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Creating your own MMORPG enviroment...

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I was sifting through my e-mails the other night and saw a pretty interesting e-mail. It described a new MMORPG that has just been released, Mourning. What really cought my eye was the fact that players can create they're own characters, and levels with tools such as Maya or 3dmax and the World creation tools developed for the players from the company. Once the player finishes his model/level he submits it to the GMs and if its approved his model/level is in the game. This is new to me.. If its been done before please by all means say so (and if it worked) as its rather interesting to me. I may not have all the details down packed but you get the flow of it. So my question really is.. What do you all think of this? Would you be for or against this in a game, and why? I think its a great way to get the community involved and giving a part of the players a sense of involvement and pride in saying "I made that." I really dont see any downsides to this it sounds pretty good to me... Opinions?

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I, for one, would love to be able to do something like that. I would have no end of fun just coming up with characters. There could be problems involving things like appropriateness or compatability, model format, polygon count, texture size, etc. But if it needs to be approved by the GMs first then I'm sure these issues would be trivial.

Not everybody can use modeling packages though, and those who can't might be jealous of the customizability of other characters over theirs. I could see things getting out of hand with players wanting the best looking character and paying people to make models for them, which might not be in the best interest of the developer. Other people making money off of content I could be providing is not a great business plan...

Never made a level before, though I'm sure it's a lot alike. What are these levels for? Are they instanced or available to the world community? What do you do with them in terms of content? How can you get other players interested in levels when they can make their own, and what does it mean if every player can have one, or mulitple?

Overall it's a good thing, something I'd welcome.

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I can see both pros and cons to providing this type of support in a game. While it would certainly attract greater public and community interest in the game it would also have drawbacks from the developer's perspective. As Cosmic One mentioned you would end up with a community creating content for a game/franchise that the developer would no longer be able to profit from. The demand for sequels/expansion packs would diminish as players could just as easily create their own content. Granted, the developer will always have the advantage of updating new technology; the engine, physics, AI, content base, etc. However, revenue generated from expansion packs, sequels, etc. is often used to pay the salaries for the developers who would be responsible for creating the new technology and game content.

On the other hand, this is not so different from what is already being done in the mod communities. Additionally, there is only a small percentage of players that have access to tools such as Maya or Max, and an even smaller number of individuals that know how to use these tools proficiently enough to produce anything game-worthy. Depending on the game in question will ultimately determine what type of community response a game will receive for this type of customizable system. I believe in most MMORPGs you would eventually end up with players paying non-developer content creators to create a new character, weapon, home, level, etc. for them. The jealousy factor may also come into play by players who feel that they are disadvantaged from becoming a recognizable player in the game because they don't know how to create their own content or can't afford to have someone do it for them. Since MMORPG's are primarily social games this may become an issue. I don't mean to offend anyone as I am guilty myself, but MMO games are often giant pissing contests. "My character's 3 levels higher than yours, I have a sword with a 20% greater damage ratio than yours, etc." Obviously, players don't say these kinds of things online directly, but anyone who has ever played an MMORPG thinks it, even if it's just subconsciously. Having customizable content may add fuel to the fire in unprecedented ways.

Despite the previously mentioned drawbacks the developer might receive from this type of customizable approach I believe I would be in favor of such a system if it was implemented and moderated properly. The developer of a game utilizing such a system would certainly receive community popularity though, which may outweigh any shor-term disadvantages through gained recognition in the long-run. It may also allow players to contribute content that developer may never have thought of offering on their own.

I myself, have my own ideas of how I would implement and moderate such a game customization system. I'd like to hear more opinions on this subject.

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Well as far as the problems go of having different poly counts or texture size the developers could restrict each model to some pre-determined size and same goes for textures.

I do see the drawback now of players wanting certain unique avatars and paying others to making them one. Although i do think it would be really good for the community and bring a sense of a tight knit community that is constantly evolving the world.

There is a possibility of this decreasing the popularity of an expansion though as players wouldnt really be interested in new models/levels if players could add them themselves. Perhaps restricting players to making characters only?

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Quote:
Original post by Cosmic One
I, for one, would love to be able to do something like that. I would have no end of fun just coming up with characters.


This is also a problem I see. It could be a possibility some players would get so wrapped up in creating characters and other features that they would neglect playing the actual game itself.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Sention
I was sifting through my e-mails the other night and saw a pretty interesting e-mail. It described a new MMORPG that has just been released, Mourning. What really cought my eye was the fact that players can create they're own characters, and levels with tools such as Maya or 3dmax and the World creation tools developed for the players from the company.

Once the player finishes his model/level he submits it to the GMs and if its approved his model/level is in the game. This is new to me.. If its been done before please by all means say so (and if it worked) as its rather interesting to me. I may not have all the details down packed but you get the flow of it.

So my question really is.. What do you all think of this? Would you be for or against this in a game, and why? I think its a great way to get the community involved and giving a part of the players a sense of involvement and pride in saying "I made that." I really dont see any downsides to this it sounds pretty good to me... Opinions?



For MMORPG its almost needed to continually have new terrain/content for players to visit (hopefully new/different adventures) . One of the problems though with a player created and company inspection scheme is how well could they test/validate a 'level' -- which should have complicated interactions/behaviors of NPCs. It takes alot of work to do that and make sure someone didnt submit an intentional slaughterhouse. One solution to that would be to also have many players do the inspections to find problems with submitted assets.

Integrating player creations will be something that will eventually save the MMORPG industry, because the cost of creating all the assets at higher and higher levels of detail is becoming too prohibitive.

If they want to do this effectively the WILL have to have easy to use and versatile tools. Good designs for standardized modularizations will be needed for: terrain, NPC figure meshes/clothing, inventory items , behavior scripts,
AI functions, music, visual effects, plot control, game mechanics (physical laws, etc..)

Such a system should be 3 tiered with:

1) low level programmers to do fundamental code/data structure manipulations (company probably does this mostly) -- engine level stuff, and then

2) component designers who use the primitives to make smart building blocks meshes+scripts+animations (templates) which are customizable by

3) modders who can configure and place the parameterized building blocks (which take no code, but are more slider/checkbox option type.

The smart building blocks eventually could be self-adapting to the situations they are placed in a scenario, so that someone setting up a level could place a bunch of stock characters who would patch themselves in. The player could then be able to concentrate on a few main characters/situational details (without as much tedious data tweaking).


One important aspect which will require good design is : How does the new level get to the player ??? Is it downloaded as a lump and then added to the clients
'level database' or is it streamed on-the-fly as they player moves thru the world. Data for meshes (terrain or figures/objects) can be quite large and sound effects/music can also add to alot.

Inevitably, patching of already downloaded levels will also be needed...


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Thinking back on it, the idea would be terrific, but not in a Massive sense... I don't know how many games are out there that are just an MORPG, where maybe you commit to a small (4-10) players who play together all the time. That way they could evolve their characters in ways that they saw fit. Did your character get really hurt in the last dungeon you ran? give him a permanent scar. Feeling like you want a change in your hair style? No problem. The idea seems more like tabletop, or pen'n'paper RPGs, of which I don't actually know much about... from what I understand you create your own character, design and everything, and play with a small group over and over again. Content is regulated by yourselves and events happen on your schedule. Are there any games out there that play like this already? cuz the super-customizable system this proposes would be well suited there.

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