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PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby Peppilu on Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:55 pm

As far as we all know, PtP2.0 is dead :( A sad reality, but it's true. There was an option to have a 'community' effort try to fix the game, but the votes favored downgrading back to a PtP version people were more familiar with (So does that makes it PtP1.9? :P). The result was not really surprising since the vote was basically between the unknown and the familiar. There were other factors that came into play, but that will be discussed in future PEP Talks.

The map system is still accessible, but from what I've heard, it's not being used by anyone official anymore. The only reason it's still there is because it doesn't harm anything by being there. Not to mention, the people who liked playing PtP2.0 can still play it. Why spend money or time on disabling it when it will only upset people? The minority was representative of 40% of the votes after all.

So enough history... back to the title of the post; Project Phoenix. It's a tentative title, but as it implies, I am going to try to raise PtP2.0 from the ashes. Just because the upgrade got canned doesn't mean we, the Path to Power community, can't build upon what's already been done. What I am proposing is that we explore something along the lines of “Option 1” from the February 1st LA.

Just to make sure I'm clear, Project Phoenix will not actually be PtP2.0. Phoenix will be a completely unofficial and independent game to PtP. What it will do is learn from PtP2.0's example and is based only roughly on its original premise.

There is a possibility that Kern might want to give it official support and I will offer him the game if Phoenix takes off. However, that's getting ahead of ourselves. I had some thoughts of releasing it independently and using the proceeds to make donations to Drowtales, but I'll be covering that in a later PEP Talk when it comes to pricing schemes and incentives.

So let's get down to business :D

Since I'm getting the ball rolling, I will be heading Project Phoenix.

I will try to design it to be a community project and I think it would be fun to build a team from the community. However, if push comes to shove, I think I can do it by myself.

I want to develop this game with as much transparency as possible. I may not publish code here, but all the efforts and decisions made, I would like to try to make publicly available to the PtP community (Open Development will probably be another PEP Talk topic later on).

There will be multiple phases of development. Programming on the actual game will not start immediately. This project is about game design which generally takes planning. And planning takes time. Typically lots of it. But if PtP has demonstrated anything, it's that some of us have a lot of time. (Development Phases and Lean Development will probably be more PEP Talk topics)

Much of the planning phase will begin with focusing on single topics related to game design. Example topics I'll be covering are things like: Hardcore vs Casual, Playtesting, Lean Development, Social Gaming, Achievement Systems, Skinner Box Mechanics, Sound Design, Aesthetics, Role of the Player, Writing, Free Speech, Pricing Models, Conflict, Choice, Narrative Mechanics, etc. The sky is really the limit here.

Once a sufficient amount of topics are addressed, we will try to pull everything together to begin and even continue on an as needed basis. A good portion of my information will be coming from the web series Extra Credits as well as my own experience as a gamer. For those who haven't familiarized themselves with Extra Credits, I highly recommend the series for anyone interested in game development and design.

It will be an educational experience for me as we explore all facets of game design. Applications to be part of the team will be open for quite some time.

Anyone who wants to join is welcome to apply :) Anyone who wants to learn is welcome to watch :)

So I now open the floor to any questions or inquiries about Project Phoenix. If you prefer, you can PM me as well. As questions come up, I'll edit the section below I'm reserving with those questions.
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby Peppilu on Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:56 pm

Q&A Section: If any questions turn into PEP Talk topics, I'll try to include links in this section.

Do you have any of the PtP2.0 code to work on?

No, I don't have any of the code.

Is Drowtales lending any support?
No, I don't have any official support.

I don't have any experience with programming. Can I still be of help?
Yes. Everyone can help. I would love it if people gave me their feedback about what they like about PtP and what they don't like.

How long until we see a real product?
I think the planning and discussion at a casual-community level will take several months. I'm not planning to even begin any programming for at least 2 months at the very earliest.

On a side note, this gives anyone willing to learn ample opportunity to begin learning basic to advanced programming in anticipation. It takes some commitment and some dedication, but it's perfectly feasible. I'm a living example :)

Do I have to help?
No. No one is obligated to help nor contribute to this project. There is no obligation to even read any of my PEP Talks.

This entire deal seems sketchy. There's no substance.
I will be discussing the substance of the project in later PEP Talks. This thread is merely the introductory thread to the project so that my future PEP Talks don't seem as if they're completely unrelated to PtP. If you need some substance, you can base everything off the old PtP2.0 system. That's what I'm modeling this game after.

Show me a working product first.
When I get a working prototype, I will make it accessible. There are multiple phases to this project and I am starting it with a planning phase. If you require a working product before you want to get invested in the project, then please ignore my existence until I get something out.

Why don't you get a working product first?
Normally, major games require investors to fund their project. Pitching a game to a major video game publisher like EA, Sony, Nintendo, etc without a working prototype would be ignored completely. However, smaller games that come out of someone's proverbial (Sometimes literal) basement do not have to go through that prototype phase. The biggest difference between these two extremes is the money involved in development. Creating a working prototype takes money and time. Prototypes used for the big labels usually get scrapped completely because their margins are expected to be so large that scrapping the prototype is miniscule in comparison.

Small time games can be much more lean by not requiring that same step. For example, Angry Birds did not have a working prototype when it was picked up for development. In a PC World interview, it was revealed that "we had this one screenshot of this angry bird character just trudging around on the ground. Everybody in the room really liked the bird characters. In the first meeting we said 'okay, we should look at this character and come up with gameplay for it." In short, Angry Birds had no working prototype. They picked up a character artwork and built a game around it. And it was hugely successful.

This smells like vaporware
Vaporware is promised software which gets cancelled without any notification, leaving the audience waiting in anticipation for a long time. If I drop this project at any time, I will be ensure to notify.
Last edited by Peppilu on Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:40 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby blackjack217 on Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:16 pm

First thing to do is establish a setting for this project that is not a blatant ripoff of drowtales. Or else secure permission from kern to do this in the drowtales setting.
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby Peppilu on Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:43 pm

Thank you for the reminder, Blackjack :)

Story and setting are a longs way off. I'll be sure to leave a route open to not rip off the Drowtales setting in the event Kern doesn't want to let us use it. I think Intellectual Property might make another good PEP Talk now that I think about it *wee*
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby 3Power on Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:50 pm

Uh-huh. This ain't happening.
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby Peppilu on Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:07 pm

3Power wrote:Uh-huh. This ain't happening.

I understand that you do not have a solution to the problem and that you're raising a concern. Although I welcome criticism, destructive criticism isn't really helpful to anyone. If anything, it comes off sort of offensively. All I can do is take a shot in the dark on what makes you think won't work.

As I mentioned earlier, if no one helps out, I will be doing it by myself. I understand that it's an ambitious project and I am putting it out here in case anyone might want to help or be involved in making a game. It will help us realize the gravity of and appreciate exactly what game developers have to go through to publish their games for our enjoyment :)

Many are quick to insult the work done on PtP2.0, but I doubt most would have the ability to pull it off themselves. This project is to help put things into perspective as well as attempt to produce something that may help add to Drowtales finances.
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby 3Power on Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:53 pm

Although I welcome criticism, destructive criticism isn't really helpful to anyone.

Au contraire. I have enough experience with poorly thought out fan projects to tell this isn't going anywhere from your demeanor and posting style alone. I am simply giving you a chance to realize that you are getting ahead of yourself due to delusional excitement, before you manage to get anyone else's hopes up.
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby Peppilu on Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:22 pm

I think I've been pretty clear and realistic on what's available (almost nothing) and what sort of work will be involved (A whole lot). Could it fail? Definitely. That's another reason I don't plan to approach Kern for awhile because I want to have a minimum viable product established first. I do realize the gravity of the project and the severity of the work involved.

But even if it does fail in the end, I still would have succeeded in doing what I want to do. That's to explore this aspect as well as increase appreciation for the difficulty of the project. Completing Project Phoenix would be a big bonus :)

Maybe I unveiled too soon where I intended to go with the PEP Talks, but I figured I should generate awareness now.

I can understand that in your experience of being disappointed so many times that you've lost hope and that has made you extremely pessimistic and cynical. Fortunately, I have a brighter outlook on things.

Thank you for your concern :) I will still go ahead with the project. I hope I can prove you wrong *wee*
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby 3Power on Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:56 pm

Nothing would make me happier. But the fact is, you have nothing to show at the moment. You are opening this project to the public at the "theory" level wherein you are posting about the ideas and possibilities of the game. I have never seen a project revealed at this level ever succeed. If you come back in a few months with a working mockup, maybe there will be something to discuss.
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby Peppilu on Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:30 pm

I have a feeling that you only read scant parts of my posts, Trey'la :(

I already know that I have nothing to currently show. I'll try to clarify, again, that this entire thread is introducing the idea of what I intend to do and if anyone else is interested. It's to communicate to anyone else who has a like mind (Which is obviously not you). It's goal is to talk about game design and that completing the game would be a nice perk.

I would disagree that the only time to discuss anything is when I have a working mockup. I have already mentioned that good design requires planning. Having a working mockup before planning is using the 'build and they will come' mentality. Such strategies, or lack thereof, makeup a significant portion of project failures and loads of wasted resources. What good is a working mockup that has no thought put into it? Why put all the effort into a working mockup only to redesign it all from scratch? It's called working smarter, not harder :)
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby 3Power on Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:31 pm

Well, I tried. Good luck with that.

EDIT: and to clarify a little, the reason you need a mockup is to demonstrate that you are capable of providing or putting forth a viable idea. Even if everything is rebuilt from the ground up after the fact, it's served its purpose in showing the idea is viable. At this point, I can't even say whether or not this project would even be doable for you, and the way to talk about it like it's a learning experience for you too makes me feel you really don't have much personal experience at all. I would suggest that if you are interested in learning about the game design process, you go find an indie game development site and join one of the projects there.
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby Peppilu on Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:52 pm

Please read my previous posts again. It already addresses your concern.
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby 3Power on Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:55 pm

It really doesn't.

I can see I'm wasting my time though.

Good luck.
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby Peppilu on Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:11 am

Your time wasn't the only one that was wasted. Thank you and take care.
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby Catriana on Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:53 am

A little clarification, if you please.

My understanding is that you're trying to take the current PTP 2.0 system and do something completely different settings-wise, in order to prove it can be done? If so, then I feel you misunderstood the reason why PTP 2.0 became a money sink for Kern in the first place. If not, your current explanation is a bit unclear since you kind of bounce around in your initial proposal.

3Power has a very valid point that you're dismissing. You claim that you're hoping for volunteers to jump on a project with no premise, no structure, no plot basis, nothing but the fact that you might want to use the PTP 2.0 system, but you're not sure because you don't even know if Kern will allow you to do so. In short, you have absolutely nothing reassuring anyone that you won't be wasting their time and talents should they desire to invest in your idea. You absolutely cannot ask people to jump in and give something with nothing. They have to have a reason to want to invest in your idea, which you're admitting you, essentially, don't have. Months went by with no improvement with PTP 2.0, and that was with the program being as it was. You want to re-create that with even less, and expect people to jump in and offer ideas when you don't even have a foundation or an inkling of one.

All propositions have a barebones idea of what it wants and a direction. Regardless of what you're saying, you don't have that. You want people to join in as a team and create it for you, and that's not how it works. If you want to get a team together, you need to offer a hook, and it needs to be a realistic one. The way it's looking, without a real programmer, we would be looking at years to even get this project off the ground unless we lucked out and someone decided to work for free. I doubt anyone wants to plot and plan for years on something like this with no light at the end of the tunnel.

The best thing you can do, right now, is make yourself more viable as a programmer, if that's where your skills lie. Because sure, I'm a writer. I'm even published(albeit I'm a newbie to the field and I have a long way to go in my career). My skills lie in fantasy and I have a world or two in my head I wouldn't mind really digging in and making something neat out of, but I need something more than what you're offering if I'm going to put time and effort into something like this. I wish you all the luck in the world, but I strongly suggest coming up with a better hook than what you have.
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