It actually isn’t as common as you might think that an MMOG makes it to five years. At GDC this year, six panelists from among the survivors got together and talked about their strategies for keeping old players and acquiring new ones.
And there’s sound advice in there for more industries and enterprises than just MMOGs.
Something a little unusual this time around. One that you can play right away.
From the very skilled – and I might even be inclined to suggest ‘artistic’ and ‘spectacular’ – Andrew Plotkin comes a sterling piece of short interactive fiction. It’s compact and lovely, and not too difficult.
Seven dwarfs, a wagon with tools and supplies, and a landscape rich in raw materials. Set up a colony, protect your dwarfs, expand and grow rich.
That’s Dwarf Fortress, perhaps the deepest and most intricate sandbox simulation game I’ve seen, and I have been meaning to write it up for a long time.
Where did this come from?
While it’s not really very complete, Energy Tycoon has come quite a long way in production and polish without seeming to catch much attention.
Or maybe don’t play this one, actually. I likes me a good horror game, and Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a very good horror game. It’s so very good, in fact, that some of you will probably hate it.
It’s from the folks who did Penumbra, so I pre-ordered this without much in the way of hesitation.
Apparently the folks at Atomic PR have their eye on me, because they just sent me a copy of their latest press-release. I actually quite like getting press-releases, since certain companies have been quite… erratic about sending me their releases at all.
Anyway, this is from the Gaia Online folks who don’t take themselves too seriously, which I definitely feel is a beneficial trait.
Once upon a time there was a girl and a fairy.
The girl, Recette Lemongrass, lived on her own because her father had gone adventuring and not returned.
The fairy, Tear, worked for the Terme Finance company, and Recette’s father’s debts were about to come due.
Reasoning that getting the money back was better than taking Recette’s house and auctioning it at a loss, Tear helped Recette set up a small item shop on the main street of the town. Just the sort of thing to cater to locals, and the hordes of hopeful adventurers and treasure-seekers needing supplies.
Working off your debt retailing doesn’t sound very exciting, but Recette and Tear’s adventure is only just beginning.
Way back when, I wound up with a place in the Alganon MMOG closed beta. I really liked it. I haven’t really played it since launch, though, and there’s been a lot of water under the bridge at Quest Online, the developer. A change of management, bringing in Derek Smart (of whom I understandably have mixed feelings), lawsuits and more.
Anyway, Alganon went free-to-play last Friday, so I figured it was time for another look.
The Earth has become overpopulated. Cities just grow up and up and ground-level is something that most people — the lucky ones — never get near. Even the rundown and decrepit levels just below the clean, shiny, and urbane upper-city are the turf of the homeless, the hopeless, the diseased and the gangers. And things get just get worse further down.
But there’s something brewing. Something calling. A piece of the past that refuses to sleep.
Core Design, which was established in 1988, is a design studio I think of fondly, although the studio is essentially gone these days. The name is still the property of Eidos Interactive who acquired them as a part of CentreGold back in 1996. Core Design was responsible for Tomb Raider, but Project Eden was probably their finest PC game.
You can still find Project Eden in game-store budget bins for just a few dollars (skip the console version, the PC version is vastly superior, as usual). The game scored above average reviews, except for Computer Gaming World who gave it a miserable 1.5 out of 5. CGW’s influence was fairly widespread then, and coupled with some launch bugs and an astonishing lack of advertising, Project Eden barely sold through at retail despite shipping a lot of copies, making it one of the best games that you’ve never played.