June 14, 2009: June 14, 2009
Getting married soon
My wedding date is closing in June 26th and the thing I was most worried about was the conversion to Islam but that will all be sorted soon in Indonesia.
So now I just have to sit back and let is happen. As it's in Indonesia I didn't have to organize anything which was good. I just sent money over :)
The photo at the top is the pre-wedding photos which I'm told we needed for an indo wedding. These will be printed large and around the wedding reception.
The wedding will be a big one 500+ people but in Indonesia that's a normal size. Here's a 1,500 people wedding and it doesn't seem that big. Although I didn't take any crowd shots.
Funny, after being with Ervi for 10 years now the marriage part of things seems like a small part.
June 07, 2009: June 7, 2009
Lean Pockets Quesadilla Breaks
And if you think that's a lot of games we have two more for Marvel done but not live and another multi-player game that involved shooting chickens. You could say "shooting at your cock" but that would be rude and in poor taste. We're also starting work on 2 more for various clients now.
So yeah it's been game central at Soap lately but the quality and level of games we have been producing is better than we have ever done before. I look back at the games I made in 2000 and laugh. Although I still think Bogan Surf is a classic.
Civil War Online for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
The biggest game Soap has ever worked on is now live. Civil War Online is a turn based multiplayer game which launched as part of the site for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 which falls under our HeroHQ site we built for Activision for all their Marvel games.
This is a small dream come true for me as when I was in highscool I played Heroes of Might & Magic the game all the time. And the best part was the battles. Civil War Online took inspiration from this. It's also our second multiplayer game we have made. The first being Biggest Battle in History for Night at the Museum 2. The good thing about CWO is that the Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 community we have is very active. And since the game launched 2 days ago we have had over 3,000 battles. Considering the shorted battle we have recorded is 3 min and the longest 1hr with an average of 12 min for each battle that's quite amazing. Every time I login I see between 20-70 people online battling away.
We still have a couple of bugs in the game which we are fixing which is understandable for such a complicated game.
The game also works on 2 levels.
1: 1 vs 1 battles: This is the main game. You battle another person with your team of 4 Marvel Superheroes
2: Pro vs Anti: each battle is part of the Pro-Registration and Anti-Registration sides. Which ever team controls the most grid positions on the battle world wins the round.
We took inspiration from Tom Clancy's End War for this one. Rather than just having your battle mean only something to you, your battle is now part of a greater war. Picking where you battle is also a strategic choice. You want to control the map so battling on a position which is dominated by the other team is a waste. Choosing a neutral or even position is the way to win. It seems the Anti side are less strategic with their choice as they are losing bad this round (rounds reset every week) but in terms of overall battles are not far behind.
We also got to make a sexy PV3D world map. Although we failed in creating a Earth representation in hexagons that easily wraps to a sphere. We had to change it to a generic grid just days before live.
We also did something sneaky to the MUA2 community. Initial forum chatter was heavily weighted towards the Anti-Reg side. So before we asked the community to choose a side we threw them a curve ball. We offered 500 hero points to the users who sided with Iron-Man and the pro side. Not only is this true to the comic book story but it also convinced some of the heavy hitters in the community to switch sides. It also generated lots of talk and debate which is exactly what we wanted.
I've had a blast working on HeroHQ as Ive found comic gamer fans to be the most passionate and active people on the web. They really get into it and are really appreciative of our efforts. I've never been thanked/praised so much for doing work from a community before.
The added benefit is that we have learnt so much as a company from HeroHQ as to what works and what doesnt when running a community and forum of this size. We now have 10,000 members who have posted over 220,000 times on the forum. That's in 4 months! We now get over 50,000 posts to the Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 part of the forum a month.
The previous game had 30,000 members who contributed 120,000 posts over the entire campaign so we are punching above our weight right now.
I look forward to seeing the community grow as we get closer to the release date in September 09. Having a 6-7 month lead up to a release has been an interesting one. Considering the first MUA game is 3 years old now it's surprising how much traction this has gotten.
Oh and if you want to say hi on the forums I'm DrTruffle.
Oh and here's a sketch I did for CWO I found which we used to pitch the idea. Amazing how you can hardly tell the difference between my sketch and the final game.
Oh we pushed for Hexagons as they are 50% better than squares.
This is one of my fav type of games and the level of polish on this bad boy is amazing. Not the norm to tell the developer and the designers to STOP working on it we need to push it out there.
The average game time on this so far is 20 min which is 2x our normal standard. It's understandable as the game mechanic is for longer games.
When you get a brief such as "game for a TV and HAS TO integrate with the product features" it's quite tough. Trying to convey 2ms, 200mhz, divx and engergy saving into the one game was a challenge. In fact if LG had not of liked the Tower Defense game idea we were all out of ideas.
Online Advertising Categories
Recently we have been working on a lot of flash games at Soap. You can call these advergame, branded entertainment, brand games brames whatever but the fact is that online advertising seems to be far more valuable to the consumer than any other form of advertising. In fact the only thing traditional advertising is good for is funding free content. There would be no American Idol without advertising.
When I look at online I see these major trends in categorization of how brands advertise online.
- Plain Advertising: Product message here and buy now
On most traditional advertising mediums such as radio, TV and print you usually just got "Plain Advertising". But with digital there is a heavy shift away from this.
The added bonus is that with online you can do all 4 categories in the one solution.
I feel bad for traditional advertising people who provide no real worth to any of their consumers. They just sell stuff to people who don't need it. As interesting as the 90 second epic TV (read short film) is it'll be forgotten once the media campaign is over. Where as with online you have a chance to affect peoples behavior and have them using your solution for years to come.
Now I need to think of examples of where this happened. Nike+ seems a good example, various online communities from brands have done well too. I'll follow this up with examples once I have had time to think.