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  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13284

10/20/13 6:40:14 PM#21
Originally posted by TenebraeAeterna

Originally posted by Quizzical

One problem with that is the cost.  Hiring moderators costs money, so you necessarily have massively more players than moderators.  If you spend a large fraction of your operating budget on a human dungeon master mechanic that players only get to experience infrequently, that seems rather inefficient.

There's also the issue of bias.  Even when we don't like machine AI, it's usually perceived as being "fair".  With humans controlling the AI and making choices, you'll immediately get the strong perception of bias, with moderators playing favorites.  And that's even if the dungeon masters do an excellent job; the occasional example of clear-cut bias will make the perception much, much worse.

If you believe that the moderators of the games you play now aren't displaying a little bias...well, I have a female friend who has every WoW mount you can get and she hasn't paid for a single one of them. She was just given them by a mod buddy and some of her friends.

Moderators often play the game that they're moderating, and they often tip the scales if they have friends. I'm not saying that the system would be perfect right out of the box, it would need a lot of work and some very exceptional moderators...but if it was done right, I think it could provide one hell of an interesting element that actually puts a little life into the game beyond simply the player base themselves.

You're not going to eliminate moderator bias.  But what the moderators are able to do can make the effects of that bias greater or less.  If the worst effect of mod bias is that someone gets some free cosmetic stuff, that's not that big of a deal.  But if you absolutely cannot progress until a mod who hates you decides to let you win, that's completely game-breaking.

  PerfArt

Novice Member

Joined: 2/16/13
Posts: 863

10/20/13 7:32:46 PM#22

Currently woring on a P&P setting that addresses player races procedurally and evolutionarily, and the more I do, the more I realize it would be a cool mmo system as well. It combines racial and skill development into one path. I developed it because I wanted the players to create the tropes rather than be bound by them.

The character starts as a spirit hovering between the Stream (a kind of river of memories that flows through all worlds) and Mundaea (the physical world, which upon the setting's planet is in a post-apocalypse event era nearly devoid of sentient life.)

Character creation begins by identifying oneself as Male, Female, Androgyne, or Asexual.

Then, four Ephemories are chosen. These are 'ephemeral memories' that represent the only remaining facets of identity that the spirit possesses from its last life. 

One Origin Ephemory - Mammalian, Reptilian, Avian, Plantlike, Aquatic, Amphibious, Insectoid, Crystalline,  or Amorphous.

One Physical Ephemory - Strong, Fast, Resilient, Adaptable, Small, Large, Nimble, Visceral, or Ephemeral.

One Mental Ephemory - Knowledgeable, Intuitive, Wise, Perceptive, Cunning, Willful, Creative, Practical, or Mysterious.

One Emotional Ephemory - Positive (happy, optimistic), Negative (sad, pessimistic), Loving, Hateful, Lusty (ambitious, greedy, hedonistic) Stoic (disciplinoed, honorable, meditaive), Sensual (materialist, artistic, curious), Envious, or Dreamrapt.

 

After this stage, the spirit enters the world as a non-corporeal being and can only interact with the thoughts of certain creatures and other beings who exist in or can enter the 'Between' (boundary between the Stream and Mundaea) such as ghosts and some Fey beings. The spirit learns from the animals, ghosts, and Fey general information about the Powers, rulers of the regions and domains that cover the world. There are greater spirits, and they are the ones opening up Mundaea to spirits as a kind of recruitment tool. Apparently there is a war a-brewin.

Navigating hostile ghosts and wicked Fey attacks (which cause psychic wounds that open up "Flaw" options for later evolutionary stages) and communicating with friendly versions (which open up some "Perks" for later as well) the character eventually finds a domain and a Power that he/she/it wants to choose based upon both their domain of influence and their spiritual and moral outlook. Some are wicked and some are wise. Some are proud and some are subtle.

This creator power breathes life into the spirit, and the form it takes is dependent on three factors: 

1: The Power's Domain (regional type like Mountain, Desert, Volcanic, Tundra, etc) and 'alignment."

2: The character's four Ephemories chosen during spirit genesis. Different combinations would work in different ways with the themes provided by the Power.

3: Player's selection. As certain Ephemories are shifted around in order of "prominence", different types of forms are offered. Once one is settled upon, the player makes adjustments ala conventional character customization.

Perks and Flaws are chosen from those provided by the ghosts and Fey met during the wandering spirit phase as well.

This provides a character with a physical form and their first Talent, (called the Birthright) which will become their primary, defining ability. Contact with additional Powers around the world will add further evolutionary racial stages and Talents (up to 4) whether through alliance/neutral mutual benefit or through seizing them through use of force or subterfuge. At every stage, the player further evolves the character's skills and racial characteristics. Subsequent talents are added in a Secondary and Tertiary manner, with each tier being less advanced than the Birthright, respectively.

Once the fifth stage of evolution is complete, the final form of the race is realized. Interbreeding would be possible only with those races that were under a certain number of evolutionary steps away from your own result. Further advancement would be done through Talents/Skills from that point on.

Of course, in a P&P game, I only have to design a decently-sized cadre of general races and then adjust according to my players on the fly a bit. In a MMO it would be (ostensibly) a coding nightmare.

 

http://www.mmorpg.com/blogs/PerfArt

  gigat

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/24/10
Posts: 605

10/20/13 8:06:24 PM#23

Here's a few I would like to see.

 

Skaven from Warhammer (humanoid rats):

Skaven

 

Draconians from Dragonlance (humanoid dragons):

Draconions

 

Quadav from FFXI (humanoid turtles, yes it has a shell on its back!):

Quadav

 

Bugbears (I think these are a twist on hobgoblins or goblins):

 

 

 

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13284

10/20/13 8:50:41 PM#24
Originally posted by PerfArt

Currently woring on a P&P setting that addresses player races procedurally and evolutionarily, and the more I do, the more I realize it would be a cool mmo system as well. It combines racial and skill development into one path. I developed it because I wanted the players to create the tropes rather than be bound by them.

The character starts as a spirit hovering between the Stream (a kind of river of memories that flows through all worlds) and Mundaea (the physical world, which upon the setting's planet is in a post-apocalypse event era nearly devoid of sentient life.)

Character creation begins by identifying oneself as Male, Female, Androgyne, or Asexual.

Then, four Ephemories are chosen. These are 'ephemeral memories' that represent the only remaining facets of identity that the spirit possesses from its last life. 

One Origin Ephemory - Mammalian, Reptilian, Avian, Plantlike, Aquatic, Amphibious, Insectoid, Crystalline,  or Amorphous.

One Physical Ephemory - Strong, Fast, Resilient, Adaptable, Small, Large, Nimble, Visceral, or Ephemeral.

One Mental Ephemory - Knowledgeable, Intuitive, Wise, Perceptive, Cunning, Willful, Creative, Practical, or Mysterious.

One Emotional Ephemory - Positive (happy, optimistic), Negative (sad, pessimistic), Loving, Hateful, Lusty (ambitious, greedy, hedonistic) Stoic (disciplinoed, honorable, meditaive), Sensual (materialist, artistic, curious), Envious, or Dreamrapt.

 

After this stage, the spirit enters the world as a non-corporeal being and can only interact with the thoughts of certain creatures and other beings who exist in or can enter the 'Between' (boundary between the Stream and Mundaea) such as ghosts and some Fey beings. The spirit learns from the animals, ghosts, and Fey general information about the Powers, rulers of the regions and domains that cover the world. There are greater spirits, and they are the ones opening up Mundaea to spirits as a kind of recruitment tool. Apparently there is a war a-brewin.

Navigating hostile ghosts and wicked Fey attacks (which cause psychic wounds that open up "Flaw" options for later evolutionary stages) and communicating with friendly versions (which open up some "Perks" for later as well) the character eventually finds a domain and a Power that he/she/it wants to choose based upon both their domain of influence and their spiritual and moral outlook. Some are wicked and some are wise. Some are proud and some are subtle.

This creator power breathes life into the spirit, and the form it takes is dependent on three factors: 

1: The Power's Domain (regional type like Mountain, Desert, Volcanic, Tundra, etc) and 'alignment."

2: The character's four Ephemories chosen during spirit genesis. Different combinations would work in different ways with the themes provided by the Power.

3: Player's selection. As certain Ephemories are shifted around in order of "prominence", different types of forms are offered. Once one is settled upon, the player makes adjustments ala conventional character customization.

Perks and Flaws are chosen from those provided by the ghosts and Fey met during the wandering spirit phase as well.

This provides a character with a physical form and their first Talent, (called the Birthright) which will become their primary, defining ability. Contact with additional Powers around the world will add further evolutionary racial stages and Talents (up to 4) whether through alliance/neutral mutual benefit or through seizing them through use of force or subterfuge. At every stage, the player further evolves the character's skills and racial characteristics. Subsequent talents are added in a Secondary and Tertiary manner, with each tier being less advanced than the Birthright, respectively.

Once the fifth stage of evolution is complete, the final form of the race is realized. Interbreeding would be possible only with those races that were under a certain number of evolutionary steps away from your own result. Further advancement would be done through Talents/Skills from that point on.

Of course, in a P&P game, I only have to design a decently-sized cadre of general races and then adjust according to my players on the fly a bit. In a MMO it would be (ostensibly) a coding nightmare.

 

If you want to make an MMORPG out of that, then how do you propose to draw it?  Do you have a ton of different races that just happen to look identical?  Try to have artists create a separate race for every combination of choices and you'll quickly be forced to strip out nearly all of the choices.

  Helleri

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 5/26/08
Posts: 766

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

10/20/13 9:05:42 PM#25
Originally posted by Quizzical

I want to get away from the idea that a game has a fixed list of races that you have to choose between.  I want players to be able to create their own race.  How many arms do you want?  How many legs?  Where do you want them to attach to the torso?  Do you want the character to run on both arms and legs, or just the legs?  Or maybe you'd rather skip running and roll around on wheels.  Or slither, as the original poster suggested.  Or flap your wings and fly (though not very high, for reasons of play balance).

And then, of course, a player should be able to attach a tail, or antennae, or horns, or whatever he wants to the character.  And two heads, or none, or whatever other number he likes.  The game engine should then take the players choices and animate it procedurally.  Feet should step on the ground, rather than poking through it or standing on air, even when the character is on a slope.  Arms should move freely enough that melee attacks will actually aim at the target rather than stabbing a fixed spot in the air.  Tails, hair, and whatever else the player wants should bob somewhat as the player accelerates (whether forward, rotating, or whatever).  Characters should turn their head when they're looking at something, whether a mob or an NPC that you're talking to.

And then, the textures.  Players should be able to create their own textures to apply to their characters.  Have some premade options where players just have to pick parameters, but also let players create things more versatile.  Let players pick "colors" (which can have some roughness rather than being solid colors), and draw this curve, this thick, from here to there.  Add some text or various geometric designs if you like.

Oh, and it should all be procedurally generated, so that passing one player's character to another--including vertex data, animation data, and textures--only takes several KB.  That makes it small enough to stream on the fly to everyone else who needs to see the player.  For that matter, it would likely be faster to stream such data to other players and generate the character that way than to load a bunch of textures off of a hard drive, as most games have to do.

And then once a bunch of players have each created their own race, you have a ton of races built into the game and can use them for mobs that the players fight.  Rather than fighting the same 30 monsters forever, or perhaps higher level or "elite" versions of the monsters that fight exactly the same as the normal ones except that they have more health and do more damage, you could have many thousands of totally different monsters to go fight.  You could find new monsters that you've never seen before and have to learn how they fight all over again, every single day.  Even if you play the game for years.

Sounds impossible, you say?  I'm working on it.  I'm pretty sure that I can do it.

My only problem with something like this is that when you give someone too many options they might become disinterested in making any choices. If your going to have lot of options. there should be some structure to the selection.

 

Say somebody just knows that they want to be a dragon. They can look through some different types of dragons to start with. Despite virtually every culture on earth having dragons. Almost all of them fit (form wise) into a few categories. Wurm, Drake, Wyvern, lung, and amphithere. Some or feathered, some are furred, some have hide, and some scales (many a combination of these). But, as for base form they mostly fit into 5 categories.

 

Alternatively lets suppose someone knows that they want to be a mythological creature from a certain cultural mythology. They could select something like greek mythos. And be presented with many of the species therein (centaur, minotaur, satyr).

 

But, choosing a form based on what they are interested in will help make the whole process easier and more intuitive. After which they can start out as a generic of that form if they like and customize it later as they feel their character develops. Or delve deeper into initial customizations. Maybe they want to choose an alignment, or an element to theme there character under in general. Such as a chaotic good Fire Cyclops. Or a Maleficent Frost Wyvern.

 

The more specific they get with how they want to look to begin with. The more specific where they start out their games become. The more bland they want to make their starting decisions with character design. the more broad there initial zone is. (a lawful, thunder centaur might start on a cloud island of the coast of an Greecian-like coastline, and their job is to usher the audible omens of a guilty man about to be judged). Where as a normal lion may start of in an Asia minor like setting and later have the ability through questing to become what they wish to be (maybe eventually a chimera or gryphon).

 

But, how ever it is handled. If you end up making it so much about character customization t start with. All you will end up with is game that is thee to show off characters. Without context... without setting and some restriction. And the ability to better a character along the lines they chose to start out with....You get second life. And for that... well there is already second life.

 

 


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  User Deleted
10/20/13 9:37:03 PM#26
Originally posted by Helleri

My only problem with something like this is that when you give someone too many options they might become disinterested in making any choices. If your going to have lot of options. there should be some structure to the selection.

I definitely agree with you on this one. I love games with a lot of races. The Everquest series, for example. MUDs with over 40 races, for another. I am a huge fan of these, and detest games which only have 3-4 race choices due to their lack of "color" in theme.

However, I am afflicted with the disease known as "ALT-iitus". Common symptoms include full character slots, never obtaining level cap, and indecision. When I played Everquest 2, there were so many races it was hard to choose. However, I managed to choose. It was when I was presented with the classes, that none seemed all that appealing. I would sit in front of character creation for nearly an hour, unable to decide. IMO this is the most important decision in a MMORPG, as characters often take endless hours to develop. I do not want to pick a race or class I end up getting bored with, having wasted 8-16 hours of gameplay before realizing it.

When presented with a RogueLike or MUD that gives me choices of over 40 races and 40 classes? I just about slit my wrists. I felt like alt-f4ing, instead of making a choice. I literally had to just roll a dice, and see what came up. Why even allow me to choose? There are so many possible races, so many types of classes, that even in a game of permadeath... I was petrified with indecision.

When so many things sound fun, so few are uninteresting,  none are more appealing than the other (Everquest 2 classes), or you have no idea what any of them are like...it is not easy. Even when I would allow my friend or nephew to choose first to make it easier on me, it was nearly impossible in Everquest2 to pick a class despite googling "What class is a good duo for [insert ally's choice]."? And in a game where it doesn't really matter what class you pick? Oh god, is it that much worse. In Everquest2, people said that pretty much ANYTHING works well with anything else. Then they added mercenaries...oh god!

 

I am creating a game with 64 factions, but from experience I will have a system that helps assist players in choosing. There will be "Help me choose- Quiz", "Give me a Random Choice." which the player clicks over and over like rerolling dice, "Help me choose- Process of Elimination", or "I feel like melting my brain. Let me decide EVERYTHING!" Probably even a system which helps players decide, based on what they have enjoyed before, or how well they rate the fun they had with their former characters. I plan to keep track of player metrics in a very detailed manner, so I can use it to help the players.

Also, players will have very few unlocked in the beginning. It is only through playing the game or purchasing expansions (I haven't decided yet) that players will have more than a handful of choices. So as the player gets more experienced, they will have more options, with a smart suggestion system to help them with their next choice.

  User Deleted
10/20/13 10:16:20 PM#27

I am well on my way to creating quite a large MMORPG project. It is not designed to have every faction playable at release, of course. Instead, factions will be released either through free updates (if the game is subscription based), expansions (if either subscription or guild wars style "buy once"), or in the cash shop as unlockables (if the game is F2P). Obviously, I do not know yet how I will monetize the game.

However, it is very important for me to know what every faction planned will be, because I am creating the game world- and need to design it so that every faction makes sense in each region or "zone".

This is the perfect opportunity for players to get involved, but I do not have very much information about the game out right now, so the fanbase is quite non-existent. That isn't to say I don't have plenty of information about the game, artwork, or a prototype working. It just means I haven't released any of it, to anyone. I would set up a website and a forum, but I am not aware if people would care enough to get involved. I'd rather continue work on the game's development than to spend time or money making or paying for a website. Especially if people may not want to get involved with the design process. I am also still solidifying the design document, by cutting the chaff and confirming the most important features vs planned or dreamy features.

The game is inspired by Ultima Online gameplay and art style, Everquest1 meaningful traveling and theme, Shadowbane Races, Dark Age of Camelot, Game of Thrones, and Lord of the Rings themes, Middle Earth CCG region cartography, adventures like seen in The Hobbit, PnP games like Earthdawn and Middle Earth, League of Legends & Guild Wars 2 ability simplicity (fewer abilities, means better abilities), Roguelike difficulty and procedural content, MUD size project ambition, deep character creation, Fallout traveling adventure, a massive world map, and even some Text Based or Oregon Trail like encounters. While I realize that is a lot to list, these are the games I hope my game to be like in at least some way. These are some of my favorite games as well, and all of which do some things great.

 

There are 8 biomes: Tundra, Mountains, Forest, Hills, Plains, Desert, Jungle, and Volcanic.

I will try my best to explain the races, rather than simply name them.

 

Tundra, or "The North": Barbarians, Trolls, Coldwater creatures, Bear-People, Zombies, Forest Golems, Ice Elementals, Ice Giants, and Frost Dragons.

Mountains, or "The Iron Kingdom": Dwarves, Forged (warforge), The Academy (Human guild; industrious, steam powered intellectuals, strong magic focus), Construct (frankenstein, fleshy forged), Goblins, High Elves, Earth Elementals, Rock Giants, and Rock Dragons.

The Hills: Kwaynos (Human guild; comfort loving hillfolk, rangers, adventurers), Half Elves, Gnolls, Fox People, Scarecrows (ex. a Pumpkin Knight, Everquest scarecrows), Halflings, Wraiths, Hill Giants, and normal Dragons.

The Ancient Forest: Wood Elves, Faeries, Underground Gnomes, Werewolves, Satyrs, Druid human faction, Animal Shapeshifting spirit (turns into actual animals; wolves, bears, deer, etc.), Treants, and Fae Dragons.

Desert, or "Paradise Cove" and "The Lonely Desert": Pirate human Guild, Bird-People, Merfolk, Dark Elves, Ratlings, Vampires, Air Elementals, Air Giants, and Sea Serpents.

The Unholy Plains: Angels, Church human Guild (Paladins, Clerics, Crusader types), Frogloks, Centaur, Ogres, Orcs, Cat-People, Skeletons (including Giant Skeletons), Undead Bone Dragons.

The Forgotten Jungle: Lizardmen, Nagas (half human, half snake), Insectoid (hive-mind types), Ape-People, Tribal human Guild, Spider-people (half human, half spider; or all spider), Plant Spirit (like a plant elemental?), Cyclops, Wingless Dragons (Dinosaurs).

The Hellfire: Imps (goblin-sized demons), Demons (think UO sized summoned daemons), Maniac human faction (insane cultists), Minotaurs, Gargoyles, Drakes (elf-like dragon people, with wings. Basically a half elf, half dragon, with a splice of demon), Fire Elementals, Fire Giants, Fire Dragons.

 

As you can see, each of the 8 BIOMES have exactly 1 human faction, making humans the predominant race on the planet. There are also 1 elemental per biome (Element spirits, Wraith ghost spirit, Angel light spirit, Animal Spirit shapeshifter, plant spirit), 1 giant per biome (Frost Giant, Rock Giant, Hill Giant, Treant, Air Giant, Giant Skeleton, Cyclops, Fire Giant), and 1 Dragon per biome (Frost Dragon, Rock Dragon, normal Dragon, Fae Dragon, Sea Serpent, Bone Dragon, Wingless Dragon, and Fire Dragon).

 

 

I discarded the following races: Pig-Orc which look quite awesome, Troglodyte kindof fat-orcish creature, mindflayers (used to be coldwater underwater race, opposite merfolk, but I decided to do something else, maybe), Willow Wisps (might replace Animal Shapeshifter with Wisp who possesses and charms animals), Neanderthal (used to be like a caveman barbarian, but replaced with a more human barbarian guild). I kindof wanted a "Men of the North" human faction AND a barbaric neanderthal type race (like a mix of barbarians, neanderthal cavemen, and Wildlings 'over the wall' theme from AGoT). However, to do that, I'd have to move the Forest Golems to the Forest or Jungle, and kick out one of the forest or jungle factions. Not worth it IMO. Besides, the Giants are basically neanderthal enough.

 

Here are some concept images for some of the factions:

Trolls

The Academy

Rough concept for The Druids

Kwaynos Adventurer

Skeleton

Goblin

Rough Concept Gnoll - Stature is obviously incorrect.

Concept Froglok

Demon

 

I have more, but as I listed there are quite a lot of factions. I might also have variants based on class. I am thinking of including Pig-Orcs and Troglodytes among the normal looking Orcs. Since it's a 2D game, there is no visible gear or equipment, so there is only slight customization like weapon types, hair or horn styles, clothes dying, and heraldry for tabard/capes. Each class variant of each faction will have different outfits, and so far there are at least 4 variants per faction, for a total planned 192 character types + 8 dragons, giants, and elementals (for a total of 216 playable character choices). It sounds like an enormous amount for a developer, but I simplified the design using 'components', so each variant doesn't require very much development time. Balance is not intended, as a Dragon is significantly more powerful than anything else. Balance instead, is through the cost of creating the character. Low cost characters, generate more creation points, while high cost characters like a Dragon usually cause a loss in total points. So basically, players trade character creation points for power (fun) or sacrifice power to harvest more points. Balance is not a concern of mine, as the only imbalances will be Creation Cost vs. Character Power. I can live with an awfully balanced system, which uses detailed player metrics and community interaction to hone this balance through updates in the game over time.

Mind you, this is not a "Pay to Win" game. Creation Cost, means in-game points you earn by playing. You basically translate one character's experience points, into points to create a new one. You are meant to retire your characters after a certain number of play sessions, so you can play again or better shape your favorite character. So it satisfies both alt-itus players like myself who love playing tons of different characters, as well as satisfies people who like to play a single character, which due to unlocking traits, items, and collecting CCPoints, they can improve the same character they just played.

It's permadeath, but not permadeath. Players can choose to "Reincarnate" or an "Almost Fatal" trait which means the character's death didn't end their life- they just appeared dead. There are actually tons of ways to benefit from death, such as a character becoming a Spirit or Undead, revived by a deity, etc. Thus replaying the same character, at the cost of the creation points it took to create them, and maybe the cost of advancing them or a cost penalty. Advancement is very quick though, so it's not a big deal to start a new person. There are no levels, as I find the idea of a Level 80 human one-shotting a Level 1 human quite idiotic, seeing as how the Level 1 in games like WoW has no chance whatsoever to even do damage. Instead, I want even the weakest of creatures to pose a serious threat due to character death, but for experience or skilled players or powerful characters to also have a powerful advantage. The larger creatures, such as Giants, Elementals, and Dragons, also have some strict limitations- which make them more of a side game, unless I decide on a cheesy "shrink potion" for entering dungeons and the like, lol.

  User Deleted
10/20/13 11:17:55 PM#28
Originally posted by Quizzical

I want to get away from the idea that a game has a fixed list of races that you have to choose between.  I want players to be able to create their own race.  How many arms do you want?  How many legs?  Where do you want them to attach to the torso?  Do you want the character to run on both arms and legs, or just the legs?  Or maybe you'd rather skip running and roll around on wheels.  Or slither, as the original poster suggested.  Or flap your wings and fly (though not very high, for reasons of play balance).

And then, of course, a player should be able to attach a tail, or antennae, or horns, or whatever he wants to the character.  And two heads, or none, or whatever other number he likes.  The game engine should then take the players choices and animate it procedurally.  Feet should step on the ground, rather than poking through it or standing on air, even when the character is on a slope.  Arms should move freely enough that melee attacks will actually aim at the target rather than stabbing a fixed spot in the air.  Tails, hair, and whatever else the player wants should bob somewhat as the player accelerates (whether forward, rotating, or whatever).  Characters should turn their head when they're looking at something, whether a mob or an NPC that you're talking to.

And then, the textures.  Players should be able to create their own textures to apply to their characters.  Have some premade options where players just have to pick parameters, but also let players create things more versatile.  Let players pick "colors" (which can have some roughness rather than being solid colors), and draw this curve, this thick, from here to there.  Add some text or various geometric designs if you like.

Oh, and it should all be procedurally generated, so that passing one player's character to another--including vertex data, animation data, and textures--only takes several KB.  That makes it small enough to stream on the fly to everyone else who needs to see the player.  For that matter, it would likely be faster to stream such data to other players and generate the character that way than to load a bunch of textures off of a hard drive, as most games have to do.

And then once a bunch of players have each created their own race, you have a ton of races built into the game and can use them for mobs that the players fight.  Rather than fighting the same 30 monsters forever, or perhaps higher level or "elite" versions of the monsters that fight exactly the same as the normal ones except that they have more health and do more damage, you could have many thousands of totally different monsters to go fight.  You could find new monsters that you've never seen before and have to learn how they fight all over again, every single day.  Even if you play the game for years.

Sounds impossible, you say?  I'm working on it.  I'm pretty sure that I can do it.

Sounds pretty awesome.

I always loved ideas like this. One developer I know, had an idea of procedurally generate aliens in an space game, or mutated characters where the player's mutations are randomized. I think there is a PnP game which actually revolves around randomly rolled mutations. It has an entire table for generating mutations. Quite impressive. I forgot what it was called.

  Helleri

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 5/26/08
Posts: 766

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

10/21/13 1:53:15 AM#29

@ Gigat

 

Bugbears look like Gorean Kur/Kurri to me. Or possibly one of a number of side characters in hanna-barbara cartoons that were trying to emulate chewy from star wars.

 

 


Place Holder Signature.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13284

10/21/13 5:23:50 PM#30
Originally posted by Helleri
Originally posted by Quizzical

I want to get away from the idea that a game has a fixed list of races that you have to choose between.  I want players to be able to create their own race.  How many arms do you want?  How many legs?  Where do you want them to attach to the torso?  Do you want the character to run on both arms and legs, or just the legs?  Or maybe you'd rather skip running and roll around on wheels.  Or slither, as the original poster suggested.  Or flap your wings and fly (though not very high, for reasons of play balance).

And then, of course, a player should be able to attach a tail, or antennae, or horns, or whatever he wants to the character.  And two heads, or none, or whatever other number he likes.  The game engine should then take the players choices and animate it procedurally.  Feet should step on the ground, rather than poking through it or standing on air, even when the character is on a slope.  Arms should move freely enough that melee attacks will actually aim at the target rather than stabbing a fixed spot in the air.  Tails, hair, and whatever else the player wants should bob somewhat as the player accelerates (whether forward, rotating, or whatever).  Characters should turn their head when they're looking at something, whether a mob or an NPC that you're talking to.

And then, the textures.  Players should be able to create their own textures to apply to their characters.  Have some premade options where players just have to pick parameters, but also let players create things more versatile.  Let players pick "colors" (which can have some roughness rather than being solid colors), and draw this curve, this thick, from here to there.  Add some text or various geometric designs if you like.

Oh, and it should all be procedurally generated, so that passing one player's character to another--including vertex data, animation data, and textures--only takes several KB.  That makes it small enough to stream on the fly to everyone else who needs to see the player.  For that matter, it would likely be faster to stream such data to other players and generate the character that way than to load a bunch of textures off of a hard drive, as most games have to do.

And then once a bunch of players have each created their own race, you have a ton of races built into the game and can use them for mobs that the players fight.  Rather than fighting the same 30 monsters forever, or perhaps higher level or "elite" versions of the monsters that fight exactly the same as the normal ones except that they have more health and do more damage, you could have many thousands of totally different monsters to go fight.  You could find new monsters that you've never seen before and have to learn how they fight all over again, every single day.  Even if you play the game for years.

Sounds impossible, you say?  I'm working on it.  I'm pretty sure that I can do it.

My only problem with something like this is that when you give someone too many options they might become disinterested in making any choices. If your going to have lot of options. there should be some structure to the selection.

 

Say somebody just knows that they want to be a dragon. They can look through some different types of dragons to start with. Despite virtually every culture on earth having dragons. Almost all of them fit (form wise) into a few categories. Wurm, Drake, Wyvern, lung, and amphithere. Some or feathered, some are furred, some have hide, and some scales (many a combination of these). But, as for base form they mostly fit into 5 categories.

 

Alternatively lets suppose someone knows that they want to be a mythological creature from a certain cultural mythology. They could select something like greek mythos. And be presented with many of the species therein (centaur, minotaur, satyr).

 

But, choosing a form based on what they are interested in will help make the whole process easier and more intuitive. After which they can start out as a generic of that form if they like and customize it later as they feel their character develops. Or delve deeper into initial customizations. Maybe they want to choose an alignment, or an element to theme there character under in general. Such as a chaotic good Fire Cyclops. Or a Maleficent Frost Wyvern.

 

The more specific they get with how they want to look to begin with. The more specific where they start out their games become. The more bland they want to make their starting decisions with character design. the more broad there initial zone is. (a lawful, thunder centaur might start on a cloud island of the coast of an Greecian-like coastline, and their job is to usher the audible omens of a guilty man about to be judged). Where as a normal lion may start of in an Asia minor like setting and later have the ability through questing to become what they wish to be (maybe eventually a chimera or gryphon).

 

But, how ever it is handled. If you end up making it so much about character customization t start with. All you will end up with is game that is thee to show off characters. Without context... without setting and some restriction. And the ability to better a character along the lines they chose to start out with....You get second life. And for that... well there is already second life.

The current plan is to have twelve races built into the game that you can play, so someone who wanted to jump in and play could readily do so.  But players would also have the option to create their own race--and would be encouraged to do so, as that's where races other than the ones I create myself would come from.

There are really only two fundamental decisions in creating your own race:  movement type and skill set.  Everything else would be cosmetic.

Choosing a skill set would basically mean picking two attacks and one defensive skill.  (The current plan is for a game that you can play through over the course of several hours, then make a different character and do it again.)  Some skills would be restricted to certain movement types as needed to animate them properly.

At the moment, I'm going with seven movement types:  bipeds (e.g., nearly all playable races in nearly all games), multipeds (run around on more than two legs), running hybrids (will run long distances on several legs, but can stand up on only two), rolling on wheels (like a car; probably some sort of robot), slithering (e.g., a naga), flying (like a bird), or sliding (no visible means of propulsion).

The movement type will make a major difference in how you move around.  I wasn't planning on doing this, but when implementing slithering characters, I realized that I had no clue what it should look like for a snake to run sideways or at odd angles and that I probably couldn't animate it without it looking completely awful.  Some motions with some other movement types would also be problematic, but that was the worst one.

So my solution is to give different movement advantages and disadvantages to different movement types, based largely on what I can animate well.  A slithering character can only move forward, but can turn sharply, accelerate quickly, and has a high top speed.  A character with many legs can run forward quickly or backward slowly, but turns slowly.  A flying character can move fast in any direction, but turns and accelerates slowly.  And so forth; I haven't decided on the final speeds of everything yet.

The movement type will dictate some other things about your race.  A multiped must have at least three legs (and is somewhat encouraged to pick an even number).  A slithering character must have a snake-like tail that slithers.  A flying character must have wings.  And so forth.

But that still leaves a lot of versatility.  And a lot of things could be tacked on to any race.  Want some horns, antennae, or a tail?  Want to wear a shell of some sort?  Have at it, and put them wherever you want; that's just cosmetic anyway.

Here, it's not a case of "you have to pick between these 40 races".  It's not even "here are the dozens or hundreds of art pieces that the game artists came up with and you have to choose combinations of them", as with many MMORPG character creators.  Rather, the character creator offers the various geometric shapes that I can draw and animate, as well as options to create textures to put on them, and you can put them wherever you want.

The plan is that a new race that a player creates would have to be approved before he could play it in the game, for several reasons.  For starters, given a chance to make a character that looks like whatever they want, some will try to create porn.  Some characters will simply look awful, or have various clipping issues or glitchy-looking animation, and I want to maintain some quality standards.  I'm not going to enforce artificial limitations in code if I don't have to, as people may well find creative ways to create cool-looking effects by unorthodox parameter choices such as making the "distance" of something negative.  Rather, it will be, you can try those parameters to see what it looks like, but if it looks broken, it's not going to be approved.  There will be a lot of tooltips to say the recommended ranges of various parameters.

There are also performance considerations.  If the game has to draw and animate 1000 separate surfaces to draw your character, that's going to kill everyone else's performance.  It is also essential to budget texture resolutions, as in, you can spend 10% of the pixels for your character on this texture, 5% of the pixels on that texture, and so forth.  The actual texture resolution will be chosen by the end user and scale everything up or down (based mostly on his video memory capacity, but also limited some by the CPU on dual-core processors), but that only works if the "base" texture resolution uses about the same number of pixels for each character.

  rojoArcueid

Elite Member

Joined: 8/13/09
Posts: 5342

"It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver". - Niccolo Machiavelli

10/21/13 5:46:13 PM#31

IMO instead of looking for brand new race ideas i would want to see a system similar to Dark Souls or even better  like Legacy of Kain. If you die you turn undead and keep playing in a realm of the dead, but you can resurrect and go back to the realm of the living.

The base is already there in some mmorpgs (WoW, TSW, etc) when you die you become a spirit and run to your corpse in a twisted version of the world. So it would not be hard to just add gameplay to it and make it a realm of the dead instead of running to the corpse to revive.

 

I think that would be much better than looking for new races, but many of the race ideas from the other users are nice too.

My endgame begins with character creation and ends with a new mmorpg

  5Luck

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/23/10
Posts: 171

10/22/13 5:43:10 PM#32

I have always felt the non humanoid playable race will always belong to the sci-fi genrea as with fantasy the hand and the handel is always the ever pressing limit leaving you with humanoid only design.

 

Think cyborg or bio-engineered replaceable limbs. When you stop using handles for your armaments and instead allow for socket attachable anything. From tank treads to many legged walking(robotic spider) to propeller like guinsue fan blades to rockets and even though it is sci-fi it could lean heavily on fantasy so its not like it wont be bio-engineered cybernetic type fleshyness meaning you dont need to exclude swords because of the metal frames for a robot. It can go just about anywhere.

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