It's not the design, it's the details.

2007, October 19th 4:47 PM

It's honestly amazing how many little fiddly things show up when you start trying to do reasonable PR.

See, first off, I've submitted my game to the IGF – the Independent Games Festival. For those who don't yet know, it's called Devastation Net, and it's designed for a lot of players to blow each other up using tanks, played on a projector. It's nowhere near finished (it has no single-player capabilities, for example), but it's fun and is making huge progress.

However, this brings up a few more issues. The IGF requires a website (and, honestly, even if it didn't require one, I'd provide one.) In theory, people might visit this website from links. And that's cool. Visitors are good. Traffic is good. But this all means I need to finally unearth my company website and make it vaguely palatable. And that means, once I have that up, that I can't just let it rest. I have to post once in a while, otherwise it dies and there goes all the goodwill I've gathered.

And that means I need to make my dev journal functional, and I need to make sure the site and link structure stay sane so I can start accumulating pagerank and Google love, and hopefully draw more readers – which means a lot of fiddly server issues, like making sure that and not only both work but one actually redirects to the other so I can keep consistent single URLs. And it involves setting up some kind of 404 tracking so I can pin down future issues that might occur, and planning properly so I don't end up needing a new URL structure and wasting all the search-engine-fu I've built up, and blah blah blah oh god the pain.

In some ways having worked at Google helps in that I know what sort of things to watch out for ("someone help, all my google pagerank went away overnight! I mean all I did was move a few pages around and change the entire directory structure of my site, and also I installed a new content manager and completely changed all the content and the look, and I changed domains too and the old one is down because the server's crashed, but Google should somehow know that this happened and give me the same pagerank!") but it also makes things tougher because I really don't have any excuses if I fuck it up.

Oh well. Here goes. Let's see how many days it takes before I irrevocably break someone's links.

So. Hi. I'm Zorba. I'm starting a game studio named Mandible Games. I'm making a game called Devastation Net, which I'll be posting more about in the future. It's a pretty huge experiment, but it's what I want to do – so, here we are. Hope you enjoy reading.

  • JZig

    2007, October 19th 5:31 PM

    Let's see how the OpenID poster works…

    Oh, and if you go to, and then click on the link to, it adds a large amount of seemingly useless information to the url that you don't get if you go directly to Hard to copy and paste, and makes it seem a bit spyware-y (although it isn't).

  • ninwa

    2007, October 19th 10:09 PM

    I feel for your pain. That said, I really look forward to seeing how D.Net does in the IGF. I know you're no stranger to programming competitions, and isn't this sort of just a bigger one of those? :-) Good luck.

  • Zorba

    2007, October 20th 2:46 AM

    Dammit, that's the Google Analytics tracking. I need that stuff so I can figure out where I'm getting referrals from, but goddamn is that ugly. I wonder if there's a way to fix that. :(

    In any case, stripping it out entirely wouldn't hurt things (from the user's point of view at least). I guess I'll have to figure out if it's fixable without destroying my stats.

  • JZig

    2007, October 21st 1:40 AM

    Can't you just use cookies? Most of the sites I've seen that use analytics use cookies, which are less annoying (and anyone who blocks cookies can recognize analytics cookies by now). It seems odd to me that you have and as seperate sites anyway (which might make the cookie way not work).

  • Zorba

    2007, October 21st 3:47 AM

    I can and do use cookies, but yes, it's the cross-domain issue that makes that break down. The reason I've got it split up is because I want one domain for "official mandible games business" and one for "zorba chatters about the state of games". I kind of like the splitup in a lot of ways because they are two sites that are really fundamentally aimed in different directions. It uses cookies internally, it's just when you click that one link from to .net that it has the horrifying URL.

    I might just disable the cross-site checking, which would annoy me.

    Irritating that Analytics has no way of reading cookies cross-domain when you own both sites. I'm pretty sure it's possible to do that one way or another. Bah.

  • Bejoscha

    2007, October 23rd 10:57 PM

    You did a good job with that site. Doing it a little "personal" helps in my opinion. One can never start early enough to build a "comunity" if one wants a game to be really successful! Before I forget it: Never forget to give the comunity some "editing" possibilities in your game – you love no game more than the one you have "worked on" yourself and can show to your friends… See "Clonk" for an example. I really love this little program…

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