Hatchlings Games

Web Gaming 2.0 Revolution

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.

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

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.

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

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 4 , 5, 6, 7

2nd of February 2007

Sorry for not posting on the production for four days. There was someone who took a dump in the toilet but not in the toilet bowl. I was shocked looking at the disgusting scene of crime. It’s weird that some people can be so careless. At least, clean it for God’s sake!!

In these four days of production, the designing team are brushing up their skills in order to help out Slade in the web designing part of the project. The game design team comprise of Nowing and Iris. The both of them are learning Ruby On Rails (ROR) under the guidance of Slade. They are learning fast and determine to master it in 1 week. For the four days, Slade, Nowing and Iris has been busy reading.

On last Sunday, we had a general meeting which went according to plan. Everyone was there except for Kuan, who fell ill after a long journey back from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. We had a short ice-breaking session for all of the new members to blend in. Discussion were made mostly on the programming part. That was the last day of talking and now it will all about doing it.

Eventually, the programming team have their own agenda. Since, most of the programmers are working at home, I could only get a minor report on what is their progress. Currently, Sufiyan, our lead programmer is collaborating with Leng, our Flash programmer to complete the Client and Database of the project. Kuan is also contributing his skills to help Sufiyan. Our lead programmer once said that “Kuan has potential. He learns very fast”. Most of us are relieved with the fact that we have very good programmers in hand. Sufiyan will be reporting some progress to us by tomorrow most probably. We communicate mostly using BaseCamp by 37signals.

In the Art department, eMoysh have been doing his task pretty well. Magnificent artworks are produced. As shown in Freedom of Expression – Concept art pt 2 article, he displayed another set of his latest art to be viewed by the public. Drops some comments for his art if you think is appropriate.

Two days ago, we went for a press conference for winning the Game Pitch 2007 organized by MDeC. Although, the conference was a very good exposure to most of us but that event took up half of our day. It’s one of the reason why there was no article on the fourth, fifth and sixth production day. Atti, one of our new member fell sick and advised by the doctor to take a few days of rest.

In the upcoming post, I will focus more on the programming team. That’s all for now. Thank you.

Regards,

Roshan.

Related links :

Freedom of Expression (Concept Art, Pt 2) by eMoysh

Concept Art, Pt 1 by e-Moysh

Concepting Encephalon by Nowing

February 2, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Quasr Production, Web Gaming 2.0 | Leave a comment

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 PokĂ©mon 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

Encephalon: High Level Goals

When developing a game, we must have a shared vision and common goals. This is especially true when venturing into unknown territory. The design goals are set from the point of view of the player.

The high level goals were determined over the past four months during group discussions, one-on-one discussions among different members, analyzing and prototyping. The following are these goals, read from the player’s perspective:

Goal 1: If I try hard enough I can win!

Goal 2: I want to create and share, so I belong to the world

Goal 3: Everything in Encephalon is real

Various concepts, described in more detail below, provide the framework for our game design. Each high level goal has corresponding concrete goals. These concrete goals are attempts to merge the high level concepts into the pre-existing design document (latest at time of writing, v1.81).

Ultimately these three goals lead back to the ultimate goal: FUN. A good game is always fun. That goes without saying. Read Raph Koster’s a Theory of Fun for Game Designers if you want a great read on fun. The book (and much of Raph’s writings) and deep conversations with Iris about games had influenced my view on games. The basic theme of a Theory of Fun is equation of fun and learning (Fun = Learning). So if fun is learning, then we first need to know what we are trying to teach.

Very briefly, goal #1 focuses on the gameplay, where we aim to teach strategic thinking and tempo control. Goal #2 focuses on the customization and community, which cultivates creativity, innovation, progress and spirit of sharing. Goal #3 brings in the immersion, where we hope that our players through their imagination can bridge their virtual and physical realities to learn more about our world, its themes, its message of peace and consciousness. So you can say that Hatchling’s goal for Encephalon is to promote peace by encouraging consciousness through mental and spiritual growth.

Note that Raph has started his own web 2.0 gaming startup, Areae.

Because we are using an experimental, player (or play) centric game and world design model, the development & production methodology employed for Encephalon would have to be equally experimental. After all it is the result of development and production that the players see. The development timeline of a game (and world) such as Encephalon ought to be long (maybe years), we are planning to release the game by parts. Our first release, the first planet should be at the end of February.

The reason for the early release date is related to our choice to develop a web game, or more specifically, as a web 2.0 service. Web 2.0 services are quick to deploy, so why should a web 2.0 game be an exception; following the open source mandate: release early, release often. We really want to see the player’s reactions to our concepts. More on production methodology, schedule and budget after these game design discussions. Do stay updated, or better still subscribe to the RSS feed.

January 2, 2007 Posted by | Education, Encephalon, Game Design, Web Gaming 2.0 | 1 Comment

Web Gaming 2.0: Trading Card Concept on the Web

Edit (May 2007): Quasr.com is now on Alpha Testing. Join us!


This article is the first of many; where everyone in the world can join us as we experiment with the concept of Web Gaming 2.0.Financial realities of Hatchlings Games have pushed us into a scenario where we must maximize Quasr’s chance of success. We should not leave anything to chance. The opportunity on the web and games are so great that the convergence of the two is probably too alluring for any entrepreneur and/or game designer to ignore [read insane competition].

Not leaving anything to chance might sound ironic since our game is based on user generated content; that is, we are already giving our users chances to screw up our game. After some soul searching, reflection and deep conversations, both Zie Aun and Slade came to the same conclusion – that we must trust our users if we aim to be successful in this user-centered future.

At this point, there is a big hoo-ha on the business & design world about the future of content. Pundits and web & game industry leaders insists that majority of content should be user created. Early adopters of such radical concept (i.e. Wikipedia, Flickr, YouTube, MySpace, etc) have seen tremendous financial & branding success. Due to technological and an ongoing cultural shift, customers are now simultaneously the producer and consumer of content.

Games are heading towards the same direction too. It is getting harder to start a company, creating games for gamers for a living; but that forces us to think, to start our engine of innovation. We must constantly be thinking outside the box, to innovate and be a leader. Industry leaders (game designers, producers, studio heads) have been discussing emergent gameplay design (few years), planning for user generated content (more recent), and creating successful immersive worlds. The above together with the success of game MODs, MMOGs (i.e. WOW), web game worlds (i.e. Neopets) and even 100% user generated virtual world (i.e. Second Life) are pushing games towards the same direction as web 2.0 services.

The main platform for distributing such user generated content is the web. User created content requires a widespread and easy to use distribution platform. The web is such a platform. Services like blogs, YouTube, Flickr, and Digg wouldn’t be possible without the web. These websites are successful because they are disruptive. They maximized the web to beat their competitors, which are all traditional content publishers and distributors.

Trading card concept

Trading card games, a genre pioneered by Wizards of the Coast’s Magic: the Gathering (M:tG) has all the basic ingredients of an addictive game: good gameplay (pacing set by tempo, strategic depth, and control-decontrol) and game mechanics (goal-reward / collectability).

If the game is popular enough, it can be extremely profitable for the game developer. Trading card game players are driven by their primal urge to collect, compete and achieve. Pokemon and Yu-gi-Oh are two extremely popular trading card games since the release of M:tG. All three games are still making money for the developers.

The problems game developers face with physical trading card games were usually:

  1. Content creation; the design and illustration of few hundred cards per set, and the cost that goes into it
  2. Printing cost for those shiny cards.
  3. Marketing; as with most game genres, established brands are hard to compete against, even monopolizing.
  4. Distribution; the need to setup distribution channels all around the world.

Web 2.0

Go Digital: eliminate printing cost

By creating an online game (as a downloadable client), Quasr would have solve problem number 2 and in a way number 4. There would be no need for us to print cards. The cost equation for card has changed from the number of cards printed in volumes to the number of cards a person owns.

The more card a player owns, the more profitable Quasr is. The profit margin for a single player increases every time he buys a new card. The server cost remains a constant for that one player.

The Web: the most distributable platform

Having the online game as a downloadable client still doesn’t solve problem #1, #3 and it only partially solves problem #4. To further the solution for distribution, we place the game completely on the most distributable platform – the web.

Without having to download a separate client and asset files, we dramatically increase the chances for site visitors to click on “play”. “Play” wins vs. “Download”. Granting each account a sub-domain (e.g. http://johntan.quasr.com), we increase the desire of players to virally (via links / RSS) spread the game.

User created content

A web 2.0 site trusts its users. It allows users to create, edit and moderate content. The developers of the site are also its users. There is very little distinction between the developers of the site and its users; both are the producer and user of its content. The developers become platform creators or service providers. The concept of internet services can be extended to trading card games.

Quasr too will feature user created content: we allows users to create card and art based on certain rules. We give the players a set of basic cards that they can add abilities and stats to, obviously based on some card-modifying rules. Residents of Quasr can even draw custom art for a card, but they first have to let the community vote for style & quality.

Conclusion

Quasr.com is now up for Alpha Testing, so go and try it. It is still very crude (just like this article) and does not have the user-created features yet. As of now we are still struggling with designing the best gameplay

I hope someone finds an inspiration from here. If you do please leave a comment and start a dialogue with us. We need your feedback. We cannot take this on alone; fortunately we are joined by great game designers such as Raph Koster with Areae. Do join us as we experiment with this, to bring games and immersive worlds to the web.


Related Posts:

January 1, 2007 Posted by | Entrepreneurship, Game Design, Game Industry, Quasr, Trading Card Game, Web, Web 2.0, Web Gaming 2.0 | 5 Comments

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.)

Related Post: 

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