Browser Wars

Erik J | 8 Dec 2005 08:45
Op-Ed - RSS 2.0

I've always been fascinated with browser based games. They're something I could poke at between projects, or tab between when I was supposed to be doing work or listening to a lecture in college. Having an engaging multiplayer game that you could play 5 minutes at a time helped me tide over my gaming addiction when I really didn't have the time to play any game seriously... Or so I thought.

I'm not talking about the casual games that are typically tied to the industry definition of "Casual Gamer". No, these are the soul-sucking, "You only have to do one thing every few hours", "If anything bad happens, you have all day to plot out a strategy" games. Those are the lines my so-called friends fed me when they initially got me to play Hyperiums a few years ago.

I started out with my little planet fiddling around once or twice a day. Before long, I'm involved in grand battles of dozens of players at once. Forming treaties over IRC, writing programs to analyze production numbers, cutting off supply lines, while systematically turning my enemy's planets into black holes. All while screaming about how 3 hours was too quick for a battle to resolve.

And now, they want to make multiplayer RPGs easy to make.

While most browser games I've played have been greatly addicting. They've all pretty much been strategy games. And they're pretty much all custom coded for the particular game. With months/years of effort going into making each one useable by the general public.

I was recently pointed over to this posting regarding embedding a game engine in Drupal. Which would make it easy for people to design content and get it up and running in the style of MUDs. Now, that is of course asking for a lot of random crap to be put out there, but it also opens the door for interactive storytelling with the addictiveness and ease of entry of a browser game.

Of course I may just be thinking that turning a CMS into a game hosting system is really cool.

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