Arrrrrrgggggggg give me me free stuff

Of all the blogs on the internet I think Cliffski Mumblings is among my most favorite. I always look forward to getting updates on his game making progress and somewhat enviously reveled in his progress. Today’s post talks about piracy and his plans to add a “phone home” protection feature to prevent it. Piracy is a topic that can quickly generate a lot of passion and very different view points in the indie gamedev community. I tend to lean towards the “ignore” philosophy because I think most pirates won’t buy the game anyway. They are simply morally bankrupt, irrational and their nothing is one can do to change that.

In the post, however, Cliffski brings up the gray area of ‘casual piracy.’ This is the type of stealing that happens when people start to feel that “everyone is doing it and I’d be a chump not too as well.” This happens because the average individual hasn’t asked themselves the simple question, “What would happen if everyone pirated?” Or more personally, “What would happen if everyone pirated my (or my employer’s) product?” The answer to these questions would sober any “casual pirate” in a second because it isn’t hard to see that the world would become empty, and anything of value would disappear because work would have no reward and poverty would be the smart choice.

In the comments Hamumu has some really interesting ideas about giving the player an incentive to go online and rewarding those who are legitimate buyers. I think these are valuable strategies and I wonder too, if somehow getting the “casual pirate” to ask himself what a world of pirates would be like might be useful too.

Videogame market set to double by 2011

“According to the study, the videogame market will expand from $32.6 billion in 2005 to $65.9 billion in 2011. Online and mobile gaming will be the primary source of the growth, while the rest of the market will see growth, but to a lesser extent.” (Link)

That sounds like good news for Indies!

It’ll ship when it is ready

GameDailyBIZ is reporting, “Sony will not be releasing the PlayStation 3 until the company is completely prepared.” (Link) They didn’t have any quotes that I felt confirmed this view, but it is an interesting idea. A few game development companies operate in this manner. Id, Blizzard and Valve have all put off releases until they where ready and it paid off in the high qualify of their product, loyalty of their fans and a nice bottom line. This policy often looked down on because it make retail scheduling and buzz building difficult.

I think that is short sighted. In the long run, making great games is way better for sales than any of these supporting processes. If any thing, it sounds like the supporting process are too ridge and need to be made more flexible. This is the first time I’ve heard it from a big company like Sony. In some ways I think it makes sense because more and more video games are an art form and art doesn’t exactly work on a schedule. It is also cutting edge innovation in many situations. The bottom line and the gaming public are better served by products that not only work, but expand expectations.

Gamer’s brains work better, but I still wouldn’t want my kids to play them.

Studies show that gamer’s brains work better and are more resilient to aging.

“A new study of 100 university undergraduates in Toronto has found that video gamers consistently outperform their non-playing peers in a series of tricky mental tests. If they also happened to be bilingual, they were unbeatable.”

Ironically the researcher ends the article with the typical anti-game blather: “I’d still be plenty concerned if my child played them all the time,” Prof. Bialystok said. “Sure, they’re getting better at rapid search and response problems, but I really would prefer my child read a book.”

Devil is in the details, right?

I recently got my hands on Game Architecture and Design. So far I’ve been impressed with it and I’m going to try and follow it chapter by chapter and apply it to my game Alien Sovereign. I’ve been working on a document for a couple years now catching all my ideas and refining things, which is a cross between the Treatment that the book describes in Chapter 2 and a first pass at the Game Spec described in chapter 2. It is causing me problems in structure department, oh well.

I think, I hope, this book has kicked it into my head that I’m really lacking on the details for my game. I’ve come across the idea in other books, but until now I keep thinking that somehow I’d work out the details while I was coding. Instead it has been a big barrier to coding because I get lost as to what to do next, which leads to procrastination via tinkering with new technology and the like.

I’ve also been playing with the new Alpha 4 release of T2D and some of the new tutorials up on TDN.

T2D release Alpha 4!

Garage Games has release Alpha 4 of T2D 1.1 and it is a more complete release than the previous alphas.

New (and popular) directory structure
Level Builder
Updated documentation and tutorials
Turn Based Networking!!! (Its there, look around!)
No public Link currently. (Link for licensees)