Determinance screenshot

Archive for April, 2009

Shipping an Unreal-engine game with UnrealEd costs extra

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Shipping an Unreal-engine game with UnrealEd costs extra

KG’s just posted on RPS about modders finding a fairly straightforward way to use UnrealEd with Mirror’s Edge.  The interesting snippet to me though is that this may get patched out because shipping an Unreal-engine game with UnrealEd “costs extra”.

This isn’t surprising – GarageGames have just basically taken that decision with Torque3D – but it is interesting.  I’d like to know how much more it is.  Anyone know?

We should really boo Epic for this though; modding should be available on as many games as possible and we want great tools like UnrealEd anywhere we can.  But of course if it didn’t cost extra maybe it wouldn’t be so good etc etc FREE MARKET etc.

Can anyone explain this maths to me?

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Can anyone explain this maths to me?

In one of the Eurogamer series of gold-selling articles, this quote came up:

In fact, a former Jagex source tells me that when Jagex banned all IPs connected to gold selling, “they lost 10 per cent of their membership, and still haven’t recovered in terms of numbers since they did it two years ago. Even though they have almost stopped gold selling in RuneScape, it has cost them two million active accounts; i.e. there were four million players, there are now two million players, of which less than one million actually subscribe.”
… what?  That’s not 10%. That’s fifty percent.  What?

Two new anti-piracy ideas

Monday, April 13th, 2009

 Two new anti-piracy ideas

I know I know – DRM is bad.  But if it were possible to have a system which really did stop piracy and didn’t cause too much of a problem to the paying customer it might be good.

So I’ve got two new DRM ideas – one of which is probably a little insecure but is generally applicable, the other I think is very secure but only works for procedurally generated games.

As you may or may not know, multiplayer games don’t tend to have a problem with piracy.  The reason for this is that they rely on a service on the developers/publishers’ servers, and that service can be refused to people who don’t have a valid CD Key, and not more than one person can play with the same CD Key at the same time.  This system just basically works.

So I thought to myself – is there any service which could be withheld to the server for a single player game?

Before I go any further, I want to make a disclaimer.  Both of these ideas are based around needing to be connected to the internet when you start, and both would suffer from the “when the servers get switched off my game won’t work!” problem.  I take the second one of these very very seriously and as a gamer I hate the idea.  We would need a trust that these services would be made public domain after five years – without that these ideas are completely inviable.

That having been said, let’s get on with it.

Idea 1: Procedural single player games: Keep the level generator on the server

This idea is pretty simple.  Say Spelunky was a paid-for game.  Every time you play Spelunky, the levels you play are completely new.  They are generated.  Instead of being generated on your client, they could be generated on a server and sent to you – but only if you pass authorisation.

Problems:

(a). Difficult to stop multiple-people-one-cdkey abuse.  You’d probably have a limit of, say, 50 new games a day.  You know, a number which one person will never go over.

(b). People could distribute the new games they get.  This would be partially alleviated by giving everyone the same progression of random levels, so it would be very difficult to find a “new” game by shady methods.

Idea 2: Save format is different to load format

[Edit: after talking it through with some people I’m pretty sure Idea 2 is just useless]

This idea would work for any game which you needed to save.  The idea is that the savegame produced by your client cannot actually be loaded by your client – it has to be sent to the server to be converted.

Problems:

(a).  Basically, this would not stand up to a really concerted attack – a group of skilled crackers comparing the save and load-formats to make their own convertor.

Discuss!

Boo Bethesda!

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Boo Bethesda!

Bethesda don’t like doing full length expansions any more.  Boo!  I don’t like one hour long “experiences” in an RPG, surely that’s crap.

Quick quiz

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

Quick quiz

No looking this up, only guesses please – why is “Descent To Undermountain” (1997 PC action RPG) possibly the best stupid game name ever?

Us talking on the Gamespot UK podcast

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Us talking on the Gamespot UK podcast

We went to the Gamespot UK offices in London today to take part in their podcast and pimp Village and Synapse!  Take a listen – it’s very long, but we’re in all of it.

Fight our brute!

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Fight our brute!

The very silly, almost Progress Quest like daftness of My Brute comes to Visiting the Village.

Challenge our pathetic Samuel L Jackson-looking brute here.

Please digg the latest episode!

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Help us get some more listeners!

Visiting the Village: Episode 5

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Visiting the Village: Episode 5

Bam!  That’s the sound of Episode 5 arriving.  This week: lawnmowers and Pauly Shore.  Guaranteed Spelunky-free!

What’s that?  Oh, it’s only the show notes…

Carless defends the IGF – via Auntie Pixelante

LittleBigPlanet community explodes – via CVG

EA drops copy protection – via Fidgit

Pro gaming in a recession – via NY Times

PS2 is a gateway drug to PS3 – via Ars Technica

Defending Larry – via Eurogamer

Reggie Fils-Aime interview – via MTV Multiplayer

Lego Rock Band – via Kotaku

Blizzard own the rights to Redneck Rampage – via Eurogamer

Vampire: Bloodlines interview – via Rock Paper Shotgun

Wii-controlled Lawnmower – via Go Nintendo

BONUS LINK!  This made us laugh this week.

Facebonk

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Facebonk

Make friends with other hideous Villagers using a popular social networking system. YAY!