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DicingDangers Fantasy Online RPG

All about the game DicingDangers and it's development as a web based multi player role playing game.

Author: Xkull

Planning your online RPG

Posted by Xkull Thursday May 8 2008 at 6:25AM
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For around 12 years have been creating online rpgs. Only three have ever seen the light and only one have I ever pushed enough for it to persist. If there is one thing I have learnt, it is the importance of planning.

Many people I talk to want to create an online rpg. Many have had the idea. Most start and get bogged down. Things get complicated. They get confusing and it all just becomes hard work and no fun at all. The problem is, the seemingly simple game is in fact a monster to programme and design.

When you have that bright idea and vision, write it down. Start making notes. Don’t go to the computer and start creating it! Put it down on paper first. Start to draw your maps. Consider how the game will work.

Have everything on paper first. See how it all works together as a whole on paper because finding that your combat system does not work with the magic system you want is going to take hours, days maybe even weeks to fix.

So start making notes. Here are some points to think about:

Genre – Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Social etc

Combat – How is it going to work? Will there be PvP? Is it turn based, all done in one?

Magic – Work out a system early on in your notes. Will use mana? How do characters learn the spells? Will scrolls be involved?

Quests – How will these work? For a mmorpg there is a lot of data to keep track of. How will quest data be tracked per character. Will there be automatic quests generated in game? Is there an overall campaign?

System – How are you going to create the game? Personally I have opted for a browser based system using PHP and a MySQL database. This I chose as it is a simple system to use, compatible with all browsers and very flexible. You might want something a little more slick however. Any programming language can be used such as Visual Basic or C++ but keep in mind that it needs to work with some form of database or saved file system and work online although this article relates as well to offline games.

Graphics – Where are you going to get your graphics from? There are some free sources, but you want to a have a uniform style. If you can create them yourself, then get started. It is all part of planning. Make you graphics or as much as you can before you start programming. If you are getting them made, you will be pleased you did all the planning first as you will know what images you need. I was drawing for weeks before www.dicingdangers.com

Do the Maths – Work out the mechanics using simple mathematics. For example, a level 10 fighter needs to have an equivalent level 10 monster that the players finds to be just the right challenge. Work out how much life, armour etc a character has per level on average, and create the monster for that level.

Well I hope this helps. Let me say it again. Plan it all out like a big map before switching the computer on.

www.dicingdangers.com

OneBadOmen writes:

I have been creating my first ever online RPG for the past two years. I agree with what you're saying, plan your game out before you make it. But many times I've planned something on paper only to find out it either isn't possible (There are some limitations with PHP and MySQL) or it isn't practicle to code. Other times I'll be in the middle of coding and designing something and I'll think up a sweet idea and add that onto what I was creating.

Overall it's best to have the image of your game and its details written out. Maybe also have a backup plan if your first idea doesn't pan out. But the most important piece of advice in my opinion is to be patient and persistent. Set goals and try to achieve them. Check out other games, see what people like and what people don't like and try to learn from that. Also, just because one person doesn't like something doesn't mean the next ten people won't.

Fri May 09 2008 12:25AM Report
Xkull writes:

Good point. Take a look at my current ptoject www.dicingdangers.com and you will see that it is certainly not for everyone, but then there are those who love it.

Fri May 09 2008 7:34AM Report

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