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What if Academagia is a browser game?

 

Adventures and all the information will be presented in your browser, and database will be stored on cloud/official server. See Mafia Wars as an example.

 

Do you think there's an applicable business model? Is it possible to apply multiplayer function? What kind of virtual experience will it generate? Discuss. Throw other what-ifs too if you like.

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I'm no fan of browser games and wouldn't be interested in Academagia if it were a browser game. Besides, they tend to be ad-supported, which is actually pretty invasive! ;)

 

I've never liked Mafia Wars either. Your example made my reaction worse.

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Echo Bazaar is probably the best browser game to compare to Academagia: it's a very story focused with lots upon lots of options done browser style. And it's a very good game: if someone is in to Academagia, I'd strongly suggest taking a look at Echo Bazaar if they can stomach brower games (ie, the ten actions per one play (usually) / 70 actions per day). There are some great stories there, and some hard decisions- the easiest one (and the one most people see) is the countess, and how you respond to her plight. It really is a great game, and the small multiplayer side (in which you can play chess, have dinner, spar or skulk with your friends, along with such actions as getting them to steal for you, confessing your nightmares, or framing them for your ill deeds, perhaps even poisoning them...) is great.

 

So, I think browser games can be awesome and tell stories. There's also Multiple Choice Games, Alter Ego, and a few dating type ones out there that deserve plays. Popmundo might also be worth mentioning.

 

...But most browser games are like Mafia Wars, or Farmville, and so on. I think if you're looking for how Academagia could do as a browser games, those aren't the ones you'd be looking at. Very different goals.

 

 

However, I don't think with all that Academagia does- think of each students actions- it could hold up as a browser game. And to have success as a browser game if you wanted multiplayer (other characters around learning, aka), you'd almost have to do it real time (again, like Popmundo). You wouldn't be able to sit down and play a year: more, you'd sit down and play a game.

 

I think a browser game where you could play a young wizard at wizard school could be fun (there are mafia-war ripoffs that have that, I know- someone on my facebook friends list plays one- but I'm thinking more in the style of the other games I listed). But I don't think it would be Academagia. Academagia does a heavy job of simulating those NPC's in the background. A web game just can't handle that, particularly if multiplayer.

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I'm not familiar with Echo Bazaar (clearly, going to have to try it!), but I don't feel Academagia is 'right' for a browser or Facebook's/Google's service.

 

We really want the experience to be personal and reactive, and while that *is* possible on a browser, the creativity, choice-consequence (especially carrying forward) and moddability isn't the same. That doesn't rule out the possibility that BCS may do something for browsers in the future, but if we did it would be a different kind of game and certainly (in my opinion) no replacement for our PC products.

 

Edit: Multi-player is fun, but (in my opinion) *only* if you want to play with others. It's something we considered for Year 1, actually- the ability to invite your friends to come and play with you hot-seat, on-line or by e-mail. Ultimately, we decided against it for purely technical reasons. No promises, but it's a feature I'd like to see in the sequels. ;)

 

Edit2: Mikka, you are entirely cruel. I love this game! And it makes me want to spend money on Fate points. Ah, these browser games are exquisite torture. Raide, do you *really* want us to do that to you? :)

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Server-client Academagia would be the only way I could see mobile Academagia working; a PC instance of Academagia would have to be able to connect to the internet and receive instructions from the mobile client, then transmit the results back. It would be interesting, and I have a feeling that such a model for database-heavy mobile games will eventually arise, but of course the technical hurdles for such a thing in Year 1 are probably pretty high.

 

That being said, Academagia would actually be very suited to a touchscreen phone if it weren't so database-heavy.

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Jazerus what you are talking about is the buisness model of OnLive but you have to pay them for the serverpower they let you use.

In the end this Model is more straightforward to you then the so cald free to play models.

(You realy dont whant to play any Free to play games any more that contains PVP when you encounter people that spend a vew hundert $ each month there to get the advance over all the other player.)

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My mission in life is to spread Echo Bazaar love. It's seriously a briliant game- the best browser game I've ever played, and I've been on facebook for long enough to have tried every pet vampire mafia farm ninja war card kingdom shopping that ever existed. (Around a year ago, when I had to play with Flash a lot for school, I used to dream of making a pet vampire mafia farm war card kingdom shopping game. Maybe with zombies, too. And probably flowers. Just because every other day a new game would pop up with one of my friends playing it that had something like that in the title.)

 

Permit me to babble a bit about browser games for a touch here, if you'd be so kind, ladies and gents. ;)

 

A browser game is, at it's core, a game played in your browser. There's nothing more to it then that. Long before facebook and twitter and myspace (but not before livejournal ;P) we had browser games, and honestly? Many of them had more in common with Academagia then the browser games of now. They were like those Choose Your Own Adventure books. I mentioned Multiple Choice Games and Alter Ego, both which play like that (warning: alter ego has sexual content in it that I'd rate PG16 or so; there is a warning screen with an option to skip the content each time it comes up, but it is there). Try playing, I don't know, Multiple Choice's Vampire game and then Alter Ego both twice, taking different choices. You'll find that you basically played a new fledgling vampire or the life of a single person in entirely different ways and saw very different stories. They aren't multiplayer, they aren't saving anything more then optional data, they aren't spamming you with ads, and there's no gift invites or long term commitment. They're visual novels in browser form, only without the visuals. Heh.

 

Obviously, though, that... doesn't make money. Definitely projects people did for fun and awesome and put on the web, which is great, but they're sustained with donations (MCG is attempted to breach to the iphones, but for now let's stick with that) and not all that well. It's a labor of love. And it's hard to compare Academagia to much to them. Definitely, someone could make a game in that style with the Academagia setting and fun (heck, Multiple Choice Games will even help you with that!- er, but don't breach Academagia's copyright and all that ;; ), but it can't contain all the options, choices, variety, systems, and database that Academagia can. Sure, I can have an invisible four sided dice roll somewhere in the background and if you get a 1, that means PM decides to attempt to bully you today, but it would be nowhere as sophisticated as the code that makes PM decide whether he'll get his spider to bite me today or not. Not even close.

 

So let's pop over to newer generation of browser-games, such as Echo Bazaar (which I strongly recommend!), Popmundo (which is eh), and vampire flower farm or any one of it's many friends.

 

All three get their money from the hook you free and bleed you dry. Popmundo has a subscription similar to an MMO while Echo Bazaar and vampire flower farm (...hee) make you buy the ingame currency and use that on cool stuff. Each have their own fun stuff, but then you look close and see even more fun stuff waiting in the corner. You can't get married, go in to politics, or keep long distance friends in Popmundo. Echo Bazaar has full long storylines you need to pay for to see. Vampire flower farm is inevitably putting the coolest animals, clothing options, and flower breeds as real cash only. All have convenience factors that you can pay for to make gaming easier.

 

(It's pretty easy to come up with things that Academagia could put as pay for only. What if you couldn't see your relations with people unless you paid for it, having to guess by interactions if they like you or not? Or certain classes were pay for only, or you could only discover certain skills by paying for them? Or adventures, and the secret heritage, and of course the exotic familars (and they could be random, too!- buy this crate, get one of eighteen exotics, getting elephant seven times in a row is simply bad luck, so why not give it another try!).)

 

The problem is, to keep getting money to make the game better, you need to keep people playing. And to keep people playing, you need to make the game basically endless. A good way of doing that is with some sort of energy stat. You can only do ten things at once, then you need to wait for your energy to regen. Echo Bazaar does that. Another good way is by using a sort of real time system. Sure, you can start studying that skill, but it's going to take you two weeks for your character to master it. Popmundo does that. The truly impressive (or insane) vampire flower farm games have stumbled across the brilliant idea of using BOTH- not only are you limited in how many actions you can do, it takes real time hours to do each action! Clever! (Or crazy.)

 

Still, people will be playing and playing, so what you basically need to do is make a game that never ends. Academagia falls through here: the game is an awesome game about going to school and, eventually, graduating. Alter Ego and the Multiple Choice Games fall short here, too, as do the games by the Academagia crew's affiliate over at H (...I can never spell the name right). That's why browser games are so vague: Echo Bazaar encourages you to seek wealth, power, fortune, pleasure, but despite my loving recommendations, there's never a point where the game is like "Okay, uh, I think you have all the wealth in the world now. Woohoo! You are the ruler of wealth! Congrats! Uh. Wanna start a new character now?" Popmundo keeps a vague 'You are attempting to become a great musician, woo!' goal, but there's always another thing to make you greater. Vampire flower farm usually does the same, or sometimes doesn't even bother (you are a vampire! selling flowers! that grow at your farm!- why? because why not?), which honestly, I can't take issue with. (I remember a mafia game that starts with the story hook of 'avenge your brother!', but a week's play later it's all 'brother who?.)

 

...Where was I going with this? I don't even remember anymore. Um.

 

Oh. Multiplayer, right. It's the best way to get your browser game played- people get their friends to play so they can get gifts or help in game, and your consumers grow. It's not too hard to think of little things that could be multiplayer, though. There would be nothing wrong with say, creating a sister academy somewhere and you could write letters to your friends at that sister academy asking for help with a class for some skills, them to research in their library to see if they can find more information about a secret you're digging up for a circumstance bonus (guess whose played tabletop~), or their emotional support to get rid of negative emotions. Or they could go to the academy 'with you', in which I presume you would add them to your clique and everyone would have five hundred member cliques as they do vampire florist crews, and you and your five hundred member cliques would go around fighting everyone else's five hundred member cliques for their lunch money. Save for it's a bordering school, so no lunch money. Pocket change. Hm. And you could challenge others to duels. ...On a less sarcastic and more serious note, Popomundo with it's real time does manage to allow people to be band members. With some limits, you could do clique members similarly: your character would say, send an invitation of "In five days, we're going to go on (this) adventure!" and everyone would get a chance to say 'yeah, I'm going' and maybe 'I will use these spells on that adventure'.

 

(For a non browser game set up, there are a ton of multiplayer ideas- you could do it like the online games of Diplomacy, where everyone gets a certain amount of time to complete a day, and everyone would play that day, and then the clock would tick, and everyone could play the next day, all sort of playing with each other. Or perhaps a Spore like program, which allows people to upload their characters, who will have their yearly actions accessed and weighted and then they'd be placed in the game like any other NPC. Both would be very complicated and confusing ideas- I'm not even sure if they'd be possible- but I think they could make a multiplayer side of the game that is fun but not intrusive for those who don't care (personally, I tend to hate multiplayer in most games- I only want to play with my close friends that I already know, and even that's rare).)

 

Again, I totally lost where I was going. I think it was: basically, to be a profitable browser game, they'd have to gut a bit of what makes Academagia Academagia. I think they could create a game set in the Academagia world, which is pretty awesome, and holding to many of the design aesthetics, though, that could still be fun. (The trials and tribulations of a merchant/trader in this world would be pretty neat, in my opinion, and might work well for a browser game type set up- 'become rich and happy' is more open ended then 'graduate from magic school', and trading is a built in multiplayer. We'd also get to see even more of the world. But I'm odd like that.) But I think Academagia, as designed, would have to sacrifice too much of what it is to make the transition gracefully.

 

(Also, I'd rather they do browser game types because I don't own a cool phone with apps. It's the cheapest cellphone I could get, basically. Heh.)

 

Uh. So, after you finish Academagia a few times, start Echo Bazaar! It's fun! Also, I think a game about being a vampire florist may actually be pretty nifty. There was that bad anime about the assassins that were florists... vampire florists can't be any worse!

 

Great wall of text I wrote there. Eh.. ;;

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Wow, this thread is like a checklist of everything I don't want. Browser game? Check. Ad-supported? Check. Multiplayer? Check. Nickel-and-dimed to death so I can actually play the game? Check.

 

To each their own, I know, but really, except for having multiplayer (which doesn't need a browser), does anyone think the other games out there have anything Academagia doesn't? Are they even close in quality? So why on earth would you want a game in that style instead of the far superior one you currently have?

 

And as far as multiplayer goes, sure, I'm biased, because I have zero interest in it. But it troubles me to see every good single-player game get calls for multiplayer. That doesn't come for free, you know. To add multiplayer either costs money (more programmers), time (takes longer (which costs more money anyway)), or reduces the options and content for the entire game.

 

And in the end, it's for very little benefit. Except for multiplayer-only games like Team Fortress 2, player stats almost universally show that the majority of gamers never even try the multiplayer component. So resources are drained to appease a vocal minority.

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:o Nooooooooo, I will never forgive you if you turn Academagia into one of those games that forces you to only play for less than half an hour at a time! I hate that with a passion! Hate hate hate hatehatehatehatehate. With a few more hates for good measure, especially if it's a really fun game.

 

It's like being told: 'Sorry, I know you're really enjoying this book, but you're not allowed to read it for another hour.' Or, 'You know this All-You-Can-Eat Buffet? It's actually an All-You-Can-Eat-For-Quarter-Of-An-Hour Buffet. Tough luck!'

 

Neverrrrrrr. Grrrrr! :)

 

:)

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