How have you gone about developing the title?
SB: So, we invested a lot. Well, we started the company 18 months ago, and it was only maybe three or four months ago that we really switched more of the effort going into game-making rather than tool-making.
You told me when you were working on Game Neverending prior to Flickr, you thought it would take about 18 months to make it into a game.
And now you're talking about like putting a big investment into this in terms of launching it, which is basically completely counter to the way most people talk about approaching the social game space now. It's all about spending two to four months on something and kick it out there.
SB: Why spend so long on it? Because we want to make stuff that we know is way better. I mean, the games, I think people exaggerate how long they spend on them really. It's probably not that much longer, maybe three months to six months or something like that to two to four. But there's no doubt, right.
One of the reasons... The amount of stuff you can do in a game day is gated with the energy in pretty much every social game, because otherwise you burn through all the content in four days or five days or something like that.
Right. That's why it's appointment gaming.
SB: Yeah, exactly. But they're also super linear single-player games. They're social, but they're only social to the extent that you can play and I can play, and I can see what you're doing, and you can see what I'm doing. It's not like if in FarmVille, if I'm better at growing grain and you're better at growing fruit, we can trade and have some real economy or anything like that. It's totally linear, total single-player.
And I don't have an extensive background in game design -- I'm learning as I go -- but one thing that's really obvious is making a good single-player game is really hard. Making a good multiplayer game is like maybe not exponentially harder but much, like an order of magnitude harder. And making a massively multiplayer game is just fucking retardedly hard compared to either of them because it has to be fun in the minute-to-minute thing, and it has to be fun with other people doing stuff that affects the state of the game around you, and it has to scale.
Well, that's like when you look at MMOs, it's why when someone figured out the trinity of tank/healer/DPS, everyone just stole it because someone figured out a mechanic that will keep three people playing together.
SB: Yeah, yeah. I mean, this is not a unique insight; I'm just ripping it off other people, but it's so hard to deviate what from WoW has done now. You can basically reskin it, and you can change the dynamics a little bit, but the only...
Well, this could be wrong, but it seems to me that the only thing that's fundamentally, that has serious followers, is EVE Online. People will say Darkfall is different. I haven't played enough of them to know how different they are.
[Indicates another Glitch developer] That guy's got level 80 with like seven achievements remaining and every fucking pet and stuff like that. I played WoW for five hours, like actually myself with my own character, and I was like, "I can't do it." Not because it's bad -- because first of all, I think I just would spend too much time, but I just didn't see the payoff for me. If I was going to put 20 hours a week into it, it's still more or less linear content, and it's not really...
I mean, the stuff I'm imagining may be impossible. We may just totally fucking fail. I don't know because no one's pulled it off yet. But that wasn't it, right. The amusement park criticism is pretty much right on. You get to a certain level, then you're allowed to go on this ride. And then you get to a certain level, you can get on this ride.
It doesn't much if someone just killed the boss 10 minutes ago; you can go and raid there and kill the boss again, and that's not... The game itself may be fun in terms of mechanics, but then it reduces it to just a really elaborate lobby for a small multiplayer game. It's not really massively multiplayer.
One of my close friends was playing Ultima Online all the time, especially when we were working on Game Neverending. And hanging out with him as he was playing, it really kind of felt like no one knew exactly what was going to happen. And they had issues, they had bugs, and things screwed up, and stuff like that, but that was a lot more exciting to me because at least you didn't know. It wasn't pre-ordained how the world was going to unfold. It could be chaotic, and you could try and do something in the game world that no one had done anymore.