Sam's Blog

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Monday, August 18, 2008

What's wrong with WGZ

I play a game at WGZ ( http://www.wgamezone.com ) pretty much entirely for the nostalgia. Yeah, I did run that website at one point in time, but I think it's now badly outdated, and the administration is extremely inept at doing their job properly.

Here is a good example of what I'm talking about. I was browsing the scores list when I noticed a top ranking empire had suddenly dropped a lot of networth. And then noticed relatively new empires receiving aid from this formerly large empire.

During the many years I played the game, I've seen a scenario very similar to this many times. 99% of the time both the aider and the person receiving the aid is the same person simply trying to transfer resources to a new empire. This became an issue after the ability to change your race was removed. So instead of sending stuff to their team, they'd rather simply just send it to themselves.

Suspecting this was the case, I contacted the administer (geek) over MSN messenger. Here is the conversation:
4:29:49 PM Sam: hi
4:30:32 PM geek: hi
4:30:39 PM Sam: I have a question about game rules
4:30:49 PM Sam: I don't know if this is legal or not in your opinion
4:31:13 PM geek: go for it
4:31:21 PM Sam: If you have an empire, and you want to start as a different race, are you allowed to create a new empire, aid your new empire and then farm your old empire?
4:31:53 PM geek: not at all...you can only have one empire at a time
4:31:56 PM Sam: isn't that basically multi-running?
4:32:09 PM geek: yep..and not allowed
4:32:15 PM Sam: I think I just saw that happen
4:32:28 PM geek: you did?...when...who?
4:32:44 PM Sam: #8 and #66 maybe #69 too
4:33:00 PM geek: lol..no you didnt see that at all
4:33:21 PM Sam: eh??
4:33:45 PM Sam: I don't know if that's the case, I just wanted to let you know that seems like the case and the numbers so you can maybe check IP access
4:37:16 PM Sam: do you know who that is?

That was the end of the first part of the conversation since geek did not respond. But to my surprise his wife (Hex) decided to message me about the situation while I was away from the computer. Here's that conversation:
4:38:52 PM Hex: hahaha @ witnessing cheating
4:38:58 PM Hex: that was not what you witnessed

Not mentioning the absolute lack of any sort of confidentiality, like you can see, I didn't say I saw cheating for sure any time during my conversation with geek. I brought up a suspicion. That's obvious from my line "I don't know if that's the case, I just wanted to let you know that seems like the case." But I guess that was enough for her to mock me about that.

He came online again a while later and I started a new conversation.
6:12:12 PM Sam: hi
Changed status to Idle (6:15:05 PM)
Changed status to Available (6:15:57 PM)
6:16:08 PM geek: hi
6:17:06 PM Sam: When I brought up that IP check request, all I was trying to do was bring up suspicious-looking activity to you. I've seen that exact scenario dozens of times and 99% of the time it's cheating. That's why I brought it up. A simple "no they're not cheating" would have sufficed. But instead I didn't get any answer and then mocked about my request by your wife.
6:17:38 PM Sam: I just wanted to let you know I didn't appreciate the way that was handled.
6:18:40 PM geek: i did answer you
6:19:44 PM Sam: What you replied could hardly be classified as an answer to that query
6:20:12 PM Sam: "lol..no you didnt see that at all"
6:20:27 PM geek: sami...at this moment in time i really couldnt give a flying fuck what you think
6:21:55 PM Sam: Do you mind elaborating? I'm just a player of your game wondering about what looked like cheating.
Changed status to Idle (6:25:34 PM)
Changed status to Away (6:30:37 PM)
Changed status to Available (6:30:38 PM)
6:30:57 PM Sam: If you could clarify, that would be nice.
6:30:59 PM geek: I am currently away from the computer.

The line that I made larger I think speaks for itself.

There is just a complete lack of competence, maturity, and professionalism from this administration.

I fear it's only a matter of time before the community there finally dies for good. It's getting smaller and smaller as each month passes. Nothing is being done about it. And on top of all of this, the sole person who actually could turn things around is this guy. Mr "I really couldnt give a flying fuck."

Sad to see the site go down like this, but I guess it had to go eventually, eh?


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Promisense: a complete package

A Complete Package
Just to be clear, the title doesn't imply that the site is done, it's to simply state the new direction the site is going in (yet again... I know).

After a few weeks of talking with various web game managers around the internet, I had a very difficult time finding anyone who was interested in my project. As I described in a previous post, I wanted to be a facilitator for developers to reach a gaming audience. I didn't want to actually run the game myself.

So because no deal was finalized before my deadline, I've decided to re-package the Promisense website once again. It's now back to its original goal of being the best damn web-based game out there. And because of it's previous focus, it'll have the feel of a social network with a game built-in.

This, I believe, is a good thing. Most games focus entirely too much on being just games. I've said this time and time again, games are nothing without their community. And because Promisense does so much to stimulate community interaction and lets users communicate, share, and interact in more and better ways, it can only mean positive things for the game it's all about.

The Dark Side
Promisense was going to be a very bright and colourful community. It had Facebook-like theme (white with blue highlights), but honestly, for a game I thought that was entirely too boring. The gaming sites around the web are known for their darker themes, and this is especially true in the fantasy realm. Guild Wars' official site is a good example of that.

So I decided to go with a more dark theme that resembles the old MyWGZ site I designed. I think in the long run it'll pay off. Especially once I have an artist do some art for the game. It'll look much better on a darker theme, that the Facebook-esque design that was up before.

Open Alpha Test
In a rather unorthodox move, I decided to have an open alpha test. Yeah, that's right. Alpha. Not even beta. Which means most of the site doesn't even work yet.

Why do this? Well, as I develop, I'll be publishing updates to the live site and I'll be taking in feedback. Most people do this during a beta test, but I've started this process early just so I can let people who are interested give me their opinions to help shape the overall design and functionality of the Promisense site & game.

If you're interested in helping, sign up @ http://www.promisense.com

iProm & Prombook
Along with developing the website, I'm also actively developing an iPhone & Facebook version of the website. Why does this matter? Well, the neat thing is, all of these versions will be run on the same backend. Which means, you'll be playing with Facebook users, iPhone users, and other website users all at the same time.

This ultimately means a lot of exposure for the game, and it being available on these platforms provides more playing options for people.

It's going to be launched in stages, though. First will be the actual website, of course. Then once all the kinks and bugs are worked out of it, and once beta testing is complete, the iPhone and Facebook versions will go into beta.

Each of these platforms are designed to function as a separate entity entirely. Meaning, you can go through the entire experience (from sign up, to playing, to socializing) all within the platform. And they, of course, will be able to be used all at the same time from an individual user.

So if anyone signs up for Promisense at the main website, they can play there. Then if they use Facebook, they can link their identities so they can access the site entirely within Facebook (Facebook sign up also works without an existing Promisense account). And lastly, if they're on the go, they can use either an iPhone or an iPod Touch to play, check messages, view stats, and all the features the other platforms have to offer.

This is truly going to be a revolutionary thing for not only Prom games, but text gaming in general. I don't think anyone has done that before, so I'm exciting to be a part of something rather unique, and I hope the users who take advantage of the site on either platform can have a better experience because of this all.

That's all the updates I got so far. Go see the website and let me know what you think.