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02/19/2005
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163,469
Since 03-1999

 

Browser-Based Multiplayer Sci-Fi RPG Adventure
Design, Program, Story, Music & Art by M.Snyder
Copyright ©1999-2005 by Prowler Productions
Available Now, For Free!
StarLock is open but unfinished at starlock.com
Please play fair. Be friendly, or be banned.

         Saturday, February 19th, 2005         
      StarLock Has Been Opened: After six years, it's possible that StarLock will never be finished. We might do something with the engine to make it usable for other, different online games. Or we might look for a buyer to take over entirely. Or we might seek assistance from other developers, to complete StarLock and turn it into the adventure that I had planned. It's a huge world, and it is now open for play. I'm not sure how long it will remain up, so enjoy it while it lasts. If cheaters or disruptive players become a problem, I'll take it offline. If it gets so popular that it's no longer possible to run free of charge, I'll take it offline. For now, it's available to play for free. It would be a shame if such a large amount of work went to waste... so... enjoy!

      The Future: I need to write a “post-mortem” essay on the development of StarLock. I did a lot right, and a few things wrong. It was simply too large a project for one person to handle, especially in my spare time. The real-time nature of space travel and other game events has made a much more realistic world, but sometimes being “fun” doesn't require that level of detail. I have my doubts about the browser-based game market, after seeing a large decline in Lunatix Online subscriptions. To finish the game, as it is currently designed, would take several more months -- more likely, years. It just doesn't make sense to continue development on a project for a shrinking market, when it's already very unlikely that a fully-completed StarLock could ever come close to paying for itself in subscription income. It was a grand, if quixotic endeavor.
      The engine is done, more or less. It's simply the scripting of locations and quests that hold it back. If designed differently, it might have been easier to introduce new content. All gameplay works on a scripting system. It requires a lot of coding, even if the scripts aren't difficult to create. It just takes a lot of time. Even though the game is already large, plenty of content hasn't been added -- planets and characters that are created but not implemented, items you can't obtain because they were intended for later quests, monsters and weapons that are designed but not in the game, etc. Still, it has plenty to offer, and it has the framework for a great community experience. You can even rent an apartment and invite friends over.
      I don't know how long it will remain online, or what the future holds for StarLock. If you have several thousand dollars to spare, and you are looking to buy the rights to the game, just email me an offer. :) You'll need to be a Perl programmer to work with the game code (the quest scripts are a variant of LunScript, which is interpreted by one of the Perl CGI scripts). Perhaps, at some point, multiple developers could band together to finish the game. It's such an epic game, with hundreds of planets just waiting to be implemented.
      At the present time, StarLock is no longer in development. If an opportunity presents itself, that may change. So, enjoy it for what it is. Remember, you aren't being required to pay, so complaints will probably be ignored. :)

      Lunatix Online: StarLock can be run for free, because Lunatix Online still earns enough in subscription fees to pay for the additional hosting. Although it's not nearly as epic and free-roaming as StarLock, I would encourage you to try it out. Consider Lunatix the benefactor for StarLock. If you like StarLock, please consider subscribing to Lunatix Online, to help keep StarLock online. Thank you.

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