Monday, May 5, 2014

Project Zero 2 Scam - A Review

Please don't buy Project Zero 2.

This Game Academy website has made its way into a great number of inboxes. Here's what you can expect. You will be promised to have the secrets of game design revealed to you - "you can make money with little to no effort!" You will get links to "training videos." These videos will just tell you to copy what's already in app stores so you can make gobs of money. After that, you can expect emails announcing something big. Finally, the day comes. Something big is here! It's Project Zero 2. JUST ANNOUNCED! Available to you, for the low-low price of $997 (it's half off!). You have 3 days to buy it or you'll miss your opportunity!

You might feel that tingling feeling already - that sense that something just isn't right. Why release software for a limited time? They claim it is so they don't "flood the market," but in reality, it's their way of getting people to think that this is a worthwhile deal - "ACT NOW! TIME IS RUNNING OUT!" If this actually was a limited release, it'd be a product with zero user support (which it is), but the reality is even worse than that. This "offer" is just tied to your email address. Other people already got their chance. This isn't a worldwide release. It's a scam - just for you.

What makes it a scam? Firstly, the name is as generic as possible. Googling "Project Zero" will grant you links to an adventure horror game, educational research, aircraft technology... nothing for game design software. Trey Smith, Game Academy's founder, claims that no programming skills are required. If there was software out there that decreased the workload for programmers, they'd use it. Project Zero 2 is not being used in the industry.

Secondly, they claim that Project Zero 2 is the first "drag and drop" game creation software out there. Well, that's just not true. Construct 2 and Game Maker are successful game design tools that actually work. Instead of writing code, you drag and drop "events" to design the game. They aren't as robust as other game design tools, but they don't require programming.

Thirdly, and probably most importantly, the software is terrible. If you get the link to the video, you won't see the software for quite a while. You can't skip ahead in the video - you're forced to listen to their marketing mumbo jumbo, complete with buzz words and big promises. "Look at all these guys that made thousands of dollars! They're so happy!"

To their credit, they show you the entirety of the software. So let's look at it! If you don't want to bother looking at it in its entirety, here's the short version: you get an "infinite flyer" builder. Very few options, no room for creativity (except for the art that you make yourself), but hey, it has monetization options. There are obstacles that fly at you. You fly at them and shoot them. It can be landscape or portrait. You get coins and powerups. And that's it. Just because you're going up with a race car instead of a jet plane going left doesn't mean it's a whole new game mode.

Okay, let's look in detail.

Make an app. Want ads? Landscape or portrait? That's it.

Look, you can make money! Hope you like revmob and basic in-app purchases, because you don't get any options.

The start of foreground objects. You get to make a character. He gets to move up or to the left. He gets to shoot projectiles. Hopefully you have your own art.

You get a parallax background. Just one. You can control how fast it goes by! Parallax backgrounds are a bit tricky, so this is almost cool. Almost.

Buttons! Buttons bring you to other screens. You don't get many screens. Main screen > character select > game window > monetization stuff. That's it.

You can add your own fonts.

A preview window for the game, which they swear is a big deal, even though plenty of other engines preview windows now.

An example game. Move to the left. Shoot things.

Move to the left. This one's different because you don't shoot things.

Now you're moving up.

You get an incredibly basic "app maker" if you buy now. Add some images and social media links. That's all an app needs, right?

Another game example. You get a very basic game maker that only lets you create one game type. This game type can be easily made in dozens of other game engines. Maybe it will be faster to make it with this tool; at least by a few minutes. But you'll be limited to creating bland, unoriginal content that is literally incapable of having any new game mechanics. You'll also be short nearly a grand.

Here's the link to the "expired" offer:

Stay away from this scam. It is open source, but for nearly a thousand bucks, there are better tools out there. I suggest buying a kit from the Unity Asset Store or following a tutorial for Construct 2.

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