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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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  • by stonecypher ( 118140 ) <> on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @08:44PM (#15528932) Homepage Journal
    The germane bit is that Second Life is an open market. It's also extremely lucrative. One of the two founders gave a talk at E3 this year, and among his tidbits was that there was a real estate agent who had moved to speculation in Second Life; she was dumping more than $40k into the game monthly, and was cash positive by almost triple.

    Sure, it might run like ass. All the way to your wallet.

    I think you're better off producing quality elsewhere and shopping it around

    Yeah, the shopping it around part is a lot harder than it sounds. I write games for a living, I have a well established business and market, and I've been considering trying out Second Life because the numbers are just huge. The market is way more active than things like PopCap. In Second Life, though, it's a big social win to be the first person to have found something; viral marketing is just part of their culture.

    Linden Labs has set up something which makes a whole lot of money for people with the dedication to get past their performance problems. It's worth it.
  • by nEoN nOoDlE ( 27594 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @08:44PM (#15528933) Homepage
    I have another guide to make a bunch of money off Second Life, but since I'm a nice guy, I'm just gonna tell you for free. The secret is - write a guide on how to make a successful Second Life game and watch the suckers pile up to hand you money.

    Is there anything more pointless than making a guide on how to make lightning strike twice?
  • by imunfair ( 877689 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @10:36PM (#15529373) Homepage
    From the article I'd guess you aren't going to get anything close to rich even if you make a 'hit' game on SL:

    "The final word for pwning game development should go to Eckhart Dillon, lead creator of Tech War, winner of this year's SL Game Developer Contest, which took in the L$ equivalent of nearly $2500 during the two months of its run."

    The ones making the real cash are buying games, running contests with them, that sort of thing:

    "One resident named Games Prototype, for example, created and runs a franchise of hugely popular SL casinos and by his estimate, clears $2,000-3,000 monthly for about ten hours of weekly work."

    Note that even if the guy in the second example actually created his own games, that isn't what is making him the money. It's using the games to run a casino. It's similar to an article I saw a while ago about the "prostitutes" on SL - the ones giving the virtual sex make a fairly small amount, but the people who run the brothels are really raking in the cash.

  • by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @12:04AM (#15529715) Homepage Journal
    SL makes headlines because it gives its users so much freedom to do whatever they want that it's where most of the interesting stuff happens. If you want to do someting totally off of the wall in an MMO type environment, SL is just about the only place you can do that. Nobody wants to read a story about how you were able to slay 20 Kobalds, but if you make thousands of dollars of real money legitmately out of what is noramally just a money sink, well that's newsworthy.

    Oh, and I totally agree that SL needs a backend overhaul badly. The concept is fantastic, but the technology is dated and the servers are very badly overloaded (it takes forever to get your textures sometimes). The devlopers have apparently coded themselves into a corner however. Several attempts at updating the engine have been complete failures because the sheer number of hacks they have to port in from the old engine overwhelms them. They have a kind of working system that they can't make any major changes to without bringing down the whole house of cards.

Think of your family tonight. Try to crawl home after the computer crashes.