July 2006

Yes, I’m Sure You Have Some Tremendously Witty And Not At All Racist Comment Involving Farmers

Gamasutra has notes from an interesting talk on the history and nature of the Chinese MMO market.

In explaining some of the essential characteristics of the Chinese online gamer, Singman cited Deutsche Bank/iResearch findings on exactly why Chinese gamers want to play online games. According to the research, 16.44% of respondents want to do it to meet new friends, 15.60% to get special game items, 11.54% to accomplish missions, 9.90% to explore new game zones, 8.94% want PK (player versus player) ability, and 8.81% to ‘become a master’.

Just Assume I Made A Bad Pun Involving Bullets Here And Move On

Firefox 2 has crashed about 9… whoops, no, 10 times trying to make this blog post. I’m sure some will find that fitting given that this is a post denoting J. Henderson’s post mortem on Shadowbane and\’c2\~Wolfpack Studios. Wolfpack is now Stray Bullet Games. What’s the difference now?

In March, Ubisoft announced that Shadowbane could be played for free, with no monthly fees attached. Dahlberg said that could continue, though “alternate revenue methods” such as in-game advertising or even going back to the classic monthly fee are under consideration. Both present challenges to design as well as business, but Dahlberg said Shadowbane’s upkeep was “not very expensive right now.”

Oh, OK. So like Wolfpack, but without pesky\’c2\~things like “reliable income sources.”

Seriously, given the number of MMOs under development in the Austin area alone (I’ve heard mindboggling estimates like “around 30”) one more studio couldn’t hurt. It sounds like Wolfpack/SBS is moving on and making the MMO they want to make, with no compromises! It’ll be brutal! Only for the hardcore! Maybe they should contact some fansites.

Sorry, I just can’t turn off the snark today. Maybe if I could find a web browser that didn’t give me FIREFOX.EXE errors.


This Week’s “RMT Is Rilly Cool” Story

…is here. Apparently, done with the help of IGE for fact checking.

“Twenty to 30 percent of gamers out there in the world object to the buying and selling of assets in the virtual world. … They don’t feel it’s fair. They think it’s cheating,” said Thomas Morelli, a spokesman for IGE, a major broker of online items.

Many gaming companies, such as Blizzard Entertainment, developer of the globe’s most popular game, World of Warcraft, ban the resale of virtual assets. The company has shut tens of thousands of players’ accounts, but can’t seem to halt the trade.

Millions of gamers think the trade is fine. A thriving business has popped up on auction giant eBay and other sites selling virtual assets. Buyers say they want to enjoy the games without spending hundreds of hours working up to levels where it gets fun and frisky.

You hear that? MILLIONS. You cranky curmudgeons tired of monopolized content and spam in your virtual emails are just blips in the New Millenium!

The article does have a lot of interesting anecdotes about life in Fujian’s newest growth industry, something I suspect IGE has much source material on.

“I Can’t Bring Up This Server Without My Buddy Superfly”

The latest from John Romero’s exercise in REAL ULTIMATE MMO POWER is this:

Are you interested in joining our amazingly talented and highly motivated superstar game development team? Are you supercore enough to survive our hyperdimensional environment???!!

It’s good to see that Romero has learned humility and the perils of overly hyping projects that don’t exist yet. Otherwise I might have to make a new topic icon. JUST FOR HIM.

His project’s been announced for what, 2 days? And already:

What ever you guys do with the game, just make it so you can loot bodies, and pk without the BS. Kinda like Ultima Online back in the days.

And so, it begins.

I miss Shadowbane, don’t you?

Well, It’s Certainly Named Correctly

Ran into this today, of interest to history nuts:

Operation Unthinkable“: a study by the British government of a possible option in response to Stalin’s imposition of a puppet Polish government. That option being invasion of the USSR.\’c2\~

This study was done in May of 1945, literally days after the fall of Germany, and while Japan was still in the war.

It’s All About Location

In Northern Virginia, I learned quickly to answer “programmer” whenever anyone asked what I did for a living. Any other answer only served to confuse them.

Here in Austin, when I answer “game designer”, I get “Cool, do you know anyone at Company X?” in response.