Blog posted by Ste Pickford on Thu, 11 Dec 2008
Subject: Naked War PC
We passed a big milestone today: our first indie game - Naked War - passed the 100,000 turn mark! Our server has processed over a hundred thousand turns since we first released the game in 2006.
We wanted to mark this landmark event in Naked War's history by doing something to say a big 'thank you' to all the subscribers, players, and members of the Naked War community that have been supporting indie development, and enjoying Naked War, for the last couple of years.
What we've done is switched Naked War into 'Free Play Mode'.
Essentially, the free trial of the game (which was always pretty generous as we gave away the full game for free, gave new players one free Challenge Credit to initiate an hour long game, gave them a stats page on our website, and allowed them to play incoming Challenges free forever), has now been extended indefinitely.
New players still only get one Challenge Credit, but when it's used up and their game is finished they can just ask for another one via a big button on their stats page, and they'll get it for free. No strings attached. No limits. New players can keep getting free Challenge Credits forever.
There are still plenty of reasons to buy the game, and we've not neglected our existing loyal subscribers. Subscribers now get infinite Challenge Credits. Previously we had a 'pay to play' model, where subscriptions purchased a limited number of Challenge Credits, which were consumed by each game played.
No more! Now subscribers' Challenge Credits aren't used up. They can keep sending out Challenges forever, and never need to buy another subscription. The only limit is that they can't have more active games than Challenge Credits, but seeing as every subscriber gets at least 20 Challenge Credits, this is not a problem at all.
The other big change we've made is to drop the turn file attachments in emails.
One thing we naively overlooked when developing Naked War was the rise of spam. We based our whole game around swapping tiny turns via email, but launched around the time every inbox in the world was being inundated with spam emails. Our Naked War emails looked just like spam, or worse - viruses, and the game has suffered from many of our emails being blocked by spam filters. The game would be perfect for a closed platform with messaging, like XBLA or the Wii, but is suffers slightly on PC.
We can't completely get around the spam issue, but removing attachments should be a big help. Now the emails we send are simply notifications of a new turn waiting, with a link to download it from the Zee-3 website, which should be much less likely to be blocked.
There's more we can do to customise the emails, to make them a bit more personal, but that will be part of the client update planned for next year.
We want to underline our continued commitment to this, our first ever indie release.
When we launched, some people were nervous about joining in a game based around a subscription and server model - they didn't know if the game would be around for long, or if the servers would stay running. Well, we've been running for nearly three years now, with no sign of stopping, and we're still making changes and improvements to the game!
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