Development Interlude, Surprise(d) Edition

Posted by Alex Jordan on

In trying to make Around The Worlds stand out to potential buyers, I loaded it up with ancillary features, like unlockable wallpaper images, a Screen Saver, and a Leaderboard. Well, we can probably nix the Leaderboard, as today I was surprised by the unwelcome news that Xbox Live Indie Games can't actually have Leaderboards. Huh. I thought they could. Whoops!

I guess it makes a twisted degree of sense. XBLIG is a broad market... lots of developers submitting and selling lots of games. When XBLIG developers pay rent in the form of a $100 annual fee, Microsoft already gives those developers access to some pretty sweet systems, like the Xbox Live networking infrastructure and the Xbox Live Marketplace where they sell the games. However, Microsoft has been far less accomodating on expanding indie games' footprints beyond that. For instance, indie games don't have Achievements, as Microsoft keeps a strong rein on what Achievements games can provide how many points they can give away. I imagine that a flood of simplistic indie games, each with their own Achievements, would be nightmarish for Microsoft.

And it turns out that allowing indie games to use Xbox Live for permanent Leaderboards falls in the same "nuh uh" category. As it stands, there is a workaround: using Xbox Live to share high score information with other players that are currently on Xbox Live at the same time. It uses the same principle as multiplayer games sharing information over the network, which obviously means that the score-sharing isn't permanent; it lasts only as long as the play session does.

The gentleman over at Enchanted Age documents this workaround here. I'm going to study it and see if it's worth the effort.