Last Good Quote: Son's are the seasoning on our lives. - Someone on Facebook

Sunday, January 25

5 Ways to Make Your Game Addictive

We all believe that players love to play our games, but what really makes our games addictive. I have found that the following traits tend to relate to the addictiveness of a game. The more your game has the better it will be.

Reason #1: Full Immersion
Players like to be drawn into the story. While most PBBG will not take over the entire screen or have heavy 3d graphics, having a background story and a consistent narrative throughout the game goes a long way to having immersing the player in your game. Be forewarned this is one of the toughest of all of the attributes to implement as it takes a methodical, long term, and strategic builder to maintain a good story line.
Reason #2: Player Ownership
Allow your players to "own" a piece of the game. Ask yourself what aspects of the game play do you allow your players to control. The most common implementations of this are an in game auction site, allowing players to sell items from a shop, or allowing players to swap items or even create them. One of the best games online that allow player ownership is SecondLife. (Yes, I realize it is not really a game)

Reason #3: Personalization
Do you give your players a way to stand out from other players? The more opportunity you give them to stand out the more invested they become in playing the game. Most games have some sort of built in Avatar system, while this does go toward personalization it has been proven that most gamers have become jaded to the avatar and consider it the same as a personal username. Leaving the Avatar system with a lesser impact than it did in past times.

Reason #4: Rare Items/Actions
Having rare items within your game gives the collector within the gamer something to look forward too. The issue with rare items is that often they are "game changers" in that who ever owns one is semi-god like. In truth a rare item that has less power works just as well as a powerful rare item. There are two caveats to keep in mind, first knowledge of its rarity must be will know, and second the item must have a "unique" appearance within the game. For Example: Everyone knows that finding the "Super Secret Rod of Civility" is really hard to get, and if you get one your face glows red. The only way to get a glowing red face is if you have the secret rod.
Reason #5: Showing the Ladder
How easy is it for your players to see their progress in the game? Players like to get that immediate gratification as they rack up the score, so make sure that they can see their name on a scoreboard and see how they progress up it. Even if it does nothing more than point out they they are NOT last on the list (only 2nd to last). This is one that is simple to build but rarely done correctly within PBBGs.
Comments are welcome....

Friday, January 16

How to make Money with your Game (pbbg)

The eternal question, how to turn this thing into a money tree.

I've got a game coming out with lots of potential, here is my plan to make money from the game. If you have tried any of the following please let me know how it has worked out for you. (And of course if you have any other ideas please shoot them out.
Some of this are summarized from posting and conversations on other sites, so I certainly can not claim these as "mine".

Background: This is an RPG game, utility management game. Let's say a user gets 1 pt every 1 min. They buy stuff and attack other players with it.

Idea 1: User can purchase more action pts/turns/ticks.
The trick with this is that in order to maintain a balanced system, when one user buys pts. All users get points. IE: You are actually bying everyone in the game an extra 500 action points.
Alternativly, you could randomly give the purchaser and 10,20 or 30 other players the same amount of points.

Idea 2: Membership
Two types of Membership, a lifetime or a monthly. While monthly is more attractive to me, lifetime is more attractive to the player.

Membership gives you additional benefits that make the game easier to play. Maybe the ability to have a custom avatar or screen. You are allowed to buy items, units or equipment that functions in the same manner as a non-member item but it has a different image.

Idea 3: Special Items
Allow users to buy items/units/equipment that does special things or have special/higher stats. I go round and round about this one, as it has the potential to devastate the game balance. But everywhere that I read says that while the players grip about this feature, they will buy these items. This also seems to be the starting point where items in your game begin to have an external real world money value.

Idea 4: Earn Refuge
Most games give refuge to new players, they can't be attacked for 24 hours. A player could by refuge and not be attacked for a given number of hours. This has the potential to mess with game balance if a player is able to buy this for extended period of times.

I'd like to hear what your thoughts are about this...

Tuesday, January 13 - A battle game using cards

One day, I put myself on a mission to think up a simple but addictive game that had an RPG twist.

Thus rpgCardz was born. I built this game put up one post and then forgot about it. Well I pulled it out the closet, dusted it off and did some upgrades on it. I think it has a ton of potential. We will find out shortly though.

So the rules are dead simple.

Everyone has the same Str, Att, Def and Damage stats.

You have a deck of cards.

Each card can affect one or many of your or the enemy stats.

Once used a card must "recharge" a given number of rounds before being used again.

You pick 6 cards and specify the order in which they are played.

When you go to battle cards are played in order until one player is dead.

That's it.

One additional fun can take your cards and put bounties on other players. IE: If you kill this player you will get these 3 cards.

Recently I gave it a new interface, chat function and ability to see the battle history. is back!!! is back!!!

Sweet....I gotta laugh about this one. In my college days I ran a game called Blade of a Mage and ran it under a company called I took it down 3 or 4 years ago. Well, I find out I had rights to the domain still and I was with a host that let me host alternate domains really easily. So....I put the site back up.

I hope to use it as portal and company profile once millions of people want to join my game. (LOL)

Anyway, it was personal joy to get this back and running, brings back lots of memories.

FYI: I used the same template as I did for Battle Forces Online. I don't like that I did that any of the things I do recall about this site, was changing the design every 2 to 3 months.

Enhancements to my Battle Forces Online

Battle Forces Online -(

I've put some time and effort into Battle Forces Online.

I gave the entire game a face lift. I bought a template from, modified it a good bit and used that as a new front end. I really like it, but I'm still in need of a good name for this game.

Killed a few bugs, attacking was a bit glitchy. The admin panels had all kinds of problems. So I put some time in and fixed those.

Because I fixed the admin panels, I was able to easily modify the game, so I added a few more maps/levels. (There are now 13, the last being Devils Delight)

I added a few more characters.

Created an iGoogle gadget for the game. (read the Tutorial)

Created a map function that tracks who is where.

Started a one month turnament.

Put some google ads on the game.

All in all, I like the upgrade, waiting to see what users think, but traffic is picking up allready so I take that as a good sign.

It's been a busy few weeks....

Well its been a busy end and beginning of the year. I always seem to get a bit more productive around these times. And the last few weeks I've been unable to sleep on my working schedule. (I've always been a night owl, had to train myself to sleep right in order to be effective at my day job)

So the next few post will be about some of the things that I've done in the past few weeks.

Wednesday, January 7

Make an iGoogle Gadget for Your Game in 5 Steps

So the other day to help promote my game, I decided to create an iGoogle gadget.

For those who might know, Google allows users to setup their own homepage with nice little gadgets that do all sorts of things. You can check that out here:

To build a gadget you must understand that it consists of two parts.

xml file - This is the base file and contains all the formatting and javascript of your gadget.
data file - This contains the data that is displayed by your gadget

The gadget I am building is for my new game , the gadget will display the top ranking folks.

Step 1:

Get the developer gadget, from here, (click the add now link). It will allow you to refresh and test your gadget without posting to google's gadget directory. This is important...without this you will have a very hard time...go get it.

Step 2:

Create the xml document. Notice this looks very similar to an HTML document. Do the following to the file:
  1. Edit the Author, Title, URL and Screenshot information in lines 1 to 10
  2. Edit the css style elements between lines 16 and 22
Get the file

Step 3:

Notice there is some javascript here which calls a remote location and takes the content there and shoves it into a div. You will need to point the code to the right location and create the data file (see Step 4).

We use a special google function called _IG_FetchContent(), which you pass a url to and it calls the function that you specify and passes back the contents:

var requestType = "highscores";
var timer = null;

function getHighScores()
requestType = "highscores";
url = ''
//send request using google API
_IG_FetchContent(url, responseHandler, { refreshInterval: (10) });

function responseHandler(response)
if (response == null || typeof(response) != "string")
$("mainDiv").innerHTML = "It appears that no one is online...";

fullText =response;
if(requestType == "highscores")
//take contents and shove it into the mainDiv
var d = document.getElementById("mainDiv");
d.innerHTML = fullText;

//Refresh in 10 min
timer = setTimeout("getHighScores()", 600000);


//call the function when the gadget loads
//another google api function

The main body of the page consists of some simple HTML. (If you can't make sense of this, you probably should not be doing this stuff.)


<a href="" target=blank
><img src="" border=0></a>

<div id="mainDiv" style=" background-color: #EEE; margin:0 auto;">


Step 4:
The data that actually get displayed is generated by a different page. I usually put this in a folder called feeds. For example:

That one anyone can use them.

So highscores.php looks like the following:

//connect to the database
include_once "../connect.php";
// Make sure the page is not cached
header( 'Expires: Sat, 26 Jul 1997 05:00:00 GMT' );

$sql = "select userID, username, score ";
$sql.= " from c_user ";
$sql.= " where isGuest = 'N' ";
$sql.= " order by score desc limit 10";
$q = executeQuery($sql);
<table width=100%>
<td class=label>Position</td>
<td class=label align=right>Score</td>
<td class=label>Player</td>


Step 5:
Test, Test, Test...

Go to your iGoogle page, in the developer gadget you just added type the location of your XML file.

Watch the magic.

Notes and More:

Google caches your gadgets, they refresh the cached copy at least once a day. Check your cached copy before releasing to the world.

Try going putting the url of your data file in your browser...if it crashes or errors you have problems.

Try putting the url of your xml file in your browser...if it crashes or errors you have problems.

You can create the same type of gadget without using ajax. (PHP can generate xml docs...or you can do print statements to write the xml file)

Odd things happen with cached data, that could be the source of all your headaches.

Firebug is your friend (firebug's a javascript debugger plugin for firefox)