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The Game Developer's Guide to Pwning Second Life 39

wjamesau writes "How do you create a game in Second Life that earns you thousands of dollars and scores you development deals with outside publishers? One SL user did just that last year with a casual game called Tringo (sort of multiplayer Tetris with gambling). The game became so popular in Second Life that he sold the rights for a Web version, a GBA port from Crave, and coming up, a TV game show. While there's dozens of other games in Second Life, from FPS to RTS to a mini-MMORPG, none of them have come close to Tringo's success. Kotaku is running an article I've written, based on three years helping Linden Lab organize and run the annual Second Life game developer contest: a how-to guide for creating the next Tringo-big hit."
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The Game Developer's Guide to Pwning Second Life

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  • gambling (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WinEveryGame ( 978424 ) * on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @06:48PM (#15528353) Homepage
    It appears that gambling is becoming a key component here in order for getting any real $$$ from selling this stuff..
  • by crossmr ( 957846 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @06:54PM (#15528390) Journal
    The game is extremely poor for FPS and RTS type of games. Heck someone built tetris there and runs like ass.
    I think you're better off producing quality elsewhere and shopping it around. A single success doesn't really set any kind of precedent.
  • by cryptomancer ( 158526 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @07:38PM (#15528620)
    How can a guide be written for creating "big hits" based on a single instance? Contrapositively, it'd be like writing a postmortem for Daikatana and hoping that there'd never be another Duke Nukem Forever. (Ok the timeline might make that a bad example, but you get the idea).

    And as others have mentioned, it's not like SL is a model environment for demo game development. I'm sure plenty of others have gotten into the industry by starting with a Free* graphics engine. So, how does this relate to SL anyway? Mmmm Slashvertisement perhaps?

    But of course, the real story behind it would have been the development of the game, spreading word of the game, and pitching one's self to developers to get hired. How about a writeup of that? That seems the be the overlooked, but relevant part of this story that at least I'd like to hear.
  • Re:gambling (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PaganRitual ( 551879 ) <splaga@internod[ ]n.net ['e.o' in gap]> on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @08:43PM (#15528926)
    That's because if you're going to do something that has been done to death already a million times over, the only way you'll get people interested is paying for it is if they have a chance of winning money in return. I wouldn't pay for a version of Tetris in a fit (cue people linking Tetris DS saying 'ITS TOTALLY WORTH IT D00D!!!11) yet if I had the chance to win money back, well then maybe I'd be convinced. Cause, you know, I totally saw the space shuttle in the Gameboy version. Looked wicked cool, and means I'm a Tetris GM (Grand Master). Too bad you weren't there to see it.
  • by patio11 ( 857072 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @09:44PM (#15529158)
    Tringo's business model in SecondLife is that you buy a copy of the object and run it as a franchise, paying $60 upfront and some percentage of your rake from the machine. As an operator, you only make money by convincing people to play. The only way to convince them to pay for marginal playing opportunities is to give them a reward, i.e. money. And that implies gambling. Second Life is not a good environment for creating games which are actually fun -- if you wanted primarily fun games you'd be in WoW or Puzzle Pirates (whose puzzle games absolutely smoke the poor Tetris clones that infest Second Life).

    Now, if I were really out to make a buck, I'd come up with some form of multi-level marketing for an object in SecondLife. Take anything with intrinsic value -- say, a hat. Now let anyone who has that hat spawn a new copy of the hat for less money than it takes to buy a hat from you (picking numbers out of thin air, $5 for a hat original and $3 for a hat copy). Then you essentially deputize folks to sell your hat to fashion-conscious folks AND folks desperate to make a virtual buck by hawking hats (LOOK! You only have to sell 3 hats to make your investment back!). Now, taking the idea one step farther, instead of actually selling the hat you should sell the *script* that makes the hat into a money machine. "Hiya, Mr. Content creator. Have I got a business proposition for you -- you take that new school girl uniform* and use my Money Machine script on it, and it will virally populate itself around the world. The script only costs $100 and $.50 a copy. You could make hundreds of dollars!"

    * Yeah, somebody sells them. *shudder* There's two "killer apps" in Second Life, and one of them is not gambling.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.