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Comments (0) · Permalink · Personal · Not rated (0 votes)
Jul 27 2008, 02:14 AM
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So I figured I needed to jot down my thoughts on my opportunity from a week ago. I've had a chance to look back and even rewatch myself to see how I did. For those of you who don't know me well (probably all of you reading this), I don't get nervous when speaking. Sometime in my teenage years, I learned that if I was prepared on a subject, I could go on and on about it for quite a while. I'm sure it has something to do with the pride I take in learning a subject I enjoy about as well as it can be learned. When I study something out of interest, I cover everything until I become fully versed in it. The topic of game development is no different. I believe this to the point that I think I even know the industry better than *some* insiders. Not that I think I really know it alll; that's not it. It's just that because I have had the privilege of watching it from the outside for so long, that I get to see it from a different perspective than insiders. Insiders work on a project and stay locked up for years at a time. That's not to say that they have no knowledge of what goes on, but that it is possible to happen that way. So, without digging myself into a deeper hole, I will move onto the next topic.

My number one source of anxiety over my presentation had nothing to do with things I could control. I knew I could go on and on for hours on any topic relating to games, and I am also confident in my ability to speak. The only thing that cause me to grief over this was the thought that nobody would come and watch me. That would be the worst possible outcome. The thing that scared me was the fact that this was my "stepping out of the closet" experience, for lack of a better analogy. I have been working on my computer for many years now, and almost nobody I know in real life knows it, understands it, cares about it, etc. To then have nobody show up to actually listen to what I might have to say would just be another reason for me to stay hidden in my room until 3 am every night with no tangible feedback, just my friends from the internet (whom which I appreciate).

It's hard to live a double-life. Working man, problem solver, family man, church-goer, scout leader, etc, etc, etc. by day. Then by night, I am someone who is similar, yet different. During the day, I rarely mention what it is I do at night. For those that actually ask, and get to know me, I tell them. I am not embarassed about it. I do, however, make it a point to not be forthcoming to some people. In my presentation I told the story about the boy in my scout troop who went and told his mom, after I told them about PW. They think its cool. They all want to play it when its ready. Moms, on the other hand, don't seem to understand. This one in particular told her son that I probably could be making better use of my time. The next time he saw me, he made sure to let me know that his mom thought that I should be doing better things with my time. It's a very common reaction, and I am not just referring to the one about me working on my project. I mean the stance (and fear) against video games that comes into play. It is that that feeds the reactions I get. It's a complete lack of understanding that is really frustrating about it. It's like listening to people bitch and moan about politics. Talk about wasting time. No person I have ever heard whine about politics is a "doer." They know enough to have formed these arrogant opinions, but they do not know enough to do anything about it. *me* shakes his head.

So what does this have to do with the presentation? Well, you see, all this was built up on my shoulders. Here was an opportunity to not only share what I know with people who might care, but to also possibly explain why it is I do what I do to people who don't know or understand. In my mind, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I did not want to waste it. On the one hand, I wanted to get it all off my chest. It was my opportunity to justify what it is that I do, so I took it. On the other hand, I was there to share pertinent information for those seeking it. For anyone hoping for a great discussion on how to make games, and only that, I apologize for my indulgence. I had to take that time, which was about the first 35 minutes of my presentation (after looking back). I knew that I might not ever get the chance to speak again, so I decided to make sure I had a clean conscience when I was done. Hopefully, for those that did want to hear about games, I put in enough good information that they were sated.

When it was all over with, I was pleased. I wasn't nervous once I got there and saw people listening to the panel going on before mine. I knew that there would at least be a few people listening, and it turned out even better than I could have imagined. There was over 50 people there listening, which made me happy. Now at least 50 people heard what I had to say, and saw it in my eyes that I was serious. What a great feeling. A few asked some questions afterwards, and I felt that people benefitted from what I had to say and share. Also, thanks to my wife, I was able to record it on video. I spent a few days splitting it up and posting it on a few sites I frequent, and so far in 4 days, there has been at least 80 more people who have heard what I had to say. All in all, I don't think things could have been much better.

Regarding the venue itself, I was a bit disappointed, but I wasn't suprised. I hoped that I might be speaking in an auditorium, but it was in the same Hall that all the other events were going on in. Because of that, the sound on the videos is horrible. Oh well. Also, I never met face to face anyone that I had corresponded with to arrange me speaking. The event coordinator was nowhere to be seen. When I walked up to the will call and said I was a speaker, they literally said okay and handed my a badge that said speaker. They didn't check who I was, and they didn't care. For a first-time event in Utah, I can't say I am that suprised. I only hope that they get a little better in the future if they want to keep doing these events, and want to get more people there.
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Comments (1) · Permalink · PW Development · Not rated (0 votes)
Jan 21 2008, 02:15 PM
Thats how many days in a row I have been participating in Project Wish. I am fairly certain that I have never missed a day. I have worked more days on PW than my full time jobs wink.gif. Even on sick days, I have still come down to my computer and at least checked on IRC. On vacations, I take my laptop which has all of my art software, and I log into my home pc to check on IRC. Either way you look at it, I'm an addict wink.gif.

Some people may look at that number and think that I'm crazy. To each his own. Others might think that is a good sign for the project. For me, I am proud of it. It is no secret that this project is still around much in part because of me. I say that frankly, but with some humility. I will not, however, take credit for the work being done, just for providing a place that work can be done, and being someone with passion who believes in something that most think is impossible. I believe that good talent and passion will attract more talented people, who also are passionate. Whether or not I am truly talented still remains to be seen, but believing is seeing, right?!?!

We have had one former contributer already break in to the biz, with Auran, and have another making his first attempt right now. I can only hope that this track record continues as Project Wish serves dual-purposes. Firstly, we want to make a game, and are serious about this endeavour. Secondly, we want to provide a springboard for those who are serious about making games, so that, should the opportunity arise, they can make the transition from hobby to career.

I also won't hide the fact that it has been my goal for quite some time to use PW as my own springboard, however, my road will be a bit longer, lest ye fear. Because I already have a family and a mortgage, my spring cannot be entry-level. I will only take that opportunity if it is equal to or better than my current standing. I would be willing to take a small hit, but I don't think that would be wise for my family. Because of that, I have to wait longer and be patient until my opportunity will arise.

So, what does that mean? That means PW will have to be one damn good project in order to make someone take a chance on me. So, from the project's standpoint, that means I will be motivated, and will remain motivated for quite a bit more time. In my estimation, it will take me a couple more years before I can have a portfolio good enough to break in at something better than an entry-level position. A lot can happen in the next two years for PW. I am certain that this year will be its most productive ever, and that we will slowly start to make some eyebrows raise as people get to see what we are capable of producing.

Here's to another great year for PW, with me there every day. Oh, and hopefully I will have time to blog a little more than 2007 wink.gif.
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Comments (1) · Permalink · Game Design · Not rated (0 votes)
Aug 8 2007, 01:59 AM
It has been entirely too long since my last blog post. Vamyen and I have been doing a LOT of research on game design as we try to (finally) get a true, real design done for PW. In my research, I have been frequenting more than in the past. I am even making appearances in the Game Design forum *gasp*. Okay, so I like to rant every once in a while. Well, tonight was no exception. The topic was Levels v. Skills. There has been quite a debate going on about this for some time (not just on gamedev, as you will see). I felt it was my turn to throw out some of my psych-babble analysis and predictions on the MMO industry.

Here is the quote:
This is another thread I've been eyeing. First off, I want to start out with some light reading. Opinions are great and all, but enlightenment can be found only through research and study, not one's own backside (I include myself in that comment).

"Classes (plus, If Quoting History, You Should Know It)" Damion Schubert (Ubiq)'s blog post regarding Class v. Skill - He starts the following blog responses
"Ubiq's a Classy Guy" - blog by Lum
"Stay Classy" - blog by Jason Pace
"Class Systems suck, Skill Systems Swallow" - blog by Ryan Shwayder (Blackguard)
"MMORPG Classes" blog by Steve (Sierra Kilo)
"Like School in the Summertime" - blog by Steve Danuser (Moorgard)
"Do Classes Suck?" - by Raph Koster
IMGDC Class vs. Skill Debate - Follow-up after a roundtable discussion
"Social/Political based MMO vs 'level' based? (Academic)" Thread here started by Talroth

Preface: I am going to assume that everyone is okay with me calling "Levels" a "class" system. For the most part, those go hand in hand, but not always. So, if you have an issue with that, state so in your comment so we can follow you.

This thread is rehashing the discussions that have already taken place. So where do we stand? I will state up front that I am a Skill-based proponent. It has been summed up nicely for us. Classes are easier to balance, easier to design, and just easier to get out the door. It has been mentioned that budget constraints are a reason why some designers shy away from a skill-based system. So, why is it that the topic still rages? I think it is because there is still a large portion of the gaming world that is looking for such a game. The topic keeps coming back because they have not been satiated since the days of UO (in my case).

We are now thick in an MMO market that caters to babies. That's right, you heard me. Obese, spoiled Dudley Dursley's. And what are the game designers/developers doing for them? They are giving them more cake...they are making it worse. WoW is a prime example. Give the players what they want now, without any thought of what sort of players they will become. Why does this matter? Becuase it effects the games we design tomorrow (or the ones we are designing now, for tomorrow). Players now have high expectations for their product. If it does not meet them, they don't just stop playing quietly, they go out in a blaze of glory. They flame the forums, they post on slashdot, they make their voice heard, to the detriment of the game they left. Essentially, they throw a tantrum.

So why am I mentioning this here in this thread? I am because that is what is going to make it hard for a game to deviate onto a path that only some want. Thanks to WoW (and others), we are now consigned to a niche market. Gone are the days where the true role player could bask in the glory of any MMO. We could pick any one of them and find something we liked. They were made for RPG players. MMO's are no longer made for us, they are made for the madden-playing, halo-playing, football watching mainstream. When the heck did that happen? Have you seen the debates on ESPN? Fantasy Football is what MMO's are becoming. There is money to be had, and designers who want it.

Okay, so I am getting a little sidetracked here, but I think it will all come back together in the end (I hope). My point is, I do not want a game like that! I want my nice skill-based game. I want to be able to do whatever I want in a nice virtual world that doesn't have these "others." Is this now even possible? I really doubt it. So, in this sad state, what is there left to do? Design and make one myself. Hopefully a niche market can reform and get enough attention to remind those who have lost site of what MMO's are supposed to be. They aren't fantasy leagues! They are places where we can act heroic and become the heroes we want to be. Who wants to farm gold? Argh!

So, we come back to Class(level) v. Skill. What does this have to do with the price of rice in China? This is where we draw the line in the sand and say enough. Enough cookie-cutters. I do not want to be delegated. I do not believe in a destiny that has been chosen for my by someone who wants money. I want to carve out my own future. So, I continue to rant and rave, but where does that get us? I'll make myself clear. I think a skill-based game can save the MMO industry from the Dudley's of the world. What is going to happen to this skill-based game? It is going to get trashed, griefed, picked on. It is going to suffer from what the industry has become. Then, it will press on, and in the ashes the phoenix will arise are bring forth a new generation in MMO design. Its a rebirth, an awakening.

Yes, this is all syrupy verbiage, but I think a sliver of truth lies within. I don't think a mainstream MMO is going to be able to pull this off. When there is money and publishers envolved, they are going to go in a predictable direction. It is left up to the indies, who are not tied to the puppet-master(s).

Specifically, I do not think a UO clone will do it. We (those who yearn for a skill-based game) have matured. The old isn't going to do it for us this time around. I think a hybrid system is what is going to take us to greener pastures. I am working on a skill-based design at the moment that has what I call "soft" classes. These are nothing chosen before you start. These are chosen only if a player wants to. They do not much more than give the player a title (like "warrior"), but the player can renounce his class at any time. This soft class will have some benefits, but only to those players who must have a class to find his place in the world. It will not give them any advantage over those players who wish to trek on without this distinction. The design is still raw, and is still on the chalkboard being worked on, but I hope its a step in the right direction.

I am glad to see that there are still so many who want to see a skill-based game out there. Indeed, it joys me to see so many of you (indies) working to create your own version of one. Hopefully (at least) one of us will be able stand as a beacon to those who are searching. May you fair well in your quest.
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Comments (7) · Permalink · Personal · Not rated (0 votes)
Jan 25 2007, 12:28 AM
Let me preface this with the fact that I have known of this person for quite a while. Many people who are respected in the indie scene also know of this person, as he also frequents many of the same sites/forums. There was a post on the Multiverse forums a couple months ago that had me scratching my head. The person in question posted a 2-minute "talk" he supposedly made at GDC Europe last year. The problem was not that he did it at all, it was that he made at a roundtable, but TOTALLY made it sound like he had given a keynote and was asked to speak. His name is not found on any of the lists of speakers, so I had planned to post a reply and call him on it, but never got around to doing so. Let me also preface with the fact that I know of him being banned at least 3 times from for misrepresenting himself, his "company" and his project(s). He is 17 (possibly 18 now) and supposedly has run his company for 5 years (since 2001). BTW, I have sources for all this information, I'm not making any of it up.

I do not go attacking people normally, but when I feel offended, I do not just sit and play nice. The recent situation started with an email that was sent to "" which I happen to check. The funny thing is that this is posted in some of PW's recruitment threads, and that is the only public place that email has ever been posted.

The email was as follows. I will try to hide the identity of said individual, but anyone who frequents the same sites I do can probably figure out who it is:
If your looking for MMO consultancy for specialized towards low budget companies and indie teams. Have a look below.

[Company name] has been around for some time within the design industry. With [game name] on our tracks we are more than ever engrossed into its development.

We have recently recruited on some small team of contract artists to help in a newly service we offer.

Many low budget game developers can't afford a good quality level of work, or some may not have enough time to get a decent amount of assets done and ready for in game. This is were we jump in. We offer many services for the developments community. These can range from:

* Game Design Consultancy
* All Genre & Type Game Advice
* Hire Game Designer
* Hire 3D Modellers
* Hire Level Designers
* Production Flow Advice
* Start Off Game Template (we create a basic game for you to buil up on)
* Engine & Technical Advice
* MMO Advice

We also sell templates for Design Documents and Treatments, from small FPS to Huge MMO's.

Currently we have a small amount of clients, from variety of communities. Multiverse, Torque and even RC.

One RC client "Jonny" from Realm Fighter was kind enough to comment on our services, also below is a preview of there up coming town.

::Up All Night:: says:
What do you think of our services?
Jonny // Realm Fighter // says:
Very professional service offered, with frequent updates including screenshots of the high quality graphics designed by a caring team.

Note: All Renders Are Work In Progress. Permission has been given to us to post them. All Copyright is reserved to there rightful owners
[omitted images that were obviously from this "client's" project. None of which were textured.

If you are interested or just want a quote for your team.

Email: [omitted]
Web: [omitted]

Thank you

I will let you judge for yourself, based on spelling, grammar, verbage, etc on how old you think this individual is. I decided to share this with a well-respected Game Developer friend of mine who also knows this person. We sometimes have a laugh about the things this individual does, but this one took the cake. I was outraged that he would think we wanted his help. This was a scam and made me sick, literally. This to me was just as bad as this advertisement that one can make an MMO with $249 ( Hilarious isn't it?!?!?

Keep in mind, also, that this company does not have ANY screenshots on their site. Also keep in mind that this so-called game of theirs has changed a bunch of times. The only screenshots posted were straight from the Big World tech demos and they mention 3 possible engines for their game. Starting to become clear?

So, with all that, I decided to express my feelings in an email reply. Said I:
[omitted name],
Sorry it took me so long to respond, I was deciding what to say. I am glad you are interested in helping, but do you think I am going to fall for that? I know you have hopes of giving others advice, but I am going to give you some. I have followed you on many forums, and seen you be banned and get a HORRIBLE reputation many times because of some of this crap. I think you need to take a step back, and work on your ethics. It is one thing to advertise a real product or service, but it is an entirely different matter to lie and stretch the truth, both of which you seem to have no problem doing. You overstate almost everything you have ever said, that I have read. It is absolutely atrocious and I am insulted to think that you would even think we would need help from you. Please read this entire contents of this email, as it contains some advice that could help you regain some of your badly damaged reputation.

I am not trying to be vindictive or mean, otherwise I would have done this in the many public forums which you frequent. I even defended you on the Multiverse forums, because I like to see people get a fresh start and a second chance. Now, from what I gather, you have taken that second chance and thrown it away. Rather than learn your lessons, you seem to continue to push the limits of human reason. That is not a good thing.

Let me explain some of the things as I see them, so you can understand what someone with a real brain might be thinking about your actions and some of the things you write/say.

First of all, recently, you posted in the Multiverse forums that you had given a Talk at GDC Europe. I do not doubt you attended, but you refer to that as a Talk and a speech in that thread. Both of these imply that you were a speaker. You know darn well you were not a speaker. I do not doubt you said those things, but it was at a round-table discussion. That is totally different than a talk or speech. You know good and well what bending those words means. You are trying to make yourself sound like an industry veteran and an distinguished member of the gamedev industry. We both know that this is just BS.

Second, your shenanigans make me sick. Not only have you been banned multiple times, but you do not seem to realize that it is for the same reason each time. You lie and bend to truth to make yourself seem like you are more than just a 17-year-old kid, who knows nothing of real game development. [linked thread omitted]

Remember that? I have more if you need more reminders. You have been called out repeatedly because of your devious and dishonest wording on your posts, making yourself seem greater than you are. It is not a coincidence that this dislike from forums seem to follow you around. People can sense the dishonesty.

Thirdly, your grammer shows your age and lack of professionalism. It is atrocious. You really need more than just a spell checker to make sense when you post. I have found errors in every single one of your posts across at least 8 forums. You have errors in your new site, and all your recruitment posts.

Lastly, your screenshots are not even yours. Quit trying to lead people on. Anyone with a brain will find out that you cannot back up your word because your work is crap. Sit quiet, quit recruiting, and start learning what you need. Put together more than what you have now, and quit trying to lure people. They will find out soon enough that you are just fooling them. Then, they will not only leave, they will spread more bad press about your already damaged company.

I have read so much information regarding your farce of a company, it just makes me sick. How could you found a company at the age of 12, and now, at the age of 17, have over 4 years of consultancy under your belt. That is utter bollocks. Do you never get tired of living a complete lie? Do you think you can hide behind the internet forever? I have so much more that it really makes me want to lurch. I will not continue giving specifics, cause you know as well as I all of your lies.

I will leave it at that for now. To sum up, my advice to you is to clean up your act and start telling the truth. You have so much more to learn. I really do wish you luck, and hope you eventually achieve your goals to become a game developer, but I warn you that it will never happen if you continue on. Do you not see that you will ruin your reputation (and I hate to use that word, because it is so far damaged at this point that you cant really call it that)? One day you will have to stop playing with Daddys money, and the games will be over for [names omitted].

If you would like any more advice, I would be happy to consult for you and help you get your things in order, so maybe someday you can gain the semblance of respect that is needed to actually make a game in this industry. I will keep this private for now, but I recommend taking my advice. If I see any more misleading lies on any of the forums that I frequent coming from you, you will regret it. The truth never lies, it hurts.

Erik Briggs (Jerky)
Project Manager & Art Team Lead - Project Wish

So, you could say, I was a little harsh. Guess what? I wasn't harsh enough. Here was the reply:
It was an offer for help and advice,but to be sarcastic and rude is another thing. Good luck in the future with that attitude you need it.

[name omitted]
[company name omitted]

Wow!? Rude, okay, I can see that... But sarcastic? No way. I was telling it straight. This envoked yet another reply from me:
[omitted name],
Please point out where I was being sarcastic. I was dead serious with every piece of advice and I hope you read the whole thing. Please consider your own attitude, ethics and dishonesty in the future and do not post any more lies in forums I visit. This is your last warning from me.

Erik Briggs (Jerky)
Project Manager & Art Team Lead - Project Wish

Well, his reply was to be expected at this point:
Stop being immature about it, you warn me? Un professional to say the least, Im sure a few of my colleagues would like to know the attitude of the team leader. Also point out what you want but are you the company with funding? Do you have a studio? When you do get back to me because thats when you can start warning me. Until then Good Luck!

PS. Please dont use this email address again your emails are not welcome.

[omitted name]
[omitted company name]

So yes, I warned him. The good news is he has not posted again on any of the forums. This was The very beginning of December, so maybe he got the point?! I doubt it.

So what spawned this? Sinbad (the main programmer of Ogre3d) recently had an experience with some kiddie which reminded me of this one. What else? I was checking another project's image gallery today and he had a couple screenshots of him replying to someone on the forums who sounded an awful lot like the kid who emailed me. Upon further inspection, I found a reference to his username, so it was him, once again. Its good to know that I am not the only one who is not fooled by crap like this. I take offense to someone offering me/us help who has less to show than we do. This kid may have his Dad's money, but he does not have any class, skill or professionalism. I am no the end-all, be-all hobbyist game developer, but at least I don't try and con people. One thing I pride myself on is telling it straight. If you want to know PW's status, I will tell you. I wont hide it so you think we are the best thing since sliced bread. Dishonesty doesn't pay. Maybe he should go into car sales?
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Comments (0) · Permalink · PW Development · Not rated (0 votes)
Jan 24 2007, 11:57 PM
Heh, its been too long since I posted. Lots going on for me in real life, work, extra-curricular, and PW admin duties.

On the Home front, we got sick around the holidays, visiting family and it stuck around for 3 weeks. It wasn't fun with a sick newborn, which kept us up at nights.

For PW, there have been ups and downs. We have received a number of boosts lately and a few downers as well. Lots of discussions etc that have been going on that have kept me from doing more actual development lately. For starters, we lost one of our strongest leaders, in the way of Melanthe. Things just didn't work out the way we all wanted sad.gif. She cited personal issues as the reason to leave, and she will be sorely missed. There is a large gap to fill now.

While I have been getting a lot of help in other ways for PW, things are still good. In a way, this whole process is always a great learning experience, even though it doesnt always work out the way we would want.

At work, I have had a lot of the clients that usually have me do all their work call lately, so I've been pretty well booked. Add in a bunch of weekend projects, and that makes for a lot of work, and no energy.

Got to feed the baby now, but I have a funny incident from the past month that I want to post. Something Sinbad said in a recent blog reminded me of something that happened to me. It really deserves its own entry, so expect it soon.
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Comments (2) · Permalink · Personal · Not rated (0 votes)
Dec 19 2006, 10:59 AM
Yeah, as if it was my choice. Probably 100 hours of billed time the last 2 weeks. Billed time does not count all the hours I am at work. Its all the hours I get to bill the client for. It doesnt include travel time, and some of our clients take an hour to get to, each way.

Well the time is nearing when I need to be finding something better to do with my time, preferably something that pays more.

I'll keep this blog entry mostly personal this time. New baby boy is over a month old now and he sure can fuss. Its not so fun to get home from work at a decent hour, only to have him keep you up until 3 or later. All that still doesnt change the fact that he is the cutest kid ever! Jerky must have good gene's or something wink.gif.

PW is still rolling. Its no big suprise when most people who join never end up doing anything. Unfortunatly, I don't think they realize when they join that it will require a lot of self-motivation and getting up to speed on their own. After almost 2 years of PW you'd think I'd get used to people breaking their word. On the other hand, just like my last two weeks, life happens to everyone. I'm pretty dang understanding, whether from sympathy or empathy. PW is noone's full time job as of yet, so we cannot hold ourselves to the same standards as other funded projects. It just doesn't work that way. Timetable, expectations, deadlines. They just don't quite work the same way here.

It also seems like the holidays are pretty hard on PW. Some people end up having more time, while others have less. You would think most Americans would have more time, but it doesn't seem to be working out that way. Students have tests and finals. Workers have crunch-time. I have new clients to take care of. Whisky Tango Foxtrot?

'til next time.
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Comments (0) · Permalink · PW Development · Not rated (0 votes)
Dec 9 2006, 05:23 PM
And wouldnt you know it, just when I am done with the website, Invision Power releases the newest version of IPB (2.2.0) just when I finished modifying 2.1.7 to do our bidding. To be very honest, I only know enough PHP to read it and understand, but I can get my feet wet. I learn from use, so I looked at some other plugins for the front page (for instance, the Latest Blog Entries was done by someone else) and then make my own based on what works. So, I've been busy. I created our own block for Random Images, Random Glossary words, Random Articles, Random Downloads, and Latest Bugs. The other blocks are addons I found, but some I have modified myself. I think I have the site including everything we used to have, and then some. Aside from skins, I am calling the site pretty much complete. There are a few more things I would like to tweak, but next on my list is skins, so be ready.
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Comments (0) · Permalink · PW Development · Not rated (0 votes)
Nov 29 2006, 04:56 PM
Those of you who visit the site often enough to know it changed recently may want to know what is up. Well, since I am anal, and love controlling aspects of our website, we needed a new version of the version we had. This meant I had to fork over some cash, but it was well worth it, imo. We are running Invision Power Board 2.1.7 with a lot of modifications. The following information is only going to be interesting to people who want to do the same thing as we have, but it also shows you how much work I have put into our website wink.gif. Here is a list of all the modifications that I have installed to make the site what it is:
  • 2 different portal systems, I finally ended up with bfarber's
  • bug tracker 1.1
  • custom pages 1.1
  • auto mysql backup
  • downloads system
  • ftp system
  • uploads dir maintenance system
  • extra statistics system (can be found at the very bottom of the forums, next to the lo-fi link)
  • glossary system 1.1
  • IRC plugin
  • Spell Checker addon
  • articles system 1.2
  • Blog system
  • links system
  • Custom dropdown menus
  • quick banning for moderators
  • tutorials system
  • Image gallery system
  • minor plugins for the portal
  • and more
I am posting that only for informative purposes, and to let you all know that a good site takes effort. I am not even close to being done with ours. smile.gif
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Nov 24 2006, 04:39 AM
Well, there has been a reason too. I have been a tad busy with my son being born and all wink.gif.

The website is now finally started to get ironed out. I finally decided to bite the bullet and get the latest version of Invision Power Board since it was needed. The version we were using was not up-to-date and did not support some of the modifications we needed. Blogs was the main thing. Why did we need this? So we could finally get rid of the 2 site design, with the front page and the forums being 2 seperate DB's etc. With this being almost done, things will start to flow much better. I will work through the Thanksgiving holiday everyday to finalize the site features and look, and then we should be solid for quite a while.

For PW stuff, we have been doing a lot over the last month. With Melanthe coming back into full swing, and Vamyen helping us out on the wiki, we have been getting many important things ironed out.

I have been designing our first avatar, so it can be done correctly for character customizations. It is going to be a pretty complicated design, so expect some time before we can unveil anything.

Anyways, my son is asleep next to me and its getting late (almost 4am). Til next time.
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Oct 14 2006, 03:45 PM
Well, we just turned down the 4th offer ever to merge with another project. That is a whole other entry in and of itself, so I will save the summary of that for another time.

In the mean time, with all the new recruits, a question keeps coming up more and more often. People may think this is a cop-out, but in answering the question in an interview, I figured I would answer it and post it here.

The question is:
Is there anywhere specifically where the game as an object is described with the type or ideas in mind as for the game design and interfaces? I've been reading a lot of the forums and trying to give ideas and just see how everything is corrently listed but I either just need to read a lot more OR there is no real centralized point to find the information I'm looking for.

My answer is something like this:
About information, your are correct, there is not a centralized source of concrete information about the game. We have a Trac server which has the design document, but it has remained a shell for quite a while. Most of the information is on the forums, which comprises a collective vision. Believe it or not, most people that are members of the site do remember Wish, since most played it. Between all of our memories and good experiences with other games, we have been putting together pieces that will make up the game. Many times we have discussed the issue of designing the main aspects of the game, but have put it off. There are a couple reasons for this. A) We want to get the technology aspect done to the point where we know we can proceed with the rest of the game design. This means putting effort forth effort toward getting the client and server ready. This also means we need the initial framework, which will need to be extensible. Many games like this go through the motions to make a document, only to break it later, change it, or just give up and quit. That is a lot of wasted effort. The next reason is cool.gif We focus on the community more than most. Having the discussions in the forums allows the community to participate in the game, and give them something to do while we work on the structure that the game will be built on.

Neither of these answers are meant as an excuse for not hashing out a perfect design document. The fact of the matter is that this is not "true" game development. We are hobbyists, so there is no set way of doing it "right." Having been here for 1.75 years, working on PW, we have learned that things cannot be run the same way as a real dev team would do it. This seems to be one of those things. It isnt fair for developers who were here at the beginning to have designed the game that they will not be finishing, since they are no longer around. We push things back to make sure that those who are designing will aslo be the ones implementing. This means we are unorthodox, which some people do not agree with, and we cannot blame them.

We run things a bit differently, but we also let the facts speak for themselves. We let people judge for themselves. Those who have a problem with this are allowed to have their own opinions, but those people most likely leave the project. This has its good effects and its bad effects. It is good in the sense that someone who was really looking for a reason for this to match their own vision (and not ours) is now gone. This means that those who stay, are those who want to stay. The bad is that it does not look good from a conventional standpoint. However, this comes back to the first point, wherein these people are coming in with expectations, which are not always best for this project. We are ready to back up our actions with more actions, which we have been doing.
Those who think this sort of gamedev should be run more like a real company are justified in thinking this is a cop-out answer. The simple fact, however, is that its apples to oranges. This is different, and so it can't be held to the same standards and rules. We can strive for the best, and come out with professional quality work, but the main point remains, and that is we got there via a totally different path.

Anyways, the merger talk gave me a great opportunity to analyze the current state of the project. It also made me question everything about the project, from whether we can really do it, to are we doing it correctly.

After doing all that thinking, I have come to a conclusion. And that is ....

We are doing exactly what we should be. We are ahead of the game in some areas, but those that need the most work have been pointed out long ago, so the truth is that we are on the right path to do the undoable. We have a few real game developers come and visit us on occasion to check up on us and help us out, and each time, we have gotten confirmation that we are making good choices and doing things well.

Yes, for being 1.75 years into a project, just having DWARF to show does not seem like much, but, how many make it 1.75 years and have anything to show? And, on top of that, at 1.75 years into it, how many other projects are stronger than they ever have been before? I am not trying to toot my own horn here, but I am saying, I regret nothing. It has all been part of the experience. We are where we are and we are going where we are going. Simple as that. We reevaluate constantly and strive to improve ourselves, our processes, our teams and the project and I think we are doing a great job.

Conclusion: PW is stronger than ever and has never had more momentum or a better chance than it does right now.
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