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Submission + - Microtransactions in Games Are Amoral (grahamjans.com) 1

Sludge writes: "Graham Jans, a founder of the Vancouver Design Dojo and Zombie Minesweeper game designer provides well thought out reasons why microtransactions in games are an amoral concept that can be used for good or evil, defying the typical knee-jerk reaction to Zynga-style use of microtransactions as a cynical tool designed to siphon the maximum amount of money from your wallet.

As well, such a thing could be a tool for benevolence. A developer could tune the length between releases to offer just a little more content for the same price, if they felt that was the right thing to do. In fact, most of the factors in microtransactions work this way. The negative reputation these systems have comes from factors that are tuned to maximize profit and abuse players for their money. But that's not an inherent trait in the system; you could just as easily use it to ensure your own bankruptcy!


Submission + - Doing digital art when you can't use your hand?

Sludge writes: "A good friend of mine who is a digital artist was recently involved in a house fire in which he suffered third degree burns to his "art hand" which have made him unable to handle a mouse or a stylus for the coming months. If you or anyone near you has lost the ability to do something you love due to a physical injury, you know how painful and frustrating it can be. I need help discovering alternative software and input devices he can use while he recovers the ability to use his hand. The programs he uses most are 3dsmax, Z-Brush and Photoshop and he is used to working with a Wacom stylus. What expressive art tools are available that deemphasize precision work with your coordinated hand?"

Comment This book is for OpenGL 3 - does not work with OSX (Score 4, Informative) 98

Apple only supports OpenGL 2.1 (plus extensions). The Fifth Edition of the book only covers OpenGL 3. GLSL has changed a great deal since 2.1 and this book is very incompatible with any released version of OS X as of this writing.

If you want to write OpenGL that is compatible with a Mac, get the Fourth Edition of the book.


Saboteur Launch Plagued By Problems With ATI Cards 230

An anonymous reader writes "So far, there are over 35 pages of people posting about why EA released Pandemic Studios' final game, Saboteur, to first the EU on December 4th and then, after knowing full well it did not work properly, to the Americas on December 8th. They have been promising to work on a patch that is apparently now in the QA stage of testing. It is not a small bug; rather, if you have an ATI video card and either Windows 7 or Windows Vista, the majority (90%) of users have the game crash after the title screen. Since the marketshare for ATI is nearly equal to that of Nvidia, and the ATI logo is adorning the front page of the Saboteur website, it seems like quite a large mistake to release the game in its current state."

Comment Cost per incident (Score 1) 735

If you are a contractor, structure your agreement such that maintenance and support requests outside of the SPECIFICALLY DEFINED scope of work are charged on a per incident cost.

There is a long history (and associated case law) for per-incident support billing. Get behind that.

If you are an employee, get your employment expectations in writing. Do this before you are required to meet those expectations, and ideally in the context of discussing your compensation.

Chasing an employer for unexpected overtime fees sucks for everybody and gives you a bad reputation. Be proactive about compensation.

Social Networks

Is It Worth Developing Good Games For the Web? 82

SlashSlasher writes "A friend of mine started up a Facebook MMORTG game called Realm of Empires with his buddies as a personal project. Over the last couple of years, I've seen it grow up from an idea into a thriving community. A lot of money and effort has been sunk into constant improvement. As a result, it has become one of the most polished and substantial applications I've seen on Facebook. It's been quite interesting seeing the action behind the scenes without being directly entangled. Normal gameplay is free but certain premium features do exist. Recently, after allowing an open beta of premium features, the users complained vehemently that they would have to pay to keep these special features. They went so far as to start a petition to stop them from charging for premium features. People are getting up in arms about features that can be bought for less than $3 a month. I know the project hasn't broken even yet, and more money is put into it every day. I had always assumed that developers would receive a chunk of the ad revenue they attract to Facebook; apparently I was wrong. Facebook only gives the developer a very small (and shrinking) piece of real estate to try and make money with. How are these people supposed to break even, let alone profit? What working business models exist for the small game developer? Are people just too spoiled by free, throw-away games to be a target market for anything significant? Are developers who want to make any money for their work forced to move to restrictive platforms like the iPhone or the console market? More details of their story are available at their blog."

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