Online Gangster Game Design Article I (2007)
I've always been fond of strategy games. I'm playing in Inselkampf and fond of the Civilization series, designed two strategy postal games- Casus Belli (16 player version of Empire), Warlord (100 Player- expanded version of Casus Belli- my name is still in the Word copy of the rules on that page!) as well as programmed Zx Spectrum and CBM-64 versions of Empire (from which Casus Belli and Warlord were derived).
I've been thinking for a while of programming and running an online game- free with some modest advertising to offset costs. Another Casus Belli would be nice but an easier game to start with is a gangster game. I like the way Inselkampf is implemented. The time element is quite important as I prefer games that don't occupy all of my time. With Inselkampf, you log in, make a few moves then come back to see the result. Mind you Inselkampf is more of a building game and building takes time.
Hosting and Coding Decisions
Cheap to run - This means really PHP implementation. I'm still torn towards ASP.NET 2.0 with C# as the design tools are generally superior and you can write a lot of the code in desktop applications (and I slightly prefer C# 2.0- to PHP). But PHP hosting is cheap (a fully working hosted website with a few Gigs of traffic a month, Mysql database for about £2 a year! (Shared server). Someone like HostMonster.COM (Signup Link) offers 2,000 GB a month total traffic with multiple domains for $5.95 a month- I've just signed up with them.. I currently use Aventure.com as well My daily blog website Portent.org gets around 350 visitors a day and last month's traffic total was 9GB. Portent has a very large home page (currently 820Kb) because it usually has a week's stories, 21 each with a graphic. Now if I could get a C# 2.0 server with multiple domains and such traffic levels, I could be very tempted.
I prefer the traditional gangster genre- more prohibition, The Mob, Al Capone, or Goodfellas, Godfather and Casino than the modern stuff which seems to revolve around Drugs, Pimps and Hos. A game of building empires. Recruiting gagsters, setting up rackets, bribing cops etc and ventilating the opposition.
Game Design and Development Blog
April 4th 2007
I've started creating the game- the database structure is there though I realised that just one game of 250 players is a bit limiting so I've now added a game field to each of the (currently ten in all) tables.
With 50 x 50 blocks (you can see a bit about the game on the help page) and 9 lots per block that is 22,500 lots with buildings occuping 1,3,4,6 or 9 lots (1x1,1x3, 2x2, 2x3 and 3x3). I worked out all the numbers of shops using Excel. Larger buildings like sports grounds have to be a 3x 3 while bars can be as small as 1x1 or maybe 2x2 lots (or 1x3). The layout is randomly generated.