Call for an Erfworld Video Game

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Re: Call for an Erfworld Video Game

Postby JohnnyEgregious » Sun May 24, 2009 4:37 am

The simple color effects, like the shadows on your Tool picture, are the only thing used in the cartoon-cell shading-look that I'm trying to talk about. What are the words I'm looking for?

Edit: I don't mean that the shadows would change with the light source or anything, if we're talking about a technical 3d shading process.
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Re: Call for an Erfworld Video Game

Postby moose o death » Sun May 24, 2009 5:10 am

i was
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Re: Call for an Erfworld Video Game

Postby BeelzebubIV » Sun May 24, 2009 7:44 pm

Just a thought. But the "Player" should actually be a unit in the game. as an Overlord/King unit.

This could actually be brought about in a "Command Delay" until better communications are researched. Hats, Eyebooks, Thinkamancy with scouts.
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Re: Call for an Erfworld Video Game

Postby depricated » Sun May 24, 2009 11:53 pm

Not a bad idea.

Or rather, I had already expected we would make the player a unit, but that gave me an idea for implementing the linkup and managing the battle without a view.

I'll explore that and get back.
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Re: Call for an Erfworld Video Game

Postby privatepepper » Sun May 31, 2009 2:31 am

Hmm.

The ending to book one makes one think that the player doesn't absolutely -have- to be a unit.

We should still do so.
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Re: Call for an Erfworld Video Game

Postby chrono » Sun May 31, 2009 8:34 am

I'm a professional programmer as well, plus I'm into games programming (though the latter is just a hobby). However, I seem to be one of the few people who doesn't think that Erfworld should be made into a game. That said, I'll be happy to follow any developments and provide help if I can.

I'm posting to say that Wesnoth is a good place to start, but there are alternatives that maybe not everybody would be familiar with: marauroa (who comes up with these names?) is a project on sourceforge which has worked out a lot of the issues of turn-based game design (although they're somewhat geared to RPGs). Still, in a game where each unit has abilities, can use items and can grow stronger by gaining experience, it's as close to RTS as it is to a RPG. Just make sure you know the implications of using other people's (GPL or not) code.

What a lot of people don't seem to realize is that even if things go well a year may pass between the time that development starts and the time when "should players be units" will even be able to be incorporated in the game. So whoever is doing the organization may like to split suggestions into two separate categories - in other words focus to build a working game first, make it Erf later.
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Re: Call for an Erfworld Video Game

Postby moose o death » Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:38 am

actually i'm with you, i don't think they should make an erfworld game either.

more so because i don't see anyway they can actually make it erfworld. they can make it have erfworld game rules. they can fill it with saturday morning cartoon visuals. but at the end of the day they'll still have a complicated game of chess.

erfworld, to quote Rob, "is not a game" it's the story of what happens to game like pawns during the turn. while the player might see some dice rolls, hundreds of erfworlders fight and die, struggling to last just one more turn against all odds.while there may or may not be an actual game being played, that's the erf equivalent of a theological discussion, the events that happen are the story explaining the results of the "dice" every erfworlder lives by.

i've been saying from the beginning without the personal touch, erfworld is any rts. well tbs in this case.

but i'll help in what way i can too.
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Re: Call for an Erfworld Video Game

Postby Sir Shadow » Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:02 pm

moose o death wrote:actually i'm with you, i don't think they should make an erfworld game either.

more so because i don't see anyway they can actually make it erfworld. they can make it have erfworld game rules. they can fill it with saturday morning cartoon visuals. but at the end of the day they'll still have a complicated game of chess.

erfworld, to quote Rob, "is not a game" it's the story of what happens to game like pawns during the turn. while the player might see some dice rolls, hundreds of erfworlders fight and die, struggling to last just one more turn against all odds.while there may or may not be an actual game being played, that's the erf equivalent of a theological discussion, the events that happen are the story explaining the results of the "dice" every erfworlder lives by.

i've been saying from the beginning without the personal touch, erfworld is any rts. well tbs in this case.
... I'd just like to point out that many Games are based on Stories.

I don't think the people contributing to this project are trying to "recreate" Erfworld. I'm pretty sure this is just about having a game based on erf world. I for love the mechanics that we see in the comics and how they're overlaid with cutesy terms and animated characters. Seriously, do you know of any game that comes close to Erfworld in that regard? It's part of why I love the comic so much.

Good luck people. One day I may be able to offer my meager artistry to aid this cause, but it is not this day--I'm too busy trying to keep my job to take on any more responsibility...

However! Might I offer a two-pronged suggestion.

1a) Why not use a 2D format instead of 3D? 2D will be easier to get the familiar art across, and it is MUCH simpler than 3D rendering when it comes to character animation and effects.

1b) If you are going to use 3D models, I beg you with all my heart to use cell-shading for the art.
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Re: Call for an Erfworld Video Game

Postby moose o death » Tue Jun 02, 2009 6:00 pm

they are doing 2d, and i'm fully aware many things are based on stories, like all those terrible movie adaptation games.

art is a minor problem for now, they need to actually work out the game design, what the rules are, all of the background work. design an engine to run the game. so far no-one has done anything like it. and without a decent plan, without defned roles these guys will not get far.

currently there is too few revealed world rules to base an entire game upon. so i have my doubts it's time for a game to exist unless bob and jamie get on board to describe all the rules. and without nda's that could become spoillers.
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Re: Call for an Erfworld Video Game

Postby continuumcomplex » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:21 pm

I haven't posted on this yet as I don't have the time to actually be helpful, though I would be happy to join the discussions. Either way, I had two comments.

1. That I would love to see an Erfworld game, and I think it could only be done as a video game. For one, the units level..it's too hard to keep track of something like that (for multiple units) in a tabletop game. But it's perfectly easy in a video game.

2. I wanted to point out a game mechanic that I had noticed (incase it hadn't been addressed yet). That is, that the battles themselves seem to take place over multiple turns (not game-turns, but turns within the battle). Everything isn't instantly resolved, rather the battle begins, losses are taken, then the next turn goes on and more units are lost, etc. - until one side triumphs. This functions similar to Risk, in that you can choose how many turns to attack and even withdraw before the battle is complete. There are several instances in the comic where they stop or withdraw from a battle before a "victor" is named (which it does state will prevent them from gaining XP). Also, during those battles, on each turn the player can obviously choose specific units of theirs to attack specific units of the enemies': thus enabling them to focus on particular targets, etc. And one last thing about this: it does appear to be difficult to target commanders when they are not alone, though the comic doesn't display how this mechanic functions.

Just something I was thinking about as I was reading over some of this and I wanted to mention it.
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Re: Call for an Erfworld Video Game

Postby Cmdr I. Heartly Noah » Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:55 pm

Hokay.

Lots to talk about, sorry I skimmed some of those last couple of pages...

I'm no programmer, but I did apply to be a writer for Bioware once... and I've put a good deal of time in the Erf wiki these last few weeks.

At any rate, right now I'm thinking about Erfworld and how the game seems to be played - do we want the game we're developing to mirror it as closely as possible? In my mind that's best, but it may not be practical - that's for you guys to figure out.

Anyways, some things that popped out to me while I was reading all these ideas.

1) The game of Erfworld would seem to be played from the POV of the Ruler, who would be in charge of managing cities, armies, and forging alliances, etc.
1a) However, it's possible that every Commander is its own PC. Not as likely, though when you consider Duty and Obedience, etc, though you could probably build it that way and get away with it.

2) Hexes and movement - Theoretically each hex is one movement, and so a Dwagon can clear 55 hexes or so in a turn. However, terrain types could slow units (hexes could take 2, 3, even 5 move to clear). If you make a map small enough (say 40 hexes wide) the dragon's upper limit is wasted (or relegated to searching). Remember that 22 move doombats were "slow" and "short recon."

3) Fog of war, vision, etc. Remember that the table Stanley had was one of a kind. The RCC had a smaller, non-interactive map and had to rely on Magic hats, Doombats, and yes, hand-delivered messages for info ON ITS OWN TROOPS. Of course, in a game, it would be difficult to not know where your own troops are - but not impossible. You could give a stack orders like "scout and avoid" or "engage weak targets" and update yourself on their progress via thinkamancy or lookamancy. Taking it not quite that far, you could keep tabs on all your own troops, but not, say, your allies'. Note that it seems no one can see into the next hex- not even the scout/flyer doombats.

4) Combat - Unled troops that come in contact with unallied troops auto-attack. Led troops can fight with strategy, and even be prevented from engaging the enemy. Anybody play Lords of the Realm? In my mind this is like "auto attack" vs "retreat" or going into the real-time battle. Of course, the battle wouldn't have to be real-time, but you could choose which stacks attacked which, withdraw, re-stack, etc.

That's all I can think of right now but I'm sure there will be more. I'd love to help with game mechanics, character design, stats, and story, all that stuff.
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Re: Call for an Erfworld Video Game

Postby continuumcomplex » Thu Jun 04, 2009 10:34 am

I can certainly see the point of view arguing for each commander to be a PC of sorts, but it wouldn't work for a RTS game. Or atleast, in order for it to work: the game would have to be an MMO, as it would require a large quantity of people to play it correctly.

Mmm..rts mmo, now that'd be interesting. But then, it also doesn't address the ability in-game for major cities to create commanders.
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Re: Call for an Erfworld Video Game

Postby Cmdr I. Heartly Noah » Thu Jun 04, 2009 12:05 pm

That's ok, conti, as I don't see the value in making an Erf RTS. Erf isn't an RTS, so why would our game be?

An MMO would be fun, but would necessarily stray from the source material. Can you imagine telling people they have a 2 or 3 hour window each day to act? Hmm... well, they could give orders prior to and then let them run during... but I'm thinking more browser game than ErfWOW
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Re: Call for an Erfworld Video Game

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Sat Jun 13, 2009 7:18 am

Hello every one, and especially

Cmdr I. Heartly Noah and Sir Shadow: welcome to the team and respectively resistance is futile you will be assimilated :)

Presently the summer updates have begun. Likely some new aspects of the mechanics of the world will be shown. For instance, we know from update 2 I think that:

a) rebuilding a city DOES NOT require workers. Have the Shmuckers and will the city in existence. It will be there, walls, turrets, towers, dungeons, throne room and all.

b) rebuilding a city TAKES 0 TURNS: will the city at the start of turn and you have it in that turn.

c) Based on their level, cities offer defensive bonuses. Based on their location, cities offer defensive bonuses.

d) Lava lake terrain: can only be crossed by fliers, and there was probably some limit on staying over it as well, need to check.

e) (SPECULATIVE) A razed city, if reconstructed, will have its previous level. Speculative because GK might not have been, strictly speaking, "razed".

More updates will provide more information, and based on what we have already this should give us a starting point.

To the critics, you know who you are:

Make up your mind. It is difficult to graciously accept criticism when the criticism doesn't know what it's aiming for. Should we start with the game mechanics (which is what we're doing) or some other element like story? Saying simply that this shouldn't be done at all is an opinion we are free to ignore.
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Re: Call for an Erfworld Video Game

Postby Cmdr I. Heartly Noah » Sat Jun 13, 2009 10:15 am

BLANDCorporatio wrote:b) rebuilding a city TAKES 0 TURNS: will the city at the start of turn and you have it in that turn.

d) Lava lake terrain: can only be crossed by fliers, and there was probably some limit on staying over it as well, need to check.

e) (SPECULATIVE) A razed city, if reconstructed, will have its previous level. Speculative because GK might not have been, strictly speaking, "razed".


b) true when paying lots of Shmuckers. It may be possible to do it free or cheap by waiting over time
+
e) level is probably determined by ruler/price. They chose to go back to level 5; they could have chosen 3.

Also, both of these cover LEVELING a city that's already in existence (lvl 1); not rebulding (Claiming) a city that was wiped out a la Faq. However, claiming a destroyed city might automatically make it lvl 1, so that could be a moot point

d) fliers can cross it, but can't land; whether that means they can hover over it (like Ansom & Jillian over the water lake) or must move on by end of turn is unclear. Obviously no "swimmers" can enter it, so it's more restrictive than a water lake by that degree, at least.

Also: we can assume that there are 5 city levels only.
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Re: Call for an Erfworld Video Game

Postby moose o death » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:44 am

BLANDCorporatio wrote:To the critics, you know who you are:

gladly take that role.

i commend the effort, but think it's misguided, just pool your talents linked by a common interest and make THAT game. in the end you'll make a game you no longer want to play and have crippled the project to being an unfinished open source game.

the only way i would get behind a game based on erfworld is if rob and jamie were directly involved. currently your "game" design changes twice a week to cover new rules uncovered by updates. to paraphrase V from oots, sometimes the rules end up servicing the story like a cheap hooker.

and given erfworld is now heading towards a storyline of parson saying screw the rules , i think you'll be pushing it to maintain this "erfworld" rule set.

on another topic
That's ok, conti, as I don't see the value in making an Erf RTS. Erf isn't an RTS, so why would our game be?

imagine how different the world would be right now if blizzard had said "why would we make our warcraft MMO an RPG? warcraft is an RTS, so that's what our MMO will be" thinking outside the box is what makes people famous/wealthy/popular/whatever you motivation is. sure it's not a surefire tactic. but you guys have nothing to lose.
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Re: Call for an Erfworld Video Game

Postby Cmdr I. Heartly Noah » Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:23 am

moose o death wrote:i commend the effort, but think it's misguided, just pool your talents linked by a common interest and make THAT game. in the end you'll make a game you no longer want to play and have crippled the project to being an unfinished open source game.


Make what game? If this random group of erf fans decided to make a different game I'm not convinced we'd even agree on a setting and a genre.

the only way i would get behind a game based on erfworld is if rob and jamie were directly involved. currently your "game" design changes twice a week to cover new rules uncovered by updates. to paraphrase V from oots, sometimes the rules end up servicing the story like a cheap hooker.


Well, we could wait a couple years for them to decide they're done with erf stories, and then see if a) they're interested in working on a game (for no money) and b) there's still interest in playing such a game with the erf books all done and published, and c) enough interested people to make that game (for no money)

Right now we have people interested in working on a game, and sitting around not working on it just wastes potential man-hours of work on the game. It has Rob and Jamie's encouragement, if not direct involvement, people want the game to get worked on. At any rate, what do we care whether you are "behind" us or not?

As far as the rules being updated every week or so - that's happening now, but it's been made clear that a much more complete knowledge of the rules would be coming in book 2. And the construction of this game will probably go slowly enough that an update every week won't make a big difference. We'll just start with what we know and add or update as we go along. Same as the development of any game, just the new wrinkles will be coming from a different source.

Worst case scenario? No work gets done. No loss. Next worst case scenario? We make a heaping pile of mixed-up garbage that doesn't work. But the individual coders learn from the experience, and we maybe learn a few things for the next attempt at an Erfworld game (or other game). Best case scenario? We create a workable game or proto-game/demo that is fun and/or can be used as a starting point for a 'proper' Erfworld game.

and given erfworld is now heading towards a storyline of parson saying screw the rules , i think you'll be pushing it to maintain this "erfworld" rule set.


How do you mean? That we won't get enough info because Parson can break the rules? If anything it will give us a more complete idea as the erf denizens will all comment on how he "can't" do that. If you mean how to put Parson mechanics into the game, we don't. Parson makes the story interesting because he is out of place and unique. But that's not what you want in a TBS game. Except maybe for a super-enemy.

imagine how different the world would be right now if blizzard had said "why would we make our warcraft MMO an RPG? warcraft is an RTS, so that's what our MMO will be"


Eh, it would probably be better. WOW is a blight on mankind. At any rate, your example doesn't work. The whole point of Erfworld is that it's a turn-based, hex-grid world. The point of Warcraft was orcs and humans fighting. If Blizzard made an Orc vs Human golf game, or a Swamp Things vs Golems RTS or an RPG that didn't feature the races and story of Warcraft, but listed it under the Warcraft name, people would go crazy. They might actually be fun games, but they're not Warcraft. They could make the switch from RTS to RPG because there's nothing in the Warcraft mythos (such as it is) that demands RTS play.

Now sure, you could take Erfworld characters and put them in Flash games (Help Bogroll make a strawberry cake! Taste a Key Lime Pie!) and they would be fun, and in a sense those would be okay within the framework of Erfworld because they would take place on a single turn inside a single hex. But an RTS based on Erfworld (or an RPG, really) doesn't work because it demands the destruction of huge pillars of the Erfworld world & story.

Now, in contrast, Blood Bowl is a turn-based fantasy football (board) game with like 20-25 years of history and updates & etc. But you can make a real-time football (video) game out of it (a la Madden or w/e) because its turn-based style, entrenched as it is, is simply a mechanic to make the real-time football conflict work as a game. The players in the fictional universe of the game don't stand by and wait for their turn, it's a non-stop brawl for the ball. And you can represent that conflict with a board game, a real-time team based sports game, a card game, or w/e. Because the story doesn't change, just the mechanics.

But the story of Erfworld IS mechanics. What makes it interesting is that the denizens of this world are bound by restrictive, even stupid rules. Not only would an RTS Erfworld fly in the face of the story, it would be hard to implement. I mean, you could just take Warcraft 2 and throw some Erfworld skins on it, but as a fan, nothing is more enfuriating than seeing a beloved property slapped onto an ill-fitting game.

I mean, if you want to make an awesome RTS, why not come up with your own story and make THAT game?

thinking outside the box is what makes people famous/wealthy/popular/whatever you motivation is. sure it's not a surefire tactic. but you guys have nothing to lose.


Famous, wealthy, and popular I'm sure are out. I'd guess our motivations are mostly to make the game Erfworld is "based" on because we want to play the game Erfworld is based on. Note that this is very different from wanting to make/play a game based off of Erfworld or one with the Erfworld brand slapped on it.
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Re: Call for an Erfworld Video Game

Postby moose o death » Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:39 pm

by that game i meant take inspiration from the erfworld rules and fill the gaps in yourself. it's likely the gaps you fill would have to go in a differing direction than rob and jamie's story in order to maintain good game mechanics.

wow isn't exactly my cup of tea, but those guys would be pulling in more cash per month then some nations, so say what you will about the game itself it couldn't have been the success it was as an rts. it would still have been popular. but far more people like "action" and networking, then grinding resources and networking.

personally i wont be making an rts for some time, busy on something else, but realistically you guys are looking at 12 months to make this thing, have you even made an effort to get the actual game mechanics recorded. do you think there is even enough information to come up with the full game driving the world? my comment about parson was takken out of context. you assume Rob will declare the rules then have parson break them. what's more likely is that parson will simply not care they exist. if you saw someone burst into flames as a party trick, you'd make a fuss about it. if you've seen that trick too many times you stop noticing.

now as for rob and jamie's support, when i read the message it sounds more like "we wont serve you a cease and desist order, as long as you guys never hope to turn a single cent for making this thing" so hosting the game somewhere cannot have ads. i don't call that being backed by rob and jamie. best you guys can hope for is the forum attachments, which on images will accept upto 256Kb

one last comment, rob recently made a point of making an audio explanation "erfworld is not a game" and described at length exactly that. i suggest everyone involving themselves listen to it.

from here on i'll steer clear, let you guys do your thing. i wont bother you again.
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Re: Call for an Erfworld Video Game

Postby Cmdr I. Heartly Noah » Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:01 pm

Well, obviously there will necessarily be a lot of gap-filling, but I think we should avoid ignoring or removing rules or stats that we know exist concretely. It is possible that some additional tweaking would be needed to maintain playability, but I wouldn't support an entirely different genre.

I'm not a WOW expert, but don't people "grind resources" in that game? Like, a lot? On a micro scale, of course, but, isn't the result the same?

At any rate, the difference between an MMORPG and an RTS or a TBS is much greater than between RTS and TBS. Surely the play mechanics between RTS and TBS are worlds apart, but an MMO is by necessity individual-driven, which demanded a departure from Warcraft's mechanics.

I have no doubt that there is enough basic info to make an 0.1 version game/demo, playable, based on Erfworld and its mechanics. Complete? Heck no. Totally accurate? No. But good enough for the time being, and a starting point for a better version.

If we misunderstood your Parson comment, I don't understand what it has to do with the game we're attempting to make at all, unless you think they will cease talking about the world's mechanics, which is the opposite of what they said to expect for book 2.

I think you misinterpereted Rob and Jamie - while they are clear and firm about us not profiting from the venture (as is only right), they seemed keen on the project as long as we were all cool with being volunteers. They even mentioned the far-away possibilities of coming to some agreement with the 'key contributors' should the game be a success.

Erfworld is not a game, it is a world of people living their lives in a gamelike framework. We intend to make a game that represents that world. WWII was not a game, but I played the heck out of Panzer General. I expect about the same amount of reality injected into this game, but with the added bonus (or hindrance) of a bare-bones framework presented to us.
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Re: Call for an Erfworld Video Game

Postby depricated » Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:57 pm

The impression I got from Rob's response was interest.

Not that he's interested in revealing secrets or plot points earlier, or that he's interested in helping out, but that he's interested in seeing where this goes. Clearly we can't market it without directly involving him, as even the rules of the game are his intellectual property. Under a Creative Commons license, we would be able to use his images, rules, characters, and world but still give us no actual control over them. He could say that we cannot allow the rules to deviate as part of the world, or he could say the opposite if he chose. We would also be forbidden to use the work commercially(for profit), but that doesn't necessarily forbid us from having advertisements where the game is hosted, unless expressly under the license.

Reason being this: the advertisements are not part of the game. More importantly, they're part of game maintenance. If we were to use a free host for the game, and part of the hosting agreement insisted on ads, then it would be part of the hosting agreement. That said, I own several servers and can easily add another domain to one ad-free if we're just going to host the game files/wiki/forums - though I would love to see the forums, in the end, simply as a part of this site. That's well down the road though.

I wouldn't dream of going on if he actually asked us to stop. I'm instead encouraged by his interest. He was clear on his boundaries and stake in the project, and brought us on to the same page. Those of us who continue agree that it is a not-for-profit project, unless Rob decides he wants to market it in which case compensation will be discussed with the principal developers. That works for me - my intent isn't to get rich off Rob and Jamie's work, after all, I just want my own squad of cloth golems. Even if it takes a year or more, I'll write it entirely on my own if everyone else is intimidated by intellectual property rights.

Rob put it best in his edit. Lets leave the lawyers out of this as long as possible, hopefully forever. That's wasn't a threat.
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