Archive | July, 2009

City Builder Game DRM Burned

The city builder game Dawn of Discovery was released at the end of June and I’ve heard a lot of good buzz about it. It even got a Metascore of 84. It seems like the kind of game I would really like. I almost purchased it but then I noticed some fine print: “TAGESTM 3 machine activation limit.” I was shocked. Some research shows that it has caused a lot of backlash, earning it 1.5 stars on Amazon.com. I wonder, how much this has hurt sales?

After some research I found some hearsay that they’ll raise the restriction if you contact them and are a legitimate user. That’s good, but it still doesn’t easy my fears. I’ve found in general that support issues like that eventual disappear and you are left hanging. I’m the kind of user that plays games for years after they’re release. I’ve installed Medieval Total War countless times. When I buy a game it is more of an investment, and an activation limit reduces its value to me. If it was only $15 to $20 then it might be worth only playing three times. I hope in a year or so it comes out on Steam without the activation limits, and it’ll probably be cheaper too.

I wonder, how will this change Ubisoft’s profit formula?

Update: I’ve heard rumors that the 1.1 patch removed the DRM, but it appears to only apply to European Retail versions.

Iron Roads Retargeted to SilverLight 3.0

The big news today is that Silverlight 3.0 has been released. This is means a change for Iron Roads. I’ve been working with Silverlight 2.0 and could probably finish it just fine without upgrading to 3.0. There is, however, one feature in particular that compels me to retarget to Silverlight 3.0: Out of Browser Support. This allows users to install Iron Roads as a typical desktop or downloadable game. The real killer part? It doesn’t require any extra downloading. Once they install the Silverlight 3.0 plug-in for the browser nothing new is required to run the desktop version.
So if someone plays Iron Roads in the browsers, they can install the desktop version without needing some prerequisites aka long boring downloads. I’m very exited about this feature, and I will probably put together a prototype demonstrating it this weekend.
You might have noticed I didn’t post anything more about the Mini Ludum Dare weekend. That’s because I ended up throwing the towel in. The theme was just too hard for me to make fun. It was an interesting challenge. The lesson I learned is not to take things in such a serious light. Even the most important or serious topic has a lighter side, and that is where games are meant to live.