A Terrible Design

One of the things I’m working on over here is this very simple, Adventure Capitalist sort of thing. I talked about it a little in my first post. And of course, it started out being about drugs, because it’s based off my first-ever game Dope Wars.

Screenshot of game
Just the basic.

Now, I did sort of move away from that a little, because I’m building a reusable asset that doesn’t have to be about drugs. But the core idea was still based around the idea that this little thing here is about producing drugs, and the upkeep is what it costs to produce them, and with experience your product gets to be higher quality.

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The IAP Dilemma

So like I mentioned last time, IAP is the subject du jour, and I’d like to lead that off by looking at the canonical IAP shop.

The gold standard. Or the standard gold.

This is the shop from Adventure Capitalist, and you can see the bonus pattern: 10%, 15%, 20%, 25%, 30%. AdCap doesn’t have a “base,” unbonused purchase option for 10 or 20 gold, though.

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Particulates Matter

One of these days I will learn not to go on YouTube benders watching GDC talks, because everybody has a game to talk about and the Steam store is right in my system tray soooooo yeah.

Oh, I’ve never actually played that. (Add to cart)

Actually, about half of these are games I already bought on sale but an interesting mechanic was mentioned and I want to take another look at it. But returning to our tutorial project, let’s start adding some visual effects in response to player activity.

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Bite-Sized Fun

Let’s get back to the whole question of F2P games, continuing from last time. What F2P games really promise, from my perspective, is little packets of fun. When you pay for some premium currency to spend in-game on a little fake store that really sells nothing, what you are buying is a couple hours of fun.

“Wait till tomorrow” – $2. Or, you know, wait till tomorrow.

If you don’t like the game, you can walk away from it, and you’ve spent nothing. But if you do, you’ll come back. And after you’ve come back a few times, you’ll get impatient – you’ll want more of the game at a time. And at that point, you’ll have to spend money.

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Soundful Settings

After that big debugging exercise, let’s get back to making the audio dialog. Now, we have a system where you can start the game and mute the main audio, but it doesn’t let you alter the volume other than that – the volume is what it is, and you can either turn it on or off. And maybe that’s enough.

Honestly, it’s more than some games give you.

But what I’d really like is a volume slider under the “Master Volume” label that changes the volume – and that stays active when the volume is muted, so if the volume is too loud, you can mute it and still turn it down while it’s on mute.

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Getting to the F2P Point

So last time I kind of gestured toward “the value of game activities being equally accessible,” and the time before I waved in the direction of “creators deserve compensation,” and now I’m going to mash those together and say something you might actually find interesting.

The compensation a creator receives is directly proportional to the value the audience perceives.

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Bugs in the Audio

Last time, we got most of the way through adding our mute button before smacking headlong into the bug that when you mute an audio mixer through code – it doesn’t mute.

If you do it manually, it does. So I’m doing the right thing, but it doesn’t work. Everything I’ve done is, according to the documentation, precisely what I ought to be doing.

What I need is a workaround. And the first place to look is in the community, because I am almost certainly not the first person to have this bug.

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Musicful Buttons

Continuing from the Soundful Buttons installment, let’s make some music. The first thing we need is, well… some music, so let’s grab this dubstep thing from FreeSound.

We’ve clearly stopped even pretending modern music isn’t just noise.

If you’d rather not use dubstep, just search around and find something you like. Remember to check the licence.

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Additional Thoughts on F2P Models

In the previous post, I didn’t get too far into what I really wanted to talk about, which was the core psychology behind making F2P games that don’t, you know… piss people off.

I mean, the short answer is that you can’t, because some people are pissed off all the time and if they ever play your game they’ll think it’s pissing them off when they’re just inherently pissed off people who happened to be looking at your game when they remembered how pissed off they are.

But those people suck, and I don’t give a shit. You probably shouldn’t, either. Instead, let’s talk about normal, reasonable people.

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