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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Exploration Zones: an alternative to Raiding?

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76 posts found
  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10635

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

1/10/13 7:37:41 AM#21


Originally posted by Loktofeit

Originally posted by Quizzical

Originally posted by Loktofeit So then we're looking at either phased content or instanced content, correct?
Not necessarily. If you have a good way to randomly generate a zone, then you could make it instanced, where you go to the entrance of the random zone generator, it creates a zone for you, and you have your own instanced zone to explore. Or if a million different random seeds will give you a million substantially different zones, you could make an enormous open world with those million different zones stitched together.  Or billion. Storage space for those million zones actually isn't a problem, as the server would only need to store a million random seeds, not the full data for a million completely built zones.  A random seed will likely be 4 or 8 bytes, so even a billion zones wouldn't be much of a burden on server storage.  It would only have to load into memory zones that actually have someone in or near them, which is no worse than it would be if it were completely instanced.  The client wouldn't have to contain any zones at all, but the server could send a random seed to players as they get close. The hard part is how to come up with a good way to randomly generate a zone.
Ya think?  ;) 

So, to recap your post,  it wouldn't necessarily be instanced, just instanced. And storage would be only 4 to 8 bytes per zone, because we never plan on having the person return to this zone, alter this zone or share this zone with others.

Guys, walk through these things at least once, not as a one-off single-player snapshot but as a multiplayer persistent environment.

 




Seeds are how Minecraft generates worlds. If you have a world's seed, you can generate the exact same world on your own computer or any other computer. The issue with Minecraft's world storage is the same issue that any game using that system would have; storing the modifications to the default generated environment.

Even there, the OP was not talking Minecraft levels of terrain modification. Not too much area in each zone would be modified, so if you have a seed, and the list of things the players have changed (paths cleared, rubble removed, bridges built, etc.) then the storage could be reasonable. The hard part is taking a seed and generating a coherent zone on the fly. Even harder would be stitching zones together.

The zones could be instanced zones, or they could be stitched together in an open world.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  Ortwig

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/20/12
Posts: 1047

 
OP  1/10/13 7:46:58 AM#22
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Loktofeit

So then we're looking at either phased content or instanced content, correct?

Not necessarily.

If you have a good way to randomly generate a zone, then you could make it instanced, where you go to the entrance of the random zone generator, it creates a zone for you, and you have your own instanced zone to explore.

Or if a million different random seeds will give you a million substantially different zones, you could make an enormous open world with those million different zones stitched together.  Or billion.

Storage space for those million zones actually isn't a problem, as the server would only need to store a million random seeds, not the full data for a million completely built zones.  A random seed will likely be 4 or 8 bytes, so even a billion zones wouldn't be much of a burden on server storage.  It would only have to load into memory zones that actually have someone in or near them, which is no worse than it would be if it were completely instanced.  The client wouldn't have to contain any zones at all, but the server could send a random seed to players as they get close.

The hard part is how to come up with a good way to randomly generate a zone.

Ya think?  ;) 

So, to recap your post,  it wouldn't necessarily be instanced, just instanced. And storage would be only 4 to 8 bytes per zone, because we never plan on having the person return to this zone, alter this zone or share this zone with others.

Guys, walk through these things at least once, not as a one-off single-player snapshot but as a multiplayer persistent environment.

It might be difficult, but I think the payoff could be huge.  If you think of sections of the zones as modules that can be placed randomly, and then each module made up of elements that make up a logical location, encounter or event, I think it could be done with a minimum of instancing.  You'll also need to somehow pair teams with those elements as they are generated, but those modules and elements would be fairly small, and only need to be saved as long as the group is exploring that module.  The question becomes, do those explored areas stay saved from that point on, or do the elements keep changing as you travel through the zone?

Stuff that could go into a module:

  • mobs
  • location
  • weather event
  • boss
  • lair
  • raid entrance
  • dungeon entrance
  • safe area
  • relics (to be fought over oin PvP)
  • treacherous landscape (jumping, movement puzzle)
  • investigations/research
  • resource nodes
The benefit of overcoming the challenge includes:
  • rare gear
  • rare resources
  • rare crafting recipes
  • adventure/questing seeds
 
  Kaleston

Novice Member

Joined: 9/08/11
Posts: 176

1/10/13 8:19:34 AM#23

Hmmm idea is good, but I'm afraid it's in realm of Utopia. Of course you can get random worlds and explore them... Anyone ever heard about Diablo? On a bit more serious note, this is what rogue games did. Problem is, this is fine setup for single player game. In MMO you want more... you don't want generic world with generic events. Most interesting things about the world are very special and interesting things somebody thought and implemented. It's usually piece of interesting story or piece of interesting puzzle. Even interesting boss goes in this category. But common ground here is "unique" experience. Exploring in world, where nothing is unique and everything is generated would be ... well Diablo like experience.

I don't hink we will ever be able to teach computers to "think", to "create" in real means of these words. And for a person to create quality content, it will ALWAYS mean, players will consume the content faster than anybody can create it.

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12278

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Project Gorgon, and Combat Arms

1/10/13 8:40:30 AM#24
Originally posted by lizardbones

 


Originally posted by Loktofeit

Originally posted by Quizzical

Originally posted by Loktofeit So then we're looking at either phased content or instanced content, correct?
Not necessarily. If you have a good way to randomly generate a zone, then you could make it instanced, where you go to the entrance of the random zone generator, it creates a zone for you, and you have your own instanced zone to explore. Or if a million different random seeds will give you a million substantially different zones, you could make an enormous open world with those million different zones stitched together.  Or billion. Storage space for those million zones actually isn't a problem, as the server would only need to store a million random seeds, not the full data for a million completely built zones.  A random seed will likely be 4 or 8 bytes, so even a billion zones wouldn't be much of a burden on server storage.  It would only have to load into memory zones that actually have someone in or near them, which is no worse than it would be if it were completely instanced.  The client wouldn't have to contain any zones at all, but the server could send a random seed to players as they get close. The hard part is how to come up with a good way to randomly generate a zone.
Ya think?  ;) 

 

So, to recap your post,  it wouldn't necessarily be instanced, just instanced. And storage would be only 4 to 8 bytes per zone, because we never plan on having the person return to this zone, alter this zone or share this zone with others.

Guys, walk through these things at least once, not as a one-off single-player snapshot but as a multiplayer persistent environment.

 




Seeds are how Minecraft generates worlds. If you have a world's seed, you can generate the exact same world on your own computer or any other computer. The issue with Minecraft's world storage is the same issue that any game using that system would have; storing the modifications to the default generated environment.

Even there, the OP was not talking Minecraft levels of terrain modification. Not too much area in each zone would be modified, so if you have a seed, and the list of things the players have changed (paths cleared, rubble removed, bridges built, etc.) then the storage could be reasonable. The hard part is taking a seed and generating a coherent zone on the fly. Even harder would be stitching zones together.

The zones could be instanced zones, or they could be stitched together in an open world.

 

I know how Minecraft works. You're completely dismissing what the OP wants, as that is what adds the rather sizable hurdles and extensive work to the system:

  • hidden lore
  • places to explore
  • archaeology quests
  • finding ruins
  • clearing blocked tunnels
Yes, you can type in four numbers and have some massive mystic wonderland appear. No one says you can't. Now that has to be populated, and the devs have to make it so that clearing the logs from the road delivers something beyond logs that just respawn five minutes later (GW2) or a singleplayer/small group repeatable instance (LOTRO storyline).The devs have to create this hidden content that is still 'hidden' after the first month of release. Or have new archaeological finds in the same zone after 100,000 people have already excavated/analyzed/explored the same exact area that month. While i enjoy the exploration content of scannign systems in EVE, it seems the OP is asking for more than that, preferrably on land.
 
Creating the zone is the easy part. Creating the mechanics for exploration content is pretty difficult because discovery/exploration content in an MMO either violates the persistence or is reduced in impact/appeal for the second (and thrid, fourth, fifth, etc) wave of players.
 
That is why I say to walk through it, not as the first guy wandering in wide-eyed and new to the realm, but as the umpteen thousandth guy to walk into that zone. The difficult part is creating a zone of exploration content that is just as fun and meaningful as the exploration content the first guy who set foot there had.
 
The consensus here is more than likely that the devs don't do because they're lazy, non-gamers. The truth is it is a massive headache trying put ongoing discovery content in a persistent state world where every day there are new people arriving to do the content that millions before them have done.

"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." -fivoroth

  Enerzeal

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/27/10
Posts: 332

There is no good or evil, only power - and those too weak to seek it.

1/10/13 9:36:23 AM#25
Stop approaching MMOs as having an end game, suddenly the issue evaporates. No game should be supported by raiding instances, it's proven to fail in most cases. WoW is one of the few games that supports a large end game only because it gave birth to the idea of end game due to its incredibly quick pace of leveling.
  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10635

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

1/10/13 10:01:45 AM#26


Originally posted by Loktofeit

Originally posted by lizardbones  

Originally posted by Loktofeit

Originally posted by Quizzical

Originally posted by Loktofeit So then we're looking at either phased content or instanced content, correct?
Not necessarily. If you have a good way to randomly generate a zone, then you could make it instanced, where you go to the entrance of the random zone generator, it creates a zone for you, and you have your own instanced zone to explore. Or if a million different random seeds will give you a million substantially different zones, you could make an enormous open world with those million different zones stitched together.  Or billion. Storage space for those million zones actually isn't a problem, as the server would only need to store a million random seeds, not the full data for a million completely built zones.  A random seed will likely be 4 or 8 bytes, so even a billion zones wouldn't be much of a burden on server storage.  It would only have to load into memory zones that actually have someone in or near them, which is no worse than it would be if it were completely instanced.  The client wouldn't have to contain any zones at all, but the server could send a random seed to players as they get close. The hard part is how to come up with a good way to randomly generate a zone.
Ya think?  ;)    So, to recap your post,  it wouldn't necessarily be instanced, just instanced. And storage would be only 4 to 8 bytes per zone, because we never plan on having the person return to this zone, alter this zone or share this zone with others. Guys, walk through these things at least once, not as a one-off single-player snapshot but as a multiplayer persistent environment.  
Seeds are how Minecraft generates worlds. If you have a world's seed, you can generate the exact same world on your own computer or any other computer. The issue with Minecraft's world storage is the same issue that any game using that system would have; storing the modifications to the default generated environment. Even there, the OP was not talking Minecraft levels of terrain modification. Not too much area in each zone would be modified, so if you have a seed, and the list of things the players have changed (paths cleared, rubble removed, bridges built, etc.) then the storage could be reasonable. The hard part is taking a seed and generating a coherent zone on the fly. Even harder would be stitching zones together. The zones could be instanced zones, or they could be stitched together in an open world.  
I know how Minecraft works. You're completely dismissing what the OP wants, as that is what adds the rather sizable hurdles and extensive work to the system:
  • hidden lore
  • places to explore
  • archaeology quests finding ruins clearing blocked tunnels
Yes, you can type in four numbers and have some massive mystic wonderland appear. No one says you can't. Now that has to be populated, and the devs have to make it so that clearing the logs from the road delivers something beyond logs that just respawn five minutes later (GW2) or a singleplayer/small group repeatable instance (LOTRO storyline).The devs have to create this hidden content that is still 'hidden' after the first month of release. Or have new archaeological finds in the same zone after 100,000 people have already excavated/analyzed/explored the same exact area that month. While i enjoy the exploration content of scannign systems in EVE, it seems the OP is asking for more than that, preferrably on land.   Creating the zone is the easy part. Creating the mechanics for exploration content is pretty difficult because discovery/exploration content in an MMO either violates the persistence or is reduced in impact/appeal for the second (and thrid, fourth, fifth, etc) wave of players.   That is why I say to walk through it, not as the first guy wandering in wide-eyed and new to the realm, but as the umpteen thousandth guy to walk into that zone. The difficult part is creating a zone of exploration content that is just as fun and meaningful as the exploration content the first guy who set foot there had.   The consensus here is more than likely that the devs don't do because they're lazy, non-gamers. The truth is it is a massive headache trying put ongoing discovery content in a persistent state world where every day there are new people arriving to do the content that millions before them have done.



Dang, you seem kind of cranky today.

I get the idea of walking through something, but there has to be a starting point. You have to at least have an idea to start with so that you have something to walk through.

Instanced or Open? If Open, are zones laid out in a Checkerboard Pattern or using Hexagons? Designed, Procedurally Generated or a Mix? If Designed, does an Open Zone system make sense at all? For that matter, how big will the zones be?

None of this ignores what the OP wants. It is possible to procedurally generate a zone with ruins, fortresses, hidden tunnels, underground rivers and secret caches of stuff for rewards. It's perfectly reasonable to think that later additions can be made so the future content created procedurally will be new. It's also reasonable to think that you could have a main puzzle, that once solved locks the zone for any future changes and builds a fast travel system through that zone. Even better, you could have the player own that zone, perhaps leading to some sort of PvP system for keeping or taking land.

You would run into issues with repetition in the exploration. This is a big issue with Minecraft. Yes, it generates new stuff, but all the new stuff looks like all the old stuff, just in a slightly different layout. You don't want the same fortress popping up in two or three different zones. Something needs to be done to procedurally modify the fortresses in each zone. Some of the traps in the fortress might be the same, but the layouts need to vary somewhat. The developer is still going to be doing work generating new puzzles to add to the system. It's not going to be a build it once and forget it kind of thing.

It may or may not be reasonable to expect that this type of thing would fulfill the needs to players who constantly want new content, but it's not unreasonable to think that a certain kind of content can be generated procedurally. It would be unreasonable to think the developer could start it running and then never update it. Players would just as quickly exhaust the available content, just as they do now. It might be reasonable to think a developer could add new types of content to a system that generates zones procedurally.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13402

1/10/13 10:52:46 AM#27
Originally posted by Novusod
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by moosecatlol

I'd like to believe that in the future someone will be able to pull of an openworld content generator. Think minecraft sized exploration combined with an amazing visual engine.

Randomly generated content that is as good as hand-generated content, or at least not all that much worse than hand-generated content, is the holy grail of MMORPG game design.

It's actually a rather stupid thing for an AAA game to even try, as if you try and fail, your whole game is garbage.  An indie game could try it on a smaller budget as a way to avoid having to hand-design massive amounts of content.

Generally that is not how major innovations are created. The random generated content engin would be developed without a game attached to it and then after it was made to work well a AAA game would be built on top of the new technology.

And how can you tell if the engine works well if there isn't a game attached?  What the engine needs to do would depend very strongly on many intricate details of the game.  It would have to be greatly customized for the game that you're trying to make.

For example, you'd have to pick art assets from among the art assets that you have available--and you don't have them all available until the bulk of the game is mostly done.  What the engine can do and needs to do depends very strongly on the details of your particular art assets.  Mashing a bunch of random artwork together will give you massive amounts of artifacting, including both places where the depth buffer can't tell which of two things is closer due to rounding errors so it flashes between the two erratically, and also holes in the ground that you can see the sky through.  You could maybe get away with a lot more of the entire game is off in space and all of the objects are space debris that doesn't interact with any other object in the game.

  Quizzical

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1/10/13 10:54:56 AM#28
Originally posted by Scot
Random 'zone' generation can be done well, look at Elite. But I am not sure how easy it would be to apply those principles to a MMO.

I haven't played Elite.  But how "random" did the zones seem the tenth time you rolled one?  The hundredth?  The thousandth?  From the release date (1984), I'm guessing that the game only had a handful of objects but placed them randomly to create a zone.  Seeing the same few objects a huge number of times in a row is going to get awfully repetitive.

  Loktofeit

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1/10/13 10:59:47 AM#29
Originally posted by lizardbones

 

Dang, you seem kind of cranky today.

I get the idea of walking through something, but there has to be a starting point. You have to at least have an idea to start with so that you have something to walk through.

Instanced or Open? If Open, are zones laid out in a Checkerboard Pattern or using Hexagons? Designed, Procedurally Generated or a Mix? If Designed, does an Open Zone system make sense at all? For that matter, how big will the zones be?

None of this ignores what the OP wants. It is possible to procedurally generate a zone with ruins, fortresses, hidden tunnels, underground rivers and secret caches of stuff for rewards. It's perfectly reasonable to think that later additions can be made so the future content created procedurally will be new. It's also reasonable to think that you could have a main puzzle, that once solved locks the zone for any future changes and builds a fast travel system through that zone. Even better, you could have the player own that zone, perhaps leading to some sort of PvP system for keeping or taking land.

You would run into issues with repetition in the exploration. This is a big issue with Minecraft. Yes, it generates new stuff, but all the new stuff looks like all the old stuff, just in a slightly different layout. You don't want the same fortress popping up in two or three different zones. Something needs to be done to procedurally modify the fortresses in each zone. Some of the traps in the fortress might be the same, but the layouts need to vary somewhat. The developer is still going to be doing work generating new puzzles to add to the system. It's not going to be a build it once and forget it kind of thing.

It may or may not be reasonable to expect that this type of thing would fulfill the needs to players who constantly want new content, but it's not unreasonable to think that a certain kind of content can be generated procedurally. It would be unreasonable to think the developer could start it running and then never update it. Players would just as quickly exhaust the available content, just as they do now. It might be reasonable to think a developer could add new types of content to a system that generates zones procedurally.

 

I apologize for coming across iritated. If I seem cranky it wasn't intended and definitely wasn't directed at you. I still think you're missing the point here. Yes, that terrain and those things can be generated. I never said content couldn't be generated procedurally.  You can definitely minimize repetition and create a realistic environment. It can make for an amazing single player experience. However, it is a massive nightmare to try to do that in a persistent state multiplayer environment.

You're not taking the ongoing multiplayer experience into account.

Have you played GW2? If so, look at the dynamic content and think of how you would change it. Now plug those changes into GW2. How do those changes affect the persistent world? How do those changes affect players that arrive an hour later? a day later? at different steps of the story?

 

"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." -fivoroth

  Quizzical

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1/10/13 10:59:54 AM#30
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Loktofeit

So then we're looking at either phased content or instanced content, correct?

Not necessarily.

If you have a good way to randomly generate a zone, then you could make it instanced, where you go to the entrance of the random zone generator, it creates a zone for you, and you have your own instanced zone to explore.

Or if a million different random seeds will give you a million substantially different zones, you could make an enormous open world with those million different zones stitched together.  Or billion.

Storage space for those million zones actually isn't a problem, as the server would only need to store a million random seeds, not the full data for a million completely built zones.  A random seed will likely be 4 or 8 bytes, so even a billion zones wouldn't be much of a burden on server storage.  It would only have to load into memory zones that actually have someone in or near them, which is no worse than it would be if it were completely instanced.  The client wouldn't have to contain any zones at all, but the server could send a random seed to players as they get close.

The hard part is how to come up with a good way to randomly generate a zone.

Ya think?  ;) 

 

So, to recap your post,  it wouldn't necessarily be instanced, just instanced. And storage would be only 4 to 8 bytes per zone, because we never plan on having the person return to this zone, alter this zone or share this zone with others.

 

Guys, walk through these things at least once, not as a one-off single-player snapshot but as a multiplayer persistent environment.

Who says the person can't return to the zone?  If you leave an area and then come back a month later, it generates exactly the same zone from the same random seed.  If two people come to the same place at the same time, they can see and interact with each other just like in any other open world game.  Or five or ten or twenty or fifty or whatever.  It doesn't matter if they're grouped; it's an open world and everyone is in the same "instance" of a given zone.

Now, if you want to let players greatly modify the zone, then things get a lot harder.  But really, how many MMORPGs let players modify the game world?

  lizardbones

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1/10/13 11:02:17 AM#31


Originally posted by Quizzical

Originally posted by Scot Random 'zone' generation can be done well, look at Elite. But I am not sure how easy it would be to apply those principles to a MMO.
I haven't played Elite.  But how "random" did the zones seem the tenth time you rolled one?  The hundredth?  The thousandth?  From the release date (1984), I'm guessing that the game only had a handful of objects but placed them randomly to create a zone.  Seeing the same few objects a huge number of times in a row is going to get awfully repetitive.



I think for that to work, the developer would have to continually add new objects that could appear in the landscape. What you could add would still be limited by how the system generates the terrain and adds objects. They are doing this kind of thing with TerrainControl on some Minecraft servers. Instead of the usual terrain, there are structures, funky trees and dungeon like things out in the world. It's not real simple though...it takes a month or more to setup a new set of parameters and objects to generate a new zone. So it might be easier, but easier is relative. It could just be a different kind of hard to make procedurally generated content interesting.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  lizardbones

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I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

1/10/13 11:10:23 AM#32


Originally posted by Loktofeit

Originally posted by lizardbones   Dang, you seem kind of cranky today. I get the idea of walking through something, but there has to be a starting point. You have to at least have an idea to start with so that you have something to walk through. Instanced or Open? If Open, are zones laid out in a Checkerboard Pattern or using Hexagons? Designed, Procedurally Generated or a Mix? If Designed, does an Open Zone system make sense at all? For that matter, how big will the zones be? None of this ignores what the OP wants. It is possible to procedurally generate a zone with ruins, fortresses, hidden tunnels, underground rivers and secret caches of stuff for rewards. It's perfectly reasonable to think that later additions can be made so the future content created procedurally will be new. It's also reasonable to think that you could have a main puzzle, that once solved locks the zone for any future changes and builds a fast travel system through that zone. Even better, you could have the player own that zone, perhaps leading to some sort of PvP system for keeping or taking land. You would run into issues with repetition in the exploration. This is a big issue with Minecraft. Yes, it generates new stuff, but all the new stuff looks like all the old stuff, just in a slightly different layout. You don't want the same fortress popping up in two or three different zones. Something needs to be done to procedurally modify the fortresses in each zone. Some of the traps in the fortress might be the same, but the layouts need to vary somewhat. The developer is still going to be doing work generating new puzzles to add to the system. It's not going to be a build it once and forget it kind of thing. It may or may not be reasonable to expect that this type of thing would fulfill the needs to players who constantly want new content, but it's not unreasonable to think that a certain kind of content can be generated procedurally. It would be unreasonable to think the developer could start it running and then never update it. Players would just as quickly exhaust the available content, just as they do now. It might be reasonable to think a developer could add new types of content to a system that generates zones procedurally.  
I apologize for coming across iritated. If I seem cranky it wasn't intended and definitely wasn't directed at you. I still think you're missing the point here. Yes, that terrain and those things can be generated. I never said content couldn't be generated procedurally.  Yes, you can avoid repetition and create a realistic environment. Yes, it can make for an amazing single player experience. However, it is a massive nightmare to try to do that in a persistent state multiplayer environment.

You're not taking the ongoing player experience into account.




No offense taken, truly. It's all good. :-) You did change your avatar though and it has thrown me off a couple times.

The multiplayer experience would be handled in the choice between making instanced zones or open zones.

If the content is instanced, it's pretty easy. It would be a lot like current dungeons and raids work now. Players would go to the entrance, or queue up and go.

If open zones are the choice, then as players move through the area, new zones are added at the edge of existing zones. As the puzzles are completed, zones gain a fast travel system, so that players aren't walking through 100 "cleared" zones to get to new territory. Maybe give players the ability to own the generated zones and fight over ownership of zones.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  Loktofeit

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Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Project Gorgon, and Combat Arms

1/10/13 11:18:47 AM#33
Originally posted by lizardbones


If the content is instanced, it's pretty easy. It would be a lot like current dungeons and raids work now. Players would go to the entrance, or queue up and go.
That's how this part of the conversation started. :)  I presented that it would require phased or instanced content to do what the OP wanted. Quizzical then went on about procedurally generated terrain. There's a lot more to world building and game design  - especially, one with features the OP is suggesting - than the randomized content and the map it all sits on.

If open zones are the choice, then as players move through the area, new zones are added at the edge of existing zones. As the puzzles are completed, zones gain a fast travel system, so that players aren't walking through 100 "cleared" zones to get to new territory. Maybe give players the ability to own the generated zones and fight over ownership of zones.
But at that point, aren't you getting into a disjointed patch of levels in some puzzle game and moving further away from the OP's interest in exploring a world?

 

 

"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." -fivoroth

  BadSpock

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Logic be damned!

1/10/13 11:21:04 AM#34

The reason Minecraft works is not because each and every seed and world is all that different from each and every other world and seed.

There is a VERY finite number of biomes, a very finite number of mobs/NPCs, and very well defined/structured "rules" in terms of geographical layout.

You could make 100 or 1000 worlds using the same seed or even radically different seeds and the variation in your world wouldn't be as severe as many think it would be.

What makes the experience infinite is how you the player is allowed to interact with it.

It's like legos - the answer to "how to keep people playing legos" isn't just "add more pieces" it really comes down to how much you can do with those pieces in the first place.

That is why Minecraft works.

The keys to making it work in the MMO space are:

1) Giving players reason to work together

2) Giving players reason to continue to populate an area instead of just using/destroying what's there and moving on to the next area

3) Give players reason to compete with each other over resources

4) Give players reason to explore for additional resources and spread out

5) Create interdependance so spreading out TOO far is discouraged

6) Very limited "fast travel" options

You could then in theory create a world the COULD potentially expand infinitly by generating new geography as players expand outward (and meshing/stitching together biomes)

but keep the expansion controlled by creating reason to stop marching outwards and build, reason to stay and defend what you've built, obstacles to overcome before you can expand further. etc.

 

Now Playing: Destiny

  nariusseldon

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1/10/13 11:32:40 AM#35

Exploration is not the answer. You will never be able to create enough interesting landscape for players to explore. Now you can procedurally create some terrain, but that will be big generic empty places .. not fun to explore at all.

The best alternative is probably something like an infinitely generated dungeon with more and more challenging mobs and bosses.

The layout will still feel generic, but the gameplay is not to "see" new places, but to fight harder and harder mobs. Something which is found to have long lasting gaming value.

  BadSpock

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Logic be damned!

1/10/13 11:46:18 AM#36
Originally posted by nariusseldon

Exploration is not the answer. You will never be able to create enough interesting landscape for players to explore. Now you can procedurally create some terrain, but that will be big generic empty places .. not fun to explore at all.

Why does most exploration happen IRL (and I'm thinking of back in the day like "Age of Exploration" discovering America and shit)?

1. To make money.

2. To get away from bad people.

Most explorers despite what history may say didn't have that glimmer in their eye and that love/desire to simply reach out and touch the unknown.

Most explorers saught new trade routes, new sources of exploitable indeginuous peoples, and new resources.

Or they were people fleeing from oppression and injustice that packed up and left seeking some distance and a space to call their own.

That's how you make it "work" in a MMO - especially with procedurally generated landscape/content.

It gives people reason to explore, reason to stop and set up shop, reason to defend their camp, reason to attack the other guys camp, and then reason to get away from all of that and find a new place.

 

Now Playing: Destiny

  nariusseldon

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1/10/13 11:58:13 AM#37
Originally posted by BadSpock
Originally posted by nariusseldon

Exploration is not the answer. You will never be able to create enough interesting landscape for players to explore. Now you can procedurally create some terrain, but that will be big generic empty places .. not fun to explore at all.

Why does most exploration happen IRL (and I'm thinking of back in the day like "Age of Exploration" discovering America and shit)?

1. To make money.

2. To get away from bad people.

Most explorers despite what history may say didn't have that glimmer in their eye and that love/desire to simply reach out and touch the unknown.

Most explorers saught new trade routes, new sources of exploitable indeginuous peoples, and new resources.

Or they were people fleeing from oppression and injustice that packed up and left seeking some distance and a space to call their own.

That's how you make it "work" in a MMO - especially with procedurally generated landscape/content.

It gives people reason to explore, reason to stop and set up shop, reason to defend their camp, reason to attack the other guys camp, and then reason to get away from all of that and find a new place.

 

The "exploring to make money" idea would not be very different than an infintie dungeon, except for the combat part. In fact, it would be more fun to throw in combat. Looking at generic landscape is not fun at all, even if there is a random treasure chest every 2 miles.

The "escape" from bad people idea is difficult in a MMO. In a MMO, you don't want to run away. You want to confront and defeat the bad people. So i doubt that will work.

 

  Quizzical

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1/10/13 12:01:17 PM#38
Originally posted by nariusseldon

The "exploring to make money" idea would not be very different than an infintie dungeon, except for the combat part. In fact, it would be more fun to throw in combat. Looking at generic landscape is not fun at all, even if there is a random treasure chest every 2 miles.

The "escape" from bad people idea is difficult in a MMO. In a MMO, you don't want to run away. You want to confront and defeat the bad people. So i doubt that will work.

 

Why does exploration need to be about combat?  Why not make combat something that happens when you aren't able to get around mobs without fighting them on the way to where you're going?  Why not make the good loot from exploration something that is found laying on the ground, rather than dropped by mobs?

  azzamasin

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1/10/13 12:04:56 PM#39
Like raiding and any other forms of content that utilyze multipel groups of individuals a zone such as this would never work because it would never see action.  The massive data bears out that players do not like group content unless it rewarded items greater then any other form of content.

If your idea of a Sandbox is open FFA Full Loot PvP, full crafted world with minimal support for anything combat then your sandbox ideas are bad! Sandbox means open world, non-linear gaming PERIOD!

  nariusseldon

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1/10/13 12:08:06 PM#40
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by nariusseldon

The "exploring to make money" idea would not be very different than an infintie dungeon, except for the combat part. In fact, it would be more fun to throw in combat. Looking at generic landscape is not fun at all, even if there is a random treasure chest every 2 miles.

The "escape" from bad people idea is difficult in a MMO. In a MMO, you don't want to run away. You want to confront and defeat the bad people. So i doubt that will work.

 

Why does exploration need to be about combat?  Why not make combat something that happens when you aren't able to get around mobs without fighting them on the way to where you're going?  Why not make the good loot from exploration something that is found laying on the ground, rather than dropped by mobs?

Because just looking at stuff .. unless you dump nice art resource into .. is boring.

Now .. making avoid mob a gameplay element is fine (essentially stealth). But again stealth is not exploration. Either combat or stealth is fine with me, although i think both are better down in dungeons because there will be walls, and other terrain features to enhance either combat or steath mechanics.

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