Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

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RockinRickOwen
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Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

Postby RockinRickOwen » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:28 am

1. WHY AM I SO FOCUSED ON THE MMO DESIGN? WHY NOT SIMPLY FOCUS ON WHAT IS MORE IMMEDIATELY DOABLE? My hope is to accomplish the dream in three phases: the Superhero FPS; the Superhero RPG with infinite replay; the Grand MMO. The idea is that the Grand MMO will use the same game engine and programming and character creation screens (and characters created by the players) as the infinite replay superhero RPG, which will use the same engine, programming and creation screens (and zones) as the Superhero FPS. In other worlds, each phase is an expansion of the previous one. So it's important to know what the final phase should look like so I can account for it in designing the first phase. Not necessarily to include features, but to leave room for them, even if it's just a "this button can't be used yet" pop-up.

(RRO: for those of you who don't know, or have forgotten, the idea of infinite replay in a superhero RPG is for the game to generate plots with player-created villains and supporting NPCs, like a real comic-book. The player would be able to create many different heroes and "series" and play them all in a customizable comic-book universe.)

2. HOW DO I GET AROUND PEOPLE CHEATING AND CREATING INVINCIBLE SUPERHEROES? I'm not a programmer, but I think if the program is simple enough, and if Superman-like invincibility is linked to specific archetypes, then any cheating or hacking would actually bust up the program and render it unusable. It would also make any anti-hack program much easier to whack the hacks.

3. WHAT IS MY FOCUS HERE- A SUPERHERO MMO OR A FANTASY MMO? Both actually. I want to use the same engine, basic programming, and character creation screen for both. Why? Because the vision for several superhero world servers, from which players can travel to the fantasy world and have adventures there as well... or create characters in the fantasy world and find a way to the superhero world. Also, the Greek/Norse gods of the fantasy world would regularly interact with the superhero world. There's a long backstory involved there, relating to Genesis chapters 6, 7 and 8.

4. BIG BATTLES IN THE FANTASY WORLD--HOW DO I MAKE IT INTERESTING FOR ME? I thought maybe of some sort of command-structure system, where players could link up to a team leader, who would in turn be linked to other leaders. That way, the warlord player could simply click a button to call for a retreat, regrouping, or a flank attack. Players would have the option to obey or disobey. I thought of this while playing FF XII. I was impressed with the gambit system.

5. HOW WOULD I APPLY HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT TO THE SUPERHERO MMO IN BETA? For the fantasy servers, I thought of developing the historical backstory in beta, with the players creating all that by their actions. Recently, I've been taking a look at the superhero part of the mmo, and wondering how to apply the same concept. My thought was to start off the beta in "1938," the Golden Age Server, and work my way up from there. When the game would be launched, ALL players could (if they find a way to travel in time) visit the Golden Age Server, but only the beta-players would be able to use the characters they created there, and only they could create more characters (if that). Certain other servers would be "premium content" if I decided to go the free-to-premium spectrum model.

(When I talk about servers and worlds and such, the concept is NOT that the same game world is on every server, but that every server represents a particular time or geographical region, and characters can travel from server to server. For instance, one server would center around Metro-City, and another around Gothopolis. One player-character has a Flying, Invincible Champion in the Metro-City server, and another player has a Grapple-Gunning, Shuriken-Throwing Avenger in the Gothopolis server... they can team up in either server or travel to another. My thought is to ultimately have eight servers devoted to North American regions.)
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Re: Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

Postby Mike » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:03 am

How far have you gotten on it.
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Re: Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

Postby Mene-Mene » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:14 pm

I'm gonna be a little harsh.
the Superhero FPS
Still not doable. Maybe if you had five or six years of real development experience under your belt and a good engine I'd believe THAT was doable, but even that's a stretch, doing that solo is something closer to like eight or more years I'd think. Yes, there are exceptions, but although I haven't been the most dedicated developer, I've been around for near five years. I'd be hard pressed to make an action game, let alone an FPS. Setting does make things harder, Superhero is going to make a lot of people angry. People have certain conceptions about their heroes and frankly, your perceptions aren't going to agree.

If aren't even close to the first phase how can you even imagine what the final phase is like? Experience does more than grant abilities, it changes perceptions. When I was younger, I wanted to make an engine which I would use in my future. But, when I finished making the engine, I had experience and that changed my perception. Put simply, I've already done it, and the idea of making a grand engine in the first year of your career isn't going to happen.

You don't know what it means to make a game until you've made a game, so don't try and imagine it, simply anticipate it, and do it.
HOW DO I GET AROUND PEOPLE CHEATING AND CREATING INVINCIBLE SUPERHEROES?
If it's single player, they'll be able to cheat period. Your assumption is wrong, any novice can use the Cheat Engine and modify what's in memory in real time. Obfuscation only gets you so far, people who want to do something will do something. If it's multiplayer, you've got a much better chance. But frankly, why do you care? If they cheat in single player, they're ruining the experience for themselves. An experience they paid for, why should you care? If it's multiplayer, why are you thinking that far ahead? Questions that are decades away should be handled as plans and ideas, not as design documents.
WHAT IS MY FOCUS HERE- A SUPERHERO MMO OR A FANTASY MMO?
BIG BATTLES IN THE FANTASY WORLD--HOW DO I MAKE IT INTERESTING FOR ME?
These are the questions of a gamer. A gamer founds his game ideas upon things that sound epic. A developer founds his game ideas upon things that sound fun and are fun from the prototypes he's made. If you want to make a game, don't forget your gamer hat, but buy a developer hat. (metaphorically)

I don't have a problem with you dreaming. I did lots of that in my younger days. But act on those dreams. Have you made "Hello World"? Have you made a game like Zorq? If you want to prove me wrong, then go out and make that FPS. By that, I don't mean make a design document. An idea is worthless unless you use it, money is useless unless you have something that you can buy with it, passion is useless unless you have somewhere to direct it.

I've got an uncle who's spent his entire life annoying people to join up with his idea. His idea which is to shove God's message down the throats of everyone in the world. All that he's done towards it is spend hours and hours upon hours working on badly made webpages collecting links to places which are freely available and intends to charge for it. He gives out gifts which are discounts on a product which doesn't exist. He's going to die in a few months of cancer.

I'm not saying you're that bad. I'm saying that a person who attempt to execute an idea and refuses to learn how to execute that idea will never finish that idea. Do you want to spend your life writing up ideas which will never be brought into fruition?

I passionately don't want you to fail. I have nothing against you.
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Re: Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

Postby christo » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:24 am

I understand the five to six years I have been working on my game engine solo for that long and all I have used it for is speed games. There is always one more feature.Currently for me that is adding image support to the dialogs. Eventually I am going to have to say good enough and start making money with it.
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Re: Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

Postby achild » Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:10 am

I'm sorry if this is bad to say here but I wasn't sure where to post it... anywho RockinRickOwen it's so great to see you back here again! Hi! (That's all... no need to respond I wasn't wanting to derail your thread). :mrgreen:
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Re: Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

Postby Diroh » Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:55 pm

its an awsome idea for a game and i had an idea for a game like that once (i would never be able to make it though)! i hope your game is made and that you use it to serve god!
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Re: Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

Postby Kukanani » Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:23 am

Mene:
Setting does make things harder, Superhero is going to make a lot of people angry. People have certain conceptions about their heroes and frankly, your perceptions aren't going to agree.
That's a narrow perspective. If your game doesn't push some boundary then it won't sell. It has to push the gameplay, the graphics, the story...or the setting, to a point where it becomes better than an existing game.

Besides, City of Heroes/Villains did pretty well.
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Re: Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

Postby Mene-Mene » Sun Nov 07, 2010 6:28 am

Kukanani:
You have a point, pushing boundaries is how the field progresses. And setting is a great, cheap way to do that. Graphics and story are really expensive, and gameplay is technically challenging. Clearly, he's in love with Superheroes, so it would be a good idea for him to build his games around that theme. And you're right, with dedication the difficulty of setting is something he can overcome. It may limit his audience, but if it means enjoying what you do, that's an acceptable price.

And really, anybody can take a simple game concept, "Zork", "Target Hunter" and throw a personal twist. Maybe his punch is one of super-strength, maybe his evasion is phasing out of this dimension, in any case, adding a personal twist adds flavor, and makes it a lot more fun for everyone.

RRO:
Based upon the previous response, what I'm saying is that your progression isn't good enough, and that reusing your code won't work because as you learn, you'll discover how little you knew, therefore, you'll make something better, and have to do it from scratch.
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Re: Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

Postby christo » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:07 am

I concur on the rewrites, I have started to lose count of how many rewrites I have done. I think I have done at least 6 of them in the last 6 years. I am hopefully nearing the finish line on a Image Mangaement rewrite(not a full rewrite like the 6 I referred to but still major). One major tip, Editors = Evil, Delegates = Good. This is because every time you rewrite the engine the editor more than likely will need to be rewritten. If you do make an editor make it flexible enough to handle a change in formatting or number of feilds, ect. Your engine will evolve for a while at first in very big ways.
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Re: Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

Postby Mene-Mene » Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:58 pm

christo: I still wouldn't recommend to anyone to go through what you've had to pull through... I don't really see the point in continuously spending time writing an engine that is out of date after it's finished and trying again. It seems like it'd be really boring and not nearly as fun or educational (because of the speed with which you can do it) as writing individual games. I do think that writing an engine helps, and maybe even do it a couple times... But more than two seems to be more than is productive until you're certain that you've got what it takes to make something you can use and have solutions for all the problems you've had in mind.
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Re: Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

Postby christo » Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:38 am

If I remember correctly it went kinda like this.
Version 1.Lots of objects for each individual thing,Text file Loader.
Version 2.Reduce number of objects to simplify the API.
Version 3. Add Inventory System including editors and a program that indexed the files for faster access.
4. Started going for internal editor system and went to a new inventory editor that was based on binary files.
(used GDI ++ and performace was horrible to this point)
5. Community Game Project(first time using XNA and C# for real), Started using delegates and things like dynamic compilation to replace various editors, the internal editor did not come with the transition since it was almost a complete rewrite to use XNA and I was very anti-editor.
6. Had to rewrite the collision code several times for performance reasons.
7.graphics reworking so it could handle more case scenarios(hopefully without as many bugs).

Each rewrite had a reason, the biggest has been getting away from external editors which slowed down the previous rewrites. Also with the XNA rewrite I had to ask myself, Would I want to use this engine? The previous versions the answer was a big NO.
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Re: Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

Postby Mene-Mene » Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:10 am

christo: I'm not saying your re-writes were without reason, I'm saying that I think it's a waste of time to keep on re-writing your engine until you're certain that you're ready to write an engine.
I'm sure that when you were working on version 3, you didn't know that you'd reach a version 7... How many years has it taken you? four?

RRO:
While I don't totally agree with the guy, you'll probably be interested in this: http://www.devmaster.net/articles/building-mmorpg/" target="_blank
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Re: Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

Postby bugala » Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:50 am

What are those editors you are talking about?

I thought editor is the text editor, that you use to type your code, but you are talking of editors? What do they mean?
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Re: Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

Postby Mene-Mene » Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:13 am

Bugala:
Many good engines are data driven, for the most part, all are. Some of this data might be characters in the game, maps or whatever depending on the game. In order to use the engine easily, you provide editors. A text editor edits text. A map editor, might edit maps.

(P.s., not bad formatting. (: )
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Re: Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

Postby christo » Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:00 pm

I am on year six I think. I am thinking now about trying to make a game with it and focusing on features needed for that specific game.

That is exactly what I meant by editors Mene. My idea was to toss implementation specific versions of those. My Map editor is any graphics editor the user decides to use. My item editor could be notepad or similar(though I did work on a editor with code completion I never finished it). The items are all loaded from code files written in VB.Net(still have to add c# support in the future) that are compiled dynamically as needed.
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Re: Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

Postby RockinRickOwen » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:09 am

Thanks for the input, guys. Even you, Mene. And thanks for the welcome back, Achild.

@Mene (part one) : Progress so far is zilch, zero, nada. Step One: get computer, get connected; Step Two: get Blender, Unity; Step Three: do the models, the zones & the user interface; Step Four: somehow make it so that the play can customize the models, program in powers for the superheroes; Step Five: wrap up the game; Step Six: there's some business aspect to the whole thing that completely eludes me at this point, so this where the whole planning department breaks down.

@Mene (part two): if there's one genre I know, it's the superhero genre. As someone said, I'm obviously in love with superheroes? Would the golden age Superman icon be a clue? :) I, too, am picky about my heroes. The question I ask in jotting down the design is: can the player use this to make ANY Marvel or DC character? I'm throwing in the Marvel/Timely and DC golden age characters in there as well. I'm also against making a game confusing for the player, in terms of how it looks when they're customizing their character. The fps would must certainly NOT be merely a single player game. Phase Two is heavy on single play. The whole thing I have in my mind for the FPS is based on some really fun LAN parties I've been part of involving Half-Life or Wolfenstein ET or Unreal Tournament (forget the version).

I've always got the gamer hat on. Phase Three is the MMO, the BIG picture, the end goal. I'd like it to be the Disneyland of MMOs: Tomorrow Land, Fantasy Land, Frontier Land, Main Avenue, French Quarter (wherein is the Pirates of the Caribbean), etc. Maybe some bit of Disneyworld as well, though, I've never been there.
Then said Jesus unto the twelve, "Will ye also go away?" Then Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the Living God." John 6:67-69
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Re: Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

Postby bugala » Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:08 pm

Mene-Mene wrote:Bugala:
Many good engines are data driven, for the most part, all are. Some of this data might be characters in the game, maps or whatever depending on the game. In order to use the engine easily, you provide editors. A text editor edits text. A map editor, might edit maps.

(P.s., not bad formatting. (: )
Strange i didint notice this reply until today.

Anyway. Thanks a lot Mene-mene. I now understand what you are talking about.
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Re: Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

Postby Diroh » Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:44 pm

Rick wrote:@Mene (part one) : Progress so far is zilch, zero, nada. Step One: get computer, get connected; Step Two: get Blender, Unity; Step Three: do the models, the zones & the user interface; Step Four: somehow make it so that the play can customize the models, program in powers for the superheroes; Step Five: wrap up the game; Step Six: there's some business aspect to the whole thing that completely eludes me at this point, so this where the whole planning department breaks down.
Wow you really got it worked out! so are you going to use untity to make the MMO?
Last edited by Diroh on Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

Postby Mene-Mene » Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:15 pm

RRO: Go out, and make a game, then come back to your plan.
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Re: Current Contemplations on my Grand MMO design

Postby samw3 » Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:52 pm

I really don't want to be discouraging, Rick, because I believe you are a very creative person.

BUT, I do want to give you a kick in the pants. Stop contemplating and start doing! :) It's been 2 years already since you started talking about this. Get a move on! You don't need a computer to make a game, get some play prototyped pen-n-paper. You can do it bud, but you have to DO it!

God Bless!

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