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Romeo and Juliet, Act 2 Scene 2

2 Comments | This entry was posted on Sep 03 2013

Whenever renaming something gets discussed, Romeo and Juliet will get brought up. Maybe not immediately, but eventually.

Recently, we made the decision to rename our boardgame, previously Hexit, to Unbound: Endless War.

This was not a decision made lightly, especially since we have been calling it Hexit for quite some time.

What really surprised me is the number of people who have come forward to tell us how much they liked the old name more. This was surprising because we have heard so often about how we could do better for a name than Hexit.

Personally, I am happy that they cared enough to complain. Don’t get me wrong, the points that were brought up were good ones and did get talked about extensively, but I have to admit that it was kind of flattering to have people get upset over the name change. It shows that they are invested, which gives me high hopes for this game of ours.

To that end, Anthony and I thought it best to take the time to explain our decision. I realize that some people will still prefer Hexit, but hopefully they will appreciate the reasons behind the change. If you are one of those people and would like to discuss it more, feel free to send me an email and I will be happy to continue the conversation.

So, here are the reasons behind the change.

  1. The old title made our hexagon based strategy game yet another game involving hexes with the prefix “hex” in the title.
  2. There is a lot more that is important thematically in the game besides hexes, such as the exploration, the fluid board and, of course, space.
  3. The title Unbound is more appropriate for us to create a game universe around and provides an opening for flavor text.
  4. We hope to one day use this game and the things surrounding or associated with this game on other platforms and media, and having “hex” in the title seemed binding. Sure, having books or movies or television shows in the game world is an extreme long shot for us, but us having gotten this far was a long shot. Who knows what the future will bring? Maybe we will get lucky, and we are making plans for if we do (and plans for if we don’t, but it is good to dream).
  5. We are working on an expansion or two, (multiplayer!), and Unbound: Rebellion or Unbound: Revolution sounded better and seemed to fit more than Hexit: Rebellion or Hexit: Revolution.

Truly, I appreciate everyone’s input. Again, if you still feel strongly about the title Hexit, feel free to contact me.

Thanks to everyone who has shown support for our game.

And if you haven’t played our game, Unbound: Endless War, feel free to download it here. It is pay what you want, even nothing (nothing is fine, we just want you to play).

-James-

Cliche Studio: Hexit, stage right.

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Feb 10 2013
Hexit Strategy Cards

New cards with art

 We’ve updated the Rules for Hexit Strategy and James has rendered a pdf with the rules and print outs for those of us who don’t know us personally to be able to play as well.

Spread of Cards

Spread of Cards

We’ve also included a new special card from the first test version, an explosion hex which reveals and destroys surrounding hexes once it is revealed. Since it reveals the surrounding hexes before it destroys them, this can potentially cause a chain reaction.

Explosion hex

Big Bada Boom.

 

So please if you’ve read the updates before and wanted to try it out yourself, feel free to download the pdf and let us know what you think.

Fortunes feedback

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Sep 28 2012

So I’ve pulled back some from the grimace kickstarter to focus on getting feedback on fortunes. So now I’ve got to make things more intuitive to help people figure out what to do. Things aren’t as bad as they are confusion wise because there was one major flaw hindering people figuring out how to play…

The rules button appeared to do nothing.

I say appeared because it actually told the browser to bring up a window to load a pdf of the rules, but pop-up blockers have been preventing it from loading. I originally tried to load the pdf in the current window but it just replaced the small box for the game with the pdf and that is not an acceptable solution. So I need to go through and create a dialog to page through the rules and show that instead of just handing off the rules pdf.

This may be better though since I can make this tailored to the video game reference as the pdf is specifically explaining the game as a physical card game. I still want to improve the UI a bit more so that it is not as necessary to go read the rules page in the first place. It’s time to grind my UX skills and polish this game up some.

What user interface quirks bother you about fortunes or other games?

Fortunes update – working on UI

2 Comments | This entry was posted on Sep 22 2012

So I got some feedback from reddit that people were confused about what to do when playing fortunes. Surprise to me, I’ve been working with this so long everything seems pretty natural.

So I’ve made two changes recently to help make things more intuitive. I greyed out the cards you can’t play instead of just having there name turn red, and I worked on getting double click support in.

When I added the ability to drag your cards to play them I took out the old click to play. This was to prevent mis-playing cards which was admittedly mostly in preparation for the mobile version. This I think made things less intuitive in the web version. Hopefully this fixes things.

If you haven’t already had a chance or you want to see the new updates please take a chance to go play fortunes now!

Avatar Strength, Luck, and Player Strength

0 Comments | This entry was posted on May 31 2012

I came across an interesting post about different factors of success on reddit today which was pretty thought provoking. Avatar Strength doesn’t have much to do with any games we’ve made as of yet but there is a balance of luck and player skill to fortunes.

 

Earlier on in the project I was concerned about things potentially being too far on the luck side of things for fortunes but James reminded me that it makes sense thematically to be a bit more on the luck side of things for fortunes then I’d normally be comfortable with doing. So yes there is luck to fortunes, but that just makes your victory all the more exciting when you come from behind with poor luck to win anyway.

 

In other news I am almost done with the NGUI overhaul for fortunes, it is looking much better now and I’m getting excited about the progress. Would any of you readers be interested in trying it out before we release it into the wild for a public alpha?

Our foray into the Edge create unity3d competition

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Mar 20 2012

Since we are ahead of schedule with programming for fortunes we are entering the Edge Create Challenge

Edge create

Edge Create Challenge 2012

We came up with a game for their theme of ‘edge’ that we’re tentatively calling Just Deserts. It is about a struggle to preserve an ecosystem on the verge of dying out. We’ve got a good working prototype with programmer models going on right now.

Beautiful programmer models

Are any of you taking part in the edge competition? Let us know in the comments!

Development #1

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Nov 29 2011

So I’ve read woot commstoday and they mentioned 5 great reasons to start a developer diary. My favorite of these are staying sane, and feedback.

In the past I’ve written slightly more but about more broad general things, the industry and concepts instead of concrete things like what I’m working on. I think that, in part, is why there has been trouble trying to get engagement. So here we will try and foray into the more concrete. I know way to bury the lead huh?

I’ve been working on an android app we are calling Marco Polo for now. Apparently the name is taken and we’ll have to come up with something else when we release but it works as a working title. It’s kind of a mess as its my first time working with android and despite knowing java I’ve still been learning a lot.

I’m currently working on testing framework which I probably should have done much earlier in the project to try and help debug and polish the mostly functional code at this point. Debugging smart fox server has been an interesting challenge. I spent some time with Junit and the client software to implement fake users but hit a snafu when trying to use more then one fake user at once. Fortunately updating my version of smart fox server provided some NPC functionality on the server side. The past few week or so has been trying to shape that to what I need it to do.

We are also planning on incorporating a neat service called kiip, which is basically attaching real world rewards to achievements in games. So when we get this integrated properly people will be able to get free stuff for doing awesome things in our game, and we may be able to make enough to cover server costs.

Things are really starting to come together and I’m really glad to have my business partner James and my fiancee Gina believing in me and helping me keep slogging on in the dips and lagging periods of this project.

We are also plotting our next android project which will be based onthe card game fortunes. The game is a tie in to the “The Way of the Gods” book series by Barbara Friend Ish which if you like fantasy you should go check out a copy.

I promise I’ll work on making these less ramble-y in the future.

The Power of Social Games

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Nov 07 2011

One thing that is really compelling to me about games with a social focus is the way in which you get drawn in. Thanks to the network of people you know, there is a myriad of points of entry that can get you to play a game and to keep you playing.

I’ve just had a recent encounter with one of those entry points. My goddaughter, Sarea, just invited me to play a game with her on Google+. Now, I wasn’t planning on playing games on there, but since she asked me to, I knew I couldn’t say no. So, now, before bed just about every day, I intend on playing this game.

I don’t know how many people she has playing with her, but I do know a few more can’t hurt. If anyone wishes to join my goddaughter in her quest to kill zombies, (a goal I whole-heartily endorse), just send me an email and I will give your user name to her so that she can invite you play to play.

Further Gamifying Accounts Receivable

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Sep 13 2011

In the not too distant past, I talked about how to use game mechanics in accounts receivable so as to help ensured that a business gets paid, but what about the people who are doing the collections?

Accounts receivable is tedious and draining work that involves a lot of repetition, so why not use game mechanics so that it is more engaging, rewarding and yields better performance out of the employee?

Applying game mechanics to business processes is tricky, because the last thing you want to is trivialize the work or condescend to the employee. For me, coming into a job and hearing someone say, in all seriousness, “Let’s go play the Accounting Game!” is the stuff of nightmares, and I love accounting.

So, how to use game mechanics in collections? Thankfully, this is relatively easy to do, since collections enjoys a clear goal, the collection of money from accounts.

To do this, the best approach is not to create a game and insert it into the collections process, but rather, take what tasks employees already perform and make them into a game.

To start, assign a point value to every percentage of the total accounts receivable ledger that a particular employee is responsible for. Doing it as a percentage is important, since different employees are responsible for different accounts and will have different amounts that they need to collect.

Secondly, depending on whatever criteria is used at your company, assign each invoice a rating category from new, to concern, to critical, or whatever ever gradients work for your company, and with each gradient being worth different point values. Also, add a point bonus for every time an employee clears all of the invoices marked for a rating category, except for new. For critical invoices, for every critical invoice not collected, subtract points from an employee.

This begs the question of what to do with invoices or amounts that have to be written off. I believe the best solution is to remove points from employees for invoices, accounts and amounts that are written off that they are in charge of. This disincentivizes write offs and will encourage employees to be more aggressive with troublesome accounts. Mind you, the point deduction for a write off should not be as severe as the one for not collecting from a rated critical invoice or account, since the decision to write off an amount should be agreed upon by management.

But we are not done, when an employee collects from an invoice and the payment is posted, your accounting system needs to post, immediately, the gain in points for the employee in a place where the employee can see it easily. This can be just about anywhere, from an intranet site to a scoreboard in the office.

It is important to have these scores publicly available to other employees in the company, for this increases not only the social pressure to perform, but also it increases the participating employee’s perception of the status they gain by performing well.

I would not stop at points, however. Instead, incorporating achievements into the workplace can also have great affect. These achievements can be based upon any number of things, be it being the first to clear a rating category within a month, to collecting a certain amount over the lifetime of a person’s employment in the collections department.

What is great about achievements, especially ongoing, public achievements, is that they provide an emotional reward for a job well-done without costing the company extra (though do not be surprised if they are used as an argument for a raise during the annual performance review).

By doing these things, not only does a company increase engagement, but they also create greater job satisfaction and make better use of the competitive instinct. Another advantage is that it enables companies to identify those players that consistently bring good value to the company. Yes, coming in first within a period is a good thing and should be celebrated, but it is more likely that the top performer will constantly change hands. It is that person who continually comes in the upper-tiers, even if they never place in the ranking, that are the backbone for any company, and these are often the people who are overlooked in favor of rewarding the occasional big winners and punishing the low performers.

In short, by using game mechanics in collections, companies can ensure their continued productivity and cash flows, and be less reliant on debt-financing.

Gamifying Accounts Receivable

2 Comments | This entry was posted on Jul 24 2011

Unbeknownst to many people, many successful businesses die due to a lack of cash.

Sounds weird, doesn’t it?

It is because most businesses sell on credit to other businesses. On paper, the company is profitable, but at the same time the company’s cash reserves, which they use to operate the business, dwindle to nothingness.

To combat this usually offer incentives for paying quickly, such as a 2% discount if the receivable is paid within 10 days. This is a good thing, as it can build up to significant savings for the paying company.

This idea of added incentives is well developed in sales, with higher discounts given to larger orders. This allows companies to show a larger paper profit, if a smaller margin, and attract investors. However, it does not keep the company afloat.

What I think a better solution would be, and is applicable outside of providing physical products, is better developing the payment portion of the business cycle.

Imagine this: A company gets .5% off their bill for paying within 10 days. They do this 3 times in a row, they get 1% off. 7 times in a row, they get 1.5% off. And so on and so on until a maximum discount is reached.

Outside of discounts, a company could offer other incentives to paying early by partnering with other business, like offering frequent flyer miles with a partner airline. Or perhaps hotel discounts. Or sales discounts with an electronics company.

If a company wanted, they could further increase the incentive for paying early by issuing a press release of top ten customers, not based on orders, but on payments. This would give the paying companies greater status and reputation, thereby increasing the incentive to pay.

So, by using game mechanics in one’s account receivable policy, a company can increase their chances of survivability, and not just post potential paper profits.