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Caravel Forum : Caravel Boards : The Illumination : A Hard Man Answers Hard Questions. (Our News for January.)
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ErikH2000
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icon A Hard Man Answers Hard Questions. (+2)  
I think it's time I started taking this business of selling computer games seriously. I've been wandering around like a baby on a skyscraper girder. In 2008, I need to be a whole lot more responsible and goal-oriented. I might need to buy some new pants too. The fancy kind that get severely wrinkled unless you never sit down in them.

As any business major will tell you, before you even start a business, you should judge your prospects. And the first task for doing that is to learn the size of the market you are entering. If your market is small or stuffed up with competitors, well then, maybe you ought not get into it. What's the point of chasing down a rolling nickel with a dozen other jerks after it?

I am ashamed to tell you that until today, I did not have any numbers on the size of my market. I was just flying blind without any notion of how high that ceiling was. So this morning, I decided to ask myself some hard questions. What is the maximum size of my market? Or in other words, how many people could I sell DROD and other games to? If the answer came back too small, maybe I would just stop making games and do something else.

I will walk you through my calculations so you can know how I came up with the answer.

First off, I wanted to find the upper limit of population density. I would do this by finding the most populated country in the world relative to its area, and assuming that the whole world on average won't ever get much more densely populated than that country. Populations tend to stabilize and even decline once people get deadly serious about limiting them. (I say this with all sympathy to the crowded countries that continue to struggle with population-related troubles.) So I think its quite likely that we won't have any countries in the future that are much more densely populated than the current density leaders.

Conventional wisdom would declare Monaco the density winner with its 32k+ people reporting residency inside one and a half square kilometers. But come on! Do you really think people are crammed in that tight? Naw www. For perspective, consider that the Olympic Sports Centre in Beijing could just barely hold the posted population of Monaco using about twice the square footage. And this is giving each sports fan from Monaco an average of one square meter to himself. The real answer is that Monaco is a popular tax haven. There are people on the books as residents that have never set foot in the place.

The #2 country for population density is Macau S.A.R., but I won't give it consideration because it's also a popular place of "residence" for rich, tax-dodging phantoms. Continuing down the population density list, we finally start getting to some countries with believable numbers.

Hong Kong, #3, I'm sure is very crowded. But its reported numbers are still a little iffy because foreigners can set up corporations there without paying taxes to the local government. So possibly the census is counting a very large number of people not actually living in Hong Kong.

Singapore, the #4 country, seems like it probably doesn't have a density number terribly exaggerated by favorable tax advantages to foreigners. So I'll use Singapore's figure of 6,369 human beings (a.k.a. potential DROD customers) per square kilometer.

I multiply my highest human living density with the land area of the Earth (148,300,000 square kilometers) to arrive at 944,522,700,000. So at some point in the future, we might have 944 billion people living on the Earth. Not probable, but it is possible. Maybe the world population could even stabilize at the number. So the next hard question to answer is: how long will the Earth remain human-habitable? The sun is going to blow up in 5 billion years and expand into an Earth-oblitering giant along the way. But much earlier, its expansion will make it too hot for us to stick around. Optimistically, we've only got a mere half billion years on this planet.

Average lifespan? I used the worst case (or at least one of the worser ones) and put it just past male puberty at 16. I'm not saying those would be happy times to live in, but, who knows--it could shape up that way.

So the maximum number of humans that could live on Earth between 1997 (first DROD release) and forever is about 29,516,334,375,000,000,000,000.

The DROD games have had an average "conversion rate" of about 1%. Meaning that for every hundred people that download the game, one person will buy a copy. I'm going to take the optimistic view that in the future I will be able to expose every member of the population to DROD (preinstalled on auxiliary brain storage at birth perhaps). But it seems only fair to admit that no matter how enjoyable DROD becomes, it would be very difficult to increase the conversion rate when every single inhabitant of the world is forced to try out the game.

So my market is capped at 29.5 quintillion customers. I firmly believe it will not be possible to sell more copies of DROD than that. Based on this number, I'm going to continue working on DROD and other similar games like Frogs and Mice. If one of the factors of my calculation changes significantly, I might reevaluate things, but for now I will stay the course.

The DROD Number

Another area of my business that I've been negligent about is customer tracking. I need to know my customers--what they are doing, what they are thinking, and what they are thinking of doing. Preferably, I would keep a customer database so complete and so extensive, that my customers would cease tracking their own personal information and just rely on me. Forgot your mother's birthday? Wondering where your missing argyle sock is? Or maybe you just want a precise GPS fix on your current location? All you will need do is log in to CaravelNet and submit a query. The answer with helpful supplemental detail will be swiftly returned to you, like so:

quote:
CaravelNet response returned in 53 milliseconds: Your missing argyle sock is inside of a paper sack that fell behind the refrigerator. (CAUTION: The sack also contains a very old braunschweiger sandwich.) If you wish to reclaim your sock, we advise you fish the sack out with an unbent wire coat hanger. You're thinking of using the broom from the closet, but that won't work--it's too thick. You're going to try the broom anyways because you're a stubborn idiot, but just remember I told you it wouldn't work.


We have had this plan for quite some time. And in fact, we have been secretly issuing "DROD Numbers" to people for a few years now. Yours has probably already been assigned. The DROD Number is a number between 1 and 29.5 quintillion that uniquely identifies you as a player of DROD. So this part of the plan has been implemented and is running smoothly. What's next?

We need a good way to depict the DROD Number, and that is what our official contest for January is about. A new kind of numeral system will be required--one that is suitable for tattooing or drawing with blood. If you have a knack for math, I strongly recommend this contest to you.

contest information

Jatopian's Topic Picks

Feisty forumite Jatopian slammed these topic picks on my desk. "Post these if you want! And if you don't want to, I don't care!" He stormed out, not waiting for a reply. I don't mind the attitude, but I wish he wouldn't spit so much when he speaks. I always have to keep a washcloth on hand for the times he stops by my office.

DROD Achievements
Just for fun, these posters have invented and named some curious feats one could perform in DROD, if one were so inclined.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=19623

How does This Guy go about solving rooms?
In which they share usual ways of working out rooms.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=19621

Tales of the Strange: Chapter n
In which they share unusual ways of working out rooms. Some of these are actually quite useful.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=19368

Do you have any other gaming obsessions?
Some people have big enough hearts to be madly in love with more than one thing at a time. Share the love!
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=19532

Subforum: Wonderquest Dreams
The latest version of the curious stepping game Wonderquest is now complete.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=19398

Rescue Operation, Imperial Wandering, Doorless Hold Contest Compilation, Different Methods, Dungeon Country , KPVIIID3: The Final Floors, The Palaces Drive, Slayer Traps
These are all the holds which have been released since the previous Illumination.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/holds.php

-Erik

____________________________
The Machine Court podcast - Scifi comedy about the horrible and ridiculous future. http://seespacelabs.com/machine-court/

[Last edited by ErikH2000 at 01-22-2008 12:29 AM]
01-22-2008 at 12:07 AM
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Jatopian
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icon Re: A Hard Man Answers Hard Questions. (+1)  
I'll have you know I have a medical condition, you insensitive clod!

Oh yeah, and since things happen like lightning around here, 3 new holds were posted right before this Illumination came out. Of course I have no self-promoting interests in this noting.

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DROD has some really great music.
Make your pressure plates 3.0 style!
DROD architecture idea generator

[Last edited by Jatopian at 01-22-2008 12:36 AM]
01-22-2008 at 12:16 AM
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slimm tom
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icon Re: A Hard Man Answers Hard Questions. (0)  
That's a lot of potential customers Erik :)
Keep up the good work and GET THOSE SALES!! :P (But most important is: Have fun! :) )
01-22-2008 at 08:12 AM
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Syntax
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icon Re: A Hard Man Answers Hard Questions. (+1)  
Just don't forget that none of that mattered when you created DROD. I would hate to see marketing override passion.

All the best of course, either way.
01-22-2008 at 02:27 PM
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Garlonuss
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icon Re: A Hard Man Answers Hard Questions. (+1)  
I don't know. I don't particularly like the idea of having a potential market capped at 29.5 quintillion. Once you hit that, what is there left to look forward to?

Let's just hope you weren't being overly optimistic. Heaven forbid it turns out to actually level out at 29.4 quintillion! I mean, who would eat all those extra sandwiches at the DROD celebration party in the year 500002008? (And is it too late to reserve a table facing a window?)

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[Last edited by Garlonuss at 01-22-2008 07:29 PM]
01-22-2008 at 07:25 PM
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Timo006
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icon Re: A Hard Man Answers Hard Questions. (0)  
quote:
Garlonuss wrote:
I don't know. I don't particularly like the idea of having a potential market capped at 29.5 quintillion. Once you hit that, what is there left to look forward to?

Let's just hope you weren't being overly optimistic. Heaven forbid it turns out to actually level out at 29.4 quintillion! I mean, who would eat all those extra sandwiches at the DROD celebration party in the year 500002008? (And is it too late to reserve a table facing a window?)


I'll be pretty hungry at that time, so I'll eat them if nobody wants them. ;)

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Proud winner of the "Graphics Design Excellence in a Modification" Award in the 7th APC Awards.
01-23-2008 at 03:02 PM
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robin
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icon Re: A Hard Man Answers Hard Questions. (+1)  
quote:
ErikH2000 wrote:
So the maximum number of humans that could live on Earth between 1997 (first DROD release) and forever is about 29,516,334,375,000,000,000,000.



So, what if we're gonna live on the moon or on Mars, or maybe on a planet far far away?
:)

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01-23-2008 at 10:09 PM
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skell
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No, don't ask. Don't even try. My Brain is already frying while trying to grasp the actual number :P.

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01-23-2008 at 11:05 PM
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kyevan
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I'm glad to know I'm not part of that 29.5 quintillion!

EDIT: At least, not yet :)

[Last edited by kyevan at 01-24-2008 03:36 AM]
01-24-2008 at 03:31 AM
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Tuttle
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Sure you are, number 4322. You just haven't realised it yet. :)
01-24-2008 at 03:39 AM
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kyevan
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quote:
Tuttle wrote:
Sure you are, number 4322. You just haven't realised it yet. :)


Ooh, wait, you are right. I misinterpreted the thing. For some reason, I thought the rougly 30 quintillion was purchasers. I can't read >_>
01-24-2008 at 03:55 AM
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