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How a Web Company developed the Game about Web Companies using Vue.js instead of Redux and MobX

How a Web Company developed the Game about Web Companies using Vue.js instead of Redux and MobX
Hey! It’s been almost 15 years since we started to create and develop web services. You might have heard about them, given them a try, or even be an avid fan, but that's not the point.
We had two well known products on the website building market — uCoz and uKit site builders. Over 90% of registered website creators never got down to creating a website, and this gave us the ambition to create Web Tycoon with the two and a half people on the team that had some game development experience. Not that this was a perfect launchpad for releasing a game about web industry… But you get the idea.

Start of the Winding Path

59,845 backend strings and 65,675 frontend strings coded. More than two years of development, failures, dead ends and seven interface options.These are the trials that we have experienced, though it may haunt the dreams of some team members for a long time.
Why did the people behind a company that focuses mainly on site builders all of a sudden take on a task to create (successfully!) a multiplayer online strategy, even though it’s industry-related, about sites and webmasters?
At some point we realized that uCoz, as a product, started to get out of date. This served as one of the reasons to create a fresh solution, uKit. Which would be okay if the underlying problem hadn't been more serious and hadn't rooted in nothing other than patterns of human behavior. It doesn't matter what website builder we are talking about, be it uKit, uCoz, Wix, Tilda, Jimdo, LPmotor or any other. The majority of registered users will never create a site. This fact is very easy to check, just compare the number of registrations (without bots) against the number of working domain names/active clients.
Why is this so? It’s a good question that we tried to tackle by doing feedback surveys with our and competitors' customers on the phone. “I’ll do it tomorrow.” “Next week.” “Everything is great and user-friendly, but there’s no time for it right now.” The same stuff people say when they buy a gym membership and never show up to work out.
That’s when a simple idea emerged. What if we try to retain at least a part of this audience by inviting them to play a site building game? After all, we have already paid to attract their attention.

Everyone Dreams of Making Their Thing into a Game

No one is going to believe me entirely, but making a personally relatable game wasn’t the key motive. Although the tale is as old as time, “I’m a musician, let’s make a game about musicians!”, “I’m a game developer, let’s make Game Dev Tycoon!” (there is a ton of such examples, especially in the indie genre), this was not the case.
Game Dev Tycoon is a clear success story. It can be seen from loads of copycats and extension to mobile platforms. There’s a big difference between us (different mechanics, different setting), yet it's what Web Tycoon is most often compared with.
Game about Web Companies

Hitting the First Stumbling Block

It was all settled, we were positioned to create a game. I’ve already mentioned our staff in the intro paragraph and how our teams were busy with existing projects, so it can be understood how it didn’t make sense to distract them. What did that mean for us? It meant we had to outsource the work to professionals. This was our first real stumbling block.
First of all, we made an honest effort to hire a capable game development studio. Luckily, industry friends and fellows gave us a few pointers on where it was worth going to. Everyone we talked to liked the project concept, and game studios were happy to take the job.
Here are a few obstacles we stumbled upon next:
  • Yeah, we admit it, our game designer blew it off. “Good luck with your project!”
  • Want a browser game? No problem, we’ll build it with Unity. It’s not an issue that each user will need to install a browser plugin (back then it was the only available option), everyone has it!
A chunk of our budget was shelled out to buy game design documents prepared for us by two studios. The output was quite hefty. A great deal of work was done, no one's arguing this. But what was delivered to us was a very different idea. This proverb describes the situation at its best, “If you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” It was evident that people are used to doing things in a familiar way based on their established practices for GDDs, and generally dislike getting off the beaten track.
But now that I think about it, something good did come out of this. This period of wandering from studio to studio helped us decide on one incredibly valuable thing, the project name. The original code name was uWebmaster (after all, the game is about a webmaster, plus our company has a custom of naming products using the “u” prefix). Next, a more relevant idea — Internet Tycoon — came up. This later on transformed into Web Tycoon.

Second Stumbling Block, Switching to In-House

When we realized that the design studio thing was not working, we took the decision to handle it in-house. Then the lengthy hiring stage started. We were searching for a key figure for the project, a game designer. Someone who could grasp the concept, was passionate about this genre, qualified for this kind of work, and all of those sorts of things.
I don’t want to go into much detail here, the topic of who the game designers are is far from being simple. It’s controversial how to, if at all, write GDDs. There is even controversy around if a game designer should play the game they create while still being a manager. That's a matter for a separate and flame-war discussion. Let's just say that to date the project and the team has survived four game designers (including a junior designer) due to varying reasons.
The team recruitment was anything but easy. For a long time, the game’s only representative was a game designer (one of the four mentioned above). The main reason for this was the “leftover principle” and necessary high requirements. Well, first of all, the developers were needed for the main project, and they were recruited quite successfully for it. However, we couldn’t seem to hunt down a technical director. Of course, that was not good. If you take a decision to build a full-fledged game team, be sure to go the whole way. Understandably, we kept stumbling upon various staff issues for a long time.
When the technical director was finally found, he was a Jack of all trades. For a long time he was a team leader, an architect, and a regular worker. It was quite a challenge for us to fix the employee situation. It took us about six months to finally form a full-staffed team. The trickiest part, oddly enough, was to find an illustrator. Surprisingly, our office manager filled that position.
Summing up this part of the story, we can say that our game team fully established two years ago. There was someone for any task, be it designing interfaces or writing code. They even introduced scrum a bit later, which had been a regular practice for the rest of the company by that time.

Design and Interface

The game now looks like this:
https://preview.redd.it/z9w1n8xz2nu21.png?width=1440&format=png&auto=webp&s=0e709e487bbed319909620f5985418d9b48541ab
The interface is quite unusual for a game, and some people might find its look not really exciting. But that’s a deliberate choice. At first glance, it appears more like a web portal rather than a game.
When I asked friends to take a look at the screenshots, I often heard something like “Isn’t it an admin page?”, “I thought it was someone’s stats, not a game.” Those who belonged to our target audience loved the interface right away. They wanted a truly authentic thing rather than something cartoonish. Though we may lose some casual gamers because of the chosen visual style, we believe in its “clean and straight-to-the-point” design.
What finally made us believe that a game doesn’t have to look typical was Football Manager. A simulator may not look gamesome but can still be a success. The genre makes it possible.
After the style was selected, we worked out a few variants of UI design. Below are some alternative solutions offered by different designers.

AI Is Always Better

Gamers love skins and cosmetics. We haven’t integrated them to the game, but have already learned how to turn players' photos into avatars. The most interesting part is that it happens thanks to an innovative approach to machine learning and involves training models without using datasets.
An avatar is not transformed by means of picture stylization like it’s done in Prisma and other similar services. Instead, it’s generated from the elements of our avatar builder. Even though a machine cannot outdo humans when it comes to photo vs avatar similarity, our AI has reached the results as good as people can produce, which we believe is a success considering its initial task.
We plan to continue developing this technology and will keep you posted about the results. If you can’t wait to play around with the avatar builder, DM us and we will give you this opportunity :-)

Going Mobile

The closer we were to the release, the clearer it was that the game would look great on mobile devices. Sometimes even better than on desktop. At the same time, our desktop players seemed to make a perfect audience so far. They were actively discussing IT stuff in the game chat, making bots for game automation and exploring our undocumented API.
The game was initially developed with the intention to create a browser game first, test its mechanics and balance, and then build native apps. This wasn’t supposed to take a while thanks to the embedded API, but that’s not how it turned out.
In the end, there was no time and budget left to implement this beautiful plan. Moreover, almost all of the publishers we reached out to were mostly interested in a mobile game and asked to came back once it was ready.
We needed some kind of compromise, so the team built iOS and Android apps with Cordova in a matter of two months. It’s obvious that the result wasn’t flawless (decent though) but it allowed the game to be played quite smoothly. Overall, it was a good chance for us to check if the mobile users were going to like our product.

Issues with App Store

It was a bit of a struggle to get our mobile app show up in the App Store. First it was rejected with a comment like this, “You are a web application, so your users can open it in Safari.” But we fixed this eventually.
Then, we had to rename our our eye-pleasing game currency from Bitcoin to Webcoin to comply with Apple’s requirements. To be fair, guys from Apple are right and this name might actually be misleading for our users. But the new one seems to be giving a different vibe to the game.

Technical Stuff

Migration from React and Redux to Vue and Vuex

We are obviously treading on thin ice by bringing up this topic, so here’s a disclaimer first: we don’t try to impose our views on our readers and will agree if you say we could have made it work without any migrations. We just want to tell the story of how it was and describe the reasons for our choice of technologies.
The first revolution in the game creation process, even though a peaceful one, was our switch from React and Redux to Vue and Vuex.
Inside the company, we try to develop our products using the same stack of technologies. First of all, it’s a matter of gaining expertise and it gives us an opportunity to quickly transfer employees from one team to another. At this moment, we mostly use NodeJS, React, and MongoDB.
It was quite daunting to develop a game that has lots of data and relations with NoSQL. In the end it took us a week to migrate there through blood, sweat, and tears, but we’ll get to that.

Why We Moved from React to Vue Halfway Through

A new game designer changed the game’s core mechanics, which resulted in a major makeover of most of the interfaces. We created a prototype of the new mechanics using Vue, the reason for this choice being the low threshold of entry. At this point we had already worked out, and started, introducing a vector system of traffic, income and energy calculation. Before, the data had been stored in the database and we hadn’t taken the speed of data change into account.
At first, we used Redux together with React. The store was growing in size very fast — each time a player did something to a game’s site, it created a new record. This led to the mutation of the store and recalculation of getters, which contained complicated formulas of traffic and income, so the whole thing got laggy as hell.
Yeah, we could have gone with MobX, could have updated our calculation formulas, but the team was too focused on making major changes to the core mechanics at the time. It just didn’t happen. In Redux, we tried to fix this by connecting more than one store, while out-of-the-box features in Vuex allowed us to create any number of submodules without any hustle.
We also loved Vue’s syntactic sugar and flexibility. For example, in order to set up regular updates for any component value, instead of the computed property
foo() { return bar + baz; } 
we write
foo() { return (this.oneTick, bar + baz); } 
A little bit of magic is hidden in the this.oneTick property, which is reactive and updates once per second bringing up a component rerender in case the result of bar + baz is changed.

Database Migration

Speaking of the backend, we made a small migration and a pretty big one.
The project was first made with MySQL because we thought that it was simple and quick, and that relations and other perks were not necessary. Then we grew up and easily switched to PostgreSQL.
The more significant, and difficult, objective was our move to MongoDB. MongoDB was chosen due to its better scalability and performance. There were many more problems during the second migration even though we used an ORM. However, it took us only an hour to enable replica sets and automatic failover.

A Few Words About Publishers

Let’s start by saying that we are waiting for them. At this time the only one that has believed in us is Mail.Ru, a major Russian internet company, and we are grateful for this opportunity. Very soon we will learn how popular our browser game is with their audience.
Clever books and podcasts say that you should go to publishers somewhere at the halfway point rather than when a game is ready to be rolled out. That’s exactly what we did — our team started building bridges long before the release, which also included our trip to the DevGamm conference last November.
What we expected:
“Yeah okay, just change this and that, and we will be happy to try your game.”
What feedback we got instead:
“That’s great — fresh and non-standard, with the interesting setting, just come back as soon as the game is released and has some has monetization functions in it.”
All in all, the theory let us down. When we tried to find out why, the answer was: “Your game is different, so…”
Frankly speaking, we don’t see so much non-standard in the game, but they know better.
In general, we received positive feedback from the game industry reps. The market appears to be oversaturated with those kill-a-dragon and conquer-a-castle kind of games. Though, it might be just our personal impression.

In conclusion

So, that concludes the story of our journey to the soft launch. This is not a case of “we know for sure it’s going to be successful,” and it’s still a little too soon to call it a success at this point. Your opinion is important and we will be glad to get feedback and questions in the comments.
And welcome to the Web Tycoon:
web-tycoon.com/en
AppStore
Google Play
submitted by Zoranth to vuejs [link] [comments]

How a Web Company Turned Their Business into a Game

How a Web Company Turned Their Business into a Game

Hey! It’s been almost 15 years since we started to create and develop web services. You might have heard about them, given them a try, or even be an avid fan, but that's not the point.
We had two well known products on the website building market — uCoz and uKit site builders. Over 90% of registered website creators never got down to creating a website, and this gave us the ambition to create Web Tycoon with the two and a half people on the team that had some game development experience. Not that this was a perfect launchpad for releasing a game about web industry… But you get the idea.

Start of the Winding Path

59,845 backend strings and 65,675 frontend strings coded. More than two years of development, failures, dead ends and seven interface options.These are the trials that we have experienced, though it may haunt the dreams of some team members for a long time.
Why did the people behind a company that focuses mainly on site builders all of a sudden take on a task to create (successfully!) a multiplayer online strategy, even though it’s industry-related, about sites and webmasters?
At some point we realized that uCoz, as a product, started to get out of date. This served as one of the reasons to create a fresh solution, uKit. Which would be okay if the underlying problem hadn't been more serious and hadn't rooted in nothing other than patterns of human behavior. It doesn't matter what website builder we are talking about, be it uKit, uCoz, Wix, Tilda, Jimdo, LPmotor or any other. The majority of registered users will never create a site. This fact is very easy to check, just compare the number of registrations (without bots) against the number of working domain names/active clients.
Why is this so? It’s a good question that we tried to tackle by doing feedback surveys with our and competitors' customers on the phone. “I’ll do it tomorrow.” “Next week.” “Everything is great and user-friendly, but there’s no time for it right now.” The same stuff people say when they buy a gym membership and never show up to work out.
That’s when a simple idea emerged. What if we try to retain at least a part of this audience by inviting them to play a site building game? After all, we have already paid to attract their attention.

Everyone Dreams of Making Their Thing into a Game

No one is going to believe me entirely, but making a personally relatable game wasn’t the key motive. Although the tale is as old as time, “I’m a musician, let’s make a game about musicians!”, “I’m a game developer, let’s make Game Dev Tycoon!” (there is a ton of such examples, especially in the indie genre), this was not the case.
Game Dev Tycoon is a clear success story. It can be seen from loads of copycats and extension to mobile platforms. There’s a big difference between us (different mechanics, different setting), yet it's what Web Tycoon is most often compared with.
https://preview.redd.it/y7lkjm8ipmu21.jpg?width=1600&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=cb47481932e58922f0e643daf96f29c307eb8e38

Hitting the First Stumbling Block

It was all settled, we were positioned to create a game. I’ve already mentioned our staff in the intro paragraph and how our teams were busy with existing projects, so it can be understood how it didn’t make sense to distract them. What did that mean for us? It meant we had to outsource the work to professionals. This was our first real stumbling block.
First of all, we made an honest effort to hire a capable game development studio. Luckily, industry friends and fellows gave us a few pointers on where it was worth going to. Everyone we talked to liked the project concept, and game studios were happy to take the job.
Here are a few obstacles we stumbled upon next:
  • Yeah, we admit it, our game designer blew it off. “Good luck with your project!”
  • Want a browser game? No problem, we’ll build it with Unity. It’s not an issue that each user will need to install a browser plugin (back then it was the only available option), everyone has it!
A chunk of our budget was shelled out to buy game design documents prepared for us by two studios. The output was quite hefty. A great deal of work was done, no one's arguing this. But what was delivered to us was a very different idea. This proverb describes the situation at its best, “If you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” It was evident that people are used to doing things in a familiar way based on their established practices for GDDs, and generally dislike getting off the beaten track.
But now that I think about it, something good did come out of this. This period of wandering from studio to studio helped us decide on one incredibly valuable thing, the project name. The original code name was uWebmaster (after all, the game is about a webmaster, plus our company has a custom of naming products using the “u” prefix). Next, a more relevant idea — Internet Tycoon — came up. This later on transformed into Web Tycoon.

Second Stumbling Block, Switching to In-House

When we realized that the design studio thing was not working, we took the decision to handle it in-house. Then the lengthy hiring stage started. We were searching for a key figure for the project, a game designer. Someone who could grasp the concept, was passionate about this genre, qualified for this kind of work, and all of those sorts of things.
I don’t want to go into much detail here, the topic of who the game designers are is far from being simple. It’s controversial how to, if at all, write GDDs. There is even controversy around if a game designer should play the game they create while still being a manager. That's a matter for a separate and flame-war discussion. Let's just say that to date the project and the team has survived four game designers (including a junior designer) due to varying reasons.
The team recruitment was anything but easy. For a long time, the game’s only representative was a game designer (one of the four mentioned above). The main reason for this was the “leftover principle” and necessary high requirements. Well, first of all, the developers were needed for the main project, and they were recruited quite successfully for it. However, we couldn’t seem to hunt down a technical director. Of course, that was not good. If you take a decision to build a full-fledged game team, be sure to go the whole way. Understandably, we kept stumbling upon various staff issues for a long time.
When the technical director was finally found, he was a Jack of all trades. For a long time he was a team leader, an architect, and a regular worker. It was quite a challenge for us to fix the employee situation. It took us about six months to finally form a full-staffed team. The trickiest part, oddly enough, was to find an illustrator. Surprisingly, our office manager filled that position.
Summing up this part of the story, we can say that our game team fully established two years ago. There was someone for any task, be it designing interfaces or writing code. They even introduced scrum a bit later, which had been a regular practice for the rest of the company by that time.

Design and Interface

The game now looks like this:
https://preview.redd.it/h3sytxw6pmu21.png?width=512&format=png&auto=webp&s=95e699204361682c9b1b8a4913f65f5ee3d7e1a0
The interface is quite unusual for a game, and some people might find its look not really exciting. But that’s a deliberate choice. At first glance, it appears more like a web portal rather than a game.
When I asked friends to take a look at the screenshots, I often heard something like “Isn’t it an admin page?”, “I thought it was someone’s stats, not a game.” Those who belonged to our target audience loved the interface right away. They wanted a truly authentic thing rather than something cartoonish. Though we may lose some casual gamers because of the chosen visual style, we believe in its “clean and straight-to-the-point” design.
What finally made us believe that a game doesn’t have to look typical was Football Manager. A simulator may not look gamesome but can still be a success. The genre makes it possible.
After the style was selected, we worked out a few variants of UI design. Below are some alternative solutions offered by different designers.

AI Is Always Better

Gamers love skins and cosmetics. We haven’t integrated them to the game, but have already learned how to turn players' photos into avatars. The most interesting part is that it happens thanks to an innovative approach to machine learning and involves training models without using datasets.
An avatar is not transformed by means of picture stylization like it’s done in Prisma and other similar services. Instead, it’s generated from the elements of our avatar builder. Even though a machine cannot outdo humans when it comes to photo vs avatar similarity, our AI has reached the results as good as people can produce, which we believe is a success considering its initial task.
We plan to continue developing this technology and will keep you posted about the results. If you can’t wait to play around with the avatar builder, DM us and we will give you this opportunity :-)

Going Mobile

The closer we were to the release, the clearer it was that the game would look great on mobile devices. Sometimes even better than on desktop. At the same time, our desktop players seemed to make a perfect audience so far. They were actively discussing IT stuff in the game chat, making bots for game automation and exploring our undocumented API.
The game was initially developed with the intention to create a browser game first, test its mechanics and balance, and then build native apps. This wasn’t supposed to take a while thanks to the embedded API, but that’s not how it turned out.
In the end, there was no time and budget left to implement this beautiful plan. Moreover, almost all of the publishers we reached out to were mostly interested in a mobile game and asked to came back once it was ready.
We needed some kind of compromise, so the team built iOS and Android apps with Cordova in a matter of two months. It’s obvious that the result wasn’t flawless (decent though) but it allowed the game to be played quite smoothly. Overall, it was a good chance for us to check if the mobile users were going to like our product.

Issues with App Store

It was a bit of a struggle to get our mobile app show up in the App Store. First it was rejected with a comment like this, “You are a web application, so your users can open it in Safari.” But we fixed this eventually.
Then, we had to rename our our eye-pleasing game currency from Bitcoin to Webcoin to comply with Apple’s requirements. To be fair, guys from Apple are right and this name might actually be misleading for our users. But the new one seems to be giving a different vibe to the game.

Technical Stuff

Migration from React and Redux to Vue and Vuex

We are obviously treading on thin ice by bringing up this topic, so here’s a disclaimer first: we don’t try to impose our views on our readers and will agree if you say we could have made it work without any migrations. We just want to tell the story of how it was and describe the reasons for our choice of technologies.
The first revolution in the game creation process, even though a peaceful one, was our switch from React and Redux to Vue and Vuex.
Inside the company, we try to develop our products using the same stack of technologies. First of all, it’s a matter of gaining expertise and it gives us an opportunity to quickly transfer employees from one team to another. At this moment, we mostly use NodeJS, React, and MongoDB.
It was quite daunting to develop a game that has lots of data and relations with NoSQL. In the end it took us a week to migrate there through blood, sweat, and tears, but we’ll get to that.

Why We Moved from React to Vue Halfway Through

A new game designer changed the game’s core mechanics, which resulted in a major makeover of most of the interfaces. We created a prototype of the new mechanics using Vue, the reason for this choice being the low threshold of entry. At this point we had already worked out, and started, introducing a vector system of traffic, income and energy calculation. Before, the data had been stored in the database and we hadn’t taken the speed of data change into account.
At first, we used Redux together with React. The store was growing in size very fast — each time a player did something to a game’s site, it created a new record. This led to the mutation of the store and recalculation of getters, which contained complicated formulas of traffic and income, so the whole thing got laggy as hell.
Yeah, we could have gone with MobX, could have updated our calculation formulas, but the team was too focused on making major changes to the core mechanics at the time. It just didn’t happen. In Redux, we tried to fix this by connecting more than one store, while out-of-the-box features in Vuex allowed us to create any number of submodules without any hustle.
We also loved Vue’s syntactic sugar and flexibility. For example, in order to set up regular updates for any component value, instead of the computed property
foo() { return bar + baz; } 
we write
foo() { return (this.oneTick, bar + baz); } 
A little bit of magic is hidden in the this.oneTick property, which is reactive and updates once per second bringing up a component rerender in case the result of bar + baz is changed.

Database Migration

Speaking of the backend, we made a small migration and a pretty big one.
The project was first made with MySQL because we thought that it was simple and quick, and that relations and other perks were not necessary. Then we grew up and easily switched to PostgreSQL.
The more significant, and difficult, objective was our move to MongoDB. MongoDB was chosen due to its better scalability and performance. There were many more problems during the second migration even though we used an ORM. However, it took us only an hour to enable replica sets and automatic failover.

A Few Words About Publishers

Let’s start by saying that we are waiting for them. At this time the only one that has believed in us is Mail.Ru, a major Russian internet company, and we are grateful for this opportunity. Very soon we will learn how popular our browser game is with their audience.
Clever books and podcasts say that you should go to publishers somewhere at the halfway point rather than when a game is ready to be rolled out. That’s exactly what we did — our team started building bridges long before the release, which also included our trip to the DevGamm conference last November.
What we expected:
“Yeah okay, just change this and that, and we will be happy to try your game.”
What feedback we got instead:
“That’s great — fresh and non-standard, with the interesting setting, just come back as soon as the game is released and has some has monetization functions in it.”
All in all, the theory let us down. When we tried to find out why, the answer was: “Your game is different, so…”
Frankly speaking, we don’t see so much non-standard in the game, but they know better.
In general, we received positive feedback from the game industry reps. The market appears to be oversaturated with those kill-a-dragon and conquer-a-castle kind of games. Though, it might be just our personal impression.

In conclusion

So, that concludes the story of our journey to the soft launch. This is not a case of “we know for sure it’s going to be successful,” and it’s still a little too soon to call it a success at this point. Your opinion is important and we will be glad to get feedback and questions in the comments.
And welcome to the Web Tycoon:
web-tycoon.com/en
AppStore
Google Play
submitted by T0TALWANNABE to gamedev [link] [comments]

The story how uCoz turned web company's life to the game

The story how uCoz turned web company's life to the game
Hey! It’s been almost 15 years since we started to create and develop web services. You might have heard about them, given them a try, or even be an avid fan, but that's not the point.
We had two well known products on the website building market — uCoz and uKit site builders. Over 90% of registered website creators never got down to creating a website, and this gave us the ambition to create Web Tycoon with the two and a half people on the team that had some game development experience. Not that this was a perfect launchpad for releasing a game about web industry… But you get the idea.

Start of the Winding Path

59,845 backend strings and 65,675 frontend strings coded. More than two years of development, failures, dead ends and seven interface options.These are the trials that we have experienced, though it may haunt the dreams of some team members for a long time.
Why did the people behind a company that focuses mainly on site builders all of a sudden take on a task to create (successfully!) a multiplayer online strategy, even though it’s industry-related, about sites and webmasters?
At some point we realized that uCoz, as a product, started to get out of date. This served as one of the reasons to create a fresh solution, uKit. Which would be okay if the underlying problem hadn't been more serious and hadn't rooted in nothing other than patterns of human behavior. It doesn't matter what website builder we are talking about, be it uKit, uCoz, Wix, Tilda, Jimdo, LPmotor or any other. The majority of registered users will never create a site. This fact is very easy to check, just compare the number of registrations (without bots) against the number of working domain names/active clients.
Why is this so? It’s a good question that we tried to tackle by doing feedback surveys with our and competitors' customers on the phone. “I’ll do it tomorrow.” “Next week.” “Everything is great and user-friendly, but there’s no time for it right now.” The same stuff people say when they buy a gym membership and never show up to work out.
That’s when a simple idea emerged. What if we try to retain at least a part of this audience by inviting them to play a site building game? After all, we have already paid to attract their attention.

Everyone Dreams of Making Their Thing into a Game

No one is going to believe me entirely, but making a personally relatable game wasn’t the key motive. Although the tale is as old as time, “I’m a musician, let’s make a game about musicians!”, “I’m a game developer, let’s make Game Dev Tycoon!” (there is a ton of such examples, especially in the indie genre), this was not the case.
Game Dev Tycoon is a clear success story. It can be seen from loads of copycats and extension to mobile platforms. There’s a big difference between us (different mechanics, different setting), yet it's what Web Tycoon is most often compared with.
https://preview.redd.it/tc5y2dmr7nu21.jpg?width=1600&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=975205a828b2d26d55840accaff69cf0ec6f1678

Hitting the First Stumbling Block

It was all settled, we were positioned to create a game. I’ve already mentioned our staff in the intro paragraph and how our teams were busy with existing projects, so it can be understood how it didn’t make sense to distract them. What did that mean for us? It meant we had to outsource the work to professionals. This was our first real stumbling block.
First of all, we made an honest effort to hire a capable game development studio. Luckily, industry friends and fellows gave us a few pointers on where it was worth going to. Everyone we talked to liked the project concept, and game studios were happy to take the job.
Here are a few obstacles we stumbled upon next:
  • Yeah, we admit it, our game designer blew it off. “Good luck with your project!”
  • Want a browser game? No problem, we’ll build it with Unity. It’s not an issue that each user will need to install a browser plugin (back then it was the only available option), everyone has it!
A chunk of our budget was shelled out to buy game design documents prepared for us by two studios. The output was quite hefty. A great deal of work was done, no one's arguing this. But what was delivered to us was a very different idea. This proverb describes the situation at its best, “If you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” It was evident that people are used to doing things in a familiar way based on their established practices for GDDs, and generally dislike getting off the beaten track.
But now that I think about it, something good did come out of this. This period of wandering from studio to studio helped us decide on one incredibly valuable thing, the project name. The original code name was uWebmaster (after all, the game is about a webmaster, plus our company has a custom of naming products using the “u” prefix). Next, a more relevant idea — Internet Tycoon — came up. This later on transformed into Web Tycoon.

Second Stumbling Block, Switching to In-House

When we realized that the design studio thing was not working, we took the decision to handle it in-house. Then the lengthy hiring stage started. We were searching for a key figure for the project, a game designer. Someone who could grasp the concept, was passionate about this genre, qualified for this kind of work, and all of those sorts of things.
I don’t want to go into much detail here, the topic of who the game designers are is far from being simple. It’s controversial how to, if at all, write GDDs. There is even controversy around if a game designer should play the game they create while still being a manager. That's a matter for a separate and flame-war discussion. Let's just say that to date the project and the team has survived four game designers (including a junior designer) due to varying reasons.
The team recruitment was anything but easy. For a long time, the game’s only representative was a game designer (one of the four mentioned above). The main reason for this was the “leftover principle” and necessary high requirements. Well, first of all, the developers were needed for the main project, and they were recruited quite successfully for it. However, we couldn’t seem to hunt down a technical director. Of course, that was not good. If you take a decision to build a full-fledged game team, be sure to go the whole way. Understandably, we kept stumbling upon various staff issues for a long time.
When the technical director was finally found, he was a Jack of all trades. For a long time he was a team leader, an architect, and a regular worker. It was quite a challenge for us to fix the employee situation. It took us about six months to finally form a full-staffed team. The trickiest part, oddly enough, was to find an illustrator. Surprisingly, our office manager filled that position.
Summing up this part of the story, we can say that our game team fully established two years ago. There was someone for any task, be it designing interfaces or writing code. They even introduced scrum a bit later, which had been a regular practice for the rest of the company by that time.

Design and Interface

The game now looks like this:
https://preview.redd.it/uj4buogs7nu21.png?width=1440&format=png&auto=webp&s=d7c3e0114b61b6197905177fba6d2dc94bbfee70

The interface is quite unusual for a game, and some people might find its look not really exciting. But that’s a deliberate choice. At first glance, it appears more like a web portal rather than a game.
When I asked friends to take a look at the screenshots, I often heard something like “Isn’t it an admin page?”, “I thought it was someone’s stats, not a game.” Those who belonged to our target audience loved the interface right away. They wanted a truly authentic thing rather than something cartoonish. Though we may lose some casual gamers because of the chosen visual style, we believe in its “clean and straight-to-the-point” design.
What finally made us believe that a game doesn’t have to look typical was Football Manager. A simulator may not look gamesome but can still be a success. The genre makes it possible.
After the style was selected, we worked out a few variants of UI design. Below are some alternative solutions offered by different designers.

AI Is Always Better

Gamers love skins and cosmetics. We haven’t integrated them to the game, but have already learned how to turn players' photos into avatars. The most interesting part is that it happens thanks to an innovative approach to machine learning and involves training models without using datasets.
An avatar is not transformed by means of picture stylization like it’s done in Prisma and other similar services. Instead, it’s generated from the elements of our avatar builder. Even though a machine cannot outdo humans when it comes to photo vs avatar similarity, our AI has reached the results as good as people can produce, which we believe is a success considering its initial task.
We plan to continue developing this technology and will keep you posted about the results. If you can’t wait to play around with the avatar builder, DM us and we will give you this opportunity :-)

Going Mobile

The closer we were to the release, the clearer it was that the game would look great on mobile devices. Sometimes even better than on desktop. At the same time, our desktop players seemed to make a perfect audience so far. They were actively discussing IT stuff in the game chat, making bots for game automation and exploring our undocumented API.
The game was initially developed with the intention to create a browser game first, test its mechanics and balance, and then build native apps. This wasn’t supposed to take a while thanks to the embedded API, but that’s not how it turned out.
In the end, there was no time and budget left to implement this beautiful plan. Moreover, almost all of the publishers we reached out to were mostly interested in a mobile game and asked to came back once it was ready.
We needed some kind of compromise, so the team built iOS and Android apps with Cordova in a matter of two months. It’s obvious that the result wasn’t flawless (decent though) but it allowed the game to be played quite smoothly. Overall, it was a good chance for us to check if the mobile users were going to like our product.

Issues with App Store

It was a bit of a struggle to get our mobile app show up in the App Store. First it was rejected with a comment like this, “You are a web application, so your users can open it in Safari.” But we fixed this eventually.
Then, we had to rename our our eye-pleasing game currency from Bitcoin to Webcoin to comply with Apple’s requirements. To be fair, guys from Apple are right and this name might actually be misleading for our users. But the new one seems to be giving a different vibe to the game.

Technical Stuff

Migration from React and Redux to Vue and Vuex

We are obviously treading on thin ice by bringing up this topic, so here’s a disclaimer first: we don’t try to impose our views on our readers and will agree if you say we could have made it work without any migrations. We just want to tell the story of how it was and describe the reasons for our choice of technologies.
The first revolution in the game creation process, even though a peaceful one, was our switch from React and Redux to Vue and Vuex.
Inside the company, we try to develop our products using the same stack of technologies. First of all, it’s a matter of gaining expertise and it gives us an opportunity to quickly transfer employees from one team to another. At this moment, we mostly use NodeJS, React, and MongoDB.
It was quite daunting to develop a game that has lots of data and relations with NoSQL. In the end it took us a week to migrate there through blood, sweat, and tears, but we’ll get to that.

Why We Moved from React to Vue Halfway Through

A new game designer changed the game’s core mechanics, which resulted in a major makeover of most of the interfaces. We created a prototype of the new mechanics using Vue, the reason for this choice being the low threshold of entry. At this point we had already worked out, and started, introducing a vector system of traffic, income and energy calculation. Before, the data had been stored in the database and we hadn’t taken the speed of data change into account.
At first, we used Redux together with React. The store was growing in size very fast — each time a player did something to a game’s site, it created a new record. This led to the mutation of the store and recalculation of getters, which contained complicated formulas of traffic and income, so the whole thing got laggy as hell.
Yeah, we could have gone with MobX, could have updated our calculation formulas, but the team was too focused on making major changes to the core mechanics at the time. It just didn’t happen. In Redux, we tried to fix this by connecting more than one store, while out-of-the-box features in Vuex allowed us to create any number of submodules without any hustle.
We also loved Vue’s syntactic sugar and flexibility. For example, in order to set up regular updates for any component value, instead of the computed property
foo() { return bar + baz; } 
we write
foo() { return (this.oneTick, bar + baz); } 
A little bit of magic is hidden in the this.oneTick property, which is reactive and updates once per second bringing up a component rerender in case the result of bar + baz is changed.

Database Migration

Speaking of the backend, we made a small migration and a pretty big one.
The project was first made with MySQL because we thought that it was simple and quick, and that relations and other perks were not necessary. Then we grew up and easily switched to PostgreSQL.
The more significant, and difficult, objective was our move to MongoDB. MongoDB was chosen due to its better scalability and performance. There were many more problems during the second migration even though we used an ORM. However, it took us only an hour to enable replica sets and automatic failover.

A Few Words About Publishers

Let’s start by saying that we are waiting for them. At this time the only one that has believed in us is Mail.Ru, a major Russian internet company, and we are grateful for this opportunity. Very soon we will learn how popular our browser game is with their audience.
Clever books and podcasts say that you should go to publishers somewhere at the halfway point rather than when a game is ready to be rolled out. That’s exactly what we did — our team started building bridges long before the release, which also included our trip to the DevGamm conference last November.
What we expected:
“Yeah okay, just change this and that, and we will be happy to try your game.”
What feedback we got instead:
“That’s great — fresh and non-standard, with the interesting setting, just come back as soon as the game is released and has some has monetization functions in it.”
All in all, the theory let us down. When we tried to find out why, the answer was: “Your game is different, so…”
Frankly speaking, we don’t see so much non-standard in the game, but they know better.
In general, we received positive feedback from the game industry reps. The market appears to be oversaturated with those kill-a-dragon and conquer-a-castle kind of games. Though, it might be just our personal impression.

In conclusion

So, that concludes the story of our journey to the soft launch. This is not a case of “we know for sure it’s going to be successful,” and it’s still a little too soon to call it a success at this point. Your opinion is important and we will be glad to get feedback and questions in the comments.
And welcome to the Web Tycoon:
web-tycoon.com/en
AppStore
Google Play
submitted by smartdivas to devblogs [link] [comments]

AURORA WEEKLY REPORT

AURORA WEEKLY REPORT

【Aurora Main Net】
Mainnet:
a. Aurorachain multi-chain technology of mainnet is under development, with 35% completed.
b. The plugin wallet of Aurorachain Explorer is under development, with 60% completed.
c. The new function of Aurorachain mainnet multi-assets has been completely developed, which is now under test.
d. Aurorachain mainnet is conducting research into a new consensus mechanism.
APP:
a. The 1.1.3 version of AOA APP has been launched, which supports bounty registration event, mainnet contract payment by wallet. And the payment experience of wallet has been optimized and supports more DApp.
b. The 1.1.4 version of AOA APP is under development.
c. The management and review modules of operation management platform of AOA APP has been successfully tested and launched.
d. The service of Escrow Wallet has been updated and optimized, the test of which has been completed. And the service of Escrow Wallet has been launched.
Infrastructure:
a. The development of blockchain oracle has been initiated and now stepped into design phrase.
【Business Partnership】
Program Cooperation:
I. Gaming
a. Games Launched: Texas Poker, StarKings, AceChariot, MobileFish (Slime+Farmer’s Poker), Honor Magic, Power Battlefield
b. Active Negotiations: LeBlock, Kale Games, Yibo Games, HeleGame, Dragon’s Century, Ludos, CryptoWorld, YY Games,HyperDragons, CryptoGirl, Xianyu Game, Tang Hongjian Game Studio, FISH.ONE, OnlyGame, BlaCat, 7 Colors, CDLGame, Chengdu Tiancheng Games, Thunder Stone Games, Color Run, Youchuang Games, CoinPaws, CardMaker, Oasis, NEO WORLD, Nomad, Playgame, Wanli Horse, Crazy Miners, Tuguan Games, Game Vil
Scheduled Meetings: Mobile Legend
II. AI
a. Active Negotiations: DATA, Mintegral, Carblock, Beijing Sensetime Technology Development Co., Ltd., Beijing Megvii Technology Co., Ltd, Guangzhou Cloudwalk Information Technology Co., Ltd, Beijing Aqrose Technology Co., Ltd, Shanghai Yitutech Co., Ltd, DeepBrain Chain, TuringNet
III. Big Data
a. Active Negotiations: Lincloud Could Computing, Keyintt Genetic Big Data, MobData, VeeYee Medical Data, Utour, IGraph, ONe Block club (Dapp), Gemstra, HARA (big data in agriculture)
b. Scheduled Meetings: HARA (big data in agriculture)
IV. Technology
a. Active Negotiations: ECO2 Carbon trading, VERO Blockchain Data Advertising, Goforit Transportation Technology and Blockchain, Lianan (blockchain security), BITSG (overseas compliance), Yottachain (public chain), PEChain, Chainmap, Ghostdrive, SmarTract, Bunz, Mycoinrisk, Green Agro
Strategic layout:
a. Aurorachain has reached a deep strategic cooperation agreement with Asosiasi Blockchain Indonesia. Aurorachain, as a member of Asosiasi Blockchain Indonesia, will build cooperation projects between Asosiasi Blockchain Indonesia, China and other regions.
b. Aurorachain has completed the market research and business strategy plans of ASEAN countries. Aurorachain will start business in ASEAN countries with Indonesia as a starting point.
c. Aurorachain will work with Hara project to collaborate on big data and blockchains in Latin America and Africa to solve local problems, which has played an important role to enter Latin America and Africa in the Aurorachain’s marketing strategy.
Conference:
a. Aurorachain cooperated with Inododax for offline meet-ups in Bali, Surabaya, Semarang and Jakarta. The last event in Jakarta achieved great success.
b. Aurorachain participated in “Latin American Bitcoin & Blockchain Conferences 2018”. This is the first time we have entered the Latin American market after launching Bitinka. At the same time, Aurorachain launched the Spanish website and promotional materials.
c. Aurorachain attended the Microsoft Digital Dapp Contest Malaysia Station — Asia Pacific Blockchain Leadership Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This will be the start for Aurorachain to enter the Malaysian market.
【Social Media and Community】
Community News:
a. The number of users in Aurorachain’s Russian Telegram communities has increased by 2,800.
b. The number of users in Aurorachain’s Indonesian Telegram communities has increased by 6,500.
Regular Activities:
a. 1126–1202 bounty quiz/bounty game events were successfully held in Japanese, Korean, English, Spanish, Indonesian, Philippine and Reddit communities.
b. The airdrop in Indonesian Telegram Community has been closed, with the reward being distributed.
c. The airdrop is being held in Russian Telegram Community and the number of community member has reached 3,000.
d. Bounty Registration Event has been launched in AOA APP. Users can get rewards through inviting friends to register the AOA APP.
e. Number Ninja, which is developed by Ninja team, has been launched in AOA APP.
f. Fan system plan will be launched in BiYong Chinese community.
submitted by Cryp2key to AuroraOfficial [link] [comments]

Aurora Weekly Report (11/19–11/25)

Aurora Weekly Report (11/19–11/25)

https://preview.redd.it/fiyxowdiu0121.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=b25f80c183eb5aaa33c3c9ef9a4876f8b2f63a44
【Aurora Main Net】
Mainnet:
a.Aurorachain multi-chain technology is under development.
b. The plugin wallet of AURORA Block Explorer is under development, with 50% completed.
c. Some new functions of Aurorachain mainnet multi-assets are under development, with 50% completed.
d. Aurorachain mainnet is conducting research into a new consensus mechanism.
APP:
a. The development of 1.1.2 version of AOA APP (iOS) is launched.
b. AOA APP (1.1.2 version) supports the transfer and withdrawal function between AOA mainnet and AOA ERC-20 within Escrow Wallet.
c. AOA APP (1.1.3 version) has completed; the new version is under testing. The new version has optimized the support and experience for various dApps and contract payment calls.
d. The development of the management / operation platform and audit module of AOA APP have been completed and is under testing.
Infrastructure:
Aurorachain team has initiated the development of blockchain oracle and has stepped into design phase.
【Business Partnership】
Program Cooperation:
I. Gaming
a. Games Launched: Texas Poker, StarKings, AceChariot, MobileFish (Slime+Farmer’s Poker), Honor Magic, Power Battlefield
b. Active Negotiations: LeBlock, Kale Games, Yibo Games, HeleGame, Dragon’s Century, Ludos, CryptoWorld, YY Games,HyperDragons, CryptoGirl, Xianyu Game, Tang Hongjian Game Studio, FISH.ONE, OnlyGame, BlaCat, 7 Colors, CDLGame, Chengdu Tiancheng Games, Thunder Stone Games, Color Run, Youchuang Games, CoinPaws, CardMaker, Oasis, NEO WORLD, Nomad, Playgame, Wanli Horse, Crazy Miners, Tuguan Games, Game Vil
Scheduled Meetings: Mobile Legend
II. AI
a. Active Negotiations: DATA, Mintegral, Carblock, Beijing Sensetime Technology Development Co., Ltd., Beijing Megvii Technology Co., Ltd, Guangzhou Cloudwalk Information Technology Co., Ltd, Beijing Aqrose Technology Co., Ltd, Shanghai Yitutech Co., Ltd, DeepBrain Chain, TuringNet
III. Big Data
a. Active Negotiations: Lincloud Could Computing, Keyintt Genetic Big Data, MobData, VeeYee Medical Data, Utour, IGraph, ONe Block club (Dapp), Gemstra, HARA (big data in agriculture)
b. Scheduled Meetings: HARA (big data in agriculture)
IV. Technology
a. Active Negotiations: ECO2 Carbon trading, VERO Blockchain Data Advertising, Goforit Transportation Technology and Blockchain, Lianan (blockchain security), BITSG (overseas compliance), Yottachain (public chain), PEChain, Chainmap, Ghostdrive, SmarTract, Bunz, Mycoinrisk, Green Agro
Strategic layout:
a. Aurorachain has reached a deep strategic cooperation agreement with the Indonesian Blockchain Association. Aurorachain, as a member of the association, will build cooperation projects between the Indonesian Blockchain Association, China and other regions.
b. Aurorachain completed the market research and business strategy plans of ASEAN countries. Aurorachain will start business in ASEAN countries with Indonesia as a starting point.
c. Aurorachain will work with Hara project to collaborate on big data and blockchains in Latin America and Africa to solve local problems, which has played an important role to enter Latin America and Africa in the Aurorachain’s marketing strategy .
Conference:
a. Aurorachain cooperated with Inododax for offline meet-ups in Bali, Surabaya, Semarang and Jakarta. The last event in Jakarta achieved great success.
b. Aurorachain participated in “Latin American Bitcoin & Blockchain Conferences 2018”. This is the first time we have entered the Latin American market after launching Bitinka. At the same time, Aurorachain launched the Spanish website and promotional materials.
c. Aurorachain will be present at the Microsoft Digital Dapp Contest Malaysia Station — Asia Pacific Blockchain Leadership Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This will be the start for Aurorachain to enter the Malay market.
【Social Media and Community】
Community News:
a. The number of users in Aurorachain’s Indonesian Telegram communities has increased to 29k+.
b. Aurora’s Malaysia Telegram community: https://t.me/auroramalaysia
Regular Activities:
a. 1119–1125 bounty quiz/bounty game events were successfully held in Japanese, Korean, English, Spanish, Indonesian, Philippine and Reddit communities.
b. AOA App is now available on Google Play. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=io.aurorachain.aoa)
c. Airdrop round 3 in Indonesian community is on-going.
d. Aurorachain conducted 4 meet-ups in Bali, Surabaya, Semarang and Jakarta, Indonesia.
e. Aurorachain Russian Telegram community airdrop activity is under planning.
submitted by Aurora_Official to AuroraOfficial [link] [comments]

10x…Is It an Impossible Challenge or an Irresistible Opportunity for an ICO?

It is hard to say when 10x became the bare minimum for the Go Big or Go Home Mentality that surrounds personal information and future tech. You will hear it said, in so many words, again and again, “don’t even bother competing with “The Googleverse”, as Visual Capitalist once called it, unless you have something 10x better in your category or market space. Since Google and Facebook have their eyes set on just about everything from your wallet to your exact location, on a second by second basis, it would logically follow that we just give up now and let Google and Facebook, and don’t forget Amazon, take over everything and invent all future social systems and relevant technologies that will continue to shape them.
The company that thinks they can do it: www.10x.market
https://preview.redd.it/1m2mpn3bzo511.png?width=219&format=png&auto=webp&s=d96541a37dea5d7cd53f89ae174d2ffcc7793c0f
Elon Musk decided the 10x divide was a good way to get people excited about new ventures that will not bear fruit until you are too old to care. We are all excited to get from Washington to New York in 33 minutes, and it’s just nice to know that my daughter doesn’t have to move out when she goes to college, as long as by her time the Hypertube spans the East Coast. It almost makes me forget about all the people who will be put out of work in the next five years by driverless cars and automated cargo vehicles, and what they are going to do with all their time when the Robot Tax dollars come every week in the form of a Universal Basic Income check.
“The key to making this work is increasing tunneling speed and dropping costs by a factor of 10 or more — this is the goal of The Boring Company. “
https://preview.redd.it/anp94fd9zo511.png?width=425&format=png&auto=webp&s=ff6d6b7f7b9e856bb3bf29af0438b47dffec7409
The Visual Capitalist makes it clear most people believe it's pointless to compete in any area that turns personal information into pay by the bit, which is the IOT version of paying by the click in The Googleverse. It seems it is considered, in many cases, wiser to build something inside of the current Ecosystem of a Google or a Facebook, or something that serves as a gadget that adds utility to these platforms like a Selfie Drone, rather than doubts the wisdom of the Googleverse and Facebook.
How Google Tracks You - And What You Can Do About It
This Chart Reveals Google’s True Dominance Over the Web
https://preview.redd.it/8ikrp437zo511.png?width=760&format=png&auto=webp&s=bbf678d7dba90057840dacc52cdea7630013d4f5
Why can no one match Google?
  1. Part of the reason lies in the math. Google operates at an insane level, processing 3.5 billion searches per day. To get millions of people to try a different search algorithm is expensive — and to get them to keep that behavior permanently is even more expensive.
  2. The only way such change becomes feasible is if a product comes out that is 10x better than Google, and at this point, such an event seems unlikely — at least in the current ecosystem.
Is Silicon Valley the last word on how data is gathered and put to use?
It might seem that way at times, however, if you listen to the message that is coming out of Research Triangle in South Carolina, home to the innovation hubs of Big Data giants like IBM and SAS, global innovation centers such as Silicon Wadi, in Israel (where apparently, there is a glass ceiling for Muslims, and the rest of the tech sector is run by ex-military personnel from the elite cyber division Unit 8200) you could form a completely different opinion. Forbes did a good piece on Unit 8200 back in 2016, if you aren’t familiar. Companies like IBM and SAS say the secret sauce is all in the temporaneous, unstructured data streaming through the airwaves that can be correlated in real time with your position, preferences, and ready-made content bubble, like the one John Palfrey talks about in Born Digital.
Three Different Models: one of them makes less sense than the others in a hyper-connected world.
https://preview.redd.it/qzumjju4zo511.png?width=595&format=png&auto=webp&s=735aa43e3e2cd2cfc4a1514d59bc9fa1a97513ea
How safe is it to concentrate a huge portion of your company’s warehoused data in one mammoth datacenter in a single country that could change it’s laws about how you can use and store data anytime it wants?
Facebook is said to have it’s largest data center, Lulea, in Sweden. It is a good thing the Swedes are pro-blockchain, pro-crypto, or Mark Zuckerberg might have brick and mortared himself out of the Crypto-Blockchain boom that he recently announced Facebook intended to embrace and FaceOpolize. His Lawyers were probably on it way before they applied for the construction permits, but they still have the GDPR and they are still a member of the EEC. If some of the bigger EEC Countries decided that they were tired of having Facebook harvest data from its citizens like a black market doctor in an Indian” Kidneyville”, they could put some pressure on the Swedes to turn off the power. This is unlikely, but so seemed the fall of Rome before Christianity. At least the Romans would have thought the idea preposterous in 500 A.D.
However, the EEC did succeed in fining Facebook and Google an estimated $9.3 billion the day after the new GDPR Laws went into effect on May 25, 2018.
GDPR impact: Google, Facebook look at $9.3 billion in fines under new EU privacy law
https://preview.redd.it/j9nfinh2zo511.png?width=366&format=png&auto=webp&s=b1f9bff96340d0a1b6063e7fb20f7b61ba44f6df
https://www.businesstoday.in/technology/news/gdpr-impact-google-fined-facebook-fined-european-union-privacy-law/story/277807.htm
Ex-Facebook Executive and Founder Chamath Palihapitiya, says that traditional social networks are not only misusing our personal information and forcing us to take an all or nothing deal when we check "yes" in the terms box, but also using surreptitious methods to get people addicted to visiting their sites. He compares the site stats that display on your Google plugins as red numbers to slot machines and says that many of the calls to action on Facebook’s site were developed to elicit the same kind of dopamine rush a gambling addict gets when he pulls the arm of a slot machine. LinkedIn uses the same sort of alerts to keep you coming back throughout the day as well
This is a world where you generate all the interesting facts and Google and Facebook collect them, with your help, and get all the monetary benefits. This is a world where despite all the free time-saving, life-saving apps, you don’t have time for anything and you increasingly don’t have a life…not a real one. You are to busy working on the “digital you” and keeping the views-and-likes-ball in the air. Forget to post just one or two days and you will be reminded to log in and view the negative numbers and the graphs that make your popularity in the ether look like the Stock Market crashing in 2008.

Who’s Viewed You? Are you up or down in the ratings today?

https://preview.redd.it/xonpoydyyo511.png?width=637&format=png&auto=webp&s=44f0a9d15f157c1b038919935e0494ac00ca14cd
If you listen to the companies who invented the modern market for data mining and data warehousing , you will hear them say that the only dream worth catching in the new “hyper-connected” world, where over 20 billion sensors will triangulate in the ether and create volumes of metadata and new data points outside the Google/Facebook Ecosystems is Unstructured data. Hence, the only logical place to start storing personal data is in a wallet like Bitcoin with all transactions verified on the Blockchain and in the ether where the promised land lies. Visit websites like IBM (Cognos, Watson Analytics), SAS, SAP HANA, and read the language they use to describe this new kind of data that are the reason AI and Machine Learning and Big Data are the wave of the future. Read the terminology they use on the SAP HANA webpage:

Gain new insights from advanced analytical processing in SAP HANA

“Leverage our in-memory advanced analytical processing capabilities — text, predictive, spatial, event streams, and time series — to build intelligent applications that provide deeper insights at unprecedented speed. And take advantage of predictive analytics, data mining, text analysis, and more.”
-SAP HANA Website
Terms like “event streams” clearly refer to windows of time that are narrow, temporaneous, and outside of the traditional data warehouse. While Google does maintain the position of most people’s cell phones, and a lead in the handheld device market with Android, it is not like we don’t have a choice, or as if Google is the only one who can pinpoint your position for you or the third-party apps on your smartphone or tablet.
https://preview.redd.it/ef6iialtyo511.png?width=759&format=png&auto=webp&s=9fa74fd790f026dd51292361c4ee18ee7841e125
Who in their right mind would want millions of personal data records stored in a central location, that if breached, left every record up for grabs?
With all the turmoil brewing around the theft and loss, and misuse of personal data lately, whether it be SOX, GLBA, Classified Intel handling laws, or now GDPR, you would think the last place The DNC, Equifax, Hospitals, Google, Facebook, a bank, or anyone would want to purposely store data is on their servers, platforms, or any other company asset. Why not just push it to The Ether and scatter it like dust across the blockchain? Cracking the system to steal one transaction’s worth of data is economically akin to stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime. Why steal something when it is more profitable to take part in validating it?
It seems like every other day there’s another mind-boggling data breach at one of the world’s most trusted companies.
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While some institutions may have no choice but to store your data in a central depository, like a hospital or Equifax, the ones that profit the most have no reason except profit to keep your details on their servers.
In Google’s defense, they do have an app called Google Takeout ™, which allows you to download every detail that has been collected on you in the Googleverse by any and all of the 89+ apps in the Google ecosystem. It is not like they are forcing us to let them steal our data and sell it without our consent. Although the 20-page take-it-or leave-it opt ins on the apps they use to collect the data are a bit unfair, we are the ones who decided that Google and Facebook could sell it for several thousand dollars per person, per year without any compensation except some free cell phone apps.
This begs the question: what would I do with all that data if I had a copy?
Well, at 10x.market, CEO Chris McFayden and President Greg Fogarty say, “roll it up with some sort of data that is 10x more valuable than the information Google has, and then transfer its value to a token, and begin selling it over a distrubuted Smart Contracts Platform. You are now the owner of a data set at least 10x better than the next best source in the marketplace. You now possess the worlds most complete record of the digital you, and you've only just begun.
Advertisers, IOT, and Big Data service providers, as well as all the mixed reality content providers that will be augmenting the world around you with the help of some holographic contact lenses, will all need to come to you through the 10x platform to get the most complete version of the digital you to sync up with all those "event streams' and senors.”
Here is what we think you should do at 10x
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Things like smartphones, tablets and laptops and flatscreen TVs will no longer be necessary since you will be able to project them holographically into your private version of reality. Even Holographic Keyboards and input tools can be projected into empty space, which means many wireless accessories will disappear too. Maybe we will simply carry a processor with Wi-Fi in our pockets to connect us to the connected world.
So where can I get some 10x data so I have a fighting chance at beating Google at the Personal information game?
The Founders of 10x found their opening by accident. While working with a company in the patient engagement software space on a blockchain app that would give their AI driven engagement model the edge in a very competitive industry, Founders Greg Fogarty and Chris McFayden discovered that patients were willing to volunteer data from Fitbits, other wearables, and an app that asks routine questions that a doctor might ask you at a checkup. As it turns out paying patients cash to answer basic questions about lifestyle, habits, and symptoms lower health premiums.
With just the data from a Fitbit and some routine questionnaires, medicine can not only move to a preventative care model, but some might say a predictive diagnostic model where AI assumes many of the responsibilities of a primary care physician.
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In addition, once employees knew that employers and benefits providers where paying them, the Patient Engagement Platform, that appears to employees as part of their HR departments Wellness Program, saw participation rates that were in line with those of Google Search and Facebook.
Furthermore, the two founders of 10x discovered, during a due diligence exercise, that Medical data was worth 10x more on the black market than Credit Card and Banking Data. If they could just put that information in a digital wallet with the information that Google would give you back for free via Google Takeout ™, they would have the 10x everyone said you needed to compete with Google and Facebook.
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There are literally thousands of companies who sell these Patient Engagement Platforms, and Greg and Chris's client had less than 1% market share after 6 years in business. It was obvious that the play was not in upgrading one platform with Blockchain and equipping it with a token, but rather in making a free app, just like Google has done 89+ times, that gives all the Patient Engagement and Medical Records platforms the kind of advanced AI that their client incorporated to turn Wellness into Predictive Medicine.
Then individuals could start adding other valuable data points that were stranded in data warehouses to their digital data wallets. Things such as:
Now that all the data is within the control of the individual, all that is needed is a trading platform that provides a fair profit to the creator, a fair price to the owner of the Personal Information, and that gives information of any type a normalized value so that it can be stored as a token which reflects the value of the new infonomics marketplace and the sum total of the personal data transactions carried out over the 10x Platform. If the platform gained significant market share in the buyeseller infonomics ecosystem, the token market cap should increase as the volume of available personal data and buyer and seller transactions increase over time. We all know why they call Big Data by that name. It is because the amount and variety of personal data being collected and generated are getting bigger and more varied with every sensor that is added to the IOT Ecosystem. Now with more of the kind of data that the companies like SAS, IBM, and SAP would like to correlate with, “Unstructured” Real-time data, 10x is not only in the Personal Information business, in grand style, but also all the other hot spaces that will dominate the Ether for the next five to ten years: IOT, Big Data, Mixed Reality.
With Personal Data Profiles selling for between $1000 and $5,000 a year, charging for transactions and managing complex coordination of Smart Contracts executed with the 10x token offers an extremely profitable business model if you consider the lifetime value over ten years is between $10,000 and $50,000 for an individual’s static data profile and real-time location information. This means that with only 2 million customers 10x.market could cross the billion dollar magic line, that makes a run of the mill startup an official Silicon Valley “Unicorn.
submitted by 10x_Market to u/10x_Market [link] [comments]

[Table] IAMA Malware Developer. AMAA

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2012-04-12
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Link to my post
Questions Answers
Have you ever been infected with malware, if so, how did you react? What should one do to avoid getting malware? Haha yeah I have been infected a few times, it is frusterating but most antivirus softwares do the trick unless you are infected with some undetectable malware. I always check hijack this and my outgoing connections a few times a week to make sure nothing suspicious is going on. To not get malware my best advise would be to not download cracked programs through torrents or warez sites. These are popular ways to spread malware. If you want to use pirated software run a keygen through sandboxie and use the legit installer. To avoid script exploits I recommend using a script blocking plugin such as noscripts for chrome or NoScript for firefox. Many ads are becoming ways to spread malware, you have to always be on the lookout.
How long does it take you to create the things you do? How did you learn to do it? How "good" are you at what you do and how long would it take, for instance, me (with no experience in programing whatsoever) to be at your level of goodness? It takes me about 1 month to create something from scratch that is of good quality. I learned it by teaching myself and looking at sources. It depends on how dedicated and of course how smart you are, but if you are intelligent you could probably learn in a year or two.
What's your testing process like - do you write unit tests? Do you test in various VMs and configurations to make sure it works? Do you have other developers to review your work? As far as the testing process goes, I test on 32 bit and 64 bit systems from xp to windows 7 to make sure all the functions work. Most of my programs are very different to each other, sometimes I make it hide in other running programs, sometimes it just sits in the open but is difficult to remove.
What are the most common, functional requirements that you apply to any malware (for example, must not show up in task manager)? What are the most common features that attract buyers for your products? What's the most common 'entry point' for an exploit of yours? (Examples: user downloads a crack, or user leaves firewall disabled, or user clicks on a link, or user connected to unsecure wifi)? People generally buy my product for stability and long lasting undetection so that it takes a while before most people realize they are infected. There are other features that are less important because they are found in many common malware programs.
What do you tell people you do for work in order to avoid being punched in the throat if you told them the truth? I just tell them I sell crack.
Can you, like, please stop? For you, thatgamerguy, anything.
Is it true that Macs are mostly safe from stuff like this? Macs and *nix systems are mostly safe because they aren't as widely used as windows, although they have just as many security flaws.
Can you speak to the programmers in the crowd as to what methodologies and strategies you use? As a c/c++ programmer of many years myself, I'm curious how you do what you do. How did you learn? Where might others learn? This fascinates me. For making things hard to delete my current method is to inject code into every process and hook the apis to delete and end processes. This prevents it from being deleted. If someone does manage to bypass the hook the injected code will just rewrite the malware to the disk. As far as networking, all you need to know is reverse socket connections with TCP. Check opensc.ws for more info about this stuff. That is the best site to learn at right now imo.
So, most redditors are very well informed with the internet/torrents/coding/engineering/blah blah blah/kittehs. Do you think your malware has infected anyone on this site? To expand, do you think the use of your malware is essentially easily avoidable to those who understand the internet gods? Could you explain any reasoning you could think of for why others would buy then implement your malware? And last but not least: ARE YOU MAGICALLY INFECTING MY COMPUTER RIGHT NOW?? WIZARD PROGRAMMER. Well I can't say for certain but probably it has infected people on this site purely because its so big. My job isn't to make it easy to infect people, just easy to hide on the computer. So if someone has some good exploits and can make the malware undetected then it is hard to know for certain if you are infected or not.
Mystic being of untold dark force, how might we convince you to use your powers for good? After I graduate I plan on work for a computer security company. As a college student I can't do much now.
Would you tell the security company that you used to develop malware? Lol nope.
How much money do the people make that buy your software? What prevents people from uploading your software to torrent sites or reselling it? My software generally has anti-crack protection on it so I can license it to a specific computer. People that use my software make varying amounts depending on what they use it for. I talked to someone that uses it to mine bitcoins with 50-100k bots, he makes about 20k a month.
Why do people pay so much to mess up other people's computers? I really don't know much about malware other then that it is bad... Did you get put on an FBI watch list or did they follow you around in a dark van? The people that buy my software make much more money from using it than I do selling it.
If your programs are supposed to work as part of a bigger whole, is there some sort of standard architecture your program specifically works under? Are the methods and ways of calling those methods meet some hacker standard, or do you publish an API with your script and just assume whoever uses your stuff is tech savvy enough to figure out everything they need to know? Could they easily read your code to see what you're doing or do you only send a binary/executable? Have you been surprised by any aspects of the industry you're taking part in? Does one segment seem a lot larger than you anticipated or did you come across a particular hacking technique you thought was rather interesting/inventive? I'm thinking on the level of channeling all the fractional pennies lost on rapid transactions to a bank account as being an interesting tactic... Do you individually sell/commission your programs or is there an equivalent to Amazon for such code? Where do you go to read news? I am sort of confused on this question. I am always surprised when people release good sophisticated malware which uses new methods to hide itself from the computer user. I never expected there would be such a huge supply of script kiddies who will buy software and barely know how to use it, only to hit someone offline on xbox live or something. I generally have someone else do the selling and finishing touches on my programs. I split some money with him.
Thanks for doing this AMA. Fuck all of the judgmental redditors. People don't offer to do IAMA's so that they can get bitched at by people on the internet. IAMA's are intended to give you an insight to a lifestyle that is not your own, so don't judge him for his choices. What OS do you do most of your programming on? When you're not programming, what OS do you use. What form of currency do you typically accept? Bitcoin? Do you use any recreational drugs? If so, do you obtain any of your drugs online? I use windows 7 64-bit to program on, and also use it for just regular usage. I accept bitcoins, Liberty Reserve, and Webmoney. I have done a lot of drugs but mainly I smoke bud, drop acid and do painkillers. I assume you are asking because of sites like silkroad? I have ordered off silkroad once but I get the same quality bud from my dealer so i didn't go back.
I have used the Silkroad, but I'm a member of a couple of private forums that give me access to much better stuff for cheaper. Do you use PGP encryption when communicating with your customers? My business partner actually is the one who dealers with the customers, but he does use it.
Got it. As long as you get paid, you could give a shit about the problems you cause for people. So, have you been a sociopath all your life or is this more recent? Well really I am not directly causing a problem to anyone because I don't use my own software. If I wasn't doing it someone else would just step in. Besides my programs don't steal credit card information and the like so the only real damage would be adware and posible dos attacks originating from your computer.
So you sort of make the bomb and let other people detonate it? So then its not your fault? Not trying to be accusatory, just wondering. Yeah and by that logic the people that sell others guns are just as involved as the people that use guns to kill people. I know what I am doing is technically morally wrong, and I will stop within a few months once I can find a job again.
Ever considered joining the good side? Getting a job at a anitivirus firm and using your knowledge about making malware to create software to prevent it? I would imagine that a knowledge like yours would be very useful for a antivirus software firm :) I plan on getting into computer security. As a college student coding malware is really one of the only ways I can make good money programming.
How "good" is your work? Will an anti-virus like achieve stop you? How wide spread is it. No, most of my programs are completely undetected until I stop making updates to it.
I'd ask for proof, but then I think that'd be a really silly thing to do. Have you written malware that functions on Linux? Besides the not stealing credit card information, what are your other ethical lines? I don't actually use my own software so I guess if that counts as an ethical line... I don't write malware for anything besides windows as its the most used operating system. If more people used mac and linux there would be as many viruses for those as there are for windows.
Have you ever been infected with your own malware? Yeah when I was testing without a VM (stupidly). Luckily I know how to remove programs I write myself...
, thank you for doing this AMA. Secondly, for most us out there who have loaded out with AV software and things like NoScript and Adblocker and such tell me, what behaviors or kinds of outgoing connections should we look for on our routers or scanners that might indicate infection? Its better to look at the process thats sending the outgoing connection, if its located in something like application data and has a startup entry, its probably malware.
Could you give me some examples on how to check this? I am always trying to expand my knowledge of these matters. Well the best way I know how to do it is with code, if you are interested in that I could send it to you. Otherwise use wireshark and process explorer or something.
Is the Free Anti-Virus/Spywear called AVG actually any good? Or do Malware programmers know that ALOT of people all over the world have it so create the malware so AVG etc will not discover it? Cheers. Most people create malware to make it undetected. Unless something is in the wild for a while most AVs will not detect it if its professionally coded.
As far as providing, I'm not necessarily sure how the law would work there. I can say with decent certainty that you're breaking tax laws though, I strongly doubt you're claiming your sales as income. That being said, I don't think you're scum. I was in the same place as you when I was a kid, and I did it solely because I wanted to say I could. It was less about causing harm and more about trying to learn. It just so happens that things like malware, especially that which allows remote intrusion, is very interesting. I was also heavily involved in the piracy scene, and major busts in 2001-2002 caused me to back out of it entirely. You mention the FBI, any reason why that didn't "scare you straight" so to speak? They only wanted information on an aquantince, I didn't give anything out and lawyered up. It did scare me long enough to stop for a year and pick a new nickname online to go by and also buy some vpns to gain some extra anonymity online. I don't think people that don't understand technology much truly get why it would be interesting to do stuff like this. Learning how to do it is a huge part, selling it is only secondary.
Do dark side developers these days ever just fuck around and make malware that wipes hard drives and stuff for fun? Not since the early 90's have I come across a story of anyone's hard drive getting wiped due to a virus etc. Most people are just focused on the money now. Also the new windows operatings systems have much better security so you can't easily get the rights to wipe a drive anyway.
I've made a virus in college when we were studying the Network Security topic. The professor of course didn't want to try it but asked me to explain exactly what I did. Anyway, one of the girls in my class asked for the code to duplicate it, modify it a little and claim she did the homework as well. So I gave her the source code as a help and when she "Run" it in on her machine it ruined many applications. Question to OP, do you have any similar stories like this? TL;DR: my college friend was screwed by my virus, OP do you have similar stories? Haha when I first started writing code in windows xp i fucked up my friends computer enough to force him to reformat.
How long does the process of scripting, and then finding people to sell to take? I would imagine this kind of thing takes many hours if not days, and what kind of skills do you need to have to be a malware developer such as yourself? I answered this before, but usually about a month for something of high quality. Depends on how much time I spend on it though. To develop malware you need to be an experienced coder, with knowlege of windows apis, memory manipulation, and networking.
Do you write polymorphic code ? I do not write polymorphic code because it would take much longer to develop.
What other hiding techniques do you know/apply other then encryption ? By hiding what do you mean? Injecting into memory is a popular way to hide running applications.
How many lines of code is a typical malware program from you? 5000-10000.
Is the malware all selfcontained or do you use 3rd party libraries? I don't use 3rd party libraries to cut down on exe size.
What's your largest botnet? How many bots? Which software would you use for monitoring incoming/outgoing port data? What languages do you code in? Which do you recommend learning for the future? No problem. I haven't run a botnet in over 3 years, but i had one of 10k at a time. There are many good vpns, nvpn, vip72 etc, just find one that doesn't log. Use wireshark or commview to monitor connections and processes. The use process explorer to look at the suspicious process. I code in C/C++ now, I started with Delphi but you could start with Java or anything really.
Do you feel a slight guilt from making your money via questionable sources? And how have you not been tracked down? Sort of I guess, i do feel a little bad that people use my software to infect other peoples computers, but it is not directly meant to harm the computer and steal information. I haven't been tracked down because I do my best to remain anonymous online through either a vpn or proxy.
You're being asked to zombify Linux desktops. What is your point of entry and how do you make it stick around? I am not expert on Linux, but the best way I suppose would be via an exploit. Once you have root control you could install a rootkit.
Hello there, nice AMA ! :-) 1. You said how much money you get per program already, but is that price fixed, or depends from the abilities of the program each time ? 2. Do you get follow-up money for the updates, or when you sell the product you don't touch it again ? 3. What do you consider as your ? Is there anything you have done and leaves you with a big-fat smile on your face every time you are thinking of it, and say "damn, I'm awesome." ? Well it depends on the abilities of the program and how much time I put into it. I do make some money from updates but usually most of the money is made within the first month. My best work was a P2P Bot which I modeled after khamedlia p2p protocol. I never sold this but I was pretty happy I figured out how to do it.
Can you talk about yourself in the real life? Do you meet the image of a computer hackemalware developer(like a neckbeard), or are you socially adept and have friends? How do you handle transactions? Like, how do you not get scammed by people buying malware? I am not socially akward, I have somewhat of a social life and have a good amount of friends. I work with a friend who handles all the transactions and also does some programming work, I get paid through him. The software can be disabled when people scam.
How do disable it.Does the binary listen to for constant external connection so if people scam you,disable it and please PM me the links. It checks through a database to see if its a verified user or not. What do you want me to PM you?
Any reason why not Bitcoins? Not really, its just a preference thing.
You make about 30K USD per program? And it takes you about a month to write a program? How many buyers do you get per program? Is this like 1K licensing fee for each of 30 customers, or more like $100 for each of 300 customers? Its more like $100 each for 300 customers.
If I sit down to a computer that is likely infected (ie run by a noob who downloads everything and has six toolbars on IE) should I assume that it is unsafe to type any passwords, etc on it? I wouldn't recommend using an infected computer at all, there is no way of knowing what type(s) of malware is installed on that system.
I bet those paid virus protection guys(like norton etc) knock on ur door to make a malware thingy, and the give them the "cure" so they can be the fastest with an update against it?! This doesn't happen as far as I know.
Do you feel any guilt that you do something that adds no value to society? I mean, a crack dealer at least provides a service to people... They get high. How is getting a high a value to soceity?
THAT EXPLAINS EVERYTHING. LET ME GUESS YOU EAT BABIES TOO? Only toasted ones.
Are you independent -- not employed by or affiliated with some larger organization? Aren't you more afraid of your customers and competitors than of law enforcement? Do you use anonymity tech such as Tor or VPN to protect yourself from all of the above? Yes, I use a vpn constantly.
When you sell malware, are you selling the source code, or just the tools to deploy/control it? Just the compiled binaries.
So basically you make malware so companies make and sell softwares to protect against new ones and is a never ending but profitable cycle? Pretty much, not that it justifies using malware but it is true that anti-virus companies probably profit more than I do.
How do you sleep at night? With a temper pedic
"Don't bother calling me a scumbag because I geniunely don't care." There you have it, why the world is a mess. I didn't make a thead so people could call me morally corrupt. When I say I don't care, I meant that I don't care if you call me a scumbag or not. I do feel bad for the people that get infected with my malware, but it really does not cause that much harm to the computer. It is up to the person who installs it whether he steals information or damages the computer or not.
I'll tell you point 1: Delphi, because every lamescriptkiddieforums have tutorials on writing uberundetectablesupertrojan. In delphi, of course. Actually thats right, I started with Delphi because it was easy to learn with, but moved to C/C++ later.
Bots are the easiest to code, but it takes time depending on the amount of features and undetectability.
Reverse connection is just an easy way to control bots, bots connect back to a master client which can issue commands. I don't program bots like this anymore, but many people still buy this kind of stuff.
I get paid via wmz and LR which I can then transfer to my own bank account if I want.
I use chrome and my desktop wallpaper is just a bunch of rainbow colored smoke lol.
Reddit has this fail safe the if you type in your social security number it only displays asterisks. It does the same for email. Watch: ***-**-****, ******@**********.com. Heres my cell phone number: 202-456-1414.
I got into it from the cheating scene in video games. I just thought this sort of stuff was very interesting, it took me a while before I started selling it, I used to give it all out for free. I will PM you a few sites I don't want to post here. People asking for a site, try opensc.ws.
Last updated: 2012-04-13 02:31 UTC | Next update: 2012-04-13 03:31 UTC
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