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All Posts by MikeJT

All Posts by MikeJT

5 Pages « 1 2 3 4 5 »
83 posts found

It can't have been 18 GB.

But yeah my net connection isn't too bad compared. If you took 36 hours on your connection then I should take about 1.61 hours on my connection, which is about what it took.

Originally posted by seabass2003

31.29 mb/s, I don't know what that equals on your chart.

I agree with VV though, it's never fast enough.


 

1 mb/s is 1000 kbps, so you're getting about 31,290 kbps - so you would be in the >7001 kbps category. :-)

Lucky you.

One of the major concerns with MMORPG development is the bandwidth requirements that most people can actually handle.

Go to www.speedtest.net and find out your speed if you don't have a decent idea already.

The World of Warcraft FAQ (http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/faq/technology.html) states that the game requires a 56.6k modem or better to play.

With so many people moving to broadband connections, what can developers reasonable demand today as a bandwidth requirement without excluding too many people from playing their games?

Originally posted by Axehilt
Originally posted by Gyrus
Originally posted by thexrated
...

 Instancing is a cop out - easy way to address a more complex issue, but not a very good one in my opinion.

Instancing has its place but a look here gives this quote:
The problem can be stated as follows: everyone wants to be "The Hero" and slay "The Monster", rescue "The Princess" and obtain "The Magic Sword".

My suggestion to game designers would be consider saying "No."

Having done that, re-evaluate the problem and see if there is another solution. 


 

I wish that wiki article cited a damn source.  I've been looking for that Richard Garriott quote forever!

He's right on the money.   The more people sharing your game world with you, the harder it is for that game world to make you feel like the hero slaying the monster.  Instead you feel like a dude slaying a monster.

Since "heroic fantasy" is such a basic desire for people (I don't know anyone who grew up devoid of a hero they wanted to be like,) it thus makes sense to custom-craft games so that being a hero is what the game's all about -- or at least being in a group of heroes like the Fellowship of the Rings or the X-Men.  Thus a lot of games resort to instancing, and instancing isn't Pure Concentrated Evil™.

That said, not too far down the list of gamer demands is "immersive world", and instancing certainly hurts immersion a bit.

There are tricks to somewhat alleviate the issue (like WOW's phasing tech, which basically amounts to on-the-fly instancing) but inevitably if you can see more than just you and your party, you are less likely to feel like the hero.


 

Perhaps games need to start involving quests of truly epic proportions. You might not be the hero who slayed the monster, but you might be a part of the army that slayed the monster, or the army that defended the castle from the army of undead. You need to make sure that there is a truly epic and urgent task that is ongoing and allows players from all levels and from all classes and skill focuses to participate.

For example a blacksmith could work for ages producing swords and armour to equip an army, a healer would be occupied for ages healing all the warriors that are sent back from the front with major injuries. Warriors could be up the front fighting off the enemy whilst archers reign down a hail of arrows on the enemy. A fletcher could be producing arrows constantly and an engineer could be building and maintaining seige engines to reign down rocks and spears on the enemy.

You can't just do a WoW and say there's a force of good and a force of evil and they're at war with each other but have no front line and nothing that ever changes.

A truly persistant world with open PvP (or atleast faction vs faction PvP) would certainly keep players on their toes and involved in the war effort, and probably generate enough content all by itself.

What do most people think about when they hear the term MMORPG?

Most people think "World of Warcraft".

Currently, most MMORPG's are defined by a few things:

1. 3rd person view.

2. Essentially 'turn based' combat made to look 'real-time', which is often completely automated.

3. Alot of numbers (Damage: 6 - 12, alot of character and skill stat levels).

4. A series of pre-determined quests which make no difference to the game world.

 

So lets say that an MMORPG came out that had a first person view, a real-time combat system which totally involved the player and relied on both the players skill and their characters stats, a character system that simplified the numbers and hid them within the game mechanic, and totally dynamic quests and a dynamic persistant state gameworld.

If a survey asked people "do you plan on playing an MMORPG this year", how many people would think "World of Warcraft" and say no, even though there is an MMORPG out there that is completely different to WoW with the only similarities really being that it's online and supports thousands of players per server?

Is the MMORPG genre being held back because developers aren't willing to develop "MMORPGs" because alot of people don't want another WoW, but probably would play a game that operated on a completely different mechanic?

I think if they were going to make a truly massive game world they would need to release it in stages.

The first area might be as big as World of Warcraft's world, with tonnes of quests to participate in and plenty to do, and a decent reason for why you can't go into the other game world areas (perhaps there's military tensions between the areas with big blockades set up in choke points).

Then as the game goes along, they could release new areas of the game world. The reason for doing this is because having a massive game world on release is a big risk. You need to have alot of expense in programming and design and huge investment in server infrastructure for all players to be able to play all over the game world. Furthermore, you have the problem of having your starting subscribers being too spread out, so they won't get the whole MMO feel either.

By releasing the game region by region, you essentially limit your risk - if subscriber numbers are too low, you can hold off the release of the next region and focus your development on adding content to the first region. If subscriber numbers skyrocket, then you can focus development resources on perfecting the next section of the game for release. Staged release gives the developers inherent options that they otherwise wouldn't have, and those options increase the total worth of project, making it easier to attract investors.

Originally posted by BioNut
Originally posted by MikeJT

I think the main undertone of this thread on why people dislike instances are based on the fact that alot of people want a deeper experience from their MMORPG's.

They want their actions in the game world to mean something. Most MMORPG's haven't really managed to achieve meaning in gaming.

I think it might be rooted in a deeper desire to have a world to escape to which is not so mundane as our own, but at the same time, actually being able to create an impact.

For some, it might border on wanting an entire second virtual life. For others, its more experimentation and running through 'what if' scenarios. Then finally, for some it's just wanting the challenge of a world where anything goes, and where there are immense worlds to explore, exploit (as in exploiting natural resources, not exploiting gameplay mechanics!), and interact in.

Instancing ruins all of this. If we want our actions to have consequences, they can't be undone in 3 hours when an instance respawns.

 

The game you describe sounds awesome but it is just a dream. No MMO will ever be made that way. The technical limitations are only the tip of that iceberg. What about content? If there are no respawns the game world would be barren within a few days of play by even a mediocre player base. What would they do for the 2 years it takes for the wolves to go procreate in the woods? How would they feed themselves. If the wolves came back in a day that would be respawning and thus defeat the purpose of your game.

This idea IS possible in single player games and, in fact, there are a few out right now.

Basically we all have to remember that we are playing GAMES not real life similators. You have to check reality at the door when you log into an MMO and use a little imagination.

Even when playing a single player game you are not special. There is someone else in the world that has done the exact same thing you have, and probably did it better.

 


 

But you seem to think I want to go from one extreme to the other. One extreme is that animals respawn after being killed. The other extreme is that you have a fully simulated life-cycle of every animal there is.

In reality, wolves life from 6 to 10 years, are fully grown after 2 years, and mate annually. In game, you would probably just make them mate quarterly, grow to full size after 6 months, and live just as long. Requirements would be based on world size. If the world size is big enough, then to hunt down every single wolf there is would take an organised effort from players. Making the wolves smarter would mean that instead of fighting to the death constantly like they do in games like WoW, the wolves would turn and run if hurt and avoid humans unless really hungry.

Do you really want to play another game where you have to 'Kill 10 Wolves', 'Kill 10 Bandits', 'Kill 10 Wild Boars', 'Collect 10 Mandrake Root'?

Yes there is a place for that kind of activity in this more permanent game too. If wolve populations in an area are getting so high that they're attacking cattle, then the game would generate a quest and someone would say: "Hey the wolves are attacking my cattle alot, could you go out and kill 10 wolves? That should make them fearful enough to retreat from this area."

When you've gone and killed 10 wolves, all of a sudden you see an impact in the price of meat in the area because farmers aren't having to recoupe the cost of lost cattle on the meat they sell. If no one is willing to go out and kill those wolves, then all of a sudden you see the wolves are starting to attack human populations and farms go out of business and there's no meat on market at all.

You could even have to kill rabbits if they're populations are getting too large! Might not be the best challenge for a warrior but would be great target practice for an archer.

The key point is that the game world should be dynamic enough to generate its own content. The ebb and flow of the actions of thousands of individual AI's would create imbalances which the players would then be able to quest to correct. If things get 'too good' then the Game Masters need to throw an extra PvE challenge at the players to keep them interested. This could be something like a NPC deciding to become a necromancer and raising an army of undead. Or it could be that a drought makes an area totally desolate and people in that area are resulting to highway robbery.

So whilst yes, you are right, it would be a highly technical feat, I think the delivered product would be a world that people would really want to get involved in and keep on playing.

I think the main undertone of this thread on why people dislike instances are based on the fact that alot of people want a deeper experience from their MMORPG's.

They want their actions in the game world to mean something. Most MMORPG's haven't really managed to achieve meaning in gaming.

I think it might be rooted in a deeper desire to have a world to escape to which is not so mundane as our own, but at the same time, actually being able to create an impact.

For some, it might border on wanting an entire second virtual life. For others, its more experimentation and running through 'what if' scenarios. Then finally, for some it's just wanting the challenge of a world where anything goes, and where there are immense worlds to explore, exploit (as in exploiting natural resources, not exploiting gameplay mechanics!), and interact in.

Instancing ruins all of this. If we want our actions to have consequences, they can't be undone in 3 hours when an instance respawns.

Can anyone tell me how big the download is for Vanguard?

The minimum requirements state 20 GB of Hard-drive space, but that might included extras and doesn't include the fact that the download would be compressed.

Anyone know?

EDIT: Never mind I downloaded it anyway. Didn't take long so it can't be too big.

Define instancing.

Originally posted by MMO_Doubter
Originally posted by Miner-2049er

I see your point, and can understand why this is a solution. But I'd still prefer the developers to find an alternative.

Fishermen could buy a special bait that only lasts a given time (even when in inventory), forcing them to fish for a fixed time only. Otherwise a lake might require a daily license that is earned with a quest, or otherwise the lake owner attacks you with his dogs. Perhaps there is a boat that allows you to fish in the middle, but you have to pay a rental every 20 minutes. Maybe the best fish  attract mobs after you've fished them (increasing with number) forcing you to run back to town.

 

Those are some very creative ideas. You should be in the business.


 

Daily license to fish? He shouldnt' be in MMO design, he should be in government!

Originally posted by 1977

Nice post, Mike, but open worlds and dungeons and non-instanced content are not a limitation by any means today. Everquest had no instances I recall when I played, and it had a lot of people playing.  Rohan has no instances. Does it help bandwidth? I'm not sure, but probably so to a degree, but non-instanced worlds are no technical feat. I still personally think they do it to keep QQ factor lower because Group A is better than Group B and Group B can't ever get to Boss X because of Group A. So instead of Group B getting better and more skilled, they dumb it down another notch so Group B can eat their cheeseburgers and group hug on the way to Boss X. Just one more step in catering the game to single/multiplayer, dumbing the game down, and actually destroying any sense of massive-multi online. Your accomplishments mean less and less, and takes away from the drive to be any better, because its handed to you and waiting for you all day long whenever you feel like beating Boss X.


 

Having a non-instanced world is not a technical feat in itself. But having a continuous, believable, adaptable, non-instanced world that stays interesting for players is.

The way I see it, instancing is just a cheap way to get around a technical limitation that was present when earlier MMORPG's first came onto the market. It was almost impossible, at the time, to have a fully fluid game world.

Today, it still is, in a way, a limitation. By not using instances, bandwidth requirements for a game would be increased. This means that the minimum bandwidth requirements for a game would lessen the number of people who were able to play it, and increase costs for playing the game of people who aren't already on connections with sufficient bandwidth. It would make alot of people reconsider playing the game.

Instancing generates a problem in that it creates a seperate game world from which infinite resources can make their way into the main game world. This creates problems for the player economy.

The second issue, is that if you instance something, it basically means that your players actions don't mean a thing. You can go and kill the evil necromancer, but in 3 hours time he respawns and someone else can go and kill the evil necromancer. And then again and again. The actions become meaningless unless you think of the game as one big single player game and ignore what's going on in an area after you've left it.

There is no sense of achievement, no sense of urgency, no sense of community, and no sense of progression. You don't 'make the world a better place' through your actions (of if you decide to play the 'evil' team, no sense of succesfully destroying all that is good in the world).

At the end of the day, it just makes the game into a big chatroom with avatars and a match making service for a series of multiplayer levels that you can choose to play in. It also makes it difficult to be bothered playing alts after you've hit the end-game content, because you know that you will just be playing the same series of meaningless quests that don't actually alter the game world.

Creating a game world that can continue without instancing, would actually be a highly technical feat. It would need something to continue to drive conflict even after players have gone through an area and slaughtered every single animal, monster and bad guy in an area. Wolf populations would have to escape into dense forests where players can't be bothered going and then breed and recover before they move back into areas where players frequent more. An evil necromancer would have to arise out of the game worlds general population and start raising an army of undead in a dungeon somewhere as he perfercts his plan for world domination. The game world, in effect, needs to be able to recover from human interaction - something our own world has shown is extremely difficult.

Originally posted by Josher

 

A minigame that people are willing to do 1000s of times can work fine, as long as people actually think its fun and can't be macroed or hacked.  BUT, allow an auto-option that makes average versions of these craftables that bypass the minigame.  That way anyone can craft.  But if you want to craft the best versions of items, make them play the minigame.  Gives incentives without punishments, since this is a videogame afterall.


 

Well the way I was thinking is that if you had the option to hire NPC's to do certain work, you could always tell them to 'produce 100 sword blanks'. They would work the metal from it's raw state, into the basic form of a sword. This would take a while to do, but its only a basic skill, so your apprentice can do it for you. Once you have 100 sword blanks, you can then grab them and put the finishing detail on the swords to bring them up to the quality you want.

To support this idea, I was thinking that players should actually have to do progressively more complex things to level their blacksmithing skill.

That is, they couldn't just pump out 1000 "basic steel longswords". The "basic steel longsword" only requires a certain blacksmithing level to perfect. So once the player gets to that level, there is no benefit to making another 'basic steel longsword'. At that point, they can hand that work off to their NPC apprentice, and then take those 'basic steel longswords' and keep working on them to form 'quality steel longswords', then 'superior steel longswords', then 'master work steel longswords', then 'ultimate steel longswords'.

So whilst there is no 'auto-create' option, the player employing an NPC to pump out 50 'basic steel longswords' is basically equivalent to 'auto-create', because the player isn't forgoing any experience to create those 50 swords (because they've already mastered that skill level) and it even allows the player to go do something else whilst they're apprentice is producing swords for them.

The only thing forgone, is some profit on the swords made by the apprentice, because the player would then need to pay the apprentice for producing them instead of making the sword themselves and taking all the income from it's production. However, the peice-rate paid to the apprentice for each sword would be insignificant compared to the extra money received for a 'quality' steel longsword, meaning that the player would still be minimising opportunity cost and maximising revenues by focusing their time on higher quality items.

1) I prefer money to be involved, but I prefer to know my all in cost before I start.

2) I would like games with more severe penalties for death.

Just as a little addition, I was thinking that whilst you're producing something like a sword, it could have a 'flexibility' and a 'durability' meter, with different coloured dots depending on what you want out of the weapon.

So if you want a sword that has an extremely sharp edge and keeps its edge longer, but is prone to cracking, fracturing and snapping, you click the 'durability' dots. If you want a sword that doesn't keep its edge as long, and that will need sharpening more often, but isn't likely to snap in the middle of a battle, then you click the 'flexibility' dots.

Of course, if you take the time with the weapon, you can achieve both.

The type of blade you want will depend on the type of combat you plan on getting into. For example, if you know you're going to be fighting heavily armoured opponents, you will probably want a blade that is more flexible than durable. Loosing the sharp edge doesn't matter so much against armoured opponents. However if you're fighting light armoured opponents (or plan on killing someone in their sleep) then a sharper, more durable edge will be your choice.

Originally posted by Teala
Originally posted by MikeJT

I was thinking how could you make professions interesting in an MMORPG that is first person.

The way I thought about is making a little mini-game out of it.

Just say you were a blacksmith.

To make a sword you would need raw materials (an iron ingot), a pair of tongs to hold it with, a hammer, an anvil, a hot forge, and a sharpening stone, and maybe a file, depending on the item you would making.

You would equip the hammer in your dominant hand and the tongs in your off hand, then chuck the ignot into the forge to start it heating up. When it got to the right temperature, you would click the 'left hand' (alternate action) button to pick it up with the tongs, take it over to the anvil and click on the anvil to put it in position to start work.

Then the game would come up with a 'sword making' minigame overlay. You would select the item you want to make from the list, and then on the screen, dots would appear on the hot ingot. Your centre screen cross hair would turn into a circle, and you would click on the dots, and the hammer would fall on the dot, so long as the dot is within the circle. When you click on the dot, your circle would get smaller breifly and then return to normal size. As the peice of worked material gets longer, the dots are further apart and you have to aim for each dot independantly.

The further you get into the production of the item, the smaller the circles would get too, to reflect that the early shape of the blade is alot simpler.

As your blacksmithing skill increases, the size of your circle increases, the speed at which it recovers to normal size increases, and the amount it shrinks by with each strike reduces.

The more complex the items you're making, the smaller your circles will be.

So at lower levels, although you know 'how to make a sword', it is harder to rush through it. You can make a really hard to make sword, but your circle will be so small that it will take hours for the player to make it manually.

At higher levels, the circle would be so big that for simpler items, you could basically just sit there and click with only minor aiming.

With each progressive click, you would see the item start to shape, and could even interrupt production of an item and return to it later. Occasionally, you would have to return it to your forge to reheat it.

At certain stages of production, you could even change what you are making, if you're not too far into production. This means a player could prepare 50 'sword ingots', ready to be shaped into the sword type of someone elses choosing. They could even employ an apprentice (PC or NPC) to get the ingots to this stage, ready to be worked into swords.

Stats would also determine the size of the circles, and the amount of work done with each blow.

For example, in the early stages of forming the shape of the sword, strength will allow you to get the work done quicker. Bigger items with less fine details, like longswords, claymores, axes, warhammers would require more strength. But dexterity determines the size of your circles, so more complex weapons would be better left to a person with higher dexterity, because strength wouldn't matter so much.

Forges would have to be kept hot too. So the person producing would have to stop occasionally to refuel the forge and pump the bellows. Or they could have their apprentice pump their bellows instead, to keep the forge hot for multiple smiths.

If you lived next to a river, you could have a water wheel set up, hooked up to a drive shaft, gears, and a level system to automatically pump your bellows for you.

All trades in the game would be done like this, little minigames within the game, that other players can actually watch you do. They can watch as a lump of metal gets formed over time into a sword, or as a peice of stone gets cut from a quarry wall, or as a raw gem gets grinded, cut and polished into a beautiful gem, or even as someone mixes a potion.

Professions would be designed to be an interesting part in the game. If players are smart they can focus their skills on the highest level tasks and delegate the lower level tasks to lower level players or even NPCs. They could 'train' NPC's to do things.

This way, a player isn't spending all their time hammering out swords from an ingot. They get an apprentice to hammer the ingots to a certain point and then finish the product off themselves when it starts to get more complex, meaning it never gets to easy and it's still a challenge.


 

I love this ideal, but the time of making a piece would get old quick.   It is one thing to whack virtual moles, bu this is a little extreme.   Plus do you know how many different crafting versions you'd need to come up with?   How about a loom for weaving cloth?   What about a spinning wheel to make the thread?  Do we get to sheer the sheep to gather the wool that will be spun on the wheel that will be used in the loom?   What about leather working?   

If you could make a batch of items in one sitting.   Instead of making just one sword, you could make 5 or 10 without the need to make each one.  

This is really cool ideal though and I hope we see more of this kind of thing in future sandbox games, but it would definitely need refined so that it didn't become to tedious and repetitive.


 

Well like I said, the higher your skill in the profession the quicker you can make an item. If you want to punch out simple iron daggers it might take you 1 minute for a single dagger the first time you make one, but when your skill is high enough, you might be able to punch one out in 15 seconds.

The amount of time spent on each item would be up to the player. If they want to spend 15 seconds to punch out a single dagger, they're more than welcome to. But when they're at a higher level, it would probably be better for them to spend a whole minute and punch out a quality steel dagger. At the same time, someone at a lower level could spend a minute punching out a simple iron dagger, but if they want, they can spend 5 minutes making a quality steel dagger.

It's a way of balancing the economy too. You don't end up with thousands upon thousands of "+5 Steel Daggers", because it takes time for players to make them. If you want a +5 steel dagger, then you're going to have to pay a blacksmith a decent amount of money to get it. Chances are, you're not going to be able to buy a +5 steel dagger off a person who can punch one out in 15 seconds, because they'd rather spend their time punching out more complex items for people willing to pay even more than you are.

Originally posted by Bigdavo

I really like the idea OP, it actually makes crafting sound fun. Also you mentioned how stats are altered depending on your dexterity or strength, I also think the quality of an item should should differ depending on how well you hit the dots. For example if you take extra care you can potentially create a 'masterpiece' which could sell for a lot, or alternatively punch out heaps of easier-made items for a quick buck.


 

So maybe the longer you hold the circle over the dot, the smaller the circle gets, so you can 'focus' each blow of the hammer?

Yeah I like that idea.

One of the main reasons I don't like the craft systems in most MMORPGs is because it's completely automated. You become a spectator when your character starts making items.

That also means that people who are playing alts can use their mains wealth to purchase materials and then just click one button and walk away whilst their alt levels their blacksmithing skill to the cap. I think that's a little ridiculous.

I think the importance of letting lower level players make highly complex items if they take the time to do it is important. It means that lower level players can participate in the market for high-end goods, even if they can't make those items as fast as experienced professionals.

No I haven't played Vanguard. I'll have to check it out.

And yes I can understand how the visual representation would be difficult. The game would need literally thousands of intermediate models between raw material and finished product.

I don't think it would creat performance issues though, unless there was hundreds of people all working on swords in the same area (so the game would have to load multiple intermediate models).

Well the idea is based on a couple of simple principles.

Those include:

1. From even a lower level, a player should be able to make fairly complex items.

2. The more complex the item, the longer it takes to make.

3. Different things require different attribute strengths to make easily (eg. a fine sword requires more dexterity but a large, heavy sword requires more strength.

4. Time spent on an item will determine it's final production quality and attributes.

5. Some stages of production should be able to have multiple people working on the same item.

6. The production tools required to make a simple item should vary from those required to make a complex one.

7. The system should allow players to create 'production lines' with different people with different strengths working on the item at its different stages.

8. Player action is required for production, or, production is made quicker by player involvement (ie. you can click 'create all' and walk away, but it will be slower than the work of players that actually take the time to get involved.

9. The product a player starts isn't necessarily what they have to finish on.

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