Just sent an email out to the people signed up for Top Secret.
You can still sign up here: CLICK HERE.
This is David Perry. Just want to say thanks for signing up for the ‘Top Secret’ project.
The response has been pretty stunning so far. This project has been appearing on about 10,000 new websites & blogs each day!!!
The sign-up rate has also been shocking. Remember that most video game teams are 30-50 people. We have around 20,000+ members on this team now, so you’ve made history before we even get started (By miles)! We’ve committed to closing the sign-up list at 100,000 members, and it seems a lot of the leading industry press wants to follow our progress.
When you get access to the forums, all the details of how it works will be clearly explained as we move through each stage of development, step by step.
These forums will contain moderators helping keep each section and category (art/design/audio etc.) managed, and so if any of you are professional developers, or have worked on MODS and have some experience with development, we would love you to offer to help… please go to:
My goal is REALLY straightforward, to reveal the talent that I KNOW is out there!
We’ll be making a very relevant massively multiplayer title. (Meaning hundreds of thousands of players, but to keep things under control, they’ll be playing in 6 person groups, with up to around 3,000 players per server.) The game will be free and yes, we will let you have builds along the way to experiment with.
Imagine we’re a new start-up team, the “Top Secret Team”. Acclaim (the publisher) has made us an offer to make a game that’s easy-to-get-into, it must be appealing to a large audience, it must be fun (of course), it will make revenue by in-game advertising, and by selling items. Oh, and the game must break new ground by introducing new ideas.
Making a business model from selling items is actually quite an interesting design challenge (as you will see later.) This is how games in Asia are made, but you must understand that people only buy them after they like the game. If the game isn’t great, you won’t sell anything. (So this is a tougher business than just selling Console Discs or Cartridges. At $60 less
than today’s games, I believe this model will be very popular in the future.)
I was also quoted when talking about PC games at GDC, “I won’t be making any more single-player games”. It’s a bold statement (based on my past), but the future is indeed online, and multiplayer, so we will do our best to prepare you for that future.
How long will it take? I’m guessing if we get in the groove, we should be playing a finished title by Dec-Feb, less than 12 months.
Remember, I have a fully-funded development team waiting for instructions.
They are excited to hear what ideas we have.
I’ve been asked “What makes a Director?” My simple answer is they have a vision for where a project is heading. It’s also someone who can talk to people in any discipline (audio, programming, art, animation, design), who can make suggestions to improve things, meaning suggestions that actually work. A great Director is someone who can inspire others, promote teamwork and Lead. There are many talented people involved in video game development all over the world. The ones who are leaders have people who will happily pitch in to their projects and GET RESULTS. The main ingredients of a great leader are vision, clear two-way communication and persistence (meaning they can jump all sorts of hurdles and keep on going).
I’ve been getting asked about the winner of this competition. People are excited to know, how will it be for the winner?
1. They get to Direct an MMO. To be clear, we won’t just leave them out in the cold trying to work out how to do this alone; I’ll be there to help. Just imagine making your first Hollywood Movie and having the cell phone number of a Hollywood Director, happy to help you out. (Making sure your movie sees the light of day.) That’s a pretty valuable asset, and you’ll
get it for free.
2. The winner won’t have to move to California (where Acclaim is). They’ll work from their home office, just like I do. They’ll travel to meet their developers when needed, and Acclaim will pay for that cost. Most of the work will be done on the forums, on the phone, and of course playing their prototypes and providing feedback. This means they don’t HAVE to be available full time, as an example I’m directing multiple MMO games right now. That said, Game Development teams will become more and more ‘virtual’ in the coming years, so most professional studios (going forward) will rely on out-sourcing and the internet. You will learn why.
3. The winner will be paid royalties on the game they direct. Royalties on free games are calculated based on the revenue the game makes from advertising and item sales less the transaction costs and taxes. No funny accounting… the director is paid without deducting any advances or mysterious costs. The royalty amount will be decided based on the project
4. Yes, getting a fully funded MMO team is the biggest prize in video game history. (Expect to be in the Wikipedia!)
For the people that don’t win?
1. They’ll have seen a game development from the inside and gained a lot of experience being a part of that.
2. Assuming this idea works, we will likely repeat the process.
3. They might have managed to get assets into the game, if they do they will get verifiable credits for that.
4. They’re likely to make a lot of new friends in this process. (Some will probably form spin-off indie teams.)
5. I think the people that expose their talent in our forums, will be spotted by headhunters, and other professional developers and publishers. Frankly, I expect they will use this as a talent mine. (So be on your best behavior!)
6. I’m expecting the winner to have discovered talent they like in the forums also, so he/she will likely ask them to work on their new project.
7. Acclaim will likely be recruiting out of the forums too.
8. I’m expecting to hire some people myself for my own personal team.
What are the age limits? Currently NONE.
What country must I come from? ANY. But you need to speak English well.
So the biggest question I’ve had is “When does it start and what kind of game will we make?”
To give you all some homeworkâ€¦ The Genre I’ve chosen is RACING… simply because it’s a genre I’ve not tried before, so I won’t be all closed minded in reading ideas. On the other hand, I love racing games, and I think the vast majority of people that have signed up have played at least one and have opinions on the subject.
So rule #1 in the development structure we’re setting up is that we don’t really want to hear opinions, we want to hear solutions. Saying “That’s too hard” is kinda meaningless. We want to hear in detail how you would fix the problem. If you prove that with some facts (or by experimentation with a game), even better.
So your homework is to play some racing games. But free your mind at the same time… We could be in cars (of course), or we could be in some new kind of vehicle; we could race on animals, we could be running with some kind of aid, we could be bringing something that helps, etc. Keep your mind open… Try to come up with something that, from seeing a single
screenshot, you would really want to play it.
Secondly think about what else you do in that game?
Racing (see who gets the fastest time) is done to death. How can we make the racing more fun?
What is the theme of the world we’re playing in? Fire/Snow/Iceâ€¦ All done to death. So get creative there too.
I have a pretty stunning offer from one of the biggest music labels in the world. They are offering a HUGE hit library for this game. So with hit music from every genre, is there any way music could be involved in the gameplay?
I also have three golden rules I would like you to follow.
When you are thinking of the gameplay I want ALL three of those to be present at all times.
Three other key goals.
1. Being able to (at a glance) judge where you are in relation to the competitors, and in relation to winning, every instant.
2. Making the gamer blame themselves 100% of the time when they fail, not the game or the design.
3. Think of multiplayer game modes. (Teams etc.)
I’m telling you all this now so you’ve got a little bit of time to think.
One other question I’ve been getting a lot: When can we start? The answer is now, right now. Start thinking, start planning.
I’m going to do some final edits to the forums, then I’m going to post them live very very soon.
Then we’re officially developing the game.
Really looking forward to working with you, and can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Project: TOP SECRET
TOP SECRET – First Details
Just sent an email out to the people signed up for Top Secret.