Game Development

Of the Tabletop, and other, lesser varieties.

Moderators: SecondTalon, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
Steax
SecondTalon's Goon Squad
Posts: 3038
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:18 pm UTC

Re: Game Development

Postby Steax » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:35 pm UTC

First of all, what you're doing sounds strikingly like Dwarf Fortress.

Blasphemer wrote:Well, for one, a larger market base. Since it has the elements of two different genres, then you can draw fans from audiences of both.


No. This isn't how it works. What happens is the players from genre A get annoyed because of unnecessary complexity due to genre B, and vice-versa. It's why products with no focus tend to fail terribly. Many games implement these as "minigames" - games within a game, which is pretty much what you're talking about. Most minigames are either optional, or some players hate it. But if your "minigame" is so complex that it becomes half the game, it's no longer optional or ignorable.

This complexity means:
  • You spend longer developing.
  • You spend more brainpower and effort trying to orchestrate them together.
  • Fewer "fully happy" players.
  • You can't define your game in a few words.

The last one is actually the most critical. If you cannot define what you're making in a few words - I call it an "elevator pitch", people have their own names - you won't be able to explain it to people. Your "house" bit sounds like "build a house, hire workers, make money, compete with other players!" but I haven't a clue how your RPG bit works... Much less your RTS side.

To be honest, your reasons for melding multiple genres into each other doesn't make much sense. "Bigger market" and "getting people to love each other" doesn't really work from the perspective of a player asking "why should I play this game, and not [some other RPG/RTS/genre-of-choice]?"

If you have to give pure flexibility to players (something which they enjoy - it's called a sandbox game), then you're better off going as simple as possible, with the least amount of features people want. This is the Minecraft route. Let people modify the game, and their gameplay, to their tastes.


When I say it has to be "enormous", what I mean is that the amount content inside a specified location, while the surface area of the plane is irrelevant


Yeah, that's what ST means too. It's fine. Between caching, intelligent loading of areas, and just hauling in memory/space/processing power, you'll be fine. Many games already use this concept.

This is also the reason why my group prefers to keep our responsibilities separate. Sure we know what the other guys are thinking of, I mean, I know what character classes are there but not their specific skills. Though we can work better if we work together, we prefer to keep this connection to a minimum so that we can focus on our own thing. They make the RPG side interesting, so I make the RTS side of it just as much. It's practically two different games that we just happen to want to mash together.


Then design both of them together. There's no reason a team can't make both sides interesting without splitting up. You want concepts, lore, or whatever to unify your gameplay and style.
In Minecraft, I use the username Rirez.

not baby Newt
Posts: 110
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:30 pm UTC

Re: Game Development

Postby not baby Newt » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:51 pm UTC

I think a major challenge is deciding how many and what levels of other players can attack you at once. Without restrictions it's hard to have interesting fights, especially if the difference in power between dedicated/casual players is anywhere near other games. Assuming the rts portions are all pvp.

To beat off a high-level clan your farm would have to be stronger than the end boss, would be odd.

Then again I avoid pvp in MMOs.

Ah, Steax posted while I typed.
No. This isn't how it works. What happens is the players from genre A get annoyed because of unnecessary complexity due to genre B, and vice-versa.

One example: the rts portions sound like they are only for players rich from playing the rpg parts .

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26516
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: Game Development

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:52 pm UTC

As an aside - the entire bit with the house and craft resources inside and NPCs in your employ? Ultima Online. Lots of MegaMalls in UO, with a house that had a secure locked area for the owner's hidey-hole, and a public area, often with usable smelters, looms, etc and gobs of NPC merchants who were pedding whatever wares their owner had them peddle.

Hell, I remember straight-up buying cloth bolts from the regular in-town NPC store and selling them for a minor profit simply because I had one of the bugged trueblack dye tubs (back when it was a hack/bug and not a Feature). Which just shows that I rolled in the pre2000s, mostly.

And there's probably been games that have done that since then. But it's fine, it's a neat useable feature and there's no reason one shouldn't do it. One person's trash being another person's treasure and all that.

You could also hire certain NPCs to follow you around and fight with you. They sucked, and I don't know anyone who did it seriously because.. they sucked. (Seriously, most of them couldn't solo a Ratman, much less something actually threatening). They followed orders, like Guard and Follow and Stay and whatnot, real simple stuff. But that does open a tiny balance issue -

How do you balance player skill - both in game stats and out of game hand-eye coordination, reflexes, ping times, etc.. with in-game cold, hard cash? As in, how much should a mid-level NPC warrior cost? Should there be high level mercenaries? Should there be an employee cap, and if so should there be a singular cap so you decide your Crafter/Merchant/Warrior ratio, or should each jobtype or group (Crafting and Merchants in one, Mercenaries in another) be separate caps?


But.... going back to Steax.. if you're serious about it, and not just playing "What if...?" mental exercises, sit down with everyone involved at once (Google+ Hangouts would work great for this) and have a conversation where everyone knows the master plan and knows what everyone else is doing. Doesn't matter if Jill doesn't know Photoshop from a hole in the ground because she's a coder, but it IS important that Jill knows Tom and Carl are planning on a SuperDeformed art style in bright and shiny colors and may need to twerk the in-game physics to reflect the over-the-top look of the game.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

Dark567
First one to notify the boards of Rick and Morty Season 3
Posts: 3686
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:12 pm UTC
Location: Everywhere(in the US, I don't venture outside it too often, unfortunately)

Re: Game Development

Postby Dark567 » Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:55 pm UTC

UO has always had a special place in my heart, because the world seemed so much more player driven than later MMO's like Everquest and WoW(something like EVE I guess is maybe comparable). It's also the popular game that probably closest resembles the MMO I worked on and UO probably had the biggest influence on it.

For that matter it works pretty much as an RPG/RTS hybrid where each player can build towers/castles and what not to defend and conquer territory(which helps to collect more resources) and hire army NPC's and team up together. At the same time it has all the leveling up and new skills etc. of RPG's. It never really started as an RTS though... It just kinda morphed into that with each iteration, and seemed like the most natural way to expand the game and make it more fun. We noticed early on that players played it like an RTS even though it was designed as an RPG and just ran with it realizing our original design was stifling and not as much fun.

Maybe its just my experience but I still feel like the more iterative approach to games works well. Not to say the waterfall approach is bad(i.e. design a game and then follow that plan) but I am not sure its the exclusive way to make a quality game.
I apologize, 90% of the time I write on the Fora I am intoxicated.


Yakk wrote:The question the thought experiment I posted is aimed at answering: When falling in a black hole, do you see the entire universe's future history train-car into your ass, or not?

User avatar
Steax
SecondTalon's Goon Squad
Posts: 3038
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:18 pm UTC

Re: Game Development

Postby Steax » Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:27 am UTC

Both waterfall and iterative/agile work well - just pick one and stick to it, but that doesn't mean you can have two teams independently develop something and hope to get a quality product by suddenly merging them together. I used to call that the Dung Beetle approach - throw together a bunch of good frameworks, graphics, concepts and ideas that are brilliant on their own, with the end result being an unrecognizable mess that fails to appeal to any audience.
In Minecraft, I use the username Rirez.

User avatar
Toeofdoom
The (Male) Skeleton Guitarist
Posts: 3446
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 10:06 am UTC
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Game Development

Postby Toeofdoom » Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:14 am UTC

Okay so... many, many games involve a bunch of people teaming up against each other and shooting/bashing each other to bits. In general, what makes them succeed is how much fun the fighting is.* Seriously, the RTS portion could just about be a ripoff of Galcon (perhaps the simplest RTS ever, games last about a minute) and the underlying issues with getting so bloody many people on your side would make it about as complex as it needs to be.

The first person section sounds dubious to me for various reasons as very few MMOs take place in first person for reasons such as customising your avatar, lag and first person weapon models requiring higher detail. So even at a basic level, I'm not sure the choice there makes sense. On the other hand, if you're confident you have a fun gameplay plan for this section does it need the RTS part at all?

On the other hand, if you really want the RTS part, what specifically makes it require you to be commanding 100 real people? Can it be done without them and just simulate them using AIs?

Anyway, I think you would do better to focus on a subsection of the game and just make that. As small a section as you can find that's still a game you'd like to make, keep it simple. Then when you get that working well you can use what you learn in the larger game later down the track, basing it on something you know is solid. If you do that we can probably give much more direct help on design instead of a wall of criticism. We could theoretically do that with your current idea if you post a full design of it but that seems incredibly impractical and time consuming.

On a note less related to game design, when you say known game engines aren't suited to your game, you're almost certainly wrong. Source and unreal have a large startup time but are quite suited to polished first person games. Unity is easier to get started with and quite flexible too, though the free version makes it a bit of a pain to handle group projects. Otherwise there are C++ libraries I can point you to that will be better than starting from scratch.

*Some games can do just fine and succeed at whatever they were meant to do without putting a huge emphasis on gameplay mechanics but I don't think this is even remotely one of them
Hawknc wrote:Gotta love our political choices here - you can pick the unionised socially conservative party, or the free-market even more socially conservative party. Oh who to vote for…I don't know, I think I'll just flip a coin and hope it explodes and kills me.

Website

User avatar
Blasphemer
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:52 am UTC

Re: Game Development

Postby Blasphemer » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:33 pm UTC

@Steakx
Not because a feature is so complex that half of the work done with the game was for that specific feature, doesn't mean you can't ignore it. I mean, think about The Sims. That game was created with the explicit purpose of having an Architecture designing game, and the only reason that Sim characters were added later in its development was so that there would be something that tests the efficiency of the houses built. It was only after the game's release that the makers realized that people enjoyed messing around with the Sims more than the actual building part of the game for which the game was all about. Some people even tried designing their own houses only when they realized that the pre-made ones were inadequate for their personal needs. It was the main purpose of the game, building design that is, but a lot of people enjoyed The Sims without ever having bothered to do mainly that.

With regards to the melding of genres not being a good idea. I would like to know why? Because personally, I wouldn't mind it if the game that we make doesn't fall into any one or multiple genre stereotypes. I mean, wouldn't creating a game so radical that it blurs the line between the genres be ideal?

I do agree with the thing that you guys have been saying before, we should start working together more. However, wouldn't that interfere with the other's own idea about their own part of it?

@ST
Unfortunately, I haven't had the privilege to play UltimaOnline and would greatly appreciate if you could share with me how they were able to manage to have an interesting economy system. What affects the prices of the commodities? Is the change in value of said commodities vary from location to location that one can make a profit with the buy low/sell high strategy? If players do manage to make a profit from it, then does that affect the local markets as well (ie. Goods from where they were bought cheap will start to increase the cost and the opposite effect where they were sold.) When this change does take effect, how does the game handle this price increase/reduction? Does it slowly go back to normal overtime or are the players responsible for buying/selling these goods en masse to alter the prices again? Are there locations where resource are naturally bought cheap if left untouched for a long enough amount of time and vice versa? Aside from personal equipment, what other uses are there for a player's money? Can any one person own the whole "mall" or just individual stalls? If you can own the whole mall, can they take it from you and how? (Wow, here I am, trying to ask all these questions without even answering any of yours. Sorry about that. I just feel like I'll learn more if people explain things to me rather than me telling them my ideas and they tell me what is good from what is not.)

@Newt
You can think of the RPG side as a tutorial of how to play the RTS side. The tutorial then ends when you get enough in-game resources through RPG means to be able to play the RTS side. Also, a high leveled character that could take down a dungeon boss wouldn't bother pillaging small farms as he would make better profit by taking down that dungeon boss that we've established he can do. The smaller the village, the less protection it has, the less it would be worth to pillage. It could even be counter intuitive to do so as you would have to spend resources trying to achieve a something that would net you little to none at all.

@Toeofdoom
Is there any reason for it to not work the other way around? Couldn't the RPG side of the hybrid just be an alternative or, technically, a break from the mentally demanding RTS side? Is it not advisable to have an RTS world where you can walk around in RTS style down to the smaller more intimate level? What kinds of problems do you think would arise if the RTS side was developed first before adding in the RPG? Something like what Warcraft had when they added "heroes" to the third installment. Only difference is, the ones who wants, or has the capability to, play the RTS side of the game does so with a bird's-eye-view while those who wants to play the RPG does so from the first (or probably the third) person perspective.

User avatar
Steax
SecondTalon's Goon Squad
Posts: 3038
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:18 pm UTC

Re: Game Development

Postby Steax » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:53 pm UTC

The Sims was a God Game - it's a kind of sandbox game. The goal is to create something to your will. You can't build house without a way to interact with it, and you can't interact with people if you don't make a house for them. Other god games include titles like Populous: The Beginning, which also suffered from critics saying it didn't manage to set apart RPG/God and RTS genres, leading to repetitive gameplay.

Melding genres is fine, but you have to have a good reason for it. For example, Populous' premise was that you were a shaman trying to gain godly status, so you planet-hopped to conquer opponents and kill rival shamans, gaining your godly powers over time. You have to be building for a reason other than "so it's like that". Take an idea - your 'kings' idea works - and grow it from there. Don't immediately go about saying "it will have epic-level MMO elements" and "Wouldn't having a house be fun?" Make it clear - "You're a king who needs to build a castle and kingdom, and then fights or negotiates with neighboring kingdoms over land, resources and world dominance." Doesn't that sound much better?

You shouldn't have two different ideas in the first place. Make it one, like I just did. Then you can tie them together - the individual king's RPG story could tie in to how well they manage troops in the RTS scenario, or how they get voting rights in the MMO stage. You don't want to actually let yourselves have too much freedom - pick some rough guidelines and focus on making something better, not bigger.

Actually, just that single line I made up earlier... actually helps me imagine a game a lot. You could have RPG elements and become a wandering king, trying to assassinate others and take over their kingdoms, or you could try organizing a castle first and focusing on your forces. That actually sounds challenging.
In Minecraft, I use the username Rirez.

User avatar
Toeofdoom
The (Male) Skeleton Guitarist
Posts: 3446
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 10:06 am UTC
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Game Development

Postby Toeofdoom » Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:04 pm UTC

You're quite right that it could work the other way around, I guess I assumed it wouldn't partly because there are so many issues with the whole MMORTS concept (as have already been covered). Anyway, the point is... If we go into a bit of detail of that specific part, we can give you advice on what will work instead of what won't. Then you actually have something to start with.

Anyway, I'll have a go at describing the game from what I have read so far:
A fantasy/medieval team combat game where players can either jump in as a hero or command various weaker units from afar. Blah blah persistent world blah. First person combat is similar to WoW, RTS combat is similar to ... Let's say Dawn of War 2. Because if you're building a couple of buildings a minute all the time, the continent won't be able to stand the massive added weight. Also squads are more bandwidth/processor friendly.
Hawknc wrote:Gotta love our political choices here - you can pick the unionised socially conservative party, or the free-market even more socially conservative party. Oh who to vote for…I don't know, I think I'll just flip a coin and hope it explodes and kills me.

Website

User avatar
Blasphemer
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:52 am UTC

Re: Game Development

Postby Blasphemer » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:24 pm UTC

@Steax
I guess I just never thought of calling it a "God Game". Like I said earlier, I didn't really bother thinking about what it's genre is. But if you prefer that I address it as such then we won't have any problems there. Anyway, I never said it would have epic-level MMO elements, I just said the world has to be enormous so as to anticipate the amount of content the players will be putting in. They can customize their "house" so what prevents them from filling it up with whatever crap they want to... and in most cases, when players can do such a thing, they usually do. But I don't remember ever claiming that my idea was "epic".

@Toeofdoom
Personally, I think the perfect scenario would be to have a combination of a number of games. But so far, we've manage to establish that being able to pull it off would most probably be impossible, at least not perfectly. So that's why I'm here... asking you guys why.

However, if it IS possible if some things are changed... then I want to know what.

Edit: Grammar
Last edited by Blasphemer on Sun Nov 06, 2011 1:55 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Steax
SecondTalon's Goon Squad
Posts: 3038
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:18 pm UTC

Re: Game Development

Postby Steax » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:33 pm UTC

I'm not arguing about genre names - I'm arguing that it's a single, solid genre known as the "god game". It's not a mix of "design games" and stuff - god games fulfill the niche of players who want a sandbox while having a challenge to play against.

Lets face it - some games give players complete flexibility over whatever they want to build, and how much space they want to explore. Many of these games have millions of players. Players won't fill their houses with crap - they'll just fill it up with what they want to show off. Don't jump the gun in terms of resources, take what you guess an average player would use (and, if necessary, place limits on a high level) and build for that. As long as you're worrying about it being possible or not, you won't get anywhere. By "epic" I'm assuming you're expecting players to do more than what people already do in sandbox games, and that is a lot.

Then there's the possibility of your game even getting traction.

tl;dr: Focus, don't worry about infinities, and just get enough to get by for now.

I think this is the point where you can start pitching your game at us - a real pitch. Say we're people you meet in elevator and we ask you "hey, I heard you're making a game. I'll invest if it's good. What's it about?" and you have 3 minutes to explain it to us. Remember, keep flashy abbreviations and technical terms away. The 2 best method I've seen for elevator pitches are a) "It's a game that lets you be a [n], and do [x], [y], and [z]." and b) "It's like [existing game], except you can do [x], [y], and [z]." If you choose the comparison one, make it as popular a game as possible - ideally, the comparison should be against the elephant in the room.
In Minecraft, I use the username Rirez.

User avatar
Toeofdoom
The (Male) Skeleton Guitarist
Posts: 3446
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 10:06 am UTC
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Game Development

Postby Toeofdoom » Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:10 pm UTC

To be honest, I'm not sure anyone or any company could pull off that game. It just doesn't feel like the pieces fit together very well. While I haven't played many of the games in that list, things like elder scrolls exploration and combat requiring timing/reflexes inherently conflict with it being an MMO. From my point of view, I would end up with all those separate games you listed and get a better experience because each of them had the attention of an entire game focused on them.

So like I said earlier it might be interesting if you had RTS and hero players side-by-side, but you should state that and think about how it would work. People do like games in that sort of area, but there aren't that many. As for clans or whatever being able to build entire cities, fantastic, how does that fit in? I'm filling way you attack/use buildings in with stuff from Rome: Total war and the later games, which could work. On the other hand, if it heavily involves attacking various enemy settlements, that's a large step away from the abstract XvsX battles common to most team vs team games and it will be hard to make that fun. Also, how does the RTS section deal with building units - I assume you aren't really building a settlement during a short battle, so you have to work with what you have?

But as I said earlier, mount and blade seems like it would require low latency which conflicts with MMOs. Exploration is also very odd on a persistent multiplayer server as it tends to be a solo activity and much more interesting if no-one else got there first, so dedicating a chunk of the game to that seems like a bad idea.

Essentially we need an idea of the main mechanics/features (which you just provided) and how/why they work together. Ignore how impossibly huge it is for now, just explain why each bit is in there and if you find you can't explain it, maybe it should be replaced or just cut. Once you've done that you should have a solid game pitch.
Hawknc wrote:Gotta love our political choices here - you can pick the unionised socially conservative party, or the free-market even more socially conservative party. Oh who to vote for…I don't know, I think I'll just flip a coin and hope it explodes and kills me.

Website

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26516
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: Game Development

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:06 pm UTC

Blasphemer wrote:@ST
Unfortunately, I haven't had the privilege to play UltimaOnline and would greatly appreciate if you could share with me how they were able to manage to have an interesting economy system. What affects the prices of the commodities? Is the change in value of said commodities vary from location to location that one can make a profit with the buy low/sell high strategy? If players do manage to make a profit from it, then does that affect the local markets as well (ie. Goods from where they were bought cheap will start to increase the cost and the opposite effect where they were sold.) When this change does take effect, how does the game handle this price increase/reduction? Does it slowly go back to normal overtime or are the players responsible for buying/selling these goods en masse to alter the prices again? Are there locations where resource are naturally bought cheap if left untouched for a long enough amount of time and vice versa? Aside from personal equipment, what other uses are there for a player's money? Can any one person own the whole "mall" or just individual stalls? If you can own the whole mall, can they take it from you and how? (Wow, here I am, trying to ask all these questions without even answering any of yours. Sorry about that. I just feel like I'll learn more if people explain things to me rather than me telling them my ideas and they tell me what is good from what is not.)
Heh. While I understand UO is still going, if you really want to play the UO most people think of when they talk about UO, you need a time machine set to 1998-1999.

That said.... (And remember that I'm going off 10+ year old memories at this point, so if you see a numeric value just assume I pulled it straight out of my ass)
Spoiler:
UO's economy was an interesting one. Initially they had a set number of gold coins in the world (based on the number of players, I believe), and that was it. While I can see what they were intending, what happened was that a few players hoarded the lion's share of the gold, and everyone else was left with slaying dragons who then dropped a gold coin or two, and trying to sell other valuables to NPC vendors for.. zero money.

So they scrapped that, and put in a "Gold gets created when you kill a monster or sell something, sorta" approach. The NPC vendors bought and sold various things, with your Smith vendors usually only being interested in blacksmithing supplies and weapons OR armor, not both weapons and armor. Tailors bought wool, cloth and clothing, carpenters bought cabinets and such.. you get the idea. If you had a pack full of miscellaneous gear, you had to travel around to sell it all.

NPC vendors always sold Normal gear. Wasn't below average, wasn't above average, was middle of the road. As a result, a starting smith/carpenter/tailor/whatever did their best if they just sold their crap to the NPCs. It wouldn't be cost effective for a player Smith to sell a dagger to a player for 10 gold when the NPC will buy it for 50. Sure, a player will buy an exceptional dagger for 100 when the NPC will only buy it for 75 (and turn around and sell it for 125) but you had to have a respectable level of Blacksmithing to make exceptional gear.

(This is how everything ties into everything else. UO did not use classes, it used Skills. You had.. I forget, 25ish skills in the game, but only 700 points maximum. So you could get 7 skills to 100 and be awesome at it.. and absolutely suck at everything else. In theory, you could get a bunch to something like 75 and have an extra skill or two... but skills were really only starting to get useful at 75. From 0-75 you were just doing what you could to get it up to 75 so you could actually do something with it. There were also skill synergies.. like a high Carpentry and Tinkering skill would let you build chests that locked. Anyway, point being, a Blacksmith was shooting for 100 Blacksmithing, 100 Mining (To get the rare ores and not have to buy them all the time), probably a high if not 100 Arms Lore (it added a bonus to Smithing, I think), and a 70ish Magery (To use the OH SHIT RECALL escape reliably and to use Mark scrolls) - which left a couple of points for some fighting skills (Say, Maces, Tactics and Parry at 100).

So, while you could get shit good enough to keep you alive against Lizardmen and Ratmen and some of the lower level orcs from NPCs, for the good shit you had to buy from Players.

Now.. remember one very important thing - UO was the Hollywood Inner City of MMOs. By that I mean, if you left the protection of town without 100% preparation, in about ten seconds there's going to be someone laughing over your corpse as they loot your body. Hell, IN town people would do all sorts of nasty tricks to get you killed, assuming they didn't just pick your pocket right there. You had to pay attention at all times to what everyone else was doing around you.

And there were scams. So many scams. I just bring that up as a way of segueing in to the Player-Run Vendors, because it does apply.

Now, to have a Vendor you either needed to own a house or have a friend who did. Back when I played they were moving away from physical key based identification (No, really - if you lost the key, you lost the house. My friends and I lost a tower that way) because players were.. understandably, I guess.. tired of finding a place to put a castle or something, putting it down and a day later being killed, losing the keyring, the killer either taking over the house or.. more likely.. it simply falling apart with no one there to keep it up (Housing upkeep - if a keyholder didn't open and shut the front door at least once every 7 days, the house would fall down and the contents would spew out on the countryside)

So, assuming you have a house, you'd go buy a Vendor Deed from a town's shop or another player's vendor if you couldn't go into town (In the in-game Karma system, some players murdered so much that they were forbidden from entering a guard zone. Or, rather, if they did and a guard was called, they'd be killed instantly) and then use it inside your residence or on the front steps. This creates an NPC that you can use like your inventory containers, except when you put anything inside it, you either assigned a price or had one auto-assign. The Auto-assigns were always well below actual market value, by the way. At least on Lake S they were (Lake Superior being the server I played on). Anywho, you would then fill up the NPC with whatever items you wanted to sell, and the prices you wanted for them.

What controlled the economy? The same things that control a free-market economy now, I guess. If you priced shit too high, no one would buy it. If you priced it too low, you'd often sell out too quickly (because Bob would roll up with the intention of buying one (1) exceptional Sword, but when he saw you had twenty for 70% of the regular price? He'd buy 20.) which meant that either you'd have to live your life crafting/gathering crap for your shop OR you wouldn't.. and people would actually stop visiting because you're always sold out of stuff. Because Bob buys you out at once because your shit is so cheap, but Bob only comes once a week.. so selling at 70% of market value means you're making less money overall than if you sold at market. Kinda crazy how that works, but there you are.

Anyway, the NPC vendor charged you daily, and there were 12 days in one real world day. The way this worked was you'd drop money on the NPC to pay them up for a while, and if they ran out of money they'd start taking money from your profits (which is fine) until THAT ran out.. and when it did, they'd wait for a bit, then leave, dropping your stuff on the ground. Which meant it had about a five minute lifespan - not because server cleanup would delete it, but because other people would swoop down on it and take it. However, initially the Vendor price was.. I forget what it was, but I think it worked out to 250 gold every 24 hours. Reasonable. Origin found out that people were using Vendors basically as extra storage space - put an item on the Vendor, put a cost of 12,000,000 gold, no one will buy it because it's only worth 1000. Pick it up later. Origin put in rules that.. frankly, I don't recall, but the gist of it was that the NPC vendor would charge you a rate based on the total value of the items it was holding, so a few million dollar items would have the NPC charging several thousand gold a real-world day. Unworkable for most people.

Now, that being said.. I couldn't actually tell you what the Value for an Exceptional Longsword is. No one could. Over near Vesper, right outside of town? 200 gold. Out in the wilds right by the entrance to Shame? 250 (If you came to a dungeon unprepared, you were going to pay. One way or another). Out in the middle of fucking nowhere? 150. In a player-run town? 175. Big John's Discount Mall (located between Britain and Skara Brae)? 165. So what's the market value? It all depended mostly on what sort of traffic you had or you could generate. Big John's Discount Mall, for example, would have 20 vendors inside it, usually run by a Guild. The houses around it though? Independent of that guild, but if they could put out wares that people wanted too, while people would mark their runes Big John or something like that, they might not even set foot in Big John's anymore, as Steve's Poisons a screen over has all the niche stuff they need (for sneaky fencing poisoners), while Big John caters to the average playerbase (Halberd wielding mages). And, luckily for Steve's Poisons, Big John's had a vendor selling runes directly to Big John's front door, so lots of people would buy those and have it as a shopping destination.

That's the player economy. It doesn't affect the NPC economy at all.

This is all without discussing the big problem of housing. Buying a house deed? Not too bad. Finding a place to put the fucking thing? Damn near impossible. Looking at the map..see all the light green areas that represent plains? Yeah.. if I showed you a real map, those areas would have housing denser than any town. There were some areas that it was damn near impossible to walk through because the houses were so tight.. hell, at the start houses could touch each other. One guild had a group of houses completely encircling an area, creating a courtyard. They put a stop to that as people were using houses to completely block off dungeons. Anyway, point being that I started the game about six months after release. At that time, a place to put the smallest house possible was almost impossible to find. Castles? There was no space. The only way to place one was to find the area you wanted and convince everyone there to move out so you could wait for their houses to fall apart, camp the area and keep others from building there, and finally putting a castle down.




Now, NPC in-town Vendors? Let's say one had 100 black pearls (A reagent for spellcasting, Black Pearls being used in basically goddamn everything) at 6 gold each. Completely reasonable. Now let's say Steve buys 50 of them. The NPC is now selling 50 black pearls at... 8 gold each. John buys 40 of them. Those remaining 10 black pearls? 12 gold each. This also worked the other way. Selling Fancy Shirts to NPCs started at 75 gold each, but quickly dropped to 20-25 gold before they flat out refused to buy any more. (While you could buy as much as you wanted in one go, you could only sell five items at a time.) NPC vendors also had a gold amount you could see, and when that hit Zero they stopped buying things as they could no longer afford it.

Initially, an NPC's inventory was it's inventory and that was that, outside of the NPC dying. While the plan from Origin was that players would wander the wilds and collect the randomly spawning black pearls (which people did, don't get me wrong) and then sell them to the NPCs (Who the fuck would do that? Reagents are USEFUL!). Even the crappy reagents used for a handful of spells no one used anyway? No one would sell them because it was more useful to keep them around or sell them on your NPC vendor in Reagent Grab-Bags (People often sold bags with reagents inside, usually in 10, 50, 100, 250 and 500 of each increments for a stupid amount of money). So players often ended up dropping all their supplies off at a bank, killing the NPC in one hit (and dying in the process), reviving at the healers and by the time they made it to the shop, a new vendor had spawned with an all new inventory....

Anyway, Origin pretty quickly changed that to Normalizing every 2 hours. Inventory would reset to Default, as would the wallet. Granted, this resulted in people timing it and teleporting from town to town to sell things in one go, thus locking the vendor from buying Fancy Shirts for another two hours, but it was a workable problem.

So, to summarize..
Origin started by trying to replicate an economy with limited monetary resources, quickly scrapped it in favor of an artificial one where money is apparently created in Ratmen digestive systems.
Player-run-Vendors required housing. Housing was not fully thought through, and by the time I left they still had no working solution. I don't think they do now either.
Player Economy was where it was at. Tangibles were better than Deeds - that is, a placed small house (7x7, 5x5 usable interior) was worth at least ten times it's deed value, and that's assuming it's in the ass-end of nowhere with nothing useful nearby.
The main thing keeping Magical and Player Made Exceptional items as low as they were (and we're talking usually 10x normal NPC cost for Exceptional items, Magic items had their own scales based on what enchantments it had, with the highest level ones on a good weapon costing about the same as a placed castle) was that on death, you lost your items. All of them. Or, rather, they stayed with your corpse. Your spirit had to run off and find a healer, then run back and hope they haven't made jerky of your body yet. So losing items "forever" was.. common. You learned to not get attached to shit, and to always bring your A game when you left a safe area - and to never consider any area as Completely Safe.


But yeah.. in my rambling I hope I'm impressing upon you a pair of key points

1. EVERYTHING is connected. The manner in which you die and what happens to your items? That directly affects the player economy. Since Real Estate was a thing, the Location Location Location rule applies.. and if the location sucks, with enough drive people will make the shithole become prime real estate. I mean, in my above ramblings, to explain the player economy I had to make an aside about the Magic system and how there were long distance teleportation spells, and the ability to mark a destination as you will, and ramble for a long time about how the game even worked at a basic level (No classes, skills, 700 point skill cap)

2. Your initial ideas (no matter how good sounding on paper) are stupid and will angry up the playerbase and mostly flat out not work as you expect them to work. Changing it will also angry up the playerbase, but that will happen regardless. If you have a game where all you do is stare at a glowing letter A, then change it so you can move around a small room and look at the A from all angles, some players will complain about the core of A looking being gone, especially now that people can look at it from the side and imagine it's an I or lower case L. Learn to identify genuine problems (Dragons no longer dropping treasure because no new treasure is being generated) and Whining (Players are being pickpocketed in town. Because other players are using the Pickpocket skill as it was designed). I'm not actually saying your ideas are stupid (mostly because I haven't really seen them) but I am saying that within a few days, the players will identify huge gaping flaws you never saw. So do your best to find them and fix them. It's okay to have huge gaping flaws when you're UO and you're the only damn show in town, but today? UO would have been dead in a couple of months.


*edit* and typing all this up makes me want to play UO again. It's.. a shame the game that exists today is nowhere near the wild anarchy that I lovehated, and any sort of Free servers I find are often either covered in extra rules to make it not at all the same, or empty of other players.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
Blasphemer
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:52 am UTC

Re: Game Development

Postby Blasphemer » Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:31 pm UTC

@Steax
Steax wrote:Players won't fill their houses with crap - they'll just fill it up with what they want to show off.

If it's something that was created for the game with no other purpose but to be used for showing off, then, not that I have anything against those but, I consider them "crap".

Steax wrote:By "epic" I'm assuming you're expecting players to do more than what people already do in sandbox games, and that is a lot.

Again, I never said anything about my game being "epic", nor do I expect a lot of people in it. I'm not sure if it matters but, one of the things we always take into consideration when adding new features is this: "Will it still be enjoyable even if there was only ONE person playing the game?". Now that I think about it, what we really want to happen is if there was nobody playing the game, the mechanics and the behaviors/decision-making of the AI lean towards returning things back to how things used to be before anyone changed anything. An MMORPG that could be played and enjoyed all by yourself just like a non-MMO type of RPG. That's the dream at least. Making it happen is a completely different matter.


@Toeofdoom
Good point, something that absolutely REQUIRES low latency to be enjoyable, like the sword-fighting mechanics, cannot exist in an MMO. Okay, scrapping that idea then. So would you say the first-person perspective is to be avoided at all costs? If so, then how would you make the combat mechanics more interesting than the button-bashing of World of Warcraft?

Assuming that the first-person-direction-specific-sword-fighting-mechanic won't be scrapped though, what we plan on trying to put together is something like Warcraft 3 where the heroes and the army is commanded by a commander who must know how to balance his resources between his troops and the hero(es). The difference is, this hero that was summoned using the resources of the commander, instead of being just another unit, would be another player himself. From his point of view, he stands among the commander's army, shield and sword on hand. The commander, at this stage can still walk around the world RPG style, then has to indicate, using a map object which can be packed up and placed down like an Engineer in TF2, where he wants this hero to be. When the commander does this, the camera then shifts to an overhead view and can start controlling his troops RTS style.

The hero would then be notified of the commands and whether the hero follows orders or not is up to him. If he doesn't, the commander can either reward this hero with a generous pay anyway... or none at all. Now if the commander's order was followed to the dot, and he still doesn't pay well, then it's the hero's decision if he chooses to stay or work for some other commander instead.

*re-reads text above* Hmm... that could fit into a 3-minute overview for it I think. :D


@ST
*reads your post... sits down and places hands on forehead*

Since I never played Ultima Online, I never knew how much of a clone our MMO idea is to it. I mean, it's not EXACTLY how we plan the economy system to work... but... dang.

The class system was spot on though. You don't CHOOSE which class to play as, you just do what you want to do and you get better at it, difference is, you get less efficient with the opposite task. You could just grab a stick and hit everyone you see with it over and over again and you get better at using things to swing around with, however, your aim with a bow and arrow gets lousier and lousier. You could ride a mount everywhere you go, but that means your leg speed, whenever you're on foot, gets slower. That way, when you feel like the "build" you went for with your character isn't the best for you, you don't have to create a new character and start all over.

The housing is pretty much the same, the difference is, crowding is a factor that we WANT to happen. Because without the problem of crowding, then the big cities will only get bigger and bigger because there is no reason to move to other smaller more spacious new towns. Also, that would add something for the land-owning people to think about when choosing which land to take for specific purposes. Larger territories are more useful for farming while smaller ones are better suited for less space consuming trading districts. We also had the NPC vendor idea with a little twist. Only rich people with something greatly profitable businesses can afford hiring an expensive NPC with a high trading skill. While hiring a low-skilled trader NPC would just make the profit smaller and poor players need every penny they can get. So what can they do? They become NPCs themselves. They can man their own shops. When they assign themselves as shop traders, their avatar doesn't disappear when they log out. They walk back to the shop, if they weren't already there, and does what an NPC trader does. So the poor players then hunt mobs for the loot when they're online, and they leave their avatars in the shop, to sell the loot to other players who needs them, when they are not.

I also love the idea that the prices of the items vary from place to place depending on how much they are needed/wanted there versus the amount in circulation. Like, an item used for building construction like concrete would sell for more in a developed area where sturdier buildings are necessary while they're practically worthless in the front lines where the buildings are mostly temporary bases as the line that marks the border of two warring kingdoms constantly shifts. I can think of no reason why this doesn't apply every RPG game in existence as it should.

The concept of the Black Pearl becoming a problem with exploits taking place just to have more of it I think comes from your description of it: They're used for goddamned everything. If a regent was used by more than one skill/class/ethnic group then it goes to follow that this item's value will sky rocket. If the different regents were used for different skills, then I can think of no reason for one to out value the other, balancing the prices and the necessity of its existence.

Now, about the concept of losing mostly everything you had when you died... actually, we had an unresolved discussion about that mechanic before, only a little bit more questionable. When you die... your character gets deleted. Of course a lot of us couldn't even imagine playing a game like that but as we talked more about it, we realized that this is the only way to keep the game balanced. We realized that this is a necessary mechanic that cannot be removed. I would like to share how that works so you guys could ever so kindly hopefully help me polish it... but first I'd like to ask how that worked for Ultima Online. Did people complain a lot about it? Didn't they want it removed like MMORPGs nowadays where when you died, the worst that could set you back would be an hour or so worth of experience points?

User avatar
Steax
SecondTalon's Goon Squad
Posts: 3038
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:18 pm UTC

Re: Game Development

Postby Steax » Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:58 pm UTC

Maybe you should start putting down concrete features, ideas and systems so we don't all just shoot at examples in the dark.
In Minecraft, I use the username Rirez.

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26516
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: Game Development

Postby SecondTalon » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:06 pm UTC

UO Specific ramblin's

Spoiler:
Well, lemme put it to you this way - When you started, you were given items based on the skills you chose, and these items were - as the UO slang called them - "Newbied", meaning that upon death and subsequent revival, you'd find them in your inventory. The robe you were given upon death was also newbied, and lots of people wore a death cloak, dyed to whatever color they wanted because it meant they wouldn't lose it on death. A death robe was in every way visually identical to a purchased/crafted one, so there wasn't any sort of embarrassment or whatever of wearing it.

In 2001, people who'd played the game for so long got a special item that allowed them to bless an item - said blessed item would.. appear in their backpack upon death. So a newbie coupon, as they were sometimes called. This was a one-time thing, though, so it did require some thought.

From what I understand these days, more or less everything's newbied.

At the time, did people complain? A minority, yeah, but for the most part everyone just understood that's how the game was played. These are the rules, this is how it works, deal with it. As other games came into existence with their own rules about PvP and how items on death would be dealt with, the player base of UO started complaining more and more to mimic the "new" way of doing it. While I'd say at first it was just a loud minority, the more changes that were put into place drove people away. I myself left a few months after they redid PvP completely, making it so the PvP areas, rather than being the vibrant, populated areas where danger lurked but you could be safe if you kept your wits about you, became a desolate wasteland populated only by murderers and the people hunting them down.

Of course, a lot of that has to do with how they did it rather than the why, but that's.. christ that's long and complicated and boring. And a lot of it has to do with ... well, UO wasn't the first MMO, but it was the first popular MMO. Pretty much every mistake that UO made was one that we can now only see because it's been a few years...or a decade.. and we can see what went wrong where, but there's no way to change it back without alienating everyone currently playing the game.

So let's start with PvP and how it worked. As I said earlier, there were basically two Zones in the game - Guard Zones which were basically all of the towns except Buccaneer's Den, and the Moongates. The other zone would be called "Everything else." Leave a guard zone (the game would tell you when that happened, of course) and at any point anyone could attack you for any reason.

There were consequences to that, mind you. Initially there was a simple karma system in place, basically a line, where you started in the middle as neutral karma, and based on your actions (attacking other players, stealing, etc) you would lower it. You raised it by attacking evil creatures, evil being creatures with Red Names. That part's important. See, when your karma got so low.. and by so low I mean, like, two clicks down from Neutral on a 7 to -7 scale.. you were Red. Meaning that outside of a guard zone, you could be freely attacked. Worse, defending yourself - that is, attacking back? That counted as attacking a good NPC/PC/Whatever, so.. you'd get more evil and the other guy would get more good for you defending yourself. NPKs (Notoriety Player Killers) were the name given to people who hunted red names, regardless of crime.

Now, I know.. you're thinking "So what? You did something wrong to get a red name, what's the big deal?" ...and that's basically the problem with computer assigned morality - the context of any action wasn't taken into account, just the action itself. So that was a problem. The other major problem?

You could get as many "evil" points as you could in however short of a time you could do it. Snoop into someone's bag fifteen times in two minutes? That's fifteen Bad points.

You could only get One good point every 15 minutes. Kill 17 babyeating harpies in 14 minutes? One goodpoint. Kill an orc and 17 minutes later kill another orc? 2 good points.

So basically, you'd often get people in a hole they couldn't dig themselves out of.

Anyway, that got replaced with a Reputation matrix which was a function of your Karma and your Fame, and the Karma bit was capped so the usual "Bad" actions people often did to raise stats (Snooping was good for dexterity) wouldn't drop you that far.. AND so that the only way to become Red was to kill five people in a certain span of time (I want to say 24 hours, but it may have been 48).

So that meant that if you saw a Red name, no longer would you have the urge to sit and chat them up for a moment to see if they were just some dumbass stuck in a karma hole, or if they were a murdered. If they were red, odds are they deserved it. And odds are they were about to wreck your shit.

Then there's Trammel and Felucca. I don't know how familiar you are with the Ultima series of games or whatever, but to make a long story short, there's 8 moongates in the game that move you to different points based on the phases of the moon. Just imagine eight points on a circle, and that when the moons are like THIS, you move one hop, but when they're like THIS you move two and so on, up to eight hops.. because yes, there was a moonphase where you didn't move at all. Learning the moonphase and how to use the moongates to get from A to B was a skill in and of itself. They then took that away, and made it so the moongates popped up a menu and you selected your destination. Kinda boring, really.

They also added in a copy of the world. Like.. literally a 1:1 copy of the world, minus player housing. One world got even more flowers and happy looking crap, while the other world had all the trees lose all their leaves, and skulls and such appear in place of the original flowers. One side - the flower side - became PvP by consent only. As in, you had to be a member of a guild or the Order/Chaos Knights to engage in PvP, while on the Skull side it was original UO rules - guard zones off limits (unless you're in a guild or the Order/Chaos knights) and free for all everywhere else....

Which.. lemme take an aside to say that there were the Order and Chaos knights who were given a special shield and could then freely attack each other anywhere. Guards would not interfere with the fights. Same thing with guilds that declared war on each other - they could fight anywhere, any time. Dunno if that's still the case, but that's how it was at the time.

So anyway, Feluccia, the PvPFree side was the original, and Tramel was the new one, creating a fun land-grab event when they finally opened it up for housing. That was neat.


Re: Housing

HOLY FUCK YOU DO NOT WANT CROWDED HOUSING!

No, really. You don't. UO didn't want crowded housing. The problem was, they severely underestimated the demand, so they did not have controls for the longest time - you could have as many houses as you could afford and place. I believe their original intention was that only, say, 3 our of every 10 players would want their own house, 2 or 3 would live on a boat, and everyone else just wouldn't have the need. The reality of it worked a bit more like...

Let's say there's the Knights of Good, a guild of 40. A little large, but not really that crazybig. Under UO's assumptions, they'd have a Guild Castle/Keep or something like that, and then maybe another 5-10 houses and whatnot for their various needs and that's it. The reality of it was that each player had a house (so 40 houses), there were at least 10-15 guild houses/castles/whatever for private guild needs, and then another 10-15 for public usage, malls, etc.

So 40 people would take 70 houses. And that's before we even get into the issue of house sizing. The smallest house was a 7x7 block with a 1x3 stairway at the front and a 5x5 usable interior. This was often not even a room in some of the larger houses.

They had poor housing placement rules, allowing for roadblocks to be built and for castles to hang over valleys with just a corner tower on land, and they had no ownership limits, meaning one person could place dozens of homes. When I joined not even six months after launch, housing was full. It's pretty clear they expected it to ... well, not fill up. Ever, or at least not for a few years. I think a huge chunk of the complaints to the GMs were about house placement issues.

Now.. maybe you can made a "crowded" housing design work. Maybe. All I know is that whatever UO's devs were expecting for housing, they got ten times as much. Probably more.

Oh, last bit.. Skills... There was Learning By Doing, which gained you skills the fasted, and there was Learning By Watching, which meant that if your character observed another character using a skill, they learned a teeny tiny bit about it. At first, there was no way to lock your skills in, other than by use - if you used a skill a lot, it wouldn't go down if you were at the cap and another skill raised.

There was also the bit about ... well, basically, and I don't know when they removed it but I can't imagine it still being in the game, but... basically, the more people using a skill, the harder it was for people to learn. [making shit up again - ]Successes counted for raising skills, failures for a quarter of a success. When you had 0.0 in a skill, a success would likely raise it an entire point (to 1.0) and a failure to .2 or something. However, if you were using Magery (something damn near everyone used), then at 0.0 a success may only raise it to .1. Because 95% of the server is using it.

Camping - the art of lighting a campfire.. was used by practically no one. I say that for a reason.

The problem came in when you had people who were caped out in skills, all 700 in use... and a griefer would light a campfire by them. They would Learn By Watching and.. their camping would go up to 1.0. And their Magery would go down to 99.0, or maybe their swordsmanship, or what the fuck ever. Doesn't matter. Point being, that getting from 99.9 to 100.0 in Magery would be hours of work and thousands of gold in reagents. All ruined by a guy who spent 2 gold on kindling and lit a fire by you.

So yeah, I think before I left the game they had the ability to do one of four things to a skill - Leave it Original, as it were | Lock it so that it will never fall but can go Up | Lock it so it will never go up but can go down | Lock it so it won't move up OR down.

So yeah, before the locks came in I know of a few people who, when under attack by a bunch of red names, would light campfires. They knew they were going to die, no question about it, but maybe they could make the other person spend a few hours and possibly a few thousand gold getting back to where they were.


Oh, and permadeath in an MMO? I can't say I am a fan. It kinda sounds nice on paper for a hardcore game, except how do you handle disconnects?

IF you leave the character in the game world, where it can be attacked and killed, you just fucked me out of hours/days/weeks/months/years? of work because a transformer blew down the street and I lost power. I'm quitting that day.

If the character immediately vanishes, then I'm keeping a foot on the power strip connected to my modem. As soon as I hit 20% or less health, I'm killing my modem and logging in ten minutes later when the danger should be gone.

I don't think you ever want to be in a position where you punish someone for events out of their control. At the same time, you don't want a power-cord yank to be an action with a reward. And saving your character from permadeath is a reward like no other.

But yeah, what Steax said. At this point if you want our help we.. actually kinda need to see a rough design document. I'm not saying we need to know the specifics, but we need to know what it is you're planning in greater detail than the vagueness you've provided so far, so we can ask you questions you possibly haven't thought about.

I mean.. there are more anecdotes about game designers thinking something is completely intuitive and natural and makes perfect sense handing the game to someone who's never seen it, never been in the meetings, never discussed it, never even thought about it.. and spending 40 minutes stuck in the first room because they didn't know they needed to hit the [I] key to [i]nteract with the door handle. Even though you're nowhere near that, same principle applies. Whatever wacky systems you're wanting to put into place, there are flaws you need to take into consideration. Possibly game-breaking flaws.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
Jorpho
Posts: 6279
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

Re: Game Development

Postby Jorpho » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:16 am UTC

I am awed and intimidated by ST's wall-of-exposition capabilities. Seriously, that's good readin' thar.

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26516
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: Game Development

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:22 am UTC

Oh, I should also point out as a last word - as UO got more streamlined, as the world got safer, as the economy got more streamlined in the sense that magic items got weaker and weaker and crafted items became stronger and stronger, subscriptions went up.

In terrible analogyland, it was the equivalent of ditching your two best friends and changing a lot of fundamental things about yourself to fit in with the popular kids. The people who played at the start (97?) were pretty much all gone by 2002. But subscription numbers were higher than ever.

Make of that what you will. Me, I take away the lesson that complex is not better. Dangerous, though exciting, is not better. People basically want a single player game they can play with their friends and sometimes play competitive team games against other people, whether it's an actual in-game capture the flag or an informal "Kill those guys"
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
Toeofdoom
The (Male) Skeleton Guitarist
Posts: 3446
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 10:06 am UTC
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Game Development

Postby Toeofdoom » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:44 am UTC

Blasphemer wrote:@Toeofdoom
Good point, something that absolutely REQUIRES low latency to be enjoyable, like the sword-fighting mechanics, cannot exist in an MMO. Okay, scrapping that idea then. So would you say the first-person perspective is to be avoided at all costs? If so, then how would you make the combat mechanics more interesting than the button-bashing of World of Warcraft?
Spoiler:
Assuming that the first-person-direction-specific-sword-fighting-mechanic won't be scrapped though, what we plan on trying to put together is something like Warcraft 3 where the heroes and the army is commanded by a commander who must know how to balance his resources between his troops and the hero(es). The difference is, this hero that was summoned using the resources of the commander, instead of being just another unit, would be another player himself. From his point of view, he stands among the commander's army, shield and sword on hand. The commander, at this stage can still walk around the world RPG style, then has to indicate, using a map object which can be packed up and placed down like an Engineer in TF2, where he wants this hero to be. When the commander does this, the camera then shifts to an overhead view and can start controlling his troops RTS style.

The hero would then be notified of the commands and whether the hero follows orders or not is up to him. If he doesn't, the commander can either reward this hero with a generous pay anyway... or none at all. Now if the commander's order was followed to the dot, and he still doesn't pay well, then it's the hero's decision if he chooses to stay or work for some other commander instead.

*re-reads text above* Hmm... that could fit into a 3-minute overview for it I think. :D

I honestly don't know of any MMOs that have done anything especially unique with swordfighting, but then I probably wouldn't know.

Anyway, I actually think the combat in WoW isn't bad (or wasn't when I played, before burning crusade), but it seems like this game could work well with system where there are far less abilities but each is actually unique and different - not just another damage spell. Analogous things would be like Team Fortress 2 before the giant pile of unlocks - there only about than 20 weapons in the game, but each had a clear purpose. If you look at mass effect 2, the biotic and tech abilities each do something different (pick enemies up, smash them together, push them, CHAAAAARGE, destroy shields vs destroy armour). You could look at The Witcher, you pick stances and swords and spells based on the situation. All of them are about making important decisions in the heat of combat and you can use this to give your various classes solid "identities". If you limit the abilities you can also make the best use of your resources and it will stand out better. A list of the classes and brief descriptions would help, here.

I'm not entirely sure direct combat is impossible to pull off. If it's relatively slow paced, it could avoid lag issues. For example in zeno clash, you slow down when you're actually attacking. If you make things like dodging and blocking fast semi-automated and make attacks "lock on" manual dodging and aiming aren't problems, you should theoretically remove "twitch" aspects. If you can make that reasonably smooth and keep it entertaining and engaging, that's great.

Of course, requiring people to mentally engage comes with downsides for an MMO. MMO combat is designed to allow you to relax and enter autopilot. If it fails at that, you probably get tired after no more than an hour and don't really get a chance to socialise. The hardest of the hardcore will love it (assuming you do make the combat actually work well) but full mental focus like you require in an FPS or RTS is (somewhat) at odds with the standard MMO concept.

As for the RTS part, if it was up to me I would de-emphasise commanding other players. You can definitely help out by dropping supplies. Fight in RTS style using NPC soldiers, great. Providing intel to your team that "hey, there's a gap in there lines here *ping*" or "We can make a combined push here! *ping*" would probably work well. Whereas giving direct orders to individuals that may simply be ignored is very confrontational. Both the hero and commander could get pissed off easily.
Hawknc wrote:Gotta love our political choices here - you can pick the unionised socially conservative party, or the free-market even more socially conservative party. Oh who to vote for…I don't know, I think I'll just flip a coin and hope it explodes and kills me.

Website

Dark567
First one to notify the boards of Rick and Morty Season 3
Posts: 3686
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:12 pm UTC
Location: Everywhere(in the US, I don't venture outside it too often, unfortunately)

Re: Game Development

Postby Dark567 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:21 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Make of that what you will. Me, I take away the lesson that complex is not better. Dangerous, though exciting, is not better. People basically want a single player game they can play with their friends and sometimes play competitive team games against other people, whether it's an actual in-game capture the flag or an informal "Kill those guys"
But... but.. the last thing I want in an MMO is a single player game that I can play with my friends. I want permadeath and player driven economies and all that danger that goes with it.

... I guess there is EVE.
I apologize, 90% of the time I write on the Fora I am intoxicated.


Yakk wrote:The question the thought experiment I posted is aimed at answering: When falling in a black hole, do you see the entire universe's future history train-car into your ass, or not?

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26516
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: Game Development

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:30 am UTC

Dark567 wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:Make of that what you will. Me, I take away the lesson that complex is not better. Dangerous, though exciting, is not better. People basically want a single player game they can play with their friends and sometimes play competitive team games against other people, whether it's an actual in-game capture the flag or an informal "Kill those guys"
But... but.. the last thing I want in an MMO is a single player game that I can play with my friends. I want permadeath and player driven economies and all that danger that goes with it.

... I guess there is EVE.

And you are in the minority. I mean... compare WoW's 11 million to Eve's 400,000.

That being said, there's nothing inherently wrong with an MMO that does permadeath and danger and all that. You just have to keep in mind that you'll be looking at well under a half million players, and that's a game from a studio, not an idle project in a garage. That.. expect hundreds if you're successful.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
Okita
Staying Alive
Posts: 3071
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2007 7:51 pm UTC
Location: Finance land.

Re: Game Development

Postby Okita » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:15 pm UTC

Technically, there's a player for every game. Just not enough money to justify development.

The best example I can think of is a 180 from your example. Seed the Game from Runestone Game Development. Good plot and an interesting idea but without any combat whatsoever. It was entirely designed around roleplay and politics. But it crashed and burned (there's a post-mortem floating around somewhere) due to lack of money, which is a shame because I think it was an interesting idea. Kind of wish I could take their plot for my own and get it myself but well.

Anyway, I like to think of that game as a testament to failed design and implementation. The overall idea wasn't bad but they ran out of money which forced them to deploy so they could try to raise money. The half-implemented result may have helped get them on the board but server costs and lack of manpower killed them in the end. And we're talking a system that by MMO standards is pretty simple (ie. no combat whatsoever). So yes, again, re-iterating everything ST said and adding another game example.

Clearly ST needs to make a game design analysis thread for the masses.
"I may or may not be a raptor. There is no way of knowing until entering a box that I happen to be in and then letting me sunder the delicious human flesh from your body in reptile fury."

Dark567
First one to notify the boards of Rick and Morty Season 3
Posts: 3686
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:12 pm UTC
Location: Everywhere(in the US, I don't venture outside it too often, unfortunately)

Re: Game Development

Postby Dark567 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:24 pm UTC

Okita wrote:Anyway, I like to think of that game as a testament to failed design and implementation. The overall idea wasn't bad but they ran out of money which forced them to deploy so they could try to raise money. The half-implemented result may have helped get them on the board but server costs and lack of manpower killed them in the end. And we're talking a system that by MMO standards is pretty simple (ie. no combat whatsoever). So yes, again, re-iterating everything ST said and adding another game example.
This as very similar to the company I was working for developing an MMORPG. We ended being lucky enough though after deploying a half assed product, that even though we didn't have enough players to generate revenue, we were able to generate publicity(it was one of the first Mobile MMO's, and still I believe one of the few that involves realtime interaction with other players) and get VC funding to make it into a developed and polished enough product to get a couple hundred thousand players.
I apologize, 90% of the time I write on the Fora I am intoxicated.


Yakk wrote:The question the thought experiment I posted is aimed at answering: When falling in a black hole, do you see the entire universe's future history train-car into your ass, or not?

User avatar
Blasphemer
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:52 am UTC

Re: Game Development

Postby Blasphemer » Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:58 pm UTC

@Steax
Well, that was what I was going to do at first. I just wanted to share our ideas with you guys so you could hopefully find or exploits and the flaws, may they be game-breaking or not. But then this...

SecondTalon wrote:Stop what you're doing. Just stop. Whatever you have in your head is a nightmarish union of game types that will not all work together in anything close to a cohesive way. I say nightmarish because that's what it'll be I'd you try to make it.

Just stop.


...happened.

One thing led to another and by the time I realized it, I was discussing the difficulties of game development instead. Then I had to convince you guys that I'm not envisioning grandeur designs but instead just had a bunch of ideas that I felt like worked well together. There was also a lot of technicalities, the right and wrong ways of doing it, there was even the part where I was getting convinced of forgetting all about it because you guys, with your kind of experience, says so. Not that I have anything against anyone's advice is but I feel like I'm getting sidetracked from what I initially came here for. ("What if..." exercises if that's what you wanna call it.)

But after thinking about it... I'm actually thankful. Not just because I'm learning about things that I wasn't planning to learn from all of you, but also found people that has a genuine concern for people like me who will probably end up wasting years of our lives trying to do something that won't ever amount to anything... though we'll do it anyway. I've actually been to a number of forums before with the same introduction but never really got the response that I did here. They did give some, though really helpful, advice, the ones you guys give me are overwhelming. And I'm not just saying this for the sake of saying it mind you. I just want to convey how much I would like to thank all of you, something I was never really good at doing, but not know how.


@ST

"Newbied" sounds like something we have too. We call it by a different name though... "Gear Companion". Works a little differently too.
Spoiler:
In our game, your "gear" becomes your "companion" through two ways, one through use and the other through possession. Though possession alone is stable, it takes a long time (about a half a year or so) for it to take full effect, while constant use, though that means you constantly have a chance of losing it, could achieve the same effect in a matter of weeks. You see, in our game, equipment gains experience points alongside the wielder (This has been done by a lot of other games already I know.), not just the weapon, but also the armor, slowly making it more useful as time passes. However, along with this gain in usefulness, the equipment also gets "attached" to whoever used it. It could be good news or bad depending on what you plan to do with it. When a "gear" that is "attached" to its wielder is lost, one of three things can happen depending on how "attached" it was.

At the first level, whoever took or bought it can not USE it until its "attachment" rating to its previous owner has decayed back to zero or until his own "attachment" to it has overcome that of its previous owner. You can wield it, just not use it (ie. A weapon that still longs for its old master can be wielded but when used, does no damage. While a piece of clothing can be worn, but without the benefits.). That means, if you intend on selling something, then make sure you don't use it first. However, if you do, then it's value decreases as whoever bought it will have to wait a long time before they can use it themselves. It would be even harder if the attachment rating was relatively high enough as the mere presence (within the same territory) of the previous owner gradually returns its attachment rating back to what it was before they parted.

Now, the second level behaves a little differently as anyone who has an equipment's "attachment" rating brought up to the second level wouldn't have used it this much if they were intending on selling it. So when they lose it, it can only mean one thing... it was stolen from them. What happens then would be similar to the effects of the first level, only with something extra. The previous owner of this equipment will be able to "feel" where his equipment is/are. (How this is interpreted in the game, we're still unsure. We're trying to decide between a subtle flashing on the previous owner's whole screen whenever he's close, or an explicit glow surrounding the person who currently has possession of it... something I'd like to consult you with some other time.) This gives the previous owner a chance to try and take it back. Whether the effort would be worth it or not is up for him to decide.

Alignment
(As I was typing this, I realized that it's not what I need to discuss but did not want to delete because I want to be able to look back to this in the future for reference. No need to read this part here.)
A number of complications could happen because of this and so far we have tackled quite a few (If there are more, I would greatly appreciate it if you would let me know.). For example, Bob steals Jim's broadsword. Bob sells to another player, Tom. Jim unwittingly comes across Tom and "feels" his broadsword. Jim accuses Tom of theft and kills him. He gets his sword back, and Tom just got ripped off. Now, what about Bob and what happens to Jim. Well, first of all, it depends on what else Jim took from Tom's corpse. If he took nothing more than his own sword, then all he would get would be a negative reputation with the local guards sending him to jail or make him pay a hefty fine for murder, and a few points into the "red" alignment for murder. If he took something else, then he would also have to return it if he gets caught by the guards or pay for it along with the fine for theft. Also, there's the matter of twice the points into the "red" alignment, once for murder and another for theft. Now, what about Bob. He's the one that committed the crime here. Well... nothing. He executed it perfectly. He was able to take Jim's broadsword without getting caught. He was able to find someone to buy it and sold it. Good job, Bob. However... since he has committed theft. His "alignment" has now moved more to the "red" side and this alters his appearance by quite a lot (Oh, I forgot to mention that we also plan on altering some aspects of a character's appearance based on his alignment Fable-style). Should some other player encounters him in the future, he will have an idea that Bob is not to be completely trusted. NPCs doesn't take too kindly to people of "red" alignment either. Bob will be buying things from them more expensively than they should be and sell his stuff for cheaper as well. Now what about Tom? Well, he got what he deserved. He didn't inspect the item in question well enough to notice that it was still "attached" to somebody else, which would have been indicated along with the broadsword's stats, that is not who he's buying it from. He can do that, but he'd also have to face the POSSIBLE consequences. (I'm emphasizing "possible" because Tom and Jim could have been separated by a whole ocean and would never come across each other if Bob tried to cover his tracks by selling to a very distant land instead. Also, Tom could have been a "gear broker" that bought stolen equipment cheap and tried to sell back to their owners for a profit. He would've been prepared for something like that.) He doesn't suffer an alignment hit nor does he lose any reputation points... just the gold that he spent for a gear that he lost right away.

What could have been done was, Jim should have approached Tom and informed him of this instead of outright killing him. Tom should now be aware of what happened and whether he is willing to sell it back is completely up to him. Again, Jim could just kill him and take it, but he would suffer an alignment hit. This is the price he has to pay for not taking care of his gear and letting them get stolen. As for Tom, well, being greedy shouldn't mean that defending yourself would result in an alignment hit should he succeed and kill Jim instead right? Well, not so. Jim wouldn't have been attacking in the first place if he wasn't trying to take back something that wasn't his to begin with. Now what if nothing was stolen and Jim was just a douche bag like that. Well, if he started attacking without provocation, then the guards would be on his behind before anything could happen to Tom. What if there were no guards nearby? Then what the hell was Tom doing there?! How about outside the city? Well then, that's a risk you'll always have to worry about then.
(I just realized that I could go on and on about this forever and I'm sure there are a lot more loopholes in this scenario here that I haven't covered but I would appreciate it if you could just point it out instead. I'll cut it here for now because I think the "alignment" system can be put off for later.)


Now, at the third level, it gets harder to make theft worthwhile. Not only can the previous owner "feel" it when it's nearby, but he can also see in which region it's at when he looks at a map. Also, the attachment rating no longer naturally decays once it gets to that threshold as he has to "relinquish ownership" himself for that to take place and even then it takes a while for that to happen. Should the current owner not want to return it, he will have to wield it long enough for his own attachment rating to overcome that of the previous owner, and as I said earlier, if the previous owner doesn't "relinquish"... that takes half a year. So that means, for half a year, the new owner has to be switching back and forth between the one that he uses and the one that he stole whenever he's not out fighting. This also means that the previous owner has half a year to try and get it back. Again, whether the effort is worth it, is up to both of them. I'm just giving them that option.

Crowding
Spoiler:
Now, when I said that I want crowding in my game, what I meant was: I want it to be an element in the game, but doesn't necessarily have to happen.
The idea of our game is that "clans" (collection of players who decided to band together more than that of a party, like the "guild" system of other MMOs) can take control of and manage a territory the way a player does in Stronghold. They take control of production, manufacturing, housing, recruitment, farming, training, etc. with the limited amount of space that they have. Now only the clan member can authorize any construction within that specific territory. If they fill all of it up with nothing but houses, then they'll have no space for the farms and would therefore have to resort to importing it from other territories controlled by other clans. How they manage to produce a revenue from a town full of people and nothing else is their problem. If they allow their town to become more crowded than they had to, then it's their own funeral. Which is, by my standards, an interesting twist.

Thoughts?

Skills
Spoiler:
Wouldn't it made more sense if "Learn by watching" was only triggered by people on a list of some sort? I mean, if you were aspiring to be a great swordsman, then it goes to follow that you'll set only the greatest swordsmen as your role models. That way, even if you followed this swordsmen everywhere they goes, then even if his party had to sit down and have a campfire, surely it wouldn't be this great swordsman that you've been following that would do this, but instead someone in his party that specializes in "living off the land would", right?


Summary
Spoiler:
The main goal of the game is to simulate real world military endeavors. That includes not just the joy and satisfaction of conquest but also all the difficulties that comes before it, may it be economic, political and strategic. There a lot of requirements for that to exist. First, the economy has to be completely dependent of individual decisions. Not just "buy now/sell later", but also logistical problems that may arise from the distance between the production of the raw good to where it is to be processed and everything in between. Second, the set of rules, like penalties from friendly fire all the way to littering, must, mostly, be under the player's control, or at least, whoever is in power so as to reinforce the importance of the concept of authority. Third, the combat mechanic must be as close to realistic as possible without, making it too complicated to the point of it not being "fun" anymore, such that strategies that may be used to increase one's advantage in a real world conflict may also be studied and, consequently, used. The list goes on and on but what I'm trying to point out is, if the players handle, not just the marketing but also, the manufacturing of a certain good, then the economy would sort itself out. But when it doesn't, the players also have more power over it, and thus, a much greater ability to, recover from and, fix said economy.

Again... thoughts?

I know my ideas aren't perfect, and they never will be, because in this world, whether virtual or real, nothing is. When the imperfections does show itself however, it would be preferable if they were minor, overlook-able if not fixable issues. So, trying to find every possible scenario that we can would be great as it reduces the probability of the existence of scenarios that has to be "fixed".

Now the "permanent death" scenario comes later and will only make sense once I have explained how the rest of the mechanics work, so I do hope you won't mind if I put that off for later. :D

@Toeofdoom
There is this game, Mount&Blade, that I've mentioned before. The combat mechanics were easy to learn... impossible to master. The controls were: swing/block left, swing/block right, overhead slash/block, thrust/parry (if your weapon could handle it), and lastly, fire ranged weapon. That was it. That's all you have to learn. Now, how well you can do it is a whole new story. Read or Watch it in action.

Taking these combat mechanics, we take it a step further. Mass Combat.

Now with regards to taking and giving orders... this is what happens.
It's a video of a skirmisher battalion of 8 people I believe in a modded version of the game called Mount & Muskets.
It describes how the fate of the whole bunch of them is in the hands of two men, the general's and their own.
(Oh, btw, each and every head on the field is a real person.)

This I thought would best suit the description of a good RTS/RPG mash-up. However, this would be a bit of a problem as the combat mechanics ARE twitch-command-dependent which we don't want right?

Ideas?

User avatar
Toeofdoom
The (Male) Skeleton Guitarist
Posts: 3446
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 10:06 am UTC
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Game Development

Postby Toeofdoom » Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:12 am UTC

Yeah, it does look like that would be a bit too fast. Like I said you can try to think of ways to slow it down, but I get the impression that the specific mechanics you want like blocking and attacking certain positions, changing mid swing etc. are what will break it.
Also, while that video about having a general looks interesting, it hardly seems like any sort of typical RTS at all. It looks like what organised groups in games typically developing their own: a chain of command. From your description earlier there seemed to be a specific class for the leader, whereas really the leader should be the best person available regardless of what class they are. When you say RTS segment I imagine something very different, what you have simply seems like an extension of a combat game. Anyway, it establishes that people can command groups if they put in the effort but the term RTS implies something else.
Hawknc wrote:Gotta love our political choices here - you can pick the unionised socially conservative party, or the free-market even more socially conservative party. Oh who to vote for…I don't know, I think I'll just flip a coin and hope it explodes and kills me.

Website

User avatar
Blasphemer
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:52 am UTC

Re: Game Development

Postby Blasphemer » Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:06 am UTC

Make in-game mechanics for relaying orders and reports and give the general a map that he can look at to see where the reports are coming from and whether his orders are followed or not, like say the Total War series... difference is your regiment commanders, even the soldiers themselves, could be real people. Then, from the general's point of view, wouldn't you call that an RTS already?

User avatar
Jorpho
Posts: 6279
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

Re: Game Development

Postby Jorpho » Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:16 pm UTC

Yahtzee once mused about an RTS game played with real people. (Then again, I'm sure a lot of people have.)
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/article ... TS-Games.2

User avatar
Toeofdoom
The (Male) Skeleton Guitarist
Posts: 3446
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 10:06 am UTC
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Game Development

Postby Toeofdoom » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:37 am UTC

Blasphemer wrote:Make in-game mechanics for relaying orders and reports and give the general a map that he can look at to see where the reports are coming from and whether his orders are followed or not, like say the Total War series... difference is your regiment commanders, even the soldiers themselves, could be real people. Then, from the general's point of view, wouldn't you call that an RTS already?

Maybe... but A. it's not significantly different from what people already do in those situations (just streamlined) and seems to require heaps of soldiers for each general and B. the term RTS without any qualifiers (such as "really slow", see neptune's pride/blight of the immortals) brings up the mental image of a single battlefield.

You do mention regiment commanders which might perform a battlefield command role and that would be similar to a standard RTS. So from their point of view I might call it an RTS. Anyway there we get back to direct orders to players on a battlefield which require a certain level of organisation so if you want it to actually work well you probably will need the option for NPC soldiers which I think you imply will exist, but it isn't really clear.
Hawknc wrote:Gotta love our political choices here - you can pick the unionised socially conservative party, or the free-market even more socially conservative party. Oh who to vote for…I don't know, I think I'll just flip a coin and hope it explodes and kills me.

Website

User avatar
Blasphemer
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:52 am UTC

Re: Game Development

Postby Blasphemer » Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:43 pm UTC

@Jorpho
That's exactly what I mean! Yet, no one seems to have done it yet... at least the way we expect it to be. I want to know why.

@Toeofdoom
NPC soldiers are only going to be there so that talented leaders with only few friends can still go toe-to-toe with those who has no experience with command yet has a lot of buddies that plays with them. Imagine the Evil Genius game. You made the town, the castle, and you're the final boss for these heroes who wants to overthrow your not-so-righteous reign. Or, you could be the dunce who razes the peaceful and prosperous villages ripe for pillaging.

Whatever the case may be, the RTS side of the game is just the end-game mechanics, to have a reason for those maxed out players to keep on playing.
Getting max level? Easy. Getting all the 1337 gear? Kinda tough. Getting the rest of your "clan" drilled well enough to be the best among the rest? Depends on the kind of people you hang out with. Taking over a land of your own and keeping it long enough to make it worth it? Really tough. Taking over the rest of your continent? Improbable. Keeping the continent unified and its economy well maintained to support your troops and keep going towards the ultimate goal which is the rest of the world?

Impossible.

...well, figuratively at least.

I can't imagine anyone getting to that point actually, but the option will be there.

User avatar
Jorpho
Posts: 6279
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

Re: Game Development

Postby Jorpho » Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:09 pm UTC

Blasphemer wrote:@Jorpho
That's exactly what I mean! Yet, no one seems to have done it yet... at least the way we expect it to be. I want to know why.
As my eye wanders down to the comments, people mention things like Savage 2, Zombie Master (a Source mod), and Majesty.

User avatar
Adam H
Posts: 1267
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:36 pm UTC

Re: Game Development

Postby Adam H » Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:29 pm UTC

Sidenote:
Toeofdoom wrote:the term RTS without any qualifiers (such as "really slow", see neptune's pride/blight of the immortals) brings up the mental image of a single battlefield.

...

You do mention regiment commanders which might perform a battlefield command role and that would be similar to a standard RTS. So from their point of view I might call it an RTS.
If it's a strategy game taking place in real time, how is it not an RTS???

I would say instead of calling this game a RTS-RPG-MMO hybrid or whatever, just call it a game. If it's fun, who cares who what the ratio of RTS to RPG is?

And if game development is such that you cannot design a game to be fun without catagorizing it into 1 of 5 genres, then the standard design process is FUBAR. Blasphemer, I say be a visionary and take the path less traveled! Screw all these naysayers!

But yeah you're gonna crash and burn. :lol: Have fun though!!
-Adam

User avatar
Okita
Staying Alive
Posts: 3071
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2007 7:51 pm UTC
Location: Finance land.

Re: Game Development

Postby Okita » Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:19 pm UTC

Your ideas aren't really new per se although the way you describe them is kind of crappy (more on that later). As others have pointed out, plenty of people have incorporated elements of what you have described. Regimental commanders and squad-based fighting on a large scale was done in MAG. Savage is a good example of having a commander with players as the units. If I remember correctly, "A Tale in the Desert" had the entire production system handed over to the players for the purpose of roleplay.

Of course tying all of these ideas together would be the grand-daddy of immersive worlds. And it's incredibly complex. As such, I'd like to point out to you the development of games like Dwarf Fortress (it's such a great staple of game dev. examples, good and bad). Essentially, you've listed out a whole bunch of features which is fun. But this leads to feature creep and more importantly is super complex to tie together. Which is what ST said (I'm on an ST repeating bent in this thread...). Really though, it sounds like you have a whole bunch of ideas that are partially fleshed out but are trying to tie together. Then you try get stuck on the details of each of these ideas. It looks very haphazard which I suspect how Dwarf Fortress development looks like on the surface. But in reality, even Toady created an overall framework first then subsequently added features. Development is always broken down into pieces that are worked on and put into the game's overall framework (obviously there's an initial setup cost such as a Shooter has to allow you to walk around the world and shoot before thinking about features such as melee, etc.). As you get closer to ship-time you have to prioritize and cut features. You're missing that overall framework in which you can place things beyond... "I have an MMO" with XYZ features. That doesn't really mean anything. It really just implies a crap load of people. Actually, I feel like what you're describing is more of an idealized MMO game on TV where a lot of things are possible even if they don't make any game sense.

I guess what I'm trying to say is you need less detail on each of these feauture/game ideas and more detail on the overall big picture.

Now about how you describe your features... There's no problem with describing features though. It's fun to talk about. But you keep making these descriptions that are along the lines of "Wouldn't it be cool if..." and "I want the user to feel X". These aren't actually game mechanics. It's a wishlist of what you want to get out of the game (ex. some people play D&D for socializing, others to kill things). Part of this is just writing, which you can improve. But a lot of it is mindset because you're not thinking about a mechanic, you're thinking of an ideal.

Let's take the "Attachment" thing. You're describing an equipment system, with a lot of aspects jumbled together. Items gain experience the longer you own or use it which gives you benefits. Other people are in fact negatively impacted by picking up more "experienced" equipment. In addition you have a system for locating items you owned. Nevermind that managing that experience is super complicated, there's the implication of item theft and transfer of equipment. This sounds incredibly complicated. Is equipment scarce because I don't want to get attached to a billion swords and get pinged about them. I get benefits the more I use the same item so I'll just stick with the same equipment as long as I can? And having this system take place over the course of a year (or is it game year) seems needlessly long given how fast gameplay happens. There are all these considerations of an item system that you need to work out before you can start adding the feature of "attachment". It's this sort of detail into features while neglecting the overall big picture of an "item system" which is affecting your overall design pitch. I think you would really benefit from writing a design document as opposed to just throwing out random features that will show up in your game. This is because a design document helps force you to consider the necessary aspects as opposed to just blindly talking about whatever feature interests you.
"I may or may not be a raptor. There is no way of knowing until entering a box that I happen to be in and then letting me sunder the delicious human flesh from your body in reptile fury."

not baby Newt
Posts: 110
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:30 pm UTC

Re: Game Development

Postby not baby Newt » Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:38 pm UTC

(Sorry if this sounds like I'm shooting down anything different from the standard "1-4 players kill npc monsters and take their stuff".)

The second(?) major MMO was everquest. Didn't play because it was high-grade crack, but I read about these 100+ people raids required to beat end-game content. Awe inspiring, but involving certain difficulties of organization. Events could take hours after the agreed upon time just to get going because someone was late, another had to walk the dog etc. Those events required everyone doing pretty much exactly their job to great precision. Hard. Challenging. And enough of a pita to be gone from mainstream games.

You could have more spontaneous events where strangers join in, but players probably wont take orders then.

--
I am somewhat pessimistic about "why would they do this thing they don't benefit from". A segment of players *greatly* enjoy pvp/killing/pickpocketing people who'd rather opt out of inter-player conflict completely. Reluctant victims, as to say.

Creative solutions to a strong player trying to take back the hat of ubersmithing I pickpocketed:
* give it to a friend
* or to his second character
* who then hides in an enemy stronghold
* and only is logged in 10 minutes per week.

May not be able to use the item if it was under the highest described binding-level, but owner is never getting it back (without a ransom). So the binding doesn't help all that much.

--
One last thing. Clans ruling areas require lots of social interaction and cooperation. One game with lots of that is
a tale in the desert. No combat as such but players can make some laws including banning each other. And lots of complicated crafting etc. Tiny niche game, but apparently profitable. So these can exist.

Some replies while I was writing.

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26516
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: Game Development

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:47 pm UTC

Blasphemer wrote:One thing led to another and by the time I realized it, I was discussing the difficulties of game development instead. Then I had to convince you guys that I'm not envisioning grandeur designs but instead just had a bunch of ideas that I felt like worked well together. There was also a lot of technicalities, the right and wrong ways of doing it, there was even the part where I was getting convinced of forgetting all about it because you guys, with your kind of experience, says so. Not that I have anything against anyone's advice is but I feel like I'm getting sidetracked from what I initially came here for. ("What if..." exercises if that's what you wanna call it.)

But after thinking about it... I'm actually thankful. Not just because I'm learning about things that I wasn't planning to learn from all of you, but also found people that has a genuine concern for people like me who will probably end up wasting years of our lives trying to do something that won't ever amount to anything... though we'll do it anyway. I've actually been to a number of forums before with the same introduction but never really got the response that I did here. They did give some, though really helpful, advice, the ones you guys give me are overwhelming. And I'm not just saying this for the sake of saying it mind you. I just want to convey how much I would like to thank all of you, something I was never really good at doing, but not know how.
The whole point of the "Just stop" thing was.. basically to stop the What If exercises.

Here's the what it all really boils down to -

If you want to kick back and forth neat ideas for game mechanics, that's fine. That's great even. We've got the "Game Design: The Collective Approach" thread for that sort of thing. The ideas put forth there may or may not actually be used by anyone, and they're all disjointed and not necessarily related to anything, but it's there all the same.



If you want to make a game, though - you need a framework. Just echoing further what Okita already said - looking at the worst example of Feature Creep (Dwarf Fortress) in which features are planned, added at random, new features crop up and get put in place before previously planned features get finalized and so on... but there's still a framework it's all running on behind everything else. I'm not just meaning that there's an actual game you can download there, I'm meaning that there's a goal in mind (albeit a convoluted one) and there's a framework in place for how the player interacts with the world - what the player can do and what they cannot do, what the constraints of the game are, and so on. How combat was to work was planned out and developed, how the inventory works, the method of item creation and so on - there's a framework that Toady's building on.


Now, considering the number of alphas and mods and such that I've played that were far less reaching than what you're planning that still went nowhere and eventually died because it was simply too hard to do, and I'm sure that everyone else in the thread and probably you have experienced the same thing - total conversions that died once the easy part of mapmaking, re-working models and retexturing was done and the hard part of scripting started, games that supposedly were going to have later version with actual story that are still, six years later, just a couple of rooms and some monsters to shoot, and so on.

Some of it being that the people running it didn't have the drive or energy to finish it, some of it being the people attempting it did not have the skills, were unable to learn, and couldn't find someone with them to assist, but a lot of it being that behind it all there wasn't a framework in place that would help dictate how something would work. We've all heard it before, and.. we're basically tired of hearing about a superawesome game and then watching it fall apart in front of us.

Still, based on what you've said so far, it sounds more and more like you're wanting something along the lines of Mount & Blade, but with a bit of Savage/Dungeon Keeper/That one mod for Half Life wherein a player (or multiple players) can view a battle from a strategic view while the bulk of players are in a 1st/3rd person view, controlling a single combatant? Or are you wanting a 1 on 1 battle with each player bringing their own army, setting up some rules ahead of time or otherwise being able to switch to an Overview mode to issue commands (or just issuing them on the fly) and spending most of the fight controlling their avatar and fighting in with the rest of the grunts a la Brutal Legend? (Which if you haven't played Brutal Legend, you may want to simply because it may be doing things you want to stea-I mean, emulate)

Are these combats going to be instanced or in an open area where other players can interfere/reinforce/take both of the squabbling kids out?

..Really, start at the beginning and run us through the mechanics of what you're wanting to do. The specifics - Elves starting in one region, Dwarves in another, Bearasses* in a third.. doesn't matter. The equipment they use - bows, axes, bearasses, also doesn't matter. Soldiers in their armies.. archers, hammerdwarves, bearclaw ass brigades... still don't matter.

Here's an example of what I'm wanting to see from you - though be warned, as I did just pull this out of my ass in about 10-20 minutes, so it's probably a bit scattered and disjointed, and I may repeat myself a few times due to halfway editing it.
Spoiler:
The four primary methods of interacting with the game will be -
1. The Kingdom Report Screen, where decisions on where to invade, where to defend, who to bribe, quests to take and so on will be made. This will be a static screen or an instanced castle where you move around alone and interact with castle residents. This method will not show up until Level 20, and after 20 will become the primary method of interaction with the game.
2. The RTS battle - This will be a point-based RTS fight, with all units having various point costs and the ability to buy units for cheaper with the tradeoff being that they reinforce at a later time - in 10 minute increments, with the average length of an RTS fight being planned to be 45 minutes, and all basic RTS fights fall in a 30-60 minute window. This method will not show up until Level 20.
3. The Gang battle - This will be a Mount & Blade/Neverwinter Nights/Baldur's Gate/Pick Something style scenario where you control yourself and 1-10 extra units to accomplish goals in a squad-based combat engine. This method will not show up until Level 10.
4. The Solo Battle - this will be the early game and later Player vs. Player Honor Duels, and the end of a few quest lines. The player will control only their avatar in battle. This method is the first method used to interact with the game, and by level 40 will have mostly disappeared in favor of the previous three methods.

Players start as a Level 1 Whocares. Players run around as a single character for the first ten levels, when they get a Gang. Gangs are 1-10 NPCs of different skillsets (Distractors/Tanks/Crowd Control, Damage Dealers, Healing/Repair/Protection Units?) and using teach you the basics of controlling armies, both individual Hero Units (your Second in Command being the example) and rank-and-file grunts (3 Tanks, 3 DPS, 3 Healers). At level 20 the player gets a territory and starts getting the option of expanding, which allows for a greater variety of unit types (DPS no longer just Fire wielding mages - Ice, Lightning, Poison, Death added. Healing types expanded, different tank options, new Hero units to recruit from) and expand the total number of soldiers. The amount of land a player can control is limited by their level, as is the total number of troops and hero units they can employ. Until the Rebellion quest is complete, the player level is locked at 40. Completeing the Rebellion questline involves a solo (Read: Only you and your army) Boss fight against the current King, completing it puts you at level 41. Once complete, the player can now start fighting other players in the expansion missions, trying to seize their land for their own, and being 41+ allows you to use Special landtypes, which grant other abilities (All DPS units +10 damage or +10 healing to Healers and so on). At 41 you can also send your Hero units with a contingent of your own troops to complete basic land expansion missions, with varying rates of success based on various factors.

Use of the Gang mechanic (1-10 followers) will remain, with the members of the Gang being slowly replaced, changing faceless no-name Mooks to members of you Hero Squad, by level 40 all members of the Gang being named Hero Unit NPCs.

The maximum level cap of the game is technically 100, but in the beginning content and level will stop at 60. Extra content and expanding the level cap will happen with expansions of the game.

Many of the quest lines at 41+ will follow a similar format - Send Hero Units to gather information with player-known success rates and an ability to increase the success rate by applying gold (as a goldsink for the game, as vanilla success rates at 50+ will be 30%), use said information to scout enemy base if desired (another gold sink) which tells you the unit composition, assembling troops from your private army (up to a point cost, Infantry being 5 points, archers 6, knights 12, etc) based on the enemy composition and your own way of playing, an RTS fight followed by a Gang battle in the enemy stronghold where you hunt and kill the enemy leader.

Some quests will be designed so as to need up to 4 players cooperating to take on the enemy army, with 4 gangs in the castle, each having their own mission pre-determined by the players themselves - missions like "Sneak in the sewers and open the gates" | "Distract the archers on the wall with illusion magics" | "Destroy the force field generating crystals around the inner sanctum" and so on, with a final 4 gang on 1NPC Gang boss fight.





...

All of that being said, I just re-read that post and read the summary.

The main goal of the game is to simulate real world military endeavors.
WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO DO THAT?!

99% of Real World Military Endeavors are moving Gasoline from Point A to Point B, or Ammunition, or Food, or Magic Bear Asses or whatever. 99% of Real World Military Endeavors are boring. 99% of Real World Military Endeavors can be likened to playing Excel. There's a ridiculously small subset of the War-enthusiast population (Read: History Buffs, Wargamers, and fuck it, I'll include everyone even marginally interested in war, ever) that enjoys that sort of thing, and even they recognize that it's boring. The people who do it for a living do it because it has to be done, not because it's fun.

Real World Military Endeavors are boring and would make for a terrible computer game. And like I said, it already exists - it's called the Spreadsheet program. You move numbers from one column to another. You're done. You just played a Real World Military Endeavor simulator, and shipped 100,000 Bear Asses to Bearasstonia.


*Bear Asses
Spoiler:
I don't even remember where the hell this came from... someone ranting about MMO fetch quests, and "how the NPC needs 10 Teeth or Claws or.. I don't know, Bear Asses" or something to that effect, and ever since then Bear Asses has been my go-to for "Ridiculous things MMOs run on, but doesn't really matter what it they are because they're a macguffin, and only desirable because someone wants them"
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
Toeofdoom
The (Male) Skeleton Guitarist
Posts: 3446
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 10:06 am UTC
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Game Development

Postby Toeofdoom » Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:19 am UTC

Adam H wrote:Sidenote:
Toeofdoom wrote:the term RTS without any qualifiers (such as "really slow", see neptune's pride/blight of the immortals) brings up the mental image of a single battlefield.

...

You do mention regiment commanders which might perform a battlefield command role and that would be similar to a standard RTS. So from their point of view I might call it an RTS.
If it's a strategy game taking place in real time, how is it not an RTS???

If you describe a game as an RTS, they probably think of Starcraft or supcom or whatever other similar game they prefer. If it then turns out you're doing something completely different, you could probably explain it better. In this case "kingdom management" or whatever is probably a better fit.

Anyway, back on topic, I agree with ST and okita that you need to go through the major game mechanics with:
A bit about what they are,
why each one should make it in to the game,
how each one works
And why it works with related parts.
Hawknc wrote:Gotta love our political choices here - you can pick the unionised socially conservative party, or the free-market even more socially conservative party. Oh who to vote for…I don't know, I think I'll just flip a coin and hope it explodes and kills me.

Website

infernovia
Posts: 931
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:27 am UTC

Re: Game Development

Postby infernovia » Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:28 am UTC

Along with what everyone stated, I think it's a good idea to step back and see how all the great games were made. Blood, sweat, tears, and trying to do small things at a time until you can get it then move on to another. Here is John Romero explaining how he got to the skill that got you to such technically advanced games like Doom.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeFEW7akDqI

Chris Avellone showcasing all his great experience as D&D master:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCCuxo5YDkc

Tim Cain (creator of Fallout) explaining what he did to create such an interesting game:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgjd4i1o4UY

So take a step back from ideas and appreciate the hard work that goes to making such developments. Really, it's a good wake up call. Ideas are cheap and everybody can have them.


Return to “Gaming”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests