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Jan 22, 2005



Yay, a new game to go on my chart. :)



Very interesting! I like the idea of having a number of small games and using the server to move your character between them. Very neat solution - effectively client side zones.

I'd like to see how this works in practice. When I was working on mobile games at CRG the problem was one of limited connectivity. We worked around it by designing games that didn't need to be connected all the time, but it sounds like they've built a technical solution to the flaky infrastructure problem, which is very impressive.


I've always considered small screen size to be the significant problem with using cell phones/PDAs for games/video/etc. I wonder if anyone is working on either:

* A screen you can fold, or
* A wireless way to use a TV or computer monitor as a cell phone display

Sadly, Bluetooth at 1 Mbps is too low bandwidth to use to connect a phone to a bigger screen.



personally, i've always liked the idea of mobile MMOs, but I think a more interesting implementation (especially for the here and now) would be a way to take an existing MMO and character and bring limited functionality to the portable device.

So when I played DAOC, it would have been interesting to allow me to craft with my character, travel long distances via horse, buy from merchants or housing merchants and generally communicate with my guildmates and others.

All of this would be accomplishable via a text-based or very limited graphics interface. All of these are things that are generally dull and take up a lot of time, which would be perfect for a boring El or MUNI ride.

Such an interface would allow you to socialize and accomplish some of the duller (but important) aspects of MMOs from anywhere and in a short time span. certainly such a concept isn't outside of our technological reach.

Someday maybe we will be able to have full 3D MMOs on our portable devices, but until then I would appreciate a link between the full game one would play for long streches of time and some of the most basic tasks that could be monitored and accomplished in short spurts without much fancy interface.


I have always wondered why things like ingame communication (email, tells, whispers) have not been accessible from outside the game. If it were an option to be able to chat in my guild chat channel from my mobile while on a train, but, etc, I would definitly take it.


One of my partners who is currently at a major wireless publisher evaluated this title three months ago, to see if his company should publish it. The verdict was 'no', because it sucks. He also says that at least when he evaluated it, the business model did not involve monthly subscriptions, and that instead they were just selling it as a one-off download. That my have changed, but the article doesn't really give any clue.

Bruce wrote:

Yay, a new game to go on my chart. :)

Out of curiosity, what's your criteria for putting games on your chart? There are MMOs significantly bigger than at least one of the ones you chart (A Tale in the Desert) that aren't on there.



I just played this game on Nokia's emulator running on a PC and man, it's so boring it's literally painful. I can't imagine how much worse it'd be if I was playing it on a cell phone, with its increased latency vs. the broadband I've got it on. I suppose it does qualify as an MMO (with about 5 locations you can go to, by pointing and clicking on a map) but that's really stretching things.



As an aside, people interested in ‘out there’ mobile gaming project may be interested in the new project by John Paul Bichard et al, called Back Seat Playground, where they are attempting to make the world seen from the back seat of a car into a mobile play space: www.tii.se/mobility/BSP.

James Coke wrote:
* A screen you can fold, or
There's been a fair degree of buzz in the electronics industry over OLED (organic light emitting diode) displays. They basically perform the same function as a typical LCD-like displays, but they use a unique manufacturing process with some specific advantages:
  • The displays bend, therefore are more durable.
  • They are thinner than the LCD and electronic components required to run them.
  • They require less power to run because the luminosity is built into the material and doesn't require a separate backlight.
  • Applications of the display are no longer limited by the price of glass, which comprises the highest percentage of the cost of a typical LCD display
Many companies are exploring this. An early example is Kodak's LS633 that uses it, though like any early implementation of an emerging technology, the incremental benefits on a camera competing against other camers with the same screen and similar cost are questionable.

In any case, some consider this the future. We have folding keyboards already, since interface input miniaturization can only go so far. With the advent of OLED displays, I'm hoping the next generation of cellphones can function as better PDAs than I find they do now.

Then I'll expect to play an engaging RPG on them :)


Darniaq wrote:

Then I'll expect to play an engaging RPG on them :)

There's no reason an engaging RPG can't be done on a cellphone now. The difficulty is a compelling synchronous MMO experience. Latency is huge and a real barrier. I'm guessing the first real successful MMO we'll see will offer largely asynchronous play to compensate.




The difficulty is a compelling synchronous MMO experience.

fyi - Ian Bogost has an interesting paper on subjuct of synchronous vs. asynchronous (Other Players):


ie. asynchronicity presents another design dimension for suiting mmos to these sorts of spaces rather than just "simplifying" synchronous design elements.



I have always wondered why things like ingame communication (email, tells, whispers) have not been accessible from outside the game.

Interesting comment in Rich Thurman's confessional


(cited in "Buy the Farm", http://terranova.blogs.com/terra_nova/2005/01/buy_the_farm.html):

Instant messaging has been a great blessing and is used by millions of people everyday for instant communication. When a GM talks to you in the game, or anyone for that matter, UO becomes one massive IM application. So, why not wire UO up to something akin to Trillian and pipe any in-game text to an IM application of your choice? This is exactly what I did. Since I was able to get game text from the game client, I piped it to MSN messenger and was able to converse with GMs or anyone else in the game from my smart phone that was MSN messenger aware. So, as long as you are able to respond right? I felt that I had satisfied the ROC. Game on!


Nathan Combs wrote:

fyi - Ian Bogost has an interesting paper on subjuct of synchronous vs. asynchronous (Other Players):


Heh, I notice he talks about Battlemail in there. Kind of funny: My partner at the aforementioned wireless publisher is constantly being pushed to duplicate Battlemail despite it's complete and total failure as a commercial product, largely because the publisher puchased Battlemail (for a song) and the fellow responsible for purchasing it presumably doesn't want to look like he wasted the company's money.



Heh... Blogged about this one months ago.

There's also TibiaME, btw (www.tibiame.com). And Pocket Kingdoms for N-Gage isn't a true MMOG, but has some MMOG-like aspects.

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