约翰·罗梅洛（John Romero）所开发的单机游戏《毁灭战士》（Doom）和《雷神之锤》（Quake），深刻影响了一代的射击游戏狂热分子，他现在正准备推出其首款可爱风格的Facebook游戏《Ravenwood Fair》。
罗梅洛本人就是一个多重角色，他曾是id Software公司的联合创始人之一（其他几位分别是John Carmack、 Adrian Carmack、Tom Hall），而且是传奇电子游戏《重返德军总部》（Wolfenstein 3D）、《毁灭战士》、《雷神之锤》的设计者。这些游戏在90年代是超暴力风格的第一人称射击游戏，深刻影响了电子游戏世界。其后罗梅洛离开了id公司，先后在一系列初创游戏企业中就职，比如说Ion Storm（硬核游戏制造商）、Monkeystone Games（社交游戏开发商）、Slipgate Ironworks（Gazillion Entertainment公司旗下的一个工作室）。虽然他在这些公司的成就都不像在id Software那样辉煌，但至少坚持了一段长期的游戏生涯，接触过不同的游戏风格。
Creator of the fierce Doom and Quake games tries his hand at a cute Facebook game
John Romero is the creator of the Doom and Quake games that have haunted the memories of a generation of gamers with over-the-top shoot-em-up violence. Now he is trying his hand at making a cute Facebook game called Ravenwood Fair.
As a consultant to social gaming firm LOLapps, this kinder and gentler Romero (pictured, left) designed and built the game in the past couple of months with a small team of eight artists and programmers. Ravenwood Fair debuts on Facebook today, and it is one more cog in LOLapps’ grand strategy to become a big player in social games.
LOLapps was going to launch the game last Friday, but it got pulled over by the Facebook police. Facebook pulled down all LOLapps games on Friday and restored them Sunday night, citing only “violation of Facebook’s policies.” The Wall Street Journal reported that some games, including LOLapps titles, were wrongfully transmitting user data to third-party companies. Of those companies, only LOLapps was singled out and shut down. LOLapps said it worked with Facebook to restore its games and will ensure it can protect users’ safety and abide by Facebook’s policies.
Hopefully for LOLapps, that will be enough for its users to flock back to its old games and play the new one as well. The privacy concern may spook some users, but odds are strong the bulk of users won’t care.
The new game uses the same underlying software as Critter Island, a major game that LOLapps launched a couple of months ago and which now has 1.2 million monthly active users.
As we noted in our previous story, LOLapps is one of the big Facebook social gaming companies that no one has heard about. That’s because most of its 150 million monthly active users come from apps that the company created to allow users to create gifts and quizzes. These apps don’t show up in Facebook’s data as belonging to LOLapps; they show up under the names of the users. Nevertheless, that traffic is very important, said Kavin Stewart (pictured, right), co-founder of San Francisco-based LOLapps, in an interview. That’s because LOLapps can use those simple quizzes and gifts to cross-promote its social games. The social games will likely monetize far better than the quizzes or gifts, allowing LOLapps to move up the food chain.
If the evolution proceeds far enough, LOLapps could join the upper ranks of the social game industry elite such as Zynga, CrowdStar, EA-Playfish and Disney-Playdom.
That also means that the venture capitalists and investment bankers will come knocking on LOLapps’ doors. (The press and conference organizers are also paying attention: Arjun Sethi, chief executive of LOLapps, will speak on a case studies panel at our DiscoveryBeat 2010 conference on Monday).
To move up the ladder, Stewart says the company has to step up its game by tapping game designers such as Romero, and its creative director Brenda Brathwaite, a longtime video game designer who also migrated to social games.
Romero himself has been an evolving character. He was a co-founder of id Software (alongside John Carmack, Adrian Carmack, and Tom Hall) and a designer of many legendary video games such as Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake. Those games introduced the hyper-violent first-person shooter genre to the world in the 1990s and changed video games forever. Romero left id and worked at a series of game startups: hardcore game maker Ion Storm, mobile game maker Monkeystone Games, and Slipgate Ironworks, a studio which has become part of Gazillion Entertainment. He never quite recaptured the magic of the creative maelstrom at id Software. But he has sustained a long career in games and crossed many different genres over time.
In an interview, Romero said that his broad experience helped him prepare for his latest project. He is still employed at Gazillion, where his major MMO game was canceled, and his consulting for LOLapps. But if it his first Facebook game works out, LOLapps will no doubt be happy to bring him aboard full-time, Stewart says. As Romero demonstrated his cute game, I couldn’t help but interrupt and ask, “Are there any shotguns in the game?” (a reference to the ever-useful weapon of Doom).
“There are no shotguns,” he said. “We’re talking about Facebook here.”
But Romero thinks that Facebook gamers — many of them older women — are more than ready for deeper games. He points to FrontierVille, which was designed by Zynga’s chief game designer, Brian Reynolds, another veteran traditional video game designer. Romero believes that game developers with the depth of experience of Reynolds will be able to meet the rising expectations of Facebook’s gamers.
The game bears a little resemblance to Zynga’s FrontierVille, where you chop wood and build a farm. But it is an original story and it has a greater palette of sounds than most Facebook games. It took Romero and his handful of people about two months to make it. If it succeeds, they will continue to expand the universe of Ravenwood Fair. Romero said he could get addicted to this kind of small-scale, craftsman-like game development. By contrast, making console or huge PC online games can take scores or hundreds of employees, years of work, and budgets in the tens of millions. That kind of development isn’t fun, nor is it sustainable, Romero said.
“I love doing a small game like this,” Romero said. “And more people could play it than would ever play an MMO. Facebook is an amazing platform.”
I asked Romero if anyone had teased him for not making a macho hardcore game. Not so far, he said, and he started branching out into cute content when he made mobile games anyway. Perhaps, one day, he’ll be known for something other than Doom or Quake. Ravenwood Fair is just about to launch. If it succeeds, video game pioneers such as Romero may find that they’re going to be very welcome contributors to the social gaming industry.（source:venturebeat）