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When was the last time you played Shadowrun for the Sega Genisis? It was dull, repetetive, and a massive Farm Fest... However, I enjoyed it. I spent all of saturday playing the game and came to realize that the basic Sega Game, if given a lot of love, would make an awsome UO style MMO. It had all the good basics needed to make a Shadowrun MMO work, (mission generator, "classes" , Dungeons etc. If we were to take the basics that worked in the Sega Shadowrun and expand on them, I think it would work out great. To those who prefer the SNES game, I have this to say. The SNES game did a better job of matching the FEEL of the game, while the Sega version did a much better job of translating the game and game rules. The SNES set up wouldn't translate well into an MMO style setting.

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True, the SNES version did a far better job of visually and esthetically creating a great atmosphere, it kind of fell flat when it came to traditional P&P Shadowrun gameplay. While i really enjoyed playing it, i was kind of dissapointed that the game wasn't more deep, and didn't allow me to play as any of the 3 primary classes, with their subsequent sub-abilities.

Hybridizing both versions would be fantastic, but i would probably want the combat system from the SNES version (with P&P code running in the background). Maybe with deformable terrain like in UFO? Boy that would rock, nothing like vaporizing a room with Heavy Explosives just to kill a mouse, or to make a "Door". XD

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I've always thought that an isometric MMO would be ideal. Simple to use, and with some of the moving and interacting commands from RTS games, you could free up a lot of time for text-chat or character management. Just tell your character to take the tram back to the apartment, and you've got a good two or three minutes of passive (but interruptable, of course) character action during which you can be doing all the behind-the-scenes stuff a PnP requires.

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I like the flexibility that Isometric perspective allows for, but by the same token, I would much rather have a 3d world. BTW there is a shadowrun game petition out on the internet....im signature 173 on it

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I think i'd perfer drawn Isometric, if for no other reason that whenever i think of Shadowrun i think of the SNES version and its great atmosphere. A 2D Isometric tile engine with drawn graphics would also be easier to create a dynamic environment for and mod on the fly than a 3D environment with rendered terrain, not to mention much lower system requirements.

Then again, 3D can do a nice job of creating ambience and effects with dynamic lighting and such, as well as rather unique level layouts that would otherwise not be as visually compelling. I suppose in the end it would depend on the difficulty and preference that its creators would be willing to go for.

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I'm not an expert, but is it possible to combine the two? Use a tile-based isometric system for map creation and the like, but have it rendered into 3D, like The Sims or Final Fantasy Tactics, to get the lighting effects and such. Specifically, I'd like the camera rotation benefits that this affords, so you could explore and fight more effectively.

BTW, Shadowrun on the SNES was the first time I found myself fleeing blindly in a video game, with a real sense of panic and fear.

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I think the camera on The Sims 1 allowed the player to zoom in and out and switch between 4 different angles of view (N,W,S,E), which as handy when painting and decorating your house. The Sims 2 uses's a free-roaming camera angle and (presumably) fully 3D environment to support it. Using different angles of view in a fully 2D environment would be a handy thing to have, and would have been a nice feature when playing those Shadowrun games on the Snes.

It's very possible to combine both 3D aspects and 2D environments (The Sims 1, Little Big Adventures 1), or conversely 2D Characters and 3D environments (as in Ragnarok Online).

Come to think of it, combat like in Fallout Tactics would be an even better way to go (turn based/ RT Hybrid), boy i loved that game. :D

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I would personally like something similar to EQ1's different camera angles...(stay with me here) where it was a 3d world, fully, but when out side you could switch between many multiple camera views...including one that mimiced an Isometric view...though very poorly....

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http://www.PetitionOnline.com/shdrun03/

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Here's a link to some of the Shadowrun P&P materials and resources.

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Another Problem with an MMO Shadowrun would of course have to be the advancement system. While in the P&P world, it works good, the reality of it is that in the MMO world, it gives Players WAY too much potential to have overpowered characters. The whole point of the game was teamwork but with a very powerful player there would be no need. Eventually you would have a character in the game that was Strong in evreything. The main two things that balanced characters advancement in Shadowrun was the GM who controlled the speed of advancement, and the fact that the death rate was high, and permanent...there were no raise spells.

In an MMO both of these things are removed...the GM is replaced by algarithims...and the permadeath thing (though prized by developers) would spell death for the MMO.

How do we solve this? Replace the original karma system with one thats more expensive? Do we create classes based off of the original archtypes? A level system would kill the game....but not so much a class system...

Permadeath could easily be handled by use of Doc Wagon...of course a higher premium would reduce the death penalty :)

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That does raise a very interesting question, P&P games usually don't have upper limits to their characters, and without a GM constantly keeping watch over them it could spell Doom-By-Uber-1337 before you know it.

Then again, the way Shadowrun is designed this may not be as large a problem as one might think. There is a preset Cap on player statistic's that the player can have, and specific classes are detrimentally opposed to each other, Cyborgs for instance have so little essence that they can never be effective mages. But to prevent the eventual jack-of-all-trades a cap on the maximum amount of Karma a player can acquire could allow the players to develope, but only upto a point.

Dispite this, there are many aspects that would supplement this depending on how literal the game is modeled after the Shadowrun rules. Such as the players being able to create their own programs, Cyberdecks, and other gear and equipment. Missions and other ingame effects can also decrease or increase the players statistics to help maintain ingame balance as well, this could work to keep the game flowing well and keep players characters from becoming stagnant.

The question of Death in an MMO setting also has rather harsh consequences. Having perma-dealth is simply not a good idea, since its inevitable that some players will get gang-banged or trapped and then lose everything they own. There can be failsafes such as a certain amount of time that they can still be healed after they 'die', or fall unconcious as it were. This could be from a shaman, a player with medical skill, or being taken to a street-doc for treatment.

There are other available options, The player could choose one of 2 modes, Standard and Hardcore. Standard players can be healed when they die, or choose to respawn at street docs or their spirit guides (wherever they choose, or *bind* to), the downside would be that these characters would have a lower Maximum Karma, and thus can't advance as far as others.

The Hardcore players however would suffer perma-dealth when killed (with the aforementioned failsafes, such as being able to be healed within 5 minutes of death or so), because they die permanently, they also have a much higher Maximum Karma than other characters, and can thus be more powerful (which makes sense because they stand to lose ALOT more).

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Quote:
 Original post by GyrthokI think i'd perfer drawn Isometric, if for no other reason that whenever i think of Shadowrun i think of the SNES version and its great atmosphere. A 2D Isometric tile engine with drawn graphics would also be easier to create a dynamic environment for and mod on the fly than a 3D environment with rendered terrain, not to mention much lower system requirements.Then again, 3D can do a nice job of creating ambience and effects with dynamic lighting and such, as well as rather unique level layouts that would otherwise not be as visually compelling. I suppose in the end it would depend on the difficulty and preference that its creators would be willing to go for.

Isometric is nice on SNES, but falls flat on PC. Play Eternal-Lands. You'll see what I mean. After some time, the isometric perspective begins to inhibit you from getting full enjoyment from the game. It does for me at least. Eternal-Lands is a 3D world rendered in opengl's orthogonal mode. IMHO, giving the user the option of several different perspectives would be the best solution.

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Depends on the game, i can think of a number of games that are pretty good for isometric, UFO Series, Diablo Series, Jagged Alliance 2, and Fallout Series notably. There's also Icewind Dale, these being the ones i've played of course. Having the option for different view modes might be the best way to go as you say, since it would give leeway to the people who might not fully enjoy that particular view.

Another thought on Perma-death has occured to me though. It would work with a level system similar to that of Morrowind. As you level up stats and abilities with Karma, at a certain point it would give you a level. The point of levels would be the cost (in Karma points) to Respawn if you die. So if a player has leveled up enough of his stats to be considered a Lvl 7 Character, it would cost 7 Karma to respawn in the event he dies. This could also work in keeping the game balanced and preventing uber-characters, but as in all things there's room for improvement. ;)

[Edited by - Gyrthok on January 6, 2005 9:11:54 AM]

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I like the idea of being able to buy your own amount of protection from Doc Wagon. It fits perfectly with the Shadowrun world, and is a way to hide perma death.

I think that perhaps a good solution would be to add in a "class" system to the game...i personally hate the idea, but classes would solve the issue. I don't want class/levels, but merely class. The way to solve the tank mage problem is to cap the levels (or change the cost) of the other skills that don't belong to thier class....this still allows for ALOT of customization...while balancing out the classes.

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It depends on certain aspects, from what i've read on the comprehensive rules in P&P Shadowrun, Mages and other spell casters used to be overpowered because of the vagueness and impracticality of some of the old rules. In the 3rd edition Shadowrun Rule's they've done some extensive reworking on how Magic Users develope, allowing more diverse and gradual magic development of the class system overall, along with a wide variety of types of magic.

Though having players pay for respawns with karma won't prevent Uber-characters, a Cap on the Maximum Karma a player can have overall, mixed with alternate character advancements can work, along with missions/events that alter the players skills/stats. So a player could for example only amass 60 Karma overall, and if he chooses to spread it out then he will be unable to max out any one class or arch-type. Statistics may also effect the players choice of class (which can be mixed when he creates his character).

In some games like Ragnarok Online, characters level up to a certain point, and then transform into a new class. The same could apply to Shadowrun Characters, though this would not be a Key feature, but more of an option of a different character. An example would be a Decker who has amassed so much wealth, implants and skills, that he is able to download his very brain into the Matrix and become an AI, which would allow him to explore new regions of the Matrix. However he would sacrifice his body in the process, only being able to return if someone where to build him a new body out of cybernetic implants, this would create a whole new aspect for the player as he can only exist in the matrix.

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That's really neat. Hyper-advanced players could be recognized by their use of elite and rare classes, but wouldn't necessarily be invincible. A sort of lateral apotheosis. I like that very much.

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Quote:
 Original post by GyrthokThough having players pay for respawns with karma won't prevent Uber-characters, a Cap on the Maximum Karma a player can have overall, mixed with alternate character advancements can work, along with missions/events that alter the players skills/stats. So a player could for example only amass 60 Karma overall, and if he chooses to spread it out then he will be unable to max out any one class or arch-type. Statistics may also effect the players choice of class (which can be mixed when he creates his character).

I mentioned the idea of a karma cap...but I really do not like the idea..its too artificially limiting. I am much more fond of having a multiplyer on skills that don't mesh well with the "class" you're playing. So instead of costing skill x2 it costs skill x3 for skills that don't mesh well.

But as I sit and think about it..the game does have a fairly good system for handling MOST cases of jack of all trades...Essence. It definately keeps you from making a Samurai Mage, and also a Rigger/Mage or a Rigger/Sam. But unfortunately it does NOT keep you from making anyone a Decker. The only thing limiting a decker is his cash flow...its very expensive to keep an up to date deck. But the only thing that's required for a deck is a cheap datajack. But thats beside the point...or maybe it is the point...i'm not sure :)

Quote:
 In some games like Ragnarok Online, characters level up to a certain point, and then transform into a new class. The same could apply to Shadowrun Characters, though this would not be a Key feature, but more of an option of a different character. An example would be a Decker who has amassed so much wealth, implants and skills, that he is able to download his very brain into the Matrix and become an AI, which would allow him to explore new regions of the Matrix. However he would sacrifice his body in the process, only being able to return if someone where to build him a new body out of cybernetic implants, this would create a whole new aspect for the player as he can only exist in the matrix.

I like the idea...but unfortunately I don't think that sort of advancement system works well for the game world. Personally I think if it was worked at, then the original system would work well, with some tweaking on Karma Point cost.

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Though i'm not sure, i think DataJacks and other Decker Accessories also impact Essence in a similar way to Traditional Rigger/Samurai Augmentations, it would depend on whether their grafted onto the characters body or not, and the quality of such a system (maybe external Cyberdecks aren't as fast as ones hardwired into your brain?). Another thing is that Magic cannot be used within the Matrix, so even if a Mage is a Decker it wouldn't effect external combat roles. On top of this, the Mage would have to level up both magic and Decking skills, which would weaken his combat abilities, and the possible impact on his essence with the neccessary implants needed to Jack in. There is also the possibility that certain Decker Implants may conflict with other Implants, like visual and cranial augmentations that Riggers or Samurai's might use, as well as other bodily implants.

In the long run, the player is most likely to aquire ALOT of karma in his carrier. Assuming for the moment that each skill can go no higher than 20, than the player would need approximately 210 Karma to max out one skill, with there being roughly 30-50 skills or more overall spread out over a variety of class types. While a Karma Cap may be artificially limiting, it would take the player a long time to feel that maximum since he'll be consuming Karma to Respawn, and his overall Stats/Karma may be effected by events in the game, ensuring that if any player DOES get there, he'd have to be a die-hardcore player.

The Alternate Advancement system was meant as more of a Perk than a standard form of advancement within the game. In the event that a player does manage to max out his Karma, he would be afforded the opportunity to change into one of these classes, but in order to do so he would have to spend all his karma points, including those he would need to respawn while he undergoes the mission to change into the new class. These new Classes wouldn't neccessarily give the player anything new, but would just change how the players character would exist and what regions he's able to explore. It would also afford him
different needs and necessities to survive, such as an AI who might need to
find a place to hide as corporations are purging the Matrix at the end of the year. ;D

In the end its more of an optional Perk Class for those Uber-Characters who choose to want it, more of a symbolic gesture. Their characters can still be killed as well, this would help to curb any rampant growth in elite character classes.

[Edited by - Gyrthok on January 8, 2005 2:48:14 AM]

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The only cyberwear required for a decker is a datajack (0.5 of 6 essence) that is reletively cheap in cost as well. In the game world that datajack is a fairly common one even among the mages. Other cyberwear for deckers is 100% optional, headware memory and the such. There is only one matrix skill and that is computers (and maybe compbuter b/r) This makes everyone able to afford decking (karma wise) ITs big limiting factor was the cost...and that was something the GM had to keep an eye on.

I do like the idea of virtual levels (divide the total skill points a character has by say 5 or so...) Then use this to guage encounters. Its a virtual level in every meaning of the world...it gains nothing for the character except to use as bragging rights.

But this would have varying degrees of success....Mages are karma hogs They use karma for EVERYTHING (learning spells, summoning/maintaining ally spirits, initiating, etc) while other archtypes use little karma and lots of money (Street samurai, deckers, riggers) and finally others are a fine middle ground. (skill monkeys)

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Hmm.. that does leave the door open to making Deckers fairly common if the money is available. The 3rd Edition Rules on their site seems to hint at there being new Active and Knowledge skills involved in Decking, though it doesn't elaborate much. The Matrix itself seems like an independant world where a characters other skills and abilities are useless, relying solely on the players rig and skills. Its not so much a Class at that point, as a world players can access if they choose. With the optional implants and upgrades for those who want to become more active and integrated with the Matrix world as opposed to the physical one.

Having virtual levels does seem like more of a thing for looks than practicality, but the player wouldn't need to have it displayed to him as it's primary function would be to determine the cost in Karma for respawning. Thats of course if karma is even used in respawning at all, if not than levels themselves become redundant.

**EDIT** Levels being used to gauge encounters not withstanding.

[Edited by - Gyrthok on January 8, 2005 3:32:02 AM]

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The levels are pretty much useless...they are there for a couple of reasons...one for developers to take a look and say..."how should we gear this encounter..." Also as a quick reference for players to mark themselves..."lvl 3 decker" even though the level is pointless it does give a sense of how far along the character is in advancement...

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Hmm... i've been trying to think this out about the balance between specific classes, and i guess to get a proper handle on how they interact one would have to understand the basic political structures of the Shadowrun Universe.

Everything in Shadowrun seems breaks down into 3 Forces:

1. The Aetherial World
This is the world where spirits and other entities exist, weapons, Decking and technology are completely useless here, and only Magic can be used.
The primary resource of such magical energies is Karma, which can't be bought but can be earned through experience. Anyone can enter the spiritual plane provided they have the proper training.

2. The Matrix

The matrix is the technological dimension that lives and breaths throughout the physical world, and were all money and transactions take place. AI's and other entities are the denizens of this realm, as Spirits are to the Aetherial Plane. Nuyen is the primary resource for this realm, using technology and skills to travel through it. Money cannot be bought, it must be earned through jobs, or stolen. Anyone can enter the matrix and become skilled in its use with nothing but a datajack and a Cyberdeck.

3. The Physical World

Its here that both Magic and the Matrix collide and to battle, with each side using the others weapons against them. Here machines, weapons and magic are used to great effect, the manipulation of the matrix and the Aetherial plane having real consequences in the Physical Plane.

Now, from a meta-physical point of view, The Matrix and the Aetherial Plane are both two sides of the same aspect, that of thought as two opposing spiritual views. They both use two different monetary systems, Nuyen for the Matrix, and Karma for the Aetherial Plane, players recieve both doing Shadowrun's, so naturally they can invest in both regions equally. This leads up to Uber Decker/Mages being masters of both the Aetherial Plane and The Matrix, boiling the game down to Samurais/Riggers (fighters) Vrs Decker/Mages (Casters).

With this in mind, balancing the two seems non-essential, but if a person did want to thin out the overabundance of Deckers overall or create a balance between good(Aetherial) and evil (Matrix), then a greater reliance on the use of Karma for computer skills would be needed (such as using Karma to create a program, as Magic users use it to learn spells), or for a wider variety of computer skills. Another method might be to put a greater reliance on Body Implants for faster and more efficient rigs rather than them being purely optional.

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The biggest key though is that all of the classes should work together to be a very good team. The problem is that unlike other MMO's this team has vastly different roles than the "classic" ones in most RPGs.

Street Sam- works like your classic meat tank.
Mage/Shaman- Works like a nuker, but with astral projection is also a scout
Rigger - Overhead surveillance, transportation, unique fighting
Decker - almost a new type of scout, Gathers Info, lowers security etc.
Other - This is for those roles that go somewhere else...each can have thier niche in some way shape or form
-Sniper
-Smooth Talker
-Skill Monkey
-Spy
etc.

The problem only comes about with the loss of perma death in the game. Over a large period of time, characters will be too powerful if we stick with a perfect translation of the original game's D6 system. Though if we changed that system to one of say D100 then perhaps the original's way of doing things may work out fine.

The original system is well balanced, it just needs to be tweaked.

Deckers need to have more than just a .5 karma data jack and lots of  to be a good decker. otherwise they'll be a good decker/something. The problem with the balance isn't in the beginning, its in the end game...and thats the problem.

How do we keep someone from becoming a very powerful person at the end game...Basically what happens is that people max out thier base idea, then become deckers...since once your loaded for bear on cyberwear, there's not much more you can do with your money. What do you do...get a G-wiz deck.

Perhaps besides just money, you link the more expensive decks to a specific skill rating required to operate it. The same with programs. Also instead of making Headware a "Necessity" to be a decker, we make them "Essential" to being a GOOD decker. I.E. Allow for headware memory to be used as ram allowing for extra programs to be loaded...increasing the ability of the decker by alot. This would make them eat up more of thier essence, making a something/decker one who can run the matrix, but not be a king at it...just like any mage can fire a gun, but not nearly as well as a street sam can.

Also one thing we might look into is an optional rule that was provided in the game supplements. Since Mages are Karma Hogs, and Sams are Money hogs, we can put in a Karma Buy Option. Karma is very expensive, and translates into alot of money, but characters are only allowed to do it once a day and there is a cap of about 2-3 points (perhaps more depending on the system we go to) per week.

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Quote:
 Perhaps besides just money, you link the more expensive decks to a specific skill rating required to operate it. The same with programs. Also instead of making Headware a "Necessity" to be a decker, we make them "Essential" to being a GOOD decker. I.E. Allow for headware memory to be used as ram allowing for extra programs to be loaded...increasing the ability of the decker by alot. This would make them eat up more of thier essence, making a something/decker one who can run the matrix, but not be a king at it...just like any mage can fire a gun, but not nearly as well as a street sam can.

Hehe, thats a much better way of explaining it than the way i said it. XD
But that is an excelent way of balancing out Deckers in porportion to other classes. Requiring a specific skill level to use programs and to build/use higher-end rigs/implants, as well as the neccessity of Physical Implants to increase the players ability to use more/larger complex programs in the matrix, which eats up more Karma/Essence in the process.

Being able to buy/sell karma would be an interesting way to go, one of the stranger questions would be where to go to cash in/buy Karma? Unless you could Buy/Sell Karma from other players at a Current Exchange Rate?

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