I posted this up at the Multiverse forums, some users found it a constructed article and apparently a good read. I thought I would share the same article here.
This is just a method. Not a fact or solution or guide. If you choose to use some ideas from here that’s fine but I’m just making it clear this isn't a guide to create a MMO. More like guidelines ;)
If you look at it realistically you can't achieve it.
If you look at it from a visionary’s point of view it might just be in your reach.
You really need to think hard though about your small MMO project. Planning is a key for mmo success even if it’s only a few months work.
1. What’s the MMO About?
A short description on what your MMO is. Its aim, its genre, its ideas.
2. Game Play Flow
This is a Game Play Flow Diagram (See my example below)
3. World Design
Your World Setting, what type terrain, gravity? oxygen? bad weather?
Cities, villages, settlements, ruins, battlegrounds
Quest Scripts (Set out like Theatre Scripts)
4. Characters (NPC's & Players)
Playable Characters, appearance
None Playable Character, appearance
5. Static Objects (Ties in with Advanced World Design)
6.1 Scripting Events/triggers
6.2 Scripting NPCS
Dialog (set as script)
6.3 Scripting Quests
Technical script side to quests
A-bit of a list, and that's just basic study for the simple MMO. It can be done within a few months. I used to set myself little challenges like this.
Here’s my example of a game play flow for a SMALL MMO project.
Get the Basic Terrain down then start to progress onto character development (playable). I then suggest build a small town and texture it. Once you have that create some NPC's for that town. Start to script just conversation dialogs for NPC's. Then start to graft up some items/weapons to make it more interesting. Add a small Hit point combat system. You should now have a world you can go around exploring different towns (if you wish to build more).Talking to NPC's and able to combat with NPC's.
Add some monsters to your world so you can kill. Now comes the Skill system part. Start by implementing one skill at a time. Test it out before moving onto the next. I would advise start with EXP (Experience). Add skill set + script to the end of combat with monsters. Give each type of monster different exp point to gain from killing it. Once you have around 3-4 Foundation skills you can start to make your quests. Create a simple "Go Fetch Item Quest" then progress to "Kill NPC to Get Item" and so on. Once you have some Skills and Quests you can then start to advance to Phase Three.
Economy systems are hard to get your thumbs around, especially MMO's. Create a simple Economy system. Create a Bazaar Market place in one of your towns. Script in a Shop conversation, and add a game default item like a barrel to the Buy list. Set cost to 10. You may want to look into the start up script and add a give player money event at the start of entering your world for the first time. This is to set the player up. Sufficient 100 would do fine.
Tip. Don’t make your economy too complex. Keep it simple. Keep track of item/clothing/weapon pricing using a Excel spreadsheet.
Well by the time you get here hopefully your few months will be at an end, and hopefully you have a fine MMO project to show off to your examiner.
Hope this helps :)