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All Posts by dsmart

All Posts by dsmart

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183 posts found

It is official. The EU servers are now online. Read about this and the free transfers in today's newsletter.

You can find all the goodness over here.

A comic will make or break a game? Seriously? I mean, where do you get this stuff from?

Saying that money going into a comic - which is a marketing expense btw - should go into game development is like saying you shouldn't market a game at all. That's just silly and since everyone thinks that they have all the answers, silly opinions like this are the result.

Fact is, Ricardo Sanchez (the writer) and I go way back from when he was at Turner GameTap where we worked together. I ran into him at GDC this year and we got talking. In the end, he showed me the Rift comic (Telara Chronicles) he worked on while he was at Trion Worlds and it seemed like a good marketing idea to promote Alganon. So he got in touch with DC, they said they were interested in doing it. The rest is history and the Alganon comic (story based on the upcoming expansion pack) was born.

DC gets to distribute it as they do other game based comic properties e.g. San Diego ComicCon, New York ComicCon, their iPad store etc. We also get copies for promotional purposes. And due to how the story was written, In can requisition additional volumes if I decide to do so.

So for me, it is a marketing expense that cost about as much as the six month PC Gamer full and single page ads cost. So either I take out ads or I do a comic. It is all about what I want to do with my marketing budget. I decided to do something different. So comic it was.


People who are rooting for a train wreck are usually disappointed when their preconcieved disaster doesn't happen. So I know that because Alganon is still around, it burns those who were hoping that it will fail. It boils down to  this: those very same people are forgetting that I ran into the same sort of derision with my first game back in 1996 when it was released prematurely by its then publisher. I'm still here.

Again, if you don't like the game, don't play it. This is just a game that I want to see succeed and I will continue to do my best to make that happen. If you're sitting around waiting for it to fail (hence shutdown), you have a pretty long wait because considering the low overhead, even if I fired the entire team tomorrow, the game is already 100% finished and self-sustaining. To the point that putting it into maintenance mode just means that it will keep running as long as I can afford to pay for the servers. There are lesser games out there still running; ever wondered why that is?

Galactic Command Online is very much a happening. The website was updated about two months ago and is now located at Since it is based on a hardcore IP, the game is purely for hardcore gamers (not the Eve crowd kinda hardcore since that game is just a spreadsheet in space, for the most part).

We're currently working on a more accessible game, Line Of Defense ( due out in early 2012.

GCO will hopefully show up in the 2013 timeframe.

haha yah, typo on my part. I've said the same thing over and over already, so those who've seen already may recognize it as a typo. Thanks for pointing it out.

For the record

1. I had nothing to do with "Tork" leaving QOL. That was before my time.

2. We haven't hired a replacement community manager because the guys are doing just fine and it is a waste of money. You don't need to have a CM just because someone says that you do.

3. The forums were an unruly place before I came in. Then I asked the guys to enforce the TOS and without any exceptions. So guess what? Those who couldn't abide by them either left or were banned. No exceptions. I believe in quality, not quantity. And if the signal to noise ratio is low, then people will find information that much quicker without having to wade through a pile of crap. It is a gaming forum, not someone's backyard or living room where they can do as they please. Our house. Our rules.

The business of game development is not about a popularity contest. It is about principles and goals. I'm neither a diplomat nor a politician; so I don't need to impress anyone or be "one of the guys because it's kewl" so that I don't rub people the wrong way.

As long as myself and the team are achieving our goals - which we we're doing just fine - I don't particularly care about anything else - or what anyone says for that matter.

If you like the game, play it. If you don't like it, don't play it.

Yep, working feverishly on it. Hopefully the more people that play it, the more they will see that I've pretty much all that I can to keep it unique and move it away from that whole "WoW clone" nonsense. 


{mod edit}

Originally posted by MadDemon64
Originally posted by dsmart

The new patch is already live. Please check it out.

I know that I have hated alganon in the past, and I can't believe that I am saying this, but I believe I will check it out. 

heh, no biggie really. The game is not for everyone, so I don't expect it to appeal to any demographic other than hardcore MMO gamers looking for something different. Plus the community is *great*.

Originally posted by MadDemon64
Originally posted by vesavius

...and thats to DL it and try it.

I am not a cash shop fan, to say the least, but I am tired of the 'cool' haters trying to crap on a game just because they think it's leet to have a negative opinion on Smart.

So I am going to have a look. It's free, why not.

I will come back here and give my honest opinion on it as a game (probably reserving my views on it's use of a cash shop, because it'sa given that I'm not going to like that part, but the gameis what it is in that regard and I accept it for the purposes of this).

Same here.  I will try it out tonight, and give my opinion.  I will finally find out once and for all if it deserves all the hate I gave it, or if it is a hidden gem that I should have started playing a long time ago.



Well, here is my opinion.

Downloading was a hassle, and even after downloading it, it refused to play because it said I didn't have a Shader 2.0, despite the fact that I know I do, and crashed every time I tried to play.

While I cannot give an opinion on the gameplay, my opinion of startup is less than favorable.  The mere fact that it requires something to play, and given that it cannot detect it even though it is on my computer, makes me believe that this game does deserve at least some of the hate I have given it.

If your system doesn't meet with the game's minimum (shader model 2.0 for example) requirements, well, it won't launch.  That's why we have it plastered all over the game's page, the client page etc. We have people trying to install and run the game on XP w/ SP2 - despite the fact that ALL the OS service packs are required.

Most gamers think that they have an uber system capable of "playing Crysis" - when in fact the most likely scenario is that it probably won't even play a game from 2000, let alone one from 2009.

We haven't made ANY changes to the game's graphics engine which could change the system requirements from what it was back in 2009.

The cards listed are all SM2.0. If the game is saying that it's not detecting it, then one of this is the cause:

1. You don't have an SM 2.0 capable graphics card

2. You don't have the latest video card drivers installed (this won't be the cause, since the card itself is queried directly using its CAPS)

3. You don't have the latest DirectX 9.0c runtime installed (this won't be the cause, since the card itself is queried directly using its CAPS)

Originally posted by Amjoco

This game isn't flashy and it doesn't have the high tech feel of some of the other fantasy MMO's out there. What it does have is a great community and most of all potential. I'm pretty old school, I remember when pong first came out, I played all the AD&D Gold Box games on a Commadore 64 and it erks me a tad when people quit playing without giving a title a chance. Slow down and play this game,  read the quests and get into the RP of RPG.  

I'm not a fanboy, I have P2P accounts on 3 MMO's but I still love this game because it isn't easy, there are no questhelpers, addons, but most of all it has people helping one another, not talking trash about each other. 

Anyway, like the poster above me said he was going to do, give it a chance, a real chance.


There is so much more to the game and community than most are even willing to consider - and simply because everyone likes a good train wreck; even if it is imagined and has no basis in reality.


Originally posted by vesaviusI would also say, with no intent of malice or insult to Derek Smart, that they need to hire a community/ PR manager, because DS just attracts the wrong kind of attentiom whether it's his fault or not.


That's just ludicrous if you don't mind my saying so.

The bottom line is that anon people behind the confines of the Internet think it is OK to insult, harrass and defame someone just because they can. I'm a developer first and foremost - not a business guy or a politician. There is absolutely nothing in me that screams out political correctness. You won't find the likes of Kotick et al defending themselves online and simply because they are completetely detached from the people they are selling games to.

Most devs and pubs don't bother to engage the people who play their games because they either a) can't be bothered or b) they want to tow the PC line c) they don't want to be in the firing line for saying the wrong thing; thus the PR mouthpieces.

Which is why the gaming landscape has changed radically from how it was back in the day when gamers had a direct line to the devs who made the games that they played.

Sure, like most everyone, I'm hardly the poster child for online behavior, but the fact is, I am a game developer who is passionate about what he does. I treat everyone as equals and so I could care less whether or not someone thinks that I shouldn't talk about my games, engage the community etc.  I don't need a mouth piece.

And the fact of the matter is that, for good, bad or worse, it is my name, notoriety, efforts, investment, continued support of a top notch dev team etc that are primarily responsible for Alganon even being a topic of discussion today. How many games do you know of that would still be around given the circumstances of this game's disastrous launch? If you weren't around for the Beta - or even the launch - of the game back in 2009, you won't have an inkling of how far the game has come. In fact, folks from back in 2009 who recently came back, can't even believe that it is the same game.

Anyone who knows anything about the game industry knows that I never - ever - shy in the face of adversity, abuse or whatever - and none of that deters me from whatever goals I set for myself. I treat Alganon as I would any IP that I own. And now that I actually own (along with only two other remaining investors) it, my continuing to push it forward should come as no surprise to anyone who knows anything about me.

The Alganon name and IP are perfectly fine and that is the primary reason why I continue to invest in it. Just because someone says "oh yeah, change the game and it will be even better" doesn't make it so. Out here in the real world - where money and cred - are of utmost importance, we don't consider any such thing. It's not like I don't know anything about building an IP; especially when you consider that I own over six of them and which I single-handedly built from the ground up.

As I mentioned in this interview from last week, the bottomline is that I'm going to do what I do best and I'm going to continue building the Alganon IP.

Anyone who doesn't like the game, doesn't have to play it. Quite frankly, I simply don't care. I care only about those who like the game enough to help us build and promote it. No game caters to everyone and Alganon is no different. I have specific goals and metrics for it; and as long as those are met and maintained, I could care less what anyone thinks, says or feels.

It is only a game.

Faction Change
General Discussion « Alganon
6/10/11 9:43:47 AM

You probably need to post that on the Alganon forums so that a CSGM can show you what to do and how.

More info over here

Oh yeah, and if you were concerned about server pop, you should have been around earlier today ;)

The new patch is already live. Please check it out.

A lot more details are over here, here and here

Well thanks for that.

Anyway, if you (anyone) are reading this, it means that you probably have an interest in Alganon. So, here goes the cliff notes ahead of the newsletter and PR from E3.

1. Alganon Comic book deal with DC Comics. Deal was already done, signed and the comic currently in production. Will be available at ComiCon, online (as well as iPad) by DC.

2. The first Alganon expansion due out later this year. It has a TON of stuff; but I won't spoil the surprise.

3. New game for Android, iOS and PC (browser) based on the Alganon IP. Due out later this year. Developed by a separate team using the Unity3 engine.

4. European servers for Alganon going live later in June. Asian servers to follow soon.

Let me address your points. I know you're not going to accept them, but this is not for your benefit.

1. That is the rule of every business. Obviously nobody wants to back a losing horse indefinitely. The biggest part of the equation is that :

a) 3000AD is an investor in and owner of QOL. I know how to stretch a dollar, run things lean & mean etc. Been doing it for over a year at QOL as I have been doing for more than 20+ years at my own company. Compared to the wasteful spending and nonsensical project management and handling that came before I got involved. That's what experience gives you.

b) the majority investor - who are also 3000AD clients - leave it up to me to make a determination as to the fate of Alganon. Funny thing is, I have absolutely no intentions of abandoning it. A LOT of work and money has gone into the game since I took it over in Feb 2010 and there is a LOT (wait for the E3 announcement next week) more to come. I'm only just getting started with the Alganon IP.

c) Every single MMO forum is littered with flaming, players complaining, griefing etc. That time could be spent playing the game. My 3000AD game forums have sparse discussions because there is nothing to complain about as gamers are doing what they are supposed to do: playing the games. My games continue to sell and make money. Funny that.

The rules I put in place for the Alganon forums are no different. We don't condone nonsense and so the signal to noise ratio is very low now. The game turned around a LONG time ago and gamers are doing what they're supposed to be doing: playing the game. The forum is absolutely - positvely - no reflection on the game's performance at all. So just because you don't see a million posts, doesn't mean squat. Back in the day, the forums were littered with people complaining, flaming the devs etc - because the game was broken, didn't work as expected and touted etc. Like most MMO forums, it was a lawless frontier.That all came to an end. We release frequent patches, new content etc.

2. Europe has nothing to do with anything. Since last year I had promised that there would be European and Asian servers for the game so that our numerous gamers over there have the best playable experience. I made a lot of promises last year and I've kept all of them. This is just one of them. That plan for European servers is already solid and executed. The European servers are currently being installed and should be live by the end of June. Asian servers will follow. Obviously the better the player experience in those territories, the more likely that the servers will pay for themselves and thus Alganon will profit from the investment I made in them.

So yeah, we're expanding - not contracting - Alganon. Take a wild guess why that is.

3. Alganon has no MMO infrastructure that can be sold. And we don't even have the manpower to make that happen even if we wanted to.

As I've said in numerous posts and interviews, the Alganon engine was built specifically for the game and cannot be adapted to ANY other. Any developer worth his salt should know that it is not something that you can just up and do when you've built an engine with a single purpose game in mind.

We're not in the engine licensing business; we're in the game development business. They are two separate things.

The manpower we have is focused on building and expanding Alganon, not pursuing nonsensical activities.

Case in point, the 3000AD Line Of Defense game was built from the ground up with its own engine and cross with the Galactic Command Online (our other game) engine. Since 3000AD is an owner of  and investor in QOL, if Alganon had an adaptable "engine", I wouldn't be spending all that money and time building a new game engine and infrastructure when we can just adapt the Alganon one since I can in fact do that. Plus, both games have completely different teams. The Alganon team is focused purely on Alganon and nothing else. This is no different from team A at EA using tech that team B built. Happens all the time; but in this case it was not feasible - contrary to all the nonsense that my predecessor was spouting to anyone who would listen about my wanting the Alganon engine etc.

4. We have no plans to relaunch Alganon as a new IP. The Alganon IP is perfectly fine as-is. I have made it into a recognizable brand and I will continue to build on that in much the same way that I built my other IP.

There is no "Alganon infrastructure" capable of adaptation or conversion.

The Alganon game and engine are specifically and purely for Alganon. They are not - and cannot be - used for anything else.

The Alganon game is handled by its own team and has nothing to do with 3000AD's own games. There is no technology or team crossover. Even if I wrote a check tomorrow and bought out the other QOL investors, that still won't change any of this. In fact, as an investor in, president of and managing member of QOL, I can do anything I want because those decisions are mine to make.

Every investor wants to see some ROI, and the QOL investors are no different. The point of fact is that QOL can be folded at any time and the investors can write off the entire investment in their taxes as a loss. Standard procedure. There really isn't anything to it. And if Alganon doesn't make it, then like every property that has failed to yield meaningful revenue results, it will be closed. I currently have absolutely no plans to do that. Quite the contrary in fact. Wait for the E3 announcement next week.

Sales have nothing to do with reviews. Unless you're paying for it.

And it is well known (unless you're using it to attack someone - as in this case) that review scores are meaningless and have no correlation to sales either.

Many - many - well reviewed games are rubbish, tank at retail and the devs/pubs are long gone.

Gamers who like a certain type of game, will buy it - regardless of a review or meaningless score.

Stick to facts if you want to sling mud.

Gamespot? Seriously?

..and that's not including the ones from print magazines.

The fact is, you can't base a game on not only a bad review, but on a review period. Reviews are subjective and based on the reviewers opinion. And judging from the fact that I decided to actually revisit the game premise and concept by coming out with a bigger and better MMO version, should tell you that the game did just fine in terms of sales. Which of course is the most important aspect.

You said keyboard controls didn't work. That was obviously false.

The control scheme works just fine - at least for those who bought and played the game. Just because it wasn't done the way (mouse view + keyboard controls) you want it, doesn't make it bad or clunky. In fact, that control scheme is pretty standard.  Especially for a PC (not a console port) game developed in 2007 (!) and released in 2009.

But your opinion is fine; after all, that's what choices are about.

LOD has a completely different control scheme in which you do use the mouse to control the view camera and keyboard to steer/thrust.

As I said before, they are completely different games and engines. The only point of my pointing you to it, was to show that we have in fact developed games with massive scope, high-end features etc and that LOD is not the first. That was in response to previous comments. I never asked you to base your opinions of LOD on that of AAW. What would be the point of that, when the latter is not even a sequel, let alone derived from the same game engines?

I am allowed to defend my game and the way I do things. If you don't like it, that is something that you have to deal with.

If you're waiting for PSN, why aren't you playing PS at this point?

Gaming is about choices. Go with what you like and move away from what you don't. What is so difficult about that? I never said I was out to please everyone all the time. I have absolutely no interest in that because for every 1 person who doesn't like my games (or me) there are hundreds who do. It is those people that I care about and they are ones who make what I do possible because they buy my games.


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