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Ask Slashdot: Freedom From DRM, In the Social Gaming Arena?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the so-the-doctor-says-to-the-guy-don't-do-that dept.

DRM 71

An anonymous reader writes "My wife and just successfully funded the production of our board game on Kickstarter, and are putting the over-funding toward the development of an electronic version of the game. It's a two player game turn-taking game with pawn movement that we envision being played on a social network (Words with Friends-style) and it's important to us that it be DRM-free. Does anyone have any experience or know of issues we should consider in terms of preserving the users' rights, achieving scalability, and gaining exposure through the ability to interoperate with platforms like Facebook, the iTunes store, Android market, and so on?"

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71 comments

Sell it or be copied... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39159487)

Just sell it now and give up the idea you'll ever win with DRM free.

On the iPhone/iPad your tied into drm or making it free.

No idea about android but I'd presume its the samish (more open from what I hear but I have no real experience).

So you might as well sell to Zynga right now.

Re:Sell it or be copied...btw this was me (-1, Redundant)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39159599)

...... on wifes laptop and my password is too random to rmemeber :D

XML (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39159513)

XML. You need lots of XML. No such thing as too much XML.

Re:XML (0)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39159527)

anonymous reader: So what do we need?
Anonymous Coward: XML. Lots of XML.

Re:XML (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39159959)

XML is like violence - if it doesn't solve your problems, you are not using enough of it.

Re:XML (1)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160141)

Brilliant! I will now rule the workplace!

Re:XML (1)

zidium (2550286) | more than 2 years ago | (#39163217)

I think you meant, "Brillant!!!" [sic].

Just one thing (5, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39159515)

Make sure that your electronic versions can all play together, so that people don't need the same version of the device to play against their friends.

It may seem like a dumb request, but most Windows, OS X, Xbox360, PS3 and Wii games don't seem to understand this simple concept. Maybe it's companies who want to keep their users inside their own walls, I don't know.

Re:Just one thing (3, Insightful)

CmdrEdem (2229572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39159597)

Make sure that your electronic versions can all play together, so that people don't need the same version of the device to play against their friends.

It may seem like a dumb request, but most Windows, OS X, Xbox360, PS3 and Wii games don't seem to understand this simple concept. Maybe it's companies who want to keep their users inside their own walls, I don't know.

The reason why games can`t be played online between multiple platforms is difference in controls (Ex.: A FPS player in a computer has an advantage against console players). In a turn-based game this should be no problem, so it can be done. In consoles there are issues with communication middleware (VOIP capabilities, text messages inside games), witch is different for each platform too.

Re:Just one thing (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39159643)

The reason why games can`t be played online between multiple platforms is difference in controls (Ex.: A FPS player in a computer has an advantage against console players). In a turn-based game this should be no problem, so it can be done.

Yes, which is precisely why manufacturers should allow cross-platform playing on FPSs. Only when "hardcore" gamers at the very top ranks among the console players are repeatedly spanked by any random 8 year old with a keyboard and a mouse will the console players realize how pathetically lame they all are. It all comes down to letting honesty and transparency make the world a better place.

Re:Just one thing (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#39159699)

Yup, because that's what everyone wants out of a game experience - to get repeatedly spanked by 8 year olds.

That's the sort of thing that just drives folks like me away from games.

Sure, I could play on a pc, or I could sit in the living room and have a much more relaxed time.

Re:Just one thing (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39159963)

you could play in the living room with a mouse like control.

that's how the "pros" do it anyways..

Re:Just one thing (3, Funny)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160295)

Pedobear read that backwards and now has a sad.

Re:Just one thing (1)

CmdrEdem (2229572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39159703)

I think this is not the way to teach this lesson, since it breaks the game for other people too. I agree that this must be tackled but I think Gabe Newell (last question @ http://www.develop-online.net/features/1192/Gabe-Newell-on-Valve [develop-online.net] ) has a better idea about this. The only problem is the evaluation system that will be used. Any system will be unfair and wrong at some point, and who implements this must be aware and ready for the backfire.

Re:Just one thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39159739)

Er I mean I hardly play video games so I'm definitely not what you'd consider a hardcore gamer, but FPS's are very dependent on the controls. I do play occasionally, or at friend's houses and such, and I'd be very frustrated by a game where people on one type of system had an advantage because there control scheme was better. Basically the end result would be nobody would buy the game for the console that had the disadvantage and the company would make way less money.

Re:Just one thing (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39159969)

Said by the guy who gets spanked by 5 year olds when playing Halo on the 360.

Re:Just one thing (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160165)

Winning the keyboard and mouse debate is more important than having fun?

Re:Just one thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39159659)

Very interesting, I game up FPS after Pathways and I'm no longer in the know there.

Yes playing linux-binary-vs-facebook would be the Holy Grail, but how.

Re:Just one thing (1)

CmdrEdem (2229572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39159731)

TCP/IP is standard for every network capable programming language. An ActionScript3 game can easily communicate with Java written servers (personal experience on this specific case). There may be some minor problems (pesky string enders, ASCII or UTF encoding and so on) but they can be handled.

Re:Just one thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39159779)

How should future availability of any core servers be provided for, is there a network of such servers?

Re:Just one thing (1)

CmdrEdem (2229572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162223)

There is a network of sorts, but no LAN. There would be a central hub where all users connect first. This central hub then redirects the user to connect to another server that is available. Servers keep the hub aware of their current load. Database infrastructure should be unified so a player can connect to any of the servers. After the redirection the hub must stop handling that player`s request or there`s no point to this system. The "secondary" servers should keep database access to a minimum, using spare bandwidth to constantly save updated user data (like number of wins/losses, number of matches played and other statistics).

Just keep in mind that I never really implemented something like this. I took inspiration on modern MMOs with many shards, but each shard has its own database for most of the information (character data in general, account data is centralized). I`m assuming you will only have a central database.

Re:Just one thing (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#39159947)

Aside from the technical differences, there are also price differences, both on the revenue side and on the cost side, between gaming on those different platforms.

For instance, if you use something like the Unity3D game engine to develop a game for the iPhone/Android platform, your game should also be able to run on the Wii, but you will still be required to pay Nintendo something like $40,000 to register as a developer with them (assuming they even accept you, which they may not, they do not accept many developers).

After all, Nintendo doesn't want to suddenly have games appearing for free, or for 99 cents, on their Wii platform. Not only, those games probably wouldn't take good advantage of their highly specialized hardware, but those games could potentially crowd out the much more expensive other games they have on it.

Re:Just one thing (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160407)

After all, Nintendo doesn't want to suddenly have games appearing for free, or for 99 cents, on their Wii platform. Not only, those games probably wouldn't take good advantage of their highly specialized hardware, but those games could potentially crowd out the much more expensive other games they have on it.

So instead they would rather see people adopt other platforms in addition to theirs, where users can get 99 cent games, and then see their platform fall into disuse as developers realize they make more money putting their $50 games on all platforms than just some, and then users realize they get all games on the platforms with 99 cent games and abandon the exclusionary platforms?

Stupid exclusionary tactics where you try to screw over your users only works until you have a competitor that doesn't play by the same rules.

Re:Just one thing (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162607)

The reason why games can`t be played online between multiple platforms is difference in controls (Ex.: A FPS player in a computer has an advantage against console players). In a turn-based game this should be no problem, so it can be done. In consoles there are issues with communication middleware (VOIP capabilities, text messages inside games), witch is different for each platform too.

The other reason is capability. Each platform has strengths and limitations that are completely different. If we take two levels in an FPS, and two console players play it, it's possible the PS3 starts to stutter or have framerate issues at a different place than the Xbox360. Knowledge of this spreads and all the Xbox360 players clump where the PS3 players suffer, and PS3 players do likewise.

Or perhaps there's a bug in the video rendering that gives one group of players a slight advantage over the other (e.g., ability to see more of the map).

As for the story - why not put it up on the web and make it a web app? iOS users can turn it into an icon (it's Apple's original method of having "apps" after all), it's DRM free (you can distribute the source to the website and server code, if you wish), etc. A little Javascript and such. You'll probably have to do everything on the server, which is good (trusting the client is bad, and users if they have the ability to cheat, they would).

And by cheating, I mean they'll have bots helping them figure out the ways to score high.

Re:Just one thing (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39159953)

they need a scalable server structure.

and then build clients that talk to the servers.

how the fuck he manages to bring drm into this I don't know though. is he implying that he wants the players to run the servers? or? just attaching it to fb makes it drm'ed in a way, your servers are going to be your servers - it's not like there's any practical drm in there if there's html clients anyways.

if they plan go with user hosted servers though and totally independent of their own operation.. well... if it's just a two player game, you could leverage facebooks/other social networks _messaging_ apis. just make your game use that as a transport, whole game state in every message. hell, make the mobile clients able to use irc, email and whatever else you can think of(there's cheating possibility problems with this and no leaderboards or anything like that.. but that's what you lose if you don't have a centralized approach).

Re:Just one thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39159965)

My guess is one of a few things

1) testing. Yep you have to try all the combos and what happens when the wii ver does not play nice with the pc ver for some reason?
2) endiness. Yes it still exists. PC is one way the ARM is another and yet another variant of an ARM is one of the other ways. It is an easy thing to solve for a network protocol but means extra coding *AND* testing.
3) cheating. Some platforms are simply easier to cheat against other platforms.
4) different controls. For example the game Zuma is meant to be played with a mouse. Put a touch screen on it and it dead simple to finish the game easily. FPS has this issue with the ps3/360 analog sticks and mice. It is relatively easy to dominate someone on a ps3 if you have a mouse.
5) network agreements. Some network agreements (depending on how much you pay) say you have to use their servers to connect users. Which means more testing. Also the games need to all talk to each flavor and then have a consolidator (more testing)...

So you have 3 months left until christmas and have 374 graphic bugs, 283 game play bugs, 3827 cosmetics, 46 crash bugs (on just one console the others are higher for some reason). Oh and MS has decided there is a new rule for some reason for some restriction on how you interact with players this week. Oh Sony has added another one... Network play sometimes gets the shaft...

Re:Just one thing (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160887)

2) is a non-issue, unless you try to be too smart for your own good and develop the encoding from scratch. Use e.g. Protocol Buffers and it'll take care of it for you.

Re:Just one thing (3, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160013)

It may seem like a dumb request, but most Windows, OS X, Xbox360, PS3 and Wii games don't seem to understand this simple concept.

The PC game is played solo.

There are others competing for use of your big screen HDTV.

The PC gamer will complain about the mediocre graphics and controls of the console port.

The console gamer will complain about "balance" --- anything that gives the PC gamer a competitive edge.

Re:Just one thing (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160419)

The console gamer will complain about "balance" --- anything that gives the PC gamer a competitive edge.

Why doesn't the console gamer either hook up a PC to the TV or STFU? It seems silly to complain about an advantage that you can fairly easily claim for yourself.

Re:Just one thing (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160549)

You know what, that's too harsh. Let me put it a different way: Why deprive the PC users of an advantage rather than merely disclosing it? There is no reason for a blanket ban on PC users playing against console users. You just identify which kind of device a competing player is using, and if you don't want to play against PC users, don't play against PC users. You can always kick them out of the session (or the developers can provide whoever is hosting/creating the session an option to not let them join).

Re:Just one thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161251)

Thank you.
When creating a new session on console it should default to console only, but have the option to be open to pc gamers, and when creating a new session on pc it should default to open, but have the option to be pc only.

Re:Just one thing (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160851)

Why doesn't the console gamer either hook up a PC to the TV or STFU?

The video game console is set up in a family room or a fully kitted out home theater with front projection, surround sound, lounge seating and a popcorn machine.

The emphasis is on social gaming with family and friends.

Half the fun in owning a Kinect or Wii controller is watching your kids and your Dad at play in a game they can enjoy together.

Re:Just one thing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161497)

The video game console is set up in a family room or a fully kitted out home theater with front projection, surround sound, lounge seating and a popcorn machine.

That's funny, I have the same home theater setup with my HTPC/gaming PC. Except my HTPC also plays DVD/BDs from any region, and streams to/from any device I own in pretty much any video or audio format.

Half the fun in owning a Kinect or Wii controller is watching your kids and your Dad at play in a game they can enjoy together.

What a coincidence! I have those exact same input devices connected up to my PC! Not to mention Xbox 360 controllers, PS3 controllers, steering wheels, wireless mini keyboard and touchpad...

Re:Just one thing (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 2 years ago | (#39167883)

If my family busted out video games for us all to play together, I would get a new family. Not all of us are nerds in need of getting stuffed into a gym locker room, Poindexter.

Re:Just one thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39160147)

words with friends seems to have this doen. they started with mobile apps, but their facebook app lets you play against both facebook and mobile users. should be a no-brainer for a turn based board game

Re:Just one thing (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161333)

Sure they understand it. It's just a lot harder problem than you're giving it credit for. Most console and mobile platforms have built-in APIs for multi-user applications. They make it ridiculously easy to hook your players into a rich multiplayer system with very little programming effort. But they are platform-specific systems that don't talk to systems on other platforms. So do I dump a ton of development time into reinventing the wheel and coming up with my own system from the ground up or do I use the pre-existing systems and just live with the fact that users on multiple platforms can't play together? There are also network costs. Some systems like XBox don't make the developer pay for network costs associated with LIVE. Is allowing users to play each other across multiple platforms really so important that you're willing to front the network costs for the foreseeable future? I get your point and I agree that it would be nice, but it's multi-platform multiplayer just isn't logistically feasible in most cases.

Web based (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39159525)

While I'm not 100% sure what you mean... web based is probably the best way to go. I actually work on a facebook game, and the client is flash based while the server is in php. There is no drm at all (unless you count flash), however it obviously requires an internet connection and needs to connect to our servers. You can of course do the client completely in html/javascript and communicate with your servers via ajax or sockets to get just as good a client. In fact my boss basically did this with his previous facebook based game and it was quite successful.

Re:Web based (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39159977)

But web-based is bad in one way, as one of the big draws of DRM-free is the ability to keep playing if the company goes belly-up, or simply decides to stop running servers (and the asker clearly states they're interested in "preserving the users' rights", so I presume they do care about this). So if you go web-based, you'll need to release the server side (whether binary or source -- keep in mind if open-source is not desired for whatever reason, this means you can't readily use e.g. PHP for any significant part of it) to the public so they can run their own servers.

Also, being a turn-based board game, I assume it's technically feasible to play with a single device (tablet, or passing around a smartphone), and given that, there are use cases where it's desirable to play without connection to the server (e.g. on airplane flights, or kids on a roadtrip with a non-WWAN tablet or in regions of poor coverage). For PC play, it's barely adequate to distribute the server, as above, then the user "just" has to install a LAMP (or whatever you use) image (dual-boot or a VM) on any ol' laptop and run a local server, but some mobile OSes don't even have an Apache port available, and there's obviously a lot of casual gamers who wouldn't have a clue how to set up a local server.

I think, considering the type of game, it'll really be better if the client is as independent as it can be.

Re:Web based (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160907)

keep in mind if open-source is not desired for whatever reason, this means you can't readily use e.g. PHP for any significant part of it

You don't seem to have any idea of what you're talking about.

To quote their website:

The PHP license is a BSD-style license which does not have the "copyleft" restrictions associated with GPL.

Re:Web based (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161143)

No, I have a very good idea what I'm talking about, to wit: PHP is an interpreted language, and everyone knows obfuscators for interpreted code exist, but are way more trouble than they're worth.

I guess I should have explained that for frozen-brained assholes who would rather assume I'm a complete idiot than accept the common-sense meaning of what I said.

Re:Web based (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161303)

I'm not to blame if you use different definitions of concepts than the ones commonly accepted on this community.

Here, "open source" means this [opensource.org] . Whether the code is obfuscated or not is irrelevant to that.

Re:Web based (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161733)

Running it through an obfuscator and shipping only the output makes it not open source. HOW IN HELL IS THAT NOT RELEVANT?!
I'm not to blame if you neither know nor can be arsed to read the commonly acccepted definition, even when you post a link to it. Here, let me quote an excerpt so you don't even have to click your link:

2. Source Code
The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form. Where some form of a product is not distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost preferably, downloading via the Internet without charge. The source code must be the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program. Deliberately obfuscated source code is not allowed. Intermediate forms such as the output of a preprocessor or translator are not allowed.

So if you use interpreted language, you get the disadvantages of open-source (low barrier to modification) and the disadvantages of closed-source (no sales to FLOSS fans because it's not open source).

Re:Web based (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161899)

But unlike what you claimed, you CAN use PHP for non open source code.

Maybe you used the wrong verb (can vs should), but that's not my fault. You only couldn't if the PHP license somehow prevented it, so I replied to that.

Re:Web based (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39162597)

But unlike what you claimed, you CAN use PHP for non open source code.

Maybe you used the wrong verb (can vs should), but that's not my fault.

To be correct, I used the wrong adverb: I should have said "can't usefully" rather than "can't readily" use PHP. And that was my fault.

You only couldn't if the PHP license somehow prevented it, so I replied to that.

Suppose the license did forbid it. It'd be copyright infringement, but you could "readily" do it -- look at all the cheap Android devices shipping with neither kernel source nor an offer to provide source if you don't believe it.. That would be "can't legally", not "can't readily".

So again, it comes back to two possible meanings (neither of which is precisely what I said, because I did make a wrong word choice) -- one assumes I'm as ignorant and/or malicious as Ballmer, one makes perfect sense to anyone with a decent notion of what the OSD says. And you choose to roll with the former, apparently because you can't be arsed to read the OSD. That is your fault.

Re:Web based (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39164715)

I know the OSD. I disagree that you can't "usefully" use PHP for non-open source projects*, therefore I assumed you meant it legally. I think it's a fair assumption.

* Relying on obfuscators is ridiculous. You license it under a non-open source license and sue people who are obviously repackaging your code (the court will force them to provide the source).
There are plenty of non-open source projects with the code available. PGP was one for a lot of time, Microsoft has plenty of "View only" licensed code, etc.

OSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39159553)

If you were able to fund it completely then I guess you could make it open-source.

specifics about 'drm-free'? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39159567)

Can you elaborate what you really mean by that? for instance on the iTunes store (iOS) you can't distribute on the official store without Apple's DRM, but it's essentially non-intrusive. If you're not opposed to using Facebook APIs, they may be your best bet for providing matching, leaderboards, and etc. in a way that's easily accessible from the web, ios, android, and the desktop. Apple has an API that makes turn-based multiplayer and matching very easy, but you won't be able to use that on other platforms, so sounds like you'd be rolling your own.

Re: Ask Slashdot: Freedom From DRM, In the Social (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39159577)

You will want to explicitly state a license for the users to be allowed to share the product, but not sell it. Also you want to watch your distributors, they will assume that you do not want it to be shared and send out bots to track down "pirates." Alex Jones, of Info wars, has experienced such a problem where authorized content has been taken down under the accusation of piracy.

don't put too much money into it (4, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39159621)

If it's successful, zynga will clone it, and dump money into it until your version is forgotten. If you're not successful, you're not successful. Either way, you lose your investment in the electronic version.

Re:don't put too much money into it (2)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#39159735)

Or Zynga will simply buy you out, as they have for so many games.

Re:don't put too much money into it (4, Insightful)

Exitar (809068) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161347)

To not be cloned by Zynga is quite easy: just make a game that requires an IQ higher than 50 to play.

Re:don't put too much money into it (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162437)

Don't forget to check the EULAs of specific sites. They may disallow a game that interacts with instances on other sites. Even Zynga has (technically) different versions of Farmville and the like for Facebook and Myspace.

Publish the program under a free software license (5, Informative)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 2 years ago | (#39159647)

I recommend the AGPL version 3 [gnu.org] or later; this license will preserve the user's software freedom and keep users on a level playing field with you. I also recommend enforcing your license. The Software Freedom Conservancy [sfconservancy.org] can help you enforcing your license with the assistance of experienced GPL enforcers. As you probably already know, if the program is proprietary nobody will be able to determine if the program is DRM-free or not. If any distributor discriminates against free software, you can choose not to do business with them.

*WHOOOP* WHOOOP* *WHOOOP* (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39160001)

*Whoop* FREETARD ALERT! *Whoop* *Whoop* FREETARD ALERT! WE HAVE A CODE 5 FREETARDED SITUATION!

Re:Publish the program under a free software licen (1)

bidule (173941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160213)

As you probably already know, if the program is proprietary nobody will be able to determine if the program is DRM-free or not.

I have to agree with the co-poster: this is laughable.

You could technically have some DRM-laden software that stops working for free in 2013 but you have no reason to cater to paranoid players about that. I am sure someone will have fun decompiling your program to check for that, source or no source.

Now, if there is any randomness or hidden information and you haven't protected it against cheating, you (and your non-cheating players) may prefer there are no hacked version flying around. But it doesn't look like it's an issue in your case.

My sugestions (5, Insightful)

CmdrEdem (2229572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39159651)

Keep user information at a minimum inside your game. If you are not going to handle payments directly you only need an alias (username, not the real name), a password and maybe an e-mail. At the database don`t use default ports and restrict database users to access the database only through the IPs your servers are into, you should avoid using the domain names at the database configuration if you use static IPs.

Scalability can be tricky. I never faced this problem directly but I`m aware that AWS is a good choice most of the time. For now I use vps.net for hosting of small servers. Worst case you will have to make a server front-end to manage incoming connections and redirect them to a lightly loaded "shard", so you can keep everything simple for the user at the end.

To get exposure you have to actively ask people to participate into the evaluation process. Ask for likes and shares on Facebook and ask for a 5 star classification at the IStore. If people like your game they will comply. Just don`t get overboard with the number of requests (one every 3 matches should be good but is a wild guess depending on how log each match is) and keep it simple (direct links to the evaluation page).

Re:My sugestions (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160017)

Just don`t get overboard with the number of requests (one every 3 matches should be good but is a wild guess depending on how log each match is)...

That's already overboard for me. I hate games that keep on asking me for ratings repeatedly, since games apparently have no way to tell that I've already rated and reviewed them. Please give an easy way for the user to opt-out from future requests.

URI missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39159669)

http://jammerup.com/ [jammerup.com]

Re:URI missing (1)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 2 years ago | (#39159705)

Really? Wow...how did that game get funded?

Re:URI missing (1)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 2 years ago | (#39162959)

Because roller derby fans like few things more than.. board games?

DRM-free (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#39159795)

Of course, your board game will be DRM free. After all, games that are inherently multiplayer over the network don't need DRM anyway if you're the one who controls the server.

Good luck Jim.. (0)

pbjones (315127) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160109)

Copyright the game content, Patent the game play, give up now. Make your money with the first couple of months because that's about all the lead time you have. There are lots of people who think that ALL software should be free, and they have no conscience when it comes to pirating software.

Re:Good luck Jim.. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160957)

Copyright the game content

Copyright is automatic.

Make your money with the first couple of months because that's about all the lead time you have. There are lots of people who think that ALL software should be free, and they have no conscience when it comes to pirating software.

"Have different moral code than me" != "have no conscience"

Also, they already got the money, that's the point of Kickstarter: you get paid before you create & release the project.

Re:Good luck Jim.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39166229)

Also, they already got the money, that's the point of Kickstarter: you get paid before you create & release the project.

That's if you have enough potential customers willing to sign up with Amazon's payment system to 'prepay' you to do and release the work.

Otherwise, Kickstarter will not give you enough exposure to give your project a chance to succeed and you will waste your time trying in the first place.

Then make it DRM free (1)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39160129)

I don't understand the question. YOU are going to be the developer, and YOU are going to be the publisher. Who is going to force you to put DRM into the code? If you want it to be DRM free then write it without DRM. Simple

Re:Then make it DRM free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39161821)

You realize that DRM has a purpose, right? Don't get me wrong, it's a stupid attempt to solve the problem, but it IS trying to solve a problem. He's asking for advice on what to do about the problem, ignore it, deal with it other ways? I'm sorry but you really come off as an asshole when you're so quick to pretty much say "Blankady blank, simple. You must be really damn stupid to not think of that!"

The server is the essential part (3, Informative)

MtHuurne (602934) | more than 2 years ago | (#39161847)

Every game in Apple's App Store has DRM, it's part of the system. You can make the source available as well though, so your users have the ability to make modifications to the client or port it to new devices. Put all the intelligence in the server, that way the client is simpler and you don't have to worry about people cheating by modifying the client.

For scalability, since this is based on a board game I would guess the number of players per game session is relatively low, which makes scaling easy: you can start new game sessions on the server with the lowest load. More difficult to scale is the matchmaking, where you do have to deal with the total worldwide number of players. Perhaps you can create a hash of the user ID and use that to determine which server handles authentication and status of users, like buckets in a hash table.

For deployment, I think this is one case where cloud computing is a good match: you can bring up move servers when there are a lot of players and bring them down again when demand is lower. This is especially useful if you get a lot of players when the game is first released or got some media attention but the number doesn't stay high; if you would buy your own servers you would be stuck with a lot of capacity that you don't use anymore. Ideally you'll either have the ability to migrate games between servers or a time limit on game length, so you can force games off a server when you want to shut it down.

Don't spend too much time on designing the perfectly scalable system though: a game with scalability issues is still better than a game that is never released at all. One thing that allows you to correct your mistakes is to make the client and server negotiate a protocol version. This allows later client versions to use a protocol version that is more suitable for scaling. If needed, you could even stop supporting old protocol versions at some point and instruct the user to upgrade the client.

Re:The server is the essential part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39177425)

Server = DRM.

If the game relies upon a specific server being online, the person who controls the server has the power to revoke the players' ability to play the game.

If you don't want DRM, you must allow the users to install and play the game without any communication to a central server. For single player, that means offline installation and play (and NO authentication server). For multiplayer, that means some form of P2P, either LAN or across the internet.

Re:The server is the essential part (1)

MtHuurne (602934) | more than 2 years ago | (#39185195)

Or you could release the server sources and let the player decide which server to connect to. From an algorithmic point of view, having a central authority during the game is a lot simpler than trying to reach distributed consensus between peers. It doesn't necessarily mean that there can be only one such authority in the entire world.

For LAN play, just run the server on the LAN. Maybe the server could even be integrated into the client application, for example a "host a game" option in the main menu that starts the server. DNS-SD (Bonjour) could be used by the clients to discover the server on the local network.

Do you even know what DRM is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39162245)

If you don't want DRM, don't use it. (As if DRM has much relevance to board games.)

DRM shouldn't be your focus (1)

frinsore (153020) | more than 2 years ago | (#39163451)

First you should determine what kind of application you're making. Is it a native application on iOS & android? Or is it a web front end? How deeply do you want to integrate Facebook, twitter, google+, etc?

All the different platforms (hardware and software) have different licensing issues that need to be figured out. It may be that what you'd like to do isn't allowed by one platform or a combination of them. DRM is only a factor on the open platforms (PC & android). For iOS & game consoles DRM is a requirement of the platform license.

As far as users' rights goes, it shouldn't be a factor. Your servers should only keep the bare minimum of information (probably what matches the user is currently playing and the current state of that match). The analytics should be properly anonymized (huge legal quagmire if you don't do it right) and probably best done with a 3rd party analytics system.

From the sounds of it, you're just starting out. Good luck, it's a challenge but it can be rewarding. Get in touch with people that do this professionally, start reading the game design blogs, and depending upon where you live there could even be community meetings. Take a look at existing engines (unity3d being one of my favorites) and see if any are a good fit for prototyping or production. List out all your needs/goals and start making concrete plans for how to obtain them (persistent server side storage, user name & password handling, high scores, etc).

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