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All Posts by merieke82

All Posts by merieke82

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155 posts found
Originally posted by Quizzical

The problem is that game design is fundamentally about filling in details, not just painting things in broad strokes.

For example, lately I've been working on procedurally generated animations and wanted every foot to go down on the ground even on sloped terrain, rather than standing in the air or poking through the ground as will happen in most games.  But that, as stated, is really just a vague goal.  Until I have explicit formulas to say exactly where every foot of every possible character ought to go in every possible circumstance, as well as where every component of every leg ought to go, I don't really have much on this "idea".

And there are a lot of circumstances, too:  what if a character is standing still versus running, or accelerating or slowing down, or starting to move from a dead stop, or turning or strafing?  And that is to say nothing of all possible terrain that a character could stand on, which must have an enormous effect if the character is to stand on the ground and be able to run up and down slopes or along the sides of them.  And I need not just positions, but also orientations of everything.

And that's when trying to fill in details on "characters' legs should move when they run", which is already much lower level than most of what you're talking about.

That makes perfect sense. It would be nonsensical to hand my list of ideas to a programmer and say now start programming. I'm a programmer by trade and know exactly what that feels like ;)

That's also why I tried to clarify that these are simply thoughts about some game mechanics, which if implemented in a sensible fashion could result in a fresh take on an MMO that I would personally find interesting.

I'm also an implementation project manager so if I was actually in the business of trying to implement a game based on my ideas it would involve something along the lines of:

  1. Vision document outlining overall gameplay, target market, financial probabilities, potential vendor relationships, staffing requirements, hardware and infrastructure analysis
  2. A project plan outlining the timeframe with specific iterations of development
  3. A gameplay design document - Which explains in detail how the mechanics are intended to function (I think this is where you are going)
  4. Programming guidelines document, asset creation guidelines, integration procedures, testing cadence
  5. A hundred other things :)
  6. And then once the above is complete start to look for funding sources

In your example of solving for a complex, dynamic model animation you're the visionary and coder rolled into one. You're already in the process of implementation and suspect you already have a broader sense of what your application's purpose is and how this particular mechanic is meant to enhance it. You had an idea and because you believe it's important you're pursuing a solution for it. It's not very different from where I'm coming from ... you just happen to be at a different stage in the development cycle.

The opening post is somewhere around less than a fraction of a percent of just the first heading under bullet 1 above. I'm just sharing for fun in the hope that someday an MMO might be created with some portion of the ideas presented :)

Originally posted by Helleri

...Massive single server over worlds (and especially if you want any level of truly dynamic content).

 

Thanks for the input. I clarified in the prior post regarding the server architecture but wanted to respond to this comment as well. I didn't mean to give an impression of "dynamic content" in the sense that the entire world can change and needs to be constantly transmitted to all users. Content within each unique instance would be dynamic for the users participating there. The paid gamemasters would also have the flexibility to insert larger scale world-wide content that could insert another level of dynamism.

Hope that helps clarify and limit the scope of what I'm talking about.

Originally posted by Quizzical

I think he means single server more in the sense if "you don't get asked at character creation which server you want to play on", and not "there's only one physical box that must house all server components for the entire game".  A lot of instancing will especially help to spread a single game world among many physical servers.

A lot of the sandboxish stuff strikes me as too vague to be particularly meaningful.  You could make a great game consistent with the stated design, but you could also make an awful one--and awful for reasons of game design, not just buggy.

 

Correct. I'm referring to single server design that is backed by a cluster of servers. Some games have called it sharding and others channels. It's not a new concept but the approach of having a lot of gameplay executed from within a world map (where you don't actively see a lot of players running around) that quickly integrates into an instance per encounter shouldn't be drastically different in terms of server CPU time and bandwidth than other MMO implementations.

Clearly I'm not a network engineer and can't speak to server architecture but I specifically proposed a massively instanced world because I believe it scales the most dynamically and the world map design helps facilitate a less jarring, immersion breaking experience.

You're also correct in that many of the gameplay mechanics are vague. Certainly you could make a good or bad game from any concept document (the proof is in the implementation). I wasn't really going for a "sandbox" in the loosely traditional sense of the word because a massively instanced world wouldn't deliver what many people expect when they hear the word sandbox. The core design is focused on unpredictable adventure and territory control.

I appreciate the feedback though and am also curious in what ways you could see some of the basic gameplay elements expanded.

I've been theorizing an MMO design that I would find fun to play. It may not be what you're looking for but I thought I'd jot down my notes in the case that it sparks interest from others. It's clearly not a polished design document, but I've attempted to outline some gameplay mechanics and provide context around the goal of certain systems. The design attempts to bring forth something fresh, if not at the individual system level, than at least in its entirety. I look forward to hearing your feedback and ways in which you would improve further upon the design.

 

Summary- The MMO is a low fantasy, single server, open world with meaningful, fun encounters and adventure where there are no right decisions or standard paths.

The absence of classes and levels will be replaced with player driven goals and progression. Gameplay will include an overland map, instanced zones from the overland map, non instanced large city zones, tactical view of the overland map for conducting warfare, as well as customized interfaces that facilitate actions a player may take (ie. hunting for deer in an instanced zone using real physics, thievery that requires timing, positioning, and escape strategies, magic that requires finding lore and correctly compiling it to make use of spells). Player skill will be relevant in that your progression path will not be easy to Google. A skill system will exist that contributes to your level of success conducting actions but will not be the primary driving factor.

 

World Architecture - Single server design with an overland map where players can travel in a similar vein to Mount and Blade / Fallout 1. Your traveling speed will vary depending on your party size, equipment, and navigation skill. While in transit you will face both player-based and environment-based encounters, the likelihood of which depends on the skills of you or your party. During an encounter the player/party is brought into an instanced map representative of the area in which the encounter occurs. While sandbox users often despise the concept of instances the design being proposed here is intended to be built in a way that allows for fast loading (preloaded textures, low system requirements). Fast loading means minimizing the break of immersion and allow for interesting mechanics to occur in the zone (ie. physics, ability to conduct negotiations without random player interference, ability to design escape options that would allow you to the exit the map and possibly avoid a hostile encounter ... though they could track you back down with good use of their tracking skill)

 

Additionally, the single server, instanced design also means that it's easier to manage and control population spikes. This is part of the long term strategy of being able to accommodate and be financially successful with millions of players or only a few hundred thousand. While player retention is controlled solely by the success of the gameplay this design encourages returning players to come back knowing that their server is "not dead." (Non instanced design is great too and if the technology existed that would allow the gameplay mechanics to work I'd be all for it)

 

"Living Story" - There will be a handful of employees who will be paid to play the game. They will have the ability to put custom encounters on the overland map, take over control of NPCs, and generally help drive an overarching living story created by the content team. Specific guidelines will be needed in terms of how much power they have, but the goal is that they will have the power to allow stories to unfold without having predefined conditions and mechanics behind them. There will be no appeal process if your encounter did not turn out the way you hoped. This will be a "live with it world" where no single encounter is going to make or break your overall enjoyment.

 

The premise is that players will have fun experiencing the world. There will be no aimlessly wandering npcs (if you encounter hostile npcs expect a fast paced engagement that you would get in a multiplayer FPS). There will be no farming mobs (you won't be carrying around 30 swords ... you'll be happy if you survived your encounter and are able to grab a few coins). You won't be going to wikis to learn how to defeat a boss or where to farm materials. The UI will be minimalistic (no need for a minimap, no need for an onscreen quest tracker). There will not be NPC voice-overs. Your action/skill bar will be minimal and won't center around your combat actions, buffs, debuffs, etc. but around things you would do in support of combat, crafting, or general city loitering (combat stance, resting, focus, examine for weaknesses, guard your coin purse at the cost of slower movement speed, slink into the shadows and become harder to see). I'm leaning toward first person view you only with the option for a pan camera if you really want to see yourself.

 

Progression - While the game will not impose a leveling ladder to climb, players will find themselves wanting to progress by setting personal goals. Here are some example paths that someone might take:

1) I want a sword

2) I want to train with a sword

3) I want to group with a caravaning merchant and get paid for protecting the caravan from encounters (note that not all encounters will require combat, ie. a persuasive character might be able to buy off bandits, a thief may be able to avoid an ambush)

4) I want to perfect my swordsmanship and compete against others in the arena

5) I want to enlist in a military campaign

6) I want to purchase a home

7) I want to contribute to my kingdom's advancement

8) I want to explore the world, building wealth and reputation

 

1) I want a wagon

2) I want to purchase goods and transport them to another city for resale

3) I want to accumulate wealth so that I can hire protection and other traveling companions to reduce encounter risk or maximize gain from positive encounters

4) I want to build my own shop (with an NPC staff that can be controlled to buy/sell goods)

5) I want to purchase a home

6) I want to contribute to my kingdom's advancement

7) I want to explore the world, building wealth and reputation

 

Other progression paths might include: becoming a hunter, becoming a bandit (setting up ambushes on the player map), becoming enforcement (to counter bandits), becoming a mage, becoming a tactician for kingdom warfare, becoming a thief, becoming a spy (who can easily traverse the world map and collect information, becoming a treasure hunter, becoming any number of crafting disciplines, etc.

 

Offline progression - Depending on your skill sets and reputation you will be able to select occupations for yourself while you are offline. Offline advancement will help provide marginal increases to your wealth and reputation. If you become a sellsword for a bandit company other players could actually see you during an encounter being controlled as an NPC and may place a bounty or react to you personally based on that encounter later.

 

Communication - Global, local, area chats do not exist. You can communicate with players only in your local area with a slightly extended radius for those you've chosen to party with. A friend system will exist that will allow you to see if your friends are online and their approximate location. Powerful mages will be allowed to bond characters which will allow them to communicate with each other over long distances. While this may seem off putting at first it has several advantages in promoting an immersive world:

1) Eliminates gold chat spam, "Barrens" chat

2) Opens up avenues for mages to faciliate communication

3) Promotes working with those around you and building a positive reputation (or negative if you prefer)

 

Encounters - The overland map encounter system has been covered in prior sections. Here are some examples of what encounters might include:

1) Bandit Ambush - A computer or player controlled ambush point on the map. The bandit leader can spot approaching parties based on his spotting / ambush skills and decide whether to initiate an ambush. The traveling party may also have someone with a scouting skill that helps them see nearby ambush points on the map and help navigate to avoid them.

2) Sickness / Weather - The fortitude of a player could come into question depending on how long he/she has been traveling. Foraging and medicine skills would be useful. In rare cases severe weather may force an encounter that requires camping / survival skills to avoid health or speed traveling penalties.

3) Roaming monsters - I had envisioned a low fantasy world, but I suspect that most people would appreciate monster encounters. I expect these to be brutal encounters with fast moving, high damage dealing creatures.

4) Exploration mode - While in exploration mode you increase your ability to locate areas on the map where you may find points of interest that contain treasure, lore (for magic), npcs to rescue, or uncover static 

5) Scouting mode - Gain more visibility of other players who are moving near you on the map

6) Hunting mode - Search for wild game and when encountered hunt it using stealth and physics

 

Economy - Equipment won't have significant bonuses. A stab or two from any sword will kill just about anyone. The quality of the sword will marginally improve it's speed and grant higher reputation to the wielder. Equipment will decay over time which can be offset by repairs and maintenance. Hidden bonuses will exist on some equipment that has existed for long periods of time (which can be seen and revealed by a mage). This will promote the existence of "legendary" weapons over time. Nothing will be bound to characters. Unused items will decay over time and require repairs. Characters themselves will not be able to carry large quantities of items at any given time. Some free storage will be given to those who own their own house. Other storage can be rented and charged monthly in game gold based on the quality and quantity of items being stored. The thievery skill can be used to infiltrate and burglarize houses. Paid storage facilities will be burglar proof.I'm still considering mechanics surrounding inflation and potentially pre-seeding the world with a finite number of gold pieces.

 

Crafting / Gathering - I don't have much to share here. A refined/polished version of the Mortal Online crafting system would be awesome though. I know some will argue this design, but I think if the MO system was more polished it would shine.

 

Magic - Magic will exist but in a low-fantasy format. Magic as used in combat will be look more like low level, old school D&D design where you have a limited number of spells to use for your encounter but which could drastically impact the outcome. Magic will also play a significant role in identifying and revealing equipment bonuses, and facilitating communication and transportation. Players that focus solely on magic may become extremely frail during combat encounters but hold immense power on the overland map, with the ability to control weather, turn a party invisible, or influence tactical kingdom warfare.

 

Combat - Since combat occurs in instances it will be brutal and fast paced once engaged. Mount and Blade and other online multiplayer fantasy games come to mind here. However, I fully intend for the need to size up your opponents and ensure that you enter an appropriate stance before engaging. Parrying and blocking will be relevant and important since it will only take a few cuts to take a player down. Being defeated typically means becoming unconscious for the remainder of the fight and depending on who else you partied with they may be able to bring you back for the remainder of the journey.

 

Warfare - I'm hesitant to call this the end game but since the wealthiest and most influential will impact kingdom warfare many players will call this the end game. An undetermined number of factions will exist on the overland map and at any time may be at peace or war with another faction. Being in a state of peace could be anything from nothing to increased trade revenue from traveling merchants. Being at war means armies moving across the overland map and attempting to gain control of territory for their kingdom. Some players may choose to enlist in the moving army, others may take up the tactician skill and attempt to influence the decisions that the NPC King is making regarding movements and locations of the army. Successful military campaigns will be long affairs that result in wealth and reputation for you and your kingdom. Potential exists for politically or militarily involved players to rise to status of King and replace the default NPC King. Succession will be an important factor as kingdom unrest will increase the longer any given player remains the King, exposing vulnerabilities and decreasing army effectiveness.

 

Closing thoughts - As I mentioned this is a far cry from a finalized design document and it only highlights some proposed game mechanics and how they might tie together. The mechanics are intended to promote a variety of gameplay for both solo and group based play and allow players to build reputation across the world. Players should become less focused on gearing up and more about enjoying the types of gameplay that are available (and excelling at them).

Originally posted by Adrazahn

The screwed up signup is easy to explain. SOE does multiple beta's, so they create one beta signup app that's configurable rather than create a new web app and database every time. This means you configure a new beta each time, with things like signup and confirmation text, start and end dates, etc. 

 

Someone was configuring this for EQ Next and EQ Next: Landmark (whatever that is). The config isn't tested or even complete. They likely copied a previous beta (Heart of Fear) as starting point. However, someone out there took the URL from a previous beta, updated the betaId URL parameter to 17 and then 18, and presto, there's the EQN and EQN: Landmark beta signups. Available before anyone at SOE intended. 

 

I work with highly configurable enterprise software for a living. I'm pretty sure this is what happened. 

 

The confirmation emails are clearly incomplete. The signup text may not have been vetted, so I wouldn't take the mention of it being a "hardcore mmo" as anything official yet. The end date of 12/31/2013 - who knows. I would think that's more like a rough approximation of the end of the beta period rather than the start. They may be expecting beta to end around that time and will allow signups at any point. Then again maybe it's a temporary date the arbitrarily picked. 

 

 

 

 

Makes me wonder what beta 17 was supposed to be. Beta 16 appears to have been Dragon's Prophet, then 17 seems to be nothing, then 18 for EQN.

Since we're talking enterprise software here you wouldn't normally expect a number to be skipped. We can assume that 17 has been reserved for something else.

For those not following along we're looking at the image image URLs from the signup page --> https://account.station.sony.com/themes/base/images/betas/18_topImage.png

You can change 18 to other numbers and back into old betas .... the oldest one I can get to is https://account.station.sony.com/themes/base/images/betas/10_topImage.png

After that I can't figure out the naming convention for the pre 10 URLs.

Anyway, none of this matters, but enjoy nonetheless.

Since the BS level is per account instead of per character won't most people cap off their own BS fairly easy?

It seems much more convenient to just level up your own.

 

Edit: Forgot to mention that in the Beta I had my BS able to create items that I was way too low a level to even use. Not sure if the same will happen on release.

I had a similar experience as the OP.

I tried every class both in PvE and PvP and noticed that there was an ability delay. There was a .5-.75 second delay before instants would fire or a channeled ability would start.

After practice you sort of just account for it and it doesn't become a big deal. I'm still not entirely certain if this is an intended mechanic or a weekend stability issue. All MMOs handle combat differently. You can allow abilities to fire the animation instantly and then let the server catch up so that it looks fluid, or you can wait until you get a server response before letting it animate.

Does anyone have insight into how GW2 handles combat and whether the results from this weekend were expected?

Sorry! Guild Wars 2 is currently soldout.

To ensure the highest quality service we have temporarily limited the number of copies ofGuild Wars 2.

As more capacity becomes available, we will make Guild Wars 2 available for sale again.

In the meantime, we encourage you to visit our retail partners , who may still have copies available.

There's been a lot of talk about the music and/or login presentation. It's fine.

What I was most impressed with was what happened when I tried to login. Someone actually took the time to program an informative error message:

"Your account is all prepared, but there is no Beta event running right now."

 

Opinions about the game itself aside, someone deserves credit for actually making a good authentication system with descriptive messaging.

Originally posted by DeaconX
Originally posted by merieke82

"It looks to be worthy of being mentioned side by side with TOR and The Secret World."

 

Huh?

I think it's got a fair chance of being 'better' (at least in my opinion, for me) than both TOR and TSW.

 

TOR is not for me.  I don't think very highly of it, but understand why it was designed the way it was.

 

TSW looks really interesting to me and I hope it'll be a great game... but GW2 is my most anticipated MMO right now.

 

It's just a very odd quote. The article sounds like it was written by someone with very little knowledge of the MMO scene. Whether or not you like where GW2 is going, it's one of the biggest releases for 2012 so of course it's "worthy of being mentioned."

 

And the comment about whether or not GW2 is going to take subs from WoW ... I don't think anyone seriously considers GW2 a threat to WoW subs. Or, even if GW2 does significantly impact WoW subs does anyone really care? Why does that need to be postulated in this article?

"It looks to be worthy of being mentioned side by side with TOR and The Secret World."

 

Huh?

Everyone has a different vision for what an MMO should be. While not impossible, the open source model would be difficult to apply to an MMO. The development cycle for a commercial business is 4+ years and an open source would probably be double that. In 8 years the tech would no longer be current, assets would be outdated, etc.

And then what do you do if the guy who is half way done coding some cool feature quits after 2 years because he just doesn't have time anymore?

I would still like to see it happen just to watch how it unfolds, but I don't see how the model would really ever work.

Regarding the idea of creating modular components for PCs: It's already be done ...

  • LPT1
  • PCI
  • PCI Express
  • AGP
  • USB
  • Firewire
  • RAM DDR, DDR2, DDR3, etc
  • CPUs - hundreds? of different socket types that are plug and play with the right motherboard

All of the above are modular. The problem is that hardware doesn't just advance at the component level but also at the interface level. If you built 100 modular video cards using the best standards of today, they would be outdated in a year or two.

 

Regarding hard drives:

Reading and writing to a hard drive with two heads isn't feasible for a couple reasons. Read and write speeds of the drive aren't going to be the same. Also, the interface that connects the hard drive to the motherboard needs to be able to accept through put for reading and writing at the same time. Now, you can use multiple heads for just reading or just writing alone and such a configuration is essentially a raid configuration.

 

Regarding onboard OS:

I don't really see the advantage of doing this. It would make it hard to take on security updates. With proper user control you can manage security just as well. And if speed is a concern just put your OS on it's own SSD drive as many already do. 

20 years ago the average pc gamer was a computer hobbyist interested in the complexity and ingenuity of each new title

Today the average pc gamer just wants to know if the combat is good

 

I don't even know what else to say.

Seen this one before. Snake oil.

Some great memories from the original UO:


1) Day 1 - I walked into an empty building in Brit and convinced a handful of passerbys that I was an NPC. Made a few gold pieces pretending to give training.


2) Discovered the hedge maze on my own. Managed to get to the inside only to find some creatures which were way beyond my ability. Came back a second time and found the footprints that lead you into the secret passage. Epic.


3) Guild leader invited me into his house to discuss my recruitment. Still remember the adrenaline rush, not knowing whether this guy was going to lock me in and kill me.


4) Guild leader paid me gold to kill another player who had offended him.


5) Found the secret to tailoring nice looking clothes. The trick was to only tailor from store bought cloth and not to dye your own. Manually dyed cloth would look "washed out." I still don't think many people ever caught on to this.


6) Was out hunting in my first set of chainmail when a Seer (or was it called a Counselor) appeared next to me and invited me to meet him at the tavern in Brit to discuss a task he needed completed. Never made it back in time though, so I assumed he offered it to someone else.


7) Was running around and chased a grey into a house. Started to attack this person when a hidden player popped out and stole my black pearl and mandrake. The house door was then locked. They joked around with me for about 20 seconds then ended me. Epic.


8) One of the most interesting memories is more of just a general comment. I played UO on a 56k modem so you would walk about 3 tiles then have a slight pause, then walk 3 more tiles, pause, etc. The handful of people who had access to higher speed internet were at a HUGE advantage. Much more so than today when we compare 100ms ping to 250ms.


 


Really, really good times.


It's not uncommon for any software development team to reallocate resources after key milestones. For example if all design decisions have been made and implemented and you're just fixing bugs there isn't much point paying for a full team of lead game designers. Similarly, if most of your art or sound assets are done you don't need a full team to bring everything to a close.

Not saying GW2 is done with any of these things, but this is how software development goes. You invest your top resources in tackling the most difficult implementations and when you're confident that achieved your goal you allocate those resource elsewhere.

Moving resources is probably a good sign that key deliverables have been met. Or Arenanet is shutting down in preparation for a coming apocalypse.

STEAM!!
General Gaming « General Discussion
7/21/11 10:45:55 PM

I've never had any issues with Steam. I was all about D2D at first but once I started using Steam I never looked back.

Originally posted by Lawlmonster

When does SWG shut down? December 15th? I wouldn't be surprised if the next Star Wars MMO was planned to come online shortly there after, like within a few days or weeks following.

A publisher like EA would want to capitalize on holiday sales. I think they'll target after 11/11 (after Skyrim) but before the end of Nov.

11/22/2011

You heard it here first.

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