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General Discussion Forum » News & Features Discussion » General: Forum Spotlight: Insect MMO?

16 posts found
  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  7/26/07 11:28:38 AM#1

Community Manager Laura Genender takes a look at a thread from our forums that discusses the idea of an insect MMORPG, and the idea that the setting doesn't matter, it's features that are key.

This week on the forums, user DruNk_DwArF2 posted his idea for a new MMO genre - an insect MMO, where players play as ants, termites, bees, etc. Seeing this post got me thinking about the whole idea of MMO genres in general.

In my freshman year at college, I remember expressing a love of fantasy to my Creative Fiction professor. His response radically changed my views on all media and entertainment, from books to plays to movies to video games. "The genre is a setting; write compelling characters and a compelling plot, and how they're dressed or where they're from doesn't matter."

While I love seeing new settings open up in the game world - I know plenty of us are tired of dragons and elves - I think that a lot of new games lately have used genre almost as a one trick pony. Instead of developing a cool story, precise balance, engaging gameplay - our game is about pirates! Instead of detailed character creation, world involvement, storytelling - our game is about spaceships! So what would happen if our game was about insects?

Read it all here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  User Deleted
7/26/07 2:00:53 PM#2

Pixar could make it, oh what fun!

Whatever happend to the game Africa? It looked somewhat promising.

  frkhot97

Novice Member

Joined: 9/04/05
Posts: 391

---
Ryzom: Ulani
Tabula Rasa: Ulani Lind
EVE: Casio Viccius

7/26/07 2:41:54 PM#3

Dear Laura,

I don't think your professor ever (role)played an elf in a MMORPG. What he says might be true in a singleplayer game, but, to me, it looks like certain kind of players are drawn to certain classes and races. A community of elf priests is different from games where you "are a spaceship". For better or worse, settings do matter.

It's easier to relate to what we know, and it affects roleplay and general immersion. We all know how a drunk dwarf behave, don't we? But how does a bumblebee who had too much nectar behave? (Hmm... maybe they behave like a drunk dwarf actually)

  Poldano

Novice Member

Joined: 12/22/06
Posts: 245

Those who stand on the shoulders of giants should not complain about the view.

7/26/07 6:57:00 PM#4

An MMORPB in this setting would be a tough game to sell, but could be very interesting to play and participate in.

I think there could be a good opportunity to mix different playing preferences by distributing styles to different species. In particular, there would be a big difference between social and non-social species' play. I can see some very unique character lifecycles for social species, especially the large-colony species. On the other hand, the non-social species could be an appropriate venue for players who want to play FFA player-versus-player. Perhaps the DIKU model could even be dispensed with as a necessity, or represented only as a caste distinction in colonial species.

Variability and customization could be achieved through foraging of different resources and differentially processing them. Colonial species would be able to support a complete economy of sorts, perhaps with larvae and pupae taking the part of pure crafting classes. Discovery of a new lode of resources could give temporary extraorinary combat benefits, until the lode ran out. For example, foraging workers could discover the corpse of a large animal, which could provide resources for exceptional special attacks by the warriors, and special support by warrior's tenders.

Direct combat might include mandible-chopping, acid-spitting, stinging, application of heat, and electrical discharge. Attacks might cause blindness, disorientation, and other sensory disturbances as well as injury. Supporting castes might be able to repair injuries, undo states, and prepare potential battlefield areas to give the advantage to their own colony. Stealth and countermeasures might be present, and might allow such things as camouflage, invisibility to some key senses (eg, smell), and disruption of opponents wayfinding mechanisms (eg, smell-track disruption).

Different species could represent different resource usages and ecological niches, for example herbivorous agriculture for bees, omnivorousness or pastoralism for ants, wood-reduction for termites, and predation by non-social carnivores; eat your PvP opponents if you can!

To provide a realistic death penalty, typical insect life cycles could be represented. For example, if you die, you have to start off as a larva again. However, points you accumulate from successful actions prior to death would enable starting the larval stage with better prospects, such as more nearby resources for non-social insects, or a better choice of castes for social insects. A great quantity of points would be accumulated by actually breeding, according to the lifecycle of the species. Breeding for some species and/or genders might be followed shortly thereafter by certain death, but the advantages accrued by the "win" might translate to reincarnation as a member of a superior species within the genus or of an exceptionally high caste within the species.

 

  BountyGreg

Novice Member

Joined: 5/14/06
Posts: 37

7/27/07 1:38:12 AM#5

Personally I think players lost and lack imagination: Apparently, everyone is happy with what they have and accept the fact 90% of the games are all the same.

I always welcome a new idea, eventho its not that new either, ive seen several people talk about an insect MMO, and even people work on one. So is the idea new, not really, but at least it's nothing we have yet.

When I talk to indie developers or hobby devs, they all seem to be stuck in the fantasy world a la MMO, but all i can say is, yes, 9 million ppl can be wrong. I have played WoW and I can't say it has what I like in MMO. I want something social, something I can influence and something without elves

I already see half of you saying I should do it myself if I want something else, well, that's what I do

 

Anyway, playing insects could be interesting if done correctly, hell I'd even play a cow if the gameplay would be fun.

  Airspell

Novice Member

Joined: 3/05/07
Posts: 1405

7/27/07 2:48:09 AM#6

  A Cow would probably be called a meat tank. 

  Xvoid

Novice Member

Joined: 7/02/06
Posts: 4

7/27/07 1:39:53 PM#7

Hmmm actually i have always wonnit to be some type of a "Zerg" commander or something like that ..or play the roll of a zergling or any other creation of the zerg's so it's a good idea .







p.s.           ...

  Flummoxed

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/24/07
Posts: 592

Make a WORLD,
Not a Game.

7/28/07 11:14:20 AM#8

Plot, Character, Setting - the ancient elements that Narrative of any form has/will always depend on for excellence. 

I agree with the statement - write compelling characters and a compelling plot, and how they're dressed or where they're from doesn't matter.  Which is why i'm NOT tired of dwarves and elves, as long as the gameworld is immersive and compeling. Far too many confuse "gimmick" with "innovation".

Ants, termites, bees, wasps and other hive-mind critters - there's an opportunity here for someone to explore some of Conway's "Game of Life" type cellular automaton game mechanics, where very simple rule sets (player actions) combine with other players actions to produce complex world spanning behavior.

http://www.bitstorm.org/gameoflife/

  User Deleted
7/28/07 11:47:49 AM#9

Good characters and plot are important to any narritive, but still people do have setting preferances, I hear Harry Potter is a good book/movie but never wanted to read/watch it because I don't like the magical setting. 

In the case of  games, more specifically MMOGs, characters and plot translate into gameplay and mechanics.  I can have some fun with any game that is well made, but how much I get into the game is more dependant on the setting.  For example Eve, it no doubt is a well made game, but I just can't get into the space ship setting, because I am not that interested in space ships.  While I am not really interested in playing a insect based MMOG, if it is well made I can still enjoy playing for a while, though my main preferance is steampunk.

 

  MacScarfe

Novice Member

Joined: 10/11/06
Posts: 101

7/30/07 3:48:52 AM#10

Couldn't agree more about characters and plot being more important than setting .... just look at Firefly, it was cowboys in space seriously it was just cowboys in space. However the character development and the beginnings of the plot were superb, and yet it got cancelled before the first series even finished and still has a massive online community begging for more.

However, this is the land of MMO and not the land of fiction and while a good narrative is essential the reality is Action is King. Now before you stop reading and wander off and decide i'm talking about PvP, lets make this clear .... Action comes in all forms, most of which arn't combat orientated.

Strong narrative excludes the ability of a player to express themselves freely (which typically seems to be via L33t speak ) because a strong narrative needs to have a good pace, a defined goal and well defined characters, none of which my decade plus of playing MMO's have i seen in a typical MMO'er.

So lets ditch the noble idea of a narrative defined MMO and lets get back down the path to the prefect down and dirty action led MMO's.

Ant's bad, elves good .... NO

Narrow minded games BAD, freedom to be creative GOOD!

 

  Voidrider

Novice Member

Joined: 10/04/06
Posts: 23

7/30/07 7:29:42 AM#11

I created and ran a text Mud based on the Age of Reptiles comics series' by Dark Horse, in which players portrayed Deinonychus in packs. As dinosaurs from this particular comic story, the players possessed rudimentary 'human like' thoughts and behaviour but were still (physically) dinosaurs. They could not speak at all (sounds and emotes only), PvP existed and permadeath did as well. There was no economy, levels were stripped down to as to make it more skill oriented and the concept of possessions (gear) was nonexistant.

I had to strip out and alter a good chunk of code (you might be surprised how many mechanics elements one takes for granted). I am, sadly, no true coder so I ran into issues trying to modify the 'birth' program in the game that enabled characters to couple and, eventually, lay an egg that could hatch and later be played as a character file.

I have always witnessed the best 'role playing' of characters in online games via text Muds and my Age of Reptiles game surely had some of the best I have ever seen. This type of game does not appeal to the majority of players out there but, for the niche game that it was, I had a good core group of players that were either fans of the comics/artist-creator, dinosaur fans and/or simply Role-Play Intensive mud fans looking for a challenge. Such a game provided the best character interaction I have ever experienced.

  liva98989

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/31/09
Posts: 220

10/12/09 10:02:42 AM#12

I think a insect based mmo would be great it never have been done before only some games did the genre like sim ant and empire of ant but i would like people try to make it


  Kyleran

Bitter Vet™

Joined: 9/13/06
Posts: 18360

Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

10/12/09 10:19:11 AM#13

Interesting idea, but it just screams niche game to me. (and few developers strive for a bar set that low)

Setting does matter.  I read Sci Fi Books, but not Fantasy, based on the setting.

People like to identify with their avatars (not sure why) and as EVE has proven, some people will not play a game without a humanoid avatar that they can relate to.

Some people go so far as to need their avatar to "look good", not quite sure how that would work on a Preying Mantis, longer mandibles?

And as mentioned earlier, do we go with an idea that insects have their natural weapons to use (mandibles, stingers etc) or do we go a more traditional route and have let them  be pseudo humanoids and carry weapons?

I think the choices the developers make could make for a fine game, however in doing so each choice would eliminate some segment of the potential subscriber base until there was nothing left but a niche game.

 

"The discrepancy between what we know is possible and what we currently have to choose from is beyond disappointing" - GeezerGamer
Kyleran - Bitter Vet ™ since 2006
"This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  Prigogine

Novice Member

Joined: 10/22/08
Posts: 18

6/30/11 8:17:41 PM#14

It would be great, I was just thinking one should be made today and found this.  I think it would be cool to have the insects morph, or interchangeable parts.  Aqcuire rare parts from a raid mob insect and be able to add it to your insect attributes. (night-vision, dragon-fly wings, spider legs, some to tolerate water etc...) That way you could come up with some weird and wonderful insects that don't even exist.(that we would know of).  Maybe have 2 factions that were separated by some sort of cataclysmic event, via water, night/day or some sort of event.  You could have the basic start off like a beetle as a tank species, spider/rogue-assassin, Bee-warriors, scorpions-gladiators etc... But the nice thing would be as stated earlier that your character (insect) would constantly change, if you wanted it too. Imagine a dragon-fly with a scorpion stinger and spider legs...lol that would be awesome!


  waynejr2

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/12/11
Posts: 3663

RIP City of Heroes!

6/30/11 8:24:38 PM#15
Originally posted by Kyleran

Interesting idea, but it just screams niche game to me. (and few developers strive for a bar set that low)

Setting does matter.  I read Sci Fi Books, but not Fantasy, based on the setting.

People like to identify with their avatars (not sure why) and as EVE has proven, some people will not play a game without a humanoid avatar that they can relate to.

Some people go so far as to need their avatar to "look good", not quite sure how that would work on a Preying Mantis, longer mandibles?

And as mentioned earlier, do we go with an idea that insects have their natural weapons to use (mandibles, stingers etc) or do we go a more traditional route and have let them  be pseudo humanoids and carry weapons?

I think the choices the developers make could make for a fine game, however in doing so each choice would eliminate some segment of the potential subscriber base until there was nothing left but a niche game.

 

 Dave Hargrave with his Arduin setting had many interesting races/species in his system.  On of them was called Phraint, which is an insect race with Spock like logic.  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/5e/Phvt.jpg

  Scrogdog

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/05/03
Posts: 383

6/30/11 8:32:04 PM#16

Yeah, insects don't so it for me because then it wouldn't be an RPG to me.  Even if I'm playing evil guy, it's me in there and what would I do in this situation?

I suppose MMOs could branch out however they like, but I'm a role player.