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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby Peppilu on Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:27 pm

Thank you for your questions, Hfar *heehee* I will try to answer them in the order you raised them.

I originally planned to address many of these questions in future PEP Talks, but I think I can briefly answer most of your questions.

What will be the features of this game?
Unfortunately, the future is uncertain. Right now, the best I can do to describe what features there will be is to use PtP2.0 as the model. I plan to address this in future PEP Talks.

How will it be organized?

I might need some more context on this question to answer it appropriately. I'm sorry *doh*

Where will it be hosted?
I have my own server to host it and its prototypes.

What, exactly, will be different?
I dislike using this response because I know it infuriates some people, but I can't say for certain. That's what the planning phase will hopefully address in future PEP Talks. At the very least, it will be PtP2.0 without the bugs. My hope is to go far beyond that. For example, I would like to change the way the class system works. IE instead of picking a class and leveling skills available, all skills are available and the highest skill sets determine your class. I would also design the game to be more friendly to the GM and give the GM more control over the characters, inventory, and map. Another example would be changes to the pricing model. A fourth example would be having the choice of RPing other parties than the main group. IE humans, orcs, etc. I have more ideas. Some may not be good. There are many which aren't groundbreaking, but collectively could drastically change the experience. I am refraining from listing all of my ideas right now for the sake of brevity.

What will be the same?
I think I'm confident enough to state that the basic premise will be the same. For example, the game will allow individual people to contribute to the clan. The goal of taking a destitute group and making them build anew would also be the same. It's really hard to know what exactly would be the same because the planning phase can easily change any of that.

Where is it set?
If permission to use the PtP setting isn't granted, then in an unhospitable environment where danger lurks around every corner and everyone needs to pitch in order to thrive.

When is it set?
If permission to use the PtP setting isn't granted, then in a medieval epoch.

What is the frame about which this project will be built around?
I might need more context to answer this, but I think saying it will be based on PtP might be sufficient? *doh*

I would want to know about story and setting now
If permission to use the PtP story and setting isn't granted, then a future PEP Talk will have to address that.

How are you going to see this dream realized?
I plan to use PEP Talks to carry the planning phase. In the meantime, I hope I can get constructive feedback from a sample of PtP players about what they liked and didn't like about the PtP2.0 system. Using that feedback, I hope to build upon and improve PtP2.0. I plan to do all of the work. Yes, I realize that will mean people will have to suffer royalty-free art, royalty-free music, etc. But I plan to achieve it by myself. Help is welcome, but I will wait until I have something more to show before I expect any applications to join.

Kern had an entire team consisting of artists, writers, a programmer (albeit an unsatisfactory one), a small army of fans, and hundreds of dollars in monthly revenue to help him try and make Path to Power 2 work and even he could not.
I hope no one gets me wrong. I think Kern is a great artist and a hard worker. However, skill with art has nothing to do with running a business or developing a game. Can an artist run a business or develop a game? Definitely. But being an artist and a hard worker in and of itself does not mean he'd also be a great businessman or game developer. I believe that some of the disappointments could have been avoided with better planning. Why do I think I can succeed? Because I have a Master in Business Administration and a strong interest in game development with time to spare. PtP gave me something to do while I was in school, so I want to give back to the community. Something I feel is at an all time low right now.

So then what would your method be for creating this vague original game of yours?
I think this question is a repeat of a previous one. If not, please let me know.

How would you get funding?
This project is entirely privately and personally funded.

How many people do you expect to work on it?
None. If I had a choice, I'd like to work in a 4 person group. IE an artist, a musician, and a programmer.

What are your proposed deadlines?
I don't plan to begin programming for several months. Right now, I speculate that the planning phase will take around 3 months. Programming could also take 3 months. I would like to take at least a month of betatesting (at an accelerated turn pace). All of the above give or take a couple of months. Why so long? Because I'm working alone and am doing this in my spare time. If I had more people, time could be reduced, but I understand it is not a linear relation. IE adding 3 people into the mix will not reduce the time from 4 months to 1 month unless there are some exceptional circumstances.

Who will write?
Right now, just me.

If you expect other people to help, will they be paid? If so, how will they be paid?
Not with money :] So no.

If you expect others to help, what will be the benefits of working on this project other than "completing this project?"
Excluding the implications of prestige, friendship, or adding it to one's resume etc.? Nothing. Yeah, work would be completely altruistic. There's a chance a cut of the proceeds, if there are any proceeds, which at this stage we will say is none, will be split, but that is getting way ahead of ourselves.

If you expect to work on it by yourself, do you have the skills necessary to write, program, and moderate this game?
I believe so yes. I may not currently have everything I need, but I am experienced with researching and learning what I need.
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby Hfar on Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:42 am

Peppilu wrote:How will it be organized?
I might need some more context on this question to answer it appropriately. I'm sorry *doh*

Ah, the let me rephrase that. Will there be a GM? Will there be moderators? How many? Will there be a voting system? If so, how will it be implemented? Will there be a few people who control major decisions or will everyone have equal influence? Who will have primary control over the game? Who will decide on the rules? Who will be expected to enforce the rules: the GM, the moderators, or the players? This is what I mean when I ask how it will be organized.

Peppilu wrote:Where will it be hosted?
I have my own server to host it and its prototypes.

I see. And how many people can it support exactly?

Peppilu wrote:Kern had an entire team consisting of artists, writers, a programmer (albeit an unsatisfactory one), a small army of fans, and hundreds of dollars in monthly revenue to help him try and make Path to Power 2 work and even he could not.
I hope no one gets me wrong. I think Kern is a great artist and a hard worker. However, skill with art has nothing to do with running a business or developing a game. Can an artist run a business or develop a game? Definitely. But being an artist and a hard worker in and of itself does not mean he'd also be a great businessman or game developer. I believe that some of the disappointments could have been avoided with better planning. Why do I think I can succeed? Because I have a Master in Business Administration and a strong interest in game development with time to spare. PtP gave me something to do while I was in school, so I want to give back to the community. Something I feel is at an all time low right now.

Ah, but here is the point I was getting at: how do you expect to succeed with a resource pool more limited than the man who tried to implement this system in the first place? And if you do have resources comparable to Kern's, then why haven't you used them to try and help the game earlier? We are cautious and cynical people Peppilu. Like I said before, we want to know that this thing has a leg to stand on before we even go so far as to invest time into this project. That includes a realistic assessment of what resources you have *now* at your disposal and how exactly you will use them.

Peppilu wrote:What will be the features of this game?
Unfortunately, the future is uncertain. Right now, the best I can do to describe what features there will be is to use PtP2.0 as the model. I plan to address this in future PEP Talks.


Peppilu wrote:What, exactly, will be different?
I dislike using this response because I know it infuriates some people, but I can't say for certain. That's what the planning phase will hopefully address in future PEP Talks. At the very least, it will be PtP2.0 without the bugs. My hope is to go far beyond that. For example, I would like to change the way the class system works. IE instead of picking a class and leveling skills available, all skills are available and the highest skill sets determine your class. I would also design the game to be more friendly to the GM and give the GM more control over the characters, inventory, and map. Another example would be changes to the pricing model. A fourth example would be having the choice of RPing other parties than the main group. IE humans, orcs, etc. I have more ideas. Some may not be good. There are many which aren't groundbreaking, but collectively could drastically change the experience. I am refraining from listing all of my ideas right now for the sake of brevity.


Peppilu wrote:I would want to know about story and setting now
If permission to use the PtP story and setting isn't granted, then a future PEP Talk will have to address that.


Peppilu wrote:How are you going to see this dream realized?
I plan to use PEP Talks to carry the planning phase. In the meantime, I hope I can get constructive feedback from a sample of PtP players about what they liked and didn't like about the PtP2.0 system. Using that feedback, I hope to build upon and improve PtP2.0. I plan to do all of the work. Yes, I realize that will mean people will have to suffer royalty-free art, royalty-free music, etc. But I plan to achieve it by myself. Help is welcome, but I will wait until I have something more to show before I expect any applications to join.

And here we have the crux of the issue I have with what has been presented so far: to many key things are left for "later."

I can understand the sincerity behind posting your idea here. Really, I do. But despite that, the way this is coming off is that you want us to complete the main creative aspects of this project for you. And not just the little details, which would be fine. The way this project is presented, you want us to fashion the creative bones of this project for you. Regardless of whether or not this is what you were trying to convey, this is essentially what it sounds.

This is not helped any by what is being asked for. You would like artist. You would like a musician. You would like a programmer. You would like for us to care about this project. But then, what have you done to earn that trust? How many of us have you talked to outside this thread? How many other project have you been an active, contributing member too? How many other threads have you joined besides this one? And again I see the optimistic idea behind creating this thread. However, in essence you created this thread for us to come to you. And then when we come to this thread, we find a game design with no story and a whole lot of "don't knows" and "laters."

We are not irritated Peppilu. We are tired. We are tired hearing vague answers. We are tired of hearing about grand plans and seeing little to no results. And above all else, we are tired of hearing the word "later." So if you want to do something for us, to gain *our* trust, then I suggest you first go and write up an outline for your story now rather than later. Show us that you indeed have the time and drive to see this project completed and that you are willing to give us something to work with.
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby Peppilu on Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:15 pm

Thank you for your excellent questions, Hfar :) (Awesome profile pic, by the way *wee* ) I will try to answer them all. If I miss any major points, please toss me a reminder.

I think I will address your last concern first. I know everyone hates me using the 'term' later. I am very, very sorry for using it :S I am also very, very sorry for having to still use it :( It's not that I refuse to address it right now, but there's just a lot of information to go over. Trying to plan an experience that will be enjoyable and have a high chance that it will be enjoyable is not an easy task.

I could just lay everything down at once, but I believe that will be an information overload. This thread is just a broad, generalized, introductory thread and look how long it is. I have been writing everything out and it is taking up pages. Single spaced. I feel that if I did slam people with everything I have at once, responses would probably get distracted from topics that need more in depth coverage. Or just the TLDR phenomenon would occur.

That's where I want to go with the PEP Talks. I discuss a topic and put my viewpoint out there. I would hopefully get validation from the community. Like if I said "I think having both explorers and hunters as separate classes is silly, here are my reasons why", then I get several responses saying "In my opinion, we need the separation because of this reason" or "Yeah, you're right" I would get changes I might put in affirmed. Or be told that I'm off my rocker and it's a horrible idea :) I think I have a lot of good ideas, but I know that some of them might be flops or just unwanted.

So in short, I want to go over it, but in bite size bits so I can get quality feedback (I hope). If no one responds to any of my topics, then I guess that's that. But I think people will want to share their experience and their thoughts on how to improve it.

In short, I am really sorry. I will be posting details on various aspects in the near future to gain people's trust. Please bear with me *doh*

So back to answering your questions :]

Will there be a GM?
Yes. PtP2.0 is PtP1.8, but with the map system. Designs still had Thalar in mind to be the GM.

Will there be moderators? How many?
I did not put any thought into moderators. So excellent question. Right now, with less than a hundred active and semi-active players, I don't think moderators would be necessary. It would be my goal to let the system do indirect moderating. The more direct stuff like detecting abusive language or behavior would remain with the GM.

Will there be a voting system? If so, how will it be implemented?
Yes. The voting system would be the same as it is now. Someone nominates an option and people vote on it. One change I was seriously considering was eliminating the EA. Basically, make map actions what gets represented in the EA.

Will there be a few people who control major decisions or will everyone have equal influence?
I like the PtP system where everyone is in control of their own individual impact on the clan. I did not like putting my character on autopilot for someone else to control. For example, I didn't like the old ranked system where I had no say in what my character did outside of joining a profession. However, both PtP2.0 and the downgrade both address this, so there might not be any room for improvement. But I would like to hear from everyone what they would prefer when the topic comes up later.

Who will have primary control over the game? Who will decide on the rules?
Ultimately, I think the owner would have the ultimate control of the game and the rules. However, I think any owner who did not take into consideration what the players want would be foolish since it's the players paying the money. So directly, the owner, but indirectly, the players. For example, if a bunch of players think that a certain rule is harmful to their experience, the owner needs to seriously consider changing it to make the experience better for everyone.

Who will be expected to enforce the rules: the GM, the moderators, or the players?
I want to let the system enforce any hard rules. For example, there's an exploit where people can change class at a moment's notice. There's a rule that class counts in the EA votes. If the rule that class counts is necessary to deepen the experience, then the exploit needs to be fixed. I do not blame the players for using an exploit. I blame the system for allowing it.

Softer rules, like foul language, would have to be enforced by the moderator/GM.

How many people can it [the server] support exactly?
Unless the population explodes, there should be no problems. I do not know how many people my server can support exactly. mySQL databases can handle several terabytes of information. It has pretty good bandwidth. The game is turn based that only sends data once when someone inputs an action. The data sent to the server is very small (No more than text). The server is sending a couple kilobytes response per action and maybe images when the page is initially loaded. Images could be as small as 100 KB for a large, detailed image at low compression. Even with 100 people, there should absolutely not problem, even if everyone spams requests at the same time. Most of the time, only a handful of people would be getting served data at any given moment.

How do you expect to succeed with a resource pool more limited than the man who tried to implement this system in the first place?
Better planning. I am NOT saying that Kern didn't plan. I am not implying that he didn't put any work into it. I just believe I can do a better job. I think the design phase was more limited or narrow than required. I will have a more thorough design phase and I am much more invested in the project.

And if you do have resources comparable to Kern's, then why haven't you used them to try and help the game earlier?
Because there wasn't a problem before. Before, PtP2.0 was coming and it was going to be great.

Slightly off topic. I am not under the illusion that I have comparable resources to Kern. Kern has more resources than me in that he has great artistic ability and he had the capital to outsource significant portions of the work. I am trying to do more with less. I still believe I can do it though.

[Please give us] a realistic assessment of what resources you have *now* at your disposal and how exactly you will use them.
If I can be brief and simple in my assessment, I'll break it up into general categories.

Programming: This is what I KNOW I can do right now. I plan to use PHP to read and write data to a mySQL database. So think of a spreadsheet. Each column would have information like a player's name (text), password (encrypted text), equipment (a number representing an item), experience level (number), flags indicated they have or have not done something (0s and 1s). From that, the player can call information and be able to alter certain cells (Like when they perform and action) and the GM can call information and alter all cells (Giving the GM total control of the game). It's very simplistic, it's very messy, but it also gets the job done.

Art: I can not draw very well :( Even my stick figures suck. Or maybe that's just artist angst? 8P I can do simple animations when character art already exists. I own Photoshop Master Collection CS5 (Being a student got me a super discount). So I can play with some fun toys. If push comes to shove, then I will resort to using royalty free art. I do plan to add some animations.

Music: If worst comes to worst, then there will be no music. There's royalty free music out there, but if it doesn't fit, then I'd rather have no sound. There will always be an option to mute the music.

Planning and Design: Over the next few months, I will be covering topics exploring various aspects. I hope others will give me their feedback on those topics at that time so I can validate whether I'm off my rocker or not. Planning and designing is my strongest suit *heehee*

[Do] you want us to complete the main creative aspects of this project for you?
I want this to be as clear as possible. The main, creative aspects of this project will be taken care of by me. I would like you all, the players of PtP, to give me feedback after I post my thoughts in PEP Talks. That is all :) I have given up on any possibility that others might join me in directly making the game.

I want to avoid creating a game nobody wants.
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby blackjack217 on Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:24 pm

Looking, especially the bit about Having Thalar GMing, at this it looks like you are trying to reverse the vote to downgrade. Is this the case? And if so what in the world makes you think you have a realistic shot at doing so?
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby Peppilu on Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:13 am

No, I am not planning to reverse the result of the vote for the downgrade :)

I think I only mentioned Thalar in terms of there being a GM in the game. Project Phoenix is about 'what if' Option 1 had won instead of Option 2. So the old design would have had Thalar in mind as the GM. The new design could be designed without a GM, but I haven't thoroughly evaluated the need for a GM enough to make any changes to that design mechanic :)
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby Hfar on Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:55 am

Hm. Well this has certainly been enlightening. I wish you luck Peppilu.
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby Hetros on Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:29 pm

I just wanted to say that currently I have a team working on a similar project, we have art, programming, writing, and design talent, and will release sometime around next christmas. I can't say any more than this, and I won't be advertising it on the forums due to it being crass and without taste to advertise a competing service on a website dedicated to another service (and subscription games are, without question, services).

I will be releasing on the skype channel when the prologue game begins, which should be very soon. And I wish you luck Peppilu ^^
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Re: PEP Talks: Project Phoenix

Postby James Rye on Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:07 pm

So is the project coming along? Will you keep us updated about your work like in 3 month circles? :3
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