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MMORPG is not a bad word!

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I have read post after post where some poor guy has confessed his dream to build an MMORPG and you people (you know who you are) have mercilessly butchered it before he could even get started. For the life of me I cannot understand why people are so determined to keep someone from trying. Are you scared he might actually do something you didn''t have the b*lls to do? If he tries, and can''t do it, what has he lost? Nothing. The more important question is, what has he gained? Surely knowledge.. and hopefully the pride that he at least tried when so many people don''t-- or won''t-- or can''t. I have been researching building an MMORPG for the past few months and am convinced that this can be done. It may not compete in size and scope with a commerical MMORPG developed by "40 designers and programmers", but it could be done on a small scale. If you get part of the way there (by building the infrastructure and a compelling design), people will bend over backwards to be a part of it. Look at this forum or any other and you will see hundreds of thousands of people that want to make the next great MMORPG. All it would take to turn these good people into designers and developers for your project would be for you to get them started with a good data-driven engine. Make no mistake, the development side is extremely complicated and time consuming, but the resources (sample code, SDKs, books, articles, etc.) you need are out there. I promise you this, we have it a HELLUVA lot easier than John Carmack did when he started his first 3D engine. It would be interesting to see how people would have reacted if he had confessed his dream to build a multiplayer 3D FPS when 288BPS (or <) modems were the norm and 3D cards were all-but non-existent. So basically I''m encouraging you all to ignore the naysayers. If you think you can do it, try. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. If you want it bad enough, you will _eventually_ get it (as long as you are willing to pay the price). "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." -Einstein bpopp (bpopp.net)

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The problem is, making MMORPG is something that can't be done alone. It requires teamwork. If you are the only developer, you will get bored of your MMORPG before you finish it.

Now, from all MMORPG threads that I have read, about 90% of those are in Help Wanted forum. These people who wants to make MMORPG requires help. Too bad, nobody wants to join because such thing is almost impossible to finish, especially for high school/college students or indie developers like us. Nobody wants to experience a failure project, they want something that's very possible to finish and publish, and MMORPG is not on the list.

If it's just you who make it, who cares? You are in charge of everything. But MMORPG is just too large for a single person.

[edited by - alnite on June 2, 2003 1:45:21 PM]

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Maybe they will only gain knowledge in the end, but many people, myself included, think a more effective way of gaining knowledge is not attempting an impossible project and giving up, but actually completing small projects, that get progressively more complex.

In the posts I''ve seen that you speak the person posting is generally someone who seems to have no idea about game development, and the people replying are more experienced, and are offering advice so that the person will not make a pretty big mistake (as harsh as some people may be about it.)

Yourself and John Carmack, I think are innaccurate examples, as you don''t seem to be inexperienced, and John Carmack surely wasn''t. I agree that an MMORPG is certainly possible, I think a member on these boards made one. But the people that get
"butchered" are unexperienced beginners.

That''s my take on it at least.

- Andrew

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I have no problem supporting that I think has the ability to make an MMPOG. The problem is, the vast majority of people on these forums that say "I''m making an MMPOG" don''t know the first thing about software development or project management. You see far too many kids saying "I want to make this MMPOG", but they then ask silly questions like "I''m getting this error when I run my program" and they give an include error from Visual Studio. It''s not difficult to put 2 and 2 together from this to make 4 and know that they have 0 chance of succeeding. I once saw one MMPOG website proudly display that they would charge $9.95 a month to play their game, yet all they had were a couple of 3d models! Again, zero chance of succeeding.

MMPOGs are THE most difficult genre of game to build successfully. WHy do you think that even those on the market now suffered major technological setbacks and disasters? Because they''re extremely difficult to implement.

As you say, your game would not be on the scale of current commercial MMOGS, but then you''re not really talking about an MMPOG are you? You''re probably talking about a MPOG or something in between.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Also, many people asking for help have never done anything before. They want to program a MMORPG as their first project. I would argue by starting on a smaller project, they will learn even more in a shorter amount of time. Also, their is something to be said for looking back at your months/years worth of work and actually have a product to look at. If you plan to big, then you won''t have anything to admire, and will likely give up future endeavors more easily.

But, if they have experience completeing other projects, maybe said developer is ready for a MMORPG. They should just keep their expectation realistic.

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Hard, but possible.

Check out www.dransik.com...

They have pretty big *advanced* team doing it on their spare time. It took about 2 years to get even skills in the game. Huge work...

Here mmorpg has turned into swearword since script kiddles begin think they can program and once they know they can''t they become designers and spam, "Hay d00ds check out this unique idea!" at design forum or "plz halp me with mmorpg" at help wanted.

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Check out www.warriors2.com

It''s an MMORPG with 8218 active players created by a swedish guy, Zakarias Persson, that is actually beginning to pay off.

I don''t know him personally but I think he has taught himself gameprogramming and stuff, without higher education within CS.
Not the best or flashiest game out there but totaly addictive.

So keep your dreams alive because every obstacle will make you stronger.


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I have played MMOs since Meridian 59 and still play UO. I’ve also been involved with a company (as a founding member) working on an MMO... my distaste for this genre of games is marred by my experiences as a developer and as a player.

I will agree with you... MMORPG is not a dirty word. The problem with MMOs (IMHO) is that none of them are breaking new ground. Or, for me personally, none of the current games (save UO) contain elements that I find new and exciting. Sure the graphics of AC2 and Shadowbane are awesome but after the wow factor – I need something more that makes me want to play.

The problem with the industry is that once a game is successful – it is copied as many times as the mindless folks that purchase the games will continue purchasing the games. This isn’t a problem for most players who continue to buy the next game on the shelf but for independent developers seeking funding and showcasing a brand new true next generation game – it’s a big problem. Publishers are (and I understand why) afraid to take chances on these games – especially when the price tag is a cool 10 million dollars.

So, for me, a non-drone, the problem is that why do I want to quit playing UO to play the next new game that offers nothing in terms of game play over the game I enjoy?

Maybe the reason MMO(RPG)s have such a bad label is because so many of us find them to be terrible in terms of game play. Or maybe it’s because so many of us have bought that (supposed) next generation MMO only to find that it wasn’t even finished yet. Yes, many MMO developers are choosing to get the game out so that they can get a quick influx of cash so that they can finish the game – or at least attempt to finish the game. MMO(RPG) isn’t a bad word; It’s just a word that has a stigma attached to it from gamers, publishers and developers alike.




Dave "Dak Lozar" Loeser

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Guest Anonymous Poster
To those that refuse to believe that a MMORPG can be built alone or with a small team <a href="http://www.dransik.com/classic>click here.</a> It may not be the best game ever created, but it is an MMORPG and it was created by only 3 people. I played it for awhile, but it go boring.

It''s got everything most really big MMORPGs have, the graphics just arent as good. The team is growing now, because more people are playing.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Ooops... didnt read the whole thing... someone already talked about Dransik...

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positive attitudes rock! you can do anything if you try. If someone says you can''t do something, just think about Jared (the subway guy)



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quote:
Original post by quack
positive attitudes rock! you can do anything if you try.

learn to fly without any equipment...

bring about world peace...

start a fire with your mind...

write an MMORPG when you don''t know how to program and refuse advice from people who know how to...

see where i''m going with this?

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actually a simple tile-based 2D online game hosting less than 100 players is very easy to implement, could even be done as your first game project in vb.

But a large-scale commercial 3D mmorpg like everquest is an entirely different matter.

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quote:
actually a simple tile-based 2D online game hosting less than 100 players is very easy to implement, could even be done as your first game project in vb.


Yes, it *can* be done, but it''s not a realistic goal for an inexperienced programmer. Even a simple text-based MUD is a fairly complex project yet we constantly see people wanting to dive into making the next Everquest when they can''t even figure out how to fix syntax errors in thier programs let alone have the basic knowledge needed to begin to ask the right questions.

Newbie are *far* more likely to succeed if they start with Pong clone #12342, move up to Tetris clone #2341, and so on.

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I've seen the "Need Programmers to Build Me a MMORPG" threads and I admit they can be annoying. These are not the posts I'm talking about, though. I'm talking about the people that write reasonable, well-thought-out requests/inquiries and get slammed. Examples include Calaf's post written a few days ago and more personally, my own post written last year.

To those that recommend starting out with "something easier" first, I disagree. There's no reason to make yet another tetris clone before starting your MMORPG. An MMO is made up of subsystems so you can quickly start seeing results as long as you progress with each subsystem. In my case, I started out with a terrain, then I loaded a few models, then I integrated a basic UDP system, then I threw in some DirectInput and a Camera, and now I am working on the user interface. The latest screenshot can be seen here:



Admittedly I have a long way to go but I've learned a tremendous amount in only a few months. If I had started with some lame project that I didn't really care about, I doubt very seriously I would have made it this far.

bpopp (bpopp.net)

[edited by - bpopp on June 2, 2003 4:51:32 PM]

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the two posts you linked to weren''t very good examples, even the people who said discouraging things to you both prefixed it with the "not to be a dick" type disclaimer. they were honestly replying to the posts, by saying that MMORPGs cannot be easily made by any single programmer, and are impossible for a newbie.

the purpose of starting with pong and tetris is to learn how to get a game completed, and learn how to handle the stupid newbie errors everyone makes in the beginning. if you skip ahead right to the MMORPG, without a clue how to deal with "unresolved external main()" error, you don''t stand a chance. if, however, you already went through the basic drawing stuff to the screen, setting up controls, and designing and implementing a simple game logic, then you can actually design the MMORPG and stand a chance of implementing it before you are too old to type.

it is only the truly foolish posts that actually get flamed.

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Just wanted to say that Dransik was not made by beginners. The project leader is one of the main designer of Ultima 8, and the main graphist also used to be in Origin during the old ultima series.

Rather than that, I totally agree with the fact that a MMORPG can be a programmer''s first game when motivation is there. The keys to success are: AT LEAST a very motivated programmer + some motivated artists + time (in the long run) + perseverance.


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Yeah, I am well aware of Jason''s experience, I was just using that as an example that you don''t need a team of 40 people to make a MMORPG.

Point taken about the tile-based games, though.

(I was the anonymous poster who talked about Dransik.)

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bpopp, it''s clear from your questions that you''re not a newbie programmer. If your very first game-related project was a terrain subsystem then you are miles ahead of a lot of people that are asking similiar questions. The fact that you''re even thinking in terms of subsystems demonstrates a level of sophistication beyond what many newbies have.

I think where a lot of the people in this thread are coming from is the guy that posts "I want to make a MMP! By the way, what''s a pointer?". That level of question is fairly common.

If you''re an experienced programmer then sure, knock yourself out. I still say though that if you''re not an experienced *game* programmer then quick clones of pong, tetris, and other simple games have something to teach you. They don''t need to be fancy, you should be able to knock them out in a day max. It''s not like you have to spend 3 months creating the most polished high-performance multi-media version of Pong ever.

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quote:
Original post by Cahaan
The keys to success are: AT LEAST a very motivated programmer + some motivated artists + time (in the long run) + perseverance.
You need money as well. You need to pay those server bills.

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quote:
Original post by alnite
quote:
Original post by Cahaan
The keys to success are: AT LEAST a very motivated programmer + some motivated artists + time (in the long run) + perseverance.
You need money as well. You need to pay those server bills.


Well if you have a fast DSL connection and a "simple" tile-based engine for example (or a mud-like engine) you can easily host sessions with 100 or 200 players (which is great for a hobby-made game) simultaneously on your own connection without getting too much lag.

But yes if you want to have a lot more players and being able to handle heavy network traffics you definately need a biggest connection. But I doubt a serious hobby-team would ever try to make the biggest mmorpg ever and even get more than a few hundred players at the same time.


[edited by - Cahaan on June 2, 2003 6:50:25 PM]

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> To those that recommend starting out with
> "something easier" first, I disagree.

Game development is like any other engineering-type of endeavor: ''risk management'' is king. What others are telling you, perhaps indirectly, is that pieces of your design you have little or no experience with should be dealt with first, and you should use those aside prototyping projects to gain experience for your MMORPG design. Risk management applies to the technology you will be using as well; for example, networking and SQL code tends to have a larger life span than hardware shader support these days...

There is a psychological aspect to it as well. You can start implementing all the subsystems you have experience with first, and run the risk of redesigning large parts a few times because of problems that keep creeping in (and the size of the problems is usually proportional to the scope of the project). Ouch. You can call it ''expectation management'' if you wish, and it applies equally to solo developpers and to publisher-supported teams.

> I have been researching building an MMORPG for
> the past few months and am convinced that this
> can be done.

You are on the right track in your approach though I would suggest you use specific post that are related to your unknowns. Use specific questions such as "what is the best I/O strategy for an MMORPG server", "Can MySQL be used to update MMORPG data or should I stick with account info only?", or "How do I manage a large MMORPG world using a one or many servers". Having one BIG post with a long and incomplete description of your game is an invitation to nit-picking, and experienced developers usually shun those as they take up too much time to answer.

-cb

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That''s pretty close to what I''m doing. I took a lot of slack initially for starting with the 3D engine but this was a deliberate choice and in retrospect, it was the right way to go (so again, all you naysayers can bite my *SS). The 3d math is a killer (or at least, it was for me) and if you make it through that, the rest is relatively easy (excluding maybe AI/pathfinding-- but even these are relatively simple in most MMORPGs).

In order to keep the newbie mistakes out of my final code, I''m using a throwaway prototype. It''s really ugly code and the design has been hacked together as I go, but it''s been invaluable in learning each component and subsystem. Once I''m comfortable with each, I''ll start rolling them into something that looks more like an engine.

An example is the terrain. In my demo, I''m using a quadtree Rottger algorithm to control level of detail (smaller triangles closer to the camera, larger far away). After fighting through all the various terrain algorithms I found out that a simple chunked, brute-force terrain is probably more viable nowadays because it takes the load off the CPU and puts it on the GPU.

I guess my point of this whole thread is exactly what Cahaan said, "the keys to success are: AT LEAST a very motivated programmer + some motivated artists + time + perseverance." Throughout my life I''ve run into people that do nothing but tell everyone what can''t be done. The ironic thing is that these are usually the "smartest" people, but they never do anything because they are too busy telling everyone else why it won''t work or why it can''t be done.

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quote:
Original post by krez
learn to fly without any equipment...

bring about world peace...

start a fire with your mind...

write an MMORPG when you don't know how to program and refuse advice from people who know how to...

see where i'm going with this?


Beginners have many new ideas, and can put many primitive ones together to come up with some ridiculous jazz! If you gave a 5 year old some chalk and said draw a car of the future. It might look like a dragon with wheels, While an adult would draw some technical looking flying car. I personally would like to drive a dragon in the future with fire and stuff. It's not wrong to have new ideas and to be ambitious.





[edited by - quack on June 3, 2003 2:16:20 PM]

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quote:
Original post by bpopp




great post, really technical man. Can't wait to check out your project when you get something together.

[edited by - quack on June 3, 2003 2:21:16 PM]

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