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Perma-Death and Continuity


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#41 Silvermyst   Members   -  Reputation: 113

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 08:53 AM

quote:
Everquest has 400,000 players but it is by no means a perfect system. Why did they invest so much into creating that game? Ultima Online had 200,000 players, that why.

And this is how capitalism does not necessarily lead to good products. If you let your design be purely influenced by money, then yes, the best thing to do is look at what is already succesful, add a little to it, and publish the game.

Remember Sergey Bubka (Oekraine)? He was pretty much the best pole vaulter by far (is he still? You don't get to see a lot of non-Americans performing sports on American television...). Whenever he would set a new record, he would get money. Some quick thinking made him realize that he should just level the bar as slowly as possible, because that would gain him the most amount of money.

quote:
I call it "Newbie Ambition."

I suffered from Newbie Ambition, but I think I've surpassed that stage by now. In fact, at one point my co-conspirator had to actually tell me to expand my mind a little and not limit myself to too basic a concept. There's simply too big a difference between 'millions of people, thousands of builings, hundreds of weapons' and 'PvP instead of PvE and permanent death instead of quasi death' to make the comparison you're making.

Still, the first line of your 'translation' pretty much sums it all up.
quote:
We want to know if we can create a game where we want thousands of people to play.

That's all. We want to know. We want to find out. Personally, we think it's possible. As this is not our dayjob (yet?), we're not risking anything in our attempt to find out if others agree.

[edited by - Silvermyst on September 4, 2002 3:53:59 PM]

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#42 MorganE   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 09:07 AM

Man I just love how this message board works. I sometimes wonder if people read the entire post or not.

The point I was trying to make with the EQ/UO/D&D example is that everything has something before it no matter how big or small it is. Instead of pulling the example apart answer the question that the example is illustrating. Where is the indication that people will play this game when there is so many signs which they wont?

Newbie Ambition is when you say, "We can do anything!" Real design is when you look at the limits that are currently in place and expand on them. People seem to be saying "We can design the perfect PvP/Permanent death system." Even though millions of dollars and tons of effort has gone into this with negligible results.

Finally. People seem to really love the first line of my post, which I like to call the hypothesis. However most people seem to have no problem ignoring the rest of the post where the hypothesis is tested and found to be either true or false.


#43 Silvermyst   Members   -  Reputation: 113

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 09:20 AM

quote:
The point I was trying to make with the EQ/UO/D&D example is that everything has something before it no matter how big or small it is. Instead of pulling the example apart answer the question that the example is illustrating. Where is the indication that people will play this game when there is so many signs which they wont?

Where was the indication that Tetris would do well? The Sims? Doom? Sure, they all had a small start somewhere (that''s how ideas usually are born). But just the same way, PvP, permanent death, [insert any idea you can come up with] has been done before, and has been done so succesfully.
Remember a little game called Rogue? There you go. That takes care of permanent death then, right? Or does it specifically have to be an MMO game with permanent death? But then, if you can''t find any, could it possibly be that a game that combines MMO and permanent death can become the first in a long line of similar games? Is it at all possible to think up something creative these days, or can we just use been-there-done-that ideas?
quote:
Newbie Ambition is when you say, "We can do anything!" Real design is when you look at the limits that are currently in place and expand on them.

I guess you mean technical limits? Of course technical limits are taken into consideration. But any designer worth his money (don''t include me... I''m worth zip )knows that if the average development of a game is several years, you HAVE to let your mind wander outside the technical limits, because otherwise, on the day the game is released, it will already be outdated by several years. Especially since graphics are such a huge selling point of current games, you simply HAVE to think out of the box... But not too much
Or did you mean psychological limits? As in ''look at what is succesful and expand on that''...
quote:
People seem to be saying "We can design the perfect PvP/Permanent death system." Even though millions of dollars and tons of effort has gone into this with negligible results.

Millions of dollars and tons of effort have gone into designing a permanent death based PvP system? With negligible results? I''ve seen a share of games under development halted, but were those all permanent death PvP games, or could it be that ANY genre is susceptible to getting back nothing for their effort and money?

#44 MrX02   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 09:32 AM

what if, man-lizard and woman-lizard have an egg together. Sometime later, man-lizard dies and inhabits the child. What happens when woman-lizard dies if she hasn''t made another egg yet? Will she permanently die for not having a kid?

#45 MorganE   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 09:42 AM

Tetris was based on puzzles
The Sims was based on the long line of micromanaging games with the word Sim in front of it (simcity, simtower, sim...)
Doom was based on wolfenstien


Rogue is defiantly old school. But you seem to be able to over look an awful big flaw. Rogue was started by a group of people at Universities on UNIX. Now if this is the typical player you are looking for then you may want to look into what percentage of the population these type of people make up. I never said you couldn''t get players. What I said was you will only get hardcore players and you can not make a game with such high financial requirements which will be supported by a fraction of the potential MMOG players. If you want to be successful you look at other games and see why they were successful and things that were failures and see why they were failures. You do not just think up an idea and go implement it and hope for the best. If you were making a single player game that was going to be distributed as shareware then you could do this (well perhaps not the PvP part). But a MMOG cost money and lots of it. So you cant ignore the current winners and losers.

Saying we are going to create the perfect PVP/Permanent Death system is our spare time is Newbie Ambition.

The original question on this post was "Is this a reasonable model?" And despite all the information I have provied to show it isn''t coupled with the lack of any thing beyond wishful thinking that it is. You can not conclude that this is indeed a reasonable model.


#46 Ironside   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 09:46 AM

quote:
Original post by Silvermyst
we''re not risking anything in our attempt to find out



Actually you’re risking a lot of time and effort that could have been put towards something achievable. In the end when things don''t come together as you thought they could or should have all you will be left with is bits and pieces of a project destined to become another "Help Wanted" forum project. Not only is it depressing and demoralizing to work you’re hardest on something only to have it fall apart, it''s also a big waste of your time.

Now imagine if you attempted something that was clearly achievable and you successfully produced a finished game. Now you know just how hard it is to finish a project, even a small one, but you have renewed energy and confidence in starting your next project because. You also know your limits and, chances are, you will be able to accurately gauge what features you can realistically implement in your next project and achieve it too.

Now you have two finished games and maybe you’re selling them as shareware and generating enough revenue to quit and take this full time.

When you look at what you can stand to achieve as a good team with reasonable expectations vs. a good team with unrealistic expectations you start to see just how much you are risking.

Though all of us may have gotten past "Newbie Ambition" we are all still newbies when it comes to the process of developing a game and seeing it through to completion. We''ve all done parts of games, started lots of games but very few if any were ever finished games in fact very few of the parts were ever fully completed either.

Thus, until we have experience completing a simple game we should not be attempting to reinvent the MMORPG genera and solve the PvP problem as our first attempt at a complete game.

quote:
Original post by Silvermyst
As this is not our dayjob (yet?)



Sounds like you might want to develop games full time? My advice is to do something clearly achievable. Make a platformer and try out some RPG elements, but keep it simple. I think you''ll be amazed at the time, energy, and resources required to complete something that something that''s described completely in a 20-page design and appears trivial to implement.




#47 Silvermyst   Members   -  Reputation: 113

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 09:48 AM

quote:
what if, man-lizard and woman-lizard have an egg together. Sometime later, man-lizard dies and inhabits the child. What happens when woman-lizard dies if she hasn''t made another egg yet? Will she permanently die for not having a kid?

Two eggs per batch (one for male, one for female) is a possible solution. Also remember, you don''t have to wait until death to inhabit the child. You can play parent and child whenever you want.
I do think that something can be done with the gender, making females more important in the process of mating (because they will be the ones laying the actual egg). Female snakes might become a high commodity that way. In that situation, female snakes can be given slightly lower properties to reflect their realistically lower physical abilities (though I''m not sure about the biology of snakes yet. For all I know male and female might be equally strong).
Imagine current MMORPG you play. Is there ANY statistical difference between male and female characters? Probably not. Why not? Because if there was, less players would play the weaker sex. If there is actually some benefit in playing the weaker sex (desirability), then more players will choose to play that physically weaker sex.

#48 Silvermyst   Members   -  Reputation: 113

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 09:57 AM

quote:
The original question on this post was "Is this a reasonable model?" And despite all the information I have provied to show it isn''t coupled with the lack of any thing beyond wishful thinking that it is. You can not conclude that this is indeed a reasonable model.

The problem is that you translate ''reasonable'' into ''succesful''.
It doesn''t ask ''will this game sell a lot of copies?'' It doesn''t even ask ''will a lot of players play this game?''
All it asks is ''Would it be interesting and fascinating or frustrating for you?''
quote:
Rogue was started by a group of people at Universities on UNIX. Now if this is the typical player you are looking for then you may want to look into what percentage of the population these type of people make up.

What does it matter who started the game? I never knew who started it when I was playing it. If our design would require several incarnations (as I think you refer to with the Rogue quote above), then so be it. Whatever it takes for our vision to come to life.

#49 MorganE   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 10:40 AM

What the questions asks is - Is it reasonable to assume that we could make a MMOG with permanent death in it.

This was added onto in later posts by saying the game would be based around PvP and that this was an independent studio project.

So we have the question - Is it reasonable to assume that and independent studio could make a MMOG based on PvP with permanent death.

So I tried to pull each part of this question out and look at it individually.

What does it take to make a game these days?
The typical game costs millions and dollars and years of people working 40+ hours a week for it to ever see the light of day.
Can an independent studio make a game?
You bet, but if you take away the millions of dollars and the 40+ hours a day then you are increasing the time to create the game from two years to a whole lot of years.

So if we compose the question with just this we get this - Can an independent studio make a game?
To which the answer is yes. It’s going to take a long time and the more complex you make it tougher it will be.

What does a MMOG involve?
A whole lot of money, and a whole lot of complexity
Where do you get a whole lot of money?
From a whole lot of players

So if we compose the question with just this we get - Is it reasonable to assume that an independent studio could make a MMOG?
To which the answer is yes, but you need a whole lot of players to support it and your going to need to keep it simple if you ever want to get it out the door.

Next point can we design a game with PvP in it?
Yes, you can design a game where pigs fly around in space and eat carrots if you like.
Will a whole lot of people play a PvP game?
If you look at what people are playing now then the indication is that people prefer non PvP systems.

So if we compose the question with just this we get - Is it reasonable to assume that an independent studio could make a MMOG with PvP elements in it?
To which the answer is well maybe, but there is not a lot of people playing PvP right now and your adding complexity to the system. These are in direct opposition to what we learned from the first two questions.

Final point, can we design a game with permanent death in it?
Yes you can but a good permanent death system is adding a fair amount of complexity to the system.
Will a whole lot of people play a permanent death game?
If you look at what people are playing now then the indication is that people prefer non PvP systems.... I mean permanent death games.

So if we compose the question with this we get - Is it reasonable to assume that and independent studio could make a MMOG based on PvP with permanent death. (If this looks familiar its the same question from the top of the post)
To which the answer is no, it is unreasonable to assume that an independent studio which needs without tremendous amounts of funding can develop a complex MMOG which also requires a whole bunch of money and have it be based around a model for which people are unwilling to play.

I really feel like I''m restating my self over and over here but if it helps people understand then its not unreasonable to do this I guess :-)


#50 Silvermyst   Members   -  Reputation: 113

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 10:48 AM

quote:
So we have the question - Is it reasonable to assume that and independent studio could make a MMOG based on PvP with permanent death.

NO!! That''s the question YOU make out of it. The original question doesn''t even really mention PvP and only hints at permanent death.

Let''s rephrase the question a little bit, using some imagination...

I am Bill Gates. I have hired a group of talented designers.
They will design an MMO where avatars live on through their offspring. Would it be interesting and fascinating or frustrating to you?

Don''t answer ''can''t be done'' or ''you''re not Bill Gates''. Just answer what you would like or dislike about living on through offspring instead of using the same individual avatar throughout the game.

#51 eldee   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 10:53 AM

i had an idea about continuity in MMORPGs a while back,
and since it will be quite some time before i''ll be
able to begin work on one, i''ll go ahead and share my
idea here with you all today.

i''m a big fan of karma.. alignment, ect..
the basic rundown of my idea was that your next
life would depend entirely on how you led your previous life.
ie) you were a player killing murderer.. theif.. smuggler,
ect.. your next life you could end up being some sort
of snake creature or rodent.. if you were a good guy (helped
newbies fight and win battles, give armor/weapons/gold/ect away,
ect) you could end up as a more benevolent creature.
a bull or a lion maybe.. just some thoughts, use them
if you like

-eldee
;another space monkey;
[ Forced Evolution Studios ]


::evolve::


#52 Oluseyi   Staff Emeritus   -  Reputation: 1678

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 11:36 AM

quote:
Original post by MrX02
what if, man-lizard and woman-lizard have an egg together. Sometime later, man-lizard dies and inhabits the child. What happens when woman-lizard dies if she hasn''t made another egg yet? Will she permanently die for not having a kid?

How about our lizards engage in asexual reproduction, so the only constraints on laying an egg are a sufficient store of energy and enough time for the fertilization to occur (there have to be somewhat strategic elements to laying eggs)?

I think I like that.

quote:
Original post by Ironside
Sounds like you might want to develop games full time? My advice is to do something clearly achievable. Make a platformer and try out some RPG elements, but keep it simple. I think you''ll be amazed at the time, energy, and resources required to complete something that something that''s described completely in a 20-page design and appears trivial to implement.

For the record, I''m not interested in developing games full time. For the record, I''ve developed my share of platformers, and even a 2.5D basketball sim (all lost to the lack of backups). For the record, Silvermyst is more responsible for design while I am more responsible for egging him on or reining him in as appropriate based on my knowledge and expertise as a software developer.

quote:
Original post by Ironside
Actually you’re risking a lot of time and effort that could have been put towards something achievable.

So this isn''t achievable? Interesting opinion, thanks a lot. I think it is, though, but I''m realistic enough not to expect our game to be breaking records by next year. We''re dreaming big but working small, focusing on the critical gameplay elements first and foremost and then emphasizing graphics and polish as bonuses.

Furthermore, this forum is about design, about creativity and looking into the potential, not the present. At least, that''s what I thought.

quote:
Original post by MorganE
<snip!>


You''ve gone at length saying why this will never work and why we shouldn''t try it. At this point, I would advise that you allow us to ignore your warnings and explore our foolishness. If nothing comes of it, you can say you told us so. If something comes of it, you can graciously say how pleasantly surprised you are.

I just don''t understand why you''re holding so vehemently to your position. It hasn''t been the primary focus for many games before; perhaps just in the discussion - based on the cardinal assuption that it is possible and some will be interested - we may advance the reasoning and state of the art... Perhaps. We''ll never know, though, unless we try.

#53 MorganE   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 12:08 PM

Don’t tell me I'm answering the wrong question. I only took the information you provided and summarized it.

The game is...

quote:
working on a design for an MMO game


a MMOG...

quote:
Players can and will bond with their avatar's, but they have to take into account that they could lose that avatar at any time due to permanent death .

quote:
Perma-Death and Continuity


which has permanent death in it...

quote:
I personally prefer the complete opposite: make PKing an integral part of the game.


a strong PvP system...

quote:
As this is not our dayjob (yet?)


were are an independent developer.


As for why I'm holding so vehemently to my position. I thought this was a forum for the discussion of ideas. Where people would speak intelligently about game design. I did not know this was just a forum to post random idea with out putting any forethought into them. I was looking for some intelligent response to why you felt this idea was doable but it seems the only thing I could get was being told I need to think outside the box and having people tell me that the examples I gave didn't apply to them although they could not provide any examples or arguments they could support in favor of their argument. What I was looking for was someone to say it would work and give an explanation for why it would, but alas this never materialized.

You may also want to consider that it takes two people to have a discussion and I haven't been talking to myself this whole time in this thread.


[edited by - MorganE on September 4, 2002 8:17:31 PM]

#54 Ironside   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 12:37 PM

quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
I just don''t understand why you''re holding so vehemently to your position.

A large part of this permadeth discussion is answering the question "Is our permadeath scheme reasonable." I believe this was the intended purpose of this thread. However you also posted that you were actually working on developing this idea and using it in an MMORPG. The idea is reasonable if it''s just a general game design idea, but it ceases to be reasonable if two guys are going to implement it in an MMORPG context in their spare time. Especially when everything is being written from scratch by one guy with (at best) moderate experience developing MMP systems. I believe this is why MorganE is so vehement about his position, and I tend to agree with him. It''s not a reasonable thing for two people (one developer) to implement.

quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
How about our lizards engage in asexual reproduction, so the only constraints on laying an egg are a sufficient store of energy and enough time for the fertilization to occur (there have to be somewhat strategic elements to laying eggs)?

I think I like that.

It''s statements like the above that worry me. There seems to be a line of reasoning present here that says "We can increase the complexity of our gameplay elements without increasing the technical complexity of the overall application". Just because gameplay isn''t a nice isolated engine object like a terrain or networking component it still can be incredibly complex to implement. The more gameplay elements and special conditions you introduce the more difficult tracking all the interactions becomes. Unless you''ve implemented this very carefully the game will be impossible to balance and maintain. Frankly it’s almost impossible to implement something like this correctly the 2nd or 3rd time let alone the 1st time. There are so many aspects you just can’t see until you’ve actually implemented them. Especially a system like the one you describe where there is likely to be a lot of churn while you figure out how to balance your new style of gameplay. Without any reference products to base your design off of it will be very difficult especially for someone with your experience. (it would be virtually impossible for me as well which is why I’m not attempting it)

I spent over a year researching and developing a networking layer for massively multiplayer games. I was not foolish enough to assume that I could actually make a game right off so I focused on the core components. I went out and studied everything I could get my hands on about the topic (incidentally I know a good list of book if anyone’s interested) I researched what the current state of the art was and what today’s big developers were doing. After the 18 or so months of prototyping/redesigning/prototyping/redesigning I finally arrived at a decent solution for a UDP based Client/Server networking layer that was flexible enough to be used in just about any client server based MMO. The NetEngine as I call it is functional I implemented two games with it one a 4 player Pong game and the other a multiplayer tank game where any number of players could connect and drive around shooting each other. The system worked pretty well however there''s still a month or so of tweaking left in it before it will be truly scaleable and performant.

Anyway I backed up that project to CD and several other sources so I would be sure to have it later in my development career when I needed it. No point spending a year of your life working on something only to loose it in a HD crash.

I put the NetEngine on the back burner because I want to become a full time independent game developer. I realized that the only way I could do this was to actually finish a game. So I decided to make a puzzle game with some simple well-defined gampleay elements. It''s been six months of working just about every weeknight and I now have a functional editor that can create tile maps and set tile properties and save and load maps.

The reason I don''t think your idea is achievable is that it''s just too massive. You need two write networking client and server code, you have to make the game client (rendering, GUI etc.) you need to implement all your movement and collision detection on a server so that it works even in a latent environment like an MMO. On top of that you need a rich set of content creation tools like editors in order to populate/create/tweak the game world. Your server has to persist data to a database and back up in the case of a crash, you''ll need a billing system of some sorts even if it''s paypal. All these varied systems will have to be tested and implemented on your own dev environment (which needs to be a fairly substantial one). On top of that you need most of the above items before you can even start implementing permadeath , PvP, and complex mating schemes.

It''s very difficult to work on a project that shows no measurable results until a year into development. Your motivation dries up very quickly. The more you implement the further away your finish line appears as you begin to get a clearer understanding of just how much needs to be done. I learned this working on the NetEngine.

I''m not god''s gift to development, and I certainly don''t have all the answers. But I do see myself as a practical person who is able to size up a situation and based on my experience draw a meaningful conclusion. My experience (though limited) tells me that this project is unachievable and hence unreasonable.

Here is an interesting link to an article written by Kurt Miller of www.flipcode.com that relates his experience making a "simple" overhead shooter. In my own experience I have found everything that he says in this article to be true.




#55 Silvermyst   Members   -  Reputation: 113

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 01:20 PM

LET''S START ANEW!

PERMANENT DEATH QUERY:


1) Can you imagine yourself enjoying a game which features permanent death?

2) Describe what you think the positive effects of permanent death could be. What problems could it solve?

3) Describe what you think the negative effects of permanent death could be. What problems could it create?

4) Can you think of any games that feature permanent death?

#56 Saluk   Members   -  Reputation: 127

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 02:29 PM

These are the main points I see against the proposal:

People don''t play games with PVP/permadeath
Pvp/permdeath is only for hardcore players
Too hard to implement
Need a game before you can worry about the design
Wont make the kind of money that would be required



People wont play:
Thare are games with PvP that have a lot of players. Runescape has a lot of players because of it''s cheap price. Project entropia has a lot of players because of it''s money making opportunity (well, it''s not as good as its supposed to be, but whatever). Helbreath has a lot of players because its free. And in beta, Shadowbane is popular due to it''s strong player versus player; Dragon empires has a popular following due to its innovative pvp system utilizing player flags; and there are quite a few other pvp games in development. Of those pvp games, I don''t think many of them have permadeath as it is a hot topic, and few developers/publishers who are out to make money want to take the risk. While not massively multiplayer, the majority of online games that people play ARE player versus player, such as counterstrike. So it''s safe to say that people ARE interested in player versus player, both in persistent and non persistent worlds.
As far as permanent death goes, it''s a little harder to judge the market because there are very few options that offer permanent death. Players do want to feel attached to their characters, but the fact that players tend to play more than one character when the games allow it shows that players dont always want to stick with the same character all the time. So dying and having to begin a new character would not be as bad a blow as is thought. A game with permanent death would no doubt have an edge in the media department, as it is rare to see a news item on a game with permanent death. So media coverage would definately let players KNOW about the game. And if the implementation were good (it wouldn''t have to be perfect, no game is) and the game were fun, I think that players would stay. It would most likely be a smaller amount of players than the bigger players, but it would also be a different set of the market. I don''t want to repeat myself, but I will say that games such as rogue, diablo iron mode, old bbs games, and quite a few muds, show that permanent death CAN be done, and there ARE people who enjoy the thrill in this kind of game.

As far as games having to cater to both hardcore and casual players, that is completely wrong. The majority of the thousands of people who play everquest are NOT casual players, I''m sorry. Casual players DO NOT PLAY mmorpgs. The reasons for this, are: they take too much time; all the other people in the game are rediculously powerful and a casual player can''t even think of catching up to those players; and the main thing to do in the game is to make your character better: if everyone is always ahead of you why even bother. So to say that a pvp/permdeath system will alienate the largest part of the market, is not true because the main market for these games is hardcore players. Hardcore players are the ones who will PAY a monthly fee for a computer game. With this said, I think the system proposed actually allows casual players to have more of a chance, without alienating hardcore players. The hardcore players will be the ones to explore the most dangerous areas and they will be under the most risk to lose their lives permanently. And a casual gamer who only plays 5 hours a week or less, if THEY lose their character it''s no big deal because they didn''t spend a lot of time getting him to higher levels. And there will be points where a new player could be at "level 5" while a "level 30" character dies and is only at "level 0". I use levels loosely as I don''t know how advancement works in this game, be it levels, skills, or something else. There are many games that are successful while focusing on harcore players, such as flight sims (Il 2 stormovik), war sims (operation flashpoint), turn based strategy games, and most mmorpgs. There are also many games that cater to casual players only and are successful, such as the deer hunter games, the sims, and many console games. Now, a game aimed at casual gamers that can snag them successfully will most likely make more money than even the best hardcore games. But, thats not to say that a hardcore only game can''t be successful. I can''t really think of many games that are loved by both casual and hardcore players, so trying to get both of them to play is a little on the silly side, but I don''t think it''s impossible.

As for it being too hard to implement; permanent death and pvp are a little more difficult to implement than non pvp, non permadeath, but not very much more when you look at the big picture. When you look at the big picture, implementing a mmorpg with a traditional ruleset is about as crazy an undertaking as implementing an mmorpg with an innovative ruleset. Implementing a ruleset is always difficult, but there isn''t that much of a difference to implement an innovative ruleset versus a copycat one. So yes, for two guys to try to create a mmorpg, they must be crazy idiotic fools. But I think, Mortal, that you have stressed this point enough. If they want to be insane, I don''t think you can convince them otherwise They may surprise us, and if that happens, then so be it. But there isn''t much reason to continue beating the fact that it''s either impossible or near impossible to do into their heads, when all they want is advice on the system, not the project. So I agree with you for the most part, but I don''t think you need to keep repeating yourself when they obviously are crazy enough that they aren''t going to give up anytime soon. Why not humor them and tell them what a pvp/pd game would be like to YOU. What potential problems do you see with the system, how would you handle it if you were on the team, would you put up with dying if it only happnes once every two weeks and you get to keep most of your skills? WHich do you have more of a problem with: the pvp part, or the permanent death part? Or would you happily play a game with one of those features as long as they weren''t combined. You are spending too much time in my opinion trying to persuade a few lunatics into stopping what they have already started instead of humoring them and having a discussion about their design. Implementation is difficult for ANY game, but their design doesn''t sound like it''s any more pie in the sky than any of the mmorpgs that are already out.

I could be understanding you wrong IronSide, but it seems to me that you believe that you shouldn''t design a game until you have it made already. Developing games IS freaking hard, and it takes a long time, but what''s wrong with designing things while you are not busy with the other things. At least it gives you something to think about. Maybe you are more of a programmer than a designer, but for me, working on the design GIVES me motivation. When I''m pooped after a difficult 3 hours on the engine, I like to sit back and work on the design, or draw some art, or do some of the other fun things that go into the game. Otherwise my nose gets too into the code to see where it''s going. It can be easy to get so frustrated by the code to want to quit altogether, but if you at least have something your aiming for, it can help to keep you going. Most of the things that I read say it''s better to design before you implement, of course they are aiming toward the professional world, where changing the implementation due to bad design costs money and possibly jobs.

Now as for the last one, it''s the most difficult point to combat, but it goes along with the players. If the game were to get enough players, then it would make enough money. Getting enough players would take a good system, good marketing, and no doubt a lot of money. Whether the people stay playing or not has everything to do with content, and only a little to do with the system. If there is a lot for people to do in the game, they will keep playing. If there are a lot of players, people will make friends and not want to leave because their friends are on. This has a lot to do with the implementation; if the system is "good enough", then it wont be a detractor. The KEY question here is, is this system "good enough" to not be a detractor. I don''t really think it is , and it doesn''t seem to have really been thought over very much at the moment, but that''s obviously why the developers brought it here. They had thought through it many times, but can see that the system really isn''t good enough yet. So they wanted to give it to us for us to throw out ideas and see if it can be hammered about until it is. I''m not sure if that will happen, I have spent a lot of time on the issue and haven''t come up with very much myself, there always seems to be one issue that comes up that kills it.

Without player versus player, permanent death is fairly easy to deal with. As long as you make fights that are satisfying without being too dangerous, and make it easy to run away from monsters, you don''t have to worry too much. The risk level needs to be that when you are about to go somewhere where your life is at a very high risk of dying forever, that you KNOW what you are doing. Keeping this risk level at the right point in a player versus player game seems to me to be a very difficult if not impossible feat. It''s very hard to keep the high level players from attacking weak players, even if they don''t earn anything from that encounter. In dragon empires, certain missions flag the player allowing them to be attacked. This may be an option. And safe zones has been done to death in pvp games, I don''t like this much because then if your worried about staying alive, it means you can''t go anywhere interesting How about guild pvp? If you are not in a guild, no one can attack you. If you ARE in a guild, you can attack anyone from a guild that is not one of your allies. This could provide interesting terrirtorial warfare, while also giving fighting some comraderie. Guilds would be under the family name, so that when you come back as the child you are still in the same guild, and might eventually be able to avenge yourself - not by trying to run down the exact player who killed you, but by taking out someone from that guild.
I''m not sure if your name HAS to change when you take over your offspring. People name their kids after family members all the time, and sometimes even after one of the parents. For me, I could start out as Saluk, then my first child could be "Saluk the 2nd" and so on. This also gives you an idea of how many times a player has died
One more thing: If you can take over your child at any time, what happens to the adult? Does it go into ai mode? What kind of ai are you expecting for this game?

I think that''s all for now. No hard feelings to anyone, not trying to offend anyone. Everyone here is very intellegent, making this a very interesting discussion!

#57 Saluk   Members   -  Reputation: 127

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 02:37 PM

To answer the poll:

1) I can see myself playing a game featuring both permanent death and player versus player

2) Permanent death can help level out the level treadmill giving newcomers more of a chance against hardcore players and hardcore gamers more of a thrill and playing along with more bragging rights. Just as item degredation can help stop the INSANE inflation of a virtual economy, permanent death can stop the insanely overpowered characters who seem to overpopulate your everyday virtual world.

3) It can be very difficult to lose a character permanently especially if you are attached and put a lot of effort in to them. And it''s very annoying to die when you feel you have no control over things, such as if you are almost dead on your way to town to heal up and some jerk coming out of town kills you as he passes you. And your dead. Forever.

4) Underlight features permanent death, they have a free trial. Other games are: those roguelike games, oldschool games (such as mario, where after losing all your lives you have to start from level 1 again), old bbs games, some modes of play on multiplayer addons to single player games (counterstrike and the like), quite a few muds (search for them on mudconnector.com).


Check the last few paragraphs of my last pots where I discuss your particular system a bit more in depth.

#58 Saluk   Members   -  Reputation: 127

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 02:39 PM

One last thing: Check out this GREAT article I just found about this topic:

http://www.rpgtimes.net/rpgtimes/article.php?article_id=97&origin=archive

has some really good examples.

#59 Oluseyi   Staff Emeritus   -  Reputation: 1678

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 02:42 PM

quote:
Original post by MorganE
Don’t tell me I''m answering the wrong question. I only took the information you provided and summarized it.

I don''t think you''re answering the wrong question, I think you''re not objectively considering the basis of my arguments (ignoring all others; I prefer to speak only for myself). Is something possible? Then is it feasible? What specific issues would prevent it from being achievable? How can we discuss this in a manner than educates and enlightens all sides of the discussion? That''s all I ask.

quote:
The game is...

The game is a PvP mutliplayer online game. "MMO"? Not necessarily. Sometimes we take advantage of terms because of their familiarity and the relative simplicity of applying them and their connotations - positive and negative - versus defining a new term. The avatars are non-human which, to my mind, alters many of the perceptual parameters. I might be mistaken, of course, but we do need to keep that in mind.

Player-player interaction is the central focus of the game, followed by exploration and interaction with the environment/autonomous entities. Since PvP is so central to the experience, then I think that aggression is a fundamental part of gameplay. As some have noted, there are classic online games (early MUDs, for instance) that operated quite successfully on this principle as well, but took steps to mitigate the loss of a character should it occur: leaderboards are one option; association of possessions with the user account versus the avatar is another; a third is the incorporation of the user''s exploits in the game world - "lore" as it were.

quote:
were are an independent developer.

I don''t intend ever not to be. For me, all I need to do is develop prototype systems that are playable. They may lack the visual polish of professional products or the robust networking code of a Quake... That''s okay. Others can carry on, either inspired by my successes and educated by my failures, or with whatever code is made public from this effort. Is there anything wrong with that?

I realize how gargantuan an undertaking a full-fledged MMORPG with hundreds of thousands of subscribers would be but, as many people know, I''m not interested in running any such endeavor. This is a hobby; I have other plans (outside software development entirely) for my life.

quote:
You may also want to consider that it takes two people to have a discussion and I haven''t been talking to myself this whole time in this thread.

Of course, and if I somehow inferred to you that you were completely disregarding all other input, I apologize. It''s just comments like "Man I just love how this message board works. I sometimes wonder if people read the entire post or not" that are, at the least, quite condescending. Note also your over emphasis on existing markets, which don''t suffice as a feasability study when you''re introducing a markedly different product.

quote:
Original post by Ironside
How about our lizards engage in asexual reproduction, so the only constraints on laying an egg are a sufficient store of energy and enough time for the fertilization to occur (there have to be somewhat strategic elements to laying eggs)?

I think I like that.

It''s statements like the above that worry me. There seems to be a line of reasoning present here that says "We can increase the complexity of our gameplay elements without increasing the technical complexity of the overall application". Just because gameplay isn''t a nice isolated engine object like a terrain or networking component it still can be incredibly complex to implement. The more gameplay elements and special conditions you introduce the more difficult tracking all the interactions becomes.

Actually, I think you completely missed the intention of that statement. Of course, I take the blame for that for not spelling myself out perfectly clearly. See, since our avatars are non-human, it is possible that their reproduction is quite different from that of humans (meaning it is not necessary that two players cooperate to spawn new offspring). At the same time, having two players cooperate could increase the social aspect/attraction of the game for some users, as well as provide the offspring avatars with a diverse genepool resulting in faster "evolution". What I was trying to say was that we don''t need to confine our thinking to "human" terms. Some species (eg certain plants) possess both male and female sexual organ; perhaps our "neo-lizards" do as well, but have the option of mating with other neo-lizards. That means that the user can lay an egg independently or with other lizards, both male and female. This isn''t supposed to be a "special consideration" but rather an integral definition of the avatars.

quote:

I''m not god''s gift to development, and I certainly don''t have all the answers. But I do see myself as a practical person who is able to size up a situation and based on my experience draw a meaningful conclusion. My experience (though limited) tells me that this project is unachievable and hence unreasonable.

I appreciate your frankness (even though, frankly, I don''t appreciate your [mis]assessment of my skill level). I disagree, but then again it''s my perogative to be foolish.

#60 MagicScript   Members   -  Reputation: 290

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 02:51 PM

Here''s my idea of how you could handle it:

When a player dies, he becomes a ghost. The higher the level he was when he died, the longer he is allowed to stay a ghost before his spirit dissipates and the character is lost forever. Now, while the player is a ghost, his body remains where he died so that another player can resurrect him. To make being a ghost worth while, if the dead player died alone, he is able to ''haunt'' live players perhaps drawing them to his body to help him. However because many players will likely travel in groups there needs to be a permanent or semi-permanent penalty. I propose to use both. When the player dies, his spirit must force its way out of his body. Thus, a part of the characters abilities are imbued into the equipment the character was wearing. A portion dependent on the character’s level. The higher the level, the larger the portion. Now, when the player is resurrected after X number of hours of playing with his equipment on, he will re-absorb all or nearly all of his abilities. Thus there is no penalty for dying unless the character loses his equipment. I propose that he will also regain most of his abilities even if he doesn’t have his equipment, but over a longer period of time. This benefits the pkers too. If they kill a player and loot his corpse they may be able to get equipment that has the players abilities attached to it as magical enhancements. For particulary powerful characters, the name of the character should be built into the equipment creating a unique set when he dies. Thus if a Necromancer named NightMagic dies, his helmet would bear the name NightMagic’s Helm and would grant the wearer a small percentage of NightMagic’s powers. This would apply similarly to everything he was wearing at the time. This will increase the incentive to try and kill higher level characters and give those characters a more dangerous life. The living should have a few skills that perhaps let them see or communicate with the dead so that the dead will have some hope of finding a friend to help them. Furthermore, you could also have wandering NPCs who would patrol the area around their villages or cities who could help fallen players. If guilds are set up or politics are involved, the NPCs might loot the corpses of players who are not friendly to their village and bring the spoils back for distribution! They would however help friendly players.





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