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  • Student Postmortem: Skyrates

    [12.13.07]
    - Carnegie Mellon ETC students


  • Onward and Upward
    We've learned tremendously from the Skyrates projects. We improved our own skills while learning a lot about design that we never expected. We had set out to experiment with multiple windows into the same game world and tripped over the idea of sporadic play on the way. We grew fond of the idea, as did the players, and we ended up focusing on that instead.

    There's definitely an audience for this type of game, although much work needs to be done to truly fulfill that niche. The most challenging part is balancing the experience to be easy and simple to engage, yet sufficiently deep. That way, the experience can be as rich and interesting as a typical MMOG, but casual to play. It's a tightrope act that we know is difficult for every designer, and while we've fallen off many times, we know a lot more about it now.

    Skyrates is certainly not finished, and it will see major changes over time, as we continue the iterative process with the feedback and comments from our community. Curiously, we're starting to get some questions about whether there's a phone client, bringing us full circle to the keyhole gameplay idea.

    To play Skyrates, which is still in a free beta phase, visit Skyrates.net.


    Team Members
    Howard Braham programmed the economy and the flight system. He currently designs and prototypes interactive rides and games at Walt Disney Imagineering.

    Bryan Cash, chief morale officer and programmer of the crew, skills, and tutorial, is now a programmer at Schell Games.

    Henry Clay, architect of the client side and system admin, currently works at Disney's VR Studio.
    Chris Daniel, artist of characters and skill images, is an interface designer and programmer at High Voltage Software.

    Jeremy Gibson wrote the combat and most of the prototypes for Skyrates. He is currently an associate producer and game designer at Electronic Arts' Pogo.com.

    Chuck Hoover, producer and artist for the aircraft, sky-lands, and environments, currently works as a producer at Schell Games.

    Phil Light worked on stats and community affairs. He co-founded his own company after graduation, Electric Owl Studios.

    Seth Shain was the producer on Skyrates 1 and part-time programmer. He is now a designer at Midway Austin.

    Sam Spiro, architect of the server side and economy co-designer, is a game programmer at CCP.





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