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  1. 3 points
    Before You Read If you’re planning a game, make sure to read Planning Your Game Part 1: How to get started. If you know how to program and are planning a game, you have applause from this corner. Being able to do things yourself is the most efficient and time-saving route you can take. If you don’t know how to program, I strongly encourage you to learn. Even if you don’t learn to the level that you need to build a game, it will help you better communicate with your programmer, understand their time requirements, and help both of you not be as stressed in your relationship. If you plan to hire a programmer, be sure to read So you want to be a Site Owner, but have no idea anything about Programming … which has a lot of great advice. Note that this guide is written from the standpoint of hiring a programmer but could easily apply if you are programming the game yourself. Project Management Staying organized and having your whole team on the same page is very important in large, long-term projects. Having everything clearly laid out helps the owner, programmer, artist, and moderators to know their responsibilities and deadlines if applicable. There are numerous project management tools out there but I’ll just list a few of my favorites that are free. Teamwork If you only need 1 or 2 projects, Teamwork is the way to go. The free tier includes all features so you can use it to its full potential. Features include time tracking, messages which email to team members, notebooks for ideas and passwords, files, links, timelines and gantt charts, estimated time per task, calendar, and invoices. You get 5 standard users on the free tier but can have as many collaborators as you need. Teamwork can be viewed in task lists or board view. Asana While you don’t have all the features available on the free version of Asana, you aren’t limited to the number of projects you can have. You can also keep up with project status, files, and conversations. You are also not limited to your team members as long as the project is public. Asana can be viewed in task lists or board view. Trello If you’re a fan of the Kanban board, Trello might be for you. It is free to use, and you can link it to Slack if your team uses that for communication. It can only be used in board view. Be aware that boards can be searchable on Google so unless that is your intention, make sure to lock it down. Podio This one was pointed out to me and seems to be a very flexible management tool. It allows you to build lists and customize views. You can choose which lists your team members see which could be handy if you have an art team, programming team, etc. Other free project management tools: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/free-project-management-software Plan/Game Design Document Hopefully by this point, you know what your game is going to be about. It’s a good idea to tell your programmer (either in conversation or through a game design document) the entire plan. Knowing everything up front will help them build with the big picture in mind. If you add a feature down the road when something was hard-coded to save time, they may have to rebuild part of a feature for the new additions. I can’t advocate a game design document enough when planning a game. In Part 1, I linked a game design document resource, but the document could take on any format. As long as it paints a picture of what features that game will have, you’re doing something right. It’s okay if it doesn’t include everything because games are living entities that change drastically over time based on new ideas and player feedback. Phases/Milestones If you have a plan, it’s a lot easier to break that plan down into more manageable pieces. As an African proverb says, “The best way to eat the elephant standing in your path is to cut it up into little pieces.” In other words, you have to set manageable goals for your project. Instead of saying to yourself, “I’m going to build a pet site like Neopets,” you can instead say, “I’m working on the first phase of my project which only includes basic player information.” Instead of tackling Mt. Everest immediately, you know that you first have to pass the trailhead. You know your progress by passing milestones. So you have this big idea but maybe you aren’t sure how to break it up. First of all, make sure your goals and phases are SMART. S - Specific M - Measurable A - Achievable R - Realistic T - Timely This applies to game planning. If you’re here to do it as a hobby when you can for 1 hour per week or per month, this may not apply to you. But if you’re wanting to make progress and release a game to the public by X month in X year, you’ll definitely want to do a bit of forward thinking. If your plan lacks one of the elements above, add it. This will help you and your team by defining expectations for each phase of the project. Real Example Continuing with the kangaroo game from Part 1, Roo Boss, let’s define some phases. Phase Goal Phase 1: Players Players should be able to register, login, and view/edit their profile. They should also be able to manage their money through a bank. Phase 2: Kangaroos (Basics) Players should be able to purchase kangaroos from an NPC, view basic stats and health information, and edit their name and description. Phase 3: Items Players should be able to purchase items from a shop. Items can be of type food (increases kangaroo health), health (repairs damages), or toy (increases kangaroo happiness). Players should be able to give these items to a kangaroo. Phase 4: Images and colors Players should be able to see their unique kangaroo based on color traits. Phase 5: Breeding Players can breed together 2 kangaroos to produce a joey that has color traits from the parents I could keep going with more phases, but I think you get the idea. I prefer to write the goal as something the player will see which also starts to define how you will eventually test and mark this goal as complete. Are you starting to feel better about tackling your massive project? Pet sites are very time intensive and can very easily cause overwhelm, especially if you start thinking in terms of how many hours are put in which can directly translate to costs. How do you plan programming? Now that you have phases, you can figure out programming for each phase individually. Starting with Phase 1, you already know a few things are needed to accomplish the end goal. Here is a list of to-do items or tasks that you could potentially give a programmer. You will need a domain so that you can test. You’ll need to “point” this domain to where your code is hosted. (Recommended: Namecheap) You’ll need hosting for all the code to go on. (Recommended: Digital Ocean or Vultr) Determine if your game will be built in a framework. There is a great breakdown of framework options and why these are a better choice over code from scratch in the So You Want to Be a Site Owner… article. Set up the framework if applicable. Determine the database schema. This is something your programmer will do, but you need to know that this takes time. Determine what the game will look like while it’s in development. I highly recommend a basic bootstrap template (already pre-packaged with Laravel) until there is more to the game. If login and registration comes with the framework, determine if those need to be customized for your game. An example of this is adding a starting money amount to the pre-packaged Laravel registration setup. Build the profile. This will display the avatar, player name, join date, bio, and if they are online. Create a settings page. This will allow the player to edit their name, avatar (only as a URL, not an uploaded file), bio, email, and password. Create a bank page that allows the player to deposit and withdraw money. Note a couple things in this list. Although the goal of “Players should be able to register, login, and view/edit their profile. They should also be able to manage their money through a bank.” seems simple, it requires you to step back a few steps to determine what is required to reach that goal. Since we don’t have anything yet, we have to start from the very first step of setting up a site. Know what your game is built on. The most popular choice right now seems to be PHP and Laravel but there are a ton of options that you could choose. If it is Laravel, read some of the documentation. There is plenty, and you can get a big picture on what has an “easy button” with Laravel. And if it isn’t, find the documentation because there will always be some on a framework. Know the details of each task and provide as many as possible. You can’t say “Build a profile page” and expect someone to read your mind and know which fields to put on it. Define all of the information that should be on every page. Know the logic behind each task. If there is any sort of special algorithm associated with making the game work, know what it is. If you don’t know what it is, ask the programmer to provide documentation. Down the road when a player asks how something is built or calculated, your answer should not be “I don’t know.” Don’t try to build the whole game in a single phase. It’s okay to not do everything associated with a feature. The goal of each phase is to get a version of something that can be tested then marked off as complete. Additions can come with future feature versions. I specified whether a field was a simple URL link which would be stored in the database or uploading a file. Uploading a file means you are managing files on your server which could mean a significant time difference in this quote. You should also know if the programmer decides to outsource files to a storage site such as Amazon or store the files locally on the server. If files are attached to players and stored locally, know that you could potentially have to manage server space and continually upgrade as your game grows. What’s Next? Now that you have a task list for your phase, you can send it to a programmer. Even if you provide as many details as you can, expect there to be some questions. If there aren't any questions, you should question them on why they are not questioning you. The programmer will most likely add or rearrange the task list so that it makes sense to them. This is okay. Sometimes, there are more technical details than what you can possibly account for without knowing how to program. Be aware of any changes and make sure it makes sense to you why things were changed. Ask the programmer to add hours to each task. This is a common practice in the programming world so they should be able to comply with this. If the programmer charges hourly or by task, adding hours will help you associate time and effort, and therefore cost, with each task. It will also define a scope for the phase and allow for there to be some sort of timeline. Without an idea of the effort involved from both sides, estimating timelines would be difficult. Scope Creep Any project is susceptible to scope creep. Scope creep happens when more things are added after a project is started. This could be due to a few reasons and is sometimes unavoidable. You realize you didn’t define all the requirements for the phase. At this point, it would be better to add it to a future phase instead of adding it to this phase. Unexpected complications came up. This could be due to anything from testing taking longer than planned to packages or dependencies not working like originally thought. This happens to even the most senior programmers so be understanding if this is the case. Communication is key in understanding why something could be taking longer than the original quote. The programmer realizes they didn’t account for everything necessary to fulfill a task. This is slightly different from 2 in that it is avoidable with enough planning. However, this also happens because it’s impossible to predict everything. Beginner programmers are more likely to have issues with this. What do you do when a phase is complete? TEST. And test some more. Make sure the phase checks all of your boxes and what is in the original task list. It is YOUR job to make sure that everything is accurate from the player’s point of view. After you test, start planning the next phase. Make sure to talk about it with your programmer so that you can answer any questions and revise the scope and task list if needed before attributing any hours to it. Try not to make task lists too big. A good rule of thumb is to make each one between 5 and 20 hours. If it gets to be more than 20 hours, that’s getting to be more of a mini project all on its own and could become overwhelming and harder to manage. Conclusion Hopefully this helps aspiring game owners who do not know where to get started in the actual build part of their plan. Keep in mind that this is from my perspective and others can have different processes. I’ve written this based on 6 years of experience of working with clients to build scopes for projects anywhere from 5 hours to 1,000+ hours, and 11 years of building games either with a programmer or programming them myself. If you have any questions, we have a great group of programmers in the community who are happy to help if you are unsure about technical details. If you found this guide useful, feel free to suggest other guides like this. I can try my best to write them or find someone who has more expertise on the subject matter. Other Helpful Guides If you're looking for more information, here are some past TGL guides that go with this topic: Feature Development, Scope & Destruction How to Get Started Considerations of Designing for Scale Version Control with Git How to: Keep your project organized using Trello
  2. 3 points
    So you’re ready to start thinking about your own game, huh? The first thing you’ll want to do is figure out what it’s about, right? This is the first post in a series that will go into a bit more detail about how you can plan out your dream game. What type of game is it? Are you thinking that the game will be hyper realistic, fantasy, or a mixture? Will there be pets? Do you care for pets? Do pets have human characteristics? There are generally two types of games in our little corner of the industry, although some games could fall into a grey area. Pet sites Pet sites are more towards the fantasy scale of game development. Is your game set in space? In a volcano? Do pets eat ice cream and spit fire? Can your character do magic? Anything that is outside of reality can fall into the pet site category. Neopets, one of the founding games of this genre, Persistent Browser Based Games (PBBG), is a pet site. Sim games On the other side of the scale is a hyper realistic game that mimics life down to the small details. “Sim” stands for simulation game, and this game could involve animals such as dogs or horses. These animals have realistic genetics and result in colors found in real life. In most games, you also have to feed, water, and train these animals. They fill a gap for the end user by being able to own a virtual pet in lieu of a real one. The grey area Not all games fall into one type or the other. There are some fantasy games that would be classified as sim games - such as dinosaur games like Exhibited or horse games like Celestial Equine. They require care and have some form of breeding and genetic crossing. What is it going to be about? There are a couple different methods to start planning where your game will go. The central pet You can start planning a game by determining the type of pet it will be centered around. For example, I may want to make a kangaroo game. Let’s call it Roo Boss. From setting the pet, I can now say that this game will take place in Australia, the native habitat of the kangaroo. Now that I have my setting, I set the main player goal in the game: to have the preservation that saves the most kangaroos. From there, I would go into planning the preservation mechanics, kangaroo characteristics, and ways players can interact. The setting As a different method, you can start by determining the setting. Perhaps you’ve always been enamored with the mountains. You can choose a mountain setting. From there, you could choose your game goal: to survive. Then based on the setting, you could choose between bears, cougars, mountain goats, etc. This is still gearing more towards a realistic setting. If you want to go more fantastical, you could choose an underworld setting. From there, you could say that all pets are demonic and the goal is to have the highest evil rating possible, through battling, feeding, etc. The goal Finally, you could create a game starting from the goal that players would have. The goal could be to collect and evolve pets, similar to Pokemon. You could then backtrack to think of a unique storyline and setting to make the game your own. … You get the point. When developing your plan, make sure to include these 3 elements: pet/primary focus, setting, and player goals. No matter where you start, you’ll need all 3. Who does it target? Demographics and Interests After you know what the game is going to be about, you can figure out who it will appeal to. Is it going to be 20-30 year olds? Teens? Kids? Mostly women? Figure out the basic demographics about your audience. In marketing, there is a term called a customer avatar. You can go and create this completely fictitious person who would play your game. Where do they live? What other games do they play? You can even go so far as to list the books they read and the social media posts they're interested in. Digital Marketer has a worksheet for this that could be a great starting point: https://s3.amazonaws.com/digital-marketer-files/Lead+Magnet/Customer-Avatar.pdf How do they play? You can use the suits of a deck of cards to describe the four major types of gamers. Clubs like fighting. Spades like exploring. Diamonds like achieving things. Hearts like socialization. You can probably think of various video games that are focused on catering to different gamer types just from that. The types influence why you play. Take ARK for example. A club is going to play ARK in order to beat up the tameables. A spade is going to play to explore the map. A heart is probably going to want to play multiplayer to be in a group. A diamond is going to be wanting to get all the tames, or all the tames they deem worth getting, etc. More information can be found here about the four types: https://elearningindustry.com/types-of-gamers-and-learner-engagement-4 Deciding if you have the right idea It’s easy to come up with an idea. As you can see, I’ve already thrown several in this post from the top of my head. But when deciding whether the idea is right for you to move forward with, there are several things to consider. Are you passionate about this idea? Building any game is not an overnight endeavor. Even if the build time only takes a couple months (which is fast for game development), you’ll still have to manage the game after it opens. Burnout is a real thing for game developers, and it's harder to overcome if you're not truly passionate about the project. It WILL be your baby. Love it, nurture it, and choose the idea that you will be all-in for the long haul. Has it already been done? The best thing you could do at this point in your game’s development is to conduct a competitor analysis. This means, joining AND playing any game that is similar to the one you’re thinking of building. Make a list of the features they have. Are they doing them well? Would you change anything? Is the game dying or thriving? What kind of community does it attract? There are so many ideas out there… if there is a game with your idea that is doing well, I would encourage you to abandon it and choose another idea that you’re passionate about. Is it too much? Some games can get to be too much for the game developer. Whether it’s too much art, too many features, or just too much in general. Ask yourself what kind of timeline are you looking at to develop everything you’ve dreamed in this game. If it’s 5 years from now, ask yourself where you’re going to be in 5 years? Will you still be working on this game? Could you make the scope of the gameplay smaller so you can get it off the ground, launched, and have it start to fund itself? You have the idea and the plan, now what? Congratulations! You have a game plan. Now you’ll need to figure out what you can do yourself and what you need to hire others for. WARNING: Game development is not cheap. Even if you can do everything yourself, will you have enough time to devote? Will it be high enough quality for the end product? I can draw stick figures pretty well, but I would never consider putting them into a live game. Planning This part should always be on you, the game developer. Even if you pull in someone else to help with ideas, YOU have the final say. This is your game. In order to better communicate your plan to others, you should consider writing a game design document which outlines the setting, gameplay, NPCs, items, etc. That way, if you need to look for others to work on or invest in your game, they’re on the same page you are. Here’s a helpful resource on what a game design document is and why you need one. Programming Make no mistake, THIS is going to be the biggest part of building your game. If you’re looking to hire a programmer, check out So you want to be a Site Owner, but have no idea anything about Programming. If you want to do it yourself, that’s great! You can do it yourself, even if you have no programming experience. There are tons of videos on Youtube for free, and our community is always around to help answer questions. Art Although programming is what will make your game unique, art is what draws players in. You can very easily lose a lot of money by going in the wrong direction with art. Be aware of the quality of art you’re purchasing. Is it what you want? Will it make your game stand out from others? Writing If you have any type of lore, writing will become a huge part of your game. Character dialog, item descriptions, etc, all need great writing to make the game immersive. Once your game is launched, writing is also essential in marketing. Management Are you going to manage it all yourself? You might consider hiring a community manager. There are also moderators to consider. Make sure that your team knows your goals and are aligned with them. Moving Forward As you can see, there is a lot that goes into planning a game. This post has barely scratched the surface of what all is involved in planning. There are many, many games that have started and eventually stopped because the owners didn’t know the magnitude and immense responsibility of game development. It’s a lot. This is the first post in a game planning series that will hopefully shed some light on some key elements involved. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Planning Your Game Part 2: How to plan programming Not sure what to send to your programmer? This guide will help you communicate what you need to your programmer to get the best results. Doing the programming yourself? This is also for you to plan out your work and figure out timelines for yourself.
  3. 2 points
    None in my area I don't think. My workplace has given the official decree to work from home indefinitely.
  4. 2 points
    Working on some wolf linearts! Planning to sell this (also thinking of making a female and pup version), but I’m stuck at the sketching phase
  5. 2 points
    Back when I was working on Seripets between 2009 an 2014 I often found people through mutual friends, virtual pet site forums and DeviantArt. This applies to admins, moderators, programmers, artists and writers. It's an all encompassing way of finding people. Currently I don't have an active team as Seripets is in hiatus and thus not in development just now. But if I were to get a new team arranged (with some of my original members) I'd probably have a good percentage of people I class as friends/close friends hired as I'd trust them a lot more than people I don't know. I was rather naive back in the day and that caused me to lose money on a few occasions.
  6. 2 points
    A handful of updates went live yesterday for Eliyo. Badges You can now find badges around the site. Badges can be favorited so that they show up on your forum posts and your user profile. Currently there are 8 to find, with many more planned! I won't tell you how you acquire them, so play around and discover them all. A big thank you to Aaron for this update. This marks his first contribution as a programmer to the site and the first code update not done by me. Hope to have more in the future. Timezone Selection You can now set whatever timezone you want from your account settings page. Setting your timezone will affect time events which right now would be if you set Dynamic as the option for layout, though more things could come into play in the future. Icons Updated I acquired a couple assets and updated Eliyo coin, elyte, and breed heart indicator to be more attractive. The previous ones were made by me and really meant to be temporary. So they've been updated. Hope you enjoy the new ones. A handful of forum icons have also been updated. And a new mail and alert icon have been added on instead of the previous flat one that was used. Daily Bonus Modal Previously there was a notification to alert you of your daily bonus acquired. This has been updated to feel more rewarding with a modal on login that shows what you earned today, yesterday, along with what you will earn tomorrow and the next time you'll earn an elyte. Default Elon Background You now have a couple selection options for your elon backgrounds. The original older one, a plain light one, a plain dark one, and a seasonal one. This can be set for your entire account along with each elon individually. Being it's winter, this snow one is the current background applied if you select seasonal. Previous Updates this month include public breeding going live, new types of yokio (breeding herbs), and a new theme along with various bug fixes and smaller updates. Visit Eliyo
  7. 1 point
    Not just a backup - but also off site or at least off server. Because if you lose your server, then you would lose your backups and wouldn't be able to recover. I know with IcePets, if we lose the server, it would take less than a day or so to recover from where we left off, all code is kept off server in source control, as well as all assets!
  8. 1 point
    Hello all! I'll add more as inspiration hits. Available for commissions - please PM me for more details (and examples)! All art be provided in .SAI, .PSD, and .PNG formats. All payments through Paypal, please. Elemental Eggs (300x300px) - $25 USD Tulip Plush (300x300px - 3 recolors; additional recolors add $0.25 USD each) - $4 USD Assorted Vegetables (200x200px - 13 unique images + 5 recolors) - $40 USD (Bell Peppers, Butternut Squash, Turnip, Parsnip, Potato, Pumpkin, Zucchini, Sweet Potato, Mushroom, Carrot, Eggplant, Onions, Tomato)
  9. 1 point
    Hey guys, I'm Maxim, a PHP developer at heart, that dabbles in front-end work, in the past I have worked on modular gaming and to be honest I miss working on a game. Due to recent events my schedule cleared up quite a bit, meaning I'm available to work on new projects. I've written a tutorial series on how to implement the pokemon battle system in VueJS (mainly to teach VueJS specific concepts): https://medium.com/@maximkerstens/vue-js-explained-through-pokemon-ac49516ba5d3 My website contains most links that showcase some of my work: https://happydemon.dev/ Skills PHP 7+ Imagick/GD Laravel Javascript (ES2015+), VueJS, NodeJS Web sockets (real-time communication front-end/back-end) Server setup CI/CD setup (code deployment) Work process Send me a message or a mail that outlines the project you would like me to work on, to get the ball rolling. If we click we can start outlining the work that needs to be done and divide it into tasks. I'll add time estimates to the tasks so we can start planning in work Lastly I'll send out a quote for the initial month, once it's approved I'll start work I would prefer to get 30% of the quote up front, while the remaining 70% can be paid after the work has been finalised and validated. Pricing Depending on the size and duration of the project I can offer hourly rates between $35 and $50, depending on the volume of work. Communication I live in Belgium (UTC+1), however I will do my best to match up part of my schedule so we'll both be online on the same time. I'm happyDemon#5070 on discord, I'll also give out my e-mail address after the initial intake, skype is also an option.
  10. 1 point
    Hello! ? I've been lurking around this community for years although I haven't posted much. I'm Bedouin, the owner of eqcetera.com under the Reddian, LLC umbrella of games (1 open + 2 in development). I've been around pet sites/SIM games for over a decade now and have been programming for half of that. Up until 2018, I worked as a senior developer for a development agency that catered to small business owners and since then, I've worked as a freelancer in the same line of work. Currently working on learning Python/Django and Angular for a game I have in development. I have 10-20 hours per week that I can devote to something different, depending on the week and assuming nothing goes crazy with any current clients. I have a mountain of credit card debt that I need to pay down so I'm motivated to complete as many projects as possible. Skills Backend: PHP, MySQL, Laravel 6.x, Slim, PropelORM Frontend: CSS, SASS, jQuery, AngularJS, VueJS Wireframing Marketing -- Yes, completely out of scope of this post but I worked as a marketing director for the company I mentioned for almost 2 years. I can help with marketing plans and implementation for the same costs as the programming. Mentoring -- I developed a 3-month training program for new developers at the above company that is still used today for their team of 20+ developers. I can help you learn coding for your own game instead of doing it for you. I haven't seen this type of service offered in this community so I thought I'd throw it in since it could be valuable to game owners. Process for One-time Jobs (20 hours or less) We'll discuss what you need and come up with a task list together. I'll deliver an official quote of how many hours it would take along with a timeline for delivery. You approve the quote and the quoted work will go into the queue. You pay 50% of the quoted cost at the time of starting work and the remaining 50% when it goes live on your game after testing. Work is delivered within the allotted timeframe with a window for bug testing. You'll also receive a report of where hours were spent. One of my goals is to provide complete transparency, the same as with any professional development firm. Note: If you do not have a development environment, I can help set that up. I would prefer to not work on a live site and to work with version control. Process for Ongoing Work (20+ hours) We'll discuss what you need and come up with a requirements list together. Please already have some sort of documentation for what you need so I can start reviewing it right away. I'll create a game plan document with everything on your requirements list. I'll then split the document into phases/sprints. You'll receive an hours quote for the first sprint, usually 10-20 hours, along with a timeline for delivery. For the first quote, you approve the quote and the quoted work will go into the queue. You pay 50% of the quoted cost at the time of starting work and the remaining 50% when the sprint features go live on the development site. For remaining quotes, you will pay for hour chunks weekly or bi-weekly, I will go at whatever pace you can afford. Note that I do not complete more than 2 hours of work without payment after the first quote. Every day that I work, you will receive an email with what was completed that day. You'll also receive a report of where hours were spent. One of my goals is to provide complete transparency, the same as with any professional development firm. Note: If you do not have a development environment, I can help set that up. I would prefer to not work on a live site and to work with version control. Pricing One-time jobs: $55/hr Ongoing work: $45/hr With ongoing work, you will receive 1 free hour per 20 hours for planning and communication. Examples Please message me for examples since everything I have is either proprietary for my own games or for clients and I don't want to post it publicly. I have coded Eqcetera from the ground up with no other programmers ever touching that code. References Unfortunately, I have no references within this community yet. This is my first time opening up services beyond my own games. Hopefully I'll have some soon! Policies Just like I will stay in communication with you, I expect you to extend the same courtesy to me. If you go "dark" (unreachable for over a month) and do not give me as estimated time when you will be back online or keep me updated, I will completely remove you from the work queue after delivering all paid-for work to you. After completion of each sprint, you will sign off in writing that the work is what you expected and has been delivered. If it hasn't, we will talk through any issues and get that resolved. This is to keep us both accountable for past work and create checkpoints within the project. Contact Discord is the best way to contact me: Bedouin#2555. If you don't have Discord, you can also use bedouin@reddian.com or message me here. Update: Closing this for a while as I've gotten a couple new clients. Will reopen if I have more availability!
  11. 1 point
    First of all, good for you for thinking about this before starting. A lot of people start pet sites without realizing the true costs involved. Some helpful resources are: So You want to be a Site Owner... and How to Plan Programming. Adding to what Vix has already said: 1. Programming expenses have multiple factors involved including the complexity of your game plans, the skill level of the person you hire, and the country they're from. That means costs could be anywhere from $10/hr to $100/hr. It all depends on who you hire. If your game is a really simple one, you could get away with 100 hours worth of work but could easily increase to 1,000 hours depending on what all is involved. The answer is: you can't know the final costs until you move forward with a programmer who can estimate that for you. 2. While in development, you can use a $5/mo server from Digital Ocean or a comparable hosting company. Once you open to testers then to the public, this could go up to hundreds of dollars depending on traffic, server setup, etc. 3. Again, this depends on the person and their hourly rate. Usually a frontend developer can be hired for a bit cheaper than one to develop your site (known as a backend or full stack developer) so you may want to hire someone different. 4. Since you have art and writing covered, other things you might not be considering is any costs of other staff such as a community manager or marketer. Supportive software like something to send emails should also be considered which could range from free to $100+/mo. Merchant fees is a big cost for purchases on a game. PayPal is the most widely used because of its international reach, and they charge 2.9% of each transaction + $0.30. So you would never want to have $1 purchases in your game. Despite all of this, don't think that you can't afford to build a game. Many games take multiple years to build which would spread the costs of development out to be more affordable. You can also try to get an MVP (Minimal Viable Product) up and running to get testers and possibly financial support earlier on so that you aren't supporting everything yourself. Good luck on your pet site!
  12. 1 point
    Hello there! I am happy to share some of my experience in this area. I hired out for art, design, development, and some writing for my pet site, so you are already on the right track providing the art yourself! Anything you can do on your own, do it. Development is very, very expensive. 1. It is really hard to give you a price range here since there's tons of ways you can go about this part. You can certainly hire a developer to build out your whole initial framework, or you can go down the path of purchasing a copy of a completed game to modify. If I could turn back time, I would have saved enough money to just purchase and modify to fit my needs. I have watched many new games lose steam right after the basics are completed (registration, various profiles, economy areas, etc), which is really sad. You are also spot on with your realization of needing some basic dev knowledge to help keep the cost of maintenance down. Udemy has some awesome videos that are pretty easy to follow! I personally have not found the time to work on my own skills, so this advice is easier to dole out than actually do 2. This part is super easy. I personally use Server Pronto and really like their service. There's quite a few threads on this forum discussing servers! 3. So, generally you would have a front-end designer for the actual UI and a back-end developer for the implementation. Some have both skill-sets, but I generally had my designs converted to HTML/CSS so my back-end dev didn't spend so much time on that aspect. From a cost perspective, this really helped. My front end person charged about $30 for each responsive design, but this would have been triple the price if my back-end dev did both parts due to the difference in their hourly rates. Back-end rates, in my experience, have ranged from $15-$60 per hour. I now work on a "per project" rate so it is easier for me to keep track of a budget. For example, I would send the details of an assignment and a quote/completion date would be generated from those details. 4. The biggest cost will always be development, so it is important to make sure your plan makes sense to avoid costly "do-overs". Trying to take user input/feedback into consideration will also help dramatically! Depending on the type of game you have, I think professional writing is a great addition as well.
  13. 1 point
    Writing this, I know that there will be a bunch of alternatives out there, and they are all probably good as well, but there are definite things that you need to care about, so if they don’t do it then at least ask the question “why”. This guide is not meant for someone who is using managed hosting. Managed hosting is a quick and easy way to get a server set up for you (usually using cPanel, DirectAdmin, etc.) however, you pay for this convenience. The nice thing about it, is you get to trust that the web host knows what they are doing and they need to keep a close eye so you don’t need to. However, with so many sites being built nowadays, there is a push to go to your own Virtual Private Server (VPS) that can be hosted pretty much anywhere. You pay less, because you take on the burden of maintaining and securing the server. Some examples of these hosting options are below: Digital Ocean Linode Frantech Google Cloud AWS Anyways, back to business, when setting up a web server, there are a few things that you need to take into consideration. First and foremost, access to the server. Given that it needs to be available on the internet, the normal way you would connect to it would be through SSH (secure shell). Unfortunately, your’s and a good chunk of other servers on the internet use SSH, so although it’s great, if you don’t set it up correctly, you are vulnerable to attack. Please Note: I will be walking through the process that I use for a Ubuntu/Debian server. There are similar options out there for Centos and every other flavour out there. To rectify this issue, I do the following: 1. Disable “root” login via SSH Default system accounts (i.e. root, ubuntu, etc.) are well known to potential attackers, they snoop through all of the IP addresses on the internet looking to see if they can use password authentication in order to connect to your server. The sad thing is, these brute force attacks work! There are lots of servers out there that have been affected by it and are then used as a workforce to help brute force other servers (as well as other malicious deeds). As a prerequisite for this, you will need to create another account on your server which has been granted admin rights. Install “sudo”. This program allows you to run a command as another user, i.e. you connect to your server as your user account, and then run something as the main root account. To do this, you will need to do the following as the “root” user: apt-get update # Updates the software libraries which are available apt-get upgrade # Make sure you have the latest and greatest versions apt-get install sudo -y # Install the “sudo” application Now that sudo is installed, we need to create another user account: adduser site # You will be prompted for information, just fill it in (site is the username) Now that the “site” user has been created, let’s grant them access to the “sudoers” group (a special group made to grant people access to the “sudo” command). usermod -a -G sudo site # Adds the user to the group Now, test that you can use “sudo” su site # Change your current account to the “site” account sudo bash # Attempt to run bash as root If this all works, you are now in a spot where you can disable root access. And this action is surprisingly simple! As root, you will need to modify the following file: /etc/ssh/sshd_config . To do this, you will need to do the following: nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config # This will open a text editor Within this file, look for the following line: PermitRootLogin yes Or: PermitRootLogin prohibit-password And change it to the following (there may be a “#” sign in front of this line, if that is the case, then remove that character as well): PermitRootLogin no This will remove the ability for someone to login as “root” after you reload the configuration. So, to do that, you will need to do the following: /etc/init.d/ssh restart # Restart the SSH service Great! The last thing to do is verify that the changes you made have taken effect. The good news is, this test is really easy to do! Since you are already connected with the “root” account, just repeat the same method that you did the first time to connect, and it should fail! If it doesn’t, then one of the settings may not be set up correctly. Please Note: While on this step, I normally keep my original SSH connection open and test one last time that I’m able to SSH in as the other user (i.e. site) and then run sudo commands. If I am not, I have effectively locked myself out of the server as well which defeats the purpose of what we are trying to do! 2. Disable password login via SSH Wait! You want me to disable password logins? How will I be able to connect to the server and do stuff? This is where a thing called “SSH Keys” comes into play. They are a way that you are able to generate a “lock” that only your key can log in with. The really neat thing about these keys is you can actually use it to authenticate to any of your servers (if you set it up correctly), but that also comes at a risk. If your key is compromised, then your attacker has access to all of your servers. Personally, I think this tradeoff is acceptable as long as you keep it in a secure spot. So, SSH into the server as the “site” user (or the user that you set up while walking through this), and type in the following: ssh-keygen # A tool to generate SSH keys When you type this in, you will be prompted as follows: Generating public/private rsa key pair. Enter file in which to save the key (/home/site/.ssh/id_rsa): You are fine with just hitting enter at this point. Then you will be prompted for a passphrase. This is another safeguard that you can take to ensure that even if your private key is in the hands of a nefarious person, you are still safe. This is adding a password to it, so add one in. Great! You now have a SSH key generated! This process generated two files: id_rsa - Your private key, keep this in a secure location id_rsa.pub - Your public key, this is used on the authentication side to grant access So, first thing’s first, let’s make it so that you are able to log in using this key. To do this, you can do the following: cd ~/.ssh # Change into the “.ssh” folder cat id_rsa.pub >> authorized_keys # Appends the contents of the file into an “authorized_keys” file which the SSH server will use to authenticate chmod 700 authorized_keys # Restrict access to the file Awesome! Now, the server is set up for ssh key authentication, now you need to make it so that your local computer can use this key to connect. For starters, we need to get a copy of the key file. To do this, you can do the following: cat id_rsa This will print out the contents of the file to your screen, simply copy the output and save it on your computer. On a *nix system (linux, or mac), you are able to put this file into the “~/.ssh/” folder on your computer, and it will automatically pick it up whenever you try to log in. So, all you need to do there is make a file “id_rsa” and save the file there. If you are on Windows, you are able to use Putty to handle this. Now, the next step as always before we actually disable anything on the server is to make sure that you are able to SSH into the server with the newly created key. On a *nix system, you will then be able to do the following: ssh site@domain.com # If you named it id_rsa If you did rename the file (or put it in a different folder), you are able to use the “-i” flag in order to specify where to read the identity file from. ssh -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa site@domain.com # Same as above If set up correctly, you should now be automatically logged into the server (assuming you typed in the password correctly). If this doesn’t work, then you have an issue which should be resolved before moving on. Now that we have successfully authenticated with this key, we are now able to make it so we don’t allow passwords to be used to log into it. You can do this by doing the following (from the SSH window). sudo bash # Elevate your account to root nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config Now you are in the text editor again, you will need to change the following: PasswordAuthentication yes Change this (the line may be commented out) to: PasswordAuthentication no And then exit the editor like before, and restart the SSH service again: /etc/init.d/ssh restart Now, it’s time to test the new configuration (before you kill your SSH session). In a new window, try to connect with the ssh key you previously made, this should still work. The next thing you need to try is to connect without the SSH key, to ensure that no one will be able to. An easy way to do this is as follows: ssh -i /dev/null site@domain.com This will probably give you an error that the key is in an invalid format but this is fine, because it tried to load the non-default key, and would normally fall back to using password login. If it worked as planned, you should see the following error message: site@domain.com: Permission denied (publickey). If you got this, then great! Your server is only accessible by SSH key! Please Note: if you have other people that need to connect to your server via SSH/SFTP (i.e. developers, make their own account and repeat the first grouping of steps that way if you need to revoke their access, you can do so by just removing their user account!). 3. Enable failure monitoring to catch potential attackers Now that you can only log in with SSH keys, and root is no longer allowed to log in at all, you might be thinking, “hey, I should be safe”. Technically you are right, but at the same time, you have gone to all of this why not add a few other things to the list? Brute force attacks can still be directed at your server, they are less likely to get anywhere, because they pretty much get no feedback about their authentication (rather than “password is invalid” without the key). But why not set your server up to keep an eye on suspicious login attempts and stop them on the spot without you even knowing? This is what “fail2ban” will do for you. sudo apt-get install fail2ban -y The default configuration works however, if you want to tweak some of the settings, a great tutorial from Digital Ocean is available here. 4. Keep your server up-to-date All software is written by people, every day there are updates going out to different packages. These include feature updates, as well as bug and security fixes. So, the best way to make sure you are safe is by keeping your server update-to-date! sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade -y # Update software Just like your personal computer, from time to time there are patches and updates for the operating system as well, so you will want to keep those up-to-date as well. That being said there is a small risk that upgrades make take things down for a bit so do this one with a bit more care. sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -y # Update operating system 5. Optional: Restrict SSH access to certain IP addresses If you are confident that your IP address never changes, then you are able to lock your server down also to your IP address. Typically I avoid this just because I use public WiFi from time to time and would like to connect to my servers. In order to do this, you can use iptables (built-in firewall) to restrict access on your SSH port. All you need to do for this is as follows: sudo bash # Login as admin iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 22 --source 192.168.0.0/24 -j ACCEPT # Change 192.168.0.0 to your IP address/range iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 22 -j DROP # Ignore all other requests By default, these rules are not saved and reloaded when you reboot the server. In order to do that you will need to install another program, and have it start as a service. sudo apt-get install iptables-persistent # Installs persistent rules sudo service iptables-persistent start # Start the service Now, no matter what, your firewall settings should remain in place. 6. Optional: Change the default port to run SSH on Most SSH servers run on the same port, 22. Because of this, if you want to make your server harder to find, you can always change the port that you connect on. This is also available through the configuration file. You can do this by doing the following: sudo bash # Elevate your account to root nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config Look for the line that says: #Port 22 And change it to the following: Port 1000 # 1000 is the port it would be connected to so change this however you would like Once done, exit, save and restart the SSH server and you should be good to go! /etc/init.d/ssh restart Congratulations! Your site should be relatively secure from the attackers of the world!
  14. 1 point
    @Tmra I'm the same in that I have two chronic conditions which I believe would make me be classed as being at risk (Asthma and hEDS). Both my parents have conditions which would probably put them in the risk bracket, I'd originally been planning to travel to America at the end of June until halfway through July but this is putting a real strain on me wanting to even board the plane.
  15. 1 point
    Thanks! I am following it quite avidly as there are a few cases in our region. Stay well/safe.
  16. 1 point
    In my personal opinion I'd like a much more immersive and lore filled experience on Virtual Pet Sites of the future, the things I've found that causes me to lose interest in a game is usually the repetitive aspects to the game and the recycled event structures. I would love to see a game which utilizes new and innovative plot structures/tricks that might take inspiration from movies/tv shws/other games in order to give off a new vibe to the player.
  17. 1 point
    With Neopets being created over 20 years ago now, pet game popularity has fluctuated since then. Many games are still going strong, though it seems most games are doing better than Neo by creating fresh new content and twists to the original pet site concept to stay relevant. As creators and players, what sorts of things do you want to see from pet games in 2020 and onward? For me, I'd like to see more meaningful and fun features to fix traditional pet game problems like excessive item economies and repetitive fetch quests. (I remember Lioden having a great item economy as an example) And a much better and engaging way to start games as new players - we could learn a lot from popular mobile app games! This could include gradual unlocking of game content in a way that keeps the player hooked. Also, mobile compatibility is a must for today's games to be accessible!! And if I could wave a magic wand... I'd love to see more RPGs similar to Sylestia with solid writing and plots, and for games to be able to offer merch of their pets!
  18. 1 point
    @Tmra I am glad you have something in place I got curious and looked today - there is a map you can watch to see where the virus is spreading. Handy if you want to keep an eye on how close it may be to where you live. Can view it here. Currently we have 173 and all in the largest city about 6 hours away. There is also a running toll of how many people are sick, recovered, and even those who died.
  19. 1 point
    We have added new battle items to our Weaponry shop. Thanks Silcoon/Charikay! They turned out great!
  20. 1 point
    If these games want to be relevant, I think going mobile might be more of a necessity than it used to be, or at the very least, there will need to be some more drastic changes. The nostalgia factor can hold some people over who've played before, but if people want to reach out to younger audiences who are only used to tablets and phones, either being super mobile friendly or having an app would be a requirement. Clearly slow moving games are successful, so the drag of pet sites versus more active games doesn't have to be a negative. Games like Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley are extremely popular and financially viable. (That isn't to say your site has to be slow moving, just that they tend to be.) But with ever increasing competition with so many new styles of games being created, I think pet sites have a lot to consider if they want to stay relevant and grow.
  21. 1 point
    I think you hit the nail on the head for the main issue. They're boring. I'm not sure how well people understand the importance of having a dedicated social media manager versus an RSS reader. Things I would love to see if I was into a pet game on their socials: sneak peeks/previews, jokes or in-game references, mentions of the community, showcasing special features/pets/items, Q&A sessions, etc. Keeping the news updates is fine, but have some more variety in between. I think looking at bigger media corporations will help give ideas over 'best practices'. Advice I've heard, though it was aimed at YTbers, can also apply here, is you want to make two kinds of content: searchable and for your audience. You want people to be able to find you, and you want to be able to build/entertain your specific community once they're there.
  22. 1 point
    games with mobile/tablet compatible layouts
  23. 1 point
    I personally think nowadays anything with a world you are able to immerse yourself into will fly circles around anything else out there. My problem is I struggle to read when I'm on the computer because I get so bored so quickly which totally sucks but yeah (hence I have my Kobo and paper books).
  24. 1 point
    Hey there, I'm Brit a concept artist that specializes in environment designer. Here are some example of work I can do. If you are interested, just send me a message or email at britpease@gmail.com. Thanks for your time!
  25. 1 point
    @Tmra Ugh, I am so sorry you are at risk and this is probably quite scary for you and your family! Do you have to do any special prep or activities to keep yourself extra protected? @SilverBrick Actually, it IS only the infected who should wear masks, especially with a shortage. If you're curious to learn more I can link you to some information! Keep some on hand in case you do get sick and need to go out, but using a mask just to have it on won't help. ;( If you end up moving over to your hometown during this, wish you the best of luck!
  26. 1 point
    Answered it perfectly, thank you very much! Time to login into my Twitter account that I haven’t used in years
  27. 1 point
    Just posting to wish you luck, and also mention that I had a similar issue with a programmer by the name of Gabby quite a few years back. Gabby had used a Laravel script for mine, if that’s of any help. It was redone afterwards.
  28. 1 point
    Sorry to hear that. My partner does too. We have supplies so we won't have to go to crowded areas like stores for awhile, but we're still a bit worried. We have two cases within 20 minutes of us right now in the US and it seems like it's shaping up to be very contagious. Best of luck to you, I hope you and your family don't get sick!
  29. 1 point
    Postin' various commissions I've done in the last few days. lol Sorry the somewhat massive post.
  30. 1 point
    New creatures released!
  31. 1 point
    i am working on a watercolor of are cat bella. i am not that good at it
  32. 1 point
    ( i'mmah PM you Martyn lol but don't be surprised with the price ) But I'm here to add a last two freebie headshots to this thread.
  33. 1 point
    You can now rename your pet if you have bonded with it enough:
  34. 1 point
    Just a heads up - we saw a post by @PaulSonny was made on LinkedIn saying he was looking for development work (https://www.linkedin.com/posts/paulsonnycook_im-actively-looking-for-a-full-time-net-activity-6618932547869118464-ezyI), this means he may come back to our community to try to get paid for coding. I would be extremely wary about doing any work with him. Please see the community thread about his history: https://thegaminglist.com/topic/1422-missing-in-action-paulsonny/?tab=comments#comment-7157
  35. 1 point
    @Hare amazing updates as always, and this guy is my new spirit bunz.
  36. 1 point
    @Hare Love this latest update! I am a huge fan of rabbits - they are one of the few animals that don't trigger my allergies. Oh my gosh! This new pose is the best! You have a new fan Heading over to sign up!
  37. 1 point
    Bunny-like adopts! 6-10-2019 I bloody died drawing this, but the honeycombs do look good! 14-10-19 Deer Rider - 27-10-19
  38. 1 point
    I have been involved with making art for pet sites since I was in high school, and I'm 27 years old now. IRL, even with a college degree in art, I'm finding it difficult to find any kind of job that helps me to feel happy and makes use of my passion. It has been difficult, and I worked several boring jobs for five years. I was recently let go from my last job of 1.5 years (not for a bad reason) and I decided to come back here after all these years. I have been met with nothing but positivity, wonderful people, and WORK! I just wanted to say THANK YOU to you guys, and to TGL, for giving me a place to come to. I really appreciate you guys, and I think you are all super nice and fun! You are all so passionate, and you're all working on amazing things. It warms my heart and makes my inner little nerd kid happy. God bless y'all! If you ever need someone to talk to or you just want to be friends, please feel free to add me on Discord! Kerpow#4917 I TGL! I need this bumper sticker, BTW.
  39. 0 points
    I'd like to see some pet games that reach outside of the traditional web browser. Let's see something that has related lore / canon in other media, such as books, video games, youtube animated series etc, with content directly linked into the petsite itself.
  40. 0 points
    You know what would be really cool? I think there was a site out there that planned it a while ago and it may be out of scope but games with voice acting through the stories (with them written out as well). I know that helps me a /lot/ to get through some video games but yeah Also an insane ask but it would totally make them stand out!
  41. 0 points
    The governor of the state I live in (US) has been trying to cover up and delay actual numbers of those infected and on the watch list, but it's already spread across the state and reached my city. I'm young and healthy enough to get over it if I caught it, but I feel awful for people with weak immune systems and older people. Stores have been wild with people panic shopping and clearing out shelves, which now leaves those people who need health and cleaning supplies without any more. Retail stores will likely be late with restocking enough to meet the demands.
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