Blog: 3/14/2007

March 15, 2007 — Leave a comment

Wow, it’s been a totally crazy day. The official letter went out that I wrote to the Top Secret team. 20,000+ people got it with their coffee this morning.
To keep the numbers under control, we didn’t mail the 1,000,000 people Acclaim (the main site) has signed up already for their other games. 1 million becomes even more impressive when you realize they did it without a single magazine or TV advert!
Over 140,000 are waiting to help test 2Moons Open Beta. It’s gonna get busy in there.
It’s kinda funny testing MMORPG’s as I end up running around the world alone, usually a build or two ahead of where the users are. (It’s pretty lonely!!!) That said, it’s so much fun to drop into the real game and see tons of people playing. They quickly become the true masters of the game, it’s amazing to watch how quickly that happens.
For example with our Dance game, I got really quite good at it, so when we first opened the doors I could beat just about anyone, leading me to think I had it mastered. Only a few weeks later, I get my ass handed to me in just about every room. It’s simply stunning the curve these people are on, it’s not my game anymore, it’s theirs! Luckily I’m getting old now, so I can blame my fingers.
My local baseball team is the Anaheim Angels (yes I watched them win the World Series a few years ago), they have a giant stadium that holds about 45,000 people. It’s simply stunning to think that for Top Secret we will soon have that entire stadium of people working together.
Man, it’s a LOT of people!
It’s a good challenge, today I was trying to work out how the reputation system will work in the Top Secret forums. My team has been discussing this at great length, and I think the final answer is we’ll tighten up the ratios once we see who posts what.
Initially you will be rewarded for just about anything you do and you can vote for each other. So if you see something you like you can give a virtual ‘pat on the back’ to the person that did it. If people spam you or try to mess things up, they’ll get a yellow card, points removed, or if bad enough, banned.
We also have finally agreed on the structure of the forums, so they’re ALMOST complete. I will be going through them for the last time tomorrow.
For Top Secret, many people have already come up with their Driving Genre ideas! It’s not even 24 hours! So I received a ton of messages today via email and on That said, I’m not paying any attention to design ideas unless I see them in the official Top Secret forums.
I want to watch the discussion and see which themes resonate.
My suggestion would be that you save the ideas for there, so nobody can copy your ideas. Meaning your posts are time-stamped, so if you said something first, then we know that when judging.
One question I’ve seen a few times is “What are the engine limitations?” This seems like a simple question, but it’s not. The reason is that the size of the audience is based on that decision. If we restrict the game to $3,000+ PC’s, then we will have a stunning looking game with a tiny audience. If we can make the game fun and cool, but require a $1,000 PC, we will get a much much bigger audience. So it’s really up to us to make the best game possible, and at the same time try to keep the audience big. (Ah the joys of REAL game development.) How? We have to be smart about the way we design things.
Also this week we have the Pre-Open Beta version of Dance imminent. I’m personally expecting a copy in a few days. So I have a lot of play-testing to do. The developer I’m working with in China is called Helen. She’s really amazing me, I’ve seen what’s coming next and it’s better and better and better. So I know the Dance players are gonna be happy to see where this game is going.
I also have another game I’ve not spoken about yet. It’s still secret, kinda Top Secret (hehe), but I did just get the first prototype. This game is not community designed, it’s going to be designed from scratch by my team. So far, so good! My team needs more interns, so if anyone has a TON of spare time and wants real experience, I might just bring you on to work on this title. (It’s another way to get a foot in the door, as our policy is really simple, make us stupid not to hire you when the intern period is over. That has to come from you.)
On top of that, we have 2Moons Pre-Open Beta probably tomorrow, maybe the weekend. So I’m collecting up a small list of people to help hammer on that puppy. We probably have enough sign-up’s now. So unless you have a lot of time to put into it, it’s best just to wait for the official open beta to happen. (Once the pre-test is complete.)
Hehe the pre-test build just arrived while I was typing this. (1:41AM – Don’t tell me I don’t work hard.) I just checked it, but we need to configure the server to authenticate me, so I’ll leave that to the morning.
Anyway, I’m off to bed.
TTFN (as they say in England.)

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