Friday, October 18, 2019

A Mediocre Video of the Snow Maze in Wograld

So here is my latest Wograld video.  It was just done using recordmydesktop from

the command line in Gnu/Linux.  I didn't do any editing or anything of this video and it shows.  In the last one, people said the fan was too loud, now you cannot

hear much of anything in this video. Acutally, I kinda suck at video creation.

Some days I wish someone else would play my games, poke fun of how much

it sucks and then put it on their Youtube channel.

You should enjoy this video anyway though because it is alpha. That means

that lots of stuff will be replaced and changed before beta, cause beta is the

stress test.  (like I'm not already stressed enough about this.) Basically I show how gnolls drop dead from catching a cold.  Fortunately, most people do not die from getting colds or we would mostly all be dead.

Friday, August 9, 2019

A visit to the Wograld angel zoo and zoo

So, in an effort to promote my game, I am doing more videos.  This the first in a series of videos to

let people know that the game exists.  It probably doesn't really do it justice, however.

Since the posting of this video, some of the graphics have certainly been updated.

I'm trying to replace all the old ones from the wrong perspective (not 45 degree isometric) that were put into crossfire, and then resized, (but not re-proportioned for wograld.)

I just read a couple days ago about how you need to do videos of your game, so I am trying it. I have some other ideas about how to achieve more publicity, but I haven't tried them yet.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Monetizing Wograld, a Guide to Avoiding Evil

  Game developers have families. They should be able to support them solely with their game development efforts. Hence, games need some way to monetize, that is to make money. Game developers should not depend on handouts from family members who do not even like gaming, such as grandma who doesn’t play games. Instead they should make money from those who do play games, but who have decided that they would rather do other things with their time, and find other ways of making money, other than in the development of games. If game developers are the only ones who support other game developers, you end up with a situation, that is much like the sad situation in life coaching, where the so called big money is in what is known as coach coaching. The people who could really benefit from the service are ignored, in favor of people of think they need the service, but probably don’t. 

   So, now that we have made the determination that game developers need to make a decent living, we are left with ways that games can make money. Much of the time, free software zealots have made software as a service to be some kind of evil, evil like facebook, twitter and microsoft, stealing your private data for corporate gain. On the practical side however, people still use servers, and in some cases some sort of centralized, or semi-centralized server makes technical sense. Everyone wants to federate everything, and while that is a laudable goal, as a practical matter people just visit other people’s web servers all the time, if only to do some online shopping. 

   So, first of all, we need to remind people that this is just game data, your character, your characters stuff, and statistics stored in some remote location on the internet. It isn’t all this personal information about you, the person, but rather some avatar completely abstracted from the person playing it. Secondly, we need to remind people that online games do have benefits not achieved in single player games, benefits of dynamic content and social interactions. This does not mean that every game can, or should be an online game. Some games are single player, and should just stay that way, paid for in advance by people who want it developed, rather than collecting royalties for every copy sold. But for those multi-player games, server hosting is a perfectly ethical way to make a living. 

   Now, just setting up a server does not make a game developer rich, in fact it cost money, both in hardware and hosting, so all the more reason to justify charging users for using it. But users are loath to pay money for something if they don’t even know if it is any good. Hence many servers give out something like cheap trial memberships, with a limited set of features enabled for free accounts, while paid accounts get more features enabled. This is a great way for game developers to make money. 

   Sometimes, this is not enough, and naturally game developers want to make as much money as they can make from developing games. So, game developers came up with the idea of loot boxes. These are random items that may or may not enhance game play, either by allowing characters to progress further in the game faster, allowing them to do things they could not otherwise do, or by changing a characters appearance. 

  Let us take these ideas one at a time. First let us discuss the idea of progressing in a game faster. Some people like to spend money on games to progress faster because they have a real job and not a lot of time to play games. They want to keep up with all the kids who have stupid jobs, and no families and come home and play games for hours on end, not to mention the no lifers who have some kind of disability and spend almost all their waking hours on the game. Hence, the need to sell faster progression in a game to users so they can be competitive with those who have too much time to waste on the game. The mechanism of spending real life money to go faster in a game only makes logical sense, and does not ruin anyone elses game play of spending hours grinding for in game currency. 

   The second idea, adding items that allow characters to do things in game they could not otherwise, is almost always a terrible idea, especially if it is a limited time thing that gives people advantages over others who did not get the item. If the item is always available, it isn’t much of a problem unless it is insanely expensive. As far as things they could not otherwise do, this is only acceptable if it is a minor thing that has little direct effect on game play, say opening a hidden chest with extra gold in it. If it becomes a major game changing item, then it amounts to problems. All the not rich players will quit, and the rich players will quit because the game got boring since they have no one to play with anymore, and playing on an empty server got boring. 

   The third idea is a purely cosmetic item. This has the least impact on game play, and even if these are limited time items, it still has limited impact on game play. In spite of the fact people love to dress up their paper doll cutouts, pets and houses, cosmetic items are relatively non-controversial in games. That doesn’t mean it is without controversy, only that it causes much less issues. Cosmetic items can also be given out for special supporters of the game, such as people that did things like testing, bug reporting, or even in the case of a free software game, actual development. 

   In addition to the concern about game unbalance changes, there is a concern that the randomness of loot boxes promotes gambling, and lures underage kids into wasting thousands of dollars on a parents credit card, because they don’t know what they will get on a random loot spin. Many games made the goodies random because it encourages the spending of more money in hopes of getting the good item that the player wanted to get. 

   While I admit I haven't made up my mind on whether random loot boxes should be allowed in games, I will qualify it with the idea that making a game proprietary software is far worse than loot-boxes. If players don’t like the loot boxes and think they are unfair in a free software game, they can take the feature out and run their own servers. Perhaps they are fine idea for some games, and wildly inappropriate for others. Personally, I do not think they belong in Wograld because the game mechanics in Wograld are simplistic enough for a younger audience to enjoy so, it would probably be better to leave them out and avoid the controversy.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Why I started a patreon account

When I first considered making a patreon account is when someone on reddit mentioned that I should do it.  I already knew several other creators who had made one.  A lot of them in the free/software culture space didn't' seem to get much money from it, so I figured it would be a waste of my time.  Then I changed my mind. I read all kinds of things, like wait till you have a big following to make one, or do it as a last ditch effort. 

I read this horrid page where some guy sounds like he is begging for money, yet he still got over 1,000 a month, that is less than minimum wage, but still, he got the money because he is semi-famous.  I realized more and more it has nothing to do with cool rewards you get from subscribing or the merit of the work being created, but rather, how popular the creator is, that is how many people know about his or her work, that more or less determines it.

Free software has a marketing problem.  We make so many cool things, but people would rather pay micropayments for mobile games, waste money on a fancy graphics rig and play games that are boring (with terrible game play) or buy indie games on steam, only to deal with the fact that none of these options have the modifiability or customization options of free software games.

Why do we do it?  Traditional proprietary software offers easy monitization options for the developer, including micropayments, pay once and we are done (as long as you still have the account/drm key/ disk), or pay a subscription fee for monthly online access(mostly replaced with micropayments for cosmetic items or even to get through the game faster).  The developers take these options, but if they fail to market the game properly, they still make little to no money at making the game.

But here is the thing, making a game free software with free cultural assets does not really change the monitization options all that much.  You might think, OMG! its so revolutionary, but it is even less revolutionary than the old Red Hat business model. You can still sell virtual items on a server and charge for "premium accounts." Yeah, the source code and art work is free, but server admins time and hardware is not. As far as single player offline games go, there is always the pay up front before the game is finished model.  That is people pay before it is even done. Once a game is done, you don't need to pay over and over every time you make a copy of the disk or put it on a different computer.  Its not like the developer is actually doing any additional work because you made another copy of some game, you did the work, not the original developer.  Same thing if you decide to modify the game.  It just makes sense for people to be paid for actual work done, rather than the printing of fake money.

So in conclusion, I think that we should pay live people for work they actually do, rather than dead people who arn't doing anything anymore, and despite what they ancient greeks thought, we don't put coins in dead people's eyes anymore.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Why PVP based Multi-Player Online Roleplaying games should be open source

This is a post based on a reply I made on Reddit.  When I read the initial post, I realized how my game is using the power of open source to solve some inherent issues with PVP based Multi-player Online Role Playing Games.

The first issue mentioned was performance.  While open source itself does not help directly with this, the Wograld policy of keeping system requirements low helps a lot with this issue.  Who cares if the graphics are beautiful if you can barely play due to the frame rate.  Forget about pvp then, because performance will be so abysmal for many people that you will hardly be able to pvm.

The next two issues are things that are directly resolved through the useage of open source for both the client and server of the game.  Bugs were explictly mentioned.  A lot of games (I'm looking at you Runescape.) have ongoing bugs that are never fixxed even though the developers probably know about them. With open source, the playerbase can directly fix bugs and actually commit a fix in order that the bug just goes away.  Eric Raymond is famous for his quote "With enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow." Well, now by having all the code, both client and server open source, it will be shallow enough that finnally the bugs can get fixxed.

The second issue deals with game balance.  Ideally, the developers will understand game balance and how communities work.  They should understand the underlying dynamics, and while they should listen to the players, they shouldn't necessarily give them what they ask for, instead they should make a game that creates a healthy and thriving community, and not one where all the players quit over time because game balance is too broken. Sometimes, the developers fall into blind spots and never actually understand how communities work.  If that happens, the original game code still exists and the community itself can fork, and players can play a balanced non-broken game instead of a broken one.

The last issue mentioned deals with cheating. Some people think closed source software somehow prevents or lowers cheating, but looking at all the closed source proprietary games with cheating problems proves that closing up the source code does not prevent cheating.  Instead, some games though they could prevent cheating and still have certain calculations running on the client side.  Cheating can be prevented by running things on the server side.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Twelve Years of Wograld Development, a Look Back on My Biggest Mistakes

When I started Wograld, I had no idea how much it would effect me and completely warp my life. I honestly wish I had had a different time coming into my early twenties, but unfortunately, twelve years later, I cannot imagine things any differently. I do suggest if you have a passion for something more worthwhile than game development, do that instead, don't waste your life. Unfortunately, I do know people who won't listen to me, and who will do game development as a hobby or even as a career regardless of what I say, so this rest of this post is for those people, or people thinking about becoming one of those people.

1. Not learning to code sooner and not putting more time into coding. Coders get a lot more respect and have a lot more say in the direction of a project rather than writers, artists or musicians, so learn some applied logic people, sure, it might suck, and segmentation fault might suck, but do it anyway, do whatever you have to to learn it. I mean whatever, and then keep practicing.

2. Believing that marketing is just traditionally pretty boothe babes in high heels and has absolutely nothing to do with your open source project.


If no one ever hears about your project, no one will ever test or play it. You can't rely on the open source community to care about your game, you have to reach outside that traditional demographic because almost everyone in the open source community falls into one of the following demographics

1. believes games are a waste of time and wishes they would go away or

 2. already has their own game project they are working on. 


I wish I would have taken that life coaching class earlier. Sure, it might have seemed like an utter waste of money to some people, but it was where I finally got introduced to the concept of marketing, and I started to actually think about it in a different way, rather than as some kind of evil to be avoided at all costs.

3. Not worrying about burnout, at the same time not realizing that I can't give up even when I sort of want to give up.


There are a lot of abandoned partly finished projects for a reason. People get busy with life (hopefully, the other possibility is to awful to think about but unfortunately has probably happened to some developers) I didn't have a way to sustain my focus and attention. I distracted myself with playing really bad repetitive games, like diablo2 until my windows 98 machine died, because I was just too miserable to do anything else. Don't do that people. You do have to play games so you know how to make them, but once you understand the basic game mechanics and have had fun, there is no reason to play them over and over again while they make you feel sick. Its like eating a bunch of icecream because once upon a time you enjoyed it but now you are puking up your guts.

4. Not having the humility to work on other peoples' projects.

This is a really really hard one for me to admit. I started my own project with this big ego, thinking like I would be the next Linus Torvalds of game development or something. It seems funny now, or maybe just a bit insane, well okay, a lot insane except for the lack of a word salad. Instead, I should have worked on other open source projects, sure that horrible open source roguelike that kills newbies when they so much as look at it isn't going to be my favorite, or that real time strategy game with ugly graphics, but if I had worked on projects even though I didn't enjoy playing them very much, i would have gained valuable development experience whether it was in code, artwork or something else. I suggest you do so too even if you have your own pet project that is going to be really awesome and not tedious like open source game x, that you have decided to work on for a bit instead. Alpha testers are always wanted. Please download from the latest git, compile and run it, and not from he releases that are probably already out of date (unless for some reason the project has things that don't compile in master, but I don't think most well run projects do.

The project should have from 1-20 active developers, and by active, that means commits to the repository within the last month. On the low end, you might not get a response for your help, on the high end they might have more newbies wanting to help with the project than they can possibly use.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Wograld Alpha 0.1.0 newbie tower

I want people to know that, yes, I did release a video on the awesomeness of my
game development.  These days it seems everyone wants videos, so alright, here is video.  Go clone the git right now , read the README, compile, run and start playing!!!  Alpha testers, there is still time to get involved and shape the future of
this game.