Monday, May 26, 2008

MyMiniCity Mechanics & Pictures

Now that my city has reached population of 100, there are more games mechanics that I have to be aware of . After a couple of search I found a fair bit of information, and surprisingly the info is mainly in chinese and japanese. I guess a lot of players are from China, Taiwan, and Japan. I would use my city name "scraze" as the illustration. For other players, please replace the 'scraze' with the correct city name.

Here's what I could gather from these blogs and sites. Seems like there are 6 milestones. Once a city hits population of 50, there will be unemployment. With this milestone, another option of factory creation would appear, for the player to create factory. This is done via clicking the original url with a'/ind/' behind. For example, instead of '', the person should enter ''. Without factory there will be unemployment. Once unemployment hits certain figures, the people will leave the city. Each factory can create jobs for 3 population. Here's a picture of some factory

Once the city hits 100 population, there is need for better transportation. With more population, the 'transport' indicator would slowly drop from 100%. Thus another option would appear, where people can enter '' to increase the transport facility. Each facility can provide good transport for 10 population.

When the city reaches 300 population, there is need for social security, else the crime rate would increase from zero onwards. So the fourth option is security, where players click to improve the security features. Each feature can help to decrease crime rate for a further growth of 15 population.

The fifth milestone is parks and recreational facilities. This comes about when the population hits 500, and the url to click would be I have seen some parks in other cities which are quite interesting. Here's a list of the different indicators, which could be iewed on the webpage itself.

The last stage is the commercial stage, where there is need for commercial investments. By pressing '', commercial buildings could be built. So there will be high rise features in the cities. Commercial building can also help to decrease unemployment rates.

While it is a simple game, there is satisfaction in seeing it grow, especially when the buildings upgrade themselves to become something else. It's a pity there is no option to rotate the city, else there would be more fun to look at the city from various angles. Here's a picture of how a small yellow church could grow to become something nicer.

Other than the factory figures, I couldn't verify other figures accurately yet. Nonetheless, the purpose of the game is to have fun, so the mechanics need not be so detailed I guess. It seems after the commercial stage, there is chances of 'accidents' e.g. chemical factory explosion, happening. Well if it happens I guess I would update it here. Not sure at what stage would I decide to let the city stagnant, since to grow a city beyond 1,000 population takes a fair bit of effort. :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lone Wolf & Other Books Available Free Online!

Long before the emergence of virtual worlds, many of us had played in make believe worlds framed by books like Advanced Dungeon & Dragons and other Role-Playing Games book. Among the more successful ones include those Lone Wolf books by Joe Dever. I personally have played the whole Lone Wolf series till book 12, as well as the 'World of Lone Wolf', Freeway Warrior and 1 or 2 Combat Heroes books. I still have a number of these books packed away somewhere in storage boxes.

So in part nostalgic, in part curiosity, I visited the Project Aon site when I heard that they are putting all Lone Wolf books online, and for free!

It seems Joe Dever has given his permission to re-work all the books onto online version. I tried the 1st book "Flight from the Dark", and I must say the experience is not bad. There is a Java script of the character sheet, which makes updating of items easy. The script also include a combat function, so no more need to 'point the tip of the pencil' at the random number page of the book. For those who want to run everything online concurrently, the Project Aon team also provided a 'StatsKeeper" program that displayed the character sheet on the left while the player plays the game using the right panel. Cool!

The Project Aon team took on this role when they realised that the books are no longer published, and ever since then there is a renewed interest in Lone Wolf. Perhaps there is limited publication of the books, but I can still find a number of these books in the second hand bookstores. Moreover, I think the Lone Wolf game may be made as an online MMORPG soon, based on news that Joe Dever is working with Ksatria Gameworks on the project.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

MyMinicity reaching 51 population

After 7 days of play, MyMinicity has reached a population of 51. The rate of growth is nothing great, but along the way I discover a few things. Here's a gif of the different screen-shots I took. Gif was created using online gifninja. The gameplay is very simple, and I guess that's what attracted people. With each population growth you could see little changes on the map that is quite interesting. (afternote: blogger doesnt support direct gif file upload so i break it into a few jpeg files.)

Firstly, those tools I recommended earlier could be used to grow the village by 1 population each. This is because these tools will 'query' the website about the statistics, and thus contribute to 1 population. Thus I've searched around, and also found this Japanese website which does comparison of two cities, and could be used to grow the population as well. Just key in the name of the two cities at the bottom of the site will do.

Secondly is that once the city hits population above 50, there are other options available for growing industry, transport...etc. I only have the option of industry so far. Once I reach other options, I'll do an update of what each means. :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Simple Review of MyMiniCity

I was first attracted to the MyMiniCity when I saw the MSN message from my MSN buddy. Then I did a simple Wiki search and found the description of the game. After a couple of months, I finally decided to give it a try.

Signing up for the game is very simple. First you select a country (I couldn't find mine, apparently the selection is not comprehensive), and then you give your city a name. Voila! That's it! The starting city would have 1 inhabitant, and you need visitors daily to help the city grow. That's the simple mechanics of the game, i.e. attract visitorship. The more visitors per day, the faster it grows. Once a certain size is reached (i.e. 50), there will be other options available.

After starting the city, I searched around for various tools. Found a couple of tools and simple tricks to help grow the city. Other than asking for friends to visit the page, a player could also put up a java script of the minicity onto his blog to monitor the development. One good example of the script could be found at the WidgetBox. Here's a pic of the widget.

There are other sites that provide pop-up windows for blogs that automatically link to the MiniCity. I think that is not as good a suggestion though for the blog visitors since many people do not like pop-ups.

Another useful tool for monitoring the statistics of the MiniCity could be found here, where the website offer comparison between two different MiniCities. Another site that offers statistics could be found here. After 'playing' the game for 2 days, and irritating my friends with requests for 'clicks', I got the city to a size of 13 population. Guess I'll explore more about MiniCity and provide more comments next time.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Computer Games & Allied Technology 08

I went to the Computer Games and Allied Technology 08 on day two of the event. The particularly interesting sessions to me would be the ones on the rights ownership in virtual worlds, and the use of virtual worlds for scientific collaboration. Paul Bourke from the University of Western Australia presented an interesting example where scientists collaborated on the creation of a replicate site in Australia for a telescope. He also gave examples of how 2nd Life could be used to visualise 3D molecules. What is interesting to me is how we could model virtual objects using real world data. Incorporate this concept with existing mapping tools like Google Earth, it is highly possible that we could experience 'mirror worlds' creation much sooner than we thought.

Pic of a booth at the event

Virtual worlds are also no longer just platforms for recreational games, as evident from the numerous news articles and developments in this area. That was also quite well covered by the different CGAT sessions about the use of such tools for learning. What is remarkable is that people have been talking about it since 2002 or earlier (see this BBC article), but this concept is still not widely adopted.

Oh well, having more of such seminars / conferences would definitely profile the benefits of virtual worlds to more mainstream audience. Of course, after these uses become mainstream, the difficult questions of who owns what rights, and how much of the revenue should go to which 'creators' would be a big headache for consideration. :)