Hatchlings Games

Web Gaming 2.0 Revolution

We have a new home: www.VirtualPieces.com

To you who visits the Hatchlings Games Blog,

Thank you for reading. We are please to announce that our blog has been officially named and its called Virtual Pieces, residing at www.virtualpieces.com. Please update your bookmarks and RSS.


– John

October 19, 2007 Posted by | Hatchlings Games | 2 Comments

$1 Billion Invested in 35 Virtual World Companies in the Past 12 months

I subscribe to Virtual World Weekly. For those involved in virtual worlds, social networking, massively multiplayer games or the web industry, I recommend that you do too. I pasted this week’s industry disclosure (yes thats right, every month there’s something fact-driven that you can show to potential investors) here:


33 Companies Raise $196.8 Million, Two Companies Acquired for $810 Million

We have just released the data from a comprehensive study of accountable transactions that venture capital, technology and media firms have invested more than $1 billion dollars in 35 virtual worlds companies in the past 12 months, from October 2006 to October 2007.

Of the $1 billion, $196.8 Million was invested in 33 companies. Significant investors in the space include Redpoint Ventures, Charles River Ventures, Intel, and Rustic Canyon Partners. Media companies are also making sizable investments, including Disney, CBS, Time Warner, and GE/NBC Universal’s Peacock Equity Fund. The remaining $810 million went to two acquisitions: Walt Disney’s $700 million acquisition of Club Penguin and Intel’s $110 million acquisition of 3D virtual worlds graphics technology company Havok.

“Investors are not just venture capital firms, but also include major technology, media and entertainment companies,” said Christopher Sherman, Executive Director of Virtual Worlds Management. “The amount of money invested in this period of time is staggering. We don’t see any slowing in the market adoption of virtual worlds technologies and expect investment in the space to continue. In fact the market is growing significantly, with the rate of adoption of virtual worlds increasing as the technology matures and has more to offer both consumers and enterprise customers.”

Investment spanned the entire virtual worlds value chain, including technology platform companies, virtual worlds developers, service providers and tools providers. Business models of the companies raising capital vary, ranging from advertising and subscriptions to virtual item sales, to enterprise software licensing, hosting and services. The investment numbers and the future of the industry will be discussed in depth at the Virtual Worlds Conference and Expo.

Virtual Worlds Companies Funded from October 2006 to October 2007
Each company links to a full article about their funding

Source: Virtual Worlds Management

Granted, 70% of the 1 billion comes from Disney’s acquisition of Club Penguin. Those other $300 million private equity investments will one day grow into $300 billion. I am sure there are at least ten times more deals that are stealth or smaller. Will our own Quasr get investment? We are looking for a suitable investor, if you know any, please drop a comment or e-mail and we will give you a commission or maybe even recruit you into the team.

Areae’s Raph Koster blogged about the term virtual world again. This time provoked by Christian Renaud of Cisco. Personally, I/we have something to say about virtual world categories too.

The web itself is the best example of one. Among all internet protocols formed, the web (www & http) is by far the most popular and useful. The web itself is a virtual world. I think with MetaPlace, Raph and Areae hits it right on. I won’t be surprise if they eventually captures the biggest market.

I am curious whether they have a business model that can lock their MetaPlaces’ (virtual worlds built on MetaPlace) intellectual property. Let’s say someone makes WoW with MetaPlace and 9 million subscribers pay $15 bucks per month, will MetaPlace earn a cent? How do they ensure that? Are they going to “lock” virtual world makers to their payment system?

October 5, 2007 Posted by | Virtual Worlds, Web 2.0 | , , , | 2 Comments

Some Game Design Links

As a game designer (or wannabe), we have to read, think, write (mostly for definition and communication), draw (mostly sketches) and blink a lot. What do we really think about? Here are some questions and attempted answers by various authors. Also, it would be really great if you can leave a comment here to tell me who is reading. I want to know what other game designers are reading this blog.

What are games and what is fun?
a Theory of Fun for game design by Raph Koster (slides, book).

This is one of the favorite book of mine. I read the whole book in borders and to date bought three copies of the book. I find it extremely entertaining and fun and instantly won my heart and mind. It touched on the fundamentals of fun and games.

I knew was true but could not express in words (or pictures) like what Mr. Koster did. I knew it was destined to be a game industry (and education) classic. Some bloggers (Emily Short, Gameology) have written superb reviews about the book so I don’t have to write my own. As a company, we are truly inspired.

This is a compulsory reading for any intelligent, fun loving game developer.

Note: At his talk (design for everywhere) during the recent Austin Game Developers Conference, Raph mentioned a new book on game grammar, he tries to define what are the building blocks of a game from a reductionist point of view. Iris and I are really looking forward to that.

What are games and how do we make games for everyone?
Design for Everywhere, Raph Koster’s talk at AGDC 2007 (slides, mp3). Another brilliant lecture by Raph Koster! The MP3 is not free and I can’t distribute the file openly but we can listen to it together on Skype or Second Life.

Do games have to be difficult?
Game Design Essentials: 20 difficult games
by John Harris.

What are Open World games?
Game Design Essentials: 20 open world games by John Harris.

What do parents think about games?
The GamerDad blog.

September 29, 2007 Posted by | Education, Game Design, Game Development | 5 Comments

Hiring: Web Designer

In Hatchlings Games, we have multiple web and web games development projects. All our projects has to make at least a 3000% return on our investment. One of the key components is that is to make our customers (gamers, hippies and their parents) over satisfied. In web and game project, that translate to the LOOK and FEEL of the site.

If you care about designing sites that:

  1. are usable and extremely intuitive by our users/players
  2. captures the imagination of the mass and fellow web & UI design peers
  3. follows standard XHTML/CSS.
  4. uses different technology and methods at suitable times.

And also you happen to:

  1. loves games!
  2. be confident and honest!
  3. have a sense of humor
  4. be up-to-date with the web and general design
  5. work very hard and smart!

It would even be better if you:

  1. can draw and paint with Photoshop
  2. or at least be able to do graphc design
  3. can show me some a portfolio of your work
  4. have someone you worked for that can recommend you
  5. maintains a blog that we can see

If you a person who cares about the above, please drop John @ johntan@quasr.com an e-mail.

We prefer you to be in Cyberjaya, Malaysia but theoretically we can work from anywhere – One developer dwells in his home at Vancouver and we are thinking of partnering with a web development service firm in Bangalore, India.

September 20, 2007 Posted by | Job | 1 Comment

Hiring: Web Developer

Hatchlings Games is hiring web developers who have previous experience with any of the following:

  1. Ruby on Rails or
  2. PHP or
  3. ASP.NET or
  4. Java

In Hatchlings, you will be working on:

  1. Quasr (solely for Ruby on Rails developers)
  2. Some other top-secret projects and (any web development language)
  3. External client projec (any web development language)

It will be a bonus if you have developed rich clients and games. Most of our projects (especially Quasr) involves a lot of complex ActionScript and JavaScript for interactivity across the HTTP protocol.
There are full-time, part-time, contract and internship (paid and unpaid) positions available. Since we are an unfunded startup, we can also work out royalty sharing sharing with each project.

We prefer to hire developers that are staying in Malaysia so we can meet occasionally. But this is by no means a requirement. In the team, we have developers from Vancouver, Canada and soon from Bangalore, India. We have an office in Cyberjaya where you can sometime meet up to do some parallel programming/designing.

If you really want to send your resume, the e-mail is johntan@quasr.com.

September 20, 2007 Posted by | Job | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hiring: Flash Game Programmer

If you are great at Flash and ActionScript (2.0 and optionally 3.0) and is looking for a job (full-time, part-time, contract, freelance or internship) to develop games for the web, please let us now! We have urgent openings for you.

In Hatchlings Games, you will be:

  1. working on the multiplayer user-created Quasr: Trading Card Game which runs on SmartFoxServer.
  2. working on new Web 2.0 tools for user-created content.
  3. working on external client projects (usually simple Flash games).
  4. working with other programmers, game designers, artists and entrepreneurs.
  5. with a group of passionate gamers and developers.
  6. advancing human evolution through games! (we really need to write a article about this!)

You can work from any country but we prefer you to be in Malaysia. Thats it, you CAN be anywhere in the world and work from your home. If you are in Malaysia, our office is located in Cyberjaya, Selangor, Malaysia.

If you are serious about sending your resume, please send them to johntan@quasr.com.

September 17, 2007 Posted by | Job | , , | 1 Comment

Beta Community Guidelines

Scott Hartman of EverQuest 2 wrote a Beta Community Guidelines is really damn good.  Recently, Zie Aun and I have been talking about MMO / virtual worlds operations. Hartman’s guidelines touch on many issues.

September 17, 2007 Posted by | Communities, Funding, Virtual Worlds | Leave a comment

World of WarCraft vs Habbo Hotel

Habbo Hotel vs WoWDuring this year’s Austin Game Developer’s Conference (the leading MMO developer conference) we saw (or read, like I have) mind battles between MMORPG developers and the web social web world developers. One of the aftermaths of is this in the form of Gamesutra Question of the Week: World of WarCraft vs. Habbo Hotel. The exact question is:

“Following the Austin Game Developers Conference last week, how important do you think online worlds such as Habbo and web-based social gaming in general is to the future of online games, compared to existing game biz successes like World Of Warcraft? What can WoW learn from Habbo, and vice versa?”

I can’t wait to know what people are saying on it.

September 17, 2007 Posted by | Game Design, Web, Web 2.0, Web Gaming 2.0 | Leave a comment

Quasr Alpha Tournament Ended

The tournament is over and masamunemaniac is the winner with 16 wins and 1 loss (to jarodfjk). Jarod was second and fishy third. Solidx and I shared last place with one game played and loss. The three of them will be given a special item during BETA (or maybe pre-BETA) depending on which is appropriate.

Jarod organized a post-tournament party (with no alcohol unfortunately). We did watch two comedy, Shaun of the Dead and Scary Movie 4. None of which I will recommend.

Here are the rest of the screenshots:

Masa vs Bluewall

Masa vs Bluewall: There was a fatal error with the game after close to 2 hours so they played in this neat ajax app called PaintChat. In the end masa won.



Related Post:

July 2, 2007 Posted by | Quasr, Quasr Tournament | 1 Comment

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…

Related Post:

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