Typically what happens with games is that they come out, a community is formed, they peak, and then they die.
So how do we make sure Demigod avoids this fate?
Based on the # of users playing on-line, we're projecting that Demigod will reach its peak community (# of people available) around August. Left on its own, it would follow the path of most other games.
As I write this, there are 3,211 people currently either playing Demigod games online, waiting for games, or in lobbies. During peak hours, it’ll get to around double that.
So how do we make this number continue to grow over time or at least, once it peaks, stay there?
It’s a question we’ve been pondering since the late beta of Demigod itself. We think the answer is to pull forward some of the features we’ve been working on for Impulse that were originally scheduled to launch with Elemental.
The challenges of on-line play
In my years of playing competitively on-line, here are the problems that any such system needs to address.
1. A lot of people who play online are basement dwelling jerks who need a good flogging.
2. It is often hard to impossible to find decent human beings online. I myself rely on groups like QuarterToThree.com for people I want to spend time with online. That’s what I do with Left4Dead and with Steam. If you want to see community features done well, visit Steam’s community.
3. Even if you find those people, it’s sometimes hard to get them together to play a game as a team.
The solution in Impulse
Now, one obvious gamer question would be, why didn’t we just use Steam. I mean, I use Steam every day for a lot of my games.
The reason we aren’t using Steam is that, as good as Steam is, and it is good, we don’t want it to be the only option. Competition is good for not just consumers but good for us (Steam and Impulse). Doesn’t mean I’m not going to use Impulse to buy games when there’s something on it I want that isn’t on Impulse or use it for community. I just don’t want Steam to be my only option.
So with Impulse, we’re bringing forward a lot of community features in the next couple months. The clan features some people know about but the idea is to make it easy for people to find other like minded people to play games with (not just games on Impulse) no matter where they happen to be.
I am hoping we can get a beta of this going in the next few weeks so that we can custom tailor this. But the idea here is that we need to not just have a “lot of people playing Game X” but people need to be easily find the right people to play with.