2016-06-25 05:55 pm
Entry tags:

you know what would be fun?

an RPG for muslims where you help people.

now this isn't a new idea. someone reading this might scream "that's undertale!" minus the islam of course. i love the mercy mechanic in undertale. it's awesome. as a kid the emphasis on fighting every monster you encounter bothered me. even if you can run, you're encouraged to kill the enemy for loot.

now i can understand if you're fighting someone who's literally trying to destroy you, your people, and your way of life--but a blob of slime? really? why am i grinding these creatures to lifeless puddles? can't i do something else?

the story in video games always took precedent for me. even if it was a platformer where the gameplay's main focus is traversal and overcoming obstacles, i'd be thinking about the characters and the world they lived in, what it meant to be there in that moment. i'd see kirby jump on a warp star and go "what is kirby thinking right now? does he miss home? does he always ride stars around? why does he never stop to use the bathroom after eating all these enemies?"

(i know in canon there's literally another dimension in his stomach but that isn't really addressed in the games nor is it a narrative focus.)

it's funny. i refused to believe in such a shallow concept, such a shallow reason to do so much work. i mean seriously. cake? that's it? kirby chased a gang of rats across the world and atmosphere for a snack? he could call the police, head to the bakery, then be done with it. kirby helps people but it feels like he rarely does so with a conscience. i suppose that lack of narrative emphasis in platformers has a lot to do with these feelings but again. i like playing games where i'm learning something. mindless activity can be calming... but i want a little more substance. 

(again, i know in canon kirby is an infant but i'm trying to make a point.)

i know that level of ridiculousness is part of cartoons' appeal but eh. it's not very satisfying from my perspective.

maybe i don't want to make an RPG. maybe i want to make a visual novel/RPG hybrid. after all, i do love visual novels. but who knows. i want to make lots of games. i may or may not since i love spending time just sitting on my butt and thinking about games without pushing out more than a few lines of code HOWEVER i'm getting off track again.

an RPG (or VN RPG) where you help people, get rewarded for helping people, and feel like you're actually making a difference. a game you come away from believing there's more you can do to help people in the real world. a game that feels less like a sermon and more like an experience. a game that rocks you to the core.

...

so basically undertale. minus the monsters, plus the positive muslim representation and morals.
2016-06-20 05:56 am
Entry tags:

browser games and communities

forum-based websites always fascinated me. add pretty graphics, a strong sense of community, and engaging content... then you've got me hooked to say the least.

it's only as i grow older that i realize these sort of projects are constantly being made. sometimes they become internet household names, sometimes they shrivel up after success, and sometimes they go largely unnoticed. how many avatar and/or pet sites can you think of off the top of your head?

gaia online. roliana. goatlings. subeta. neopets. kaylune. flight rising. ernya. solia online. recolor.me. the list goes on and on.

everybody wants to belong. people with common interests gravitate towards each other. whether the focus is anime, roleplaying, or any other hobby, these communities typically have a certain "feel" to them based on the playerbase. imo the players on these avatar sites (aside from staff) is one of the most important factors that'll determine the site's trajectory.
  • moderation too strict ... discourages participation
  • moderation too lax ... rampant inappropriate behavior like harrassment and exploitation
  • too much focus on monetary gains ... users feel like walking wallets instead of valued customers
  • not enough focus on monetization ... site fails to cover operating costs
  • not addressing serious user concerns ... users feel ignored & mayhem ensues 
  • addressing too many user concerns ... site can lose direction
gaia online is a perfect example of how to totally ruin your website's economy while alienating users, thus losing tons of traffic and loyal/potential customers. as ridiculous as it sounds, sometimes these huge corporations don't realize that abusing their visitors is detrimental to their future. when you only care about profits it shows. users won't trust you with their money. older citizens may stick around for a while but many people are going to leave. these greedy tendencies detract new players from enjoying the site. they probably won't stay for more than an hour.

the userbase will grow sick, tired, rebellious. you will have no customers. you will have no money. it seems like gaia's current CEO doesn't care at all, which doesn't surprise me because he's got a history of running companies into the ground. unless the company's put in more capable hands, gaia is probably good as dead imo.

of course not every site failure comes at the hand's of the unscrupulous corporation category. any time you have a small team with limited resources the chance of going under looms overhead constantly. life will get in the way. staff may have to leave. user-engagement will be down. etc etc.

anyway i didn't type this up to complain about how much i dislike gaia, although that did just happen. i want to talk about what makes pet/avatar sites like these good. what frew me in and what kept me there.
  • site-wide user events
  • free stuff
  • games
  • engaging forum acitivies
  • clubs
  • collectibles
time brings new challenges, fallen empires, and the nations that rise from their ashes. basically there'll never be a shortage of these online communities.

one of these sites-in-progress that's caught my eye is dappervolk. i stumbled upon a post from the site's tumblr after searching "gamedev."
2016-06-18 01:19 am
Entry tags:

splatoon and balancing your game

you know, i appreciate those folks who will go out of their way to learn the microscopic details of how a game works to help players understand it better. those squid science videos i dismissed earlier last year as informative but uninteresting resurfaced the other day, and now i'm hooked.

the channel's name is Nintendome btw.

i had no idea just how detailed physics in this game were, nor how much they affected small-but-vital aspects of gameplay. just check out those thINK tank videos--it's this kind of stuff that gets me going, you know?

anyway, time to do a bit more research!
2016-06-16 11:54 pm
Entry tags:

making the environment more realistic

how do you make a game more dynamic, more true-to-life?

while watching legend of zelda: breath of the wild in the E3 demonstrations i was stuck several times by "stuff that makes you go wow" content.

aside from the gorgeous graphics, i was impressed by how much thought went into the physics, real-world logic, and how well the mechanics (foraging, cooking, exploring) tied into one another. it was new, but had classic elements of the earliest zelda games that fans old and new can appreciate.

another thing i noticed was that exploration was not only encouraged, it was highly rewarded. treasure chests, mushrooms, butterflies, and enemy drops were littered everywhere. activating magnetic powers revealed hidden items in seemingly useless ponds. climbable trees bore fruit and mushrooms that could be cooked in a pot near bokoblins. a giant rock monster springs into action without warning as you approach it--and defeating it rewards serious loot.

the programmers equally encouraged experimentation. item textures and placement hinted they could be manipulated... but how? the player has to find out. you're dropped into a world with vague directions and piqued curiosity. some obstacles are impossible to get around, but everything can be interacted with. even if you can't solve a puzzle yet you're sure with new knowledge, skills, or gear you're sure you can come back later. now you're motivated to discover more to get more out of the game..

these situations train players to stretch their imagination. the result? improved problem solving. if one method works, try another. there are so many solutions you may not realize until in-game conditions change. that's another element i'd like to point out: weather and day/night cycles. they have immediate effects on gameplay, rather than serving a superficial purpose.

there's so much more i can say about this new game that we've only seen snippets of so far. all i can say is, from what nintendo's teased i'm definitely intrigued.
2016-06-16 06:08 am

so i finally found the developer console

in google chrome, that is.

here's an image representing how to get to it.


[photo of google chrome going menu > more tools > developer tools.]

once the console opens up it'll probably open up to the source code tab. click "console" instead. it should look like the following.

[photo of what the actual console looks like when open.]

and there you have it! this entry is nothing major, but i like reinforcing what i learn regardless of how small it may be if i feel it'll help me.