Notes from the Metaverse:
– I’ve been in a Guild Wars state of mind lately, which makes it hard to blog. Whenever you see months of no blogging, it is usually when I am playing Guild Wars.
– The Sims 3 is out now. Have not gotten it yet, but the reviews look good. In the past I have gotten obsessive with The Sims: 1, 2, and Sims Online. Got burned out really bad at one point, not sure I’m over that. Spore and Sim City Societies were kind of disappointments. Apparently they are going with an online update system this time, where you can purchase new objects individually, instead of prepackaged CDs. If virtual worlds are any indicator, this could ultimately be an even more profitable way to go, especially if they open up to 3rd party brokering.
– Still waiting on Blue Mars to go open beta. I’m hearing really good things from beta testers, but they are not allowed to get specific or show screen shots per the NDA. The Open Beta should happen later this year. I keep hearing “two months”, but I have heard that for the last 7 months.
– Also waiting for the new Second Life continent “Ursula” to open up. The adult only continent where the rules are quite a bit more relaxed. I’m very curious how this experiment will work out, it could potentially be a disaster that ends SL once and for all, though the odds are small on that front.
– Speaking of which, SL is showing revenue growth in an other wise declining economy, just as I predicted in a post last January. Because of its low start up cost (free) more people are joining Second Life, and actually staying more, but as expected, they are spending less money per account. According to a recent interview with Phillip Rosedale, it seems the player growth rate is exceeding the spending decline rate, resulting in a net gain. Interesting.
– And finally, I released a new Dating Simulator update again, version 5.8. In the last version, I improved the swimming scenes, but noticed a “bug” that if you go to the kitchen after swimming, it goes immediately to an ending scenario. There was a very simple fix for this, but I decided the bug is a symptom of a problem in general: all the late date ending scenarios either involve sex or drinking, and if you do something dumb early in the date, all you are left with is drinking.
In an effort to open up the ending a bit, if you do go to the kitchen after eating dessert (or swimming, or showering), Ariane will suggest what to do next based on what you have or haven’t done so far. You can accept or decline her recommendations, until she gets tired of your constant rejections, or she runs out of ideas, whichever comes first.
The basic pattern of the whole dating simulator is to start out with a few basic options, explode into a ton of options, and then if you don’t royally screw up, finish with one of a few appropriate endings. Unfortunately, there are not enough appropriate endings. I needed a fun innocent ending to round it all out to add as a “bonus” to the suggestions.
The “downtown” solution to this is to find an amusement park to check out for a silly but innocent ending. I decided I needed a home version of the amusement park and came up with a “board game” ending.
Now I had the idea to have a board game in the dating simulator since version 1.0, but kept on running into obstacles. It would be silly to simulate a whole game unless I picked something easy like Tic-Tac-Toe or Nim, which are too predictable. So I decided to just simulate the ending of a game.The decision of which game ending to simulate came down to two criteria: 1. It had to be a game with simple ending scenarios (Life, Clue, Sorry, Chutes and Ladders, etc.) 2. It had to be a public domain game (Checkers, Chess, Backgammon, Chinese Checkers, most standard deck card games). For whatever reason, these two criteria are nearly exclusive. It took a while to finally figure out that Parcheesi is probably the only game in both categories, hence that is what I picked.