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Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:41 am
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asap
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Post subject: Major game development proposal. Reply with quote

First of all, I am aware that Kreso is the sole developer of GM and that he no longer has time to implement major changes. I personally, like the game a lot and I think that it has great potential to attract much more players then there currently are. Now, I am not a very experienced programer but I will try my best given support from the GM community.

I think the major problem is attracting new players to the game and since I am a new player myself with no previous monopoly experience, I can see why.
    - I had to download and install application.
    - I had to register.
    - I had to spend time figuring out what to do in the lobby and how to join a game.
    - After I realised that I have no idea how to play I had to quit and search for documentation.
    - Before my first few games I had to wait 10-30 min to play something other then 1v1.
    - I was quite annoyed when there were clearly enough players to start a game but the game wouldn't start or the game will start without me.
    - After 5 min of spamming the chat, somebody finally told me that I have not got enough points.
So a new player has to spend all that time figuring things out Confused and getting frustrated Mad instead of enjoying the game Smile .

Possible improvements:
    - create a web-based (flash/java/html5) version of GM. Benefits: supported on most platforms and devices, no need to exit browser, just click and play.
    - Put rules and other documentation inside the game (eg. 5X rule should be visible in the lobby), create tutorial mode.
    - Update graphics.


PS: this post was inspired by awesomedrako's response.
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Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:33 pm
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fingerbun
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All great points. Unfortunately, I doubt anything will be done. I hope Iím wrong.
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Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:05 am
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molecule
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Trace spent time making this and other videos for new users,

or go to this site for more helps
http://youtu.be/sV4X7XWnzPQ
those are good ideas and something worth discussion, including directions to the forum, as far as changes i would like to see properties have a rent even without upgrades, for example you land on a red (not upgraded) and you would have to pay 20$ to owner.
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Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:46 pm
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ranban282
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Hi,
I personally feel that the game and its rules are fairly intuitive. When I started off, it was easy to learn the rules, and there were helpful players around who filled in the gaps. So I think that is not a serious issue. We could, of course, have a section of the forum dedicated to this - the 5X rule, unrated games, how points are scored, etc - these are known to experienced players, but will help new players should they visit the forum.

I strongly agree with your other points. I believe that a game needs to be constantly improved to be truly successful.
Make it browser based, so that it is easier to play across problems.
Improve the graphics.
Better still, turn the game into a web service/, or describe it as a protocol, so that anyone can write a game client. This will lead to better and more varied clients.

Then there are bugs, the notorious disconnect bug.Then there's one which prevents mods from banning linux users. And some other small ones. Then there are proposed features that are discussed in these forums. Many of them can improve the overall user user experience.

Then why are all these things not done?

The reason is as follows:
Most of this game was developed by Kresimir Cosic, better known as Kreso, as a college project, many years ago. There were new versions released. Years passed. Kreso was now working full time. He had a family. He could not devote time to the game. And so the game (development) stagnated. No new features added. Old bugs not solved. When someone posts on the forum saying "We could do this, or that, or the other", the standard response is "That's a good idea, but sorry, nothing can be done."
Which is all very frustrating.
Email have been sent to Kreso on several occasions asking him to release and explain the other people the source code to other people, so that we can keep adding new features, and ensuring the progress of the game. No reply. Neither yes, nor no. Nothing.

I, at various times, have sit down with the intention of writing a GM-like game from scratch, but work pressures have dictated otherwise, every time! Plus, it is no fun doing these things alone! So there has been very little progress on this front.

However, if people share my views, we could rewrite GM, working as a community, and collaborating extensively, correcting each other's mistakes, features and rule changes being decided by the people, a true example of democracy and co-operation.

Yes, I believe that GM is great. The whole concept is novel and very well thought out. Minimizes luck, unlike monopoly. Every property offers a unique advantage. Full of twists and turns, unlike monopoly. A game where players out think each other. More multi-dimensional than chess. More dynamic than bridge or poker. Yes, it is that great. Great enough to rewrite the game, just so that there are no more disconnections when your connection is working. No more watching your timer counting down, and watching helplessly, even as all websites open, including the GM website. No more loaded, slow servers. No more helplessly saying, "Yes, that'll be nice, but nothing can done, because Kreso doesn't have the time."

Any thoughts?
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Fri Apr 15, 2011 10:17 am
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asap
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fingerbun wrote:
All great points. Unfortunately, I doubt anything will be done. I hope Iím wrong.
Can you please point out the things which might prevent this changes from happening? Seriously, this will help a lot. My logic is that if the GM community will support the changes then we have at least two guys (me and ranban282) who are ready to implement them.

molecule wrote:
go to this site for more helps http://youtu.be/sV4X7XWnzPQ
those are good ideas and something worth discussion, including directions to the forum
I suppose this goes in favour of a web-based client where it is easy to combine game interface, forum and video-tutorial all on one website. I was thinking about something similar to Tankionline game.

Last edited by asap on Sat Apr 16, 2011 1:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:07 pm
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asap
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ranban282 wrote:
Hi,
I personally feel that the game and its rules are fairly intuitive. When I started off, it was easy to learn the rules, and there were helpful players around who filled in the gaps. So I think that is not a serious issue. We could, of course, have a section of the forum dedicated to this - the 5X rule, unrated games, how points are scored, etc
Hello there,
You had a good initial experience, mine was not so good. I couldn't get help from other players, probably because there were not many of them online. I've read documentation of the website and forum and I have no problem playing now. My point is: the learning curve is a serious issue. A significant part of the potential players drop out because of all the trouble it takes to get the first decent game. People expect a certain standard, I don't know many popular games which require you to search and read manuals in locations separate from the game interface. Keep it simple, stupid.
Quote:
I strongly agree with your other points. I believe that a game needs to be constantly improved to be truly successful.
I'm happy to hear that! Very Happy
Quote:
Better still, turn the game into a web service/, or describe it as a protocol, so that anyone can write a game client. This will lead to better and more varied clients.
As a potential feature, sure. But at the moment, I don't think there is enough demand for that given the size of the community. Also, open protocol/source has its drawbacks, see below.
Quote:
Then there are bugs, the notorious disconnect bug.Then there's one which prevents mods from banning linux users. And some other small ones. Then there are proposed features that are discussed in these forums. Many of them can improve the overall user user experience.
It would be nice to gather all of these potential improvements under this topic and prioritize them if possible.
Quote:
Email have been sent to Kreso on several occasions asking him to release and explain the other people the source code to other people, so that we can keep adding new features, and ensuring the progress of the game. No reply. Neither yes, nor no. Nothing.
Kreso might hesitate to release the code for at least two reasons. First, if somebody will release a dodgy version of GM client then he, Kreso will get tons and tons of complaints and requests to fix things. Second, wouldn't it become extremely easy to cheat and make bots? Again, Kreso will receive tons of complaints and requests to improve the security. Obviously it would really help to hear Kreso's vision of GM's future but I think that if there will be professionalism and support from the community then he will help.
Quote:
However, if people share my views, we could rewrite GM, working as a community, and collaborating extensively, correcting each other's mistakes, features and rule changes being decided by the people, a true example of democracy and co-operation.
Remember that Kreso owns GM and your GM-like version will have to be as different from GM as GM is different from Monopoly. I think this is too much, the community is not going to abandon the rules and mechanics of GM which were adjusted and polished over many years. I think first, we need to come up with a good plan which will backed by the community and then initiate a dialogue with Kreso.
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Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:21 pm
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ranban282
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Quote:
Can you please point out the things which might prevent this changes from happening? Seriously, this will help a lot. My logic is that if the GM community will support the changes then we have at least two guys (me and ranban282) who are ready to implement them.


My post answered that.

Quote:

Most of this game was developed by Kresimir Cosic, better known as Kreso, as a college project, many years ago. There were new versions released. Years passed. Kreso was now working full time. He had a family. He could not devote time to the game. And so the game (development) stagnated. No new features added. Old bugs not solved. When someone posts on the forum saying "We could do this, or that, or the other", the standard response is "That's a good idea, but sorry, nothing can be done."




Quote:
I suppose this goes in favour of a web-based client where it is easy to combine game interface, forum and video-tutorial all on one website. I was thinking about something similar to this online game


I believe that the best way would be to release publicly the specifications of the game. Someone, maybe the main game developer, or perhaps someone else, could develop a the official web based version. Expose the game as a web service, and anyone can write a (downloadable) client for the game. Any developer could develop his/her online version as well, but this may make the user experience slower as there will be an extra web server in between.

This works well for chess. Read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Internet_Chess_Server. Check out the fics website here: http://www.freechess.org/. I believe that this model will work for GM.

But remember, it is we who will need to take the initiative. Do not expect anything from the game creator(s).
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Fri Apr 15, 2011 10:32 pm
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trace567
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Sorry guys I need to ask that links to other online games please not be posted. I know no harm was meant by those in this thread as its talking about how to improve GM.

It is deeply frustrating as a moderator to be unable to move GM forward in the ways you mention. Believe me I have a list of idea's as long as your arm of how GM could be improved and made more modern. But Kreso won't be doing any of them, for some reason GM is important to him to keep (of which I am thankful he keeps running for us) but as for changes or improvements that one we can only wait for the day Kreso decides to revamp GM.
He's not going to make any changes to the GM client or interface, so anything like that really just isn't going to happen. Numbers are falling, but equally we have a very low web profile and the number of new users is dropping as people simply do not find us. Advertising is part of the problem really, but there's many other issues also.

By all means discuss away, it's nice to see all these idea's and thoughts, just sadly don't expert them to come to anything.
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Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:04 am
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fingerbun
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An I-Phone app would be good. That would boost membership ten-fold.
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Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:24 am
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ranban282
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Quote:
By all means discuss away, it's nice to see all these idea's and thoughts, just sadly don't expert them to come to anything.


That is precisely what I am trying to address here. If enough people are interested, we can rewrite GM from scratch and implement that arm's length of ideas.
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Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:48 pm
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trace567
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Trouble is you can't just simply rehash a copyrighted game without the owners consent. Unless you want to risk any fall out from that.
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Sat Apr 16, 2011 1:24 pm
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asap
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Sad
Well, you were right after all ranban. If Trace says that Kreso will not let changes to happen then it's most likely to be true. I guess the question is now, how different GM-like game has to be and can we invent something like that?

It's a good thing that chess are not copyrighted...

Trace wrote:
But Kreso won't be doing any of them, for some reason GM is important to him to keep

Just to make things clear. We are ready to program things ourselves, the only thing we need from Kreso is permission to do it, nothing more. Are you certain that this is not possible? Is there a point to email him?
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Sat Apr 16, 2011 2:33 pm
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trace567
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Well you can email him, but I wouldn't hold your hopes up thats all.

Plus it is not so simple as rewriting a game, even if you have the skills to do this. What about costs? advertising? who will run it? who will take responsibility for fixing it when it goes wrong? You can't just have anyone messing with game code, like was said before it leaves the gates wide open for miss use with cheat coding etc. Thankfully a problem we do not have here at this time.

GM numbers are seriously affected by lack of advertising, being massively over powered by competitor sites, and also issues with certain virus companies having us listed as a bad site.
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Sat Apr 16, 2011 6:40 pm
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ranban282
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Quote:
Plus it is not so simple as rewriting a game, even if you have the skills to do this. What about costs? advertising? who will run it? who will take responsibility for fixing it when it goes wrong? You can't just have anyone messing with game code, like was said before it leaves the gates wide open for miss use with cheat coding etc. Thankfully a problem we do not have here at this time.


Well, we can keep trying to contact Kreso and hope he replies. I don't have high hopes. Trace and Asap - you're right, copyright can be a pesky business.

As for other issues:

Writing the game code may be (very)time consuming, and possibly complex, but not impossible to do.

Anybody can develop/fix the game code. It will be reviewed by peers. The more people involved the better. Open source projects work just like that.

As for costs, I work for a web hosting company, and could get them to agree to a free hosting package. So server costs could possibly be zero.

I don't understand the issue about the cheat codes, but quite possibly whatever that is, will be a non issue as the game will be open source. If someone deliberately messes around, he will be caught by others.

Game advertising and popularity should increase with time, but of course luck will be a factor. Some games become popular, others won't.

I don't quite follow the virus issue either - Is it that some antiviruses mark the galactic magnate executable on windows as a virus? Possible, but this can be circumvented by doing what Asap has being strongly suggesting - make the game playable on a browser.

So I think that if we resolve the copyright issues, we are good to go. Join this group - http://groups.google.com/group/alternative_to_gm - let's start right away.
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Sat Apr 16, 2011 10:24 pm
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asap
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About cheating. I don't know how the current client works but if it does things like timer countdown then one could write a client which would not have time restrictions. It is important that if we open up the code of the client then there would be no possibility of cheating. All of the game mechanics will have to be on the server side.
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