Pure Pwnage Gamer Army
- Classified Memo -
Date: October 3rd, 2009
Subject: The Empire Game
Hello Gamer Army,
On Tuesday, October 13th, we will be launching the first external beta test for the multiplayer flash game that's been in development these past two years - The Empire Game. We're going to be adding approximately 200 testers from the community and it seemed obvious to start with our diligent Gamer Army as we want super-ultra-mega quality testing.
The Empire Game is a massively-multiplayer turn-based empire-building strategy game. It is played through any web browser (hopefully) that has the latest Adobe Flash plug-in installed. Players receive turns over time and spend those turns advancing their empire by acquiring land, performing research, building military units, trading with teammates, and waging war on enemies. Winning teams are determined by the sum of their teammates Power - a score based on each player's total land, people and military stength.
If you're interested in playing and helping us test, please send a PM to the forum account TheEmpireGame. Please include in the contents:
1. Your desired account name
2. An email address you check
We will be accepting those with the highest GA rank at top priority. If you're accepted, you will receive an email with the appropriate link and a password. These accounts will be activated on the 13th. All testers are expected to submit reports for any bugs they encounter and to provide their suggestions/criticisms on the mechanics, UI, balance, etc. on the forums or via email. So please, sign up only if this is something you're legimately interested in playing! Personally, I have a lot of fun with this genre and find it very addicting. Although it does not require any "uber micro", it takes a lot of strategy, team-work and political skillz to win.
Testers will receive detailed play instructions prior to the 13th. I'll be responding to questions in this thread and I'll continually update this first post.
"I'm a little confused though, it sounds like Evony a bit, but you said: "Winning teams are determined by the sum of their teammates Power - a score based on each player's total land, people and military stength." So does that mean you can win... are there like matches, I don't really understand how it works. What's the objective basically."
There are individual game "rounds" which all have a finite length. Currently we're testing at 1 turn every 2 hours and a total round length of 360 turns, which is around 1 month. However we have plans for things like a "Weekend Blitzkrieg!" round which starts Friday night and ends Sunday night, etc. There will be many, many variations in the round settings to allow a lot of variety. I've always been a fan of reset-cycles in games like these, otherwise players feel like they could never catch up and have a fair shot. In this case, even if you were to join a late game, you can have the objective to learn as much as you can and plan your uber-strat for the next round.
There is a 'meta-game' that wraps around all the game rounds and records your lifetime achievements/performance, with some accompanying meta-leaderboards. This is the really "casual" part of the experience. There are trophies you can earn inside game rounds which get stored outside of the game and you can show off in your display case on the forums, etc. Your meta-level does not affect your in-game empire's strength. Everyone has a fair shot at winning, which has always been and will continue to be a major priority.
"I'm curious how you're going to make any money off of this, if you're following a game like Evony, then I'm wondering if you're going to have some kind of cash shop? Or is the game going to cost money to buy/play when it's finished?"
We use a virtual currency system called "Fun Coins". Joining a game deducts Fun Coins from your Fun Bank. Players begin with X amount of coins when they register an account, and this amount allows them to join at least one game right away. You receive Fun Coins over time naturally, and it you'll always be able to afford to play in one or two games at a time. Because games typically last one month, this means everyone can be playing in at least one game, often two, simultaneously and for free. You can also spend coins on other things, like anonymity inside game rounds (not associating your meta account name with an in-round empire name), pimping your trophy case, and other stuff like that. If you want more Fun Coins immediately, you can always buy some from the Fun Store. We do not sell gameplay advantages because I hate it as a competitive person. I would never play games where the more you pay the more you pwn, and I want to be excited to play my own game
"how long does a game last? an hour, a month, a year, forever?"
The "normal" game round lasts one month right now, but in the long-run popularity / the community will determine what becomes "normal".
"This game doesn't sound exactly like you'd think of turn-based though, since he said: "Players receive turns over time and spend those turns" so presumably if you didn't spend your turns, they would accumulate, whereas most turn based games aren't really like that.[/quote]
Currently turns accumulate with a cap of 24 (so 2 days at 2 hours per turn).
"I find myself a slave to travian, and I am ranked 300 out of 7200."
While you can certainly log in every 5 minutes all day every day to check up on your empire, write messages, trade, time an attack, etc., players playing for 10 minutes every 24 hours won't be significantly disadvantaged versus players playing 10 minutes out of every 11.
"Will we see Vasectomy?"
The great Vasectomy is not, at this time, in the game. From a design perspective, I felt that to fully explore the gameplay potential of the V'SOK would require graphics processing architecture and user interfaces that do not yet exist. Perhaps in the DX12 era.
"The game seems similar to inselkampf, Jarett did you play IK lol?"
Nope, haven't heard of that one. However I expect players will see many similarities with other games in this genre.
"so is this game going to be contained in the purepwange site, or is it going to be on its own, and where will the forums be, since I assume the game will have separate forums from PP?"
The game will have its own website and forums, which will run independently of purepwnage.com. The forums will be available to the testers starting on the 13th and be found on the official game site.
"So basically you want to limit the amount of rounds people can be involved in at a time, and you said a round is 1 month, so is a round a game, or do you like join a game and there are rounds in that game?"
The average game round is 1 month long, but some game rounds may be shorter and some longer. A "game round" = "a game" = "a round", there's no difference. It can be likened to say, DoTA - everytime a new game round starts, everyone starts from the beginning again. There is no limit to the number of game rounds you can participate in at a time, only a limit to how many you play in at a time for free. If you're willing to pay extra, you can play in every single round and spend hours a day playing... but it still won't provide a competitive benefit in-game, only help you to place higher on the "fun" meta leaderboards that "competitive" players won't worry about (i.e. highest total trophy weight, # of trophies, most attacks launched, etc.).
"Is everything you buy with Fun Coins, aside from joining rounds, basically just aesthetics and other things that don't affect gameplay like anonymity? Do you host rounds, and are there special rounds you can host only if you pay fun coins?"
Yes, coins do not provide in-game advantages. They allow you to join additional games, which will help if you care about the "fun" leaderboards, but they won't affect your team's ability to win a specific game round.
"how many players can be in a round, can players join a round that's already in progress, can you play private rounds, is there a friends list to keep track of your friends, can you join a round with your friends and how do the teams work? Do you just get put on teams, is it a FFA and you can make alliances with whoever you want, how does that work?"
The number of players in a round is determined by the round settings. We haven't had enough testers to find a "sweet spot" yet, but I'm hoping to have rounds post-launch that range from 250 players to 50,000 players. It will also depend on how our back-end holds up.
Private rounds are something we're considering as an additional Fun Coin feature, but have not implemented anything like that yet. Same goes with friends lists. There are however forums, which should be more than adequate for communicating outside of the game for now.
When joining a game round, you can either choose to randomly join a team (it will place you on the most full team that can still accept a member), manually join a team, or create your own team. If you create your own team, you can password it so that only your friends can join. In-game you can make alliances with whoever you like, but be warned... someone needs to end #1
"I'd actually like to know what it was that inspired you to make this game."
I used to run a BBS out of my bedroom all through junior and senior high school. I was addicted to multiplayer text based games similar to The Empire Game. When the Internet emerged and people tried to port over the genre, I felt they didn't do a very good job and I stopped playing. I've always toyed with the idea of just creating one myself so that I'd have something to play, and when I met the talented guys on the FunForged team and realized the potential was there to make it a reality, we did.
"Just a quick question, is there a guild system? So like GA can stick together and pwn the world"
There are no "guilds" in the game. Most team sizes are usually 4-10 players, so it's more like a round of CS or DoTA, except you're playing against hundreds of other teams. You can certainly have informal larger alliances, but again, only one team can finish first
"You're not going to make us choose between The Empire and Starcraft II if by some luck, Blizzard finally lets it out?"
Nope, because I'd never make myself choose between them! The idea is that TEG can be played in just minutes a day, but gives you something to think about and check up on while at work, or school, etc.
"I hear this works on mobile phones? I assume by "latest" Adobe Flash that it's 10, so the PSP and other hardware that don't support Flash10 won't work?"
We are developing a mobile version of the game for smartphones, but it won't be available at launch. If your phone can handle Flash 10, you can play already but it won't be optimized.
"So are you and the rest of the PP crew going have a team and pwn the crap out of everyone?"
I can't speak for everyone, but a good chunk of us will be playing and pwning the crap out of everyone...
"is the game totally separate from PP/ROFLMAO then, like no affiliation at all? I'm kind of wondering then who from PP/ROFLMAO is involved in the game and what kind of roles did you guys play in the development. It kind of sounds like it's just you, but either way were you giving ideas and direction, or other stuff too?"
ROFLMAO helped finance the development, but it is not a "ROFLMAO" project. There will be a credits screen available with specifics sometime during the beta.
"can people host games like in dota and choose any settings they want?"
Currently the game rounds are created only by us, however we plan to experiment with user-created games in the future.
"is there a time period when the game is started where people have a grace period so they can join without any disadvantages from joining late, like maybe 24 hours before you can start doing anything so you can get a decent amount of people in?"
You will have up to the 3 days to join a game from the time it starts before you would start at a disadvantage. Mid-game, you have 2 days before you start missing turns.
"I was wondering will there be a map where you will be able to see the other players?"
Nope! There is no "geography" in TEG - it is a 1-dimensional universe where all empires are equidistant. Picture that in your head!
I feel that separating players with physical space in a game like TEG only serves to localize the combat and reduce the "massively" multiplayer feel. In TEG, any empire at any moment can attack you just as easily as any other. In the current "normal" game settings, military attacks to/from any empire have a 2-hour travel time (1 hour in each direction).
"Might this evolve into a fully open beta before its full release?"
Yup! There will be an Open Beta following the Community Beta. When we've solidified the date it will be announced on the main page of purepwnage.com and on the game's official website.
"You've said testing starts on the 13th but when is the release date for all of the rest of us?"
When it's ready!
Keep in mind that all of this is subject to change based on feedback.