Monday, October 23, 2006

A Talk At GDC London 2006 I Did

Here is a written version of the speech I gave at GDC 2006 Europe on “A MMO doesn’t have to be fantasy” James A: “The MMO industry has been going for years and most MMO’s we see today fall into two categories. Fantasy & Sci-FI. Have we not learnt that remaking games/ideas is a bad thing? Although most MMO’s do sell these days within these two categories I for one am tired of seeing the same dragons and medieval knights or sci fi soldiers and space craft. Man gamers hopefully agree with me, you are just paying for something that has been redone twenty times over.

Today is the future of the games industry and next generation of technology. Which means NEW ideas. I stress this as many game designers of all kinds be they Indie or commercial still seem to go along the lines of Fantasy or Sci-FI. There’s so much room for more than just these two. I do state there are MMO’s currently on the market which are unique. One in example is Second Life. I’m sure many of you have heard about it and how players generate real money from it from just building houses and online business’s. I’m talking about having Social + Game play meets as well as keeping the ongoing new experience. For the new experience to be given to a MMO we need to be thinking of something unique and not just Fantasy or Sci-fi. Examples of such as a Wild Western MMO were players can go back to the times of the Wild West. Certainly giving GUN and Call of Jurez and run for there money. I know i have seen on the realm crafter forums which currently supports indie developers and Bug MMO, were you are shrunken down to bug size.

Exceptional idea I must say. Ideas don’t have to be based on human characters, why not have cars? Planes? Ships even. I know a good MMO in production A Burning Sea which is a pirate MMO. Maybe Game Designers need to look into idea generation more. An Egyptian MMO “A Tale in the Desert” is a prime example of looking back into history for game design ideas. I think we need to broaden the horizon and I’m pleased to introduce Andrew the Lead game Designer from Axion. “ Andrew G: “As Mr Allsopp stated MMO’s need to look towards new ideas, I personally like the idea of a prehistoric MMO, fighting and owning dinos. Building small cave man villages and working together as a team. Yes I’m her from Cambridge today to talk to you about Team Work and Social ability in a MMO.

I myself are looking at Team Work within a MMO. Most MMO’s I know have this from the feature Guilds/Party group, but what if we needed another team mate to boost you up a wall in a MMO. Yes I have had a chance to glance into the future of MMO technology and a bit like splinter cell a MMO (Wont Spoil The Name Yet) will be offering that sort of technology. Getting back to our team work talk we can clearly see that many game designers allow some sort of interaction with other players but do they really have enough available. I will now hand you back to James who will talk you through the features and new experience with there title in development Ancient World Online.”

MMO Idea Discussion

Okta (Rc Forums) "I think technology is the thing holding back new ideas. You can make an mmo about whatever you like but it wont be far different from whats offered today or in the past. Whats missing is much greater network bandwidth and VR. Untill i have my VR mmo with the latest fps physics i wont be impressed by much."

Okta, your right technology does hold us back but the that is hoping to change wit Realmcrafter/Multiverse/BigWorld(Indie Version).

Altair you talk of what’s in the games, categorising them is there genre, so we all no Anarchy online and SWG and Sci-Fi's and World Of Warcraft and Arch lord are Fantasy. That my friend is how the industry works which isn’t a mistake. Many designers need to think things over before they go o the full length of the MMO production. Most game designers come from strong backgrounds in the industry. This is were indie development comes into the cliche. Whats so popular about the MMO game genre anyway?

Why don’t small game developers go make FPS Games, RPG, RTS. Well the answer is everyone knows a MMO is for the professional of all designers and takes a lot of hard work and dedication for a successful mmo especially out of the Indie Industry. Here below are just some examples of MMO's you could go along for.

1. Zombie/Evil MMO - First Ever Scary MMO
2. Wild Wild West - Indians and Cowboys
3. Prehistoric MMO - My Personal Favourite
4. Mafia Online - Already in development but there’s only 2
5. World War 2 Online
6. War In Iraq
7. The Online Olympics - An Animators dream
8. Hunting MMO - Hunt Dear, Rabbits with friends
9. Africa Online
10.DrugLord Online - Build Farms, Battle Others, Become the richest
11.Rally Online - Characters don’t have to be humans
12.F1 Racer - Very popular within the racing culture
13.Atlantis - A mermaid MMO
14.Something Like Sims Online
15.Snowboard Online
16.Skater Online (Extreme Sports like Tony Hawks Games)
17.Samuri Online
18.Assasin Online (Medieval)
19. Vampires, Werewolf’s - Like Buffy the vampire slayer
20. Pokémon Online - One brilliant GBA Game turned into Online
21. Pirate MMO

Just some ideas I jotted down last night. Its great to be able to come up with ideas but to develop things further takes an expert and able to go from Paper to Pixel the industry term of Game Design is a hard task. I for one are still in consultancy and are happy to give anyone help on there MMO if needed. I have plenty experience in the field and most of the time give talks around Game Design Classes in the UK and I have done 2 GDC Talks.

RC - Error using it to my advantage

Right I don’t know if this is intended but I’ve been told it wasn’t possible with rc. I decided to play around with my clothing and took off my trench coat, clicked dropped and it dropped onto the game world. So now I could see a trench coat in front of me. Logged off shut the server down, logged back on few mins later it was still there! Does that mean Housing is now possible? I’m going to be playing with this

Well the idea was to: Go to a estate agent in a capital city, you buy a house deed, this appears in your inventory. You go to your chosen spot (although AWO will have rules for this) and you click drop and bingo you have your house. Then go out buy furniture etc Same with camping (from SWG) we will have something along these lines a small fire and chairs and tent to enjoy the AWO skies and environment. I deliberately crashed it (The Server) to see if the item would go away its still there


Well I’m in the mood for some questioning the RC system and my own game design know how. I am truly fascinated by SWG (star wars galaxies) since I became a Jedi a year ago I have been bored from its phase, but what I went though to get it was truly amazing. SWG has many things the player wants and pulls of sci-fi theme to a tea.

Although I know some of you could be saying well I know a few things that would make SWG much better, but as it stands what WAS (because of there new fps system) was great to play. Now they crashed and burnt and players leave as SWG adopted that fps system and easy Jedi path bounty hunter etc, Old SWG is the one for me hence why I play with SWGEMU software with a few other 100 people who prefer the old versions. Also a nifty thing is no paying.

Okay that’s a start I want to compare an RC design to SWG. My first love for the game was friends, as many mmos I’m sure all of you have met some awesome people on these online games. I enjoyed the concept of you can basically live out your own Star Wars life, I firstly can remember meeting with a small hunting guild and going hunting for Rancors and such on coronet.

Firstly we would get all our equipment together, go to the local market and buy some supplies for our hunting trip. We reach a small spot and set up camp talking about were each other are from etc. After awhile of getting to know each other we decide to go off and get hunting. Now lets stop there a brilliant experience so far, I was able to find a guild buy supplies then set up camp in what I though was a beautiful environment (the artist on the dev team have done great work).

Now the RC way. I’m not entirely sure if you can have the option at the moment to drop an item which sets up a camp in front of your eyes and you are able to interact with the chairs. But I’m sure it can be possible in pro. A guild system I can see is already in RC and advance features are sure to come along soon as RC matures. Right that was a small experience now lets get into the hard design of SWG.

The Skill Tree System was enjoyable, very time consuming but many players enjoyed it and the developers would to meaning longer the player spends more the money. Its system was to start off small and gradually gain big going through a three way choice system. You would need to complete all three choices to become a master in that skill. Something set out like this --------------------------Master Brawler Advance---------Two Handed Combat----Rifle skills Brawler II-----------------One Handed Combat----Grenade skills Brawler I------------------Basics of combat---------Pistol Skills -----------------------------Starting Off I’m sure RC is capable of something like that, a lot of scripting may be required. Now the combat system is really the same as many mmos and RC is getting around it. Meaning learning new skills and adding them to your bar at the bottom or some may be key mapped (probably possible in RC pro)

Questing is another RC is capable of, SWG may have some advance quest but with some knowledge of RC scripting I’m sure its possible. What I loved about SWG is you can own your own house, or if you’re an architect you could build your own house. My theory behind RC way is to go to a vendor (estate agent) buy a House Deed and then when you find your spot were you want your house you can drop it and bingo there’s your house. Although I think RC hits a sore spot there as dynamic terrain becomes a problem and also meaning the servers will probably have to run more or less 24/7. Lets move onto Spaceports. Now SWG allows the player to purchase a ticket to be able to travel from planet to planet. This would easily be possible. My theory would be. Have your avatar walk into a space port. Purchase a ticket to say example “Corent 9” Now the vendor gives the player the Corent 9 ticket, so if the player tries to access another shuttle gate he/she will be denied. Now you are in the waiting lounge or lobby. SWG had a nifty little timing system on there space shuttles which got annoying at times but kept things under control. Maybe RC will be able to have a timer set on the gate you wish to go through and when that timer hits its waiting point say 5 minutes the gate doors open and behind the gate is your shuttle waiting, the gate then waits 2 minutes then the doors close and timer starts back again. Now all you do to get from the planet your on is walk up to the space shuttle and there should be a warp which takes you to cornet.

So we actually avoid moving the shuttle as it stays there all the time, but its all controlled by a timer system on the gate. SWG one is nice as you can see the shuttle land from outside the shuttle-port but that would be getting a bit complex for my liking. Now lets go for Space. SWG is massive for its space flying. Now we kick into freelancer concept. With SWG planets and freelancer flying around in space. Meaning trading lanes, I don’t know how this would be possible in RC any help? Warp Gates to next solar system, Easy just use the warp option in RC editor Also landing on planets freelancer used 2 gates which are located outside the planet, you can approach one and it’ll open and you warp back down to the planet your entering (planets capital city).

My theory for RC would have the same thing but keep the gates open and so when you fly your ship into the gate you warp to the cities capital star port were your ships parked and your character is standing by it ready to roam that planet on foot/vehicle. Using vehicles like hover cars and tanks/jeeps etc would be just using mounts as you do like animals. In space you could also in RC easily have comets (make them as NPC’s) and worm holes can be a huge funnel model animated (rotating) and half way through a warp to a random sector of space Entering space stations I’ve seen are straight forward a space station in space you approach it warps you into the stations interior or as KevinMC in his ZOC game has clearly shown it can be down. Well that’s all I can think of at the moment I will be posting more soon. Any comments or additions would be great, thank you

Hyperspace with RC Engine

Not sure yet but a concept idea would be when click hyper space it creates a way point which you go into and creates another one the other side, but not sure if RC scripting allows that after you finsihed hyperspace they delete, so on a timer, or maybe we could use when click on hyper space shows a map you click were you want to go, and boom your there.

Create an emitter, a swirling vortex or something, use a timer script then a warp script

Using RC - A MMORPG Engine - How I Plan To Turn it Into RTS

Hey, I was wondering, this is the basic system we are using to Mask this MMORPG into a MMORTS how you say?

well this is my concept

1/ each player starts off with a HQ construction deed in there inventory.

2/ Player then goes into the lobby were there are 5 portals to different home worlds, we do suggest you choose your race home world.

3/ once there you can explore miles and miles of terrain and once you’ve found a perfect spot for your base you click your HQ deed and it appears on screen *okay so is number 3 possible, maybe if we set the HQ to a pet? once then you buy them u can put them in your inventory and get them back out.

4/ once you’ve built a HQ you can select from he HQ to build a barracks or resource refinery *The HQ will act like a SHOP so you can buy for example a barracks (maybe the barracks should be a pet) then you can place it and once your barracks is placed the barracks has its own shop to build units (now they are defiantly on the pets system)