Hatchlings Games

Web Gaming 2.0 Revolution

First post!

For a year-old gamedev company, it took us pretty long to come up with a shared blog.

This is no-wing from Hatchlings Games. I hold the fancy title of ‘Creative Director’, meaning that I’m supposed to be in charge of anything creative, from the concept document to the placement of plush toys in the office – Just kidding about the plush toys part, but we have quite a number of them lying around. I wish I could snap some pictures, but the camera isn’t around… a later update I guess.

Right now we have three other guys (two guys and a girl, to be exact) who’s working on this project, and I’ll just let them introduce themselves. It’s supposed to be top-secret so I can’t talk that much about it. So check out your nearest retail store next summer when our game is released for all three next-gen consoles…

Oh, who am I kidding.

Yeah yeah, I admit that we don’t have the cash to hire fifty programmers and 3D artists to make some generic MMORPG with the most realistic clouds and puddles. And in a time where it seems that graphics is king, we’re losing out quite a lot.

But then came this little concept called Web 2.0.

Here’s a quick development history:

So we decided that we’re making an online card game. Not your standard Texas Hold’e, but a collectible card game, like Magic: the Gathering (which I’m a big fan of) or Yu-Gi-Oh (not so). We didn’t want to make a cardboard version because we’d rather spend the little money we have to hire programmers to make the most realistic card-flopping action, than print a couple million cards to gather dust in hobby stores everywhere.

So we thought, since we’re going to make it online anyway, why not make full use of its digitalness… digitality… digitalitude… I mean, why stop at just making a clone of a paper card game? And while we’re at that, why stop at making a client-baed card game? In fact, why stop at making chat rooms when we can have a whole online community?

Being ‘the mechanics guy’, I drafted out the first list of cards to be put in the first set. While I was printing and cutting out tiny paper prototype cards for playtesters, something just felt not right. I threw away the scissors, fell on my bed and slept for three hours.

As far as I know, CCG (collectible card game) developers have been very picky about its playtesters. They just get a select group and ask them to playtest the hell of their upcoming card set. We don’t have playtesters – those ‘friends’ who so enthusiatically volunteered to help out eventually said they were too lazy.

So we brought the game back to the drawing board. “Look,” I told Slade, the head developer, “We don’t have playtesters. So why not we just release the cards online and let whoever test them out?” Now Slade, being a fresh Web2.0 convert, happily embraced the idea. We took another few days to mull over it, then Slade came up with a spark of genius.

“Since the users are going to give feedback anyway, why not we just provide them with the basic tools and cards, ad let them modify the hell out of the cards?”

OK, the original line was much longer than that, so let me give an explanation along with some opinions.

First look at this M:tG card:

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Mr. Prodigal has 1 power (considerably weak), 1 toughness (dies to anything), has a damage-dealing abiliy and wears a goofy goatee. Ever thought that he deserves to be beefier… or had more fashion sense?

Why not?

We at Hatchlings don’t believe that game developers should be gods over their created worlds. There are tons of fans as well as aspiring game designers who’d sell their soul to be in a gamedev team. There are a whole bunch of great artists out there who never get to show their works resume after rejected resume. There are heaps of writers there who write fifty-thousand-word fantasies about their favorite characters.

What if you have a game, so customizable that you can have every one of them involved?

And out of laziness, a lack of resources and the eagerness to ride on this new Web2.0 wave, we took this leap of faith and never looked back.

Thus, [ ] the trading card game was born.

(We haven’t decided on the name yet… that’s a task we’re planning to throw out to our users. No really.)

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December 18, 2006 Posted by | Drama, Encephalon, Game Development, Web Gaming 2.0 | 2 Comments