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MMORPG Game Concepts  » I'd like to co-design a game...

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135 posts found
  neonaka

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/04/05
Posts: 808

12/12/13 11:01:24 AM#21
Originally posted by asmkm22
A lot of people think they can just "design" a game, and get other people to actually build it because they don't know how.  Are you one of those people?

I don't think the OP comes off that way, She made it pretty clear her limitations on what she could and couldn't do. She is a story writer and conceptual artist it sounds like, both of which have a spot on a games dev team but it takes a lot more than that to make a game. You will be hard pressed to find anyone who can do every aspect of game design solo. I know some exist, but very few.

  Yyrkoon_PoM

Novice Member

Joined: 9/27/12
Posts: 150

12/12/13 12:20:43 PM#22
The only advise I can offer is try and get a job in the industry, make friends, share ideas, learn the ins and outs of actually making a game from cradle to grave. Once you have a few years under your belt, try and convince some of your co-workers to do a game, then acquire capital (kickstarter, private loans, ...), and then finally build the game you want.
  sunandshadow

Elite Member

Joined: 12/05/13
Posts: 637

 
OP  12/12/13 5:03:35 PM#23
Originally posted by asmkm22
A lot of people think they can just "design" a game, and get other people to actually build it because they don't know how.  Are you one of those people?

Nope.

 

I agree with the point about the blood elves being the most attractive horde race in WoW.  I had a female tauren and a male blood elf as my main and secondary.  As far as being an animal in an MMO, I wouldn't personally want to be unable to craft because I had no hands.  Crafting is the single most important MMO element to me personally.  (Some less-realistic fantasy set-ups like My Little Pony would allow things to be crafted with no hands, but meh.)  I also wouldn't want to have to pick a single animal form to wear the whole time  But I've played two shapeshifter characters where combat happened mainly in one animal forms, travel happened in another animal form, but crafting and such happened in human-ish form, and that worked fine and was fun; my old concept Gimmie Those Wings was fundamentally a shapeshifter game (inspired by EVO before Spore use EVO as inspiration to go a different direction), while WildWright has optional customizations by which players can make themselves look more animalistic, as well as pet monsters.  I also played one pet-user character where one of my abilities was to "possess" the body of one of my pets, then do things using that animal form.

  Brabbit1987

Elite Member

Joined: 10/02/11
Posts: 683

12/12/13 6:06:03 PM#24

I have to point out the reason the blood elf is the most attractive looking race to you is because it is close to looking human.

Let me ask you this, why exactly are the orcs ugly? What if we where all born looking like orcs? Wouldn't we then find the Orcs to be attractive and the blood elves ugly?

It's just psychology, humans will always be attracted to other humans. Humans will always relate more to other humans.

 

Now this isn't to say we can't find any other race as attractive. We certainly can, but you have to keep in mind most people will always opt to choose human. This is based on many studies not only in games, but scientific studies as well, I only used WoW as an example. However, you can take a look and majority of games out there and you will have a higher percentage of human.

BTW ...

Sorry I am a bit of a science geek, I love my facts and information.

  sunandshadow

Elite Member

Joined: 12/05/13
Posts: 637

 
OP  12/12/13 9:00:35 PM#25
The blood elves are more attractive than the human or night elf races too.  In general the older race models didn't have the artistic quality that the newer ones do - blood elves are an expansion race.  But either way, my personal experience has been that humans (those playing a fantasy or science fiction game anyway) will always prefer humans+ to realistic humans.  By humans+ I mean they have some kind of exotic accessory.  (A similar phenomenon to how a human wearing lingerie is more interesting than the same human is naked.)  Wings, tails, horns, and animal ears or pointed elf ears seem to be the most popular kinds of accessory, though fangs are popular too, forehead or nose ridges ala Star Trek, and of course non-realistic hair colors and eye colors.  The teeth are actually one of the most attractive traits of the orcs; it's mainly their skin color, often dirty-looking hair, and racial reputation as being dumb that put people off.  But yeah the psychology of it is really interesting. :)
  ZombieKen

Novice Member

Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4410

Zombie - Dead but still moving.

12/12/13 10:01:01 PM#26

Jumping in and waving a hello to SunAndShadow.

 

I've read some of your stuff regarding design, and we think a lot alike.  Just touching base as this conversation is on the edge of a couple personal interests of mine.

 

I've done a bunch of private project MMO coding, based off the Torque engine(s) and an MMO framework that's just about completely dead (http://www.MMOWorkshop.com).  Although a few months off at a time, I'd say about 5 years total.

 

I had a fluke event happen that completely blew my focus.  In WAC alpha, a caster shot a fireball at another player (combat system was tab-target).  The fireball tracked through an NPC, hit it, and did damage to it.  This was NOT supposed to happen.  However it made me realize that the engine could be re-written so that aimed projectile spells could work.

 

My emotional reaction:  Holy-Shit... this could be reworked to play like Morrowind !!!

 

Well, it took me multiple failures and about 18 months work, but I got it running.

 

This left me with a few problems:

1.  Motivation is gone.  After 5 years, I'm TIRED of MMO coding.

2.  I'm disillusioned with the MMO community.  I'm disillusioned with MMO design trends.  I had become a grumpy old hater, but that faded and now I couldn't care less.

3.  I don't think Morrowind gameplay would adapt well to a traditional MMO framework.  I see more potential with a design like GuildWars1 and instancing solo and group coop, plus having an overland that's open world.  When I cancelled WAC, that was my plan, but I'm finding myself with a "why bother" attitude.


Oh well, pardon that this went long.  Just saying hello and telling my story.  I have video showing last progress, if you'd like to see it.  Shout if you do, or PM me and I'll send you a link.

 

----------------------------------------

 

Sample of an interior shader backed by C++ in the engine that I wrote doing relief mapping with baked in normals for individual light handling per vertex.  The shaping / shading you see is all fake.  The floors, walls, and ceiling are completely flat.

Although engines like Unreal do this well, pulling this off in Torque was a small miracle.

Same on terrain (similar shader, different C++ in the engine):

 

MSOTSG with PPE : Massively Single-player Online Task-driven Storyline Game with Purchasable Performance Enhancements *grin*

  neonaka

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/04/05
Posts: 808

12/13/13 2:22:43 AM#27
Zombie, I would be very interested in talking with you on it, as my motivation is still very much intact. Shoot me some links in PM, I will send you some contact info.
  ZombieKen

Novice Member

Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4410

Zombie - Dead but still moving.

12/13/13 11:41:15 AM#28
Originally posted by neonaka
Zombie, I would be very interested in talking with you on it, as my motivation is still very much intact. Shoot me some links in PM, I will send you some contact info.

 

PM sent.  Looking forward to hearing from you.

 

I'm hoping the OP and others don't vanish.  I'm curious to see what they have in mind in terms of design ideas.

 

I have no clue what level of involvement I'm interested in, or if it's even needed.   I've seen a couple start-ups talked about on the forum and none seem to materialize.  I'm game on kicking around some ideas and seeing what sort of skillsets turn up from the people involved.

 

MSOTSG with PPE : Massively Single-player Online Task-driven Storyline Game with Purchasable Performance Enhancements *grin*

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12278

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

12/13/13 12:13:36 PM#29
Call me crazy, but it seems like Zombie, neo and sun might be a great team to breathe life into that WnC project. Between the three of you, you've got a framework, ideas, some experience and talent.

"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

  ZombieKen

Novice Member

Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4410

Zombie - Dead but still moving.

12/13/13 2:27:21 PM#30
Originally posted by sunandshadow
The teeth are actually one of the most attractive traits of the orcs; it's mainly their skin color, often dirty-looking hair, and racial reputation as being dumb that put people off.  But yeah the psychology of it is really interesting. :)

 

Something I've chuckled at a few times is one of the WoW Orc Female emotes:

 

"Estrogen, what's that?  Can you eat it?"  :-)

 

Of all the WoW race / gender combinations (up to Burning Crusade), my least favorites are Orc Female, Dwarf Female, and Gnome Male (although he does make a cool Hipster looking mage).

 

I know people bust on Taurens and Dreanei for being heavily cartoonish, but personally I enjoy playing them.  Tauren lore, to me, just feels like it fits and it displaces any misgivings I'd have playing a cow-man.  Both Dreaneis I find adorable.  Modeling, voice acting, animation, and stylization are all, to me, extremely well done.  Same for both Blood Elfs.

 

@ Lok:  While I sort of agree, at this point I see myself as weak link in any chain.  Old, sick, and on psych meds isn't a great position to be in when technical reliability is crucial.  There's also a bunch of catch-22s.  For example I have 50+ CPUs of racked server farm, but since moving I can't get a fast connection out here in the middle of nowhere.  That sort of blows self-hosting, which is one advantage I used to have.

 

Still, no harm in talking, even if it never goes further I'm curious about people's ideas on design.

 

MSOTSG with PPE : Massively Single-player Online Task-driven Storyline Game with Purchasable Performance Enhancements *grin*

  Nevulus

Elite Member

Joined: 8/23/06
Posts: 1251

12/13/13 2:43:11 PM#31

Heya Zombie and everyone else.

I been checking up on this thread here and there, and I like where this is going.

 

Lil background: I recently retired from the Finance industry. I was lucky enough to do exceptionally well with my own private portfolio and decided to take a break and do what I love to do, programming without worrying about $$$$. I worked for a private equity firm prior to this year, specifically as a portfolio manager and finally as the resident tech analyst.

Even as a portfolio manager in finance I would code my own programs to track statistics and generally be more efficient, which led me to c#. 

I got my first break earlier this year and have been outsourced to do GUI elements for a few projects. I've seen MMO projects come and go, and luckily dodged the bullet, since most of those projects ended up dying and the people on it never paid for their work.

 

Since then I've become a bit jaded myself. Making a MMO is a monumental project. I always advise people to start off small. Working in the gaming industry truly is a labor of love, because you will NOT get rich from it, despite the few anomalies.

 

My general expertise is in c#, and lately I've been utilizing the Unity Pro engine since most of the projects I've picked up use that engine. If you guys need any assistance, or just a fresh pair of eyes you can always send me a msg.

 

To the OP: From my limited experience so far in the industry I can tell you this much, if you are passionate about game design, I recommend learning to code and/or 3D modeling.

All of the successful game designers that I've met have a background in programming and 3D modeling. It is important because it allows them to design a game while knowing the limitations on both the hardware and the code. This saves them countless hours on ideas that will not work due to the limitations imposed by hardware. This also gives them an idea on how long certain tasks will take, and time management is the most important skill when it comes to the business of game development. Explaining why is beyond the scope of this topic, just take my word for it.

  sunandshadow

Elite Member

Joined: 12/05/13
Posts: 637

 
OP  12/13/13 5:30:07 PM#32
Originally posted by ZombieKen

I'm hoping the OP and others don't vanish.  I'm curious to see what they have in mind in terms of design ideas.

I've been a moderator over at gamedev.net (specifically of the writing forum) for more than 10 years, so if at any point it's necessary to track me down, just try over there.

If you could ask some more specific questions about design ideas, that would help me answer you. :)  I was focusing more on the "we need a leader/team manager" problem, since that would have a big impact on who has veto power over design ideas.  It makes a mess to generate a lot of ideas unless someone is in charge of saying "this goes in, this doesn't fit, that should be brainstormed to find a better variant".  It's bad to have the same person (i.e. me) in the position of both idea generator and idea vetter because then they are kind of like a dictator, even if they don't want to be pushy and would prefer to combine their ideas with others' ideas.

  sunandshadow

Elite Member

Joined: 12/05/13
Posts: 637

 
OP  12/13/13 6:29:14 PM#33
Originally posted by Nevulus

To the OP: From my limited experience so far in the industry I can tell you this much, if you are passionate about game design, I recommend learning to code and/or 3D modeling.

All of the successful game designers that I've met have a background in programming and 3D modeling. It is important because it allows them to design a game while knowing the limitations on both the hardware and the code. This saves them countless hours on ideas that will not work due to the limitations imposed by hardware. This also gives them an idea on how long certain tasks will take, and time management is the most important skill when it comes to the business of game development. Explaining why is beyond the scope of this topic, just take my word for it.

I do actually believe that, but on the other hand I have to be practical about the limitations of my abilities and motivation.  When I was in college I had both an intro to c++ course and a 3D modeling art course (think the software they used was Studio Pro?)  I passed both courses, but it was so obvious that I wasn't clicking with either of them the way some of the other students were.  2D art is an example of a topic are where I actually put a ton of time into an art I don't have much native ability at - the end result is that I'm an artist whose work is never going to be quite professional quality, I get burned out easily if I try to put too many hours into art per week because I don't have that inner wellspring of desire to draw that some people seem to have, and I have some lingering trauma from verbally-abusive critique.  I don't want to throw myself into a similar hugely time-consuming and ultimately dissatisfying learning process.

I'd really rather build on what I know to be my strengths - I'm damn good at writing documentation, which is actually a skill important to development that it's hard to find among indie gamedevs.  I make flowcharts, I do research, I make lists for others to use as references and forms for others to use to communicate their ideas to each other in an organized and standardized way, I manage surveys and voting processes... useful things that a lot of other people hate doing.  I use a narrative style illustrated with concept art to help project members envision what it will be like inside a game.  I'm good at writing "assignments" breaking down a huge amount of needed assets into bite-size tasks a staff artist or writer or musician can do one at a time.  I'm also really good at collecting ideas and individual pieces of writing and art from different people and editing them together into a coherent whole.  I love creating systems and patterns, outlines and concepts; creating structure for other more detail-oriented people to fill in.

  Nevulus

Elite Member

Joined: 8/23/06
Posts: 1251

12/13/13 6:48:54 PM#34
Originally posted by sunandshadow

I do actually believe that, but on the other hand I have to be practical about the limitations of my abilities and motivation.  When I was in college I had both an intro to c++ course and a 3D modeling art course (think the software they used was Studio Pro?)  I passed both courses, but it was so obvious that I wasn't clicking with either of them the way some of the other students were.  2D art is an example of a topic are where I actually put a ton of time into an art I don't have much native ability at - the end result is that I'm an artist whose work is never going to be quite professional quality, I get burned out easily if I try to put too many hours into art per week because I don't have that inner wellspring of desire to draw that some people seem to have, and I have some lingering trauma from verbally-abusive critique.  I don't want to throw myself into a similar hugely time-consuming and ultimately dissatisfying learning process.

I'd really rather build on what I know to be my strengths - I'm damn good at writing documentation, which is actually a skill important to development that it's hard to find among indie gamedevs.  I make flowcharts, I do research, I make lists for others to use as references and forms for others to use to communicate their ideas to each other in an organized and standardized way, I manage surveys and voting processes... useful things that a lot of other people hate doing.  I use a narrative style illustrated with concept art to help project members envision what it will be like inside a game.  I'm good at writing "assignments" breaking down a huge amount of needed assets into bite-size tasks a staff artist or writer or musician can do one at a time.  I'm also really good at collecting ideas and individual pieces of writing and art from different people and editing them together into a coherent whole.  I love creating systems and patterns, outlines and concepts; creating structure for other more detail-oriented people to fill in.

That's just it, you don't have to be an expert at it, just understand the concept as it pertains to your field of specialty. I'll provide an example:

The last project I was involved in was a mobile rpg, target system was iOS. The game designer was a brilliant guy with a lot of great ideas and an amazing story that started out as an interactive book. He was no programming expert but he knew enough to understand that we were going to utilize an atlas for texturing the game, so we would be limited on world environments.

So when he began his concept art for the game, he paid particular attention to that specific detail and reused texture ideas in different home towns of various races in a way that you wouldn't even notice it. He even went as far as to know to instruct the world artist that the dev team will be using custom shaders in order to add variety to certain textures via code while reusing the same texture atlas. It was pretty slick.

  Psion33

Novice Member

Joined: 8/06/13
Posts: 257

12/13/13 7:11:00 PM#35
I started coding an MMO in XNA about 3 months ago. It's fun stuff. :-)

  Brabbit1987

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Joined: 10/02/11
Posts: 683

12/13/13 7:49:10 PM#36

Well if we can all really join together and make a team ... I am game. Pun intended. XD

It would actually put my game design skills to use. It's been a while since I was part of a project.

  zasten

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Joined: 5/01/13
Posts: 287

12/13/13 8:02:06 PM#37
Count me in if You get it going!
  ZombieKen

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Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4410

Zombie - Dead but still moving.

12/14/13 1:27:10 AM#38
Originally posted by sunandshadow
Originally posted by ZombieKen

I'm hoping the OP and others don't vanish.  I'm curious to see what they have in mind in terms of design ideas.

I've been a moderator over at gamedev.net (specifically of the writing forum) for more than 10 years, so if at any point it's necessary to track me down, just try over there.

If you could ask some more specific questions about design ideas, that would help me answer you. :)

 

Sure thing.  Can we touch on layers of design?

 

My perspective on design is that there are multiple layers, roughly in order from top down:

Framework - general MMORPG structure that could be used for any game.

Game specific concept - game specific design from an overview perspective (zombie shooter vs. low fantasy RPG)

General structure - implementation of concept in both art and mechanics.

Specific mechanics - specific mechanical details (how is death handled, how is combat math calculated, etc)

 

I have two questions, both regarding one aspect of MMORPG framework design:

 

Given that a themepark MMORPG is based on vertical progression, and given that players start at the beginning and work their way to the end of level-gated content, the pattern emerges where the game becomes top heavy with the majority of players playing characters at top-level.  It is not atypical for games to have 75% or more player characters at the top level.  This leaves low and mid-level areas mostly empty.

 

Typical complaints / comments about top-heavy syndrome:

The leveling areas are dead, and leveling gameplay feels like a single player game.

The leveling process is just a tutorial, since the real game starts at level-cap.

I want to play with my friends, and I cannot since they are all high level and I'm just starting.

 

1. How could the MMORPG framework be redesigned so that either A) the top-heavy syndrome is avoided, or B) the top-heavy syndrome becomes less of a problem (avoid symptoms)?

 

2. Is it financially appropriate to spend a large portion of a game's budget creating low and mid-level content, only to have these areas become nearly empty in the matter of a few months after release?

 

These probably are odd questions to ask, but since you have a clear interest in design I'm curious about your perspective.  My gut feeling is that themepark MMORPG frameworks are flawed*.  I'm hoping you can share your thoughts on these.

 

* lack of longevity, lack of freedom, lack of player interaction, top-heavy syndrome, every character as "hero", etc.

MSOTSG with PPE : Massively Single-player Online Task-driven Storyline Game with Purchasable Performance Enhancements *grin*

  ZombieKen

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Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4410

Zombie - Dead but still moving.

12/14/13 12:12:40 PM#39
Originally posted by Psion33
I started coding an MMO in XNA about 3 months ago. It's fun stuff. :-)

 

What are your thoughts on XNA?  I know nothing about it.

MSOTSG with PPE : Massively Single-player Online Task-driven Storyline Game with Purchasable Performance Enhancements *grin*

  ZombieKen

Novice Member

Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4410

Zombie - Dead but still moving.

12/14/13 12:20:02 PM#40
Originally posted by sunandshadow
Originally posted by Nevulus

To the OP: From my limited experience so far...

I do actually believe that...

 

I don't want to throw myself into a similar hugely time-consuming and ultimately dissatisfying learning process.

 

That got a laugh.  What a great description!  Been there.

 

MSOTSG with PPE : Massively Single-player Online Task-driven Storyline Game with Purchasable Performance Enhancements *grin*

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