Friday, September 16, 2016

"Missions mode" mode in Ghost 1.0

Dear reader:

Today I'll write about videogame design. In particular, about a new mode I'm starting to work in my game Ghost 1.0.

The "Missions mode"

The "missions mode" is a set of simple, short and independent missions. The duration will be around 5 to 15 minutes each one, having a different and unique goal.

Unlike other main modes (classic and survival), this one will have no story, no skill tree, and there will not be progression in the character (the game will not be saved).
This mode is basically focused in playing small games when time is low, or just when the player doesn't want to play something complex.


Something I usually enjoy as a player is to be overpowered, said in other words, to be a killing machine and destroy my enemies just by breathing. 
As a player this is really fun, but as a game designer it's a total nightmare because it breaks the rhythm of the game ruining the gameplay.

However, the advantage of being short independent missions is that I can let the player be overpowered and have fun in this way, as it will not have repercussions in further missions because the game is never saved.  It's like the groundhog day: no matter what you do, tomorrow you'll start from scratch.

As an example, the goal of the first mission I'm working in is to collect 20 drones.
At first the player starts destroying whatever with the basic gun. But the more drones he picks up, the bigger the cloud of drones grows, becoming a increasingly powerful weapon that destroys any enemy.

This is a picture of the cloud of drones that will follow you:


I'm thinking in creating 3 achievements per mission. One should be just to finish the mission, and two more just to do something specific within it.
In the example of drones, an achievement could be "not to hurt enemies with your gun", therefore, let drones annihilate all enemies in all rooms. I tested it and the gameplay actually changes.

Diversity and fun

My goal is to create diverse and, overall, fun missions. I'll do my best to surprise you in each one... and maybe I'll troll the player a little bit (it's one of my best hobbies, bwa ha haaa!!)

Of course, any idea for a missions is welcomed. Should you have one, just leave it in a comment.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 12, 2016

What's up with G2a?

A couple of month ago I complained about G2A in Twitter.
Now that I have a blog, I can write about it:

What is g2a?

Turns out that it is some sort of Ebay where SteamKeys are sold.

The official idea is a website where, besides other types of sell, one can sell spare Steam Keys.
Wait... Spare SteamKeys? Who the hell has Steam Keys and are not using them?
Oh, of course! People that for instance purchased a Humble Bundle and he already owned some games, or simply he doesn't like them.

This is all mere speculation. (very optimistic by the way). But there are other real ways to obtain SteamKeys:

The deadbeat

It's just someone who visit Steam, searches a game that just came out and emails the dev studio asking for SteamKeys pretending to be a Youtuber, Twitcher or, even better, a curator of a huge community group. The standard procedure is to write asking for keys to review the game and publish it making the game more known. Well, once he has the keys, the first movement it to sell them in g2a. A fake moderator of a group can ask for 20 keys, should be sold at 5€ each he can get up to 100€ with that single game. And what's worse, he is preventing the studio to earn that money.

This happened to me with Ghost 1.0: I discovered that someone was selling SteamKeys in G2A. Thanks to Twitter, people who purchased the game in G2A wrote me and sent me the keys. I matched them with all given keys and found out the two smartasses who were selling them. One was a "fake youtuber" with an own channel and the other a fake group administrator.

It turns out that they already sold just half of them. I asked Steam to invalidate the rest, but as they did not accept (they only do this in really bad cases), I just gave them away to followers in Twitter.

The Swindler

The worst way to obtain SteamKeys is to find a game that has its own selling portal (the studio sells the game in their own web), and use stolen credit cards to purchase, for instance, 3.000 units of the game.

Once the Swindler has the keys, he inserts them in G2A and similar webs to get the maximum profit possible. Should he sell them at $5, he could earn up to $15.000.

And the worst of this way is the following:
Should the game be sold 10€ each unit, the total amount paid with stolen credit cards should be $30.000, so the studio earns $30.000 stolen to any unfortunate soul, but just thinking they earned $30.000 cleanly.
But soon or later, the owners of the stolen credit cards find out that $30.000 are gone. The bank investigates, finds the fraudulent payments and the money is refunded, taken from the studio (that maybe used part of the money to start a new game), plus a penalty fee. So, the studio turns into red numbers (earns $30.000, then these $30.000 are removed and charged with a fee) while the swindler keeps all his money.

This is an example:

What's G2A's fault?

Well, G2A is not the one who is obtaining SteamKeys in an unfair way, but are the ones who are protecting this scum even knowing who they are. They allow them to continue selling keys over and over again.
For instance, there is a guy selling keys of Unepic who has already sold, between other games, around 14.000 SteamKeys. 14.000!

I can understand that someone wants to get a few bucks by selling a few spare SteamKeys but... come on, if someone has already sold thousands of SteamKeys, isn't is suspicious?
Well, looks pretty clear that it's more profitable than suspicious.

What happens when you complain to G2A?
In my experience they asked me the list of SteamKeys to be removed from their database. My problem (the same than anyone else) was that, from all keys given to press and youtubers, I had no idea which of them were inserted in G2A. So I asked them to remove any key from Ghost 1.0 and Unepic from their store. I was answered literally "We can’t prevent other people from selling their keys, this is what our business is all about".

I read other experiences from other dev studios, like "they asked us to sell our game in their shop, cheaper that other sellers, so people will purchase them to us."

Summarizing, G2A is a paradise for those who sell stolen SteamKeys.

Where to buy?

If you wish to purchase one of my games, just do it in Steam, gog or Humble Store, or directly in the online shops of consoles. Never from G2a or similar webs.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Fake Youtubers

Dear friends and especially game developers:

Recently, thanks to webs like G2A, the will to obtain SteamKeys from developers to sell them later is spreading like wildfire. One of them is the "Fake Youtuber":

These are the two types of  "Fake Youtubers" I found so far:


The modus operandi is the following:

You receive an email from a Youtuber asking for Steam keys to play your game and you find out that he has a loooot of followers!! Maybe hundreds of thousands, or million and half. So your eyes shines, you have a heartattack, you recover from it, and you provide him with all the keys he's asking for: Shut up and take my Steamkeys!!! Normally it's one for him to play and a bunch of them for a giveaway in his channel.

Of course who is writing you is not the successful Youtuber, but someone who is pretending to be him.
To check it out, you just have to check the e-mail in the Youtube channel ("more information" tab, then press "See email address" button), and the email you received.

And you may find out that:

1.- Emails don't match. Obviously he is a cheater.

2.- The Youtuber's email is not published (and there is no "see email" button). This is perfect for the fake Youtuber as you can't easily check if the email is legitime. In this case, unless your game is a top seller one, best not to give keys.

3.- Email adresses match... or nearly. Some pretenders use similar e-mail names, by just changing a single letter to make it look the same. You have to check letter by letter.


The modus operandi is the following:

You receive an e-mail froma Youtuber asking for a Steam Key to play your game and upload reviews (which is helpful to make your game a bit more known around the community).
First step is to verify the channel. You find out that the channel has around 1500 followers, a big bunch of videos uploaded of wellknown games, and the email in the channel matches perfectly the email you received.
Since here everything looks ok, and the linnet developer (me the first one) sends him a key... but it is not! It's in truth a "Fake Youtuber", someone who created a valid Youtube account and uploaded stolen videos from other Youtubers. Besides, there must be a way to obtain 1500 followers (No certain idea how it is done, but there could be a web that provides fake followers).

How to unmask them?
Evidence 1.- As videos are stolen, they can't have introductions like "Hello I'm Youtubman, and today I'm going to play Ghost 1.0", because videos are not theirs. Normally gameplays use to include no spoken comments on it (so the developer can't figure out that someone else is speaking).

Evidence 2.- As followers are fake, they can't write comments in videos. And therefore videos have no written comments from people.

So, as a security recomendation, before giving keys, have a chek their videos and their comments.


Luckily these people are not a threat to the economy of the developer, as they're normally just a few cases. However the feeling of being cheated is not nice, so it's ok to be careful when receiving emails from youtubers asking for keys.