Hatchlings Games

Web Gaming 2.0 Revolution

How did Iris became one of us?

A random post about a random post. From Iris’s blog:

It’s funny how I came to be.

Last year, probably around this time or before, Jarod casually asked me to help as an artist for Hatchlings Games. Without any hesitation, I agreed. There isn’t anything for me to do except attending their meetings and listen what they have to argue about (game design). They failed 2 projects, both did not even pass the early game design stage.

Hatchlings Games wanted to go into the casual games industry but fortunately they did not. If we did, we wouldn’t have Quasr. Still, my name was not called until the recent MSC IP Challenge Series: Game Design Competition 2006. I was a general assistant that did all the general but time consuming stuffz. It is during that period, Slade discovered that I have the potential to become a game designer and encouraged me to attend AGDS at Singapore. It is there I met Noah Falstein.

I came back, feeling confident but still arrogant and was given a chance to be part of the game design team in Quasr. It is around this time that we started to lay the foundation of Quasr’ gameplay. You can read about The Evolution of Quasr’s Design here.

With the Alpha release of Quasr, the Hatchies are too busy fixing eggs.

I’ll talk about the newbloods in the next post. I’m really having fun with them.

We sure love Iris, the girl who loves to say yay! in Hatchlings. She is on a week-long vacation to Guilin, China returning this weekend.

Previous posts in this group blog by Iris:

June 11, 2007 Posted by | Drama, Hatchlings Games, Working Environment | Leave a comment

When the tough gets grinding…

So I had one of the more frightening dreams last night…

Oh dear, not another post about dreams. But I guess this one’s more relevant. Back to the topic, I don’t think I have dreamt of such a scary thing for a long while. No, I didn’t dream of headless ghosts or flesh-eating monsters, that’s too grade school.

I dreamt that I was playing the piano.

Now before you say “Oooh, scaaare-rey!”, I assure you that I spent the subsequent afternoon and evening in a troubled state, because I can’t seem to get that dream off my mind. So I was sitting in front of the piano (the same one I have in my house), and there’s this score in front of me. I can’t really remember what happened when I started playing, but I eventually reached this part with a lot of complicated chords. As I struggled along, the meaning of the piece somehow became more and more evident in my mind. In fact, I think there was a small printed footnote about the meaning of the piece.

The piece was about the end of the world.

Now the tune gets weirder and weirder as I slog through the bars, I still remember this part where my right hand had to go C-D#-C-D# for half a minute. The whole piece was chaotic and depressing. I was about to quit playing (and wake up, I guess), when I took a glimpse of another footnote in the next page. “Peace and happiness”, it said. After all this weird crap, I get to play something light-hearted, I told myself. So I was compelled to continue on, C-D#-C-D#-ing all the way, and I woke up before I ever reached the next page.

How many of you readers find games like this?

I haven’t done the statistics, but a lot of games seem to be fun at the beginning, then the fun just suddenly gives way to dreary grinding. While some players would stop playing at the first hint of boredom, most continue their arduous trek to the final destination, in hopes of getting their well-deserved reward of a satisfying ending…

…Or is there one? Unfortunately, as computer gaming slowly shifts its cumbersome rear onto the web in the form of MMORPGs, there just seem to be no end for the players to sit back and pat themselves on the back for a game well concluded. Well duh, what happens when a player finished a game? He uninstalls it! The relationship opportunity for publishers to milk players of their money is over! So the players grind on day after day so they have bigger numbers in their statuses, until they decide that all this is just a waste of time and dump the game.

I was chatting with Roshan over dinner, and we eventually talked about Maple Story. Now Maple Story is one of the few games which I installed and uninstalled on the same day. Roshan complained about how his girlfriend could just sit in front of her computer and press ‘C’ (the key for attacking) the whole day just to gain one level for reasons unknown to him. I remember Iris saying the same thing about her younger brother and Maple Story. And as far as my experience with the game goes, it’s all about walking around and pressing ‘C’.

I know you Maple Story fans out there will be saying “But MS is also for the community!” Well, why bother playing a game, which is supposed to be fun, when the fun doesn’t come from the game itself? Why not join an IRC channel, or even better, get out and start socializing? It leaves me dumbfounded that people actually spend real cash to buy an item that allows you to gain more experience points! A game that capitalizes on how boring it is? Count me out.

It seems like I’m not really talking abont Encephalon here, and I could say that I’m not. It’s just a rant that came from a dream.

Here’s to smart people playing smart games.

Related links:

January 18, 2007 Posted by | Drama, Game Design | 4 Comments

Slade went mad

We weren’t trying hard enough.

I was confused. Being a game designer but dislike the game that we are going to make and still can live through every day. What is wrong with me? Every time when I imagine myself playing the game, I will stop after a few seconds. I just didn’t like it.

One day when we were out for dinner, we discussed about the game. I kept thinking that maybe it is just me who doesn’t like the game because I dislike playing strategy game and trading card game. So, I went on asking more about the game to understand it more so that I can force myself liking it. It was a bad idea. I mean, a bad idea to think that I dislike specific game so it is ok not to be bothered of. All of a sudden, Slade went mad and started scolding all of us. (Hate it when he does that)

All the while all of us known that there is a big problem with the game design but we were so blinded with the old design and never wanted a change badly. Slade was mad again and wanted new game design. All of us were contributing ideas in the car and nowing was the driver. (Never discuss something like that in the car) I’ll talk more about nowing’s driving later.

No matter how we come up with new ideas we were still stuck with the old design…

We weren’t trying hard enough.

Related Posts:

January 9, 2007 Posted by | Drama, Encephalon, Game Design, Sharing | 6 Comments

Encephalon: the beginning

Sometimes, all it takes is just a spark.

Back in the ancient past, thee was a spar, and there was light. When the universe was very young, atoms and molecules were formed by repeated fusions of subatomic particles and smaller atoms. As the universe grew older and settled down, the fusion stopped. However, the raw materials for fusion still existed. These invisible particles drifted around the universe, waiting for the right conditions to be materialized.

Eventually, stars were formed, and then planets and moons. Some planets, due to their very favorable conditions, were new homes to these particles. In the warm promordial waters and ionized atmosphere, the particles were weaved into the double-helixes of life. The first cell was formed. The first cells combined.

And eventually, the first eye opened. The first hand grabbed the first rock. The first foot walked on the first path. The first net caught the first fish. The first bricks formed the first house.

Through the years the particles slowly disappeared. The first blade tasted the first blood. The first bullet pierced the first heart. The first rebellion overthrew the first king. The first bomb blew up the first city. The people of the world started to weep, fearing that their creation from their own hands would lead to their destruction.

And that was when the spark came again.

Up on a mountain range, a group of mountaineers saw a ring of light in the sky. A few minutes later, the light grew brighter and brighter. Families came out of their homes and looked up. Somehow, it was not the end of the world. And one by one, a spark started to glimmer in their eyes. The light illuminated the whole sky in an orange-pinkish hue, even overpowering the sun on the other side of the planet. In the trenches of war soldiers stopped and looked, each one’s eyes containing the same spark as his enemies’.

And then there was peace. The meteor shower ended as abruptly as it began, but it had achieved its purpose – to bring those particles of life back to this planet.

In time, these people will learn how to manipulate these particles for the good of the species; and in time this species will come into contact with another, and they will teach them the way of the spark; and in time the whole galaxy will be open for every being wih the spark to freely communicate with one another.

This galaxy is Encephalon, and our story starts from here.

Check out these other posts to find out more about what we are building. We invite anybody to help us expand the world by commenting here.

January 3, 2007 Posted by | Drama, Encephalon, Quasr Concept | 2 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:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

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