Hatchlings Games

Web Gaming 2.0 Revolution

Quasr FAQ

Q: Qu- Qu- what?
A: It’s pronounced ‘qway-zer’.

Q: What does it mean?
A: The name came from the astronomy term ‘quasar‘, or ‘quasi-stellar object’. We used the name because… it sounded sci-fi. Or something. Please proceed to the other questions while no-wing figures out how the name came about.

Q: What happened to Encephalon?
A: For those who have been following our blog, we did mention about Encephalon more than once in the past. Encephalon was the old name of Quasr. Encephalon is Quasr.

Q: What is Quasr?
A: Quasr is a game. It’s hard to put it in a specific genre, but let’s just say it’s a Web Trading Card/Board Game. That’s quite a mouthful.

Q: Trading card game you say? I see no trading features on the site.
A: The beauty of web games is that development cycles are fast. At this point we’re still working on adding cool features and eye-candy to the site.

Q: Cool! So what features will you have? When will it be done?
A: There’s no such thing as ‘done’ in web development, we’ll be adding features and polishing up the game as long as we don’t get hit by a bus or something. These features should be available by the end of next month:

  • User subdomains (http://username.quasr.com)
  • Forum
  • Art community
  • A full-fledged game client
  • Card editor
  • Deck editor
  • A lot more new cards

Q: Wait, an art community in a game site? Card editor? I don’t get it.
A: Quasr was developed with more than just a game in mind. While most trading card games exist in paper form, Quasr is fully online (though that doesn’t rule out a paper version in the future), and thus allowing both developers and players to have bigger degrees of freedom.

A big feature of Quasr is that players are able to modify their own cards, for example giving a card better stats or a new power, even naming the card itself or giving it new art from the art community. Quasr is not just about playing a game, it’s also about contributing to the community.

Q: That sounds like a great idea! I’m telling my friends about this!
A: We’re glad you feel the same way as we do 🙂 Please tell your friends about Quasr, the game gets better with more people.

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April 3, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Game Development, Game Industry, Games, Gaming, News, Quasr, Quasr Updates, Web Gaming 2.0 | 7 Comments

The Evolution of Quasr’s Design

Game Profile

Game Name: Quasr

Old Name: Battle Chess, Card Chess, Encephalon

Platform: Web

Genre: Trading Card, Board, Multi-player

Key Features:

  • A mix of developer and user generated content
  • Free to play
  • No additional client download required

Inspirations: Trading card games, chess, board games, turn-based strategy games, web 2.0, social networking, World of Warcraft, Raph Koster‘s a Theory of Fun

Quasr is a web 2.0 trading card / board game. The game is like chess but you play with custom pieces that you collect and customize. These customizable pieces are similar to cards of those trading card games. Quasr.com is a web 2.0 application that is light-weight, features user-generated content, developed with an agile programming methodology, and is about radical trust.

Continue reading

March 25, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Game Design, Hatchlings Games | 8 Comments

Encephalon in Production : Slow

3nd March 2007
Dear bloggers who have been with us since we started, we are sad to say that our production has stopped due to a public holiday. Every team member are still in the festive mood and some are unmotivated. The launch of our beta has to be postponed for 3 weeks because the lack of manpower in various aspect of the game development.

In this past 3 weeks, many events have taken place. Team has been reshuffled as mention on the previous posts. Some artistes have to leave us due to some personal reasons. As production was moving slow, our lead programmer, Suffiyan had to make it all the way to the office to motivate everyone in the office. It gave a new hope to the team.

Currently, most of the team members are working on it to prepare for the launch. So, we need your support to give the encouragement to the team to continue their journey to complete Encephalon. That’s all for the moment.

Thank you.

March 3, 2007 Posted by | Game Development, Quasr Updates, Working Environment | Leave a comment

Encephalon in Production : Day 13

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. Slade drank 9 glasses of beer.

Yesterday, eMoysh complete some artwork which he hide it from all of us to give us a suprise. It was one of the secret paintings of eMoysh. He will be posting it in awhile after I post this. For the moment, Iris and eMoysh are working on a poster that have to be submitted to Adam Ham from MDeC to help promote this game to the public – first in Hong Kong. We were a little late in submitting the materials so I hope we can make it.

Nowing completed his card layout and went on to prepare for an event he is organizing. It’s a tournament of Magic : The Gathering held in Cyberjaya. Preparation for the tournament was pretty hectic since he had to work and organize in the same time. Nowing knew that he had to manage his time well in order to complete both task in a tight schedule.

Sufiyan, our lead programmer will be away to Sandakan, Sabah for a short period but he’s been sharing his progress in BaseCamp. While Kuan is at home completing his part. As our previous flash programmer couldn’t continue working on our project, Kuan had to take over most of the flash department. The arrival of new web programmers are awaited by the team members.

On the web application part of Encephalon (we still need the name for this, so please give us your suggestion), we will be using the great programming language, Ruby on Rails. The first of the Ruby on Rails developer (sorry PHP programmers) is Vincent Woo from Vancouver. Vincent has a blog @ UndefinedRange. He definetely has the passion and talent to be in Hatchlings Games.

On the art side, We are glad to announce that we are now recruiting more artists to work on the initial set of cards. Bare in mind that we cannot pay much – but you get to work at your own pace from your own home.

Datelines are approaching as everyone in Hatchlings Games are having sleepless nights and endless work.

Alright, I am going to return to my movie, Donnie Darko to take a break. Recommended to watch it alone without annoying friends beside you. Thank you.

Regards,

Roshan

February 9, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Game Development, Quasr Production, Web Gaming 2.0, Working Environment | Leave a comment

Encephalon in Production : Day 11

5th February 2007

In these few days, I haven’t posted anything regarding the production progress. We face a few major problems in our production. Steps were taken to solve those matters. Considering the fact that the deadline is around the corner, some of us felt like they are slacking and demotivated. Hence, Slade and eMoysh went for a motivational seminar conducted by the apprentice of Anthony Robin, Joseph McClendon III. This seminar has brought new spirit to the whole production team. Slade went on to share his experience to the others and applied what he had learned daily. Hence, increasing the productivity.

Currently, our Flash programmer is going to be unavailable for a few months which will slow the progress of project Encephalon. We are finding a solution to this matter. Many of us are going to have more responsibilities and carry more work in hand.

Today, I had a meeting with Sufiyan, Yuan Kuan, Slade, Nowing, Iris and eMoysh. It started at 2pm and ended at around 9:30pm. Issue that arised in this meeting were more into reconfirm the tasks for the programming team and the design team. Slade explained to everyone the structure of the whole team and how are we related in our parts. It really cleared our doubts. Sufiyan has showed confidence by stating that the Server coding will be complete by the 12th of January 2007. Yuan Kuan and Sufiyan had a long chat and went on splitting their work to reduce the time for completion.

For the programming team, I am proud to say that almost 55% of it is completed. This includes mostly of the Server coding. Soon, they will be working on the Database System and also the Game Client. Both Yuan Kuan and Sufiyan is back at home doing their work. Nowing is designing the User Interface (UI) for our web beside me now. eMoysh is finishing his artwork of the day with a headphone playing Hokkien songs. There is a high probability that we might have a new addition to our web development team in a few days. Iris and Nowing has been cracking their heads to come up with a perfect UI design. A lot of things happened in these few days. Somehow, all team members are calm and encouraging each other to be more positive and continue our project towards the goal.

That is all I have to report for today. Tomorrow, I will post another. Thank you for reading. See ya.

Regards,

Roshan

February 6, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Game Development, Quasr Production, Working Environment | 9 Comments

You pray Encepharon?

This incident happened a few days ago, and I didn’t really pay much heed to it until it really back when Slade and I were discussing about marketing the game.

It was like this. So I stopped by my favorite comic store as I headed back to Cyberjaya from home (I had to go back to help my mum do some typing and data entry), and I chatted a bit with the store owner before I left. The owner was a Chinese woman, probably in her mid-fifties. I’ve been quite a regular for the past five years or so, and I told her quite a lot of stuff about me. So I was telling her about this cool online card game we’re developing, and it was then the problem struck.

“What’s the game called?” She asked.

“Enc…” It hit me for a moment that no matter how slow I pronounce the word, a person who never spoke much English just couldn’t pronounce Encephalon. Not that she doesn’t know much English, but I’ve never heard her speak English and I just assumed so. In any case, the question just struck.

How are non-English speakers going to pronounce Encephalon?

“你要玩Encephalon吗?”

“一緒にエンセファロンを遊ぼう?”

“Voulez-vous jouer Encephalon?”

(Pardon my foreign languages, I just used Babelfish.)

Do they sound right? It’s a subject worth studying into, but I just cannot imagine a person inviting another person to play our game in another language. It appears that we’re in need of a better name. Any suggestions?

January 28, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Game Design, Quasr Concept | 12 Comments

Encephalon in Production : Day 2

26th January 2007

Good morning. It’s a pleasure to inform all the viewers that we are at ease of how the production phase is progressing. Encephalon is evolving from a mere trading card game to become a world class platform for user with web 2.0 features.

Apparently, I woke up at 2pm after a short sleep. I was ‘summoned’ by Jarod to a meeting attended by Slade and eMoysh which was later joined by Nowing. It was more to discussion on internal issue and less of production related topic. The meeting ended at 3:40pm. Everybody were on their task of the day. Nowing was completing his card list for eMoysh to come up with a sketches of the related card specification. This went on for about two hours until 5:40pm. At 6pm, Slade, Iris and Nowing had to attend a meeting with the International Games Developers Association (IGDA).

In the office were only Hikmat, eMoysh and I. eMoysh was sleeping after completing his artwork for that day. I found myself briefing Hikmat about what is needed from the web designing team in general. However, the both of us were hungry and we ended up having dinner at Oldtown cafe in Cyberjaya. We discussed the matter over dinner and got to know more about him. When we got back, I set up a meeting for Hikmat, Sufiyan (lead programmer) and Fauzi (web programmer) on CampFire. Over the online meeting, I had Sufiyan to explain the rough idea of the task meant for Hikmat and Fauzi because they had very little understanding towards our project. However, everyone were quite satisfied with Sufiyan’s plan for them. It went on from 9:30pm to 11:15pm. It was hard to tell that if the meeting successfully came up to a conclusion since Fauzi and Hikmat would like to know in detail what actually they are suppose to do. In order to solve this problem, we planned a general meeting on Sunday,28th of January 2007 for everyone in the company.

Nowing, Slade and Iris came back late at 11:30pm. Slade had another appointment with one of the company shareholder. I was having a discussion with the others on what was conversed in the IGDA meeting. At 12am sharp, everyone look exhausted after a long day especially Slade. So, I went on calling all the other members of the company to inform them about Sunday’s meeting. I suppose there was no other significant event happened after that. Now, I started to fill in my personal time with my own things.

Pretty much that was the events that happened yesterday. I will try to update as soon as possible to allow the viewers to see what happens in a day to a games developing company. Signing out, Rosh.

Related links,

Encephalon in Production : The Beginning by Myself.

Encephalon toward beta launch by Myself again.

Funding Options in Malaysia by Slade

January 27, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Game Development, Quasr Production, Web Gaming 2.0 | Leave a comment

Encephalon in Production : The Beginning

Thursday, 26th Jan 2007

The most interesting day for me, as everything went almost according to plan. Woke up late around 1pm. Sufiyan (our lead programmer), Slade and eMoysh were at the cafe discussing about the game architecture. Ordered a drink and joined them. It was more like allocating task for everyone on that table. eMoysh, I had him to polish his sketches a little before dinner. Slade and I went on to the Sun Technology’s JTrend laboratory to join Iris and Hikmat (both our web designers) to discuss on what kind of specification needed for web design. Later on, Sufiyan joined us in the lab to further his understanding on the game play before have the main software architecture. Nowing was explaining the gameplay with full of passion. This went on for about an hour or more. Slade briefly stated all the task need to be completed by the team at the end of today.

After a long discussion, Slade and I went on to check on Hikmat and Iris to find out what they have come up with. Slade had high expectations as usual. He wanted more of the web designing team. At around 5pm, we went back to the office to use our own computer because JTrend lab were using Solaris as OS and we wanted to access a flash site of a possible hire. Fifteen minutes later, I called up “Leng” (Slade called him as Flash Guru) to arrange a meeting with him and the team. He was in class and he sounds polite at the other end of the phone. He’s between 18 and 20 (if u wanna know). He lives quite a distance from our office. So, we decided to guide him to a place nearby Cyberjaya with the easiest method of transportation. Leng found his way to the Putrajaya Station while we were in Alamanda eating (our late breakfast + lunch + dinner) and got lost along the way in Putrajaya. That allowed me to have a good chat with Sufiyan, Yoga and Hikmat along the way. Got to know them better and I like their progress. Rumors told me that Nowing was overjoyed with a particular song which was playing in his car at that moment. That made them missed a turning and Sufiyan was following Nowing. All of us were lost on Putrajaya Highway. At last, we apologized to Leng and brought him back to the office.

The new Flash cum PHP programmer looks calm with his smile carved on his face. Slade changed places with Yoga( our Programmer) between 2 cars. This is for Leng to blend in with the Web Designer’s Team (Iris & Hikmat) and Yoga. As we reached office, I had to send Yoga back home (Cyberia Condominium) because it was already end of her working hours (7pm). I saw Sufiyan, Slade and Iris were having a meeting privately. Got in the office, Hikmat was figuring out the possible design of the web application. eMoysh was sleep when he was suppose to complete his sketches I demanded from him in the morning. Nowing gave Leng the every aspect of the Game Design and Game Play in detail.

I had a stomachache. Went on to the washroom and solved most of issues there. As I got back from the sanctuary, eMoysh was explaining to Leng the Game Setting in detail and show some of his latest artwork. “Leng was like ‘waaaaaa’ in silent”, said Slade. I was browsing through our new Flash Guru’s website. It looks fabulous. Nowing was completing the Card List while eMoysh was preaching about game setting to Leng. There was a discussion between Hikmat and Iris before Hikmat had to go back. It’s the lead programmer’s turn to have a talk with Leng. They had a talk on how to use his talented abilities to come out with the most relevant and desired Software Architecture. All three of them decided on the languages to be used for each section. Slade was telling me how relief he was while talking to Leng. At around 10:30pm, I manage to get hold of Fauzi (our Web Programmer) to be online. We went into CampFire to arrange a online conference between Fauzi,Iris, Slade and Sufiyan .

Basically, the meeting was postponed to Friday, 26th Jan 2007. I sent Iris back to her hostel when we saw her sleeping in the office looking exhausted. Since Leng haven’t had his dinner, Sufiyan, eMoysh, Leng and I went to Hassan (a mamak restaurant in CYberjaya). In there, we continued our discussion on current issues and share some interesting thoughts on various top. Slade and Nowing was busy with their unfinished business. At 1:30am sharp, got back to the office; Nowing almost completed his card list while Slade was snoring on the floor, sleeping. Even eMoysh completed his sketches later on and went on to play World Of Warcraft : Burning Crusade.

I shall call it a productive day. Yet, today will be the beginning of the actual production day. Although there is more details for what happened yesterday, I wouldn’t want to put everything into words. It might takes up 3 pages. More updates coming up. Stay tuned.

Regards.

Related Links,

Encephalon towards beta launch by Me

Concept Arts Pt 1 by eMoysh

Concepting Encephalon by Nowing

January 26, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Entrepreneurship, Game Development, Quasr Production, Sharing, Web Gaming 2.0, Working Environment | 1 Comment

Ever paid RM60 for a piece of cardboard?

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That’s how much the above card costs on the first day the set was released (or more appropriately, ‘pre-released’). RM60 is slightly more than US$17.

Looks so cool, doesn’t it? One big black ball sucking up dead bodies. The bigger version looks even better.

To non-Magic (or more collectively, non-trading-card-game) players, seventeen bucks is a lot to pay for a piece of cardboard five inches tall and three inches wide. But that’s not the maximum amount of cash people are willing to shell out for a card. The holofoil Charizard of the Pokémon Trading Card Game reportedly sold for US$120 at its peak. Magic’s signature card, Black Lotus, is hitting four-digit sums on EBay.

Looking at online games, people are willing to pay for virtual cash and items, and for people to grind their characters. In short, people are willing to pay for games for seemingly trivial items that lose their value when brought out of context.

The trick of marketing products and services in games is to make said context as non-game-ish as possible. (I couldn’t find a better word)

Products in games are nothing much like, say, celebrity merchandise or stamps (The hobby of kings, the king of hobbies. Right.). People who aren’t into the hobby just don’t see its worth. A game company can try to pull people into playing their game. This is most often seen in roadshows and promotions in shopping malls, where the company gives out free trial CDs and other freebies in hopes that the receiver of said freebies woudl actually go home, install it, play it unti lthe free trial expires and proceeds to play the game. It’s largely a hit-or-miss process, much like traditional TV advertisements.

Coming back about the game’s context, what ‘traditional’ marketing does is they try to pull consumers into the context. In this sense, the barrier between real life and the game world still exists, hence there are terms like hardcore geeks and ‘otakus’, where they are so into a game that they are disconnected from the real world.

On the other hand, some companies expand the context into real life, blurring the barier between reality and game. This is otherwise known as viral marketing, where users of a product or service subconsciously ‘infect’ other people to use the product or service. In this sense, the context isn’t about the game, but of its players, and subsequently the player’s friends, and friend’s friends, and so on.

For a game, it’s even easier to spread the context by providing some non-game services to players other than just the game itself. MMORPGs sell by promoting the community as well as the game; Magic: the Gathering doesn’t just offer a hobby, but a career; XBox Live Arcade provides a platform for developers to sell their games and players to compete for scores. These are some other services a game could offer for a player before they decide to spend money on it.

Related links:
The Idea Virus by Seth Godin, a book on spreading the context.
Web Gaming 2.0, how Hatchlings is doing it.

January 23, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Game Development, Game Industry, Trading Card Game, Web Gaming 2.0 | 1 Comment

We still need a Web Designer

Over the past week, we have received many resumes for the programming positions in Hatchlings Games. We are talking seriously with them now. However, we still need to hire a full-time web designer. This person has to be someone with unimpeachable design sense. She has to be a game player too. She has to be someone who appreciates user interface design of games and the web both. Her design sense has to be modern (she gotta know what that means). This is because our web designer own the look and feel of Encephalon.

The web designer has to be an expert in web design, HTML/CSS and fluent in the discussion of usability issue. Her HTML is more well constructed than the Petronas KL Twin Tower.

She hates Microsoft-style and Friendster’s UI and always strive to beat the sh*t out of their apps.

If you are that person, please e-mail johntanslade@gmail.com.

Related Posts:

January 21, 2007 Posted by | Game Industry, Job | 2 Comments