A few months ago I have written an article about CPUware – an idea, that players could pay the game’s authors with their unused CPU power. There is a problem with this proposal though – there are few obvious ways for the project to consume this power and even fewer ways to monetize it. There is some market for computing resources, for example rendering farms, but this has a lot of specific requirements – like security of data or installing the rather heavy and possibly expensive rendering suite on all nodes – that make it unusable in CPUware scenario. Few days ago I have found one possible use though – Bitcoin.
As I said previously, I have spent last few years developing Bulletstorm – a commercial, high-budget, so called AAA, primarily console focused, FPS game that is on its way to become one of the better known titles of 2011. It has been developed by my studio, People Can Fly, in cooperation with the biggest players in the industry – Epic Games, Electronic Arts, Microsoft and Sony. Due to popular (that is, Quobdup’s) demand I want to share some insider observations about the development of such a big game, that I think can be valuable to the FOSS gamedev community.
Hello. For the last few months I have been completely absorbed by the final struggles in the development of Bulletstorm. This left me with virtually no time to do anything else. Now as the game is heading towards publication I am finally able to resume my free software gaming activism, starting with this blog.
What will change? The biggest change will be broadening the blog’s scope. Previous approach, that is focusing mostly on improving free software games development process, was too limiting and I simply did not always have ideas on the subject. So, what new topics can you expect to see on this blog? Here are a few ideas:
- game designs – sometimes I come up with game designs that I think are quite smart, but that I do not plan to turn into actual games – either because they would require way too much resources, or because despite being smart they just don’t turn me on; anyway, I will share those designs with you, to see what do you think about them, perhaps someone will have an idea how they can be further developed;
- game making philosophy – these will be my general ideas and opinions about creating games that are not strictly relevant only to Free Software games;
- technical ideas – I am a programmer, right? Sometimes I have ideas that are of strictly technical nature and to claim the “I thought about it first” award I will post them here;
- advice that I am not going to follow – so far I have followed the policy of publishing only those ideas about Free Software games that I was going to follow on my own; now I will also publish those, that for some reasons I am not going to follow – mainly due to some personal traits and conditions that make it difficult in my case;
- artistic creations – this will be the extension of the “Drawing for the Programmers” series, that will include stuff like 3D models, drawings, animations etc. – generally I want to show you that with proper attitude any programmer can rise above creating “programmer’s art” and become perhaps not a great, but a competent artist; for that purpose I am currently putting myself through the production process of some assets for a hypothetical game and I will show of the results as soon as I have them; I will probably share some general tips and tricks that I have gathered along the way as well;
- music – I am considered a good pianist by some; for a long time I have been pondering the idea of recording some stuff and putting it on the net, so if I ever muster the courage to do it, I will obviously post it here too.
I haven’t yet decided whether I will engage in any FOSS game project. I suppose I will engage mostly in myself-directed, probably small, indie-style projects. I know this is a rather selfish approach, but unfortunately seeing that I am already implementing AAA commercial titles as my day job, “just” implementing a game is not going to cut it for a hobby – I need creative control to keep me interested.
I will probably drop PEG (Post-apocalyptic Economic Game) or put it in a freezer for now. It is a big project and I have been unable to isolate the minimal core gameplay mechanics that could be quickly implemented and that would sound fun to play. Or perhaps it has just been abandoned for too long and lost its “fresh” appeal. Or perhaps I am just not into economic games enough to create something like it.
I have a few ideas for new blog posts, but no backlog, so I can’t put up any schedule to when they will be published. I hope you will find them interesting once they are done.
Another idea about possible ways of capitalizing on your player base. Fairly simple one too. For the tl;dr haters and #freegamer patrons – I propose gathering computing power of your players’ computers – a resource that they do not fully use anyway – to benefit the project. I will call this “pay with cpu time” scheme cpuware.
That’s probably not very hot news, but Peter Sunde, one of the creator of The Pirate Bay, is creating something called flattr. The name is obviously a portmanteau of flatter and flat rate. It is a “social micropayments” system in which consumer can pay a monthly flat rate (probably of his own choice) and have the system distribute this money among musicians, podcasters, bloggers, programmers and other content creators of his choice – possibly even game makers.
I have created a news section on the main page of PEG wiki. I will try to separate my personal blog and PEG news, but for now the blog has more readers and so I do some advertising here. If you are actually more interested in PEG project then my personal ramblings, you can subscribe to the RSS feed of the main Wiki page or the Recent Changes page.
Also – I do not know if you have noticed, but Wikipedia has started a donation drive. Remembering how much inspiration Wikipedia’s example gave me and how much time daily I spend on Wikipedia, donating was an obvious thing to do. If you have some loose money and feel the same, please consider donating too. For those impulsive types there is a Wikipedia donation banner on the blog’s sidebar.
Hello my dear readers. I have put up a wiki for the Post-apocalyptic economic game – temporary code name is PEG. The link is here. Editing is open for registered users. I hope you don’t mind me self-hosting it.
Hello my dear readers! I have been neglecting you for a few months and for that I would like to apologize. The reasons were numerous – subsequent attempt to write my thesis, important milestones at the studio and choice and purchase of my first car. But now I am coming back. It will probably take me a few days to get up and running again, but now that I am motorized I do have some more free time in the evenings and I hope that I will be able to put it to some good use beginning next week. In the mean time I will try to restore some contacts in the FOSS gamedev community, catch up on the progress of PARPG and perhaps even setup a site for the post-apocalyptic economic game thing. I hope I will be able to write something more interesting in a few days.
Hello. Today I have something special for my readers. An actual game idea in the form of a hight concept document for a game. The general idea is to create a city building/economic game set in a post-apocalyptic world of PARPG. I proposed the idea a few weeks ago on the #freegamer and most interested people, like TheAncientGoat and mvBarracuda, seemed to like it. I also like it because it allows us to test the commundo ideas with two games in it right from the start.
For the last 3 weeks or so I was polishing out a high concept document. This is a document that is supposed to present a vision of the game, perhaps describe a few unique ideas about it and not to detail the game design in every possible detail. Many mechanics that are quite certain to be included in the game (like some sort of a combat system) were not described. My main sources of inspiration during writing of the document were: Fallout RPGs (mainly the third part), Fallout Tactics, PARPG story design documents, Settlers II, Anno 1701, Dwarf Fortress and Majesty – The Fantasy Kingdom Sim.
As an aspiring FOSS game creator I stand before some dilemmas and questions that I think may be common to other creators. One is that I have many game ideas – much more than I think I am able to turn into full game projects. Therefore I have to make some tough choices, which is hard without any other input than my gut feeling. Second, I feel there is a sort of unspoken premise of developing FOSS games – that you will be able to attract some contributors and make your games bigger then what you could ever do by yourself. But it is wiser to create small games, as big project require large initial investment before you will have a working product to show off and without that it is difficult to find contributors. Third, is the question of how to perform preproductions – without them it is rather hard to get the gameplay right, but they lengthen the project and move away the moment when you have something playable to show. I write about those questions today because I think I have found a possible answer and I would like to discuss it.