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Humble Hobo

Member Since 08 May 2006
Offline Last Active Aug 10 2012 07:35 AM

Topics I've Started

[Survey] The Price of Freedom

21 July 2012 - 09:34 AM

This isn't explicitly game design, but the business model of an MMO does impact gameplay to some degree, so I feel justified.

I'm taking a software business class, and I'd like to hear your opinions. This survey about Free-to-play is 4 questions and takes only 30 seconds. If you could answer as yourself, and not as an 'average gamer'. If you're reading this right now, you're already within the target (MMO veterans, armchair designers, forum-goers, and bloggers).


If you'd like to continue the discussion here, feel free to leave a comment when you finish. Here are the discussion points:

1 - Subscription required to try
2 - Free 30-day trial
3 - Free unlimited-time trial
4 - Completely free-to-play

The focus is
  • What do MMO veterans, forum-goers, armchair designers, and bloggers (i.e. Not-The-Average-Gamer) see as the maximum barrier to entry to even try an MMO in the first place?
  • Just how big is the gap between Free unlimited-time trials and Free-to-play for you? If there is a gap, why does it matter to you?

Horizontal Scaling for a Single Shard MMO

08 July 2012 - 12:39 AM

I'm highly inexperienced in terms of network programming, as the wording of my question will no doubt reveal:

Is it possible to use many servers via horizontal scaling (like Wikipedia and Google), to support a single-server MMO?
Using multiple servers to provide the muscle for a single instance of the world, could horizontal scaling be used to support 100,000 concurrent players? Even more?

I don't fully understand how this works, but I'm simply curious if large-scale single-shard worlds are possible (if not via horizontal scaling, then by some other method)?

Thanks in advance for the clarification!

Fathoming the Unfathomable

07 July 2012 - 12:30 AM

I'm trying to get my head around this concept, and I'm drawing a blank.

The Question: Is it possible to create a game in 2d that is just immersive than its 3d counterparts?
Obviously, good design is the key, but from my shortsighted perspective, 2d is inherently limited on how immersive you can make a world.
What are the inherent advantages or disadvantages in terms of immersion for 2d and 3d? In the end does it matter at all?

The most interesting games I've found in 2d are sort of puzzle sidescrollers like Limbo. Unfortunately, many people take one look at 2d games and instantly relegate them to the realm of "$0.99 app that I might try if it goes free, but otherwise not worth my time."

I bet that could change though. I ask because I'm interested in developing 2d games focused on immersion. I simply don't have the technical skills or billions of hours of free time to learn to create 3d graphics that could be considered 'immersive'. The "bar" by which players judge good quality 3d graphics keeps raising higher and higher.

My thoughts on the matter:
1. Yes. Immersion should be possible through good design. 3d lends itself well to visual immersion, but emotional and gameplay immersion should be done through design.
2. Really feeling like you are part of a living, breathing world might be impacted by additional visual/audio stimuli, such as foliage rustling as you walk by, ambient sounds, and lots of interactions with the environment. In theory you could make even make a stunning world from a top-down perspective.
3. Good story, and good NPC/world interaction can make you forget that it's 2D.

SWG - Abandon Ship!

12 June 2012 - 08:15 AM

I've been doing some research into SWG's crafting, particularly it's ship crafting/building mechanics. There's an overwhelming response on the internet about how fun it was, but as I've never played the game I don't have firsthand experience. I'd like to do some more research into other games where you can actually sail/fly the finished product.

In fact, I've never actually played an MMO (or RPG) that involved some sort of ship/vehicle crafting, in which you could actually sail/fly the finished product.

So, My question to you:

What MMO (or other game) did you have the most fun designing or building a ship? Was it the sheer number of options and customizability? Was is the thrill of min-maxing? (you have to admit, there is some joy to be found in min-maxing). Or was it something else entirely?

For me it was Escape Velocity: Nova, an older Galactic Conquest/Trading game. It probably wasn't original at all, but it was my first game of that sort, and so offered a world of fun. Customizing and trying to run an efficient merchant or mercenary ship was a great experience.

It's Who You Know -- Legacy Reputation in MMOs

29 May 2012 - 09:54 PM

It's time for me to collect another round of your $.02 again:

The Concept: Legacy Reputation

Let's say you have a high-level smuggler, but you want to roll an alt on your account just for fun. Legacy reputation means that when you roll a new character, you can mention the name of your alt to get easier entry into NPC factions or organizations. Your main was pretty well known among the smuggler's guild. This can be leveraged to make faction NPCs friendlier and more willing to let you in ("Any friend of <Leeroy Jenkins> is a friend of mine, you're welcome to browse my supplies." kind of response).

This serves two purposes:
  • A little bit quicker way into a preferred NPC faction (not as a go-anywhere-free pass, just a little extra rep and opportunity).
  • One of those cool moments when it feels like your previous characters have actually influenced the world.
My Questions to you:
  • Potential problems or exploits with this idea?
  • Have you seen something similar in other MMOs? I'd like to study how they implemented it