Author Topic: So, hello (and thoughts on how to proceed with making Spirit Wars a reality).  (Read 1233 times)

Light

  • Administrator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
I just kind of happened upon this site last night, and I have to admit to being fairly shocked.  It's quite amazing, though not totally unsurprising, that such a dedicated group of players all managed to find their way here.  I played this game for many nights and I met countless people I considered to be friends here.  I have never come across a similar community, and it seems like I'm not the only one. 

I spent more time than I should have going through various posts here, then thinking about...stuff.  I see the there have been numerous starts and stops, and I'm not entirely sure where things stand at the moment.  They seem to have settled down a bit, but perhaps it's time to change that.

Unfortunately, I have no experience in programming.  I do, however, have some experience in project management.  I wasn't able to find many details about the various projects which were attempted, so I don't know what has and has not been done.  With that in mind, I'd like to offer a different perspective on how to tackle this project and bring the game that we all know and love back to its rightful place.

I'll try to keep this relatively brief, but will happily provide more details, should there be interest.

The ideal way of looking at this project is as a series of smaller goals, which will be combined to produce a larger end result.  Developing an entire game is a huge undertaking, which can easily and quickly lead to becoming overwhelmed, especially when setbacks arise.  Breaking the process down helps to address some of that, while also providing a small amount of insulation against having to constantly restart the project from the beginning.

1. Game Design: This includes many things which are probably already in place, for the most part, although I think it's still worth mentioning for the sake of being thorough.  Anything related to how the game works belongs in this category.  Some examples include game rules, spirits, events/migrations, and storylines.  It also includes other aspects of the game, like artwork (for both spirits and maps), the welcome screen, and the layout of the game (both the chat interface and the gameplay interface).

While many of these things already exist, some may require updating, specifically the game and chat interfaces.  Before even considering actual development, basic aspects, like the layout, need to be hashed out.  Each of these categories should have their own subsection, so they can be addressed in detail.  After the layouts have been decided upon, the next phase(s) can begin.

2. Front End Development: Front end development includes the actual coding of everything that players will see.  The chat interface.  The map interface.  The icons for spirits and castles. 

3. Back End Development: This includes the coding of everything that will make the game run; everything that isn't included in front end development.  The database of spirits and code that makes interaction of spirits work.

4. Talent Acquisition: While a developer is needed to write the code, I think more than that is needed.  What about updating artwork?  Creating storylines for events?  Designing new spirits?  Obviously, a developer is the most important piece, but in order for the game to truly be experienced the way it was designed, other aspects need to be considered.
4.1. Use your current playerbase: While I don't want to speak for anyone else, I saw many people offering to help, in whatever way they can.  I know I am.  Allow the current playerbase to use their skill sets to help move the game forward.  Are there players who are artistic?  Good with sound/music?  Web design/development?  Find out and include them in the revitalization of the game.  Many games have been funded by players, but I'm unaware of any that had players make major contributions to the actual development.  This can further set the game apart from everything else that's out there and serve as proof of exactly how loved it is by those who were lucky enough to find it years ago.
4.2. As previously mentioned, a developer is the most important piece of the puzzle.  I would certainly suggest having a professional take care of this.  I know that freelancer.com has been mentioned before, and I really do think that's the way to go.  Maybe not freelancer.com, specifically, but a site similar to that (and there are many).  Getting the right developer is the most important thing, and with enough patience, I don't see why it can't be accomplished.

5. Funding: Funds are always an issue.  Hiring a development is going to be a significant cost.  I won't even begin to guess at what the cost will be, because it depends on a number of factors, including exactly what needs to be done.  Just coming up with a ballpark figure will require a good amount of research, but will be worth the effort.
5.1. Kickstarter: I know this has been mentioned before, and I fully understand why.  Kickstarter is an amazing platform and has allowed so many great projects to get off the ground.  The best thing about Kickstarter is that you can provide incentives to donors.  These incentives can be anything from special maps or spirits named after a donor to being allowed to select which Tournament set is played to being granted an additional population reset.  Find out what your playerbasee would like, and offer it to them (within reason).  I'm sure the ideas for potential incentives will come pouring in.

6. Communication: Communication always seems to be incredibly difficult.  Providing a balance between information and tempering excitement.  People generally try to avoid giving out bad news, but there are going to be setbacks, and keeping your playerbase informed of what's going on, good or bad, is an integral part of ensuring that they remain invested in the progression of the project.  At the same time, it's also important to be realistic and not get hopes up, too high, based on small goals being met.  Just finding a developer is a great reason to get excited, but it isn't a reason to declare the game to be back.  It's a long road, filled with many steps and obstacles, which is all the more reason to communicate, fully, every step of the way. 

Lyn Chase

  • Administrator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 40
    • View Profile
Hello Light,
  What a thrill it was to log on and find your post!  It has now been seven years since Randy's death.  I have longed to bring back SpiritWars and have tried several times, to no avail.  I think I want to try one more time.  Jonathan is now 32 years old and just got funded last week on Kickstarter for a text book he wrote, so I have a basic understanding of what is needed to initiate a Kickstarter campaign.  Eric is now 21 and recently changed his major to computer science.  His C++ instructor told him he had the aptitude for coding, although he is still in the early stages of the learning process. 
  Light, do you live in the United States?  If so I would like to talk to you on the phone.  (If you don't live in the US we could still communicate by e-mail.)  If you wish we can communicate here initially but if you are a Facebook user, I am, too.  My name is Lyn Chase and, frankly, I don't know how to search for people on Facebook to rule out all the ones who are NOT the person you are seeking, but I live in Happy Valley, Oregon, if that helps.  Once we have established communication, I will provide my phone number if you wish.
  After 5.5 years of widowhood, I finally found a boyfriend and he is a graphic artist and web developer, so we have a great resource for graphics and art.  I must emphasize, however, that I CANNOT undertake this without the help and support of the SpiritWars community.  I never played the game.  I just participated in the community and watched as Randy grew something amazing out of thin air. 
  Thank you for your thoughtful post.  My spirits are buoyed!
              Lyn (aka Mom)

Light

  • Administrator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
I do live in the US, NJ specifically.  While I don't believe I have a facebook account, I do tend to try to be flexible, and if that's your preferred method of communication, I could always make an account.  I don't know if facebook does offline messages though, so I would imagine that relaying messages either here (on the forum itself or via PM) or through email would be best, given the time difference we'll be dealing with, along with differing schedules.  Just let me know exactly how you would like to communicate and I'll find a way to make it work.

Developing a game from scratch is a much bigger project than most people realize.  It goes much deeper than just writing some code.  Fortunately, it appears that a lot of the ground work is already done.  As I mentioned, I read a pretty large portion of the posts on this forum.  While I understand that many of them are quite dated, a couple of common themes seem to hold true; people found their way here, often on their own, the game fostered a community that was enjoyable to be around, and so many are willing to help, in whatever way they can.  That says a lot of the game and the community, but also the players.  It certainly seems like all of the ingredients are present to make this undertaking successful. 

Lyn Chase

  • Administrator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 40
    • View Profile
Hi Light,
  I sent a message to your email account you listed when you registered for this message board.  I felt foolish that I didn't think of it sooner, but I am an admin here so I had access to it.  I provided you with my email address and phone number. (Eric and I are the only administrators here.)  I would really like to talk to you about steps needed to make this happen.  It may not be possible but I would like to try one more time.  People tell me to give up, let it go.  But I'm not ready to do that yet.  Please respond to my e-mail or, if you are unable to access it, respond here and we'll figure out another plan.  Thank you!
                Lyn
PS:  Could you please let me know your first name?

Fozzy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
I am thrilled to find out this game is in dev mode again. I have been stopping into this forum for years now hoping and praying someone will resurrect it. SW is amazing, and I can't wait for it to come to fruition. I wish it would run on modern equipment. So sad I can't play right now.

Vampira

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 28
    • View Profile
I am here. contact me.