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MMORPG Game Concepts  » Where to go from here?

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21 posts found
  Spoike24

Novice Member

Joined: 2/19/13
Posts: 6

 
OP  2/19/13 3:38:46 PM#1

I joined the forum just to ask this question.  Like everyone else here I have an idea for a game.  I have story lines, mechanics, and a business model.  I have ideas on how to use mobile devices and consoles as tools to enhance the experience.  But I’m just one guy.  I have been a project leader in my day job (real estate) but have zero experience in the video games industry.  I’m not an artist or programmer though I understand what it takes to be both having tried.  I understand programming languages and what modern systems are capable of I just personally find the actual process of laying down code mind numbing.  What I am is a writer with the concept of a game he really just wants to play.  The question is how would I get this game and the company to support it started?

What type of game do I want to play?  A fantasy MMORPG fueled by user created content inside a Sci-Fi MMORPG with a living story with players on multiple sides of a conflict that a side can actually loose.

The story of CROSSROADS-

What if we were all stuck in the matrix but we all knew and we put ourselves there on purpose?

We never knew what they called themselves but we have plenty of names that we gave them.  We were saved by a video game.  Sort of.  We built Crossroads on the backs of the many, many MMORPGS that came before it.  Our addition to the experience was total immersion.  It was a much more cost effective version of virtual reality then every one owning a personal holographic projecting room.

 Basically you would put on sensory deprivation head gear.  Connections put inside the skull are more effective and efficient but wet wired is a hard sell to most people.  The head gear would use a set of tones and lights to put players into a meditative trance and then the tones were changed to align the frequency of signals in the brain to the frequency waves of game interaction.  The effect was a cross between lucid dreaming and out of body experiences in a controlled gaming environment.  And it was awesome.

Then a kid died playing the game.  It was bound to happen.  It’s happened before.  Someone forgets to take a break from games to eat, sleep, or anything else.  Except he was still alive and active in the game even though his body had died.

So a whole lot of people lost their minds for a whole variety of reasons.  Lawyers on all sides were circling the blood in the water.  

The colony on mars gave us the warning in that they were wiped out first.  Some sort of bio weapon.  It was tailored just for us.  Killed all the people, left all the resources.  We had to find a way to escape.  But there was just to many of us to save and we hadn’t found a real way for humans to survive long term space travel.

But a couple of geniuses at the world space program were fans of the game and knew about the controversy.  They made the ship, we made the box for all of us to live in.  We didn’t have much time to create a new place for everyone that fit modern design so the game environments were what we used.

The day before the aliens arrived millions of people killed themselves while playing the game.  And it worked.

A ship crewed by robots carrying a cargo of a million ghosts.   We got to watch as our home planet burned.  At least it was pretty.

 

Thoughts?

  ArChWind

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/19/11
Posts: 490

2/19/13 4:28:42 PM#2

Humm... I really don’t know where to start here.. so I will just let the though train run. Speaking from experience over the last decade of what I have came to the conclusions that.....

Building anything remotely close to a small MMO game requires:

a.) one person with a vast skill set and a lot of time.

b.) a lot of people with different skill sets willing to work for little or nothing if you’re broke.

c.) A lot of money to buy peoples time.

Getting a company to invest in anything massively online is like pulling hens teeth in todays market because the market is to risky so beating on doors for months will lead to disappointment on many of these ideas. Your best chance to get this idea into reality is to do it yourself.

If you are still interested in developing your game after reading the above then the best route to take is to get people to get involved which is difficult or near impossible unless you already have some working model of your design.

As a minimum you need a plan of some kind as to what the design will require in the way of graphics engine, network engine and security. Just grabbing any game engine and saying I want to build this will lead to failure so planning ahead on solid foundations of your game design in hardware, software and artwork is a upfront task you need to do before you start this thing.

Be prepared to work on your game by yourself.

There are many brick walls you run into as you work out the details so you have to live by experience as you go.

About all I can think of at the moment.

  Spoike24

Novice Member

Joined: 2/19/13
Posts: 6

 
OP  2/19/13 4:37:37 PM#3
What I am working on at the moment is a treatment.  I have a couple versions of the pitch other then the story one I posted above.  I am about 15 pages deep describing basic mechanics, story, and business model.  What questions would I want to make sure to answer? and once I have the treatment ready to show people who would I show it too?
  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12124

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Wildstar, and Combat Arms

2/19/13 4:47:45 PM#4

"What I am is a writer with the concept of a game he really just wants to play.  The question is how would I get this game and the company to support it started?"

Head over to the Escapist and read "Why your game idea sucks"

If you still feel your game idea doesn't suck, it's time to put those salesman skills of yours to good use, because you want people to buy into this MMO when you've really got nothing to sell at this point.

Download GameMaker or some other RAD app. Create a prototype. Make one or more of the 'cool' aspects of your game actually work. That'll give you something concrete that you can show people to bring them on board. You need something, though... anything... you have to show that you are bringing something to this team you want to build and the game you want to make. "I'm the idea guy" isn't something.

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fovoroth

  Spoike24

Novice Member

Joined: 2/19/13
Posts: 6

 
OP  2/19/13 5:10:00 PM#5

Thanks for the link to the article I'm familiar with a lot of the things said in it.  I gave a go at writing screenplays and even moved to LA to try and get one of the made into an actual movie.  All I discovered is that LA is a great place to visit but I don't want to live there and EVERYONE has a screenplay.

I have played with gamemaker a bit but never thought about using it to showcase ideas and not make a whole game with it.  I might have to look again and see what it can do.

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12124

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Wildstar, and Combat Arms

2/19/13 7:32:44 PM#6
Originally posted by Spoike24

Thanks for the link to the article I'm familiar with a lot of the things said in it.  I gave a go at writing screenplays and even moved to LA to try and get one of the made into an actual movie.  All I discovered is that LA is a great place to visit but I don't want to live there and EVERYONE has a screenplay.

I have played with gamemaker a bit but never thought about using it to showcase ideas and not make a whole game with it.  I might have to look again and see what it can do.

screenplays are like game design documents and game concepts. If you've played with gamemaker before, then definitely try to work something up with it. Sounds like you already know what's needed to pitch an idea, so combine that with something visual you can show in a few minutes by flipping open a laptop or sliding over a tablet should be a decent start.

Good luck!

 

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fovoroth

  anemo

Novice Member

Joined: 12/24/10
Posts: 699

2/19/13 7:34:28 PM#7

To be honest the only question you should be asking yourself:  Is why I'm not joining a different project?  I'm pretty sure you didn't start real estate as a project leader.   Would you have ever been able to gotten to a leader position or recruit without having previous sucess in the real estate busisiness?

If you can really write you have a pretty rare ability.  Just keeping someone's attention is pretty awesome, and it's pretty amazing to be able to focus someone else's imagination.   However right now the indie scene is caught on minmalist type designs, but that doesn't mean everyone is doing the same.   Really there is better advice than what you can get from me, but somewhere along the line you're going to need proof of your writing ability.

As for real game mechanics and design.   Those are just as mind numbing as programming, even taking something like the original Mario.  It's pretty easy to say "I want this dude to jump and uppercut blocks", but getting those to be functioning mechanics(numbers and forces) is a lot of trial and error, to make it worse it's not even real trial and error in the normal sense because you're looking for a feeling.  Even figuring out how large a block should be probably ended up being pretty painful.  To make it worse with something as tightly woven as mario(very few mechanics), one small change means that that small change affects your entire game massively.  

________

Most people start with a world design and call it game design, it's not that simple.

Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

"There are still vast swaths of our planet's surface in which it's surprisingly easy to lose things. Even a ship the size of a large building." Richard Fisher

  Spoike24

Novice Member

Joined: 2/19/13
Posts: 6

 
OP  2/20/13 1:44:14 PM#8

I would love to write for someone else’s project.  The walls I keep running into on that one is convincing people that there is a difference between idea guy who wants to impose all his ideas over your ideas, and guy who will happily write all your dialogue and background fluff for credit.  I can easily put up writing examples on Google drive for someone who wants examples of my writing.  Just ask, plus I love feedback.

While writing code is tedious for me, figuring out game mechanics and the story to go with them is all kinds of fun.  At least it is with board games and tabletop RPGs. 

This brings me to another question for the community.  As I browse through this forum and others for specific games I keep coming across the concept of user created content.  I agree that the next big thing will have to include user content to keep up with the speed of demand. 

I would be a very happy camper with a blank canvas tool set that would let me tell interactive stories to a large audience.  But at the same time self motivated storytellers are about as common as people who quit smoking through willpower alone and is not a market big enough to support the cost of making those kinds of tools.

It seems that the majority of user created content game ideas fall into either the tool making kind, Secondlife with combat mechanics, and vague concepts that boil down to wanting a game with (insert best rule set ever conceived here).  I don’t see how any of these could succeed in the market they are trying to sell to.

A game supported by user created content would have to inspire creativity, teach how to use the tools in a fun way, and reward players fairly for contributing.  These were the core concepts I wanted to explore within the universe I proposed in my original post. 

Are these concepts being looked at in any new games on the horizon?

  waynejr2

Elite Member

Joined: 4/12/11
Posts: 3732

RIP City of Heroes!

2/20/13 1:50:19 PM#9
Originally posted by Loktofeit

"What I am is a writer with the concept of a game he really just wants to play.  The question is how would I get this game and the company to support it started?"

Head over to the Escapist and read "Why your game idea sucks"

If you still feel your game idea doesn't suck, it's time to put those salesman skills of yours to good use, because you want people to buy into this MMO when you've really got nothing to sell at this point.

Download GameMaker or some other RAD app. Create a prototype. Make one or more of the 'cool' aspects of your game actually work. That'll give you something concrete that you can show people to bring them on board. You need something, though... anything... you have to show that you are bringing something to this team you want to build and the game you want to make. "I'm the idea guy" isn't something.

 Hey, I'm usually the guy to post that Why your game idea sucks link.  That's ok though.

Here is another link:  http://www.gamedev.net/blog/355/entry-2250155-why-you-shouldnt-be-making-an-mmo/

  waynejr2

Elite Member

Joined: 4/12/11
Posts: 3732

RIP City of Heroes!

2/20/13 1:51:23 PM#10
Originally posted by anemo

To be honest the only question you should be asking yourself:  Is why I'm not joining a different project?  I'm pretty sure you didn't start real estate as a project leader.   Would you have ever been able to gotten to a leader position or recruit without having previous sucess in the real estate busisiness?

If you can really write you have a pretty rare ability.  Just keeping someone's attention is pretty awesome, and it's pretty amazing to be able to focus someone else's imagination.   However right now the indie scene is caught on minmalist type designs, but that doesn't mean everyone is doing the same.   Really there is better advice than what you can get from me, but somewhere along the line you're going to need proof of your writing ability.

As for real game mechanics and design.   Those are just as mind numbing as programming, even taking something like the original Mario.  It's pretty easy to say "I want this dude to jump and uppercut blocks", but getting those to be functioning mechanics(numbers and forces) is a lot of trial and error, to make it worse it's not even real trial and error in the normal sense because you're looking for a feeling.  Even figuring out how large a block should be probably ended up being pretty painful.  To make it worse with something as tightly woven as mario(very few mechanics), one small change means that that small change affects your entire game massively.  

________

Most people start with a world design and call it game design, it's not that simple.

 Hey, when did programming become mind numbing?

  waynejr2

Elite Member

Joined: 4/12/11
Posts: 3732

RIP City of Heroes!

2/20/13 1:54:12 PM#11
Originally posted by Spoike24

I would love to write for someone else’s project.  The walls I keep running into on that one is convincing people that there is a difference between idea guy who wants to impose all his ideas over your ideas, and guy who will happily write all your dialogue and background fluff for credit.  I can easily put up writing examples on Google drive for someone who wants examples of my writing.  Just ask, plus I love feedback.

While writing code is tedious for me, figuring out game mechanics and the story to go with them is all kinds of fun.  At least it is with board games and tabletop RPGs. 

This brings me to another question for the community.  As I browse through this forum and others for specific games I keep coming across the concept of user created content.  I agree that the next big thing will have to include user content to keep up with the speed of demand. 

I would be a very happy camper with a blank canvas tool set that would let me tell interactive stories to a large audience.  But at the same time self motivated storytellers are about as common as people who quit smoking through willpower alone and is not a market big enough to support the cost of making those kinds of tools.

It seems that the majority of user created content game ideas fall into either the tool making kind, Secondlife with combat mechanics, and vague concepts that boil down to wanting a game with (insert best rule set ever conceived here).  I don’t see how any of these could succeed in the market they are trying to sell to.

A game supported by user created content would have to inspire creativity, teach how to use the tools in a fun way, and reward players fairly for contributing.  These were the core concepts I wanted to explore within the universe I proposed in my original post. 

Are these concepts being looked at in any new games on the horizon?

 They have been done in games of the past.  CoX game world was ruined by the system they created.  It was exploited to hell and people used to it power level like crazy.  IMO, the player creation tools are just another silver bullet magic box.  Sure you might get some gems, but the signal to noise ratio of crap will be too high.

  Spoike24

Novice Member

Joined: 2/19/13
Posts: 6

 
OP  2/20/13 3:01:52 PM#12

I have the utmost respect for code writers.  To have that kind of focus is on par with zen masters in my opinion.  I just have a  hard time staying with it.  It is much easier for me to concentrate on writing a story and keep plot lines straight in my head.  Different strokes and all that.

I would think it comes down to what kind of player content is allowed in a particular game.  Can they change rules? What if they are given world and character rules, and a reward system that cannot be changed, but are allowed to create NPCs, quest chains, zones, and skins?  Although a horizontal progression system is the only one that I can see working in this context.

And for sure the system or even the publisher (Spore was so on the right track, points finger angerly at EA) can keep a game from reaching its potential.  But I don't think its just a pipe dream.  We have the tec to make it possable, and there are those who want to make it possable, and the world hasn't ended yet so why not keep trying?

  maskedweasel

Tipster

Joined: 9/24/07
Posts: 7264

"Kids, try imagining how far the universe extends! Keep thinking about it until you go insane."

2/20/13 3:24:05 PM#13

The link to Gamemaker is just one avenue you should take,  but where would I really start if I were you?

 

First things first,  You have to have a skillset that is important to others.  Having an idea for a game is great,  but look at everyone on this site and you'll find a different idea for a different game.. and while they might not all have the skills to write as you do, they'll easily be able to put ideas down on a piece of paper with game mechanics.

 

If you don't have a skill set, then you will need money of some sort, or some way to incentivize people to work for you.  A FANTASTIC way to start (and in a way that I've started my first couple projects)  is to check the local schools near you where students are eager to get together on a team, or would like experience working on a project.   If students see merit in what you are selling, they could take up the project as a "hobby" doing much of the work for free so that they get their foot in the door and their name on a project when they look for a real job.

 

Most importantly you should try and do as much as possible on your own.  If this is a dream, you have to be able to supplement what you don't have.  If that means that you need to learn a little bit of code to get the easy stuff - like coding dialog into your game on your own, then you learn to do it.  Its relatively simple to code that in, and any money you have can be spent elsewhere when your team (if you have one) cannot figure something out.  

 

I don't pretend to know everything, so when something is tough, like my art direction isn't how I want it, or I can't figure out how to program a specific mechanic,  I outsource it.  

 

Start with a smaller project.  I have a huge multiplayer project that I want to work on,  but unfortunately I don't have the capital to complete it.  This is a great opportunity to flesh out the world with a smaller, starter project.  If failing that, maybe start with just creating mods for an already established system like Skyrim.  Some modders can get by in engines like Unity or Unreal and create some very decent games.

 

If it means a lot to you,  don't get discouraged.  Especially if you have a team or other people with you.  Its hard to stay focused and keep a solid direction, while keeping others interested too.  You need to be willing to put in as much work as the others if this is your project.  You can't write a script and say -- "I'm done, make my game" -- unless you want a half started project and a bad reputation.

 

Most importantly, you can have a great image in your head, but you need to work with whats available to you.  Working with an engine like GameMaker is a great place to start.  Fantastic games can and have been developed with Game Maker.  Don't get discouraged because your game isn't 3D, or you can't have 300 people on screen at one time...   you have to crawl before you can walk.

 

Hope this helped.. at least a little.

 

 

"Loan me a Dragon I wanna see space"


  Spoike24

Novice Member

Joined: 2/19/13
Posts: 6

 
OP  2/20/13 4:06:00 PM#14

I'm not sure how one would write just the script for a game as a script is mostly linear storytelling with no choices made by the audience and a game and especially RPG's involve making choices which can cause the stroy to go in all kinds if interesting directions.

Also I understand  the get under the hood suggestions and I've started playing with Gamemaker again.

@maskedweasel- your advice is solid but you seem to infer that being a storyteller is not an important skill in gamemakeing.  I really hope that is not true.

Also has anyone around here played with this?

http://sourceforge.net/projects/arianne/?source=directory

Its an open source MORPG engine using java and SQL.  Its really easy to get running and seems to be able to do a lot of what all of you guys are talking about.  I was able to get it running, edit the world, add dialoge and quests, and have friends join the game through a client.  I also have a soft spot for the 8bit ish graphics having grown up in the 80s.

  ArChWind

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/19/11
Posts: 490

2/20/13 5:35:16 PM#15

I sent you a PM

  anemo

Novice Member

Joined: 12/24/10
Posts: 699

2/20/13 6:27:39 PM#16
Originally posted by waynejr2
Originally posted by anemo

To be honest the only question you should be asking yourself:  Is why I'm not joining a different project?  I'm pretty sure you didn't start real estate as a project leader.   Would you have ever been able to gotten to a leader position or recruit without having previous sucess in the real estate busisiness?

If you can really write you have a pretty rare ability.  Just keeping someone's attention is pretty awesome, and it's pretty amazing to be able to focus someone else's imagination.   However right now the indie scene is caught on minmalist type designs, but that doesn't mean everyone is doing the same.   Really there is better advice than what you can get from me, but somewhere along the line you're going to need proof of your writing ability.

As for real game mechanics and design.   Those are just as mind numbing as programming, even taking something like the original Mario.  It's pretty easy to say "I want this dude to jump and uppercut blocks", but getting those to be functioning mechanics(numbers and forces) is a lot of trial and error, to make it worse it's not even real trial and error in the normal sense because you're looking for a feeling.  Even figuring out how large a block should be probably ended up being pretty painful.  To make it worse with something as tightly woven as mario(very few mechanics), one small change means that that small change affects your entire game massively.  

________

Most people start with a world design and call it game design, it's not that simple.

 Hey, when did programming become mind numbing?

It's a reply to the OPs post.  

Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

"There are still vast swaths of our planet's surface in which it's surprisingly easy to lose things. Even a ship the size of a large building." Richard Fisher

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12124

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Wildstar, and Combat Arms

2/20/13 7:05:26 PM#17
Originally posted by maskedweasel

The link to Gamemaker is just one avenue you should take,  but where would I really start if I were you?

 ...

Most importantly, you can have a great image in your head, but you need to work with whats available to you.  Working with an engine like GameMaker is a great place to start.  Fantastic games can and have been developed with Game Maker.  Don't get discouraged because your game isn't 3D, or you can't have 300 people on screen at one time...   you have to crawl before you can walk.

I think you missed the point of suggesting a RAD tool. It is to build the prototype to attract the team or funding, not to make the game.

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fovoroth

  maskedweasel

Tipster

Joined: 9/24/07
Posts: 7264

"Kids, try imagining how far the universe extends! Keep thinking about it until you go insane."

2/21/13 10:11:36 AM#18
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by maskedweasel

The link to Gamemaker is just one avenue you should take,  but where would I really start if I were you?

 ...

Most importantly, you can have a great image in your head, but you need to work with whats available to you.  Working with an engine like GameMaker is a great place to start.  Fantastic games can and have been developed with Game Maker.  Don't get discouraged because your game isn't 3D, or you can't have 300 people on screen at one time...   you have to crawl before you can walk.

I think you missed the point of suggesting a RAD tool. It is to build the prototype to attract the team or funding, not to make the game.

 

He can go ahead and do that, if you want him to get discouraged quickly.   If you want him to create a working prototype through gamemaker its about as simple as creating an actual game in gamemaker.

 

You can create a simple game in game maker with no complex tools and very simplistic design with almost no experience, no art direction, essentially nothing... but you won't have a very good game either.  

 

Most studios (at least in Texas where I work) are interested in seeing working and finished projects for you to join their team, and most of the people that I've spoken to in the IGDA that are starting out that are looking for help do exactly what I suggested or recruit at meetings.  

 

I'm not saying he has to use gamemaker at all, there are a ton of tools out there that he can use.  I've used Unity, GameMaker, and the UDK,  but in my opinion, if he has no experience, no funding, no specific knowledge in any stage of development - jumping into the area of project management and trying to get funding from a "prototype" will be disappointing.

 

I am actually publishing a game that utilized gamemaker,  theres nothing wrong with that.

"Loan me a Dragon I wanna see space"


  maskedweasel

Tipster

Joined: 9/24/07
Posts: 7264

"Kids, try imagining how far the universe extends! Keep thinking about it until you go insane."

2/21/13 10:18:30 AM#19
Originally posted by Spoike24

I'm not sure how one would write just the script for a game as a script is mostly linear storytelling with no choices made by the audience and a game and especially RPG's involve making choices which can cause the stroy to go in all kinds if interesting directions.

Also I understand  the get under the hood suggestions and I've started playing with Gamemaker again.

@maskedweasel- your advice is solid but you seem to infer that being a storyteller is not an important skill in gamemakeing.  I really hope that is not true.

Also has anyone around here played with this?

http://sourceforge.net/projects/arianne/?source=directory

Its an open source MORPG engine using java and SQL.  Its really easy to get running and seems to be able to do a lot of what all of you guys are talking about.  I was able to get it running, edit the world, add dialoge and quests, and have friends join the game through a client.  I also have a soft spot for the 8bit ish graphics having grown up in the 80s.

I'm not saying that it isn't an important skill, but it is a skill that would be better portrayed with a little experience.  Hence why I mentioned trying to get on a team that needs "talent" in exchange for experience points.  

 

In that instance, you'll be looking more towards being a writer for a game, which is a very important skill.  There are also degrees specific to game management, where you do work on design and don't have to focus wholly on coding, art, or writing.

 

For development as a whole though, you don't necessarily need a degree if you have the skill, though, I'm not sure how that translates into story development.

"Loan me a Dragon I wanna see space"


  WereLlama

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/13/12
Posts: 202

2/27/13 10:45:58 AM#20

I think a key thing for anyone wanting to make an mmo, is work towards it.

1. Critical: Get a good paying job that allows you enough extra money to fill in gaps/get licenses/ or basically react to things you didnt plan for.

2. Make a short 3 month plan for a very simple prototype.  

3. Make the prototype (program it yourself or make it in photoshop) .  Key here is to build 'something' yourself.

4. Show it off to friends/family/forums, get feedback.  Then come back to us.

Overall, you want to prove to two groups that you have the focus, determination, and capability to lead or at least participate in a project.  Those two groups are:  your prospective teammates, and most importantly, to yourself.

 

-Blitz

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