|February 17th, 2010|
- A plugin to allow deploying games written as standalone titles. Torque2d is referenced as the tech for the first title, a poker game.
- A virtual world hub called CenterPort, with a “semi-3d world”, minigames, ad-driven quests, housing, and microtransactions.
- A social network. It looks like this will be tied into the OpenPlay network, which is a separate endeavor by other well-known ex-Originites that tries to develop an industry standard for social play data portability.
The requirement for a plugin will have all the same barriers all the other plugin efforts do, of course. (Unity is doing well, but it is having to fight hard for every user). One big example — it’s Windows only right now.
This is a play for anticipating the curve on the social gaming market lifecycle. The bet being made is that social gamers will ask for greater sophistication over time. It’s a good bet that this trend is valid — even “simple farming games” like the new sequel to Happy Farm feature farming, apartment decorating, and a central town; and Island Paradise has merged in a cooking game… showing that greater complexity is well on the way.
That said, the Facebook game explosion — social gaming in general — is more a phenomenon of distribution than it is one of game design or technology. The users tend to be older women, and not that technologically sophisticated. Social gamers don’t care what technology you use. They only care how long the loading time was and whether it worked perfectly on the first try.
So the plugin choice may be banking on the wrong aspect of the trend. You don’t need a better rendering engine to make richer games.