It has been about 6 months since we launched Forumwarz Episode 2!
The initial plot for Forumwarz was written quite some time ago. Based on a few meetings where the team discussed what we’d like to have in the story, Jalapeno Bootyhole wrote up an outline. (At the time we were planning on releasing the entire game in one go, where half way through you’d be forced to pay to finish the storyline.)
As we got into the development and writing we figured out that it would be a lot more work than we thought to finish the whole story before we ran out of money. We decided to split the game into Episodes. Three made the most sense, so we found logical end points and adapted the story accordingly. Reviewing the document now reminds me how far we’ve come:
You get a popup message, that refers to whatever search term you came up with.
Bottom corner: Dr. Mysterion/Johnny Anonymous/HornySanta24/AnonImus/Shallow Esophagus has added you to his IM list!
Some presence (Sentrilion? Googhole?) adds itself to your IM list. I know you were searching for pictures of monkey snatch, but: Can I talk to you for a minute? Yes/No, doesn’t matter. Singles you out for never having done anything in your life. Says you can change the world forever, just have to listen to instructions. “Why me?” etc. Not important. Asks you to destroy this forum. He’ll make it worth your while, and if not, you can block him.
Hah, part of me wishes we went with Dr. Mysterion now!
Throughout the design stage, I referred to the overall storyline as the mythology. In other words, the story that glues together the entire universe. We also introduced a lot of side missions, which are basically interesting characters with a gripe that want you to help them out for money.
Episode 3 is the last piece of the mythology, as far as we’ve written it. People keep asking me what we have planned for the game after that. Well, just because this particular storyline ends doesn’t mean we can’t create others. We aren’t about to abandon the franchise just because what we initially wrote runs out!
We are committed to working on Forumwarz as long as it is viable to do so. I’m not sure what form that will take, because we’ll likely want to take some time to imagine our options, but it might be a new storyline split up into episodes, or single one-off episodes that have shorter but self-contained storylines.
In a little while, Jalapeno Bootyhole will enter the heavy lifting aspect of the writing process. We’ll work together to create a detailed outline of the events in the game, the actor dialogue, the forums, the gameplay, etc. It will take some time, but once the ball is rolling you’ll hear a lot more about it and what’s contained.
But first, the combat revamp!
While Jalapeno is fleshing out the writing, I plan to spend some time beefing up the existing gameplay. In Episode 1, you spend so much time learning about the different aspects of the game that time flies quick and before you know it you’re finished. In episode 2, the storyline is much longer, so the limitations with the existing combat engine are more evident. It ends up playing too much like World of Warcraft, where you hit the same combination of keys on the keyboard over and over.
I have some good ideas on how to improve combat and make it more intelligent, and I want to spend some time implementing them into the existing game. I’ll need a bunch of volunteers from every class to help test the new mechanics, and there will likely be some speedbumps along the way, but in the end I think it will be worth it.
Look for more on that in the coming weeks.
The three most common question:
These are what I get asked most frequently about Episode 3.
When is it coming out?
We aren’t giving a release date because we’d rather launch it when it’s stable than push it out too soon. Based on our previous history, a release towards the end of 2009 is likely. Episodes 1 and 2 were both released in October.
How much will it cost?
We’re not sure yet. It’ll depend how long it is and how epic it feels. We are certainly not out to gouge people so it’ll stay affordable like Episode 2 was. Last time the pre-order was successful, so we’ll probably offer that again when we have a release date in sight.
Can I beta test it?
Last time the beta tester feedback proved to be invaluable. However, we made some mistakes about letting everyone into the beta at once. Once most people had finished it, they had little reason to start again and test it fresh. This time I plan to have multiple beta sessions, staggered from each other.
We’ll probably be hand picking most testers based on their feedback of the game (we even like harsh criticism) and based on their ability and willingness to spend time playing an unfinished game. However, we might end up doing a random selection of people. If we create a sign up list for random selection, you’ll hear about it on this blog!
As part of the continuous effort to introduce more players to Forumwarz, we have coded up a Beta system for running affiliate ads. We’re looking for people who have sites and are trying to monetize them.
Basically here’s how it works: We give you ads to run on your site. We then give you a percentage of the revenue earned from any users you refer to us. We also give you a special tracking page to see how many people clicked on the ads, signed up for Forumwarz accounts, etc.
Right now we’re only interested in sites that get a reasonable amount of traffic. If you are the curator of one, contact me and we’ll talk about getting you set up. In the future, we might allow anyone to run the ads regardless of the level of traffic their site gets, but for now it’s very much beta and we want to figure out all the kinks.
We’ve listened to your feedback on itembuildr and pushed out a few updates:
- The item-generating code is a lot better. There should be fewer random repeats of the same item class. You should never get the same item class twice in a row. Secondly, there are fixes to prevent pricing from going way out of whack (like with the Dragon Ball items.). Thirdly, we can create special items for all classes now (like Hackers!). Unfortunately, I had to make adjustments to a few of the existing items to keep their prices in line with our economy.
- There are two new E-Peen(tm) for itembuildr — one is for having your idea chosen. The second is for having your image chosen.
- A bunch of items built with itembuildr have been moved into the regular stores. Each item will display credits for its creation. They have subsequently been removed from the ItemBuildr consumer’s co-op.
I’m hoping these fixes will go a long way to making itembuildr a lot more useful and fun for everyone. As always feedback is appreciated.
One of our most requested features for IDC is the ability to ignore other players. Lately I made some changes to how IDC works on the back end that allowed me to implement the feature. Here’s how it works:
On the IDC console, if you type:
Will start ignoring the player in IDC with the name supplied. If you want to unignore them, simply run the ignore command again (it toggles.)
If you want to list all the people you’ve ignored, type in:
Without a name. It will tell you everyone you’re hiding from!
You can now purchase your own word filters in IDC. To avoid rampant abuse like people purchasing word filters for “the,” a moderator has to approve your filter.
Word filters have to be at least 2 characters long, and they’ll cost 3BP for 10 weeks of use.
Some of the most recent people who were previously given word filters will have them for free for 10 weeks. For people who had them before that, unfortunately you will have to buy in.
I spent some time re-factoring our image uploading system to allow for more user submitted content. It was a lot of refactoring, but from now on it’s much easier for users to contribute to our game.
The first step was implementing custom emoticons. These can be purchased for 5BP on the Support Us page. A few have been added already:
They have to be approved by a moderator, but we’re usually pretty quick at doing that. Enjoy!
We’re pleased as punch (the tasty kind that you drink, not the painful kind you get from mean people) to announce that we’ve added five new mods to create an all-star, balls-out, ass-kicking team of internet arbitration!
Say hello to spacekadt, Nicco, dobnits, Aldo_Anything and Sergeant Cid (aka Acid Flux)! They’re going to be making things a little less Goatsey around these parts.
Show them some mod-love in this official announcement thread!