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What features do you wish were more common/developed in pet games?


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Hey all,

So my project is just a wee baby in the earliest stages of development right now. I have an array of features thought out or at least planned as bullet lists, but most of what I plan comes from my own particular experiences and desires in regards to the VPL/Sim community. I want to be able to appeal to a variety of folks, and the best way to do that is to listen and learn from those who are a part of the industry already. 

What features do you enjoy the most in various sites? What conveniences make something better to play? Are there any common features you wish were more developed? Is there something you haven't seen, but wish you would?

This is intended to be an open-ended inquiry...if you've any thoughts/opinions then I'd love for you to share them :D

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I'm not sure if you're planning on creating a breeding game or a virtual pet game with changeable pet colors, but I think the way pets change colors on existing sites leaves a lot to be desired. Essentially all pets change colors in the same way. You either find or buy a potion item. And the gameplay turns into just earning and saving up currency. In this way, players only have the goal to earn the pets that have coloration combos that they like best. There are other ways to make this more interesting, such as involving specific tasks for each type of color. I had that planned when I was working with @judda on the development of HellKeepers. This works best if there is site lore and if there are some NPCs to talk to or interact with. That way, as a player explores the world, there is a purpose to the NPCs and rewards for completing quest chains, rather than just earning items or currency rewards that can be gained in other ways. With this set-up, you can also make some of the colors unlockable on an account and non-transferrable, so players can't just buy the colorations they want and they instead need to earn them themselves in the intended ways.


The other main things that are lacking in these games are good explore systems, useful and interesting crafting features, and more complex and challenging battle systems or a point to having "stats" in general. What I'd like to see is a game that hones in on one of these features and makes it the main element of the game and does a good job at implementing it, rather than sandbox games that have a lot of minor features that have no large impact on the gameplay. Ideally, someone would create a game that evolves with the interactions of users after things like site-wide plots. I'd like to see a game that involves site participation and comradery and various skill sets. Currently, the focus on dress-up and earning "dream pets" has become dull to me. Every site has those aspects and they sell, I guess, but there has to be more to the underlying purpose in order for it to be a game that really draws people in.

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When designing a site initially you should plan on developing no more than four really cool features. Try to polish these four basic features as best you can before releasing it as a beta. This will draw users in and will decrease the amount of development time you need. Once you have seen that these features are working release another set of four. Keep doing this until you feel confident to open up your site fully. By adding small features each time your site will begin to grow at a steady pace till you have a full blown site.

One question you should ask yourself is how do you want to handle your registration process. Do you want it open, closed, or semi-open? Having an open registration is the easiest one to develop for. All you need is a user table that will handle all your users registrations. Users are automatically approved and can access the system. Downside to this approach is it is very open to bots to exploit it. When users signup is closed users are unable to access their profile.

Closed registration takes a bit more coding. To do closed registration you need to have a separate table called signup which will handle all user signups, registered users will be stored in the user's table. The admin will then be able to close down the registration process if he needs to. Downside to this system is that it will require the admin to manually create the users in the users table from the signup table data.

Semi-open requires the most coding of the three approaches. Semi-open registration requires two tables like the closed registration process does but it does things a bit differently. When users signup through the signup table the admin or staff can manually approve or deny the individual registrations. If the registration is approved a new user account is created automatically from the data specified in the signup table. If denied the information is then deleted but if coded correctly can be used in a seperate filter table to prevent other bots from gaining access to the registration system. This system is the best of both open and closed registration systems. Semi-open systems registration can also be closed as well without affecting user profiles. Main disadvantage is that the coding required requires a lot of time and effort and tends to be kind of complicated.

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