Hatchlings Games

Web Gaming 2.0 Revolution

Quasr Alpha Tournament Screenshots

There were some interesting games played and interesting bugs killed. Here are some screenshots:

Quasr Alpha Tournament 1 - masa vs fishy

Tournament favorite masamunemaniac vs fishy (fishy POV)

Quasr Alpha Tournament 1 - kuan vs crazyplayer

kuan (red) vs crazyplayer (blue)

To be continued…

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June 30, 2007 Posted by | Quasr, Quasr Tournament | 1 Comment

Encephalon in Production : Day 13

An older blog draft by Roshan. I thought of posting this up for old-time sake.

8th February 2007

Dear bloggers, we are facing some minor problem in the production team. There will be reshuffling of roles in our team with more additional team members within a few days. Especially, the web development team should have more web programmers.

Last night, we attended a meeting by MobileMonday. It was amazing to blend with people from various backgrounds. Learned a lot from the successful entrepreneurs who were present yesterday. It shows how fast is the Information Communication Technology (ICT) industry is moving in Malaysia. Not to forget the lovely food and beverage served.

June 30, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Game Development, Quasr Updates, Working Environment | Leave a comment

Rushing into Quasr Alpha Tournament

Here is the report from Jarod posted on BaseCamp, our internal project management site.

Date: 29th June 2007
Time: [GMT +8] 9am – 1pm

There were some hassle of getting the game to deploy to production because of some bug here and there. It took some time to settle everything. We chose to implement various temporarily fixes for the tournament. The game started with many Hatchlings Games members in the lobby; some with duplicated usernames (johntan and DrAlpha, jarodfjk and bartholomew).

We had a problem with the spectator mode as it was not fully tested before deployment. Fortunately there were no critical problems for the moment that didn’t have at least a temporary and quick solution. So we proceeded with the tournament.

One of the problem we encountered was with a game that ended in a weird way. Full details of this game and others can be found in the forum. Also, the recently added spectator mode created some hassle for players. The first tournament game between johntan and fishy ended with their win/lose record swapped. johntan lost but was awarded a win and vice-versa. The same problem occurred with the game between Augustine and Zy Hao.

Some of the problems we had were:

  • Game viewing problem with the card view display in not correct style.
  • Aspect froze game temporarily.
  • Number of draw card is not displayed correctly.
  • Whacker abilities are still not playable.

My (jarod) conclusion:

  • There is a minor problem with the code structure for data implementation. [fixed]
  • Spectator mode will be disable until further notice from Zy Hao. [fixed]
  • johntan/fishy and zyhao/augustquasr wrongly recorded win/lose requires some fixed Kuan. [fixed]
  • Kuan and Zy Hao still has to identify the card and board viewing matters. [fixed]
  • For the aspect-froze-game bug, we come to a conclusion that it might be caused by a network connection related problem. There were no major indication on the code side.
  • Kuan is fixing the whacker’s ability.
  • I received feedback that the new UI looks quite nice and that the fonts in lobby are too big (impact all caps).

Extra Note: Overall I satisfied with the current situation of Quasr as we eventually move on to second stage of debugging. We all (Kuan, Leong Kee, solid, Augustine, Kwang, Zy Hao) fixing it all night for the launch of Alpha Tournament. Some decision been made temporarily to enable the tournament going as planned.

I just thought of sharing that with you guys. There were many more games played during the second session of the tournament and lesser in the third but overally the tournament was good. Too bad I was sick again (one of my internal nickname is firegod) or I would have played some more games. I am proud of the guys and hope that the tournament will provide many insights that can be turned into a great game.

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Quasr Alpha Tournament is near!

Good day everybody! For your information, Hatchlings Game Studio will launch the first Quasr Alpha Tournament this coming Friday and Saturday. Details

I am very excited because both the testers and the development team can have fun competing in the tournament and at the same time they can share their ideas and opinions to improve Quasr.

Besides that, players can learn strategies from other players. They also can share ideas to create new strategies. Something like Immobilizer+Whack. More strategies to be discovered, so do drop by our forum!

If you are not an Alpha tester of Quasr yet and would like to help us test the game. Please www.quasr.com.

Your participation would be a great support to us!

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The evolution of Igna, or how Quasr isn’t Magic

(Note: This article requires the knowledge of the game. To learn how to play Quasr, please visit the Quasr website to sign up. But I’ll try to make it as general as possible.)

Now that Quasr is online for some time already, I figure it’s about time to talk about the design and development of the game. I’d start with a general article, but it seems like I’ve written it already. Check out “The color pie and the color salad bowl“. I’ll go into slightly more specific subjects, in the mean time touching on some history of the game, and how did it come about.

I can’t talk about Quasr without mentioning Magic: the Gathering – Indeed, if there’s one game that changed my life, it has to be Magic. Back in early 2000 I was studying high school in Singapore. I just checked in to my dorm after the year-end vacation, when I noticed my room-mate and few other friends playing ‘poker with pictures’ in the room. It didn’t take me long to get hooked to Magic. Now, studying abroad under scholarship and staying in a Presbyterian hostel isn’t the best time and place to start investing in a ‘Satanic’ (as my teacher puts it) game. I’ve gotten into a fair share of trouble which I don’t want to mention again.

Two years later and I was in junior college. That meant a new dorm as well as new room-mates. Among my five room-mates, one was, for a lack of better terms and I hereby ask you, Michael my ex-room-mate, for your forgiveness, a chess freak. While my other room-mates were quite accommodating of playing any game, Michael and I seemed to be at two ends of the gaming spectrum. I never understood chess for the lack of strategic thinking, and he never understood Magic for reasons that I don’t know. Oh, and there’s Edison, who doesn’t play anything other than Diablo 2, until I introduced Magic and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City to him.

Quasr, then titled ‘Battle Chess’ for a lack of imagination and product research, was born in search of the middle ground between Chess and Magic. The rules are a combination of both – defeat your opponent’s ‘King piece’ (the Aspect) using cards from a deck you build. There were numerous iterations between the first design and the current one (In fact, the current version that you see on the site is undergoing some changes as well). These changes happen when we learn new things that we never knew before. One thing we did not know was how strong direct damage can be.

Due to the expanding nature of the game, one of the aspects of Quasr design was conserving design space for future use. For each ‘faction’ (in quotes because of the lack of a better term;we wanted to change it but have not thought of a replacement yet), the idea was to pick a strategy and go all the way with it. This leads to several problems along the way, but right now I’ll just talk about ‘Igna’.

Igna was one of the three starting ‘factions’ of Quasr. Each of the three factions corresponded to a creature stat (Windia, whose details I shall leave unwritten for now, corresponded to the now-obsolete ‘Movement’ stat, or how many squares a creature can move per turn). Igna’s stat, as it turns out to be not too hard to deduce if you have played the game, is Attack (ATK). Igna’s creatures have been big-fisted and small-butted ever since the first card list, as the saying goes “Offense is the best defense” – When you’re busy attacking, there’s no need to hold back. The idea of ‘attacking’ extended from just creatures to Hacks, the ‘spell cards’ of Quasr. This is where the problems started, and the whole point of this article.

There was this one little card in Magic that I stole into Quasr:

Shock felt generic enough to be in any card game that had creatures and combat. It feels just like ‘extended combat’ – attacking with something else when your creatures can’t. Thus, a similar card found its way into Quasr’s set file.

THIS deals 2 damage to target creature or Aspect.

The ‘R’, which stands for ‘Range’, is the card’s cost, defined by either the number of rows or columns between the player’s Aspect and the target, whichever is greater. Soon enough its cost was increased to R+5. It might not even make it past the next iteration.

Balance is a tricky thing. Just because it’s a common that doesn’t get played in Tier 1 decks in one game doesn’t mean that the same card would not dominate in another game with slightly different rules. The difference – the board – turned out to be not so slight this time. Whack, in a land of one-grid-per-turn movers, was considered ‘cheating’. It was the gun in the fistfight, the Brazilian in the Malaysian football team. It could take out a creature from a distance, or a finishing blow to an Aspect being hurt by similar cards (Igna is full of these). While the Igna player gains no card advantage by scrapping a creature with Whack (what is known as a ‘one-for-one’ trade), it makes up by gaining the player tempo advantage – You save the amount of turns used to move towards your target and attack it. This advantage is even more significant when a creature can only move one grid per turn, a rule implemented to counter the imbalance of fast movers. (We’ll talk about this another time.)

Playtesting makes it so clear that the addition of the board into Quasr makes it so much more different from Magic. A more experienced game designer might spot that out immediately but hey, we’re all learning.

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June 26, 2007 Posted by | Game Design, Quasr | 4 Comments

First Quasr Alpha Tournament

Hatchlings Games proudly announce the first ever Quasr Alpha Tournament .
Below are the details for the Alpha Tournamnent :

Date : 29th June 2007 – 30th June 2007

Time : [GMT+8] 9am-5pm , 9pm-5am

Prize : Special promo Card for top 3 players.

Be an alpha tester to join our Tournament.

Continue Reading:

I fell in love with WarCraft: Orcs and Human

For the past four weeks, I have been on a Blizzard Entertainment binge. Almost every year, the feeling of overwhelming admiration for the legendary game developers will strike and I will be inspired. It has struck again but this time it is stronger and deeper.

As an entrepreneur we have role models, usually other entrepreneurs and their companies. We judge them by their product, service and life’s impact to the world among other things. We see their products everywhere influencing every part of our lives and we dream that one day we will be as successful as they are. Most of what we know about these companies we know from reading. My favorite company is Blizzard Entertainment. It has a profound influence on today’s youths. Since its inception, the legendary game development studio has affected the lives of every young people in the world – directly and indirectly. It certainly has affected my entire life. Even until today, it is influencing my decision in the studio that I co-founded, Hatchlings Games (Just in case you are not reading this from our corporate blog).

My first experience with a creation of Blizzard was the original WarCraft: Orcs and Human. I first saw the game in the year 1995. It was during a usual daily visit to the game shop at Atria shopping complex (the shop is still around today). They (the shop) have a PC used to display the latest games. Sometimes they allow customers to try the game on the PC. During this day, there were many people (usually older than myself) surrounding the person in front of the PC. I didn’t know what was going on but joined the crowd.

I ended up standing there for two hours before deciding to buy the game. Of course I can’t BUY the game at that time; I still have to ask my mum. My parents are extremely supportive of my gaming habits so they brought the original box (with floppies) for about RM250. Eventually we (I made the decision, my parents paid) bought the CD-ROM version which has voice overs and cinematic scenes for the introduction, victories/defeats and scenario briefings!

WarCraft was a process on my AMD 486-100Mhz PC with 32mb RAM for at least 5 hours daily. I began to sleep way past my bed time and had a solid reason (I thought it was) to skip school. WarCraft kept me occupied until C&C: Red Alert and C programming (in an attempt to create WarCraft!). I know I am a super geek.

Some of us here at Hatchlings have played Blizzard’s earlier game, The Lost Vikings. As for me, I did not know of the existence of it until four years back. Anyway, the I don’t really have a point for this post. At first I was going to post my latest research on Blizzard which would be useful but I wanted to make good. As you can see, I am not a good writer. I have insights, debate about them and apply them to my life, game design process and Hatchlings Games but I am a real noob at writing.

June 22, 2007 Posted by | Games, Gaming | 4 Comments

How to start learning programming – Kuan’s version

Typing this into Google, you definitely will get 32,500,000 hits. This seem to be a very popular question asked by those who wants to start programming. It is asked by those just who found the computer and that programing is awesome, who just step into University with a course relate to computer, and etc. The amount of hits related to the subject is not actually amount of questions but rather of answers. Why does Kuan want to write his own article about it? The reasons I can think of are:

  1. I never wrote one
  2. I didn’t have answer from “How to start learning programming?” to get myself involve in programming learning.
  3. Hope my own experience mean a little different to someone.

First step : LOVE it!

There are many reasons why people want to learn programming (my dear). I met a lot of people (mostly my classmate) who want to learn programming just because they need to pass a college programming subject. Majority of them end up struggling, suffering in the process of learning my dear. When they hate it they ask me why do I so enjoy the process so much. The answer: “Well, you got to love it.”

Programming languages allow us to create anything we want in a computer. Before you start a new programming practice sessions, first create something in your mind that you think is cool, useful or fun to be in your computer. Then start coding. Seriously, sit there and type on the keyboard with what you learned from the language so far. Tweak your brain to come out logical solutions. Calm yourself when you see 100 error when you press “compile”. Whenever you feel short of knowledge or solution, refer to the book or the web. The biggest satisfaction in programming is when you created what you want to create; seeing it magically working. Sooner or later, you will love this language and go on.

When I read my first programming book (on Visual Basic), I was so curious about if else, the for loop and the while loop. Then I start writing weird if else and loop code and get very excited when I first saw them working. Then I start make very simple but weird little programs using the logic I learned from the first few chapters. Reading the entire book and following the exercises in the book will just bore the process, its just like schooling. Think of something you like and make sure it is challenging enough and do it. Man is born to be free. We should create what we want rather then what the book wants. When thereis something that always give what you want, you will start loving it sooner or later.

Don’t stick to what you were told to do: job, homework, assignments. Have a timeout and program something that you want. Let it be your personal time manager, personal website, personal game, personal research. Then share them with your friends, let them appreciate your work. Show them to your good programmer friends and let them guide you. Be proud of it.

After all, mindset is the first thing to setup before you learn anything. If you step in without a willingness to learn and love-to-learn heart, learning just become boring, plain and dead. Love it and enjoy it. Life isn’t fun if we are not enjoying in what we are doing.

To be continue…

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June 21, 2007 Posted by | Game Development, Programming, Tutorial | 2 Comments

Wanted: Lead Artists

We now have a strong programming team but require more organization of the artists to make a great game universe. If you are a highly motivated and organized artist who want to be the Lead Artist of Quasr, please send us your resume, portfolio, URL, etc.

Complete details of the job can be found here.

June 21, 2007 Posted by | Job | Leave a comment

Parents Just Tend to Blame It On Computer Games

“Computer games are addictive.”

This is where all fun ends and the horror begins. Computer games are said to be stealing away the fun of traditional toys like Lego. Parents also believe that this new toy promote individual isolation therefore reducing the participation in a child’s creativity growth.

Toy in general is fun and addictive. The computer game is on a different level of fun and additivity. In Raph Koster’s A Theory of Fun, fun is learning and learning is fun. The computer game is a very powerful learning medium for it is a platform of unconscious learning.

Most parents believe that they are excluded from the child’s creativity growth when the virtual world invades. I am going to turn the table around today.

This time I will just focus on the number of players in a game. Different modes of play serves different types of participations and experiences.

Single Player Games
Early computer games are majority single player games. This is where parents complain about individual but if there is audience, this could be a different story. Audience can give guidance and comments to help the player along the way. It is a good way to observe the process of learning, the best way to know how a mind works. If the player plays a game well and want to give the audience a great experience, cinematic games are perfect for this type of participation.

Two Players Only Games
There are 2 types, one that rival against each other and helping each other. This type of game only focus on the participation of 2 players. Best for building close bonds. Audience do not have much fun watching. Recommended for parents and siblings. (Drinking session maybe?)

Online Games
The best thing about online? Social convenience. It is not so hard to find a friend to play with you now. Players are having fun making new friends and most importantly, getting things done in a team. The level of competitiveness in game is a moist environment for team building. Weird thing is, parents treat real players in virtual worlds as fakes and their reason is standard, “You don’t even see them.” Well try playing MMORPGs with parents and let them know how real they are! Invite your family to play, I am sure that your family are going to make a great team!

Children love sharing the fun and I am sure that everyone had ask their parents to play a game with them before, but then again they would usually answer:

“I don’t know how to play.”

Dear gamers, parents are actually afraid of trying new things. So be patience on educating parents about games, I guarantee that the return is priceless.

Yes, I am back from China and hope you enjoyed my opening blog post.

inspired by How Killing People with My Dad Improves Our Relationship

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June 21, 2007 Posted by | Education, Games, Gaming, Sharing | 4 Comments