Warning: Lots of words.
So a few weeks ago I had this idea for a game. It plays like any normal single player game but with one gimmick - it's not a single player game - the game is controlled by a number of players, with their actions being tallied up and the player character moving in accordance with the majority of commands. If that sounds familiar it's because a few days after I started development this "Twitch Plays Pokemon" thing that works off of a very similar premise took the internet by storm. So on the one hand it's good to know that people are interested in that type of weird meta multiplayer game style; on the other hand it makes what I've been working on seem derivative as all get out. It's not that I'm bitter or something - except that I am in fact totally bitter. But I digress...
So it works similarly to the aforementioned game/experiment/whatever except, instead of using a video stream for viewing and a chat room for relaying commands with around a 20 second delay, it's built from the ground up for this type of gameplay meaning there is far less latency allowing the game to be played in near real-time. My original thought was to make a Mario-style platformer but that seemed like too much of an undertaking for my first game...then the whole Flappy Bird thing happened which gave me the idea of making it like one of the old "Helicopter" style games (I'll admit it is derivative in that sense). So it's essentially a bunch of players controlling a helicopter going up and down through a tunnel, avoiding systematically generated terrain, trying to get the highest score on the leaderboard. Also there's a built in chat and the option to just watch. Also there's an offline version that plays like a regular helicopter game (as if anyone cares about something like that...then again Flappy Bird). It's nearing completion - all that's left to do is test for bugs, fix the bugs, get some decent icons and better looking title text (it's super basic at the moment and I can't art for crap) and set up a dedicated server. I'm posting it to the three forums I frequent (and maybe in a relevant subreddit or something if I don't get at least a few players) in order to get some feedback before I put it up on the Google Play marketplace (and maybe other places...it's made in Unity so a multiplatform release is a definite possibility).
(if you're unfamiliar with Google Drive just right click->download)
The .apk files are the Android builds, the .rar archives are Windows build...whether or not I'll keep the latter around depends on if I can work out a reasonable way to monetize it (I don't exactly see it getting on Steam). "Backseat Pilot" is the main game while "Helicopter 2014" is the offline equivalent. I don't exactly hate the working title however it's not set in stone. Also if anyone can walk me through how the mess of files I end up with when I export to iOS can actually be turned into something usable let me know (I have no idea how that crap works; I was expecting some form of package file...I don't own any iThings).
- Lag. Probably a substantial amount. For the time being I have it hosted on my personal computer in a non-city area of Australia (I scoff at those who complain about their 10+ megabit connections for less than $100 a month). Because of how light on bandwidth this game is (under 3kbps total up+down per player) and how well it should scale, under ideal conditions, despite my especially shitty upload rate I should be able to host the current 32-player limit with minimal issues. It should be playable from overseas connections...it's just a case of planning your input about 300ms ahead of time. If all goes well there may be regional servers in the future. Maybe. Then again maybe nobody will like it so who knows.
- Downtime. It will go down when I'm making changes, if I lose power or internet access, or if my IP address changes and I have to update the DNS redirect. It should be fine most of the time but we'll soon find out.
- Manual updates. If I have to change anything the server will reject the connection until you download the latest version. I'll keep it in the same place so it's easy to access.
What I hope to get from you:
Play it. See how it handles. Report back with any feedback or bugs you encounter if you can be bothered. But mostly just play it. I want it to be played.