Author Topic: Musings on software platforms vs solutions  (Read 368 times)

Offline tadrinth

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Musings on software platforms vs solutions
« on: September 05, 2016, 06:57:18 PM »
I was gonna put this in the 'AI War Core Features' thread, but I thought it might be worth posting separately.

On the 80/20 rule
It's pretty clear that there's HUGE variety in the responses to the question 'What does AI War mean to you?'.  Reminds me of a blog post: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000020.html
TLDR: 80% of people use only 20% of the features in your app.  Unfortunately, every single person is using a DIFFERENT 20%, and between them they're probably using 80% of the features, so you can't really cut as much as you might think.

That said, since this is a game, I think there's more flexibility, and you can always add features in later expansions if stuff is popular. 

On platforms vs solutions
There's sort of a spectrum in software development between providing solutions and providing platforms or frameworks that let people roll their own solution.  AI War is much closer to a platform than a solution; it's really a framework for building your own RTS game, in a sense.   I don't know if there's really any advice out there for how to build a platform rather than a solution, but there might be some interesting advice out there. 

On commoditizing complements
Another blog post: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/StrategyLetterV.html
TLDR: if the things people buy alongside your product are cheaper, people will pay more for your product. IE if hardware is cheap, people will pay more for software and vice versa.  So, what are AI War's complements? 

The big one is CONTENT.  Modding opens that up really well by making content cheap.  The easier it is to make content, the more people will make content and the more valuable AI War will be. Just need to make it easy to find GOOD content, which involves rating mods and/or promoting mod content to the base game.

Right now I think modding is more aimed at allowing people to customize ships and balance the game the way they want.  That is one form of content.

Going back to the platform vs solution spectrum, AI War is a platform, and a specific solution is a particular game.  The specifics of a game are determined partly by lobby setting and partly by the RNG.  As a platform, I think you want to commoditize the creation of solutions.  In other words, I think there is tremendous value in making it really easy for people to build and share crazy lobby scenarios, or going even farther, to build their own little campaigns. 

People have brought up the idea of smart tooltips; I don't know if those can be made moddable at all, but I really think that would be SUPER valuable.  Even just saying 'hey, when you start up a game that includes this unit, you get a popup explaining wtf it does' would be a big win.  Or a popup when you first scout a planet with that unit, or add a journal entry, or whatever.

If you can make the mod tools powerful enough to build a tutorial campaign in them, I really think that would be a huge win, because it allows the export of tutorial creation to the community. That's probably out of scope, but I think there might be big returns on anything that can be done here. 
« Last Edit: September 06, 2016, 01:55:42 PM by tadrinth »

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Musings on platforms vs solutions
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2016, 01:36:40 AM »
Personally I think space platforms are...

Wait, you're not talking about space platforms? Ow, sorry. I'll do that in another thread. You might want to change your topic's title to avoid confusion... maybe.
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Musings on platforms vs solutions
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2016, 09:49:59 AM »
Tutorials from scratch will definitely be a thing, because those were 100% data-driven to begin with in the first game (just embedded data, though).  So definitely creating a framework (platform) rather than a specific product is my goal.
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Offline tadrinth

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Re: Musings on software platforms vs solutions
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2016, 01:57:12 PM »
Awesome!!!  That's really reassuring to me.

Offline x4000

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Re: Musings on software platforms vs solutions
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2016, 04:26:23 PM »
I'm really excited to see what players do with it, too. :)
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