very difficult.

Now adays most games on Xbox, gameboy, etc. have built in hacks to have invincible modes. I find this detrimental as the hard line rule of game progging has always been: "Never give away items, areas, or cheats as they will invariably destroy the excitement of play, ergo, destroy your playerbase."
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Old 12-29-2007, 03:20 AM   #26
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Re: Games as service

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To me it feels unethical of a company to sell a game to a customer and then make it impossible to play it. As there's no AC2 servers running anylonger the customers cant use the product they bought. Even if you look at it from the perspective that the customer bought a license to play the game it feels to me like there's something wrong somewhere. Perhaps the server software should be released to a mmrpg if it is about to get closed down? Then again I doubt many companies would want to do that as it could be making competition between your new mmrpgs and the old one.
Releasing source code or even binaries isn't necessarily that easy. Source code often depends on licensed code or binaries which you do not have a right to release and other people would have to license themselves to have a right to use. And these costs can be very expensive. Removing these licensed dependencies before the code is released can require a considerable expense, something the company cannot afford.

I have always thought about escrow services, companies could place game assets in escrow and players could play their game knowing there was some recourse if the company went out of business or did not meet some minimum level of reasonable service. Of course there would have to be some process where the dependencies were removed from whatever the escrow service released. There would be a lot of costs involved and who would pay them is questionable. The money this would require from the game developers would take away from the money available to develop the game. I know on the game I worked on, at the time of development the company didn't have the funds to spare for something like this and didn't really for a year or two past release.

But I wonder if assets placed in escrow are a vulnerability. What if the players knowing they had the escrow as a backup worked themselves up into a lather about how the changes the developers made were ruining the game. They would just have to quit until the escrow asset release conditions are met and the developer would have been shafted. Of course, the players would have shafted themselves by no longer having the same quality of service.. but they would find that out in due course.

Personally I'd want the escrow service for non-MMO games. That way when the company no longer supports the game and it doesn't stand up well to the advances of technology, you could get the source code released and do non-hacky upgrades to it.

Anyways..
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Old 12-30-2007, 10:41 AM   #27
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Re: Games as service

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Originally Posted by Newworlds View Post
Now adays most games on Xbox, gameboy, etc. have built in hacks to have invincible modes. I find this detrimental as the hard line rule of game progging has always been: "Never give away items, areas, or cheats as they will invariably destroy the excitement of play, ergo, destroy your playerbase."
Is that still the case, though? Now that we have a lot more casual gamers who want instant gratification - something that you could argue is everywhere throughout society - is "godmode" almost a necessity? I believe that games have been getting easier and easier. Compared to something like the original Mario which was huge and took forever, some modern games are a piece of cake and can be completed fully in less than a day.

I can definitely see this in MUDs and MMOs too, where a lot of players see "challenging" as a negative rather than a plus, especially where the gameplay itself is seen as secondary to the socialising. I think you can make the argument now that in terms of percentage of market share, more people want games to fulfill the role of making the player feel awesome and powerful, rather than being exciting and fulfilling in terms of completing something difficult.
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Old 12-30-2007, 04:47 PM   #28
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Re: Games as service

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Originally Posted by Muirdach View Post
Is that still the case, though? Now that we have a lot more casual gamers who want instant gratification - something that you could argue is everywhere throughout society - is "godmode" almost a necessity? I believe that games have been getting easier and easier. Compared to something like the original Mario which was huge and took forever, some modern games are a piece of cake and can be completed fully in less than a day.

I can definitely see this in MUDs and MMOs too, where a lot of players see "challenging" as a negative rather than a plus, especially where the gameplay itself is seen as secondary to the socialising. I think you can make the argument now that in terms of percentage of market share, more people want games to fulfill the role of making the player feel awesome and powerful, rather than being exciting and fulfilling in terms of completing something difficult.
You are definately right about the casual gamers and instant gratification. I think that Xbox, gameboy, and other such $50.00 games have been changed into simpler games for one huge reason: Profit. If it takes you 6 months to win a game will you buy another tomorrow? No. So, they let the kids win in a few days, a week on the outside and guess where the kid is next week? At the game shop buying another game.

Even so, since NW isn't in the market to satisfy these kids, but rather finding the players looking for what you described as, "..exciting and fulfilling in terms of completing something difficult.", I'm not so much concerned about that market trend, though I probably should be.

I can't argue with you at all though about the direction of games making a player "feel awesome and powerful". I logged onto a few games and was baffled at the stats of players: Level- 45,296, Wealth-25,592,092,092. You kill the rock troll and earn 25 million xp (ROFL). LEVELS into the 10's of thousands, and coins into the billions? Reminds me of what happened to pinball machines, they started out with winning a free game at 2,000 points and now are a 2 Billion points to win a free game. You have to laugh at that.
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Old 12-31-2007, 07:28 AM   #29
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Re: Games as service

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I can't argue with you at all though about the direction of games making a player "feel awesome and powerful". I logged onto a few games and was baffled at the stats of players: Level- 45,296, Wealth-25,592,092,092. You kill the rock troll and earn 25 million xp (ROFL). LEVELS into the 10's of thousands, and coins into the billions? Reminds me of what happened to pinball machines, they started out with winning a free game at 2,000 points and now are a 2 Billion points to win a free game. You have to laugh at that.
But......... 11 is one louder..... *confused*
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