Sunday, April 22, 2012

SWTOR numbers going down, but Still Profitable

Though subscriber numbers are going down, SWTOR will soon surpass its sunk cost of $200 million by the end of May (if you believe that is the cost). If they are able to stay above 1 million subscribers by the end of the year, they will be in the black as far as server maintenance and continued development costs go.

The question is, will it be able to maintain a subscription model, or will they have to find a way to go free to play?

Tera Online Weekend Beta

So I decided to try the Weekend Beta of Tera Online. I downloaded the client, installed the patch, and then, nothing. It wouldn't start up. Oh well. Uninstall.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Revised Scene Flow

Taking from previous attempts to use storytelling analysis in the context of a game, I think most people have begun to realize that due to the dynamic state of a game, the analysis must not only be viewed on different levels, but in a different way completely.

We still have two basic breakdowns, which can be viewed as Design (Goal, Conflict, End State) and Play (Reaction, Analysis, Decision). These can be further broken down in that Goals generated by Decisions, and that Conflict and End States affect Reaction and Analysis. Finally, Reaction and Analysis affect the Decision, and Goals affect the Conflict and End State (prevention of the goal).

These can still be viewed on several levels, from Macro gameplay levels all the way down to moment-to-moment gameplay and even into the Metagame and Design levels (if a game is a living beta such as an MMO or any e-sports level pvp game). Decisions on one level can affect others as well.

Design is usually the domain of the game Designer. They set up the goal for the game and the level. The create the conflict and the End States. As a gamer gains control of this part of the game, they enter a more sandbox experience.

Play on the other hand, is usually in the domain of the Gamer. In this case it is mostly in their mind. As design encroaches on these aspects of gameplay the game becomes more linear. The player loses their autonomy, and can at times remove the game aspect of a game.

I believe that this is the better way of handling this analysis in a game. I'll take a few posts practicing it, and I encourage others to try as well (please link back to this post if you do so). If anyone has any suggestions about this, please leave a comment, or send an e-mail. Thank you.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Q&A of Scene Flow Analysis

I received a question on this, so I'd like to address them here in this post. Lets just get to it shall we (questions remain anonymous)?

1. Does Scene Analysis allow an interpretation of a player's action determining how much his future actions become guided?

Yes. At the decision point, a new goal is usually set. In a game where exploration is sandbox (take Batman: Arkham City for example), choices that alter the landscape can suddenly limit exploration possibilities (or expand it more). It really does depend on the game, and it depends on how decisions alter the Goal. Many games allow for resetting of such situations where a player limits their possible decisions to not allowing progress (at which point the decision to reset opens up more possible choices which they will consider during the Dilemma section).

Though the Action (Goal, Conflict, Disaster) and Reaction (Reflection, Dilemma, Decision) can be processed separately in games, they still form a six step loop that is shared by the system and the gamer. The fact is, that Scene Analysis works on several levels at once in game analysis. There is a level Goal, an area Goal, and even a moment to moment Goal. Decisions at the area level can affect the moment to moment Goals (flooding a room which then allows you to swim up to a ledge for example).

I think I should rework the wording to better fit into game analysis. Anyone have any suggestions?