John Carmack has some great tips for saving games

Screenshot: Star Wars | Kotaku

Rock co-author John Carmack legendary game designer, rocket scientist and virtual reality enthusiast, left Meta/Facebook late last year after ten years working on the company’s virtual reality projects.. However, the fact that he left does not mean that the company’s decisions are from his thoughts.

Accompanying the news last week that Meta lost almost $14 billion to a failed VR bullshit. there was an announcement that Echo VR— a game first released on the rival Rift system before its developers were bought by Facebook — will be closed.

It was far from the only game that got killed last weekWith Rumbleverse And Knockout City Having suffered similar fates, their collective departure reminds us that modern video games have a serious durability problem, since once discarded by publishers, they are extremely vulnerable to simply disappear forever.

This is a problem that Carmack recently addressed, send a long statement DownloadVR last week that covers all kinds of angles surrounding Echo VR malfunction. However, I’m most interested in the details of how important it is for studios to keep old games alive, and that cost and labor shouldn’t be the deciding factor. only the things they think about when they make those decisions.

“Even if there are only 10,000 active users, destroying that user value should be avoided whenever possible,” he says. “Your company does more harm when you take something of value from a user than you benefit by providing something of equal value to him or others.”

Of course, his experience with these things is largely based on his work at id Software, whose old games like Rock And Earthquake— were slightly more popular than some random VR game with a few thousand users. However, his main point is correct! As he expands on here, with some advice based not only on good PR, but on solid development fundamentals:

Every game has to work at some level without the support of a central server. Even if you don’t think about the end of life, being able to work when the Internet is down is valuable. If you can support some level of LAN play for multiplayer, the door is at least open for people to write proxies in the future. Supporting custom servers as an option can actually save on hosting costs and also opens up a variety of creative community opportunities.

Be disciplined in your build processes and what you put in your source tree, so that at least you can make the project open source. Think twice before adding dependencies you can’t distribute, and consider testing with stubbed versions of what you’re using. Do not do anything in your code that would be unacceptable to the whole world. A lot of game development is a panic rush to make sure things stop falling apart long enough for release, so it can be hard to dedicate time to fundamental software development, but it’s fulfilling and it can pay off in a less troublesome late stage. development.

To my credit Knockout City– one of the games mentioned above – does just that. When its existing version shuts down later this year, there will be a new standalone release that will allow for private servers, essentially allowing people to save the game and play it until the end of time.

As Carmack says, there should be more of this, please!

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