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TerraX - the making of an MMO

How many times have I moaned about the state of MMO's and the new disappointing releases...? Too many it seems, and after nearly a decade of play it's time to build one. How- you may ask... and what? Build one? Yeah. Build one.

Author: Sreppy

TerraX - Character Creation & Hair as Frosting

Posted by Sreppy Monday July 19 2010 at 10:00AM
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It's been a week now of creating characters in every game from Wurm to WoW and I've learned more than I really want to know about my inclinations when making my ingame self.  I'm sure there's some deep psychological explanation as to why I seem to make all my characters as short as possible...

What I've picked up along the way is that I really love the random button on the character creation screen.  I wandered around City of Heroes' character creation for a good day and a half, hitting that random button and then building from whatever look caught my fancy.  I want choices, a lot of them, and I want to be able to manipulate the size, placement and angle of different parts of my character.

I also want a lot of control over details.  I was not impressed by LotRO's character creation process at all, with preset faces and a token half a dozen scars and beautymarks.  I want to be able to scale eye size and angle, make my ears stick out (in what I think is a charming way but my co-workers say makes me look like a doe eyed bat) and what is up with the hair styles?  Does anyone actually expect that hair like frosting is something players want as their only option?

I wrote up a scathing dissertation on character hair.  I want scaleable hair, hair that you can tug at and make longer or stick straight up if that's your preference.  Hair that can be any color, any style and that I can change once in game.

What's crucial to you when you create a character?


TerraX - Would you rather kill or kiss?

Posted by Sreppy Monday July 12 2010 at 11:32PM
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We're head over heels creating details right now for TerraX.  Basics like flora and fauna and a seemingly endless parade of NPC's.  In the midst of another late night (with rl mirroring ingame with everyone moaning that they have to get up the next day and what are they doing staying up so late?) a very familiar discussion popped up again.

Is it more fun killing stuff or working with ingame allies?  Is a quest better when it's a matter of killing sumpin or hacking your way through mobs to reach an item/uberduberspiffy gem/crown/light/plant/younameit? Is the game payoff for you the player generated by the adrenalin rush of winning in combat?

Or is it more about the interactions with gamers and/or NPC's.  The rush of a well balanced group and the intricate choreography needed for success in a raid.  Is it about the moments spent wandering around and discovering new people in the game - people that sometimes turn into lifelong friends?

For us at this point of the game's development, the choicepoint of which way to lean is way in the future.  Launch for TerraX is November, 2013 - that's a looong  way away.  But it's already getting a bit edgy when it comes to the discussion of what makes a game really work.

What do you reach for?  The combat kill joy?  The interacting snuggly feeling?  I'd love to know.  



TerraX - Art... arg.

Posted by Sreppy Wednesday June 23 2010 at 2:13AM
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Art.  Gotta have it to get funding for a new mmorpg- it's that simple.  After a good month of wrestling with formulas that seem ridiculously complicated it was great to check off "Defense Calculations: Melee" on the To Do List of Doom and move on to the next item. 

Which was "Get artist for concept sketches".  I did my best to pass this one off to someone more ... well. Socially adept. No luck there - apparently I fall for lines like "Oh no, you're the charming one" and roll over to get my belly pet.

Off I went to google my heart out.  Portland, Oregon, mmorpg artist.  Nuttin.  Portland, Oregon, artist.  Bonzai- but unfortunately it was more along the lines of pristine landscapes and vista views as opposed to a freeze frame of a leaping character about to slice into a boss.  Asked my nutty friends, did the network with local art schools thing, posted an ad in a local weekly paper.  Realized that I was missing the joy of testing combat calculations as compared to finding even just someone that could put some key moments of the game flow into an image.

Met with my fearless cohorts and laid out my place settings of woe and failure.  Team TerraX exhibited little sympathy and told me to stop whining and get on Craigs List.

I thought that was just for lost pets and desperate dates?  Apparently not - and after posting a cryptic ad I got a flood of responses. Amazing what is out there and I suddenly had 5 options to present to the team.  We wound up picking a quirky, insanely talented guy to do the images for the next round of funding - you can see his work at - and he's wound up being a solid person to work with on top of wowza crazy good.

Fun stuff.  Next on the list O' Doom for me is tracking down 54 different examples of the textures used in the game descriptions.  Call me crazy - I'm actually looking forward to it.

TerraX - the start.

Posted by Sreppy Tuesday June 22 2010 at 12:16AM
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I realized a month ago that I've spent nearly decade of playing MMO's and it seems that each new addition to the game landscape consists of the same basic structure.  Kill x number of this, find y number of that, get this level of gear, do that raid, lather rinse repeat.

Don't get me wrong, I'm actually quite fond of the patterns above.  But after a while I found myself complaining more than playing, analyzing more than enjoying and I'm at the point where I either need to stop whining and build a game myself or just shut up.

It's really difficult for me to shut up.  Really.  It's easier to just build a game.

And here we are, at the start of TerraX (working title).  This blog is my way of blowing off steam, bouncing around ideas, and generally making this experience a bit less like running in a hamster wheel through a particle accelerator.  Everything is fast, dangerous, exciting and cutting edge but the view never changes and good luck telling night from day.

As for the game itself, it's like every new game being built out there *coughwaybettercough*.  New combat system - yep.  PvP- yep. Housing and customization- yep. Crafting, insane environments, stellar concept, amazing and unique experiences - yes yes yes etc. And that is about as much detail as you get about the game - I'm goofy but not stupid.  If you want more that that - join the team.  There are 4 of us kicking in time and money right now to work out the specs on this thing  and we are aiming for a launch date of 2013.

We're at the beginning of what I'm sure will be a long road.   Come along for the ride.