April 7, 2008
You will be forgiven for thinking Paul and myself had dropped off the face of the earth, given the lack of posts on the blog and the shortage of major upgrades to the site, but we have been working, honest!
After returning from San Fransisco we have been very busy planning out what we intend to do this year on the Casual Collective. We have also just moved into a nice new office, hired ourselves a full time PHP programmer, almost completed 2 Facebook applications and are currently producing an advergame for an upcoming film, so it has been quite a busy couple of months. Read the rest of this entry »
December 9, 2007
That’s right folks… It was 145 days ago we wrote our fist ever line of code and over 2,500 man hours of blood, sweat and temper tantrums later… The Collective is LIVE! The site is now free for all to use and register! So head on over to The Casual Collective and get your game on! (after you have read the rest of this blog post of course)
Casual gaming meats social networking, and gets jiggy with it!
We are not just another flash game portal that just lists games that it finds on the web. Read the rest of this entry »
August 15, 2007
Since update 5.0
- We have purchased the unlimited connections license for the games server (the software the game uses to talk to the server) we also upgraded to the ‘pro’ version which lets us send much smaller packets of data between the client and the server and is also more secure.
- We re-wrote the way in which the games talk to the server (again) to greatly reduce the occurrences of lost scores and false disconnects and also make it more secure.
- We consolidated the member upgrade options to a single package. There is no more Silver or Gold, Silver now gets the works!
- We decided that the site will now launch as an invitation only system where you can only join if you are given an invite key by an existing member, we did this to keep the growth steady and to help keep the current close knit feel the private beta has.
- We added Country ‘super groups’ which will enable members to see how their score compares to the rest of their country. More importantly it will make playing games and chatting with people who speak your own language a snip!
- All members can now create groups, they can even password protect them to control who they let join which is great for school/college/work groups.
Some preemptive answers to questions I am sure you have:
- All those who register before we go live will be let in when we go live.
- Each user gets unlimited invites, however they are limited on the number of pending invites they can have at any one time.
- People who are invited also get unlimited invites.
- Even though Silver now has all the benefits of Gold it still has the same cost
- We do not have an exact launch date & time, but we are still aiming for this week.
That’s all I can think of right now.
If you have any questions just post a comment and I will be glad to answer it as best I can.
August 11, 2007
Paul and I have been working our proverbial asses off over the last couple of weeks (I for one have only had 25 hours sleep in the last 5 days) but it has been worth it as we are very close to going public with the Casual Collective Beta!
We were going to launch this Friday (10th) but we only had a license for 500 connections on the comms server and we thought if we got Dug this would not be enough to see us through the opening weeks, so we are just waiting for our unlimited user license to arrive via email. Part of the upgrade will also let the game talk directly to the server instead of via scripts so there should be a huge drop in any score posting related bugs.
If we get the license and the upgrade goes well we should be launching on Monday (13th) if not very soon after. As soon as we do I will post on here so (if you have not already) hook up with this blogs RSS feed to be one of the first through the doors.
See you in the Collective
August 4, 2007
We started the week by opening the private beta and letting people into the Collective, the first 20 or so were Friends of ours and then after that it was on a first-register first-invited basis as we worked our way through the registration list. All seems to be going well, we had some pretty funny bugs in the MPDTD game which Paul sharply fixed but other than that it has mostly been event free.
This afternoon we invited our 1,000th member. Out of the 1,000 invited only 400 have logged in, which seems a little low considering all email addresses were validated, and as they all registered on day one you would think they would be the most eager to use it. Nevermind, it has been good that the influx of players was steady as we were able to keep on top of bug reports, and even with only 400 responding it is pretty easy to get other people to join your game with around 30 to 50 on line at any one time.
For those of you who have not yet had your invite email I made a super quick YouTube video which should give you some idea as to how the site and game look and function. I put in some footage of Paul leaking (which is quite rare) and then the look on his face at the end of the video, priceless. We have also encouraged the beta players to blog & make videos, so keep an eye out for those.
Both Paul and I took part in an interview for Business 2.0 a couple of weeks ago, the interview is now online and talks about our games, how we both started out, and our plans for the Collective.
If next week goes as well as this week we should be opening our doors to everyone very soon! but don’t quote me on that :o)
July 27, 2007
Just a little update to the update. Now that we have a few friends play testing MPDTD I have started to balance the game for multiplayer. I have already had to nerf one tower quite a lot so expect the towers to not have exactly the same stats that the single player towers do. I added in a couple of player-to-player weapons yesterday and they are proving to be quite fun judging from how much enjoyment I get when Dave shouts at me for using them on him :D. We are aiming for 5 player abilities in total and I’d suggest not sitting next to the person you are using them on!
The site itself is getting close to being beta ready and Dave has done a fantastic job so far on it. The whole process of finding and joining games is very elegant. When I think about all the code that has to run when a player clicks that ‘join’ button I’m surprised it works at all, especially as half the code is mine :o).
We are hoping to start opening up the site early next week by initially inviting up to a 100 or so players from our forums and other places. Once the site is stable with that load we will open it up further.
I am going to nag Dave this weekend to put up a gameplay video so you guys can take a look.
July 25, 2007
Better late than never right?
We kicked off last week by letting people register a username, considering there was noting else you could do on the site this has gone pretty well with an average of 495 accounts been created each day since the 14th.
The site has started to look like a finished product with areas been completed to what I would consider functional enough to call ‘Beta’. The friends list, which is now called ‘Your collective’, is probably the most important and innovative part of the site. It is basically a list of friends that updates to show you who is on line, and if any of them join or start a multiplayer game it alerts you and lets you join them in the same game with a single click. If you don’t have any friends :o( then you can use the game lobby to find and join games, much in the same way you do in ‘real’ games. Hopefully you will find some people you enjoy playing with and add them to your collective so you can join them in future games.
The MPDTD game development has gone well, there was a few days where Paul was either trying to track down a pesky bug or fighting with Flash (which seems to get very unstable with large classes) but all is well now. He is working on a new game mode which is a kind of ‘Super weapon’ mod that lets you attack the other players mazes and do other cool things, should be quite fun :o)
We are testing the site and game with some friends (that we know in the real world) and when everything is a bit more polished we will start letting people in to join us, we don’t have a definite launch date in mind, but we’re thinking days not weeks. \o/
July 14, 2007
What a fun week! The site and game have come on leaps and bounds. As early as Tuesday Lunchtime Multi P layer Desktop TD (MPDTD) was at a stage where
Paul and I could play Paul could pwn me. We also had some 3-way action with Paul, his Wife and I, oooh errrr :o) Can’t wait to try it out with 4 players. We also setup an account with Group Hub which is a free service (for the basic package) that lets us set to-do items, write notes, set milestones and generally help keep us on target.
The way the game was going to work multi player changed on Monday over a cup of Tea in Paul’s kitchen :) The original idea was to have it so every time you killed a creep it spawned a ghost of itself for the other players, however this would not scale well and could end up with 100′s of creeps in a maze which would be laggy. We changed all this and now the idea is that the first person to complete a wave gets bonus points and triggers the next wave for all players, regardless of how many creeps the other players have left to kill! Of course if you go for a quick kill to overlap the waves for the other players you are probably not making a good maze so are in for a harder late game. This also scales well in terms of number of players, so even though we are aiming for 2 to 4 players we could change this to 10+ in the future.
The site is now at a point were people can register, add friends to their MSN style buddy list, send PM’s and create and join groups. Still quite a bit to do before I would consider it Beta. Group home pages, editable profile pages, and the all important games pages to name a few, but progress is going at a pace so not long now. The competition to design our logo is closed to entries and now open for voting, so go register, vote and have a say in what image will be burning into your monitor :o)
When we have the game more finished I will do my usual YouTube thing so you can all have a sneak peak at what to expect.