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  User Deleted
7/31/11 11:12:44 AM#21

It always amuses me when people who are not in the business of making games automatically assume that people who went to college, got degrees, and now work for game studios are stupid,  uneducated, or unwilling to make cool stuff just to displease their customers. Do you honestly believe that mmo devs wouldn't -love- to be able to put huge, detailed cities in their games? As a previous poster said, it's always engine-related. Devs know they can't build an in-game 15 square mile city full of homes and skyscrapers and landmarks and then fill it with 10000 players at the same time. It just won't run. Not until we have mega-servers, everyone is on fiber, and everyone has the equivalent of a home supercomputer will we get cities of that magnitude. Or they would have to make it sectional, and have loading screens between "city blocks", as it were.

Don't misunderstand me. I have often said to myself and others that cities could be more realistic. I have asked "where do the orcs sleep in Org?" more than once. But I recognize that game design is about budgets. Monetary, polygonal, effects, and so on.

  EricDanie

Tipster

Joined: 2/10/05
Posts: 2244

7/31/11 11:21:57 AM#22

Yeah, cities are something that designers usually don't get right and instead just create major social and NPC hubs instead of cities. Cities shouldn't have useful NPCs only and neither should they remain the same exact thing for two or more years, not to mention being extremely small for a capital (teleportation statue such as in Aion would be an easy method so size doesn't become an incovenience). it would be great if there was some feeling of change and growth/decline. Say, some people moving in, a new building, a fire, a plague, etc.

  MMOExposed

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/17/10
Posts: 5975

7/31/11 11:53:47 AM#23
Problem is servers can't hold that amount of people to make cities populated like what we seek from a real life city.

In Wow, the world is not to scale with lore. But damn if it was, ,,, that would be awesome

  Moodah

Novice Member

Joined: 6/12/08
Posts: 181

 
OP  8/01/11 11:07:02 AM#24
Originally posted by DW74

It always amuses me when people who are not in the business of making games automatically assume that people who went to college, got degrees, and now work for game studios are stupid,  uneducated, or unwilling to make cool stuff just to displease their customers. Do you honestly believe that mmo devs wouldn't -love- to be able to put huge, detailed cities in their games? As a previous poster said, it's always engine-related. Devs know they can't build an in-game 15 square mile city full of homes and skyscrapers and landmarks and then fill it with 10000 players at the same time. It just won't run. Not until we have mega-servers, everyone is on fiber, and everyone has the equivalent of a home supercomputer will we get cities of that magnitude. Or they would have to make it sectional, and have loading screens between "city blocks", as it were.

Don't misunderstand me. I have often said to myself and others that cities could be more realistic. I have asked "where do the orcs sleep in Org?" more than once. But I recognize that game design is about budgets. Monetary, polygonal, effects, and so on.

Far from that ..  although size of the cities is not what I was taliking about as proportions for example. Putting right things into right places.

I do think that they do it in part on purpose, because when designing a city, what they are really doing is designing a hub. Making sense in the urbanistic and historical kind of a way takes a back seat to accesibility, quests, going in and out etc. It would be nice to see a compromise of those two approaches.

And in a way I do think that people are in a business of making games do not and in the end - can not even, know about everything in such detail that they are able to mimic an architect, historian or an engineer. That is the reason you see games and movies hiring military advisors for example, to help them make the way soldiers move and hold guns the right way. I do not doubt their inteligence or education.  I would like to see the financial priorities re-shuffled a little bit so that sometimes in the future we really get to see urban enviroments done better.

I remember watching the documentary from making of LOTRO, where John Howe, tried to teach the other designers how the medieval armor actually worked and how separate plates interacted with each other etc, so that the armor would look right, because thus far they haven't been doing it right.

In turn, when the looks of felbeasts was being discussed, one of the artists who's speciality was biology, suggested that the wings would never work the way John Howe initially designed them. Two artists, single art, different disciplines. Doesn't mean one of them is less educated or intelligent, just that they can not know everything.

Take the main Deviant city in the first area in Rift. It's a slightly oversized appartment complex, not a capital. At least for AOC for example tried to give you an illusion, by making the other side of the river in Khemi, so it looked a little bigger.

  Loke666

Elite Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 16606

8/01/11 2:13:57 PM#25
Originally posted by DW74

It always amuses me when people who are not in the business of making games automatically assume that people who went to college, got degrees, and now work for game studios are stupid,  uneducated, or unwilling to make cool stuff just to displease their customers. Do you honestly believe that mmo devs wouldn't -love- to be able to put huge, detailed cities in their games? As a previous poster said, it's always engine-related. Devs know they can't build an in-game 15 square mile city full of homes and skyscrapers and landmarks and then fill it with 10000 players at the same time. It just won't run. Not until we have mega-servers, everyone is on fiber, and everyone has the equivalent of a home supercomputer will we get cities of that magnitude. Or they would have to make it sectional, and have loading screens between "city blocks", as it were.

Don't misunderstand me. I have often said to myself and others that cities could be more realistic. I have asked "where do the orcs sleep in Org?" more than once. But I recognize that game design is about budgets. Monetary, polygonal, effects, and so on.

Some people who makes game are both well educated and have good historical knowledge.

And cities don't have to be huge n MMOs, but most MMO cities doesn't feel like real cities or even like a real village. I rather have a small city that seems like a ral one than a huge city that just feels fake.

AoCs Tortage is one of the best I seen on account of feeling real. It is at least partly planned like a real city.

I wish that MMO devs actually visited a few old cities and figured out what made them tick or just stole the city planning right off, it would add some realism to the game.

Most old cities weren't that big anyways so it is not that hard to put them in with a regular MMOs resources. Games don't have to have 6 cities the size of ancient Rome to work. Think small is not the same as to make something with no sense whatsoever.

I spent a few weeks in Wisby, a real town that is in great shape and very close to how it looked in the 14th century, and it would be pretty easy to add it in most games If that is too much, skip the city and have a few smaller villages instead. 

If a game looks more realistic it feels more alive.

  azmundai

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/18/10
Posts: 1424

8/01/11 2:16:42 PM#26

goto Leth Nereau (cant remember how to spell it anymore) in Vanguard. Really cool city .. though parts of it suffer somewhat from what you are saying, overall its a nice place to be.

LFD tools are great for cramming people into content, but quality > quantity.
I am, usually on the sandbox .. more "hardcore" side of things, but I also do just want to have fun. So lighten up already :)

  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

8/01/11 2:30:30 PM#27
Originally posted by Moodah
Stormwind, Ascalon, Old Athens, Bree, you name it - they are all designed arround accessibility, but look like just a bunch of house models thrown in one place to give the player the access to everything a hub has to offer. They however show no sign of urban planning or design.

Perhaps because a real city built to scale with those house models would occupy most or all of the continent?

But yes, I agree, all MMO cities are designed by archtects who are essentially insane.  You should see the 90-foot cliff walls in CoH (game design purpose to break up superspeed enough to keep it from being the dominant, and only, travel power--architectural design purpose, there is none.)

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  azmundai

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/18/10
Posts: 1424

8/01/11 2:40:14 PM#28


Originally posted by Icewhite


Originally posted by Moodah

Stormwind, Ascalon, Old Athens, Bree, you name it - they are all designed arround accessibility, but look like just a bunch of house models thrown in one place to give the player the access to everything a hub has to offer. They however show no sign of urban planning or design.



Perhaps because a real city built to scale with those house models would occupy most or all of the continent?
But yes, I agree, all MMO cities are designed by archtects who are essentially insane.  You should see the 90-foot cliff walls in CoH (game design purpose to break up superspeed enough to keep it from being the dominant, and only, travel power--architectural design purpose, there is none.)


Yea, a big part of it probably has to do with scale. While there is a decent amount of walking in some games .. it doesn't take as long to walk clear across most in-game cities as it does to walk a single city block. Who would want to have to walk 45 mins to get to the other side of town in a game? Even cities with mass transit .. it takes a lot longer than any designer dare implement to get around.

Vanguards cities again are probably some of the larger ones i've played. Even they aren't TOO big .. least not by my standards.

Interestingly .. think of the white city in the LOTR movies. How often they cut scene when someone is riding through it on their way to the throne room. Same basic principle in a way. No one wants to sit there and watch him actually ride a horse for a mile and a half.

LFD tools are great for cramming people into content, but quality > quantity.
I am, usually on the sandbox .. more "hardcore" side of things, but I also do just want to have fun. So lighten up already :)

  SuperXero89

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/16/09
Posts: 2609

8/01/11 2:53:34 PM#29
Originally posted by azmundai

 


Originally posted by Icewhite


Originally posted by Moodah

 

Stormwind, Ascalon, Old Athens, Bree, you name it - they are all designed arround accessibility, but look like just a bunch of house models thrown in one place to give the player the access to everything a hub has to offer. They however show no sign of urban planning or design.



Perhaps because a real city built to scale with those house models would occupy most or all of the continent?
But yes, I agree, all MMO cities are designed by archtects who are essentially insane.  You should see the 90-foot cliff walls in CoH (game design purpose to break up superspeed enough to keep it from being the dominant, and only, travel power--architectural design purpose, there is none.)



Yea, a big part of it probably has to do with scale. While there is a decent amount of walking in some games .. it doesn't take as long to walk clear across most in-game cities as it does to walk a single city block. Who would want to have to walk 45 mins to get to the other side of town in a game? Even cities with mass transit .. it takes a lot longer than any designer dare implement to get around.

 

Vanguards cities again are probably some of the larger ones i've played. Even they aren't TOO big .. least not by my standards.

Interestingly .. think of the white city in the LOTR movies. How often they cut scene when someone is riding through it on their way to the throne room. Same basic principle in a way. No one wants to sit there and watch him actually ride a horse for a mile and a half.

The problem with Vanguard cities is that while they are big, they're also filled with a whole lot of nothing, which is why you see most players congregating in Veskal's Exchange rather than New Targonor.

On the other side of the coin, the faction capitals and Rift and EQ2's "city" of New Halas don't look anything at all like cities but rather large flat landscapes with NPCs standing inside random huts scattered about town.  In the case of Rift, both Meridian and Sanctum even have nearly the exact same layout which really hurts the feeling that you're living in a world rather than playing a video game when the city hubs almost feel like palette swaps.  Of course because it is a video game, certain concessions have to be made.  Really Stormwind, Bree, and EQ2's Freeport/Qeynos are about as close to a legitimate city as you can get in an MMO.

  DJJazzy

Novice Member

Joined: 5/18/11
Posts: 2074

8/01/11 3:13:59 PM#30

Yeah I think scale is a big issue in a MMORPG. I mean the best games I've seen at portraying a proper city was the Assassins Creed series. But the game was almost entirely in those cities (Brotherhood's setting is just Rome itself). It just wouldn't work to have that kind of city scope in an MMORPG.

What I would like to see is for mmorpg designers to make their cities more alive, more believable in the npcs actions rather than making a sizeable city. Something like in the Witcher 2 where the npcs would be doing their day to day chores, at night they would retreat into their houses. In AoC you have crowds of people walking in the cities and reacting to your movements if you push them or whatever.

I'd say the best city I've seen in an mmorpg is Tarantia in Age of Conan.

  waynejr2

Elite Member

Joined: 4/12/11
Posts: 3732

RIP City of Heroes!

8/01/11 3:55:35 PM#31
Originally posted by DW74

It always amuses me when people who are not in the business of making games automatically assume that people who went to college, got degrees, and now work for game studios are stupid,  uneducated, or unwilling to make cool stuff just to displease their customers. Do you honestly believe that mmo devs wouldn't -love- to be able to put huge, detailed cities in their games? As a previous poster said, it's always engine-related. Devs know they can't build an in-game 15 square mile city full of homes and skyscrapers and landmarks and then fill it with 10000 players at the same time. It just won't run. Not until we have mega-servers, everyone is on fiber, and everyone has the equivalent of a home supercomputer will we get cities of that magnitude. Or they would have to make it sectional, and have loading screens between "city blocks", as it were.

Don't misunderstand me. I have often said to myself and others that cities could be more realistic. I have asked "where do the orcs sleep in Org?" more than once. But I recognize that game design is about budgets. Monetary, polygonal, effects, and so on.

 I think many of them think these guys sit at their computers and are free to do anything they want rather than get handed a list of tasks from above.  Sure some get design tasks, but often they are following the lead designer's vision.

  cylon8

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/10/07
Posts: 300

8/01/11 4:05:43 PM#32

it's an mmo you don't want to feel squeezed into a city, you want a large epic feel with easy yo navigate pathways...at least that what i assume the devs believe. that and citys really should be zoned like in real life, play housing over businesses, entertainment districts.....what thet really need is a new sims online :()

so say we all

  ladyattis

Novice Member

Joined: 10/22/04
Posts: 1261

Wicked Witch of Single Player Games!

8/01/11 4:13:56 PM#33


Originally posted by DW74
It always amuses me when people who are not in the business of making games automatically assume that people who went to college, got degrees, and now work for game studios are stupid,  uneducated, or unwilling to make cool stuff just to displease their customers. Do you honestly believe that mmo devs wouldn't -love- to be able to put huge, detailed cities in their games? As a previous poster said, it's always engine-related. Devs know they can't build an in-game 15 square mile city full of homes and skyscrapers and landmarks and then fill it with 10000 players at the same time. It just won't run. Not until we have mega-servers, everyone is on fiber, and everyone has the equivalent of a home supercomputer will we get cities of that magnitude. Or they would have to make it sectional, and have loading screens between "city blocks", as it were.
Don't misunderstand me. I have often said to myself and others that cities could be more realistic. I have asked "where do the orcs sleep in Org?" more than once. But I recognize that game design is about budgets. Monetary, polygonal, effects, and so on.

As someone with a CS degree, I can say it's bunk to state it's an engine issue. Want proof? Look up a game called Infinity: Quest for Earth. They have a working galaxy generator, seamless star systems, and an abridged Newtonian physics simulator already working. The server technology is a minor issue compared to those three features. Another company, Introversion Games, is working on a game called Subversion which has procedurally generated cities and buildings (layouts included). So, no, there's no rhyme or reason why developers don't have realistic game worlds other than they hired lazy ass level designers. If you don't believe me, look at every modern FPS title, even the Battlefield franchise. They have the flattest, most boring maps in existence. Why? Because level designers are LAZY, period and end of story.

  corwinepic

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/30/11
Posts: 8

8/01/11 5:43:10 PM#34



Originally posted by corwinepic
 
I'm shocked that the capital city's in Warhammer haven't been brought up. If you want examples of city's done right. That's where you should put a spot light.
They covered every element that's been discussed in this thread. They where living city's built with in the medieval fantasy concept. Random walking NPCs talking to them selves. Events (public quests) interrupting the normal flow of city life. It was to bad that the concept of the city prospering and expanding different areas was abandoned out of hand. But I think that had to do with the fact that the player base hated when the city was destroyed and they no longer had access to the outer city limits (and dungeon content)
/edit I found a youtube video showcassing my point. The city tour does wander into some building interiors here and there but over all it's a good show case for my claim.


 

I would like to reiterate and continue to throw my point into the discussion. All so to point out we are talking about where MMO's have missed the mark or onto my point where they got it right. The day's of me being a Fan Boy of WAR are long past. But I would like to direct credit where it's due. Only in as much as I think most of the posters in this thread have over looked the apex of what a truly epic MMO city is.

"While virtually every MMORPG has cities, Warhammer seems to take city building to an extreme making large (very large) cities and filling them with content." - Jon Wood pens

"Make no mistake: Altdorf may be the most impressive NPC city in an MMO to date. Performing bards, dungeons, drunks, bar fights, etc ... the sheer variety of background life and 'stuff to do' puts it heads and shoulders above even World of Warcraft's expertly crafted capitals. " - Michael Zenke

"It is important to note that these cities' size and magnitude overshadow any city previously seen in any MMO to date. Their scenery and design is complex, creative, and inspires curiosity and exploration (indeed, cities are large enough to explore). Simply in size, the two capital cities are as large or larger as all three of the racial cities offered in the World of Warcraft combined. They also offer numerous secrets and hidden wonders, as well as myriad quests, instances, and tasks to accomplish." - Unknown. http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/239/feature/1863/Capital-Cities.html

I mean you can ignore me as a crack pot fanboy if you like. But the article at Massively puts it much better then I have.
citiesMassively goes to WAR: Exploring Warhammer's capital cities

  xxpigxx

Novice Member

Joined: 10/02/06
Posts: 412

8/02/11 12:52:25 AM#35
 
 Originally posted by azmundai

 

 . . .

 

Who would want to have to walk 45 mins to get to the other side of town in a game? Even cities with mass transit .. it takes a lot longer than any designer dare implement to get around. . . 
I would like that.  But then again, I want a game that akes you weeks or months to cross the whole continent.  I want a world.
  waynejr2

Elite Member

Joined: 4/12/11
Posts: 3732

RIP City of Heroes!

8/02/11 5:03:01 PM#36
Originally posted by DJJazzy

Yeah I think scale is a big issue in a MMORPG. I mean the best games I've seen at portraying a proper city was the Assassins Creed series. But the game was almost entirely in those cities (Brotherhood's setting is just Rome itself). It just wouldn't work to have that kind of city scope in an MMORPG.

What I would like to see is for mmorpg designers to make their cities more alive, more believable in the npcs actions rather than making a sizeable city. Something like in the Witcher 2 where the npcs would be doing their day to day chores, at night they would retreat into their houses. In AoC you have crowds of people walking in the cities and reacting to your movements if you push them or whatever.

I'd say the best city I've seen in an mmorpg is Tarantia in Age of Conan.

 Tarantia is a good example.

I like City of Heroes or Villains.

  corwinepic

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/30/11
Posts: 8

8/06/11 11:05:22 PM#37

so to sum it up and make a point.  MMO's that make it a point to have a considerate % of their game play take place with in a urban environment.  Invest in architects to build these fantasy city's.  I mean those who get it right can more then likely point back to that very investment. 

On the other hand.  lack of interest or game play in areas can account for a cardboard city with little imagination.  So over all I would say.  There are games in the market that have invested and pulled off beautiful believable fantasy city's.   But to ask for this investment every time from every game is an impassibility. 

So be great full for a game worthy of your game time.  But if the lack of city craftsmanship can't be over looked.  Then there is no appeasement forthcoming for such a persnickety consumer.

  Gishgeron

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/05/07
Posts: 1297

8/06/11 11:26:03 PM#38

Giant Cities = Giant work.  Only makes since when the GIant work serves a purpose.  In WoW, for example, most of the gameplay takes place outside a city.  It is, therefore, an unwise use of resources to expand this area.  In AoC a very large part of that tutorial stage involved that city...and, also, this area was heavily worked on (while the rest was absolutely NOT) to ensure that the games' first impression was incredible.  It was a marketing game for AoC.  It served, and was good.  Urban games have developed cities because the city is the game.

 

You must ask yourselves, padawans, is your game a city?  Then it shall be a great city.  IF your game is a dragon, then your city shall be but a means...with the beast its end.

  MMOman101

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/05/08
Posts: 1204

8/07/11 12:23:39 AM#39

Vanguard has the best cities.  They are huge, with back allies, hidden spots, and buildings you can walk into.  You can spend hours upon hours exploring just one city.  The amount of buildings that you can walk into and people (NPCs) you can talk to is incredible. 

  tochicool

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 5/14/11
Posts: 152

"REALITY!!! - are for people who can't play video games!"

"GET SOME GAMES, FOO!"

8/07/11 11:15:48 AM#40

Nezebgrad?

The main problem is the NPCs. If we cannot be dynamic, then, for God's sake, allow NPCs to move about as if they accualy have a LIFE!!!

FEEL THE FULL
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