Tuesday, January 31, 2006

MMO Game Design: Stopping The Phat (Loot) Farmers

Hi There,

Currently many MMORPG game titles are suffering from unwanted commercial sweat shop labor harvesting game item drops that are outside the legal restrictions of a game title. Where the Ebay or IGE E-Commerce outlets are the resellers of these black market virtual goods.

Here's a nifty and geniusly simple game feature that will restrict "phat farmers" from ruining game play from your regular customers. Have loot item drops be restricted by a "Quota System". For instance say a level 25 fighter goes into the newbie proving training grounds. And begins to shut out lower levels from leveling and obtaining their requisite loot level drops.

The "Quota System" would in affect handicap the loot farmer from taking heaps of lower level loot items. They would be restricted to an unpublished looting quota of said game drops items that are 10 to 5 levels beneath them in game character development. This can work in tandem with those present avatar creation restrictions per server. Just in case a Phat Farmer attempts to create a new avatar to find a work around from the quota loot system in place.

That's how you nip it in the bud before it plagues your regular customers. Ala what happened in Lineage 2 by NC Soft when they launched their game title a couple of years ago.

World Level Game Design: FPS Scrolling Capture Points

Hi All,

For the past few months now I have been enjoying "Battlefield 2" published by EA. (Electronic Arts) The game developers for this FPS (First Person Shooter) game title have resorted to only offering "capture the flag" game maps. Which was a disappointment after enjoying a lot of Unreal Tournament 2004 with their variety of objective based game maps.

With that stated what if a newer evolution of FPS game maps is offered up for player enjoyment during these FPS rounds of game play? It's a twist on the static capture the flag game maps which means capturing the same flags adnausem. Where as when a FPS round starts the first few flags are offered for capture on a game map. When conflict erupts at a particular game flag a hidden timer begins counting off. When the timer reaches zero whomevers flag is flying makes that flag uncappable. However if the timer elapses and the flag is still neutral the timer cycle begins anew until the flag gets capped.

When the first set of flags are conquered than the game map scrolls over to the next set of neutral capture the flags. So there can be numerous sets of unlockable flags during the course of a game round. Without so much taxing the client or server hardware resources during game play. This can potentially prolong the time of game map battles.

So for a FPS game title like BF2 (Battlefield 2) a player can play one set of flags and get their stats recorded like an automatic save. And then has the option to continue playing without needing to load a new map or a pause in FPS game play. Where now the game maps are offered individually upon load up in a FPS game title. It can be further seamless for game title enjoyment.

If any "Game Modders" are out there reading this please try it out. And beat the game developers to it who are often burdened by internal bureaucracy.

Game Design Concept: Rabbit Hole Gaming

Hello There,

As most gamers especially MMO ones are often qualified at least as "armchair game designers". Due to the fact they have consumed a lot of game content during the course of their hobby. With that said I would like to offer up another avenue of the TMA (Transmedia Access) term I have heard mentioned. Which is basically multiple game hardware devices all hooking up to the same game title. But each varying according to the type of game play offered. IE cell phones or portable game devices offer up a strategy layer, video game consoles an RPG layer and PC's the FPS component layer of game play to a specific game title.

My concept of "Rabbit Hole Gaming" piggybacks onto this TMA direction to gaming hardware inter-connectivity. Where say for example that cell phone of portable game device gamer encounters a puzzle in-game. After successfully solving it s/he obtains temporary access to a strategy portion of the game world. That often trickles down to the PC or video game console gamers during the course of their game session.

For the video console gamer during his/her own RPG game play can encounter a pogo.com like java like game. Where upon unlocking such a mini java based game it would further their active quest in their quest journal. For The PC gamer whom during their FPS combat discovers a hidden area where non-combat related game skills are needed. Much like the video console gamer a java like game appears where a level has to be completed. Much like the fantasy based "Rogue" class has to unlock a trap in a treasure chest. This PC gamer has to complete a java based puzzle game level akin to a locked safe tumbler that plays like "Tetris". That would unlock additional game content in this randomly spawning hidden area in the game world.

Rabbit Hole Gaming is what binds further the enrichment of game play for all game hardware platforms. Tapping into the same game title simultaneously, where often one game platform will affect all the others. Where the often lauded gamers effecting their course of the game world has been cited but achieved often with mediocre results.


(Note: This entry has been updated on 9/28/10)

Noting this original concept was posted to my blog site back in early 2006. Where now the advent of Apple gadgets be they iPhones to iPads will push out portable gaming even further. TMA (Trans Media Access) which was coined by someone else in game development has yet to fully materialize in any games. Yes, recently your smart phone can be alerted to progress on a Facebook game for instance. But this is still in its infancy from being embraced as a whole as a game feature.

Picturing a portable gaming device be it a smart phone to a Sony PSP that interacts with a MMO game title using a strategy layer. (including real time or turn based strategy) A video game console and a PC / Mac utilizing both RPG and FPS elements to game play. Where all forms of hardware connectivity integrate voice chat features, by having a less of a reliance on text chat messages.

If not an MMO game title consider a multiplayer game title that is not just for the FPS genre. That uses TMA game features to enhance game play, perhaps something to how the "Never Winter Nights" RPG series allowed for multiplayer servers.

"Rabbit Hole Gaming" can certainly push the boundaries of gaming for a game developer & publisher that is bold enough to seize it. The gamers are ready for this transformation, but are the deciding business suits willing?

Business Model Concept: A Gamers Pub (Tavern)

Hi All,

Those of us who've played RPG's be it in the genre's of: pen & paper, singleplayer, or MMO games in a fantasy setting. Have often discovered the Middle Ages pub or tavern in the game world. But what if that notion of a player hub in a game world which in MMO's hasn't often worked as intended. Was brought forth into our world of the "bricks & mortar". Where as it wouldn't be a Internet Cafe, but truly a modern adult bar (pub) for adult gamers. With a continuous local LAN set up for adult gamers. Be it for FPS matches with a local tournament ladder and for local clans of gamers to hang out together in person.

Perhaps the bar owner could work out a deal with a local game software outlet for discounts on merchandise. And/or offer sponsorship for an excelled clan (squad) for national or International FPS competitions. The bar (pub) can offer raffles for adult gamer goodie bags and so forth.

This could very likely be the next incarnation of a business model aside from Internet Cafes. Since some Internet cafes already offer a Barnes & Noble type of coffee shop and bakery like a local StarBucks is doing with a wireless Internet hotspots.

Jewels of Truth Quotation & Favorite Quote Of The Day

Hello Readers,

Here's one of my most recent quotes and one "Favorite Quote of the Day" to add for your enjoyment.

737) Mankind may cast out each other by vehement judgments. However God will not cast out his creations no matter what mankind decrees. Lest humanity itself as individuals chooses to live by condemnation. Then by choice and belief it shall be so. --- Ivan / Atrayo.


How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world. --- William Shakespeare.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Jewels of Truth Quotations & Favorite Quote Of The Day

Hello There,

Here are my three latest spiritual / wisdom quotes for you to enjoy.

734) To find God one must not or need not travel to the far reaches of the Earth. In search of past sacred shrines or become a devout pilgrim. God is in your midst not beyond your own breath. However to have a relationship with God. One must move mountains of fears and turmoil's within one's: mind, heart, and spirit. Blessed are those who allow God to flood their being with the living waters of the nurturing love of his Spirit. Amen. ---Ivan / Atrayo.

735) Those who say "Seeing is Believing & Believing is Seeing" are both correct. Since these statements are a paradox of truth and inclusion. ---Ivan / Atrayo.

736) Those who live by someone else's personal standards whether as a: child to parent, lover to lover, or employee to employer shall live in misery. One must live by their own standards otherwise heartaches will follow. Another persons standards may be: unrealistic, overly ambitious, or completely erroneous for such a person to live to fully. So follow your own inner light and be guided by such a benevolent holy spirit within. For this is the path to personal awakening and fulfillment. Amen. ---Ivan / Atrayo.


Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. ---Dale Carnegie.

MMO Marketing & Sales Concept: Manufacturer Game Coupons or Mail-In Rebates

Hi All,

Recently there have been a slew of MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game beta's (secondary software testing stage) being conducted. From such MMO game titles like: Dungeon & Dragons Online, Auto Assault, RF Online, Pirates of the Burning Seas, and so forth.

I got to thinking what if as a "Thank You Bonus" to alpha or beta tester players to a MMO. Give them via a link for a online print out or direct through postal mail a game publishers manufactures game coupon or mail-in rebate form. Much like Symantec does with mail-in rebate promotions for redeemable cash with a proof of purchase submission. Or a $5 to $10 US discount coupon that can be used at any retailer or a specific cross promotion with a select retailer. Ala Best Buy or a E-Commerce website like Ebgames.com (Electronics Boutique) as common US retailers of game titles sold enmasse.

This has yet to be used as an enticements by game publishers. Except of course those magazine inserts from a certain retailer that give a discount of using their clip off coupon. Or purchase one single player game title and get a discount for the game title you really want to purchase to begin with.

So those in the game industry marketing and sales departments please take heed.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Musical Band Concept: Traveling Bar & Stage Show

Hi All,

This concept came to me literally in a dream during my family visit this past December 2005 in Miami. The premise is rather simple of taking past musical band showcases and putting them on wheels. Not as a major concert traveling circuit, but as a smaller outlet via a traveling bar with it's stage show.

The bar will serve liquor or what have you with the stage show of past great or one hit wonder bands. There could also be just secondary members of a past famous band that perform accapella to the bar audience. The traveling bar and stage show will support a music based charity. Perhaps something akin to VH-1's music charity for public school programs. The "Hard Rock Cafe" franchise would be an ideal promoter for this concept traveling to locales their restaurant / bars aren't showcased at presently.

There will be the cover charge for entering such a event of the traveling bar & stage show. However door prizes can be offered including those in the audience before the stage can have a spotlight on them. Which signals they've won the grand prize of the night that can be a prize package of the performing artists: poster, T-Shirt, Anthology CD, DVD, etc... Than the performing band or artist of that night sings to the spotlight table from the stage.

The traveling bar and stage show can be booked for school field trips likewise during the day. Besides perhaps the military USO could use such a venue of entertainment for the troops that are State side or deployed.

Jewels of Truth Quotations & Favorite Quotes Of The Day

Hi There & A Happy New Year To All!

Without further adieu here are is one my latest quotes. With one of my quote / commentary hybrids that usually come from pen to paper.

732) In life building barriers is usually easier than building bridges. However some barriers do give way to become an eventual bridge to cross. No matter with time both "barriers & bridges" are taken for granted in there existence. Doing so especially for bridges will be a very costly mistake taking years to recover from as a pathway in life. ---Ivan / Atrayo.

733) Religions & Philosophies are numerous as languages and dialects. One is a manner to comprehend creation and the other is a means to communicate the: thoughts, ideas, concepts of such a life in creation. Then all religions and philosophies are a myriad expressions of this same life we are all partners in together. If we cast out our partner by faith and persecution we cast out ourselves by the same breath. If we bind up our partner even if s/he is a foreigner to us we further liberate ourselves by grace itself. All religions are worshipping the same God, whether in singular or plural form. The difference is to make them foreigners is to view the path they've takened to divinity. Via their: customs, culture, language, and ethnic bio diversity. That is the only major contributors to the methodology of worshipping the same God in myriad ways. Amen. ---Ivan / Atrayo.


An attitude of gratitude creates blessings. ---Sir John Templeton.

Gratitude invites a sense of suffiency. ---Wayne Muller 9/05/04.

Real hero's are men who fall and fail and are flawed, but win out in the end because they've stayed true to their ideals and benefits and commitments. ---Kevin Costner.