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Require playtesters for online browser based Risk variant

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e_i_pi
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Joined: 04/05/2010

Hi all,

I'm not a regular here, so I apologise if this first post is taking advantage.

I've been a fan of board games for around 20 years now, my favourites being area movement type games, such as Risk, and Axis + Allies. After having played some Risk variants online for a while, I decided I wanted to create my own variant as I was not happy with what other sites were offering, so over the past year I have been creating a site called Art of War

Currently I am looking for playtesters to assist with ironing out bugs on the site. I signed up about 20-25 friends I knew from online gaming about 6-9 months ago for this purpose, giving them all Playtester and VIP accounts, but only 2 have shown up now that playtesting has commenced. Without playtesters, I cannot adeqautely test games with >4 players, and I imagine the 2+ week wait for games to fill is demoralising for people wanting to play.

The site is free to play, with freemiums getting up to 5 games at a time. There will be a premium service offered later allowing unlimited games, but I'm more interested in fostering a community at the moment. The premium service will not eliminate freemium - there will always be opportunity to play for free.

I require about a dozen playtesters. Playtesters will receive a Playtester Account, which will give unlimited games for as long as they remain active on the site. This is an opportunity to assist in the early stages of development of a new gaming site that I intend to grow over the coming years. If you sign up on the site as a playtester, send me a PM quoting this threads URL. My username is e_i_pi. I will also monitor this thread for responses.

The game itself is very similar to Risk, though I have rewritten a fair amount of the rules to allow for the game engine to grow and develop. Some of the variants that will be standard fare are:
* Different troop types, based on the era of play (eg - Ancient, WWII, Modern)
* A choice of battle types, based on troops available for attack and defence (eg - Castle Siege, Cavalry Charge)
* Many different maps, with border files overlaid, so for instance several variants on Europe can be made
* Border types defining troop movement and combat types (eg - air border, land border, sea border)
* Capability for massive multiplayer, with up to 150 players in a game, in any egalitarian combination (eg - 1v1, 3 teams of 10, 5 teams of 2, etc)
* Tournament play, hosted either by community members, or official site tournaments with prizes
* Scoreboards of various types
* Unlockable achievements

I do hope that people are interested, and that I haven't inadvertantly spammed your forums.

Regards,
e_i_pi

Pastor_Mora
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Joined: 01/05/2010
Never mind

We get regular spam from bots. Your add is much more interesting and may rise an eyebrow around here. Good luck with your project.

Keep thinking!

PS I like your avatar. Do you know what is that all warfare is based upon?

e_i_pi
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Joined: 04/05/2010
:)

Lol, of course I do, all warfare is based on deception :) When you visit the homepage, it places a randomly chosen quote at the foot of the information. Naturally, the pool of possible quotes has about 50 from Sun Tzu, of which that is one. Do you know what is of supreme importance in war?

Pastor_Mora
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Joined: 01/05/2010
Speed

I don't have an english version, but maybe this will do.

"It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on."

This always strikes my attention when reviewing wargames. The speed factor is almost always left aside. I think that speed, related to the more modern concept of "initiative" is the key to warfare.

My recent WWN wargame uses a simultaneous free action mechanic for all players that leaves that initiative as your only advantage during your turn. I hope this experimentation can prove the theories of the greatest forefather of Wu.

KT!

rpghost
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Joined: 03/03/2009
I've played a lot of browser

I've played a lot of browser based games (in fact I own a site that lists some: http://www.RPGStrategy.com ) - anyway, I rarely ever signup for a game though unless I can see some screen shots of the game in action. Please add some to the site and maybe I'll give it a shot.

James
Minion Games

e_i_pi
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Joined: 04/05/2010
Screenshots et al

Yeah I'm getting round to that in the next few days. I've been extremely busy restructuring backend code for the past 2-3 months, to accomodate for SQL schema changes we implemented. Now, I'm working on the "first impression" part of the site, ie - what people see when they drop onto the home page, the quick navigation points from there, and what Google spiders will crawl. I'm in discussions with a friend who is in advertising, and another who is a graphic designer, so there should be some significant aesthetic changes in the next week or so. Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated

salish99
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Joined: 02/22/2010
testing?

let us know if you still need someone, we could take a look around.

Harris Dvores
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Joined: 03/07/2010
playtesters wanted

I, too, am open to being a playtester, but I would like to see more about the game first.

Harris

e_i_pi
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Joined: 04/05/2010
Screenshots

Hi, yes we definitely need more people, and you're more than welcome to join. Remember, if you do join, send me a private message, and I'll grant you Playtester status. Remember, Playtesters get unlimited games for as long as they are active on the site. We plan on going commercial in a few months, once we've sorted everything out, so getting in as a Playtester now is a good option, otherwise you'll be limited to 5 consecutive games unless you pay.

Here's some screenshots:

1. Game Page - Starting your turn
The Game page, showing a precarious position between North and South America. I intend to break South America, to stop the next player (Nomadic) from receiving the bonus.
http://www.artofwar.cc/public/SS1.png

2. Game page - Fortifying troops
Fortifying troops uses up a movement point, no matter how many troops you fortify. This fortification from Yamalia to European Steppe will leave me with 2 movement points. I'll need 1 to break South America, leaving me 1 more. Unfortunately I need 2 movement points to break Afrika, so that will have to wait until next turn.
http://www.artofwar.cc/public/SS2.png

3. Game page - Attack
I've just deployed some troops on Maya, in order to aid in breaking South America. The first of a series of battles goes well, 3-1 in my favour. Because I have not yet taken the territory, a movement point is not used up. It will be spent when I finally occupy the Caribbean.
http://www.artofwar.cc/public/SS3.png

4. Game page - End Turn
After finally capturing the Caribbean, I finish my turn, allowing Nomadic to play as soon as he gets on. The game log, which I have activated with the game log display button in the bottom right, shows a synopsis of my most recent actions. All actions from the commencement of the game are shown, with a scrollbar allowing access.
http://www.artofwar.cc/public/SS4.png

5. Combat Rules
A page showing the combat rules for the Medieval Era. Note that the troop types include Infantry, Cavalry, Fort, Siege Engine, and Navy. Depending on the troops types in the source and target territories of a conflict, that determines what sort of battles are available. Take the first battle type for instance - Land Battle. This will line up up to 3 infantry attacking against up to 2 infantry defending. Both the attacker and defender require infantry in order for the battle type to be available. If the defender has Cavalry or Fort(s), the battle type is not available.
Currently, only Ancient era is available, ie - all infantry, no other troops. Don't be dismayed. This combat rules screen draws information from the XML and SQL tables. Medieval combat is ready to go, the other coder and I just need to create some map scenarios with Medieval selectable as an option.
http://www.artofwar.cc/public/SS5.png

6. Create Game
Currently, there are only two maps available: MiniEurope (a playtesting map) and World Map. MiniEurope allows the choice of Random Deployment, Roman Era, and Roman Decline. Each scenario has different starting positions and number of players / teams available. The World Map is the first official map. We expect Eurasia and Crusades to be in within the next 2-4 weeks. Once those maps are in, I will create two scenarios for specialised play - The Rise of the Mongols for the Eurasia map, and The First Crusade for the Crusades map. Each map has it's own unique style, and all maps are created by dedicated graphic artists.
Note that the World Map caters for up to 21 players in a game. No other Risk-esque site caters for this number of players. Most other sites cater for, at most, 8-10 players. Art of War caters for as many players as the map can take. The maximum number of players for a map is the maps number of territories divided by 2. The current world map is 1/2 scale on both the x and y axes. When I make the full sized world map, it should cater for up to 100 players.
The main reason other gaming sites restrict their games to 8-10 players is that it would otherwise take too long for your turn to come around. Due to Art of War's in-house "turn-ticking" algorithm, massive multiplayer games have multiple players able to take their turn at the same time. The longest you will have to wait between turns, with any number of players, is 48 hours (with 24 hour turns selected).
http://www.artofwar.cc/public/SS6.png

7. Forums
The forums are completely set up and ready to go. I check in on the forums multiple times each day. The forum shown is the Workshop forum, where ideas are pitched by the community or admin, and if they gain enough support or are deemed worthy enough, the coding team will implement them. Unlike other sites, pitched ideas aren't simply left to rot in a forum. They are set a priority, and seen to as soon as I get a chance - I spend roughly 20-40 hours a week coding for the site. I generally see to community ideas immediately, with 3 of the past 4 taking less than 48 hours each to implement.
http://www.artofwar.cc/public/SS7.png

-------------------

Currently, the site is sorely lacking replete instructions, and has a few behind-the-scenes code problems to do with AJAX. These are the being given the highest priority to be seen to, and I expect the majority of that work to be done over the next week. The front page also needs a bit of work, as well as the Browse Games page, but I expect in a month or so, it should all be pretty seamless. I welcome anyone who wishes to come to the site, whether to playtest or simply browse :)

EDIT: The AJAX problem will be fixed tomorrow when I'm not so sleepy, finally nutted out a way to fix it once and for all :D

bfistric
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Joined: 05/19/2010
I'm applying

I like your site and the screenshots provided. I'd be glad to participate in playtesting. I just registered for the account. Will check it out within next few days...

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