The Evolution of Zelda Universe

I am currently writing a research paper on Linked games, a thing that I will probably be talking about more in the future (topic of my PhD). However, as a part of the process, I am explaining different terms and showing them through examples. As an interesting fact, I decided to use the game of Zelda to define what is the difference between Game World and a Game Universe.

The main difference (at least by our definition) is that Game World is the place where a single game takes place. All the characters, locations and events within that one game happen in the same World. The player can affect the way where the world goes and what happens to the characters in the world. 

As a separation to this, a Game Universe is something that contains joint elements between multiple games. For example Final Fantasy Universe has similar characters, such as chocobos and moogles, even though the world where the gameplay happens is different in each game. Even better example (and the one I wanted to illustrate here) is the Universe of Zelda games. 

All the Zelda games have same characters, the hero Link, princess Zelda, evil Ganondorf and so on. The place where the game takes place is called Kingdom of Hyrule and some items, such as Master Sword are known fact in all of the games of the franchise. However, the game world is not geographically the same (of course, this is also due to the limits of different game consoles, graphics, and so on), but still the games can be seen happening in the same storytelling universe. No matter how many times Link saves Zelda and defeats evil Ganon, the events seem to be forgotten/lost in the next game. Still, this is totally okay for the storytelling, as the universe is the same.

I want to illustrate the evolution of Zelda universe through few map screenshots:

 

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Somehow different, yet still makes sense :-D

OMG! I just got profit from Kickstarter!?

Kickstarter, among other crowdfunding sites, has reached a wide audience during the last few years. Crowdfunding as a term has come to stay and is accepted as a viable form of gathering funding for a project.

Games have gained a lot of attention in crowdfunding space and have managed to be among the most popular projects ever. Godus, Faster Than Light, Torment: Tides of Numenera, and many others have managed to gather hundreds of thousands of dollars more money than they have requested for. And lately, this has been an issue with game companies [Gamasutra: When crowdfunding reveals the realities of game dev budgets].

Receiving a lot more money than you asked for can mean problems. Latest founder of this issue was Double Fine which announced around a week ago of their troubles [Gamasutra: Double Fine splits Broken Age in half to fund completion]. Having gained almost three million dollars more than they asked for, they felt the necessity of delivering more content for their backers. Because of this, they are no longer able to deliver within the original schedule nor can they even make everything they promised in one game. Instead, they are splitting the game in two parts, asking for more money and delivering the final game behind the schedule. All because they got more money than they needed. Without a question, such behavior has made the whole internet to explode with angry cries and opinions [Back To Reality: Double Fine, Crowdfunding And The Repercussions]. Which is understandable, Double Fine just did not get the point.

Crowdfunding is a beautiful idea and could even be thought as an ideology. Asking for people to support your vision and to pledge money to help it become a reality. Like selling your idea to bunch of investors, but not giving away shares of your company or paying from the profits once the product hits the markets. Of course, the stakes are not that high and the risk for a single person is only couple (tens) of dollars. Absolutely beautiful.

However, it turns out that if a lot of people believe in you, then you have a problem. Problem of delivering them something much more bigger, engaging and mind blowing than you planned for.

Why?

If people believe in your idea and support you more than you have asked for, is it not a proof enough that the idea is rock solid? If a 10.000 USD project receives 200.000 USD worth of pledges, doesn’t it proove that people want the product?

Example of Kickstarter pledge info

Everyone can already see the pledged amount of money on the crowdfunding site (the example picture on the right hand side). Even though it says $121k/$15k – “Succesfully funded”, people still pledge. They pledge, because they believe in THAT project. They pledge, because they want it to become reality. They want to back you to show their support. Even though you have the money already. They don’t want extra big and more engaging. They want the thing you already promised in your pitch. That is enough.

Think about the same situation from a different perspective. How many times has a game studio or publisher run into trouble when a game has sold more than its real to-market costs were? Have you ever heard Microsoft Studios, Sony or Nintendo announcing, that because their game has sold over a million copies instead of the required 100.000 for make-even, they are going to postpone the release of their next game. Just to make it bigger, better and more mind blowing than it was supposed to be, because their products just sell too much. Sounds familiar? We don’t want extra big and more engaging. We want the thing you already promised in your pitch. That is enough.

Crowdfunding is asking for people to back your idea. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out and you get $10 instead of the $5.000 you asked for. And sometimes your idea just happens to be ground shaking and get you ten times more than needed.

An overwhelming success in crowdfunding does not mean that you need to go back to the drawing board. It means that your plan was already awesome. People don’t fund you so you could create something else than you promised. They fund you because they want what you promised. The money you got are sales, people just bought the product beforehand. The money is yours to have.

So please. Stick with what you promised. Deliver the promises, in time and transparently, updating backers about the progress. And if you received more than you asked for, even more than your secondary fundings goals – enjoy the money! Use it to prototype and create the pitch for your next crowdfunding project!

Just make sure you deliver what you promised in your pitch. That is, what I funded after all.

Documentary on Demo Scene

Demoscene is really interesting phenomenon. Many successful game companies have been founded by demoscene people. In my opinion it’s really amazing, what people can do with computers and break their limits. Programming should be more appreciated as a form of art.

This documentary is quite match told by the voices of Hungarian demoscene, but nonetheless gives a good insight into the scene and its members.

Perhaps not to be watched in one 90 minute session, but enjoy it at least in small parts.

Remember to put subtitles on!

On Business Cards

I just got my hands on new (mini) business cards I ordered from Moo. They are really cool looking and I like them a lot :-) Definitely something different. Another thing I love with Moo is that they have the possibility of ordering 100 cards with 5 different images (or something even having each card different).

 

 

Do you have some nice cards or like a specific card of some company? Share your thoughts underneath.

 

 

Making games and selling them to publishers?

Working in the game industry is surely interesting. Especially pitching to publisher may seem scary to many and there are a bunch of legends circling around.

This video gives a nice compilation of stereotypes of the big game companies. I think the logo of Janka is cool :-P Anyway, the company behind this video – Kixey seems to have quite nice jobs webpage. They do seem to have some attitude there.

What’s wrong with Apple?

What’s wrong with Apple? I think many have already seen these iBoy videos floating around in the web. I just had to add my five cents to this discussion. I mean, who makes this stuff? Before reading further, check the first “brilliant” marketing video below:

 

 

What did you get out of that? There is a video editing tool that can basically do… the same as other video editing tools (“add Seepia, that’s romantic” – neat). But this at least introduced us to iBoy, the guy who knows everything. But if you thought that is strange, look at the next one:

 

 

From iBoy on a plane to iBirth, yay! Now you can make postcards of your wife giving birth! Was this included in the newest OS X version? To be honest, I still did not understand, what is the point here. Is Apple just so known, that they actually don’t need to advertise their products? Just get enough visibility on the media and the computers will sell themselves? At least we know that iBoy sleeps in his Blue Apple shirt. But the best one is yet to come: iFake

If I got this right, the only way to get a real computer is to wait in the line, like iBoy and not to buy iStuff from other stores? But that truly was the best commercial – it had zero information in it. But at least we get to see iBoy again. Is there a secret hint for new product – iBoy! Coming first with blue shirt and later in white for the Chinese (what’s the thing with white phones anyway?).

 

(ps. I am back!)