Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Opening the floodgates of play by mail
(08-28-2019, 07:55 PM)Undeadlord Wrote: I suppose it does depend a lot on what the GM is having to do. As part of trying to bolster my programming abilities, I am writing a 4x space empire game that would be PBM in nature.

If you're not a well-experienced programmer you may find surprising the number of things that you didn't figure on in your original plan and that can't be easily programmed (sometimes at all).  Big new projects tend to follow the 80/20 rule even at the best of times:  The first 80% of the project is done taking only 20% of the total effort.  It's the final 20% of the (original-intent) programming that takes 80% of your time.  And that's typically before you start adding any embellishments.

So yes, plan with the long term in mind.  And maybe after you've tried running players' spreadsheets through your new game for a few turns you might have a better feel for why other GM's want to charge for that.
I am a mid-level programmer at best. I didn't go to school for it, but I was forced to pick it up at work and learn to use it. I thought this would be an interesting way to push myself to learn more and use some different programming muscles than I normally get to flex at the office.

I am guessing it is a detriment to me, not being a professional programmer, that they would know how to better plan this out and how to gauge what ideas are doable and what ideas are not. I have tons of ideas, we will see if I ever get anywhere with them Smile I am trying to get some of the basics into the system now, but I need to find a nice hard stop and then work on shining up the pieces I got done to usable levels. All the features and fluff would come afterwards.

Please don't get me wrong, I don't mean to imply I don't think GM's should charge for their time, they definitely should!
Being a long-time professional programmer only occasionally lets you plan better.  Mostly it's allowing you to recognize how much you won't be able to plan so you don't set your expectations quite as high.  I've been programming daily for 46 years now and just yesterday I had to throw away a week's worth of work and start over because I had made a poor plan that just kept getting worse.

But don't let that discourage you.  Formal schooling is much less important than just sitting down and doing something and learning as you go.  And at the end of it you often end up with something fun, like a new game to play.
Quote:I had to throw away a week's worth of work and start over because I had made a poor plan that just kept getting worse.

Glad to know I am not the only one who has had to do that. About 2 weeks ago, I got to the point I realized how I laid out some of my data files wasn't going to work. It hit me laying in bed that night how I needed to change everything and I realized how much code was going to need to be scraped.  Angry
(08-28-2019, 05:30 PM)I play Galactac at Talisman Games, and really like the pricing structure :-) In fact, due to bonuses, etc, I am currently paid up two years in advance, and am happy to do so. It means if I have a financial problem, I have 2 years to get it sorted before I have to stop playing :-) Wrote:
(08-28-2019, 07:23 AM)GrimFinger Wrote: For commercial PBM companies, how do you make play by mail gaming more profitable? For prospective PBM players, how do you make PBM gaming more attractive? Furthermore, how do you accomplish both, simultaneously?

Well, my current attempt here at Talisman Games, although not too financially successful at this point, is to keep the cost of play down.  I feel like players will be more willing to play a low-cost game, providing that game-interest factors were similar.  If I can get enough people playing, then a small income can become significant in larger numbers.  Therefore, I designed our current efforts to be at a very low cost to operate, mostly just overhead costs, so that's all I've got to make up to be "profitable".  Hopefully this will eventually be accomplishing both goals simultaneously.

The current concept is to pay a small, flat monthly fee (nominally $5) to play anything we offer.  At present we have only Galac-Tac running, but another game is slowing being redeveloped and a third is waiting in the wings.  So theoretically you could play in all of our games at once for the same monthly cost.  In addition, you can play in multiple simultaneous positions in each of the games.  For instance, in Galac-Tac you might want to play in three weekly production games, doing a turn every couple of days, as well as having a solo (computer-opponent) game open in which to try out different strategies before using them in the production games.  If you were ambitious (and unrestrained by time commitments), you could end up playing dozens of positions a week for that same $5/month.  I would like to call something like that a value for your gaming dollar.

A question for the players out there...  Assuming we offered game(s) that you found interesting, wouldn't this pricing structure attract you?  If not, what would be better?
The biggest part of coding a game is figuring out your Data Structure. Once you figure out how to store each "actor" in the game then everything else is just coding up the "actions" that change the state of those actors. Studying object oriented programming would be extremely useful for this, since by it's very nature it forces you to decide how you're going to keep up with the state and what methods you need to access and change those states.

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)