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Member Since 18 Apr 2012
Offline Last Active Nov 19 2013 06:38 PM

Topics I've Started


11 September 2012 - 05:50 AM

Free For All Player Versus Player "Ironman" MMORPG.

I'll clarify the terminology just in case some people don't know:

MMORPG - I think everyone knows what this is. Massively multiplayer online role playing game. Lots of people playing an RPG on the same server.

Ironman - This isn't a game about Ironman. This means that your character has one life. When you die, you're dead, game over.

Free For All Player Versus Player - Players versus each other, Free For All meaning everyone can attack everyone/anyone.

Could something like this work? I've always been a fan of the Ironman concept. Trying to strive for a goal with the thought that one error could cost you everything. Where death is a major variable. But finding a game with a balance between it being a challenge, and being a frustration is nigh on impossible. With the added threat of a douchebag just murdering new players you get from FFA PvP it makes it a real difficulty.

Now, the way I'm envisioning this in its basic form is multiple servers with limited population per server. For argument's sake, we'll call it 1000 people per server. Players progress and level, try to avoid dying. As the game progresses, the server population drops. People establish themselves as front runners, better gear, etc.

To try and limit the doucebaggery there would need to be some sort of restriction or immunity at the starting phase. You cannot attack players or be attacked for the first X amount of days/levels whatever.

Now, the ironman-ness. When you're killed, you're removed from the server and you go into a holding pattern. For all intents and purposes on that server, you are dead. All your gear is left behind, and you start afresh.

The survivors on each server will need repopulation so the servers would also have different bounds for this. Say, if there's less than 250 people remaining on the server (one quarter of max population) then the server is eligible for repop. Once there's enough people in the holding pattern from all the servers they are all amalgamated and the server is refilled (prioritising the people that have been dead the longest).

What do you guys think? Could it work? The biggest limiting factor I can see is getting a large enough active population. What else could be a potential flaw? Would people be interested in an MMO where death means death?

Edit: Further Detail from further consideration

While I've been musing on this I've decided to take it forward and try and develop it into a fully fledged GDD. At the moment concentrating on basic gameplay and mechanics before I work on details and move onto background, lore, and plot. I'm doing this, currently, as a design exercise. I do not have a team in place to build this. It is an ambitious game, I know it is, so you don't need to say "go with something simpler." Perhaps once I've completed the GDD I'll think about getting a large team together to try and build it, but that is not certain, and not going to happen in the near future.

Combat and Gameplay

These are the main points, I'll go into detail for each heading below.
  • It will be a Fantasy RPG.
  • 3rd Person full 360 degree rotation.
  • No classes. No magic. No (significant) ranged abilities/builds.
  • Twitch based combat, and skill oriented.
  • Gear based character build. No levels.
  • FFA PvP, with Friendly Fire.
Fantasy RPG

Medieval fantasy setting, I think most people have an idea about what this means. It'll be a completely new world, not set in our world. There probably will be multiple races, but differences between the races will be almost completely just aesthetics. One race will not have an advantage in terms of combat. Possibly the different races will have differences in other non-combat aspects such as different proficiencies with crafting or unique non-combat skills.

3rd Person Perspective
This will be the default view, though this is subject to change (depending on how well the combat works). The camera will definitely be 360 degree rotateable as you maneuver around the world. I don't think this is really any different than most people would have expected for an RPG, it's pretty default. There'll be a wide range of scrolling view from close "over the shoulder" to "3rd person Isometric" and right up to "Top Down" perspective.

No Classes
This is in the sense that you do not create a character and decide he is going to be "A Mage" or "A Rogue." There will be different playstyles, but not the typical ones I think, and not determined through 'class selection' everyone starts on equal footing, and no-one will have a pre-determined advantage vs anyone else.

No Magic
This means, no casters. There will probably (almost certainly) be magical items, but there will not be any mages. This is primarily because I envision casters as "squishy ranged attackers" and I am against ranged-focused play in this game (which I will explain shortly). There is a possibility of having magic focused melee combat, but at the moment it seems unlikely.

No Ranged Builds
No hunters, no casters, no rangers. Whatever you call them, no-one who kills enemies from far-far away. This is to balance the FFA PvP aspect. A group of 5 hunters for example, could ambush other players quite easily. 5 simultaneous high powered attacks from range, and the victim doesn't have much chance, and not even much chance of killing one of the attackers. If everyone is melee, then if you want to kill other players, you have to at least put yourself at risk to do it.

Some one-off lesser ranged attacks may be introduced. The occasional throwing knife for example. This will depend entirely on whether I can balance them in without them becoming overpowered - particularly in an ambush situation.

Twitch Based Combat
If you want to dodge an attack, you have to move out of the way of it. If you want to hit an enemy with an attack, you have to aim. It won't be a "Select Target, press attack" style of game. This will hopefully turn survivability towards skilled players rather than those who get lucky with crits/dodges. Towards that end, there will be very little RNG involved in the combat, ideally none at all.

No Levels
There will be no traditional leveling with regards to base stats, you do not gain health or become stronger as you level. There will be no level 80 going around smiting level 10 newbs. In any one on one fight, you should have a reasonable chance to win (assuming comparable skill).

There will be leveling however in the sense that, as you 'level' you gain the ability to wear/equip better gear. This will be the main leveling focus, but if you do not attain better gear, it will mean nothing (a gear-level 80 in starter gear will be exactly the same as a brand-new player in starter gear).

Even with the highest gear possible, you will not have an overwhelming advantage against any other single player. If I can get the balance right.

I am also planning a skill/talent based system to grant players new abilities as they 'level' to add an extra dimension to character progression.

Gear Based Build
Since there are no classes, this is truly where the diversity comes in to play. To those of you that play Guild Wars 2 I know this will sound very similar, that's because that's where I got the idea from and it seems like a good way to have balanced players while allowing personal playstyles to emerge.

Note, I do not have exact details figured out, so numbers below are an approximation just now.

Equipping a weapon will grant you several abilities associated with that weapon. A two handed weapon will give you 15 abilities. A one handed weapon will give you 10 abilities. Abilities will be equipped in the action bar, in slots 1-5.

In the case of a 2H weapon, all 5 slots refer to the one weapon.

With a one handed weapon it is slightly different. Slots 1+2 refer to the left hand, slots 4+5 refer to the right hand. If one hand is empty you may place all abilities from the one weapon into slots 1-5. Slot 3 can be used for the weapon in either hand, or for a combination ability which will be available through different pairs of 1H weapons. (Hopefully that makes sense)

Abilities and weapons cannot be swapped while in combat. Abilities will be defined as "Main Hand", "Off Hand", or "Either Hand", as you level some of these definitions may change as Main or Off hand restricted abilities change to being allowed in either hand. Any one handed item can be used in either hand (a one hand shield is not restricted to off-hand only), and you define your 'handedness' during character creation.

As you level and gain the ability to wear better gear, you gain the ability to wear more than "2 hands" worth of weapons and the ability to define stances so that you may swap abilities and playstyle on the fly. For example wearing twin swords as well as a shield, to swap during combat for defense or offense. Initially I imagine this extending to "Up to 5 hands worth" (two 2H weapons and one 1H, or five 1H, or some variation).

The weapons I have planned currently are:
Daggers (1H)
Fist Weapons (1H)
Swords (1H)
Greatswords (2H)
Mace (1H)
Greatmace (2H)
Axe (1H)
Greataxe (2H)
Shield (1H)
Greatshield (2H)
Truncheons (1H)
Polearms/Staves (2H)

This may further subdivide into smaller categories with individual skillsets, but as yet undetermined. An example might be: Mace, Flail, Club.

Yes, there's a 2H shield. This would be pretty poor in a solo situation, but I think it might add useful co-operative style.


Armour would come in the typical subdivisions, Light Armour (Cloth), Medium Armour (Leather), Heavy Armour (Mail). Everyone can wear every kind of armour. Light armour would allow speed and maneuverability with weak defense, while heavy armour restricts movement and offers great defense.
Players will have the 'typical' inventory system for armour, Helm, Chest, Gloves, Legs, Boots, Shoulders, and you will be able to mix and match armour types. Wearing a full cloth set, but a chainmail chestpiece would allow reasonable maneuverability whilst giving greater protection to your torso. Different weapon abilities will also be dependent on meeting movement requirements - most basic abilities won't be restricted, but you won't be able to execute highly athletic abilities while wearing full plate armour, for example.

FFA PvP with Friendly Fire
PvP will be always on outside of safe zones. Town hubs and strategic areas will be considered a Safe Zone whereby you cannot harm another player or be harmed by another player. There are two exceptions to this. If you are flagged as a Criminal, another player may attack you. This will be done by the opposing player targetting you, and toggling their aggressiveness. If someone decides to try and attack you, you are then able to retaliate and defend yourself.
If you are outside of a safe zone, you are vulnerable to be attacked and you are able to attack anyone else outside the safe zone. This includes friendly fire, in that, even if you are partied with another player any attack may still damage them. If you are working with another player therefore, you need to watch where you're swinging your weapon.

Starting a team as a Game Designer?

23 April 2012 - 04:56 AM

I shall cut right to the chase here, and say that this is something that I am interested in doing. However, this is not that post. This is where I ask for opinions on what I need to do first, and hopefully it'll provide some answers for others like myself who would like to get into the designer role.

I'll pre-empt those that are going to say "Learn programming" or other "Learn another skill" posts. Other people have said that "Everyone can be a designer, not everyone can be a programmer" - this is something I highly disagree with, but for the purposes of this discussion - let's assume that it's true and I, and by proxy, other people, don't have the requirements to be something else.

When recruiting artists or programmers, you look for examples of previous work. This would work for a designer too obviously, and if the protential recruit has previously worked on a game in his role, then he can show off what he's done. The problem is with people looking to start in on their first game.

A programmer who hasn't worked on a game before can usually show work of other code he has done from a non-gaming perspective. The same can be said of artists. A game designer won't have this possibility - or not as a demonstrable item. There is documentation that he could produce (GDDs, High Concepts) but their worth is questionable without a finished game to accompany them, or at least some sort of prototype.

The question is therefore, how does a Game Designer prove his worth?

My initial thought is to produce the documentation I mentioned previously. A concept, high concept, Game Design Document (GDD) - whatever you can. I've heard it said that a GDD is worthless without a prototype or a finished game. This may be true from the standpoint of judging the worth of the game, but not in judging the worth of the designer. If the designer can produce polished, high quality, concept documents and such, then you know that he can do at least that. It is something that a Game Designer must be able to do from a professional standpoint, so having some to judge is a definite must.

If you produce documentation as a proof, produce several documents for different genres. If you produce 5 highly polished design documents for 5 well thought out RPGs, then it could be very good - assuming that whoever is going to look at them is interested in RPGs. However, if they want to make something different, then you're giving the impression that you are not suited to the task. Making design documents for widely varied game types - like designing a serious gruesome horror FPS, a sci-fi RTS, and a cute and fluffy casual sim game - shows that you have the ability to work with whatever genre is required whether you've implicitly designed in that genre before.

Beyond this, I am at an empasse.

Level designing for an existing game has been suggested to me. This is something I have obviously dabbled with, mostly with RTSs (Age of Empires II, Red Alert 2 & 3, Empire Earth) and some FPSs (Halo 3 / Reach) but to what degree is it worth pursuing? Game levels in various editors are relatively simple to produce, but I have trouble seeing their value without rigourous play-testing.

If I produce a dozen maps for various games, am I to leave it to the recruitee to judge if they're any good?

Do I need to host them online and get others to play them for me in the hopes of gaining some sort of feedback?

What of maps which do not score as high as anticipated, should I show different iterations and re-designs which lead to more enjoyable gameplay?

What else could I (or another designer) do in order to show off their ability without the option of producing a game by themselves?

Inevitably there will be people that suggest that I stop trying to be "the ideas guy." I am not looking for a cheap path to be carried by a team and provide nothing of any worth. I want to be a Game Designer, not an Ideas Guy. They are not synonomous. A good game designer adds value to the team, and I want to put myself in that position. You may believe that the others in your team can design your game without a dedicated designer - this could be true, and I wish you luck - this doesn't mean you should assume that all designers are just slackers, because we are not.

Winterdream - Puzzle Platformer Game Design

18 April 2012 - 04:11 AM

I have been working on a design concept for a game I intend to make, and I think I'm at the point where I need to ask for critique. The game - called Winterdream - is a 2D puzzle platformer for Android. If all goes well though I may try to release it on other platforms.

The concept document can be found here.

Besides the crummy illustrations (I'm useless at drawing. Something I want to work on, but haven't got to it yet.) I'm sure there are things I need to improve. The most important part is whether you think it will be enjoyable - Does it sound fun? Will it work? What won't work?

So, criticisms, suggestions, ideas, or glowing recommendations if you feel so inclined. Please don't hold back.