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Video Game Development

Inside the Great Games Experiment

Tony Game Badge Preview

Just a day after requesting myself into the Great Games Experiment, I have been allowed to register. It being a limited Beta, I was able to snatch the popular Tony username, though you’ve got to be logged in to see anything but the front page. You’re not missing much though, the profiles are limited to a short description, and an aggregation of your comments, reviews, and friends.

I have browsed the site, looking at others who registered as Developers (alternativly you could choose to be a Gamer or a Publisher). It feels very MySpace’ish, minus the music and eye-burning CSS. “Top Developers”, “Top Friends”, users get to give each other ratings and kudos. There are also groups to join, create, and yes – rate in popularity. Groups appear to be limited to a single basic forum. So far there is nothing innovative.

The actual games also have profiles, very similar to the basic ones spotted by users. One could create a profile for any game (agreeing to hand over the moderation to the game’s developer upon request), and it’s off to the popularity contest arena. Comments, reviews.. Link to buy when applicable, and always a download link, even if there are none. Half-Life 2’s profile seems to be taking most of the trophy positions at the moment.

With just over 1000 game profiles, I suppose it is a way to discover something new to play. Search by Platform, Genre, and don’t forget to throw in the “free” tag to actually be able to play the game. I imagine the numbers would continue to grow as more participants sign up. The stats are mostly hidden, displaying just the most popular 120 Gamers and Developers, but there are only 2 Publishers registered: GarageGames itself, and apparently EA Games.

So far this all appears like MySpace, but just for games. I suppose one could try to create a profile for a popular game that hasn’t been claimed yet, and sneak in a link to a profile of your own game for some bonus exposure points. Otherwise I think this “social network” needs to offer something beyond a commenting system, to actually benifit video game developers.

Or I could be wrong, and some will find peer support and exposure for their Dream Videogame in the making. I have two invites to give out for anyone interested – leave a comment.


  1. Posted by Ilya Grigorik | January 7, 2007, 9:32 am

    I just came across a very interesting article on this subject:

    Thought you may be interested. :)

    Reply to comment

  2. Posted by Freakman | January 7, 2007, 5:58 pm

    Sounds kind of like an interesting project. Do they go into any more depth, ie. do they go past evaluating each other, and actually help/provide tools to programmers/gamers whatever? I get the impression that you were’nt all that impressed with this.

    I wouldn’t mind checking this out firsthand, if you have an invitation to spare.

    Reply to comment

  3. Posted by Tony | January 7, 2007, 6:09 pm

    Ilya – thx for the link, I was indeed interested.

    Freakman – You’re right, I wasn’t terribly impressed with this. One could probably find a new buddy interested in the same games, but it really seems lacking for video game developers. I’ve send you an invite, so you can check it out for yourself.

    I have another one left for anyone interested.

    Reply to comment

  4. Posted by Freakman | January 7, 2007, 8:36 pm

    After checking this out, I am also not terribly impressed. This is seeming like a site where popularity is the main thing. For example, when you go to check out other developers, there are listings for four different things: Most Recent, Most Popular, Most Viewed, and Highest Rated.

    I also have 2 invites if anyone else would like to check it out.

    Reply to comment

  5. Posted by Nate | February 8, 2007, 1:04 pm

    I would be interested to know what you think could be done to improve the site for developers. Right now, you have the ability to publish your game prototypes through GGE and get a large base of users testing them. There are also a large number of developers on the site right now, most of whom are searchable by the skill sets they have. There are also various game developer’s groups (although group functionality is still limited right now). What about GGE is turning you off?

    Reply to comment

  6. Posted by Tony | February 8, 2007, 8:19 pm

    Well not so much publish as create a profile with a “download” link. Hosting and distribution methods are still left up to the individual developer.

    Being searchable by skill sets is not very obvious. Using the search box for the exact string like “Programmer – Advanced” works, but one really has to know all such options before hand (which are quite general as well). The system is geared towards “top” developers – most popular, most experience, most kudo’d…

    One issue I find is that developer’s games like Forces (congrads Adam) are listed next to fan entries for Spore and Halo 3. When I’m looking for tangible projects and developers, this just creates noise.

    Throwing a bunch of gamers and developers together is a promising idea, but there needs to be a catalyst to promote inovation and learning. You don’t have to write all your own content, just provide a system for tutorials and resources. Maybe also something to facilitate cooperation between developers of similar skill levels or goals – some project team match system perhaps?

    It just seems that for new and aspiring game developers, there isn’t much to be done. Where should they start? Though I realize that the Great Games Experiment is still in beta, so maybe some of the above suggestions will be considered. Thank you for asking.

    Reply to comment

  7. Posted by Wes | February 20, 2007, 6:14 pm

    I would like to have one of the invites if you still have one…

    Reply to comment

  8. Posted by Tony | February 20, 2007, 6:40 pm

    Wes – I’ve emailed you an invite.

    And since the Great Games Experiment is pulling this whole gmail system of invites, I now have 7 more left.

    Reply to comment

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