Monday, July 30, 2007

Incorporation etc.

Wow, I seem pretty full of myself in the last post. I stand by the general sentiment, though if I were to rewrite it, I would probably use fewer literary metaphors. And I think that at this time I basically have made my decision - I'm leaving as soon as the lawyer comes through with incorporation and IP release.

Speaking of lawyers, we met with Sam Mawn-Mahlau of Edwards Angells Palmer & Dodge on Monday. He's the same guy who litigated the Ars Digita custody battle for Phil Greenspun. It was basically a massive infodump that left my head hurting for hours afterwards - I had tons of questions, and he brought up tons of issues we hadn't even thought of. For anyone thinking of starting a company, I'd recommend meeting with a good lawyer (with experience in the particular area of business you're in) as soon as you're sure it's something you really want to do. It can be really expensive (we're expecting a bill of about $4K for this incorporation and releases) but it's generally more expensive not to take care of it.

I've been prototyping the game-creation engine this whole time. As I think I've mentioned in previous posts, we have the conversion-to-flash stuff all prototyped-out by Mike, and I got it to build on Linux. We also have a pretty decent translation to JavaScript, so you can pretty much play it using DHTML only. The next step is to get the actual customization going, which has presented some pretty thorny interaction-design issues. We want it to update the game behavior & appearance in real-time, which a.) means lots of observers and b.) means we need to specify and customize a lot of properties that don't have obvious visual representations. Without getting into scripting languages, how do you specify "When the user presses space, create a new PlayerBullet at the location of Player", for example, or let them add different bullet types?

Now I'm looking at the YUI widget set and trying to do a few prototypes with it. I want to avoid having to write all my own widgets from scratch, as there are a lot of little gotchas with JavaScript that can cause little bugs.

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