The last time I launched a Virtual World (MMO) BETA was 12 years, 3 months and 13 days ago. For those curious Club Penguin's BETA launched August 22, 2005. This has been a long journey for me. I have forgotten how much I love creating safe spaces for your imagination. Each world I create is a digital toy box, full of interesting characters and exciting games. This world is yours, enjoy! Thanks for playing
For the past couple months I have been working a number of new virtual worlds or MMO games. Each world will include a character to customize, items to collect, events to attend, a world to explore and games to play. One of the worlds is Epic Snails. I have been teasing the idea of snail tanks for years and finally decided to make it happen.
Epic Snails is pretty simple. Your a snail, and you can climb and move anywhere. The world is divided into two parts. The secret base (or headquarters) and the battle field. In the base you will explore, buy items and meet new friends. In the battle field you will join a team to earn coins and experience points.
A good games take time. Epic Snails started as a number of doodles, then became Box of Snails. Box of Snails allowed me to develop a 3D character and experiment with the "look" or style of the world. Last year, I created another experiment called Experimental Coffee. My goal was to test the multiuser server and backend services. Then I waited for a team.
I decided to partner with the team that created Battle Bears the award winning mobile shooter game. I have really enjoyed getting to know the SkyVu team and I am excited to show you their work. We still have a lot to do, but we are confident that we can launch the BETA this NOVEMBER 2017.
Next week we are officially announcing the game. Thanks for following and continue to provide feedback on any of my games.
Here is a little secret, between hiking, biking, skiing and being the CEO of Hyper Hippo Games, I do find time to create Virtual Worlds. Usually I spend a couple hours in the morning, drinking coffee and rewriting all my code.
Today my focus is on items, catalogues and shops. I believe collecting is a core feature of virtual worlds. Overall I am planning a simple system. As a designer it is my job to reduce the users friction whenever possible. Virtual shops can be painful and many users will abandon games because of poor shop and catalog design.
Wow, another amazing week! I have been busy working on a number of things. Here is a quick update.
The majority of my work has been developing a single server platform for all my Virtual Worlds and MMO games. I am slowly working through the core features and how they will work together. My goal is to create a single server for HTML5, Steam and Mobile. For those interested I am using: Node.js and PlayFab. Brackets is my preferred editor.
Started working with a group of talented 3D Artists and Animators this week. My goal is to bring the critters to life. I expect to share more in a couple weeks. 3,500 people have pre-registered their nicknames in the first 30 days. If you would like to pre-register your name please visit: http://boxcritters.com
Unnamed Snail Tank MMO
I have partnered with the team that created Battle Bears to create my Snail Tank MMO. The idea is pretty simple. Your a snail with a tank cannon. Players will collect items, equip their snail and battle.
A couple years ago I started Hyper Hippo a game studio in Kelowna, British Columbia Canada. Through a series of endless twists and turns the studio created more than 80 games in the last 5 years. Many of the games failed, but we learned a lot! We learned how to test, we learned how to validate, we learned about the mobile market and we learned how to listen to our the fans.
I am disappointed with the recent announcement from Disney about the closing of Club Penguin. I do not see a need to close Club Penguin. I understand that Flash is being retired, but the Web is not dead. With a couple clicks the current Flash World could become a stand-alone Desktop Application. Look to Minecraft. I am a designer, designers solve problems.
Two worlds collide!
For years I have been struggling to create a new Virtual World that would live up to the success of Club Penguin. I have watched a generation of players move from the web browser to the mobile device. I have learned that mobile is very different then the desktop. Yet both are key to the success of a modern Virtual World.
Time to be honest. When I heard the pitch for Hyper Hippo's AdVenture Capitalist, I thought it was a joke. How could a game about squeezing lemons and progress bars be fun? I was wrong. Very wrong. AdVenture Capitalist has more than 20 million downloads and continues to generate a couple million dollars a year. A quick glance at the Apple Charts and AdVenture Capitalist is one of the top 25 games downloaded. AdVenture Capitalist continues to surprise me and Hyper Hippo has become a leader in Idle Clicker games.
The secret to Idle Clickers is that they are popular with the "core" game audience. This is the same audience that plays MMOs like World of Warcraft and Virtual Worlds like Club Penguin. When you distill an Idle Clicker you will see an deep gameplay that drives Completion (collect stars, complete all missions), Power (leveling up, getting powerful gear) and a strong pull to see what you missed.
I am a leader in Virtual Worlds and Hyper Hippo is a leader in Idle Clicker games. It is time to create an Idle Virtual World.
But how will it work?
I don't know.
Back in January I decided to get back to work. My goal is to create a number of Virtual Worlds, MMOs and Idle Games that explore this idea. Each will focus on a unique set of features and social communities. Yet, they will all share a common server and development pipeline.
Here is a list of the worlds that I am working on:
Box Critters - This is a Virtual World similar to Club Penguin. You will create a character, explore the world, collect items and meet new friends. The economy will be different. You will collect coins and items with an idle generator. Help create this world and reserve your nickname. Visit: http://boxcritters.com
Unnamed MMORPG-Lite - Many years ago I ran a BBS Door game called Legend of the Red Dragon. I have always wanted to create a simple MMORPG where you create a hero, go on adventures, collect loot and save the village. This game has been fun to develop, and I look forward to sharing it with you soon.
Unnamed Snail Tank MMO - For years I have had an idea of Snail Tanks. Hey I'm RocketSnail! This is a little word where you create a snail and battle with your friends. I have partnered with another studio to develop this game and expect to begin testing on Steam in a couple months.
2017 looks like an exciting year, and I look forward to sharing my new worlds with you. Got questions, tweet me on Twitter @rocketsnail
Many of you have been following me on Twitter and Facebook and I have been posting a series messages about my secret project call "coffee". The idea behind coffee is to start small and create a single multiuser space for desktop and mobile. My goal is to develop the following core features:
- Server - I am using a Photon server to connect all the players.
- Triggers - Triggers are locations in the scene that trigger an event. I currently have triggers that will move the player, start animations, open doors, activate monsters and change the player.
- Accounts - I am currently working with PlayFab to develop accounts. Accounts allows each player to save their player profiles, characters, items and stats.
- Chat - I am currently working on a couple ideas for chat. My goal is to create a messaging stream that will allow players to communicate when they are on and offline.
My big vision is to create a Virtual World with MMO features and activities.
Added Analytics to my little MMO. One step closer for you to play around. Most game developers miss this step. It is critical that you know what is going on in your game. Imagine a submarine navigating without sonar. There are many great solutions out there. Try Unity Analytics, Google Analytics or Game Analytics. Next: Monsters or NPC characters.
I continue to be one of the curious and determined kids. The number of stories that I hear from kids that grew up with Club Penguin inspires me to create more. I have had the opportunity to meet Michael. Amazing story. Be curious. Create something.