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Modular game world


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#1 ImpossibleDream   Members   -  Reputation: 128

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:34 PM

I'm of the opinion each major game system in an mmo should be a complete, fun, and playable game unto it's self. Unfortunately, what usually happens is time or budget constraints forces developers to release incomplete systems.

What one were to develop an MMO by creating a series of modular components, smaller games that join together to create a larger game world. The basic frame work for these types of gaming systems is already established in most gaming hubs like Kongregate, where you have site points and usernames carried over from one game to the other. Those gamer profiles could easily be converted to include character data.

By releasing each major game system as it's own game across a variety of platform, you get the chance to fully flesh out each system so that it's fun to play. Plus it adds lots of early monetizations opportunities across lots of platforms and game genres, and if done right deveopment could potentially fund it's self. You'd attract a lot of niche players and allow them to focus on the style of play they like the best. Plus you could have several teams working on different games at once.

Do you guys think this if a feasible approach to take? Can you break up an MMO into smaller playable game?

For instance my broject breakdown is looking somethign like this

-prototype combat in pvp/pve arena game
-Pet system game, arena combat, breeding, training
-trading/crafting game
-dungeon exploration game
-Necromancy system, skeletal lego type of game
-magic/ritual systems

Each one building of the previous games, gradually becomming more interconnected until it achieves the cohesion of a game world.
Maybe each game has a couple of sequels to streamline gameplay.

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#2 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5059

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:05 PM

I'm of the opinion each major game system in an mmo should be a complete, fun, and playable game unto it's self. Unfortunately, what usually happens is time or budget constraints forces developers to release incomplete systems.

What one were to develop an MMO by creating a series of modular components, smaller games that join together to create a larger game world. The basic frame work for these types of gaming systems is already established in most gaming hubs like Kongregate, where you have site points and usernames carried over from one game to the other. Those gamer profiles could easily be converted to include character data.

By releasing each major game system as it's own game across a variety of platform, you get the chance to fully flesh out each system so that it's fun to play. Plus it adds lots of early monetizations opportunities across lots of platforms and game genres, and if done right deveopment could potentially fund it's self. You'd attract a lot of niche players and allow them to focus on the style of play they like the best. Plus you could have several teams working on different games at once.

Do you guys think this if a feasible approach to take? Can you break up an MMO into smaller playable game?

For instance my broject breakdown is looking somethign like this

-prototype combat in pvp/pve arena game
-Pet system game, arena combat, breeding, training
-trading/crafting game
-dungeon exploration game
-Necromancy system, skeletal lego type of game
-magic/ritual systems

Each one building of the previous games, gradually becomming more interconnected until it achieves the cohesion of a game world.
Maybe each game has a couple of sequels to streamline gameplay.

But, in an MMO those systems all have to work together. The interrelatedness of things is part of what makes the MMO feel like an immersive world, as well as the important design principle of unity of subject matter. For example pets typically play a role in combat, and the player crafts items relevant to capturing (involves exploration), breeding, and/or training pets. Not to mention the problem of keeping the player's money balanced if they are somehow using the same money across multiple games. And if the money don't carry across, it would be quite difficult to make them seem like one integrated game. Making each of those playable on its own would make it more difficult to plug them into each other. So, I like the idea of modularity. I like your project breakdown except I'd toss out the necromancy and add a faction reputation/individual relationship meter instead, and a minigame arena or similar way to bring minigames into the MMO, and I'm fairly sure magic ought to be a sub-area of either combat or crafting, depending what you're doing with it. But I'm not sure this project breakdown works as a list of standalone games to be combined into an MMO.

Edited by sunandshadow, 12 December 2012 - 04:06 PM.

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#3 Aeramor   Members   -  Reputation: 1204

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:28 PM

I've mulled over this same thing many times. I love the idea of several smaller teams each making a unique game that would eventually be part of a larger game (be it mmo or not) but after awhile I came to the conclusion that there needs to be a "main team" that is in charge of the game, as a whole, that would stitch the pieces together and be in charge of making sure the pieces fit together in some kind of coherent way. I think as a single team though creating many small games as proving grounds for individual components of a future idealistic game is a great approach.
As far as modularity, however, It's unlikely to work well. Games, in general, are so entirely custom and even slight variations modify gameplay quite a bit. Look at shooters... you could say the gameplay aspect is modular there but each game has its own tweaks, stack, control flow, and many other aspects that make it 'feel' unique even though on the surface they may seem like the same game.

-Aeramor

CTO at Conjecture, Inc.


#4 ImpossibleDream   Members   -  Reputation: 128

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 12:06 AM

But, in an MMO those systems all have to work together. The interrelatedness of things is part of what makes the MMO feel like an immersive world, as well as the important design principle of unity of subject matter. For example pets typically play a role in combat, and the player crafts items relevant to capturing (involves exploration), breeding, and/or training pets. Not to mention the problem of keeping the player's money balanced if they are somehow using the same money across multiple games. And if the money don't carry across, it would be quite difficult to make them seem like one integrated game. Making each of those playable on its own would make it more difficult to plug them into each other. So, I like the idea of modularity. I like your project breakdown except I'd toss out the necromancy and add a faction reputation/individual relationship meter instead, and a minigame arena or similar way to bring minigames into the MMO, and I'm fairly sure magic ought to be a sub-area of either combat or crafting, depending what you're doing with it. But I'm not sure this project breakdown works as a list of standalone games to be combined into an MMO.


The separate games wouldn't change how each system interacts. Say there's an mmo with a great crafting system but you hate the rest of the game. This would give you an option to experience the crafting without having to do the rest of the the stuff you dislike. Maybe off a smaller sub for that section of the game. Plus you wouldn't bring it all together at once. Maybe tie a couple together here and there, but you'd want to focus on the core game play before making it part of the game world. Smaller project chunks like this can allow you to have a sequel or two to fine tune stuff before pugging it into the collective game world. There's a lot of possiblilities on how to tie them all together.

I've mulled over this same thing many times. I love the idea of several smaller teams each making a unique game that would eventually be part of a larger game (be it mmo or not) but after awhile I came to the conclusion that there needs to be a "main team" that is in charge of the game, as a whole, that would stitch the pieces together and be in charge of making sure the pieces fit together in some kind of coherent way. I think as a single team though creating many small games as proving grounds for individual components of a future idealistic game is a great approach.
As far as modularity, however, It's unlikely to work well. Games, in general, are so entirely custom and even slight variations modify gameplay quite a bit. Look at shooters... you could say the gameplay aspect is modular there but each game has its own tweaks, stack, control flow, and many other aspects that make it 'feel' unique even though on the surface they may seem like the same game.

All the games would need to be designed by the same team. You could hand off those designs to different teams, and as long as they meet your specifications, everything should work more or less OK.

Edited by ImpossibleDream, 13 December 2012 - 12:06 AM.


#5 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5059

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:00 AM

The separate games wouldn't change how each system interacts. Say there's an mmo with a great crafting system but you hate the rest of the game. This would give you an option to experience the crafting without having to do the rest of the the stuff you dislike. Maybe off a smaller sub for that section of the game. Plus you wouldn't bring it all together at once. Maybe tie a couple together here and there, but you'd want to focus on the core game play before making it part of the game world. Smaller project chunks like this can allow you to have a sequel or two to fine tune stuff before plugging it into the collective game world. There's a lot of possibilities on how to tie them all together.

But, what are you crafting in this crafting system if you aren't making gear and consumables for playing the MMO? What are you using for crafting ingredients if you aren't killing MMO monsters for drops or wandering around the MMO world gathering stuff? If you want the player to buy the ingredients from someone who is playing the MMO, where are they getting the starter capital to do that?

Personally I love doing crafting within MMOs, especially if it's a crafting system along the lines of Tale In The Desert, Wurm Online, Haven and Hearth, etc. I think it's a good MMO design goal to want to enable players to opt out of parts of the game they are not interested in, including combat. I have an MMO design of my own with that design goal: I call it starfish because each type of gameplay is like a separate arm, and players start in the middle and continue to interact there. But, even if crafting and combat are completely separate in terms of the player's progression through the game, they need to feed into each other through market forces or it won't feel like a virtual world to the players. That feeling of being in another world is arguably the single best trait of an MMO, it would be a bad idea to lose that in one's design.

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.





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