15 December 2016
Neopolis will be coming to PS4 and PC in 2017! More Gifs below!Special treat time!
Today, I'm sharing some brand spanking* new concept art for Neopolis (our super-fun-Cyberpunk-RTS-with-a-non-traditional-approach-to-strategy-gameplay.) Not only are these fresh and new, they are also sparkly and animated. In fact we like them so much that you can download a zip with all three of them in various resolutions.
Head over to our forums or follow @OmniSystems on Twitter to let us know what you think about our groovy gifs!
For more news, interviews, access to goodies, and exclusive behind the scenes features on all Omni Systems titles, you can also sign up to our Tales from the Omniverse newsletter! (No spam, only healthy info and goodies)
Hope you like the gifs and share them all over the multiverse. Help make the world a funkier place.
Take care now boppers...
*They ARE partially inspired by the erotic animated gifs of "phazed", ahem.
13 December 2016
Projects galore!Hello groovy friends! How’s life?
We have been beavering away over here at Omni Towers, working on some really exciting stuff. This is not news of course, as we always do that, but the truth is that we haven’t been that great at sharing the detail of this with other people, hence this post.
I have tons and tons of things to share including concept art, music, dev news on three projects at least, (THREE!!! Neopolis, Eufloria RPG and Starlit!) plus updates and news on older projects like Eufloria… Then there are interviews and appearances and other assorted mention-worthy things. A lot of interesting news and content goes unseen, which is a bit sad really.
So, to better share all the goodness we decided to launch a “PROPER NEWSLETTER”. It will be bi-weekly and offer a combination of news-roundup, sneak peek items, access to goodies, and personable stuff. We call it “TALES FROM THE OMNIVERSE!” (For real!)
Please sign up if this sounds interesting. :-) I am a conscientious type so there will be no spam or fluff, it really is about finding a nice and direct way to communicate with our audience. I am also looking for feedback, so it can give you a chance to tell me what you think.
Hope to see you inside?
31 August 2016
Hello boppers! (The first person to guess the source of that quote gets a reward!*)
First things first: Neopolis is coming to PlayStation 4! I wanted to announce this a long time ago, but we had to make sure the deal was done and the papers were signed first :-) I wrote a nice blog post to announce this glorious fact over at the Sony PlayStation Europe blog. It explains some of the motivation behind the game, so for the full skinny go have a peek.
We also created a nice announcement trailer for the occasion. It gives a flavour of the game and the general vibe, but it just scratches the surface of what is to come. I'm currently writing a devblog post that goes into a lot more detail, but have a look anyway.
There are some new screenshots as well. Although we are only at pre-alpha (about a year before release I reckon) the game's visuals are getting pretty exciting. Here is an example so have a look for yourself!
I've added a bunch more screenies to the Neopolis landing page if you want to see more.
Wondering who did the cool music in that trailer? Well, that would be Electric Cafe (Mark Day) who is also creating all the game music and sound design for Neopolis. And guess what; he just released the trailer music and a few cool edits of Neopolis tracks on his soundcloud page. Come and get it!
Finally, just as a treat, I made half of the Neopolis screenplay I wrote available for download. Part of my gamedevelopment process includes writing or creating in other media, and in this case I wrote a pilot episode for a Neopolis tv show (I like to think big). It got a lot of love from my peers in the filmmaking community so I decided to make half of it available for download. If you like cyberpunk give it a read.
Download Neopolis Pilot Sample
Hope you like what you see, hear and read! And please let us know if you have any feedback or questions :-) Rudolf
*Competition not open to Omni Systems elite forces, staff, and other contributors
24 March 2016
Hello friends! It's been a while since I updated but that's because we knuckled down and really focused on dev for a long time. (Hopefully it will tell) However, we now have more news and content than you can shake a stick at. I'll spread it out over the next few weeks, but here is a first installment.
Let's talk about StarLit first:
Amazingly, and wonderfully, we are nearing completion of this game, and are about to hit full on beta. We are actually running a little pre-beta right now, which is giving us some very promising results. As we have been on this project for 6 years or so that is quite a relief. Hopefully it will shine through!
For those of you who are new to this game: StarLit is our ode to 2d sci-fi exploration. We tried to make it a progressive and immersive experience while at the same time evoking classic scifi. I think the game has come a loooooong way. an unbelievable amount, and personally I'm very proud with what we are doing with it.
The inimitable Brian Grainger who made the music for Eufloria, is back on board and is creating an amazing soundtrack. The equally amazing Mark Day (from Aqua Kitty fame) is creating all the sfx and ambient audio. I couldn't be more pleased.
(Here's a nice screenshot to show you what things look like these days)
(If you go to the Starlit page you can see a whole raft of new screenies.)
Neopolis and Eufloria RPG have also come along in massive leaps and bounds. I will be adding new screenshots and art on their respective pages soon. I might add some new video soon too. I also hope to be able to give you some big announcements about these titles soon.
So, after being on posting hiatus for a while I am now starting again. \o/ Updates for the Devblog area will follow soon, and new media will arrive in a steady stream.
In short: It's good to be back :-)
2 April 2015
We have been busy working behind the scenes on a new site design. The idea is that we can communicate our news, dev-blogs, media, community efforts, and anything else that we want to get out there, in a far more efficient and appealing way.
(For example, Here is a teaser image for our soon-to-be-anounced new Eufloria RPG game.)
Have a look around. There are some important changes and additions, like a newsletter you can sign up to, to stay up to date on all our games (and other updates), and even getting sneak previews and goodies before everybody else does!
We also sell our games directly from this website now. Just browse to the relevant pages and take it from there.
New media and news gets added regularly, while we also created a separate Devblog area for regular development articles.
It's all pretty self-explanatory, so have a browse, check out all the new content for our new games: Eufloria RPG, Neopolis, and StarLit:Colony, and let us know what you think?
18 December 2012
This is not the end for Eufloria HD. We have more plans next year, as you can see on our FAQ. Android remains part of those plans!
If you're new to Eufloria or have any questions, you should also pay a visit to our forum - Euflorium.
As always, please leave a review of both the demo and the main app of you like the game. We're only a small indie team so we rely on your reviews.
The full press release is below:
Eufloria HD out now on Android
Best iPad Game of 2012 Runner-Up Eufloria HD now available on Android devices via the Google Play store for $4.99/€3.99/£2.99
18th December 2012: Omni Systems Ltd announced today that indie smash hit Eufloria HD is now available for Android devices via the Google Play store. Co-developed with fellow indie developer Tuna, Eufloria HD is an atmospheric, beautiful and addictive real-time strategy game that was recently the runner-up in the official iPad Best Game of 2012 list, and has earned a five-out-of-five stars user review average from players.
Eufloria HD for Android is the enhanced and evolved version of the 450,000-selling, BAFTA-nominated indie game Eufloria, with a 25-level Story Mode, a Relaxed Mode for a truly chilled-out experience and a stunning original soundtrack by Milieu. Android owners can also download a free demo version of Eufloria HD from Google Play available with five levels and a website link to purchase the full game.
Eufloria HD is a gorgeous-looking, easy-to-control and elegant strategy title that anyone can play - and the perfect game to show off the gorgeous new Google Nexus phone and tablet devices.
What the press has been saying about Eufloria HD:
It's hard to express how much we love Eufloria Pocket Lint (App of the Day)
Soothing ambient music, beautiful abstraction… one of the most enjoyably relaxing wars we've ever waged Mac Life
The most stylish and unique strategy games you’ve ever seen AppAdvice
Eufloria HD features:
- Gorgeous high-definition visuals for Android devices
- Beautifully-designed touch-screen interface
- Game session in progress saving
- A 25-level Story Mode with many hours of gameplay
- Relaxed Mode for a more ambient experience which anyone can enjoy
- Skirmish levels that can be played again and again
- Dark Matter Mode for a stylish, more challenging way to play
- Original ambient soundtrack by Brian Grainger (Milieu)
- Procedurally-generated levels which are different every time
- Also available for BlackBerry PlayBook, iPhone and iPad
- More additions and great new features on the way in 2013!
Eufloria HD is now available for Android devices via the Google Playstore for $4.99/€3.99/£2.99.
Eufloria HD is already released on the App Store. Eufloria HD is also available on BlackBerry PlayBook.
For more information on Eufloria:
Official website: www.eufloria-game.com
+44 (0)7776 121 605
About Omni Systems Ltd
Eufloria is published by Omni Systems Limited, Rudolf Kremer’s indie media production company. Omni has been set up as a new kind of independent games (and other media) company, offering an alternative to corporate restraints and rewarding developers in a way that traditional game development often does not allow. Additionally Omni produces and develops other media including screenplays, comics, PS3 Dynamic Themes and more, while also offering consultancy services ranging from interactive software development to consultancy on creating virtual spaces. Current projects of note are two new games: StarLit and Neopolis, a series of Sci-Fi dynamic themes for PlayStation 3 and a comic called Spire.
Tuna is an international award-nominated boutique indie game production company who specialise in developing projects for mobile, traditional gaming and on-line platforms. With many years experience in the field, Tuna have worked with a range of partners including marketing and advertising agencies, independent game developers, universities, and solo artists. Services include digital consultancy, concept development, production management, software development and establishing software development partnerships. Brands Tuna has worked with include Family Guy, Big Brother, Cadbury, Asteroids, Boulder Dash, and indie hits Alien Hominid and Eufloria on platforms as wide ranging as iPhone, iPad, Android, Facebook, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PS3.
18 December 2012
This was a surprise. A VERY WELCOME one, but a surprise nonetheless. Apple have just announced their Best of 2012. To our great surprise and eternal thanks, Eufloria HD is their iPad Game of 2012 Runner Up / Hidden Gem. Look!
Eufloria iPhone released, Bafta Nomination, Eufloria Adventures announced, StarLit news, Speaking at GDC Europe LSWF 2012
21 September 2012
Another successful Eufloria release!
We have also signed a new deal with Sony! We are developing a completely new game set in the Eufloria universe, called "Eufloria Adventures". I talk more about this in this Gamasutra piece. Have a Peek.
Eufloria PSN has been nominated for best debut game by BAFTA! We did not win but it was a pretty big deal and a swanky affair. If you want to poke fun at me have a look at my ramblings in this BAFTA QA or even better, check out this video.
This news report is getting rather full, but I can also share that I did a GDC Europe talk about indie level design, and I can announce that I am a speaker at the London Screenwriter's Festival 2012, on the illustrious Games Panel.
StarLit has taken massive leaps forward too, and I will likely show off some screenshots in a few weeks. Keep your eyes on this site ...
13 February 2012
I have been making games for quite a while, either in traditional game development, or as a modder, or as an indie. I made my first game in 1985 approximately, and joined the UK industry about 12 years ago. In that time I worked on all kinds of titles, some pretty famous and well received.
Nonetheless after in all that time I have never seen the positive player response we are getting for Eufloria HD for iPad. It is truly truly wonderful.
Have a look at what people have to say about the game:
(USA) ***** - Perfect - I played this game on the PC since it came out in 2009. Beautiful, fun, easy, and addictive. This is a wonderful port of an under appreciated PC classic. Buy it and I guarantee you'll love it.
(USA) ***** - Good game. - What are you guy slacking on. Hurry up and get all of your companies games on the iPad. You guys could be making loads of cash right now. If you guys put up your other games I'd buy them all.
(FRA) ***** - Belle adaptation sur tablette - Très bon portage sur iOS, fluide (testé sur iPad V2), je retrouve Eufloria avec plaisir. La bande-son et les graphismes sont la source d'une excellente atmosphère. Bonne progression de la difficulté, contrôles tactiles très commodes, plus agréables d'ailleurs que ceux de l'original à la souris. Maintenant, ce jeu ne plaira pas à tout le monde, c'est un mélange d'exploration, de conquête et de stratégie en temps réel à base... de graines. Aaâahh oui, c'est réellement un ovni et soit vous adorerez, soit vous décrocherez illico.
(GER) ***** - Auf so vielen Ebenen wundervoll! - Ein wirkliches Meisterwerk in Sachen Design, Gameplay und Interface. Erfrischend leichtes Design mit minimalistischer & zugleich atemberaubender Grafik und einer leicht zugänglichen intuitiven Touchsteuerung, die sich perfekt ins Spiel integriert. Den Schwierigkeitsgrad kann man individuell auf herausfordernd oder entspannt und zudem die Spielgeschwindigkeit einstellen.Ein rundum großartiges Spiel wohltuend abseits der Mainstream-/ Casualtitel. iOS-Strategen greifen allemal zu, zumal sie auf der wohl optimalen Plattform kolonisieren dürfen, alle anderen sollten zumindest mal auf der Entwicklerseite einen Blick drauf werfen!
(GER) ***** - Endlich eine IOs-Version - Ich warte schon seit der Vorstellung des iPads darauf, dass Eufloria endlich auch eine iPadversion kriegt, das Spiel passt und gehört einfach auf einen Touchscreen.Das Spiel ist sehr einfach zu lernen, im Vergleich zu anderen Strategiespielen gibt es nur wenige verscheidene Einheiten, was es aber nicht leichter macht, die Level sind auch auf einfach durchaus anspruchsvoll.Die Graphik und die Musik sind mit das beste, was ich bei einem Spiel gesehen hab.Die Durchspielzeit liegt weit über 15h. Das ich das zwei Tage nach dem Erscheinen sicher sagen kann, spricht glaub ich für sich...Fazit: Wer dieses Speil nicht mag, der mag generell keine Spiele
(UK ) ***** - so awesome - addictive as drugs
(UK ) ***** - The business! - Beautifully presented, works perfectly with iPad interface, absorbing, addictive, one of the most innovative and well produced apps I've bought. Highly recommended and deserves to be a huge seller!
(UK ) ***** - Eufloria Rocks - This game is different and addictive!
(UK ) ***** - Truly wonderful - Firstly, I've not played other versions of this game (PS3 etc), but this is like it was designed forward touch screens, playing it on the iPad is so natural. The developers have done a fabulous job of porting this.I love the graphical style too, very unique. As is the gameplay. In fact, the game could do with a clock in the corner of the screen as I quite I spent too long playing (joking about the clock, not about time flies though).In all, a remarkable experience, thank you.
(BEL) ***** - Eufloria - Excellent jeu qui va beaucoup mieux à l'ipad qu'à la playstation sur laquelle il était d'abord sorti.C'est pour moi un des meilleurs jeux sur iPad si pas le meilleur!
(ITA) ***** - FANTASTICO - Mi piace tantissimo. La grafica e sublime, il tema molto originale. Ipad si merita proprio un gioco cosi!!!!
(CAN) ***** - Stunning! - I cant believe that I am the first to write a review for this gorgeous game! Its a privilege really. Antway, so I read online that this game was developed in 2009 for PC and I think that the touch controls really brong the game to life.With Eufloria, you get a kind of zen feeling inside just by playing! The wonderful music sits quietly in the background perfectly supporting the gameplay, the controls are responsive, easy, and intuitive, the gameplay itself is suprisinly engrossing and I found myself sitting alone in the dark in my basement mesmerized and unable to stop playing. It is a perfect blend of graphics, music, and classic RTS gameplay. These developers arent to be missed and I hope that they will either be expanding this game, not that it is short, or creating another wonderfully unique titile. I cant get enough of Eufloria!Perfect 10/10
(CHI) ***** - 这游戏挺好，给你们装逼够用了 - 有位仁兄说这游戏用来吸引别人的目光，我擦啊，你们丫真对得起装逼二字啊!!!
(RUS) ***** - Wow!!!! - Играл в этот шедевр на PC - прошёл раз 5! И было огромное желание поиграть в продолжение! Увидев это на iPad - потерял дар речи!!!! Урааааааааааааа
(MAL) ***** - Great concept - Simple and well executed.
(POL) ***** - Wspaniała gra ! - Na początku moze wydawać się dziwna, ale naprawdę ciekawa. Kolorowa, wspaniała muzyka !
Additionally, the critical success has translated to chart success, which is just as satisfying. (The UK charts especially). It is tough out there for an indie company, and the fact that we are ahead in the charts beyond heavy hitters like "Angry Birds" and othe corporate fare is nothing short of stunning. (we could do a bit better in the USA though ;-))
For now we have our crazy RTS, Space Exploration, Ambient, Art, Conquest, Puzzle, or whatever else type of game you want to call it, up there lighting a candle for other indie devs as well. It shows that with hard work and a bit of luck your title can get noticed. Now we have to see if we can keep momentum, and see if we can break into the the USA top ten.
So, if you haven't played the game yet, why not give it a go now? The user reviews above tell a convincing tale. :-) Get it it from the AppStore, and please rate the game!
6 October 2011
And we are LIVE! After a full year of porting and adding content I can now say with great delight that Eufloria PSN has been launched! So far the reviews are pretty positive it must be said, so let's hope it stays that way. :-)
We are certainly darn proud of the game, especially if you take into account it was created by a core team of only two people. This is an indie dream come true for us, and hopefully we will keep doing originall creative games for a long time to come.
The players luckily also seem to love it, based on some of the Twitter comments and emails we receive, and that is what really matters in the end. The game's official site is still a good place for news, but keep an eye on our twitter feed as well: @RudolfKremers or @psychicteeth.
Journalists should check out our PRESS KIT.
Just before the launch we went to JAPAN! We had been chosen to take part in the Tokyo Game Show Sense of Wonder night, and that meant we had to give a public talk about the game. It went well, and the resulting video is actually a good introduction to the game, so have a look. :-)
5 June 2011
Eufloria PSN is now being shown at E3! Amazingly Sony gave us a booth at their E3 stand, and we jumped to the opportunity to promote the game. Things are extremely hectic, as we speak Alex and Mike are trying to get the final tweaks in for our submission to Sony, while we are actually leaving by plane tomorrow.
Additionally, The amazing Dugan Jackson and Omni Systems limited banded together to launch a Dynamic Theme for PSN, named "A is for Astronaut" which is the first one in a series called "Sci-Fi ABC's" Check out a preview on YouTube:
Speaking of Omni Systems, check out our new animated logo:
Like it? Leave some comments. :-)
1 November 2010
StarLit work progresses well, and Rudolf has just finished a spec screenplay withing the StarLit universe. A comic is planned as well and hopefully the transmedia approacch to this project will turn it inmto something extra special.
In the meantime an iPhone and iPad version of Eufloria has been announced. Have a look over at the Eufloria dedicated website for the press release and reactions.
25 June 2010
There is now a proper blog available where you can follow Rudolf's projects in a more personal setting than Omni's website. It is a blog called "Fantabulate" and I suggest you go have a look. Among the latest news you will find the announcement of a new game and some design related musings.
The site will offer a more personal approach to news and views on what Rudolf is up to, including his writing and consultancy work as well as his game development efforts, while this site will still be dedicated to fundamental news regarding Omni Labs and its projects. Keep an eye out here for more news about this new game. :-)
5 December 2009
After developing our Dyson project into a fully featured, content rich game we have renamed it to Eufloria. The game has now seen a release in several locations, including on Steam and it is selling well and is garnering good responses from players and press alike.
It is humbling to get comments like these from Boing Boing:
It’s truly in a league of its own
Check out the Eufloria website for any further news.
19 March 2009
Within a few days Alex and myself will be on our way to San Francisco on our way to what I can only describe as a Dream come true event. One moment we are entering a purely quality motivated small and fun competition, and a few months later we suddenly find ourselves up for several awards, including best game, at the prestigious Independent Games Festival. WHAT HAPPENED!!!??
A major reason why we have stuck with Dyson and why we feel so strongly about it is the superb and utterly supportive feedback we receive from you guys and gals. A great little community seems to have sprung up around the game and it is growing every week. We are completely humbled by the amount of people that play the game, February for example saw 50 thousand downloads from our site alone, not even including mirrors. Them silly numbers! 0_0
So a big thank you and virtual bear-hugs to all of you who have downloaded the game and those of you who are telling us what you think of it. Our forum deserves a special mention as it is such a fun and positive place. All we can do on our part is to try to make the game as good as we can, which something we are working very hard on. First the festival though, and will make sure there will be photos and footage of the event for readers of the blog to peruse. If you are visiting yourself please come by our booth and say hi! We will also for the first time finally meet our audio and music genius Brian Grainger (Milieu) in person. Such are the strange ways of web-based game development.
Anyway, to finish this post we want to share some news:
First: We have picked up a distribution deal with the sponsors of the festival, direct2drive, who in our opinion are building up a very impressive catalogue of independent titles for digital distribution. We are quite honoured that Dyson is deemed to be strong enough to feature alongside the other great games in the service. (Have a look, the selection is great!)
Second: Alex and I are enjoying working together so much that we decided to do another game together after Dyson. What this game will be is not going to be known for a while (even to us) but between us we have a wealth of ideas and concepts to choose from, all sound like good fun to us.
Right, have to pack my toothbrush now and prepare my laptop for Dyson demonstrations to press and other interested parties. We may or not be able to blog a bit while we are over there, keep an eye out on the major news sites anyways in regards to the general coverage of all the great games out there, but have a peek here once in a while you never know J.
29 January 2009
To celebrate the launch of the website of Omni-Labs we have decided to write a little top ten article. It lists in semi-random order ten reasons why we think free-to-play massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) have such a bright future. (Bright enough to set up Omni-Labs and start developing one.) Even we were surprised at how easy it was to find ten reasons, and had to leave a few out in the end or merge several points into one.
Additionally, over the coming few months we will further explore these topics in ten follow-up articles, each examining one of the ten reasons in more detail. Hopefully you will this and future articles worthwhile.
1: Free-to-play is a proven concept
Although it is still often hard to get those new to the concept to understand, there are now more than enough successful endeavours out there to prove the validity of the free to play model. The likes of Dofus and Puzle Pirates (Both roughly 3 million users), Habbo Hotel ($77 million expected revenue this year) are just some of the well known ones, but the model can easily be recognised in the success of lesser-known products such as manager zone (Over 600,000 users).
In other words: the pioneers have shown that free-to-play works and that it can be extremely profitable.
This means we don't have to argue any more about the basic premise.
In fact, there seems to be no cap on how successful they can become if one looks at something like Club Penguin:
The virtual world for kids 6-14 launched in Canada in 2005 and claims 700,000-plus paying members; subscriptions run about $6 a month or $58 a year. The site also makes money from virtual goods and other online merchandise sold through the site. Forbes
Club penguin was sold to Disney in a deal worth $700 million. It is hard to argue with numbers like that...
2: MMOGs can create huge user-bases
Free-to-play and MMOGs are a marriage made in heaven for a number of reasons. The most obvious reason is the clearly recognisable fact that MMOGs can by definition attract the large numbers of customers that free-to-play model thrives on. Whatever alternative revenue model is associated with the free MMOG (upgraded accounts, micropayments, competition money and so forth) it is more likely to succeed with a large user base. 'Large' is of course a relative term; one would require enough users to create the critical mass needed to fuel those financial transactions. MMOGs are geared towards this by definition.
3: MMOGs are also social networking services.
With the advent of applications like Facebook and MySpace the success of social networking sites and applications has been proven beyond doubt. What needs to be understood, however, is that MMOGs provide many of the same forms of social interaction and add extra value by providing virtual worlds and gameplay. Every MMOG is a virtual space that provides a service. Fundamental to that service is gameplay, but it would be wrong to focus on that exclusively. Gameplay is only part of the service and players will lose interest if it isn't accompanied by other things they are looking for. Most of those other elements are based on the same principles as social networking sites. Players want to be part of social groups, clans, classes, corporations. MMOGs make it easy to organise these players and provide opportunities for them to meet up and interact, often via gameplay but surprisingly often through other means like chat channels and community forums.
4: The market is ready, enormous and growing
The combined potential customer base of online games and social networking endeavours is absolutely massive. This isn't to say that we can just grab user numbers for the biggest success stories out there like Habbo, or Maple Story (estimated 50 million users) and add that to the social networking space numbers. What we can do however is look at the size and makeup of the potential market, and see what is currently going on on there. And one of the things that has become clear is that people now have become accustomed to these types of online worlds and spaces. It is normal to have a Facebook entry. It is normal to play a free Flash game. It is normal to buy MP3s via iTunes. And as the market grows up, it is becoming more normal by the day:
At 91 percent, the vast majority of online gaming among kids ages 2 to 17 is free. Boys and kids in higher income households are more likely to fall into the minority group (9 percent) that pays to play. In addition, the older the child, and the more time that child spends on gaming per week, the more likely that child is to pay for games. NPD Press Release
5: Current technology can support it
It used to be conventional wisdom that the tech needed for a successful MMOG would be so prohibitively expensive that only cash-flush companies would even stand a chance of getting it to market. This is simply no longer the case. Technology has caught up with user numbers and this combination of a reachable audience coupled with ease and low price of development has changed things completely. The success of Dofus shows that Flash is now a feasible development platform. It looks great too! Similar numbers exist for Puzzle Pirates which was developed using Java, and at the humbler end of the scale, Maid Marian with games like Sherwood Dungeon seem to be doing well enough. Or what about the great success of a technically simplistic game like Hattrick? Spreadsheet browser gaming is not very sexy to some, but this little game boasts 800,000 weekly logins. These are all platforms that bring MMOG development within range of a far larger group of developers than was the case in the days of strictly huge and complex projects.
6: They are relatively affordable to produce
Point 5 brings us neatly to point 6: It can now be said, with some confidence, that it is possible to create a commercially successful and even good-looking MMOG without spending millions of dollars. For all the brouhaha around Habbo Hotel many people seem to forget that it was originally developed by two Finnish students on a shoestring budget. Sherwood Dungeon runs on 6 servers at $200 per month. The fact that it is no longer necessary to employ hundreds of people for years on end, and then maintain a live team of similar proportions means that (and this is crucial) relatively small user numbers are sufficient to turn a good profit. A Lost Garden blog entry opines the following numbers on these "Village Games".
Lost garden: A village game requires total investment of roughly $250,000 over an 18-month period. In essence, you are paying for the salary of the development team plus miscellaneous marketing and server expenses. At 18 months, your game starts making enough money to pay for your monthly expenses without having to go begging. A village game with 3 to 4 employees needs to maintain a customer base of roughly 6000 to 9000 users.
Those are numbers that put MMOG development squarely in the affordable bracket.
7: Free-to-play MMOGs Can focus on quality and niche appeal
Because of the nature of MMOGs and their development some interesting advantages come to light. One of the most important aspects of MMOGs is that they are often all about community. The developer sells a service, based on a virtual space that the users want to spend time in, to a community of players. Generally this means that the developer is in direct contact with the users themselves through user forums and the like. This is a huge advantage! Furthermore, these same people see themselves as stake holders. They actively WANT to participate in efforts to improve the experience. In the new ecomomy of free online entertainment it is no longer feasible to simply build it and hope that they will come. Instead, because free online entertainment content is ubiquitous, the developer must focus on quality and the needs of the players. That is the only way to differentiate the content from others and to stand out in a sea of mediocre or pointless free entertainment. Additionally, the developer can focus on a type or flavour of content that simply isn't available, and create niche appeal. This is good for both parties. If the developer is smart enough to listen to what the players want, and smart enough to see where their wishes aren't being met, then they have a massively effective market research tool right at their fingertips. Not many other businesses can claim this.
8: User generated content
Speaking of utilising customer feedback, why not go all the way and incorporate user generated content? Since MMOGs are all about community anyway, and much end game content is fuelled by social factors, user generated content is a perfect fit for MMOGs. In some cases this the secret of the game's success. Although not free-to-play, Eve Online's universe works well because it facilitates all important in-game actions to be instigated by players. Where the success of user generated content really impresses however is in the rampant success of Second Life. They recently received $11 million in funding and claim that:
Second Life has grown to over 165,000 residents with an economy worth over US$60mm per year. With thousands of Second Life creators building more complex and engaging content, we are rapidly moving toward a mainstream global market," said Philip Rosedale, CEO of Linden Lab. "The support of Globespan confirms what everyone who has experienced Second Life knows ?the metaverse has arrived, and is growing quickly. Linden lab press release
9: There are many revenue streams open to free-to-play MMOGs
It is surprising how little emphasis this rather important point is given at times. It is nonetheless one of the most important factors in realising the great opportunities that exist out there for developers. Rather than listing the many ones I can think of I will link to an excellent post already written by the people at freetoplay.biz. listing their Top Ten revenue Models. And that list isn't even exhaustive; they have, for example, excluded spinoff content based on the IP like animated shows (Dofus), books (No doubt Warhammer Online) and who knows what else.
10: The market is screaming for new and non-derivative content
This last reason is somewhat controversial as I don't have any data to back this up. Nonetheless I am going to express my views on this anyway. As a game developer myself I am always keen to listen to what the actual gamers themselves have to say about a subject. And one subject that is popping up more and more is that people are suffering from clich? fatigue. How many Tolkienesque MMORPGs have to fail before it is understood that that market is cornered by the big hitters? Same goes for SciFi MMORPGS with nearly identical grind-driven play mechanics. At the moment many companies and investors are blinded by the incredible success of some huge games.
Alex May says:
Trying to make a small FTP game in order to compete with World of Warcraft is like setting up a small burger joint in order to compete with McDonalds: Completely pointless.
Instead of imitating them in a pointless attempt to "compete" with the likes of Blizzard we should listen to gamers and see what they want. And already it seems clear that they DO want to play free-to-play MMOGs, but NOT if they are soulless imitations of games they have already played to death. They want quality online experiences and in many cases that means that the experience has to be new and fresh. Something that really shouldn't be a difficult proposition considering all the possibilities open to online games.
And that's it.These are ten random reasons why I feel that free-to-play MMOGs have a bright future. This doesn't mean that it is easy to create a successful one, but in my opinion it does show that there are plenty of reasons why there is cause for optimism. Hopefully our own Project T, when launched, will be as successful as some of the examples I quoted.
4 November 2008
We are very busy indeed at the moment working hard on Neopolis and Project T. Neopolis is really growing and in a few weeks we will show you much more about the game and our plans for it.
The wacky Rudolf and Alex have been working hard to get their indie game Dyson ready for the Independent Games Festival, and made massive leaps forward. the game now has its own website where the latest version can be downloaded and houses a development blog to tell you all you neeed to know. Why not have a look now?
1 August 2008
The most excellent Aleks Krotoski has this funky feature on the Guardian website called Game Pitch, where she asks indie developers 10 elevator pitch questions about their current project. Well, Alex and Rudolf have been answering questions about Dyson so get thee over there and have a look. :-)
Work on Neopolis continues nicely. Martin is creating a great artstyle, Oscar's engine is shaping up nicely, and I am confident the design is up to it. :-) To make things nice however we have decided to lift the veil a tiny bit and are releasing some posters for the game. (As opposed to telling you in words what the game is about.) Have a look and see what the posters tell you. Additionally, the posters can be downloaded in a massive size so if you are so inclined you can turn the art into a proper print!
Have a look at this!
Btw, we DO own the neopolis-game.com domain, but just need it to propagate. A holding site will go up soon. :-)
29 June 2008
Right, time for a massive update. Let's start with an important addition to the website. We finally have an official Omni Forum. We will use it ourselves to provide feedback and info on our projects and it gives site visitors a platform to discuss things with us and with other visitors. Please go and check it out. We haven't decided on a final logo yet maybe you can help us choose? You can suggest your favourite on the actual forum.
Project T news
It has been quiet around Project T but that is not because we haven't been working on it. In fact work is progressing nicely and we are getting closer to securing the funding we need to do it justice all the time. To keep things interesting I decided to show some glimpses of the concept art, so have a look at this peek behind the curtain below.
Alex and Rudolf's Dyson game is going from strength to strength and is this month's Edge Magazine: Internet game of the month!
Alex put up a new version which supports fullscreen mode so give it a go if you haven't already.
Finally, last but not least, we want to anounce another Omni project called NEOPOLIS. We will be releasing more info on this game soon, but this is an exciting one for sure. Once again it is free to play and multiplayer and we are planning to release this before Project T. I want to say more but it is probably wise not to. Keep an eye on this space for updates.
26 June 2008
Voting has ended and Rudolf and Alex's Dyson game has claimed 2nd place in the Tigsource procedural game competition. :-) Not bad since there were 60 competing games and in the end the result was very close. Rescue the Beagles won with 99 votes and they were a close second with 95. They will be developing the game further so keep an eye out, but in the mean time check out some new tree code Alex had been working on :-) Check out the video:
Additionally people are commenting on the game left right and centre.
Here is an actual YouTube fan video:
4 June 2008
Alex and I finished our entry for the Tigsource Procedural Game Competition and our entry is named Dyson. Dyson is a game that came from a number of ideas shared between us and is based on aspects of the work done by mathematician John Von Neumann as well as by mathematician and physicist Freeman Dyson.
That all sounds really boring however so have a look at this image:
The game has come out really well and is available for download on our PROJECTS PAGE. Please go and give it a whirl, feedback indicates that people really like this one so far. :-)
UPDATE! - The game has been picked up by the excellent indie game blog!
31 March 2008
Recently the the people over at freetoplay.biz have published a perfect companion article to the one we recently published here. It is called "Top 10 Free To Play Growth Killers" and makes for a good read.
29 January 2008
Welcome to the new look Omni-Labs website. The site has been completely revamped and is now looking more capable of dealing with the long-term plans we have in mind. Navigation should be pretty straightforward so have a play and see if it all makes sense. If you find any problems don't hesitate to send us an email.
Updates happen regularly so please check back for news at frequent intervals.