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Featured on Eye for games

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Aug 16 2012

We’ve got our first press mention! On the sixth an interview Rai Sewgobond did with us got posted up on Eye For Games. Things are looking positive.

As a side note we are also working on a kickstarter for a side project so look for news about that once we get some more details worked out.

5 reasons for Cliché

3 Comments | This entry was posted on Jun 24 2011

So I want to talk a little bit about why I’m here. Maybe we can get James to talk about his reasoning later.

  1. I want to create interesting worlds
    borderlessworld
    World building has been a past time of mine before I even knew the term for it. When I was young often in play I would take the imaginary worlds presented in games, books, and other media and try and extend them. I often wish I could literally create parallel realities just so I could mess with how they ticked and play with how they worked. As you can imagine I am a fan of SimCity and other simulation and god games.
  2. I want to create tools that help other people create their own interesting worlds
    Some of the things I want to create, especially in the realm of AI are tools. I think the creation of well made tools would encourage others to be more adventurous with experimenting in the realms those tools cover since they lower the cost of doing so. It doesn’t hurt that I’d have fun playing with the tools myself after their creation.
  3. I want to be captain of my own destiny
    Just like Captain Sparrow

    Just like Captain Sparrow

    My current day job is fantastic, but I’m still working for someone else. I have to work on the projects they decide and drop them for what they dictate is a priority. One of the most free times of my life was while I was unemployed shortly before the current job and I got myself out of depression and starting working on personal projects in the downtime when I wasn’t applying for jobs. Cliché will be a lot of work, but if I can recapture that magical sense of freedom in the process it will be worth it.
  4. I want to play in interesting worlds
    If I don’t build them who will? The tools fit into this as well. Hopefully by contributing to the industry through our products and the dialog between the industry and gamers here we can help make more interesting worlds happen everywhere.
  5. Doing something scary is a good way to grow as a person
    Starting down this path has been scary. Once I’ve saved up some money taking the next step and quitting my job will be even scarier. But we grow as people in my opinion when we face frightening things despite them scaring us, and I think I am growing wiser and more confident for persuing this endeavor.

Do you agree or disagree with any of these reasons? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

No country for old screenshots

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Feb 07 2011

So Despite labeling the last screenshot post screenshot Saturday, there was no updated screenshot this past weekend. Unfortunately there wasn’t much graphically different between the two days. In addition to the coding work on this project, I’m trying to design this site to make it look better, and working a full time job to boot.

My point here isn’t to complain about my schedule but to talk about what isis getting done. I have two somewhat tricky commands left to implement and then we get to start working on the user interface. I am also organizing the project and investigating rally to help get things more streamlined going forward.

Are any of you game designers or programmers? Leave a comment and share what you use to organize your projects/programs and whatnot. We’d love to hear from you!

The Man Who Sold the World

5 Comments | This entry was posted on Jan 16 2011

Not too long ago, I read an article about the development of economics in games:
Everybody Wants to Own the World

Mostly, the article discussed about how a world’s economics are becoming more a part of games, but also how developing cash sources are becoming more important than other aspects of character building.

One snippet caught my attention, though, “Eventually, I am overflowing with cash, which now allows me to get into all of that expensive equipment relatively easily since I now have the cash to be the hero that I need to be.”

You see this a lot in games, so much so that in every game I can think of where you have to buy goods, eventually you can become so flush with cash that nothing is beyond your reach, and this bugs me. True, a person can do this in the real world, but it is a lot harder (trust me).

One of the reasons why it is so easy in games is that money only has value for one person in the game-world, the player. No one else needs money. Sure, shops ask you for it, but nothing is done with it. It just disappears. Since there is no need for money outside of the player, prices never change, allowing the player to amass vast fortunes that do nothing for the player after they get whatever the most kick-ass equipment exists in the game.

Such is true even in games like Fable III. (Spoilers) After you take over, the world needs cash, so you have to raise it either one way or another. This may sound like this would be pretty cool, except that it is easily done. Just buy up the world and wait. Since the game doesn’t advance until you advance it, but your money accumulates based upon how long you play, you can just sit and wait and you will eventually have all the money you need and them some. And after you get enough money to put into the treasury, what do you do with the money you continue to accumulate? Nothing. Nothing at all. Sure, you can buy all of the equipment in the world, but that won’t even put a dent into your vast fortune. Plus, as an added bonus, the kingdom never needs money again.

Though that may appeal to some people, I see it as a problem. As such, I have a few ideas as to make this a non-issue:

1. Make the player character need more things than equipment. Make it so that they need to eat regularly. This will make it so that the player has to spend money regularly.

2. Necessitate upkeep and maintenance of properties. Fable III did this, though it was too cheap. I would also include the development of properties.

3. Have prices change based on supply and demand. Now, this is a bit more difficult, as you have to have a system in place to determine supply, a system in place to determine demand, and a system in place to determine how much money is currently in circulation. This will make it so that players will have to manage their money much more closely.

4. If you run a country or town or whatever, a system for tax rates, as well as upkeep and development costs. This is something I would have very much liked to have seen in Fable III. I mean, why can’t I keep the orphanage and turn one of the money properties I own into a brothel? Why not better develop Mourning Wood? How about restoring the fort to keep the Hollowmen at bay?

5. Speaking of property develop, military development as well. Even though I never control the army in Fable III, since I have insane amounts of cash, I would have gladly spent it all just to give them the nicest uniforms and equipment, even if it didn’t affect the game. Why? Just because I could.

6. If you own a ton of properties and shops, or have a staff, or an army, their salaries should be an ongoing cost.

These are only a few of the ideas that come to mind. Are they easy? Not really. Are they worth it? Absolutely, they will keep me playing, and the more I play, the more likely I will buy DLC.

Still, though I applaud the inclusion of economics in games, I believe that it should be as richly developed as all other aspects. Otherwise, at some point it becomes forgettable or useless.

-James-

Social and Cooperative Gameplay

1 Comment | This entry was posted on Jan 11 2011

One thing I can count on Ant for is interesting a new things to read.

Recently, Ant sent me a link to an article about Asymmetrical Cooperative Gaming. It’s a really neat idea. Basically, it is creating games that are a fusion of genres in which players of different kinds of games can play together in the same space at the same time. It reminds me of a project that one gentleman at SIEGE was involved in.

In that project, players were supposed to assume different roles in which to command a starship. One person would be an engineer, another a pilot, another the captain, another a gunner, and so forth. All players had to be involved in order to play. As impossible as it may be to believe, the project didn’t get far.

And that is too bad. It’s a good idea. And the game talked about in the article sounds like fun.

It’s not a new idea, either. You talk to any gamer and ask them what their dream game would be, and it is almost invariably a game that does everything. They want to kill things, and build things, and they want the things they do to be persistent, and the want to own a shop, and farm, and solve puzzles, and run a town, and command an army, and take over the world, and be the bad guy, and take down the bad guy, etcetera, etcetera.

Of course, when you talk to game makers, the answer is that such a game is not possible, too hard to build, or simply not feasible.

Well, I think such genre-bending games are possible. There are no physical or mental reasons why they would not be. What I think is the problem with such games such as the one mentioned in the article and the unnamed starship project is one thing, synchronicity.

See, we don’t do everything at the same time in order to get things done. We do things when we are able to or when they are required of us. True, there are tasks in which things need to be done in tandem, but most things do not require that. Think of an office worker. Most jobs in an office are dependent upon other people in the office. Each person needing something from the others in order to get things done, but none of those things are ever delivered, or even worked upon at the same time. Each worker gets their piece to where it needs to be whenever they do, and usually by a certain time (hopefully). When the task at hand is completed, all of the workers share in the experience of having the task or project done, no matter when they contributed their piece.

Asynchronous cooperation and competition, I believe, is the future of (and, if you played games on BBSes, the past of) gameplay. For example, a friend of mine’s stepfather used to play the same RPG she did on the original Nintendo. She would go and further the story, but when she wasn’t playing, her stepfather would spend all of his time trading items from port to port. When she would get back to her game, she would have a bunch of money to help her in her quest and further the story. When she stopped, her stepfather would have more ports and goods available to trade in and with. They were both playing the same game, and they were both gaining the joy of accomplishment, but they were involved in two radically different activities.

Think of what this would mean if this principle were applied to modern MMOs and guilds. Many different players with many different gaming styles and preferred genres could share the same successes and experiences, without having to resort in gameplay that does not appeal to them, or during times that are not convenient to them. This would not only increase the audience of the game, but also increase the emotional investment of players, as they would have an even larger group that they are connected to within the game.

Now, imagine that same MMO, but now, everyone has to do their parts at the same time. Imagine an office where all tasks had to be worked on at the same moment. Both fall apart and are way to complicated to design elegantly, but, if you take the synchronous actions out, things slide into place. That is why I believe that asynchronous play will lead the charge in the future of multiplayer games.

-James-

Oh God, this is so Cliché

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Oct 11 2010

For me, that joke is never going to get old.

My name is James Kempf, and, in partnership with Anthony Thomas (aka Ant), we have created Cliché Studio.

Besides providing lots of bad jokes, Cliché Studio is primarily focused upon social mobile gaming, or, games that take advantage of the smartphone as a unique platform and its social aspects.

In the meantime, we are currently involved with Mercury Retrograde to create games to expand the worlds of their different properties.

Wish us luck.

-James-