Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

On The Business Of Developing Successful Games

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the no-showness-like-it dept.

The Almighty Buck 29

Thanks to InsertCredit for their article covering a recent game-related lecture at an Entertainment Law and Business conference. One of the more interesting discussions covered is how game companies should develop their games. A representative from Electronic Arts indicated they do "...most of their work in-house these days. This increases consistency, but he admits that this method can put something of a damper on creativity. So they've got what they call EAPs (Electronic Arts Properties), wherein they work with/invest in games made by other companies, and then distribute them as their own." On the other hand, an Activision executive claims that "...developers prefer to be left to their own devices, counter-culture individuals that they are. So Activision prefers to purchase them entirely, allowing them to exist undisturbed. He says that in this way, they can develop the games they want to develop, and not have to deal with any of the bureaucracy." But which approach really creates the best games?

cancel ×


Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

So EA is responsible for the lack of creativity? (1, Insightful)

-kertrats- (718219) | more than 10 years ago | (#7782139)

These days, every game that comes out is a remake, sequel, or spinoff to a former successful title. And if its not, its Manhunt :-|. Now we have someone to blame!

Re:So EA is responsible for the lack of creativity (4, Interesting)

psyco484 (555249) | more than 10 years ago | (#7782411)

Oh give me a break. Sure not every game is a new concept with revolutionary gameplay, but what entertainment medium doesn't suffer from this? ID has pretty much mastered the FPS, creating many spinoffs, but with each game they release, something new is also produced (if not by them, by a competitor trying to one up them). Take a look at Rockstar, their GTA has been imensly popular, it was innovative and has succeeded as a result. The Simposons Hit and Run isn't exactly an innovative title as it does follow closely the GTA style game play, but it's a lot of fun at the same time.

Last time I checked, games' main purpose was to be fun, if it doesn't take some huge innovation in story line or game play to be great, so what, it's still fun. Every so often I make sure to pick up a game I wouldn't normally think I'd like just for variety. Last game I picked up like that was Need For Speed Underground, and I gotta say I'm really impressed with the work they've put into it. It's got several annoying bugs, but I've dumped about 15 hours into the game. I don't "like" cars though, and honestly, I think a Honda Civic with tons of money dumped into making it "tricked out" is not only a waste of time and money, but possibly the only way to make the car uglier. Even still, I find the game a lot of fun.

I wouldn't call something like Unreal Tournament 2003 innovative, but I would call it a lot of fun and worth the money I paid the day it came out since I've gotten hundreds of hours of fun out of it. Innovation isn't a requist for fun, it's more of a risk the company would take on a new idea. Classic example of innovation being a bad thing: Daikatana. The game WAS innovative, it was just too little (the two ingame characters sucked in both personality and functionality, and the story just didn't need everything it had) too late (I shouldn't need to explain).

What's your definition of "best"? (5, Insightful)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 10 years ago | (#7782227)

But which approach really creates the best games?

It depends on your definition of what the "best" game is:

Is a successful game one which is creatively successful or one which is financially successful?

For every ten games (and I'm being generous) that try to push the envelope, creatively, only one succeeds. Even with a creative success, in the vast majority of cases, it is critically successful but doesn't pay the bills well enough to keep the developer in business, especially when the next couple of "creative" ideas don't pay off well and sink what profits were made.

EA makes its money the same way the movie industry does. It produces to a formula that it knows will make it a consistent small profit. It may not be creative but, ten years down the line, they'll still be in business while most create houses won't be.

What about companies like Origin or Blizzard? Origin got bought out by EA and how many of the original creative types are still there? Blizzard became such a hammered part of the Vivendi Universal empire that most of the original senior people left earlier this year (World Of Warcraft may be an old style Blizzard creative success but will it remain so after years of having to appease VU's moneymen?).

Sadly, safe but boring, not original but risky, is what keeps games companies in business - and the ones that recognise that (like EA) can always just buy the few who make it anyway (like Westwood and Origin). Yes, there are a few ids but there are much bigger EAs.

Re:What's your definition of "best"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7784610)

It produces to a formula that it knows will make it a consistent small profit. It may not be creative but, ten years down the line, they'll still be in business while most create houses won't be.

Well if they don't get more creative, they'll end up like Capcom, struggling after too many Street Fighter/Megaman sequels. SNK went down the same road, too much formula, not enough innovation.

Star Flight (c. 1986) (4, Interesting)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 10 years ago | (#7782623)

I've seen better flight simulators, in fact it would be hard not to be better. The ship traveled just in 2 dimentions and had only two weapons. However, it had some of the best game play of any game at any price I've played even though it used CGA graphics in 16 colours.

I kid you not:

Hundreds of stars, thousands of planets, several different space faring races to interact, trade and fight with.

If you visited a planet and picked something up, it wasn't there the next time you went there.

If you disrespected a race, they remembered. Ditto if you were decent to them.

If you didn't do the copyright protection correctly, the cops came after you within the context of the game and blew your ship up.

All this on one 360K floppy, on a 4MHz machine. I kid you not.

I believe that Origin published the game, and was bought by EA later on. There was a Star Flight 2, which was better in many ways, but took a lot more disk space. EA owns the rights and seems to be holding on to them with cold, dead hands.

StarFlight deserves to be released to the public domain, or at least GPL'd. The excellent programming techniques which allowed such a game to exist in so little space should be lauded and emulated, techniques that have been lost while disk space has become unlimited and CPU cycles can be wasted without anyone noticing.


Re:Star Flight (c. 1986) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7783054)

Apparently, it's StarFlight (one word, not two). I tried it once at and then Google (which corrected the punctuation). So, it is available at [] , although technically it is a copyright violation to download it.

I also haven't tested the game(s) myself, so I don't know if they work at all.

Re:Star Flight (c. 1986) (2, Informative)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 10 years ago | (#7783766)

Um. Are the moderators smoking crack?

Yes, StarFlight was a good game... and this post is interesting (slightly)... but this post is WAY off-topic and should be moderated as such.

-1 Off-Topic.

Re:Star Flight (c. 1986) (1)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786802)

Space Rogue [] was another great Origin game from the 80's that had multiple stars, planets, races, etc. Read the review about it, it was way ahead of it's time like a lot of the stuff Origin was doing in the 80's. I would blindly by sequels to most of Origin's 80's games if EA came out with them.

An answer... (4, Interesting)

pixel_bc (265009) | more than 10 years ago | (#7782785)

> But which approach really creates the best games?

Well, eye of the beholder really. Which makes for a better business model? As of today:

ERTS [] : $46.09 + $1.24 (13.75 Billion mkt. cap.)

ATVI [] : $18.44 - $0.56 (1.64 billion mkt. cap.)

Nobody makes bad games forever. Draw your own conclusions as to who's appealing to Joe Average.

Re:An answer... (4, Insightful)

Mike Hawk (687615) | more than 10 years ago | (#7782958)

Are you suggesting biggest equates to best? Wouldn't that make Britney Spears and NSync the best musicians, Titanic and Independence Day some of the best movies and the Bible the best book ever written?

Wow, makes a good case for the opposite to be true....

Re:An answer... (1)

pixel_bc (265009) | more than 10 years ago | (#7783644)

> Are you suggesting biggest equates to best?

I clearly said "Eye of the beholder"... but I'll explain it a little more clearly. You point out Britney -- millions of cheering young people will tell you she's the best -- regardless of the validity of the statement.

One man's great game is another man's trash.

Just because you think one company doesn't make good games -- doesn't mean the next guy agrees. In fact -- the share prices above indicate so. Maybe Britney is good. What the hell do *I* know?

Re:An answer... (1)

Mike Hawk (687615) | more than 10 years ago | (#7784233)

Wow, what an inclusive/bullshit view of the world. Guess what, some things ARE better than others. Under your simple view of the things, technically Microsoft makes the best software ever written too. I mean, they have enough cash on hand to buy even EA. They must be the best, most important, smartest, most talented, group of people ever assembled.

Of course, thoughout this you have questioned even yourself. Why post if you don't believe you opinion is valid?

Re:An answer... (1)

pixel_bc (265009) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788903)

> Are you suggesting biggest equates to best?

Wow -- Slashdot is in fine form with all the kids home for the holidays. All I'm suggesting is to be aware of the fact that just because you have an opinion doesn't make it TRUE.

> They must be the best, most important,
> smartest, most talented, group of people ever
> assembled.

Actually, from my visits to the campus, I can say that they have one of the best teams of engineers assembled I've ever seen. Maybe not *the* best, but I'm not surprised we couldn't continue the thread without someone tossing in a negative Microsoft comment.

Re:An answer... (0, Troll)

Dot.Com.CEO (624226) | more than 10 years ago | (#7787126)

Better throw my MBA to the garbage bin. What use are things like P/E ratios, balance sheets and leverage ratios when I can just look at the company's market capitalisation to decide whether its business model is good or not.

EA is dangerous (3, Informative)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 10 years ago | (#7783184)

They have so much marketing power it's scary. Yet the products they push out on the market are no longer getting better every year.

1.) If it was not for ESPN/sega basketball, their live basketball series would still suck today. They develope 1 engine, and build upon it for half a decade.

2.) The sims online is a disaster from every angle.

3.) Battlefield 1942 is filled with technical problems but it's marketed well enough to stay alive.

EA is like big brother microsoft. They can afford to make mistakes and no one can touch them. Now that's dangerous for the video game industry.

Re:EA is dangerous (4, Insightful)

Babbster (107076) | more than 10 years ago | (#7783301)

Picking three titles from the biggest developer on the market and extrapolating their overall quality from there is intellectually dishonest.

I'm not a big EA fan, particularly since my preferred console (out of the three I current use) is the Xbox where they refuse to play ball with Xbox Live. That being said, they manage to put out titles like SSX3 (improved immensely over its predecessors), Madden (even the hardcore football gamers are hard-pressed to declare an absolute winner between Madden and ESPN/2kX), LOTR: TT and ROTK, Need For Speed Underground, NBA Street, The Sims, SimCity...

Whether you like their approach or not, EA does put out good games. Great marketing or not, if the games weren't there they wouldn't be making money.

As for your title claiming EA is "dangerous": Get some perspective. Videogames are a hobby and not a life-or-death situation. Further, even if you were to assign videogames more importance than they deserve, EA (unlike Microsoft, for example) has plenty of competition out there and we're in NO danger of EA controlling all videogaming.

Re:EA is dangerous (2, Insightful)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 10 years ago | (#7783570)

Why is it dangerous for EA to have marketing power? The fact is that just because you're a big company, you're not guaranteed sales in the video game industry. Sure, Madden is consistently a big seller but if the quality began to deteriorate, don't you think people would buy a different game? Comparing EA to Microsoft is quite a stretch. Microsoft locks people in to their software by phasing out tech support, pushing competitors out of the market and other underhanded techniques.

You claim that the only reason Battlefield 1942 "stays alive" is because EA markets it well. Do you actually believe that? In this age where you can get dozens of opinions of a product from the Internet at a moment's notice, do you actually believe people are buying Battlefield 1942 just because they see some ads for it? Why are Battlefield 1942 quite popular then? Wouldn't people abandon the game once they realized that it wasn't good?

Your argument is flawed. I could continue but this should be enough.

Re:EA is dangerous (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 10 years ago | (#7787149)

I am not going to argue your first two points, but I will have to disagree with your comment about BF1942. Yes there are some technical problems. And that is why patches are released. But it is not because of all the marketing that it is staying alive. Hell, I haven't seen a single tv commercial for it, compared with all the other video games out there.

Face it, BF1942 is a good game. There is an EXTENSIVE modding community out there which have done some really polished (DC?) and really creative (Pirates?) mods for it. It is an incredibly popular game despite this lack of tv spots. Hell, they haven't even had that many print ads, and I'm in advertising so I know what I'm talking about.

Re:EA is dangerous (1)

Alkaiser (114022) | more than 10 years ago | (#7787247)

1) Their Live series DOES still suck today [] . Watch the video link 3/4 of the way down the article.

2) YES! You are correct, sir! HA HA HA! I have a friend who was TOTALLY into the Sims and all expansions...waiting for TSO for at least a year. We thought he would basically disappear after the game was released.

He quit after 6 weeks. Said it felt too much like a NEEDED to have masses of people around you to progress, and when you were progressing, it was just sitting around.

3) BF1942 looked like fun when Desert Combat was out...I had friends playing it nonstop for a while. They've all since gotten bored and left.

I agree with your final point as well. There was a quote from some company a whlie back that said, "We're doing all right, but we're not like EA where they can afford to make mistakes, and yet they're so big it doesn't affect them at all."

They still put out good/decent games. SSX3 was pretty enjoyable for 3-4 days, and so was NBA Street, Vol. 2.

For the most part though, bloat, hype, and empty promises.

which one is better? (4, Insightful)

bmnc (643126) | more than 10 years ago | (#7783240)

Tha answer is simple. EA has nice polished games, Activision releases new/fresh exciting games. Both are good but I prefer the average game released under the Activision brand as opposed to the EA brand since it is the "new" experience I crave, not the "improved" one.

Depends on who they are working with (3, Insightful)

Pvt_Waldo (459439) | more than 10 years ago | (#7783478)

If a game development company has a good thing going and shows signs of success, then Activisions "buy and then hands off" approach is best. If they have a good idea but are making some mistakes or are up against some obstacles beyond them, then the "invest (and guide)" method is best.

As one of the recipients of the "buy and then leave alone" method (for Day of Defeat [] ) I'm personally a fan of that method. DoD's creative side is still "owned" by the same team that made it to start with, but that same team doesn't have to worry too much about owning marketing, product release issues, E3 booking, etc. etc. etc. They get to stick to making the game, which is what they do best.

Storytelling (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7784005)

"Cinematics, graphics, AI and storytelling will all improve."

I can only hope that this wasn't listed by order of importance.
Storytelling is a prime reason people make and buy games, and I would rather see this improved than overly-drawn-out cinematics that take up space on the disk that could be used to make the engine and AI better.

Re:Storytelling (1)

Babbster (107076) | more than 10 years ago | (#7784193)

Two thoughts on cinematics: First, can't cinematics be part of telling the story? Whilst I agree that some games substitute cinematics for gameplay, they DO attract customers in many cases (see Final Fantasy VII+). Second, disc space has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of the AI or graphics engine - at least not since the advent of the CD-ROM and its subsequent commoditization.

One thought on why people buy games: You may THINK that storytelling is the "prime reason people make and buy games," but you'd be wrong. On the PC in particular this is a fallacy: See Quake (especially III), Unreal Tournament, Battlefield 1942, Tribes and The Sims for a few examples. In fact, you can look at the extremely popular games from Blizzard and see the same effect in that while Diablo, Starcraft and Warcraft DO have stories being told, people would likely still buy them if they had no story at all.

The REAL reason people buy games is to have fun, most often because of entertaining gameplay. Granted, some people do make games to tell a story, but that goal (again, especially on the PC) is often eschewed in favor of making leaps in technological achievement - kind of like our old pal, George Lucas, in fact. Even more significant is that customers go for this, which is why a game like Quake III outsells a game like Thief.

This truly doesn't seem encouraging (3, Insightful)

MikShapi (681808) | more than 10 years ago | (#7784753)

I'm a long-time hardcore gamer, and if anything, since gaming challenged hollywood and the multibillion dollar market, games took 2 steps ahead in terms of graphics and storrytelling (quite a few titles I can recall host hollywood-class voice actors).
The problem lies in the 3 steps back the games took in complexity, technicallity and everything else that requires the gamer to actually use his brain. For me at least that spells L-E-S-S-F-U-N.

What's happening today is a collective takeover by large corps over many successful indipendant game makers, game makers who didn't make mass money but made very good games, at least as I, not an arcade gamer, am concerned. Said corps couldn't care less about me, as I'm not where the big money lies. The big money lies in pointa-clicka-no-thinka couch-potato arcade games, aka console games.

While earlier the arcade market co-existed with the more sophisticated PC game market, the big producers are all for buying out every last successful PC brand and its developer, and riding that brand into yet-another-dumbed-down-arcade-title. And since they're wielding the heavy paychecks, there's no way to resist them (other than to cause the vast majority of consumers to stop buying consoles, which doesn't seem like it's going to happen anytime soon).

I was outrages by Might and Magic 9. A wonderful technical hack-and-slash game that successfully earned its bread for 15 years.
I was saddened by Heroes of Might and Magic 4, which looked like HOMM3 only without half the widgets.
I was frustrated at Ion Storm having sold out to a ... console "RPG" (where you're done leveling up on the second level of the game, because the whole XP and leveling up scheme was too much on console gamers. Sure, Warren Spector could go on all day with how they wanted to make the "open endedness" the main feature of the game. Right. Warren Spector knows as well as we do that Deus Ex 1 was designed to be a good game. Deus Ex 2 was designed to milk money).
Unreal 2 wasn't even a game. It was an engine demo. Again, someone who wants money trying to call his product a "game". Wolf in sheep's clothing.
And the list goes on. Black Isle went under, and with it all hopes for not only technical, but sophisticated, well-made RPG's like Torment or the first two Fallouts.
Freelancer could have been a wonderful technical game, but some design decisions to dumb it down (not being able to take more than 1 mission at a time, forcing the plot on you _before_ you could explore the world), killed the game.

Since Deus Ex 2, I really can't name one _good_ sophisticated game that hit the market. I can name a lot of glamorous-graphics ones like Max Payne II, but sophisticated? Zilch. Nada. Not a single one.

And reading the article above lays my suspicions out clearly: people with my expectation of a game are a dying breed, and 'good' sophisticated games - From Star Control 2, to Ultima 7, to Privateer and to Deus Ex 1 - won't be around no more.

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust.

Re:This truly doesn't seem encouraging (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7787187)

So, according to you, more widgets = better game?

Many PC gamers wrongly attribute the complexity of games with their depth, which is simple not the case. They want a bunch of numbers and widgets and useless baroque complexity (witness, 99% of the complaints about Deus Ex 2) to make them feel smart and justify what they're doing as something more productive and educational than merely "playing a game" - as if that's something one should feel ashamed of. As if a game that's simple to learn, and that might just induce a few non-videogamers to try one out, is a bad thing.

Look no further than the ancient game of GO for a model of elegant simplicity. Widgets can rot for all I care.

Re:This truly doesn't seem encouraging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7789417)

>> So, according to you, more widgets = better game?
Not only. They need to be:
a. Challenging
b. Well Balanced

>> Many PC gamers wrongly attribute the complexity of games with their depth
explain "depth". I don't understand what you mean.

>> They want a bunch of numbers ... to make them feel smart and justify what they're doing as something more productive and educational

I'm at a loss here. Do I laugh? Do I just feel sad for you? Do I tell you that you have the largest penis?

When I play a game, I PLAY A GAME. As in FOR FUN. I neither need it to be educational, nor do I expect it to cause spontaneous orgasms, cure cancer or feed hungry children in Somalia.

Let me emphasize by stretching out the obvious.
Remove some widgets. Ammo for instance. If it never ends anyway, who needs it? and health? why not eliminate that too? and weapons? why have so many? let's just have one, and when you press a button, it just kills everyone in the game! Huzzah! See? no widgets!

One aspect of what makes a game fun to play is your improving over time. If you were to start the game with a BFG100000, and bitchslap anything that comes within a mile of you, the game would grow extremely boring quite quickly.
So a while ago, someone figured out a nice formula that works - start out as a grunt, and work your way up.
The way DE1 worked, you didn't just find a bigger gun now and then, as in your average shooter. In DE1 you could actually do new things with the guns once you got better using them (read: eXperience Points and LEVELING). In addition to bigger guns, you could custom-outfit a firearm with TENS of mods, of which you never had enough, and of which you got more only if you were attentive and found the rare and well hidden secrets. The more attentive you were, the better your uberweapon-of-choice would be towards the end of the game.

Note that if you want the player to be hungry for more you need to keep him in a constant shortage. Compare that with DE2. First off, nothing is really WELL-hidden. everything is hidden so that a blind paraplegic (read: console gamer) could find the DE2 secrets in the darkness. Second, you can only slap 2 mods on a single weapon (That's in case said console gamer DID somehow manage to not find 90% of the "secrets"), and you're usually carrying around about five to ten extra mods you have nothing to do with. Same with biomods of which I had far more than I needed 3 missions into the game. I won't even mention money. You can acquire 3 times more than you can conceivably consume in the game, and usually carry enough spare and unnecesary cash to buy some real-estate.

I think you're boring a hole in your own points - It's DE2 where ammo, money, weapon mods and biomods are meaningLESS widgetry cuz from mission 2 there's nothing useful you can do with them - there's just plain too much. In DE1 all these bells and whistles were meaningFUL, on top of there being MORE of them.

>> As if a game that's simple to learn, and that might just induce a few non-videogamers to try one out, is a bad thing.
Of course not! Tell me, are toys for 5-year-olds a bad thing? No, many 5-year-olds need them very much. But do you and I play with them? no, they lost their intellectual appeal some time ago for us. We could still do the same thing with them like we did once, but it would be boring. You and I play with other, more sophisticated toys - Cell phones, PDA's, MP3 players, Deus Ex, and what have you.

But if every gadget-maker or PC-game-maker decided to start manufacturing 5-year-old-toys instead of what you and I consume cuz that's where the big bucks lie for them, you and I would feel.. uhh... disgruntled and neglected, cuz we'd suddenly find ourselves all out of toys.

And yes, I DO feel the same for Yet-Another-Shooter or Yet-Another-RTS as I feel for 5-year-old-toys. They were fun at the time, but I do want someone to cater to my more sophisticated ways of having fun.

If you're happy with them - I'm really happy for you mate. Cuz I'm not.


Electronic Arts (4, Interesting)

MGrie (676464) | more than 10 years ago | (#7784843)

Origin Creates great games.
EA buys Origin.
Origin Creates a crappy game (U8) under EA's influence.
Richard Gariott leaves origin.
Origin is just a empty husk, providing support for UO, living from their inherited IP.

Bullfrog Creates great games.
EA buys Bullfrog.
Peter Molyneaux leaves Bullfrog.
Bullfro is just an empty husk, programming updated versions of old games, living from their inherited IP.

Dynamix creates Great games.
Sierry buys Dynamix.
Dynamix releases Tribes2 Prematurely under Sierra's influence.
Sierra closes down Dynamix.
Sierra tries to patch Tribes2 with inhouse developers.
about 1 year later, they hire ex-dynamix employees to finish the game. ......

creative game suggestions (1)

stylerm (707522) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786438)

Carnage Heart on PSX1 A game in which you program robot AIs and then they battle it out in an arena. There is a resource management part of the game, but the priority of that is a distant second to programming the robots. Dues Ex1 - PC A mix between fps and rpg. Favors non-violent methods to solving problems. High replayability. I understnad the sencond one isnt as good, but I havent played it. ChuChu Rocket - DC A very simple cheap puzzel game on dreamcast. Castlevania SOTN - psx1 I remember reading reviews that blasted this game for using outdated 2d graphics. No 3d castlevania game has ever existed that can match the quality of this game. Id like to hear other peoples suggestions. Games I also liked were x-com 1 and 2 on PC, but they cant be played anymore on windows XP, and I never looked into getting them working on linux.

Re:creative game suggestions (1)

stylerm (707522) | more than 10 years ago | (#7787757)

Well, I guess the castlevania SOTN is designed very similar to Super Metroid on SNES, so its not that original.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>