|52 posts found|
OP 1/22/14 4:59:48 AM#1
TL;DR hack coder experimenting with game design, trying to do something innovative mixing archaic design concepts.
Greets to anyone who stumbles into this. I'm Ken (that's not important). I'm an idiot (that is important). And I'm going to take one last stab at rolling a decent game (that proves the idiot part).
Good news, I'm not the typical "I'm going to build an uber-fantastic game, except that I can't program, create art, and have only a weak understanding of the process".
I can hold my own on coding, and I can buy art plus do a bit myself. However, my understanding of the process is limited and I'm a really sucky project manager which has proven disasterous in the past.
Oh, and I'm funding this out of pocket, and doing all the work myself. (proves the idiot part even further)
My first game (defunct) was called RealmLords. In my creative genius, not to mention I already own the domain, I'm calling the new game RealmLords 2.
The concept of the game is based on "Content-Lite", which is a term I learned here on the forum. It means a game with no storyline driven tasks. People don't like it and few games use it, which are both significant factors in my fascination with it.
The theory goes like this:
People call storyline driven tasks by the name "content". In my thinking, content is something to do (activity). Storyline driven tasks provide activity, so they work. But they're getting tired. Also they are very expensive because they take huge amounts of man hours to create.
Years ago I played a game called Summoner which is an RPG. Summoner in SP mode was quite normal. What made the game odd is that in multiplayer, they completely gutted the storyline and the only activity was combat. The developer quote was that "multiplayer was unencumbered by storyline". It was just travel and hack and slash. Nothing else.
So I got to thinking about grind (as in Asian grinders where you kill mobs over and over to level) and Summoner multiplayer and old EverQuest and GW1's world design, and a foggy idea started to form. It sounded a lot like "Content-Lite".
I went with the foggy idea, added in a few sandbox progression features (RL2 is NOT a sandbox) and the idea got less foggy.
The concept and some design ideas are documented on this RealmLords 2 Blog.
No kickstarter, no huge plans, no delusions of grandeur. It's just an experiment that might have potential (assuming I'm lucky) to become an extremely minor niche game.
Feedback is welcomed, that's why I posted this here.
1/22/14 8:50:41 AM#2
I like your attitude and how you approach the big task.
Nice to see someone who is realistic about it for a change.
Your content-lite idea is quite interesting and I would certainly try such a game.
Yes, a main story line can be a really strong motivator and help immerse the player into game, invoke emotions, etc., etc., but I do agree this can be achieved by other means too.
I actually like not having specific story lines I have to follow and have the world tell me the "story" instead. You mention it would be a bit like a GW1+EQ hybrid setup, so you seem to be heading in the same direction. Your planned mission areas provide great opportunity to tell players about the world without having a rigid overarching story structure.
Do you plan the world to be dynamic in any way? That could add interesting ways to immerse the player and keep things fresh.
The skill based progression sounds interesting and you state in the blog you want to have a cap on the amount of skills people can train, sounds good to me.
For combat my personal taste is a more tactical approach rather than a purely quick-reaction-ftw based system.
Nothing against action combat, but I would like to see something that requires more tactics and has a battle-flow. Things like positioning (and I don't mean "red circle below your feet...dodge!"), tactical CC (not just "spam it when it's up"), peeling, pre-kiting, deep aggro management that isn't just "spam your taunts", damage skills being more diverse (each type having down and upsides against certain enemies/defensive spells) etc. are hard to find nowadays, especially in PvE.
Basically, I'd like to see more combat depth (which would also open up bigger encounters to being less rigidly scripted but still challenging and fun) and I would gladly sacrifice some twitch factor for it.
This is just personal taste though, not saying one approach is better than the other.
The public quest style mission areas are a fun approach. I don't like that they are gated and have to be unlocked in a specific order, but I understand why you would want it that way. (zerging too high areas for great rewards/gear comes to mind, but I think you can avoid those pitfalls without gating. You mention gear will be usable depending on having trained the appropiate skills anyway)
I wish you luck for the project, sounds really fun.
OP 1/22/14 5:20:29 PM#3
Originally posted by Gaendric
The way I approach combat complexity is that it should be optional in some cases, but a flat-out requirement in others.
Farming -5 levels (weaker than the character) shouldn't take all that much effort. I mean it's not an epic battle to slay wild boars for meat and leather.
Grouped battle +5 levels (tougher than the characters) should take significant effort, especially if the mob is an elite, mini-boss, or full boss. CC adds, aggro management, chase down runners, keep aggro off the healers, DPS coordinated on target order (not just spam damage on anything) are all aspects of old-style trinity combat.
By having both, the battles that are important are tough, the battles that are less significant are easy.
Flex classing and combat roles
I'm big on the idea that the flex-classing system will allow players to customize not only for roles, but off-roles as well. An off-heal caster could also be a buffer / de-buffer. I like melee DPS than can also off-tank in a pinch. Even things like having casters that serve as mana-batteries keeping healers regenerated. To me the more roles, the more interesting combat becomes. Trinity might be 3 roles now, but there are many more possibilities.
Flex-classing also helps make it possible for player to create survivability builds for soloing. I'm not anti-soloing. I solo quite a bit in my gaming. Being able to custom build ones own class for soloing is a bonus in my perspective.
So what combat style for RL2?
Complex roles and the related magic / skill systems sort of pressure the game towards 3rd person tab-target. In aimed combat with no sticky targets, buffs heals and CCs tend to be AOE, which seriously limits the usefulness. Unless I can figure out a great UI that makes targeting easy and still have FPS combat, I think there's little choice other than using sticky targeting.
I'm not thrilled with this. I like the Morrowind styled combat, but I can't see it working with any sort of in-depth trinity grouping.
Thanks for the feedback. As things progress feel free to jump in anytime with comments suggestions.
Hard Core Member
1/22/14 9:36:35 PM#4
Why does combat need to have any depth?
Essentially something like WoW adds depth to combat because they have a ton of heavy content to back it up and interact with combat complexity.
Since you're going very light on story/quests/similar you need to find a different reason to justify the time of producing complex combat mechanics. Especially when combat is really really hard to test and debug since nothing is syncrhronus or orderly about it. Every combination, in every order, with every time period between, and every possible state player could be in which gets into double+ exponential territory when it comes to testing.
You mention morrowind, and lets be honest it had very little depth in combat and was just a sub-problem/plot to get your objective.
You're also mentioning that you plan of having "grind" areas as a purposeful design, complex combat works against such designs. When players are playing grinders like Runescape, EvE's PvE, and similar they want to be free to have other windows open and talk to friends. Lets be honest if I'm going to kill something 50 times, I'm probably going to figure out the best way to kill it by the 10th time at the worst, With a complex combat system the last 40 times is just exhausting.
Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.
"There are still vast swaths of our planet's surface in which it's surprisingly easy to lose things. Even a ship the size of a large building." Richard Fisher
Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ArcheAge, and Combat Arms
1/22/14 10:22:12 PM#5
Originally posted by Gaendric
I'll second that. Good luck with the project and keep us posted!
There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
OP 1/23/14 12:21:53 AM#6
Originally posted by anemo
Great comment! I hadn't considered that.
Another area where it would conflict is hack-n-slash through missions to achieve tier progression. In one of the tablet games I'm playing, the combat is almost arcade like. It moves fast, isn't complex at all (weapon swings, a few potions every once in a while) and is nicely entertaining.
I'm not sure how a lighter combat system would affect boss mob fights. I'll have to ask around and look at how others would handle it.
I will definitely re-think this. Very helpful, thanks!
OP 1/23/14 12:32:57 AM#7
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Thanks both. Will do. For now sorting out contradictions. I think one of my most frequent mistakes is not having a solid plan before I start building. I don't think design and build at the same time is workable. It just ends up a confused mess.
I really don't want to do that again.
1/23/14 10:55:11 AM#8
At least you put humor into it. I was going to but it came out more slam dunking than anything. :(
P.S - Having a plan is good thing.
P.S.S - Oh and btw I can't allow you to be a bigger idiot than me.
OP 1/23/14 2:00:20 PM#9
Originally posted by ArChWind
Not to worry, there's plenty of room for idiots in the world.
It's asshats that have a population overflow.
So keep in mind this general rule:
It's okay to be an idiot, but don't be an asshat about it.
So is there a good hangout for MMO micro-devs? I miss MMORPGMaker.
1/23/14 3:14:33 PM#10
Originally posted by RealmLordsKen
Totally agree. I am guilty of this too, one of my most frequent mistakes. Always ends up costing more time than what it saves.
OP 1/23/14 5:01:44 PM#11
Originally posted by Gaendric
Been there. Part of this ties in with my second most frequent mistake.
Failing to clearly identify a target playerbase and understanding what they like.
The way I see it, despite the fact that players are different, they tend to clump together into categories based on what they like and dislike.
I'm of the opinion that with a bit of analysis, a category of players that is the target of the game could be identified. From there it would be relatively trivial to figure out what they like and work from there to include those features in the game.
You think I could do this??? *sigh* Nope.
Part of my problem with this is that I personally don't fit nicely into a category.
So where do I fit? I'm a casual carebear, non-raider, looking for a soloable or small group oriented PVE sandbox with lots of crafting and trinity combat.
Talk about niche!
My tastes in gameplay make it damned near impossible to design for others.
UGH. How do I work around this? (honest direct question)
1/23/14 5:19:43 PM#12
Originally posted by RealmLordsKen
I wish there was a good place to hangout Ken. After mmorpgmaker went down, I just kind of hung around here for awhile. I miss that board dearly.
I did hang around indie-resource.com for awhile but never got active. I am sort of active in the BWT forums although I was going to quit MMO making but the itch is to damn strong so I gotta scratch.
Keep up the posts and keep hammering at Realms. :) I thought it was really good myself.
I do apologize for being an ass to ya.
OP 1/23/14 5:34:06 PM#13
Originally posted by ArChWind
If there was something... No sweat, really. I have psych issues that interfere with how I think and communicate. I frustrate the shit out of others because I have trouble grasping broad concepts but am extremely good at fine detail.
This disorder could have been identified and treated when I was a kid, but it wasn't until I was into my 50s that it was figured out.
I've never been normal. Turns out it's genetic. At least now I know why.
Sorry for any issues from my end.
1/23/14 8:57:57 PM#14
Regarding your "second most frequent mistake", I agree that can be a tough nut to crack.
We mostly don't have enough data to know what kinds of ingame activities certain player types will like.
Sure there is some common sense in there that we can use, and we can assume many things, but we usually don't have much (if any) exact data as small/lonewolf devs.
What you listed as your playstyle isn't too "out there" in my opinion. If you are going more sandbox, then usual instanced raiding (which you don't like) wouldn't fit well anyway, and probably a lot of sandbox oriented people will see it the way you do.
"No story": Like I said before: I really think it could work well in a sandbox setting. (with your adventure areas)
You would lose a lot of potential player base if you don't have any PvP I guess, but there are games that pulled it off.
Most devs actually go too far in the opposite direction, they build a great sandbox and then say "sandbox needs FFA full loot! yeehaw!" and insta-kill a huge chunk of their potential playerbase with that decision :p
"No PUGs" is a just how you would play, isn't necessarily reflected in the game's design.
You don't need specific handholding tools in your type of game anyway. Did we have group-finders in vanilla DAoC? Nope. In EQ? Nope. And we still always had groups and a lot of fun. Yeah it will cost a few players to not have such tools, but what doesn't. Someone always hates what you decide.
I also don't see the trinity as a problem, especially with your oldschool "CC as one part" interpretation. It is a good system for structured challenging combat. The challenging part is to make aggro holding/tanking and healing fun and versatile, that's where many games drop the ball.
You don't have to aggressively sell it as "TRINITY based game!"
In any case, I don't see a big problem with it. Sure, it's not necessarily a typical sandbox style thing to have strict roles, but in the end, if it's fun, it's fun.
The other things you listed kinda fit nicely together.
Personally, I would love a game where you can really go exploring (please no minimap hehe) and that also has deep farming, resource gathering and crafting that aren't just tacked on side shows to the "main attraction" (combat)
In my dream game combat would be just one member in a big family. The challenge would be to make the other family members as fun, challenging and adrenaline pumping as combat is.
Then again, things like trading (several markets with own prices, fluctuating based on supply and demand, etc.) with having to securely transport goods (choosing the safest routes while keeping the needed time/distance in mind - eventually with timered requests from merchants, having to hire&manage protection, etc.) could be just as challenging, versatile and fun and a truely fullfilling main profession in itself. Same goes for crafting if it's not the typical "click a button and watch a progress bar" approach.
Most players will mix and match anyway, and if the skill caps are set well (so that you do have to specialize but can still be somewhat effective in secondary areas), it can be a really unique and fun system.
What you should try to do is to get a small community rolling as early as possible. That ensures you will get more feedback than you can shake a stick at, and it would be from people already interested in your game (added bonus of people who don't like your kind of game being filtered out from the getgo)
Direct feedback from (potential) players is always good, even if it's "bad" (as in negative). Anything is better than indifference.
You just have to filter out the noise. (but even the totally noisy ones mostly have truth to them that will help you shape the game)
I know, the last paragraph is kinda Cpt. Obvious, sorry for that. Don't mean it that way.
1/23/14 9:00:49 PM#15
I’m just going to throw it out for what is worth here and kind of my thoughts which get jumbled but I’ll try to keep it in a neat format.
I fall into about the same category as you here.
I use to be a very outgoing player and individual. Always in PUGS always running or in raids until one day I just wanted to be left to do exploration and adventure without the constant barrage of beating on mobs ever 10 steps and having to coordinate a massive scale war to get through an area. I guess my tastes in games had changed a little or maybe I’ve become so reclusive due to loss of hearing. I don’t know but It started happening in my mid 50s and now that I’m approaching 60 I just despise the form of game play which drives one in a rails direction.
I do like PvP but it leaves a lot to be desired if the world is just kill without some meaning. Darkfall just didn’t have it. EvE was to much spaceship for my tastes. In DAoC the exploration just wasn’t there because of the world size and the restraint of realm.
I love to craft stuff but I want it to be meaningful. Single player games just don’t have that part of the formula down due to not having a ecumenical reason or a demand. It’s kind of thrown in as a afterthought.
That leaves me little left in the MMO scene and hard time adjusting to Single player game play. I started making and using mods to enhance the experience which helped but the amount of time spent doing it I may as well just try my luck back in the MMO making end of it. In Single player games like Oblivion, Skyrim and the Open world exploration and relatively low number of mobs in the world and in dungeons allowed me a chance to actually explore. The missing part was PvP , ability to group some times and the crafting. I though maybe making a network game would be ideal but then there is times when I truly want epic battles between many opponents.
So how does one design around this?
It's a tough call.
I guess you should ask yourself "Do I plan to sell it or just play it?"
If you plan to just play it then design it around a new category you yourself define and hope it may eventually catch on enough that your ‘game’ will bring in like minded players OR design it around the existing systems and hate your own game.
OP 1/23/14 11:45:52 PM#16
Holy crap, great information. A lot to digest. It will take some time to organize my thinking to get it to make sense.
Asking what my intended goal is for the game is a great question. (key points yellow)
I want to push the envelope and produce something the market has never seen. Not necessarily something revolutionary, but something that gets the industry to say "Damn, that's an obvious win, and we're amazed that nobody has ever done it before". Design components need to fit together well, and the design and creation should feel cohesive so that there is nothing obvious that's missing, incomplete, or poorly done.
I don't care if it makes money, but if I do a good job it might. There's some really lame work out there that is making money. Surely I should be able to match or exceed these with a clever plan, some hard work, and a bit of luck.
Either way financial return is not a factor in this. I am far more motivated based on desire for self-respect of not having wasted 5 years with nothing to show for it.
I'm also not concerned if RL2 fits the definition of MMORPG from the classical sense (EQ or UO styles included). The reason for this is I don't want to be restricted by following the established norms. I can't push the envelope without breaking rules.
I'm not trying to create a game that is perfect for me. It doesn't have to be a win with all players, nor even most. But if I can pull off a "damn that's cool" even with a small niche, then the project is a win in my eyes.
Here's how I think I can win over a few players:
* since there are no levels
** I know casuals won't like these things, but I won't punish players by providing easy mode. My target is teens to adults, not 5 year olds.
No XP, no levels, no quest hubs, sandboxy character development, moderate crafting system, casual friendly combat in a game with no PVP. I would say that fits with "nobody has ever seen one like it".
Direct answer: I want to make something fun for others to play, that I'd also be okay playing, as long as it's cool enough that I have some self-respect for creating it.
Sorry this went long :-(
edit: cleaned up and highlighted key points.
1/23/14 11:48:35 PM#17
tagging so i can get involved when I have a bit more time
best of luck on the venture
OP 1/24/14 10:09:16 AM#18
Originally posted by Gaendric
1. I agree. Best guess is all I can hope for given lack of real data. Polls here on the forum are pretty helpful. Also the cliques that form of players of certain style games.
I'd break them down as:
I don't really know where RL2 fits with these people. Old schoolers, sort of sandboxy, sort of Action RPG?
2. If there is a fit for my preferred playstyle I think it's a mix of OldSchool themepark and PVE sandbox. I've had people tell me that the original SWG design would be a decent fit.
3. I've seen a bunch of player comments that sandbox without open-world FFA PVP isn't a sandbox. I can see their point, but for me it's a turn-off. I'd rather play a SP RPG than have to constantly watch over my shoulder fearing being ganked.
One advice suggested that since I don't PVP, I'm can't expect to design a good PVP system. A wise opinion as I see it.
4. In Pocket Legends (Android MMORPG) open world grouping is completely automatic, but there is no group leader. You get assigned into a group, and if you don't like it you leave and goto another. Weird system, but it works well. No problem finding groups, soloable if you can't, very few ass-hats.
5. Call me weird, but I like old style trinity, before the age of over-powered tanks, brain-dead easy DPS, and speed runs.
I break down trinity haters into 2 groups:
Funny, but in looking at it, I think they're the same people. :-)
Either way, I don't see trinity gameplay as a bad thing. I don't want to exclude trinity and go pure Zerg dungeon runs.
I think I'd like dungeons and class system to support both Zerg and Trinity.
6. Exploring, most definitely! I've never played anything with DEEP crafting / trading, so I'm weak on the potential designs.
Also, I expect to run into severe engine limitations on trading because a logged off player-character does not exist in the world. Not at all.
On the other side, I'm heading towards:
Even if it is still click-together crafting, the above list might be enough to make crafting hardcore (time sink requiring effort)
7. I suck at community management. I don't have a solution. I very much DO need feedback, and what you and others are providing is invaluable to me.
On the other side, I could have a playable pre-alpha in the matter of a few months. Servers are already setup and there's a lot of code already complete. If I could get that online I think I'd be in better position to start community work.
Hope my reply was worthy, and thanks... writing this has been a great help getting the RL2 idea a bit less foggy.
OP 1/24/14 10:58:47 AM#19
Originally posted by ArChWind
Originally posted by ArChWind
I'm a moderate TES fan. I'm a huge Morrowind fan and I liked in Oblivion. Skyrim didn't click with me. Not that it's bad, but I never got attached to it. I love the gameplay in TES. TES + group + crafting would kick butt.
Design your own category? I like it. I don't mind designing for others, but I could never design something that I'd hate.
OP 1/24/14 12:27:25 PM#20
This is what I have in mind for mission area progression.
Mission 01 starts the game, and on completion unlocks 3 above it.
Players can only travel to missions that they have unlocked. NPC at mission turn-in unlocks next mission in chain.
Each tier is harder than the one below it. Missions on the same tier are of equal difficulty.
Completing ALL of tier 1 (11, 12, 13) unlocks ALL of tier 2 (21, 22, 23, 24, 25)
... and so on. This might be less confusing for players.