So, I like the concept of having a blog dedicated to spilling random design concepts, but I also want to blog my actual game development. So my solution: get a membership for my alternate key, Rightley, and use that for my idea bin from now on (I'll slap up some more ideas sometime, honest!) and use this blog space for game development updates. This also solves another conundrum I've been having: I want my games to have a decent ranking, but I don't want to appear crassly self-promoting by filling up my favorites list with my own stuff. So this gives me the best of both worlds: I can feel good about promoting other people's games with my favorites list, but I also get another list to show off my own stuff. I'd feel kind of guilty loading the rankings like this, but at least I'm not cross-listing my own stuff on multiple member sites (unlike some people who shall remain nameless!)

So, on to the updates. Champions of Vargacet has had troubles picking up players since it came back from hiatus--momentum, I think, and my connection difficulties lately probably aren't helping, but it still irritates me. I've invested some work in glitzing things up a bit (at least half the new keys I'd seen logging in logged out within 10 seconds) and also tried improving the game's accessibility to new players, but I'm starting to think that the game needs some kind of hook. Back in my day, of course, all we ever needed was the good 'ol spirit of competition and inventiveness, but these durn kids today are spoiled--everything is "RPG this" and "RPG that", and nowadays they don't even want to play a game if it doesn't give them something they can hold on to. I tells ya, I don't know what the younger generation is coming to these days! But it's awful hard to rigorously test a multiplayer game by yourself when you've got limited time, which means I ought to get something to draw them in. "Levels" are the bane of my existance--it has to be something small, without a huge impact on the game. I want to keep it simple--something pretty modular. And random--randomized rewards are a great hook to keep players coming back.

So my thought is this: runes. At the end of every combat, or randomly roughly every other combat or so, you'd get a random rune which you would collect. The idea is that you'd place runes on your characters, up to 3 runes per character, and they would have different subtle effects: +1 to a primary attribute, or +5 health or mana, or a small bit of elemental resistance, etc. Not a huge effect, but not an unnoticeable effect--stacking 3 of the same rune would have almost as much boost as picking an equivalent skill, and as much or more impact as having an extra accessory slot. The runes themselves would be all more or less equal in power, but they would all have different uses, so the trick would be collecting the specific runes you need to tweak out your dream team. To keep things equal, new characters would probably even get to start with at least a rune or two, but they wouldn't necessarily be the runes they need--probably an AP boost rune and an MP boost rune (and perhaps an HP boost rune too, for a full set), so everybody gets something but most characters would have one "dead weight" rune they could replace with something more relevant.

In other news: Yes, it's been ages since Treasure Quest was updated and there are bugs remaining and it's cold and there are wolves outside. It's kind of in the middle of a very large and very awesome development, for I just recently started converting it over to XML (using some people's awesome library), which makes the whole thing a lot cleaner. And more importantly, more customizable. Here's the plan: when I get everything (or most things, anyhow) over to XML and working in that format (circa 2009) the new version will allow BYOND members to edit data files to add their own classes, monsters, items, etc. for their server. I think this is a great perk to help encourage people to support BYOND, because in addition to simply being a really cool feature it would be something everyone can share. Not only can anyone log into a customized server and enjoy the new changes, but since it's just XML, anybody would be able to write custom stuff and share it for their friends and the community to use--the new player-created stuff would just only be accessible on a BYOND member's server. New stuff would probably be somewhat limited in complexity, but it would be possible to at least get variations on most existing effects.

So, them's the news. Now I'm off to bed.
Speaking of your games, I tried searching for Champions of Vargacet to add it to my favorties, but it didn't show up. I searched "Leftley" and got 4 of your games, not including CoV. Although I did add Treasure Quest. I gotta say, both games are quite good. =)
I just realized I could go to it's hub and add it, and I did. I just wonder why it didn't show up in the search.
I've have began putting AI into SD, for I think it will get many, many more players for it... I'm not sure if I will allow for the multiplayer mode to have AI, but definately for the single player mode. This will allow people to learn the game via playing it, without having to play against super-strong individuals, and without having to play against newbies. This way, people can become experienced players before they go multiplayer, which I think will make people host and play a lot more.

That is my thought on my game, and since I know your game is around my game's area of genre, and I heard it didn't have AI in it, I thought maybe that could help you... Like, maybe make a tutorial mode players can play, which will give them a few basic units, give a computer AI a few basic units, and explain the game as it's going on.

Heh, I really need to play games again... A lot of good games are out but I never bother to play them because my "programming mood" is the same mood as my "playing mood", and so it always turns into programming :P
but at least I'm not cross-listing my own stuff on multiple member sites (unlike some people who shall remain nameless!)

There was vigorous debate! Legislation, bills passed. The people demanded it!

Champions of Vargacet has had troubles picking up players since it came back from hiatus

I would be delighted to play the game some more, runes or not. It's just that challenge of being in real active development on something and finding time for other games. But you are very good about this, so there's no reason I can't be better.

I would encourage you to only add mechanisms if you feel they are good for the game...otherwise, hopefully other publicity approaches, or ladders and contests and the like, would help promote it. After all, you already have progression through making money from fights.
Yes, well, we all know what happened last time I caved in to percieved player demands for more RPG-style development. But this time it'll be different! Really, I swear!

There is the money/equipment system, yeah, but it's kind of trying to do two jobs right now and not really working. It is there to try to add a faint RPG-ish air, yeah, but its primary purpose is to discourage players from continuously rearranging their party for every battle. Then the whole thing devolves into a sort of rock-paper-scissors: look at what the other guy has and sub in the appropriate counter-classes. I don't think that makes for very compelling strategy; it's like playing rock-paper-scissors, only you get to see what the other guy throws first. The equipment/gold system is there to encourage players to plan for robust parties, so you can't afford to swap out full sets of high-end gear for every battle, but as it stands I think it takes a little too long to outfit a party. So I'm planning on being a bit more generous with gold as I'm instituting this system. The way I've got the balancing figured, the difference between a player with a tweaked-out set of runes and a brand new party is generally going to be smaller than the difference between a player with a fully-outfitted team and a player with the starting allotment of equipment. And I do think random rewards are a great way to keep player interest--I know I tend to get hooked by them with embarassing ease. (This is real science! I learned me some of that there psychology in high school, and they said it was true!)

(P.S.: Re: development & playing time. It helps quite a bit that I'm only working part-time right now, with no classes to worry about. It's also a lot easier once you cast off illusions of having a social life, although it's not too hard to juggle a social life in now and then once you get some practice).
Erm, "Dude, it's the connection."

I think I played three battles last night, and each was disrupted toward the end when the connection went down, which is definitely demotivating for logging in again.

Perhaps finding a host would help? Did wonders for LRS.
Yeah. Sigh. The problem is I want to get the game stable before I look for a permanent host, but it's awfully hard to gauge the game's stability when the server keeps losing connection. Maybe I just need to bite the bullet and get a server, and deal with problems as they appear...
I found getting a server to help development...being able to have the server copy running separate from my machine means I can do rapid iteration and tests on my machine, then do a quick FTP to update the server and test out the changes there with real players.

The impact is that you basically have a constant test running on the server, which you can update as you wish.

I found it very helpful to add a development command for "Reboot for next game", so I can get it to reboot in the near future without disrupting the current game. In your case there isn't such a clean point, though perhaps it would reboot when there are no battles running.

One big tip here: If you have to update the .rsc file, you need to completely shut the game down on the server, copy over the new .dmb and .rsc, then restart it. Rebooting won't be good enough, as the new .rsc file will get corrupted and you'll get weird problems.
Oh a note: I found it most interesting on the Ruined City level, when there were significant walls and such that could come into play.

Also, as mentioned, I'd either like more placement options (like along sides of map also, perhaps in discontiguous areas), or just place my people for me. The current area is so small, it hardly matters where I put them, or so it seems...

The click-to-attack was a big help. Games are going more smoothly.
Hello Leftley we used to hang out years ago, on another key, please aim me or msn or yahoo me, to talk about something

AIM = xXxKriticalxXx
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Yahoo = KevinKrunk