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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Art style for Steam Punk MMO Game?

12 posts found

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/09/08
Posts: 109

OP  11/18/12 10:56:56 PM#1

Does anyone think this art style would make a great game, as a Steam punk MMO? These guys are doing a Indiegogo fundriser for their upcoming art book, but I love their art style and havent seen anything like that as a MMO game. Check it out


Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/21/08
Posts: 382

11/19/12 12:44:36 AM#2



i love cyberpunk and steampunk

Played: MCO - EQ/EQ2 - WoW - VG - WAR - AoC - LoTRO - DDO - GW - Eve - Rift - FE - TSW - TSO - WS
Playing: Sims 4, Diablo3, TSW & LoTRO
Waiting on: Everquest Next, BlackDesert, Camelot Unchained & Pathfinder Online!
Who's going to make a Cyberpunk MMO?


Spotlight Poster

Joined: 5/26/08
Posts: 929

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”- Henry Ford

11/19/12 4:18:45 AM#3

It's hard to say really. Steam Punk as a genre of style and interests is still in the formative stages (this includes defining itself). Most so-called steam music, art, costumes etc. is only vaugely similar when you really look at it. And, before the sub-culture has time to vent from comming out of the furnace, people are trying to mold it into other things (deisel and cyber punk, though either of which arguably may have existed before steam punk).


I know that there was a short lived steam punk MMO. There are also a few small steamy games put out by kongragate, and one awesome puzzle strategy game simply called gears. There is also a game (that seems to be largely still in production) called city of steam... None of these though have been good enough to cross-over into popular gamer culture stardom.


For any who don't know and are wondering at this point, the basic concept of steam punk is an idea of; what would things look like now had the cultural norms and tech-tree of the victorian era (roughly 1840-1880) continued un-interupted into the modern age.


Think of an alternate present-future based on an alternate past (something like what bethesda did with the fallout series and the American 1950's). What if the hindenburg had not crashed and the wright brothers never quite figured out how to get off the ground? What if no one refined the concept of the internal combustion engine and the steam engine kept it's hold and continued to be refined? What if Edison never electrivuted an elaphant to show the 'dangers' of 'Tesla's Brand' of electricty? Or if Robert swan had gotten his due credit for the invention of the light bulb?


Steam Punks do not often just imagine this but create a glimpse into this alternate dimension, and often believe that things would be better had they gone this other direction (and they make a few really good point about base technological superiorities)


The point of digressing into all that is to me a game made off of that at it's core and i'll not all only pay into it but encourage all my friends to do the same. And this to me seems to be the issue with steampunk games, in that their developers attempt to capture the style without persuing the essence and point of it all. So, in my opinion they only crank out insincere likeness' of the Steam world, and thusly, often fail in their endevours.


(btw those artists' work for exalted is my favorite, it's one of the campaigns my group and I switch between)


Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/09/08
Posts: 109

OP  11/19/12 7:45:55 AM#4
I totally agree, for this kind of game to be properly developed, the development team should latterly go back into history and basically explain/re-write history as we know it.  Maybe have quest lined up as a history lesson showing the difference where it could have gone. The art style certainly have some draw I think to be made into an interesting MMO game, especially when you will be able to look at something that's designed and say "hey so that's how a car would look like if that happened".


Novice Member

Joined: 6/10/10
Posts: 513

11/19/12 10:39:30 AM#5
Originally posted by Helleri


I know that there was a short lived steam punk MMO. There are also a few small steamy games put out by kongragate, and one awesome puzzle strategy game simply called gears. There is also a game (that seems to be largely still in production) called city of steam... None of these though have been good enough to cross-over into popular gamer culture stardom.


Don't forget Rise of Legends* by Microsoft.  The humans in that game were super steam punkish, with even clockwork soldier's and DaVinci flying machines.

*EDIT: correct game name now.


Taru-Gallante-Blood elf-Elysean-Kelari-Crime Fighting-Imperial Agent


Advanced Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 22588

11/19/12 4:17:07 PM#6

Funny no one mentioned Dishonored, a very much steampunk game and a block buster.



Advanced Member

Joined: 8/11/08
Posts: 1687

All it takes for evil to succeed is for the good to stand by and do nothing

11/19/12 4:27:41 PM#7

City of steam just started closed beta and shouldn't be too long before release(first half next year maybe).  But not really an mmo from what I've read and seen(could be wrong there).

To the art style, I would say the gameplay would be more improtant.


Spotlight Poster

Joined: 5/26/08
Posts: 929

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”- Henry Ford

11/19/12 4:34:50 PM#8

I never played that one, I will take a look though.


I think a big aspect of the world of steam is that most every one has an industrial or aristicratic look. This is because it's most commonly accepted in the steam world that every has a surplus job (a job not directly related to the cultivation of food, and collection of materials). And, that is because they have automotons (like androids) to do base labour force work.


This alone sets the stage for a great storyline. The main antagonist could a mad technologist who started out as human, but through accidents he blamed on the inefficiency of society as a whole he became maimed and deformed (just one unfortunate event after another planted deep seeded hate for human civilization in him). he fixes himself using technology, then finding it more efficient continues to modify himself.


But, people start to dislike him over ethical issues and he ends up exiling to some steam fortress atop a mountain or something (maybe an air base). Where his intentions turn towards 'fixing the world'...So you end up with a very Dr Robotnik/Professor Eggman type villian who's aim is to convert the world to machines.


While people like machines in this world they don't want to be one, and they feel the natural world has it's place and that this villian is dangerous. So, all citizens of the land are charged with doing their civic duty in combating this evil mad-man-machine.


He could send his flawed machines out into the lands to convert the natural world into a machanically based one. at the lowest levels you might be combating creatures who have been automotized and collecting both their natural and mechanical parts that remain intact after combat in order to build a wide variety of useful things.

later you might fight the machines doing the conversions, and later still sabotage their bases and foil his multifront plans...


This world can even show the conflict between one kind of technology trying to over take another....perhaps this bad guy goes the crude oil route to fuel his army. so villians are distinguished from the steam punks by having a very deisel punk look to them.


This could be a game that is sandbox centric, like you must put the gears in the right place to get a machine working again, there are several ways to do it. as long as gear a turns gear b the machine will run. But, how efficiently and thus, how much experience you earn from such a task depends on how well you build it.


Questing could be part puzzle game part discovery, part materials collection. Weapons and armor creation of your own design. Mount unique to how the individual builds them...every part can have a physical behavior, mechanical behavior, statistical value, and range of compatability with other parts. you combine this with basic construction and you get an amazing world.


There are already mini games that sorta do this as I mentioned earlier. I for one would love to see key aspects of these put into the base cuntion of an MMO... here are a few:


Cogs (A one time purchase game that has a free demo):

Gears (free to play browser based):



Elite Member

Joined: 10/07/03
Posts: 1594

11/19/12 5:11:35 PM#9
I actually really disliked the artwork in the link. It would make me lose interest. But I feel the same about anime and look how popular it is too lol 

Elite Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 17770

11/19/12 5:30:09 PM#10
Originally posted by Neojac
I totally agree, for this kind of game to be properly developed, the development team should latterly go back into history and basically explain/re-write history as we know it.  Maybe have quest lined up as a history lesson showing the difference where it could have gone. The art style certainly have some draw I think to be made into an interesting MMO game, especially when you will be able to look at something that's designed and say "hey so that's how a car would look like if that happened".

There is an alternative to that, you could use an existing steampunk IP as long as you are willing to create the right mechanics for it. This is harder than using an already working mechanic and build a world that works with it but it also have the potential of being a whole lot better.

On good IP you could get almost free is FASAs (the guys who made Shadowrun) old "Crimson skies" even though it is more diesel punk than actual steampunk. The P&P RPG were as good as ready for release when FASA went down so most people remember it for the boardgame and Microsofts flight game but the IP is a lot more interesting.

Another good IP is the one from the anime/manga series "Pumpkin scissors", or for that matter the classic "Trigun" if you want a bit more cowboys in it.

Or Eric flints "Ring of fire" books (starts with 1632, read it).

But all these settings needs custom mechanics. Regular tab targetting, cool downs and levels would just destroy the game. Then so would pure FPS mechanics.

In any case, ignore how other MMOs work and think about the cool stuff you have in your setting and how you could make mechanics that makes that possible. Take healing for an instance, unless you mix in magic like in Ravenloft you need something else than trinity healers. Players do need ways to manage their health one way or another.

Maybe you focus on damage avoidance instead, like dodging and cover which make sense in a game with revolvers and rifles and let people heal up between combat, or maybe you have another smart system in mind, just dont do a LOTRO and screw over your lore (yeah, many other games have done this as well, including TOR and STO).

A steampunk game shouldnt feel just like Wow but with a slightly different setting, it needs to both look and feel different.

And yes, the art works fine. :)


Elite Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 17770

11/19/12 5:34:44 PM#11
Originally posted by Karahandras

City of steam just started closed beta and shouldn't be too long before release(first half next year maybe).  But not really an mmo from what I've read and seen(could be wrong there).

To the art style, I would say the gameplay would be more improtant.

While gameplay is more important, messing up the art is a huge misstake. Art is hardly the most expensive part when you make a MMO so it isnt that hard to get right.

And good art can make a game with comperatively low graphics look good even after years. 

I wouldnt recommend anyone to put more focus into art than actual gameplay of course, but finding a good artist or a few that capture the mood of the game (and work for a reasoable price) is a great idea.


Novice Member

Joined: 8/03/12
Posts: 147

11/19/12 5:47:32 PM#12

Something in a MYST world would be cool.