Hi everyone,

Some of you may be happy to know I've reached some decisions regarding
the wrestling game I plan to make. I've reviewed all of the messages
on the subject and have carefully considered all of the suggestions,
ideas, and comments put forth on the subject. As this is to be an open
source project and something we will all enjoy I've decided to go
ahead and implament many of your suggestions and ideas as follows.

First, there was quite a bit of debate on what wrestlers should be
added, weather they belong in this game, etc. I've decided that I'm
going to go ahead and take the "all stars" type approach which would
have a full roster of old favorites like Hulk Hogan, Junkyard Dog, and
Andre the Giant as well as new top stars like the Miz, Rae Mystereo,
Edge, and John Sena, etc. Given the fact that this is an open source
project, a community project in a sense, it is only fair to include as
many stars as possible and let the user, you, decide how to play the

For example, since I'm a big fan of the older stars like Hulk Hogan I
might create a card of only old wrestlers like Hulk Hogan vs King Kong
Bundy, Junkyard Dog vs Randy Savage, Tito Santana vs Greg "the Hammer"
Valentine, and so on. Someone who is more familiar with the 90's stars
might want to create a card with Stone Cold Steve Auston, the Rock,
Owen Hart, Sean Michaels, etc. Then, the complete fantasy gamer might
want to create fantasy matches like Andre the Giant vs Big Show or
formar women's champion, Rockin' Robin, vs current women's champion,
Eve Torrez. In  other words customize and play the game however you

You might ask why I changed my mind. Well, as I said I saved most of
the messages on this topic before we lost the thread to other
subjects, and Phil's arguments were very convincing. Phil pointed out
that when playing a game like Baseball most people weren't too
concerned about sticking strictly to baseball cannon, and chose to
play the game from a fantasy baseball point of view rather than a
strictly purest point of view. It was his belief that the same sort of
thing would happen to my wrestling game. People would not like it as
well if I chose to use only certain wrestlers I personally liked, but
left out newer wrestlers that maybe someone else liked better. He has
a good point.

Fact of the matter is I now think I was letting my feelings about a
purest game effect my decision making process in this regard. Yes, it
is possible to do both, and with a little bit more effort on my part I
can let the end user pick and choose what wrestlers they wish to use.
It doesn't have to be as one-sided as I think I lead everyone to
believe. I simply have to let you choose the wrestlers you want to
play from the main roster like Piledriver and Wrestling League Manager
does and you can play the game the way you like, and I canplay the
game the way I like. That's fair for everyone.

Second, there was a little bit of discussion on main events. Since I
am no longer sticking to any specific era, time, or place it has freed
me up to think about these other issues more clearly. In short, I
think I will eventually add all the Pay Per View main events such as
Summer Slam, Wrestlemania, Backlash, Night of Champions, Surviver
Series, Royal Rumble, etc which will be a huge improvement over
Piledriver as you can only enter those events if and when you become a
top tear wrestler. If your wrestlers standings are low you will have
to bring up your standings before he or she enters a main event
calaber match. This will make the game more like Jim's NFL were you
have to win several matches before even entering the main event
matches or get your first title shot. In otherwords a career/season
mode for wrestlers.

Third, there was quite a bit of discussion about user interface
elements. Well, I've decided for the time being to start with a
text-based game. One reason for that is I've been writing some text
games like USA Blackjack which appears to be fairly accessible with
current versions of Jaws, Window-Eyes, and NVDA. My wrestling game
should be as equally accessible provided you have a decent up to date
screen reader. If your screen reader has issues with the command
prompt Window that's unfortunate but I've got to think of what works
for most people here. Plus I've tested USA Blackjack with Speakup for
Linux, and the game is fairly accessible on Linux as well. So it is my
feeling that text is the most accessible option for all involved.

Another big up for using text is braille support. I know this often
doesn't get mentioned much, but deaf-blind gamers really don't get a
lot of games that targets their special needs. Over the last few years
the Audyssey list mainly talks about audio only games, I.E. games full
of sound and speech, but completely leaves out a community of
potential gamers who can't hear or have difficulty hearing the games.
By making it text and with a screen reader like Jaws, Window-Eyes,
orca, BrailleTTY, etc we can create a game that is 99% accessible for
everyone blind, sighted, deaf, deaf-blind, motion impaired, you name
it. Universal accessibility is something that truly gets overlooked
all too often by us accessible game developers. So as part of our open
source initiative we want to start a new universal accessibility
campaign in the process.

Finally, cross-platform support. I know this isn't worth a hill of
beans to some of you, but it is never-the-less a valid issue. All too
often accessible games are designed with the largest target market in
mind, I.E. Microsoft Windows, and those of us who use Mac OS, Linux,
or want more games for our new Apple IPhone simply get forgotten and
left out in the cold. Part of that is do to the skill of the
developer. If someone only can program with a proprietary technology
and language like Visual Basic they don't have the skills to write
cross-platform games to begin with. Plus even if they know C++,
Python, Java, etc they still have to access to the target environment
to do proper testing and development to insure the product works as
expected in that environment. If they only have and use Windows they
aren't going to run out and pick up a brand new MacBook just to write
games for, and they aren't going to buy a new Del Netbook with Ubuntu
Linux preinstalled either. As a result those of us non-Windows users
always get the short end of the stick as far as new accesible games
goes, and we have to resort to compromises like running Windows
through a virtual machine, or purchasing a separate laptop with
Windows just to stay current with accessible Windows games. I'm not
blaming anyone for this, but merely pointing out that this problem
does exist.

Since I am one of the few accessible game developers effected directly
by this problem I'm obviously in a good position to change things a
little. Like Josh from Draconis I've got plans in the works to begin
porting all of my products to non-Windows platforms as soon as humanly
possible. Games like Final Conflict are already in the rewrite
process, and once I release the Windows version of MOTA I'll be
working on a non-Windows port. Since this wrestling game will be a
brand new product from USA Games it only makes sense to start it with
cross-platform support in mind rather than writing it for Windows
using this or that proprietary technology like Sapi only to rip it out
and start over again using Speech-Dispatcher etc for Linux.
Unfortunately, adopting a cross-platform design is sometimes a bit of
a lowest common denominator approach which is why some developers
don't like creating cross-platform apps.

For instance, the issue of text vs speech. I don't personally have a
problem with making the game self-voicing, but there is no
standardized way of doing that for multiple platforms. Windows has
Sapi, Linux has Speech-Dispatcher, and Mac OS has its own Speech API.
This puts the developer in the position of deciding to write a piece
of middleware for each operating system's proprietary speech API, or
using some open source alternative like ESpeak, Festival, and so on.
Anyone who has heard ESpeakor Festival knows they are almost as bad as
Microsoft Sam which makes them less than ideal for a high-quality
product. However, with a game like we are talking about there is a
simpler solution and that is to just send the text to the console and
let the screen reader do its job. Every operating system in existance
will happily display text to the screen using cout, printf, puts, or
any other print text function. So why not use it?

The same could be said for keyboard input. There are cross-platform
libraries like SDL that can do this for games, but that is overkill
for what we need here. What I've done is I've taken the standard MS
Dos input/output header, conio.h, and written a cross-platform version
of that library for use on Mac OS and Linux platforms since input is
handled a bit different on those operating systems than on

Its not the best input method available, but it is cross-platform. The
way it works is it basically uses standard ascii keycodes for most of
the common keys and returns its keycode to the application. Since the
ascii key codes are standardized across all platforms that means I can
quickly and easily get access to the letters a through z, numbers 1
through 0, as well as other keys like enter, tab, space, escape, and
so on. The only keys I can't get easy access to are the arrow keys,
page up, page down, home, end, or the function keys simply because
those return a hardware specific scan code. For that you need
something like SDL, SFML, DirectX, whatever but that's overkill for
this wrestling game or a simple game like Blackjack. So this
lowest-common denominator approach works fine for this kind of project
were it wouldn't be good for a game like Mysteries of the Ancients.
Were I writing something like that I'd certainly use something like
SDL for event driven input complete with arrows, function keys, and so
on. I just don't think it is necessary for every game though.

So in conclusion there you have it. That's my decision and how I plan
to write the game. I think this will probably be the best design
approach for everyone involved. What do you think?


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