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So you want to make an MMORPG?


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#21 Khelz   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 21 June 2002 - 03:31 AM

My 2 cents:

Motivation and perseverance may lead you everywhere.
(Except if you are really dumb perhaps).

Don't listen to those defeatists people around here. When I started my project with some friends, some people laughed at us. Now that's us who're laughing at them.

And if you have not the recquired competence to accomplish your dream, the time spent for your project will not be lost, you will gain experience in every cases.





[edited by - Khelz on June 21, 2002 10:32:17 AM]

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#22 doctorsixstring   Members   -  Reputation: 388

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Posted 21 June 2002 - 03:53 AM

Most of you guys seem to be ignoring the biggest part of creating/running a MMORPG: actually running the game . KalvinB, you said that you finished GangWars in 10 days, and that it supports 1024 people. Do you actually have a server up and running 24/7 that allows people to log in and play? Are you able to keep lag and hacking to a minimum? I am not trying to be a jerk, and kudos to you if GangWars is online and running smooth! Unfortunately, it is not realistic for any newbie to think that he/she can actually get a MMORPG online, even if they are able to "finish" coding it. A physical server to run a MMORPG from that can handle more than a handful of users will cost multiple thousands of dollars. A full-time internet connection will cost over $1,000 per month. Lastly, taking the example of Everquest, they spent months (years?) perfecting and adding on to the game's code, simply because of an ever-increasing user base and miscellaneous bug maintenance. As the article that llyod linked to described, you will need a team of skilled people maintaining the game 24/7, acting both as Moderators and maintenance programmers.

We are not trying to be "defeatists". We are just trying to warn newbies away from the same path most of us surely took at one time: Wanting to make the best game ever, our own version of a Quake/EverQuest/Command & Conquer-killer. Finishing a simple game first will increase someone's confidence MUCH more than failing to finish a huge one.

You don't learn to drive a car before you learn to walk. It's as simple as that.

[edited by - doctorsixstring on June 21, 2002 10:54:00 AM]

#23 Khelz   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 21 June 2002 - 04:17 AM

I''m just gonna give two examples of successfull amateur MMORPGS (Graphical Mud-style).

www.realmsofkaos.com
-> 200 to 300 players online at the same time, growing community, server running on a T1.

www.nightmist.co.uk
-> 40 to 60 players online, server running on a simple cable modem (that kind of connection runs 24/7 and is accessible to everyone).

Well those games are both free. Okay that''s not a full 3D
everquest but that''s an EVIDENCE that amateurs will not be able to do better in terms of techniques and performances than professional companies. I''ve never seen a newbie claming to do better than professional companies (or they''have to be really stupid). BUT there''s more place for creativity in amateurs projects, that''s why I believe in them, and that''s why I don''t laugh at someone who wants to get into MMORPG programmation.


------
GameDev''er 4 ever.

#24 Silvermyst   Members   -  Reputation: 113

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Posted 21 June 2002 - 04:23 AM

quote:
Okay that''s not a full 3D everquest but that''s an EVIDENCE that amateurs will not be able to do better in terms of techniques and performances than professional companies.

I guess it depends on what people define as ''better''. I''m betting that most of the ''better'' evaluation is based on graphics.
quote:
BUT there''s more place for creativity in amateurs projects

See, now MY definition of ''better'' usually is based mostly on gameplay, originality and creativity.

What it all boils down to is
a) creating a good game is hard
b) creating an online game is hard
c) creating a multiplayer game is hard
d) creating a good multiplayer online game is very, very hard

...but it can be done.
(especially if graphics can be sacrificed)

#25 Khelz   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 21 June 2002 - 04:33 AM

I totally agree with you SilverMyst.

It IS hard, and that''s why I love it. If it were too easy it wouldn''t be fun at all

If you think you can handle it, if you take a lot of pleasure from doing it, and if you have the time to do it, then just do it.

And I''m one of those who thinks graphics can (must?) be sacrified for amateur teams.


------
GameDev''er 4 ever.

#26 The Well-Suited Punk   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 01:01 AM

Is there anyone here working on a MMORPG after already having worked on another online game with similar functions but on a much, much smaller scale? (Like ::shameless plug::, a design I''m fleshing out now. ) I have to ask, because I''m seeing more help wanted posts for MMORPGs than anything else lately. I don''t have anything against the genre, but they seem overly ambitious (but not impossible!) for the hobbyist/amuteur game dev types that hang around these parts. I don''t want to discourage people here from the genre, but I''m currently under the impression that MMO games have QA and customer service issues an order of magnitude beyond any other type of game. Personally, I''d want to know if I could entertain a 4-player simultaneous game before I try my hand at a 400-player game. On the other hand, I could just be the conservative odd-man-out here in wanting to start out simple.

-The Well-Suited Punk-

#27 doctorsixstring   Members   -  Reputation: 388

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 02:59 AM

I just want to remind you guys that an amateur is much different than a newbie. An amateur programmer is simply someone who does not program professionally. They can be a beginner or a very advanced programmer. A newbie, on the other hand, is someone who is very new to programming/game design/whatever. When people on this forum say that newbie''s should not attempt to make their first game a MMORPG/Quake-killer/etc., they are not necessarily talking to amateurs . Khelz mentioned two amateur online games. They were not made by newbies, but by amateurs (as Khelz says). Both games have been around for quite a while, and I find it hard to believe that these were the first games ever created by their respective staff.

#28 thona   Banned   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 03:35 AM

I just want to remind you how negative you have actually put amateurs.

You say an amateur can be a very skillfull programmer. Sure. but he still is no par for a professional programmer. Would a skillfull amaeteur, mathing the skills of my best professional programmer here, come and want to work for us, he would NOT be a senior developer, but a junior (ok, maybe not for long) and definitly NOT get the same pay, though his skills might match.

Why?

Because programming is only part of the life of a programmer. Projects need t obe managed, schedules need to be maintained. Features need to be cut. Software needs to be planned with maintenance in mind. Certain procedures for multi-developer-development needs to be learned. And finally, a certain experience needs to be gained. And HERE the amateur fails.

An amateur will never have the same experience level than a professional, not in areas that require investments. Simple sample - show me the best amateur web developer who made a CMS (Content Management System). Then have him proove that it scales to 100.000 users. Proove - like in having 100 machines simulating 10000 users each and hammering away. Sure, he might be skillfull, but he has lacked the tools and has never really gained experience in certain areas.

now, specially in MMORPG''s you have two critical parts - the client and the server. On the Client, and amateur might be very skillfull and be on the verge of becoming a professional. After all, we "only" talk of Direct3D as the hardest part, and every amateur can have a top notch graphics card and raise his skills.

On the server we should talk of massive, persistent. Here, sadly, it shows that most professional companies should have spend money for professional developers of commercial software. Here we talk of high availability, databases, massive paralellism, large servers. And NO amateur can have accumulated enough experience here to be more than a Junior developer for at least one year.

I really must laugh (sorry) when I read about Gangwars and 1024 parallel players. Proof, please. Were 500 players EVER connected at the same time, even when they only consisted of test scripts? Is the code using a SELECT approach of programming the sockets of a slow and non-scaling threading approach? A claim that 1024 users can connect just because 1024 sockets can be opened is ridiculous.

I agree, too, on another area - sadly as I must say. At the moment it looks like a TON of MMORPG''s are coming out. Tons of are in development, and the market might be too small. Now, there is ONE thing that needs to be accepted here - you can be successfull if you are DIFFERENT. Better is not going to cut it - if you are better, then you have to be WAY better, and the other companies are still - well - there with a lot of customers and resources. Also, most MMORPG''s right now are EXTREMELY bad in their ruleset. DAOC? CRAP. TOTAL CRAP. I played it a while - at lvl 12 I was unable to be usefull in a group of lvl 15 characters. TOTALLY USELESS. The casual player can not compete with his more hardcore friends at all, not even support them - the class curve is WAY too steep. Well, it is all the game has. Everquest is in the same area - hack and slash, and a totally broken ruleset.

An MMORPG neets to be different. Wonder whether anyone ever thought of making one in old rome, making players part of a larger system. Mixing an economic simulation with strategy, politics and some character building. Give them something to compete on, and give them slaves (for the small manual work). Hm, might be an idea, after all - fighting in the colosseum and so. Leading troops into large battles, or establishing trade routes all over the known world. Getting a place in senate. Hm, oudns not too bad. This would be totally different from the current and primitive experience - which, btw, is SO primitive that it really sucks.

Regards

Thomas Tomiczek
THONA Consulting Ltd.
(Microsoft MVP C#/.NET)

#29 guitarplayer   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 03:55 AM

I think its hard to code an MMO, but its quite possible. You could take Faldon for an example. The main developer was an 14-15 year boy, who finished the first alpha in 1 year or so(he got help from his brother and a friend, mostly in the matter of graphics stuff). it had, bugs, yeah, just like expected for ANY recent released games,it would have new patches like from week to week. But i would say that it worked. The project has know 4 years as i can remember. It had like 120 peoples when i first started playing, i dont know how big it got cause i stoped playing. this is the site:
http://www.illusorystudios.com/faldon/

if (ansi c++ && windows.h)
whooraay!!
else
ok, lets do those cheats.

#30 solinear   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 04:45 PM

quote:
I really must laugh (sorry) when I read about Gangwars and 1024 parallel players. Proof, please. Were 500 players EVER connected at the same time, even when they only consisted of test scripts? Is the code using a SELECT approach of programming the sockets of a slow and non-scaling threading approach? A claim that 1024 users can connect just because 1024 sockets can be opened is ridiculous.


Well, I''m not really seeing the problem with 1024 simultaneous users. Maybe if you''re using TCP for everything (which NO game programmers use because of the speed issues), but do you really need to? You can''t tell me that every single stupid bit of information requires the reliability (and inherent overhead) of TCP. Quake, UT and Everquest programmers don''t think that TCP is necessary for any but the most vital of information and most of the time not even for that. Of course, I believe that EQ was originally built with TCP, though I think that a lot of their communications has changed over to UDP now.

Use UDP. The solution to network games is NOT TCP. It''s too slow. Reliable UDP is faster in nearly all situations, gives you the same level of reliability that TCP has and requires fewer resources, so long as the programmer knows what he''s doing.

#31 solinear   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 05:25 PM

quote:
DAOC? CRAP. TOTAL CRAP. I played it a while - at lvl 12 I was unable to be usefull in a group of lvl 15 characters. TOTALLY USELESS.


I don''t know, when I was 11th level I was regularly grouping with level 15 players and was invaluable to them. Maybe it was your play style.

quote:
The casual player can not compete with his more hardcore friends at all, not even support them


That''s kind of the point. If I play 14 hours a day, I don''t WANT someone that plays 2 or 3 hours a day to be able to compete with me at all. I have between 5 and 7 times his investment, why should he be able to compete with me? Let''s see... I spend 150 hours in-game and someone with 45 hours should be able to compete with me? Of course, that means that someone with only 15 hours should be able to compete with the person with 45 hours... how far is the person with 15 hours from the person with 150 at that point? Not very. What about the player with 1500 hours? How much more powerful should he be when compared to the player with only 250 hours? That''s like saying that someone with a couple of years in an army should be at around the same level of experience as someone who has 10 years in. Your expectations are unreasonable.

If your friends want to play with you, they should create a character that they play when you''re online. You shouldn''t use the fact that you don''t have any time to play to justify making a game where progress is nearly non-existent.

BTW, just so you know, I''m not a powergamer. I have a family that I love to spend time with and a full-time job. That basically means that completing Diablo2 took me over a month. Hitting level 42 in Everquest took me well over a year and a half. I probably could never finish Morrowind, no matter how hard I try. I also understand that someone who has that time investment deserves to have a better character. You may not like it, but it''s reality, just like your job. You work longer, you usually get paid more. If you''re a better player you''ll be able to get those levels faster, but that''s really an exception, not the rule.

#32 Impossible   Members   -  Reputation: 134

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 05:32 PM

quote:
Original post by Khelz
www.nightmist.co.uk
-> 40 to 60 players online, server running on a simple cable modem (that kind of connection runs 24/7 and is accessible to everyone).



I wouldn''t call 40-60 players MMO... Someone may be able to code a MMORPG and even run it (to some extent), but most amateurs won''t get very far. I have no problem with kids that know some netcode and some 3D code building an online RPG, but a lot of the amateurs supposedly "developing" and MMORPG just can''t do it. They don''t have the skills or the drive or the time or whatever. Just look at most amateur MMORPG pages. They''ll have some bad 3D renders that they''re passing off as "screenshots" a few paragraphs on "evil empires", and some more stuff on how their game will "revolutionize the industry" and is "better than Everquest." An amateur can make an MMORPG (or at least an online RPG) if they design it within their limits, but most of the projects out there (80-90%) that amateurs propose are barely within the limits of the best professional studios.



#33 aegrimonia   Members   -  Reputation: 524

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 10:39 PM

quote:
Original post by Khelz
I''m just gonna give two examples of successfull amateur MMORPGS (Graphical Mud-style).

www.realmsofkaos.com
-> 200 to 300 players online at the same time, growing community, server running on a T1.

www.nightmist.co.uk
-> 40 to 60 players online, server running on a simple cable modem (that kind of connection runs 24/7 and is accessible to everyone).

Well those games are both free. Okay that''s not a full 3D
everquest but that''s an EVIDENCE that amateurs will not be able to do better in terms of techniques and performances than professional companies. I''ve never seen a newbie claming to do better than professional companies (or they''have to be really stupid). BUT there''s more place for creativity in amateurs projects, that''s why I believe in them, and that''s why I don''t laugh at someone who wants to get into MMORPG programmation.


------
GameDev''er 4 ever.


Add dransik to that list.. i play the hell out of dransik, i love it.

www.dransik.com

it''s circa ultima IV graphics, but it''s fun nonetheless.



#34 Khaile   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 25 June 2002 - 04:03 AM

quote:

Add dransik to that list.. i play the hell out of dransik, i love it.

www.dransik.com

it's circa ultima IV graphics, but it's fun nonetheless.




Is Dransik really "amateur"? I heard it's going to cost money to play now...



My Stuff : [ Whispers in Akarra (online rpg) || L33T WAR (multiplayer game) || The Asteroid Menace (another game) ]



[edited by - Khaile on June 25, 2002 11:04:33 AM]

#35 thona   Banned   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 25 June 2002 - 04:19 AM

Just as a side note in regards to TCP vs. UDP.

Well, solinear - so you think that TCP is not suited for a MMORPG and UDP should be used? I have a hint for you - you kill a lot of your customer base.

UDP is not connection based. This means that no NAT system is going to support your custom UDP protocol. Support is bad for DirectPlay (which is UDP based, but it is from MS and "official") and will be non-existent for your custom protocol.

Means all the users behind NAT can not use it.

Now, we dont talk of all the geeeks with their own routers here - we talk of the customers of a lot of DSL providers, cable modem companies etc. that ARE using NAT.

Sad, but true.

So, DirectPlay - well, an argument ("Sorry, Mr. Provider but you do not support what?"). TCP - an issue. But UDP - avoid it as long as possible.

Thomas Tomiczek
THONA Consulting Ltd.
(Microsoft MVP C#/.NET)

#36 acraig   Members   -  Reputation: 471

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Posted 25 June 2002 - 05:22 AM

quote:
Original post by thona
...
So, DirectPlay - well, an argument ("Sorry, Mr. Provider but you do not support what?"). TCP - an issue. But UDP - avoid it as long as possible.
...




I was understanding that TCP is useless for (most) multiplayer games. I''ve seen many articles on gamasutra that say if you use TCP for a multiplayer game then you are dead in the water. My favourite quote: "TCP is evil. Don''t use TCP for a game. You would rather spend the rest of your life watching Titanic over and over in a theater full of 13 year old girls."

TCP is far to slow and it''s reliable service is more of a penality then a benefit for most data. Consider player positions. Having a reliable service for every move update is not realistic. If TCP has to resend the packet it is pointless since the player has already moved in that time. It is better if the packet was just dropped.


-------
Andrew

#37 thona   Banned   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 25 June 2002 - 05:49 AM

Well, then how do you get inbouind UDP packets through a NAT router?

I am currently in germany. The only cable modem provider here puts you behind NAT.
I knwo a lot of ADSL companies in the US put you behind NAT.

Just answer - how do you handle this with UDP?

I agree on the "better suitability" of UDP in THEORY, but practically you are blocking more and more potential customers.

Well, maybe it is just me thinking that a game should be played by as many people as possible, as I have financian intentions.

As such, I dont care that UDP is better, because UDP is not usable. Period.

Thomas Tomiczek
THONA Consulting Ltd.
(Microsoft MVP C#/.NET)

#38 Ixpah   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 25 June 2002 - 06:48 AM

UDP does work with NAT, but a certain style of programming has to be followed for it to work correctly. HalfLife/TFC uses UDP, and I play that through a proxy/NAT system.

On the point of 'Leveling Treadmill' games, yes they are evil, they aren't good for business in the long run either.

Casual gamers just starting the game will quickly realise that they can *never* compete with established players who play 8+ hours per day, causing them to become disillusioned with the game and leave it.

[edited by - Ixpah on June 25, 2002 1:49:47 PM]

#39 thona   Banned   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 25 June 2002 - 06:54 AM

Exactly my saying. I dont want vcasual gamers to be as powerfull, to be as rich etc. as the hardcore gamer, but I want groups of friends with mixed attitudes to be able to work together.

When you are lvl 12 in DAOC and your friend is lvl 20, there is NO sense in you two making something together, as he either gets no XP (and no drops), or you dont hit at all (emphasis: at all).

If he would be a little stronger, but you would still be a good backup, you could still spend some time together and have fun. Maybe he would buy you some better equipment with his money, to help you out.

But you would still be useful.

IMHO the levels (ok, their strength) could be related with other things - let character stats max out, and then work with good, reputation etc., and create a system where you can lend such. a high lvl character gets the permission to carry a good gun and can lend this or extend this to his current group. After the adventure the less known character has to give the gun back, as alone he lacks the necessary permission.

Casual gamers are a huge market.

I myself played DAOC 2 months ago :-) Now, after a lot of work, I think of going back in. But what for? Finding new friends etc.? Hm, no, in a month I have a hot phase again and cant play for some weeks. So what do I do? Orecisely: I quit the game.

Thomas Tomiczek
THONA Consulting Ltd.
(MIcrosoft mVP C#/.NET)

#40 acraig   Members   -  Reputation: 471

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Posted 25 June 2002 - 10:53 AM

quote:
Original post by thona
Well, then how do you get inbouind UDP packets through a NAT router?

I am currently in germany. The only cable modem provider here puts you behind NAT.
I knwo a lot of ADSL companies in the US put you behind NAT.



Hmm. I''m not sure of the situation in Germany but I don''t think that this is a common pratice in North America. If an ISP gave you a NAT''d IP then it would cause hell for a lot of other applications as well. All the searches I did on www.google.com said that if your ISP gives you a NAT''d IP then look for another ISP .

But again, I''m not sure if European ISPs operate differently.

UDP can work though a NAT''d network. I''m NAT''d on my machine but I just port forward to this machine.


quote:

I agree on the "better suitability" of UDP in THEORY, but practically you are blocking more and more potential customers.

Well, maybe it is just me thinking that a game should be played by as many people as possible, as I have financian intentions.

As such, I dont care that UDP is better, because UDP is not usable. Period.



This does not sound like a good plan to me. You should be trying to make the best possible game. If you have to sacrifice performance ( and in this case maybe greatly ) then you may end up with nobody at all playing the game and therefore nobody willing to pay for it.


Of course all of this is IMHO..


-------
Andrew




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