Author Topic: PBB & G  (Read 8088 times)

Fenrir

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PBB & G
« on: January 08, 2010, 09:54:28 PM »
I'm looking into the creation of persistent browser-based games, or PBBGs, as they are sometimes called. I have a good knowledge of an alphabet soup of acronyms -- CSS, HTML, PHP, and SQL -- so that isn't a problem. Any contact I've had with such games have been very brief, but what I've seen seems rather stupid, for lack of a more eloquent way of putting it. What I've seen in advertisements has convinced me that such stupidity is par for the course, so to speak.

What is the general opinion of browser-based games on these forums? Has anyone ever seen any worth playing? If so, what makes it work? If not, what would make you want to play one? There are forums focused on the subject of PBBGs, but you lot seem to be sharper than most, and you are a good source of ideas.... and protein, but I'd like to hear your answers first.

Fenrir licks his lips.

getter77

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Re: PBB & G
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2010, 11:57:48 PM »
http://www.arcanejourneys.com/default.asp  I've some others bookmarked somewhere in my RPG/Roguelikes Firefox section, but this guy seems to be pretty sharp.  One of these days, perhaps in New PC-land, I really do need to get around to trying/buying his Angelus Necromancer Roguelike as well as Adventure Solitaire which looks spiffy.
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AgingMinotaur

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Re: PBB & G
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2010, 02:49:54 AM »
Have you alredy seen Wayfarer? http://benhem.com/games/wayfarer/
It's interesting, although modest in scale. Nice graphics, and it has an underlying philosophy.

As always,
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george

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Re: PBB & G
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2010, 11:03:42 PM »
I think PBBGs have a lot of potential, but like you say, most don't live up to it. The slickest (games like Travian) are mostly about designing the game to make money and encourage 24/7 play (neither of which make the game very fun for me). The majority (games like Torn) are not really interesting intellectually or sensorily (though I read that game made its developer a million pounds!).

Now, 'that said', I do like playing even stupid PBBGs for a brief time (until I lose interest). I lose interest because those games are so blatantly repetitive, and at the same time encourage extreme repetition (like having around-the-clock monitoring of your account and so on). It gets pretty mind-numbing, to say nothing of soul-crushing.

Why do I play them at all?

First of all they're very easy to get into, so it takes nothing to try it out. So, I would say make the game easy to play. I'm a fan of RPGs, strategy games, sci-fi, swords and sorcery, espionage, survival games, etcetera, so I enjoy any setting, theme, or mechanic...so my advice here would be don't be afraid to choose a niche setting, genre, or theme for your game. The web is so accessible you are likely to find players where you wouldn't on a less-accessible format (even a simple download puts some people off!).

Third, I would say balance this accessibility by not making the game such a clickfest, or dependent on investing massive amounts of time...I think this kind of design ruins the fun. Obviously if you're making money on the game...you may think otherwise!  :)

Finally -- so many of these games just look horrendous visually. Not speaking in terms of graphics (many of these games are mostly text) but just basic typography and layout. Put some effort into visual polish and you'll rise above the pack.

I think PBBGs are great for building a fun community around a game because the web is so accessible, you can get a great critical mass of players. Concentrate on building a positive, healthy community and you can get something really fun to play.

Fenrir

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Re: PBB & G
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2010, 12:08:15 AM »
Thank you very much for all of the insight, george!

I'll be honest, I do hope to make money. At the same time, I do want to make something worth playing.

You mention that you don't like games that require great investments of time. That reminds me of Strange Adventures in Infinite Space by Digital Eel. In SAIS, you explore a randomly generated galaxy looking for treasures and artifacts, but are given a certain limit of time to do so. Returning late results in a deduction of points. The whole game was designed to be played in the span of 20 minutes or less. Applied to a PBBG, the player could generate a new character, sent into the dungeons/unexplored sector of space/zombie-infested city, and be constantly given the option to press on (with several paths to choose, of course), risking penalties (such as death), but also getting an opportunity for rewards (like pancakes). The player could also choose to flee with what he has, in which case the player's character would be placed on a high-score chart. (What I just mentioned -- take more risk or retreat -- was the mechanic of a particular card game, the name of which escapes me at the moment. It's irrelevent, but I like to make clear what ideas are mine and what ideas aren't.) Combat might be something like ProgressQuest in that it is resolved automatically and the player is given the outline of what happened, only the player might have some influence over the outcome by choosing what equipment to use at the start of the fight. With plenty of randomness, rich (and occasionally humorous) descriptions, and some well drawn images, I think that could be fun. It would be easy and quick to play, and there would be no need for turns or ticks or whatever.

In any case, not one of the advertisments for my game will say "Play Now!" I hate that.

EDIT: Heh, only now do I realize that what I posted has little to do with SAIS. Anyway, I think you get the point.
EDIT AGAIN: Well, I hope you get the point. This post could be clearer, so I may make another edit for clarity in the morning.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2010, 03:41:08 AM by Fenrir »

Etinarg

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Re: PBB & G
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2010, 01:31:24 PM »
First of all they're very easy to get into, so it takes nothing to try it out.

This is the biggest plus I think. Also why I lately try to make my projetcs runnable from web pages - while not being browser games, they sure benefit from the low entrance hurdle.

I've also dabbled with the idea of making a browser based game, but I don't want to step into running and maintaining a game server. Even in free games players get very demanding about the quality of service.

I have a dream of lightly integrated single player games. So that each player basically plays their own game, but have exchange points, to trade and to communicate with other players. Maybe some day I can make that - I've already had been working briefly on a design for a shared webshop for Angband where players can buy and sell their items to other players. But Angband is not the right game for that and this would be kind of cheating.

Slash

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Re: PBB & G
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2010, 03:00:17 PM »
I have been developing a pBBG over the last two years (on and off).  http://slashie.net/pixal

Quote
what I've seen seems rather stupid, for lack of a more eloquent way of putting it. What I've seen in advertisements has convinced me that such stupidity is par for the course, so to speak.

Yeah, most of them are not deep in gameplay but rather play with the human psychology, devising ways to trample people into spending millions of hours into them.

Quote
What is the general opinion of browser-based games on these forums?

There's no consensus yet AFAIK

Quote
Has anyone ever seen any worth playing? If so, what makes it work?

I played a bit Gladiatus, the best part IMO was the "bid" thing. Was pretty exciting

Quote
If not, what would make you want to play one?

I want to make a non-evil game which can be played by mature people during their long work journeys

Quote
There are forums focused on the subject of PBBGs, but you lot seem to be sharper than most, and you are a good source of ideas.

What forums, for example?

Quote
...and protein, but I'd like to hear your answers first.
* Slash loads his shotgun!

Fenrir

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Re: PBB & G
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2010, 08:53:16 PM »
I have been developing a pBBG over the last two years (on and off).  http://slashie.net/pixal
Coolness. I'll have a look at that.
I played a bit Gladiatus, the best part IMO was the "bid" thing. Was pretty exciting
I'll have a look and see what's going on there.
I want to make a non-evil game which can be played by mature people during their long work journeys
Non-evil? Have you been making evil games?
What forums, for example?
Like www.pbbgdev.com
* Slash loads his shotgun!
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Skeletor

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Re: PBB & G
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2010, 07:12:26 PM »
I'm currently playing Metroplexity (www.metroplexity.com) and it's really cool. It's got an excellent card based combat system.
What I enjoy the most in roguelikes: Anti-Farming and Mac Givering my way out. Kind of what I also enjoy in life.

Fenrir

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Re: PBB & G
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2010, 09:16:46 PM »
Interesting....

Fenrir whips out a pen, which is odd as he has no pockets to hold pens. The great wolf then awkwardly writes something in a notebook (a considerable feat for someone without thumbs), then immediately returns both pen and notebook to whatever hidden recesses that lay in the depths of his fur.

Thanks for all the help, people. My own PBBG has been in development for a few days now. I'll elaborate more when it reaches alpha.