MyGameBuilder.com was a very interesting first experiment in how to create a more flowing way to build and share games than anything that had existed before. It was written using some pretty new technologies at the time (Flex 2, Ruby on Rails, Amazon S3 and Amazon EC2), but has been quite robust over time and we’ve seen some amazing and quite unexpectedly creative games appear on the site. We’ve been keen to improve MGB for some time, but we hit some real limitations based on the technologies we’d chosen, so we’ve spent a lot of time considering what to do next, and getting on with some other projects we have that actually pay the bills
MGB was designed with the following key principles in mind:
1) Positive environment. Everything you do is part of your growth - you are learning, practicing and gaining skills. It’s like RPG levelling but in real life, and the system & community should help you set goals, then celebrate and recognize your achievements.
2) Learning from others. You can see how anyone makes their game, see how they did it, and apply those techniques in your game.
3) Flow. It’s a single toolchain that takes you from drawing your first pixel to publish the game to the web - you never need to use any other tool or get hampered by the ‘edges’ between different systems. Just get into the zone and go...
4) Creativity. While we didn’t provide code, the ‘actor abilities’ were quite low level and the community found amazing ways to make things happen like Cutscenes and health bars. Amazing. We didn’t allow any art to be imported, so the focus was on what you can make, not what you can import from the web.
We like everything in MGB and we are going to keep the above principles, but in our next system, OurGameBuilder.com. we are going to add the following
5) Richer games. We will support multiplayer, game saving, 3d, sound/music and coding. Yup. We are taking no prisoners this time around. We will still have an emphsis on RPG/adventure games, and we will support MMOs being written.. as a result, we need to enable...
6) Teamwork. It was quite tricky to work in teams on games in MGB, but we saw it done a lot and the results were impressive. OGB will be designed for team collaboration on projects - with versioning, chat, collaborative editing and integrated forum & mail, and doc/wiki systems using a single unified account.
7) Monetization. We’ve had a lot of ideas and suggestions about how to allow people to make money from their skills or games, or spend money to get help or even play games and we will build in a system to enable this.
8 ) Performance. We did almost no perf work on MGB.. no caching even. We will put in a real caching model this time so that working on large projects is much faster.
OGB is going to be completely written from scratch with not a single line of code from MGB. It will allow MGB assets to be imported. but it won’t be compatible with MGB games. For those who like tech details, it will be written in Silverlight 4, then will move to Silverlight 5 (which has fast 3D support) as soon as that releases. It will still be in-browser and it will need to always run online. Ther server will be Azure/WCF and there will be a Windows Phone 7 app that goes along with it and will be useful for both game builders and game players.
This will be a roughly 2 year project before everything is working. It has started. Welcome to OGB.
Foo & Wish, Jan 2nd 2011