The Bojo Group, Montr?al?s newest independent casual games publisher has announced a delay in launching its new casual computer game and on-line casino simulation program ? The Bojo Game ? Home Edition – to upgrade its Artificial Intelligence after a professional games web site reviewer in Florida detected the AI weakness in the game late in August.
According to representative Ted Beaudoin, the group had planned to start download sales of its game on August 25 from its re-built web site ? www.bojogame.com which went on-line this month.
Beaudoin said that, ?we decided to pull back at the last minute to fix this AI weakness, and extend final testing of the patch for a short while longer. We want to offer players some serious fun, not a weak program, and we wanted to offer them an almost-real multi-player casino-like game environment, one that reflects what would probably happen in real life. A simulation program is only as good as the reality it simulates. Now our game is as close to reality as any sim program can get.?
?We think it sizzles. And as games reviewers have noted, the game is easy to learn and much more fun to play.?
For a little while longer, Beaudoin said the group continues to offer the game on a trial basis directly from the newly rebuilt web site.
He credits James Allen, games reviewer / blogger at Out of 8 PC Games Review for detecting the weakness at the last minute, and for being ?kind enough to advise us of this weakness before we put the product on sale.? (His original and updated review of the game can be found at http://jaguarusf.blogspot.com/2007/08/bojo-game-home-edition-review.html .
The product is a casual computer card game that simulates, while in play, a massive on-line Internet casino game in progress with between 200 and 99,999 other virtual players. No real money is involved and no real betting takes place. Players make simulated bets on which card from a 54-card deck will be turned up as the winning card. There are four betting windows in each game, and each game consists of 5 rounds of play. They play for points, expressed as Bojo Bucks in the game, with the conventional USD sign attached to the points.
Players can bet on a 5-card draw poker hand having been drawn by the end of a 5-round game. And they can also bet on a card?s color, suit and face value as well during the game. They can make these four bets ? or pass on any one of them ? five times during one full game ? for a total of 20 betting opportunities per game.
??As far as we can tell, from all the research we?ve done in the last two years while our game was being developed, no other card game, real or otherwise, offers players that many betting opportunities per game,? noted Beaudoin.
??As our very brief mission statement on our web site says, We believe in simplicity. Fair play. And serious fun. Now we know that the fun matches the probable reality, safely, without risking one red cent, of a player?s money by bringing the virtual casino into the home.
Beaudoin said that, without the support of business support groups such as Games Press, the International Game Developers Association and game review web sites throughout the world, a small independent casual games producer like the Bojo group, working on a low-budget marketing and promotion campaign, doesn?t have a snowball?s chance on a hot day of getting its product to the market place.
?Small games producers like us just cannot afford the market testing of their new games by tens of thousands of testers as the majors can afford to do, and often must do, with the ultra-high dollar costs of their heavy-duty games,? Beaudoin added.
He noted that the Bojo group?s first news release Friday, August 17, had been read by more than 900 visitors, and had been translated into at least four languages ? Norweigian, Spanish, Russian and Rumanian in 20 countries on four continents.
That kind of global spread of a small company?s news release resulted in at least three favourable headlines and reviews for the game:
> LucidLAN in Malta whose Gatemaster, Noel Pulis, wrote, at http://www.lucidlan.com/article.php?id=570 The Bojo Game revolutionized casual gaming with this concept… (Quoted with permission)
> Casual Gamer Chick whose editors at – http://casualgamerchick.com/?s=The+Bojo+Gamewrote that the group?s game can ? bring the Casino home…(copied from web site)
And… what appeared at first glance to be a less-than-favourable review from blogger Allen, turned out to be the most important one of them all, proving once again, said Beaudoin in paraphrasing a quote about the entertainment industry, that there is no such thing as a bad review.
Beaudoin said that the Bojo group acted almost immediately on receiving Allen?s review of version 1.2, and had the patch in place and working well within days. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, he stressed, so the group sent the patched version, v1.5, asking Allen if he?d consider doing a re-review.
?Often in this business, we?ve learned that you only get one chance, and that?s it. We were fortunate in that we received a second chance.?
It worked. The updated review is quoted below, with permission:
… Note: Version 1.5 of the game fixes the AI issues I discuss in this review. This patch was released after I posted this review but before retail release, so potential buyers won’t experience the issues with the AI I mention below. While I didn’t feel like re-writing an entire review (cutting out the rant about the AI would have made it extremely short), you can go ahead and bump up the overall score to a 6/8?.
Before posting his amended review, Allen sent a personal e-mail to Beaudoin:… 1.5 is a whole lot better! The AI behaves as it should and the blanking out of impossible hands is great. The improved AI makes the game much more fun to play. You can tell them they did a great job ;)?
Beaudoin clarified that the them to which Allen refers above is the Bojo group?s programming team at BBM Multimedia Inc.
Beaudoin said that while the group re-checks and re-confirms the seamlessness of the AI patch, it is concurrently finalising arrangements with a secure international payment system, doing final tests on hardware links and software protocols and continues to send the trial version to players and to casual game reviewers as well as to games providers who might be interested in becoming affiliates in selling the game as a download from their websites.
The revised public release date of the game will be announced shortly.