Well, I've gotten about 45 or so posts now in response to my suggestion to run a workshop/tutorial on "How To Make Your Own MMORPG."
In general, responses have ranged from the enthusiastic to the apathetic, to the almost sympathetic. So I guess the question now is, is it worth it? The answer to that question lies in the answer to two other questions...what does the community get out of it, and what do I get out of it?
The community would get out of it a front-row seat as one man attempts to do what many in the GameDev.net community would say is impossible. At the same time, it would give the people at GD.net a place to send the newbs who ask "How do I make my own MMORPG." And finally, it would bring to light many of the issues which make MMORPG development so much more complicated than your usual, run-of-the-mill single player, 2D, RPG. As a result, the next time someone comes along and says "Is it possible to make my own MMORPG?", The community will be able to answer with either a resounding no, or a resounding yes, and either way there will be a bit of empirical truth as to why it is or is not possible. Ultimately, it will prevent people from saying "No, it's not possible," just because they've heard other people say that. Now, they'll know it's (not) possible, and why it is(n't).
That's all well and good, but would do I get out of it? Well, it would give me an opportunity to explore a potential new language, new framework or API, as well as to develop a bit more fully skills which I do not currently claim to posses.
For instance, I've got no previous network programming experience. Ouch. As well, my graphics programming experience is limited to the rendering I've done for the custom in-house world editors I've written while employed for companies such as Liquid Entertainment, and Pandemic Studios. So I've got a good deal of DirectX 7-9 experience, but I wouldn't call myself an expert. In fact, up until my last position, everything I had written was done using the Fixed-Function pipeline. Ouch.
And finally, I've got no audio, AI, database, or ...hell, it may be faster just to list the skills I do have. I've got some Physics experience, via the work I did with the good folks at Havok on the SoftImage|XSI Tool Addon and integration, and I've got a good deal of User Interface experience, ranging from the Win32 API, to MFC, to WinForms, and finally to WPF (Yes!! There IS a god).
So basically, I am in fact a Tools Programmer, taking on the task of writing a Miniature Multiplayer Role-Playing Game with a FRACTION (maybe 1/16th) of the skills necessary to actually write an MMO. But the first part of learning, is knowing what you don't know.
So why do I, in all my arrogance, believe I should even attempt such a thing...well, the simple truth is that buried deep inside all great minds is a voice that claims they can do the impossible. To quote Wesley: "Never say never because no-one ever has." So in addition to learning new skills, it also gives me the opportunity to push the bounds of my own ego and to either prove or disprove to myself that I am in fact a Cyber Sorcerer.
And lastly, as sick as it sounds...it gives me the opportunity to interact with the folks here on GameDev.net, while doing something which I hope many people will be grateful for. It's a simple truth about Tools Programmers, ultimately, at the end of the day, they do the work that they do because they enjoy seeing other people get use out of the work that they've done. If even a small number of people find such a tutorial (Narrative) useful, and voice their thanks, then it's certainly worth it.
So it seems as though I'll probably be doing the tutorial....
The next question is, what language and technology should I use, what features should I attempt, and what format should the tutorial/workshop be in?
Check back later to find out. Cheers!