Saturday, 24 March 2012

Why Non Disclosure Acts are somewhat pointless

I often get people coming to me to help them make an app or game. They send me these NDAs for me to sign. I often feel like this is an unnecessary step. The reason is that the idea is rather pointless it is the execution that is way more important.

I have a lot of ideas and I never make anybody sign an NDA when I tell them my ideas. Chances are my ideas aren't really that original anyway. The problem with ideas is that there is little barrier of entry to actually posses them. You simply have to exist and have an opinion. Executing an idea has many barriers to success. These barriers include: funding, personelle, marketing and a myriad of other reasons.

I find that most people like the idea of just brainstorming and coming up with cool ideas. I love that too. But for whatever reasons in the last couple years, I don't sit down with people to brainstorm unless we have a plan to actually release. To me an idea is nothing without execution.

I have been apart of so many projects that have failed for one reason or another and when that number gets really high you start to feel a certain way about ideas. I know that it is somewhat whimsical to hold your ideas close. But really you shouldn't care that much about your ideas. You should care more about the execution and even then you should care even more about attracting people to your idea.

In the end the only thing that matters is that lots of people are using your product. All of the other factors are irrelevant.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

If you haven't heard of playMobi yet please go check it out

This is simply awesome. This illustrates one of the biggest advantages of developing with HTML 5. You can get modularity over different devices. If you haven't heard of what playMobi is please go check it out it is a really awesome new service.

For those of you that want the gist of it basically if you make a game with playMobi, you can deploy it to multiple locations such as facebook, iOS devices and android devices. That alone is cool but there is more to it. The best part is that a player can play one game on their mobile device and then have their stats update on their facebook game. Basically, you have one game across many devices! For me the best part is the in game purchases across multiple platforms. That is my favorite part of the service. 

Right now it is in beta and I cannot wait for it to be released so I can start making games on it. 

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Mass effect 3 review: The ending and why BioWare shot themselves in the foot

Spoiler alert! If you haven't played through mass effect 3 do NOT read this article.

Alright, there is a full review of mass effect 3 coming later but I have to review the ending first. It has caused quite a stir and I feel that most of the reaction is fairly gut oriented and visceral.

Sidebar: Im going teach you the easiest way to promote your game / project. The more people talk about your game the better, the more tweets, blogs etc. How do you do that? Make something controversial. If you get people upset you get people talking.

The design of the ending in Mass Effect 3 was out of sync with the rest of series. When people say that the last 10 minutes have ruined the series its because the ending did not flow with the rest of the game. It makes no sense and personally they shot the series in the foot. I dare say that this ending was "Lucassian"

Designers: This is why you make your game smooth and flowing, otherwise it will make the player feel unsatisfied.

Having people say "10 minutes ruined the entire series" is a big problem. Mass effect did something that few games can achieve. After several hours you feel invested in the characters and you feel attached to it. Since you feel so attached to everything that is why the ending is so bad. It doesn't give the players any justice to the time they put in. I personally played the Mass effect series for the story not for the action. The story is what really set this game apart from all of the other hack shooters out there. The game mechanics were great too but it was the story that drove me forward. To see it all unraveled has left me unfulfilled. Had they changed the ending they could have achieved the same fulfillment that films and music do. Here is the ending I experienced:

  • Find out the catalyst was something else
  • Choose the paragon ending option
  • Die
  • Have the mass effect relay system destroyed
  • Have the Normandy end up on some far planet
  • Find that they repopulated the plannet
I could go into detail on why these are horrible choices but I feel that it is pretty obvious. The choice that makes the least sense is how the Normandy is stranded on an off world planet. It's pretty random. Here is how I wanted the game to end. Not only is this a better ending it leaves the door open to make more money. When you have a franchise you don't just kill it for no reason. Here is my list
  • Get the catalyst working
  • Destroy the reapers
  • Sheppard lives
This would have been way more successful and it leaves the option open for mass effect 4! Here is what the plot should be for mass effect 4.
  • Find out that the reapers are building new ships in their home galaxy.
  • Travel to another galaxy where all of the previous species that were collected had fled to
    • This could be so awesome. We could meet protheans and other species
    • This could be another 3 series if they wanted it to be
    • This keeps the franchise open!
Im pretty sure there are employees at BioWare that are not happy with the ending. I invested 80 hours of my time into the game. What if you spent 5 years. Designers can't be happy with it unless this is a ploy for us to buy more content.

What if we have to buy a better ending? I certainly think that this might be the case. Either way, the ending is horrible and they shouldn't have done it.