« The Browser Game »

I love strategy games, such as AoE2, and I really enjoyed Browser strategy games, like Travian, Tribal wars, Kingsage and more.

On my journey to solo entrepreneurship, and because I also want to enhance my portfolio for future opportunities, I want to share the process of building a project that I wanted to make since a long time.


Header image representing a scene of age of empire 2

Image from Age of empire 2 on xbox.com


Some history about Browser games

In the early and mid 2000, within the explosion of the web, a bit before the smartphone era, the MMO market exploded, giving birth to games like World of Warcraft, Lineage, Guild wars and much more.

In the same period, browser based MMO games got a lot of traction, such as Travian, OGame, Tribal wars.

It was a lot of fun, and my first ever experience with such games. I used to play a lot of Diablo, Age of Empire, Need for Speed, or Pokemon back then, yet, the experience or multiplayer felt really different; There were no need for installations, and playing against and with a lot of players at the same time was huge.

I discovered some « new » ones from the late 2000 and early 10s, and even though it was in the decline of that era of games, I remember clearly « discovering » (playing seriously) a new way to play such game in PvP, with big teams against big teams, attacking and trying to outplay one another for weeks and months, conquering all enemies.

Yet, they were really tough games to play; they were heavy on your schedules, always taking compute of your mind while your were at work or school, and shortly after smartphones increased such issues.

Also, the « Freemium » was frustrating, money that could directly kick in the game mechanics and enhance others' account was hard to beat at the early stage of the game and that was without speaking about cheating, which was easy to do on browser platform due to JavaScript and the fact that games were slow.

Now, back in the present, I want to build my own MMORTS Browser game, with all the knowledge I kept from these experiences and lessons learnt from that time.

Rhythms

The first problem start with the « formats » of such games, they were slow and long-lived, which means, if you wanted to compete, you had to have no life, almost. A game that last for a year, is way too long. Even a week could be too long.

A shorter time frame would help about schedule, about your general life if you enjoy the game, and allow more players to be good at the game, without speaking about 100% connected players against people with more stuff to do on a daily basis.

Another good thing about fast formats would be to help against cheating; You cannot wait doing things in the background, you have to be efficient in the game, or you'll dead quick. Even though you can still cheat, it would be harder to do so.

Players could play a whole game cycle easily, from start to end-game, and would gain way more experiences.

No pay to win

« Pay-to-win » is problem in a PvP oriented game, and I personally hated that so much, I do remember players putting thousands just to be, after few days, what should have been 2 months worth of gameplay. Being beaten because you started, randomly, against the few heavy money players was frustrating. Yet, it was doable, to play, because you'd be destroyed and would start again soon after at the edge of the map, and then, if you were good, with your friends, you could eventually overrun the world/server in the late game.

Some motivation for such mechanics to increase income is understandable, and even more when you think about technologies often used to create such games (slow) and servers. Nowadays, computing is cheaper, faster, and the web ecosystem is way more robust, therefore, another economic model should be used instead of « core features against money ».

You can think of UI enhancement against tiny amounts, and leveraging a world by the number of players or the number of worlds per months, etc...

You can also think of "Pay to enter" type of server, also with tiny amounts, with a PAF to the winner, which could also enhance competitiveness of the game and create a stronger community, in my opinion.

Competitiveness

Speaking of competition, I think the lack of good competitive system is a problem in a lot of games. Even big company does not provide good system, or does not put a lot of effort into it, or have systems that spread economy only to the extremely high level player, and none for good to high level players.

A system based upon ELO, with tiny competitive server with no possible team play, or an open server tournament system with tiny entry fees.

Cheating would be even huge on the game if money is involved, for sure, and no matter what you do, some people will always try and find failure in a system, yet I think that with enforced rules about prizes, automation to find behavior and scripts or modified environment, it would be a good thing to have competition.

Cheating

Cheating is huge, and even more so if you put prizes into your game mechanics.

While I don't have any true answer to how to stop it, because I don't all the way to cheat as MMORTS, I think that shorter and faster game formats, would really help against anything in the lines of co-playing, multi-account, account boosting and script enhancements, given that it is a real time game in a massively multiplayer.

Yet, no anti-cheat or security system is perfect, and you can always find a hole, it will need to be enhanced overtime.

Outro

All of that to say, that I want to create the Ultimate MMORTS Browser Game, following the steps of giants and trying to « innovate », because it is the ideas of what I always wished for my friends and I, when we were playing these games.


See ya!