How to Set my Game so that Members can Play Only Once, and then pay to Play After

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cbillington 101 Jan 08, 2012 at 16:52

Hello! I was wondering if there’s a way to allow my members to play a game only one time as a way to compete for a prize, and then they have the option to pay a dollar to play again if they want to increase their score for the promotion. Any advice?

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darksmaster923 101 Jan 09, 2012 at 10:28

Require registration? Thats a quick and easy way if you have a server for the accounts

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Stainless 151 Jan 09, 2012 at 10:39

google for “digital rights management systems”

You will get a hell of a lot of hits, but read through the descriptions of the various options for ideas.

You won’t be able to afford to buy one, but you can get a lot of good information without paying for anything.

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alphadog 101 Jan 09, 2012 at 14:35

There’s a million ways to do so. Could you explain the architecture of your system/platform a little more?

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cbillington 101 Jan 10, 2012 at 15:28

@alphadog

There’s a million ways to do so. Could you explain the architecture of your system/platform a little more?

Well, I’m actually in the planning stage of the game idea, so nothing is set in stone. Just throwing around a few ideas. I would like to create a game similar to Angry Birds, but where textbooks are launched at teachers (I’m a teacher and thought it would be fun). I would like it to only be about five levels, from easy to hard, where the player gets only one try on each level, whether they beat it or not, and then they automatically move to the next level. After playing the five levels, they’ll have a total score, and then a pop up will ask them if they want to pay to play in order to increase their score. The person with the highest score at the end of the competition wins. Ideally, I would like this game to be cross-platform. The problem with all this is I have zero experience within the game devleopment field, and I only have a budget of about $300 to pay someone to make the game for me, which I’m assuming isn’t nearly enough. I’m willing to learn how to do it, but I have A LOT to learn. I really don’t even know where to begin, and that’s why I joined this site. I know I just went off on a tangent, but I’m in need of some guidance. Any tips or advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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TheNut 179 Jan 10, 2012 at 18:07

I guess the first thing I would ask you is if any of your students would be capable of doing this? Not sure what grade you teach, but many kids these days are computer literate. See if there’s something you can do with your school board to encourage a tournament.

Failing that, learning game development would be your first priority. I would start first with getting graphics onto the screen and implement user interaction. You mentioned cross platform, so one technology I will throw at you is HTML and JavaScript. You can start learning HTML here, or part with some of your money to purchase a book if you think that will help you (sorry, I don’t have any recommendations). Keep in mind that you will have to purchase mobile developer licenses for each platform you want to port to, so save up some cash for that. Once you build and test your game on your desktop PC, you can use a framework called PhoneGap to get your game onto other platforms. This by far is the easiest, most direct way to build portable games.

A 2D game like Angry Birds would be a walk in the park for someone with intermediate experience, but I believe a beginner shouldn’t have too much difficulty with the task. Your biggest game feature is physics, and fortunately for you someone ported the infamous Box2D physics library to JavaScript. The rest is up to your ability to learn and develop with HTML and JavaScript.

To give you some insight on your original question, you have to be careful. Some platforms (such as Microsoft) prohibit transactions outside of their marketplace except for a few cases. Both Apple and Google provide an in-app purchase program, but if you’re rewarding people with prizes then you need to review the laws with the countries and/or states you are marketing. You have to deal with financial transactions, and this is a very advanced topic. Perhaps something you don’t want to get involved in. I would settle with a try before you buy feature. When you get more experienced, you can take on more advanced finance schemes.

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cbillington 101 Jan 11, 2012 at 10:42

@TheNut

I guess the first thing I would ask you is if any of your students would be capable of doing this? Not sure what grade you teach, but many kids these days are computer literate. See if there’s something you can do with your school board to encourage a tournament.

Failing that, learning game development would be your first priority. I would start first with getting graphics onto the screen and implement user interaction. You mentioned cross platform, so one technology I will throw at you is HTML and JavaScript. You can start learning HTML here, or part with some of your money to purchase a book if you think that will help you (sorry, I don’t have any recommendations). Keep in mind that you will have to purchase mobile developer licenses for each platform you want to port to, so save up some cash for that. Once you build and test your game on your desktop PC, you can use a framework called PhoneGap to get your game onto other platforms. This by far is the easiest, most direct way to build portable games.

A 2D game like Angry Birds would be a walk in the park for someone with intermediate experience, but I believe a beginner shouldn’t have too much difficulty with the task. Your biggest game feature is physics, and fortunately for you someone ported the infamous Box2D physics library to JavaScript. The rest is up to your ability to learn and develop with HTML and JavaScript.

To give you some insight on your original question, you have to be careful. Some platforms (such as Microsoft) prohibit transactions outside of their marketplace except for a few cases. Both Apple and Google provide an in-app purchase program, but if you’re rewarding people with prizes then you need to review the laws with the countries and/or states you are marketing. You have to deal with financial transactions, and this is a very advanced topic. Perhaps something you don’t want to get involved in. I would settle with a try before you buy feature. When you get more experienced, you can take on more advanced finance schemes.

Thanks for all your great advice! I’m still throwing around a few ideas, so let’s say that I decide to go a different route and embed a free online game to use for my website’s competition. Would there be a way to keep the game the exact same, but add something like a timer or a score keeper? Could I make it to where my members can only play one time after I send them the code to play, and then they have the option to pay to play afterward in order to get a better score? Could I also set it up to where all the users only see the top three scores? If there is a way to do all that, how would I do so? What programs would I need, and what is the order of the steps I would need to take? Thanks again for being such a big help!

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TheNut 179 Jan 11, 2012 at 12:44

If the game you embed is open source, then you can add those additional features. As above posters mentioned, you just need to setup a web server with support for user accounts and high score tracking (PHP + MySQL are popular combinations for this). If the game is closed source, then most likely you will not be able to do that. You will have to contact the author and request it (possibly involving $$$).

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cbillington 101 Jan 12, 2012 at 05:00

@TheNut

If the game you embed is open source, then you can add those additional features. As above posters mentioned, you just need to setup a web server with support for user accounts and high score tracking (PHP + MySQL are popular combinations for this). If the game is closed source, then most likely you will not be able to do that. You will have to contact the author and request it (possibly involving $$$).

Due to my low budget, I think embedding a free open source game is what I’m leaning towards. You mentioned that I would have to set up a web server with support for user accounts and high score tracking. How exactly do I set up a web server? What is the cost of setting up the web server? Is that something that a beginner like myself could handle, or does that take a lot of studying as well?

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alphadog 101 Jan 12, 2012 at 14:42

Depends on what you mean by “embed”. I’d be worried about the legal angles; free doesn’t mean you get to do whatever you want with it. I’d even say something that looks really free, like with a GPL license, is debatably not embeddable.

Personally, if it is a casual game like Angry Birds and you have so little knowledge in the field (no disrespect intended), I would consider looking at something like YoYo Games (esp. their GameMaker:HTML5 environment to get it to work on multiple platforms) or alternates like it. They will provide all the framework from a game engine, editors, a place to host your game and a lobby to have user management.

Now, if you have plenty of time, want to have more control and/or want to learn the field of game development, then I’d recommend you dive into a slightly deeper part of the pool. You’d have to learn how to build a web app to run your own game lobby, and then how to use an engine (like, say, Unity3D) to run the actual game. But that would take months…

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cbillington 101 Jan 12, 2012 at 15:30

@alphadog

Depends on what you mean by “embed”. I’d be worried about the legal angles; free doesn’t mean you get to do whatever you want with it. I’d even say something that looks really free, like with a GPL license, is debatably not embeddable.

Personally, if it is a casual game like Angry Birds and you have so little knowledge in the field (no disrespect intended), I would consider looking at something like YoYo Games (esp. their GameMaker:HTML5 environment to get it to work on multiple platforms) or alternates like it. They will provide all the framework from a game engine, editors, a place to host your game and a lobby to have user management.

Now, if you have plenty of time, want to have more control and/or want to learn the field of game development, then I’d recommend you dive into a slightly deeper part of the pool. You’d have to learn how to build a web app to run your own game lobby, and then how to use an engine (like, say, Unity3D) to run the actual game. But that would take months…

Hey, thanks for the pointers! I was thinking about only embedding a game from an author who gives me written permission to use it as a competition. Once I have their written permission, I should be good right? Also, TheNut mentioned setting up a a web server with support for user accounts and high score tracking, and that PHP + MySQL are popular combinations for this. How exactly to I do that? What is the cost of setting up the web server? Is that something that a beginner like myself could handle, or does that take a lot of studying as well? Thanks again for your help!

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alphadog 101 Jan 12, 2012 at 16:42

I wouldn’t rely on the “word” of the copyright holder; get an actual legal contract. But, yes, if someone allows you to build a shell around their product, and you have it on paper, than you should be fine. IANAL, so get one.

Setting up a proper, secure (money is involved, which will attract criminals), web-based application, and its infrastructure is not easy when you have never done any coding before.

Also, building a shell around an existing, suitable, cross-platform game is unlikely to be easy. You’d have to find the right game, with open licensing or with a kind-hearted copyright holder, and with a programming interface (API) that allows you work with the game from your wrapper. Not an easy hunt!

I still think your best bet right now is to go to YoYo Games. Or, Kongregate. Also, you may want to consider finding a Flash coder in Bangladesh to put this together for you. (Seriously. If you are cash-strapped, this would bootstrap it. And, yes, there are a slew of ethical and management issues on outsourcing…)