It’s a oft repeated mantra that the days are gone when single-person development teams could succeed in the game development market. These days you’re not going to get anywhere unless you have a budget that numbers in the millions, and enough manpower to build a life-sized replica of the Great Pyramid of Giza, with some additional manpower to manage your workforce and prioritize which stones should be put where in the pyramid, and in which order they should be put in (and which stones should be cut altogether, for budget reasons). That is not always the case, though.
Markus Persson has since May 2009 worked on Minecraft all by himself, and the game has almost half a million registered users, with nearly 30 000 players playing at any given time. What is more impressive though, is that the game – which is still an Alpha-version – has actually sold almost a hundred thousand copies (99147 as I type this). Let me repeat that: The Alpha-version of his game has sold almost 100 000 copies.
I can understand why, since I’ve been playing it almost non-stop since I purchased a copy a couple of days ago. It’s dangerously addictive, there’s always another block of stone to mine (the game-world is basically of infinite size, since it generates more world-data on the fly as you move towards the edges of the map), always another tree to chop, always another fantastic structure to build, always another mine-shaft to light up with torches. Maybe there’s a rich vein of iron ore just behind the next block of stone. Must. Keep. Mining…
(Check out my Minecraft-progress in the screenshots below)
The game’s success even while still in early development goes to show that if you have a good idea for a game and possess the necessary skill-sets to implement said idea, only the sky is the limit.
Note #0: It’s been a while since I posted anything at all on this blog. Just to let you know, I haven’t completely given up on it just yet, I have just been busy(TM) with other stuff.
In April 2000 a revolutionary methodology for reviewing video-games saw the light of day at the Old Man Murray-website; the Crate Review System. The basis for this new reviewing-system was very simple; since virtually all games contain crates, all games could be judged empirically on those crates. The longer you could play a game without seeing any crates (wooden or otherwise), the better the game. Or to put it in completely different terms: The shorter the time (in seconds) from the start of the game until the first crate is found, the worse the game. This unit of measurement was dubbed “Start to Crate” (StC for short).
I had forgotten about the above until recently, when I came across (through another blog, but unfortunately I can’t remember which!) an old Gamasutra-article by Ernest W. Adams (also listed on his “No Twinkie Database“-page). The article was not only an interesting read (along with everything else in the No Twinkie Database), it also contained a link to the Crate Review System at Old Man Murray.
While I was reading the old crate reviews there, I started thinking about how well this system of reviewing games would apply to MMORPGs, which are a very special breed of games indeed. With only one way to find out, I put on my research hat and started downloading numerous free trials, as well as re-activating some of my old MMORPG-subscriptions, determined to check the StC-times in an ungodly amount (Thirty-one in total) of MMORPGs.
Note #1: The original system didn’t differentiate between crates and their cousins, the circular crates also known as “barrels”. I check for both separately, and thus ended up with StC and StB values for each game.
Note #2: Some of the games I tried had multiple starting locations. In those cases I visited all the available starting locations and timed the StCs and StBs for those one by one. Unless I didn’t like the game, or I was distracted by food/TV/all the walls that keep staring at me. In those cases I only did one starting location.
Read on for the results of my research.
Continue reading “Start to Crate-times in MMORPGs”