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Timus

MMOG Expansion problem.

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Now, as you know I came to GameDev forums with a dream, a dream of creating an MMOG a unique one. I am particularly interested in proper mechanics and interface. Now, I have made it a point to try and find a solution (whatever the cost) to all the problems that face most designers of this genre, I will have a solution to each and every problem before I ask for help, the first issue I wish to tackle is expansion. As we know, the main problem would have to be the programmers morale, I mean, after programming a working engine it would be a tedious task to apply it to a world as vast as that of an MMOG, but I ask you, how tedious would it be simply to create a Map Maker? If I simply asked a team of programmers to design something I could make maps in (with specific ((reasonable)) Features) then let them take a break, then in say, oh, six months time after I (and perhaps a few others) had actually made the maps bring back the programmers (and a few people skilled with networking) and ask them to assemble them into a working functional online world. Would this be simpler than simply, assembling an entire game from scratch?

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Anything would be simpler than creating the entire game from scratch. Look at it this way.

Star Wars Republic Commando, by Lucas arts uses a ready built engine, that took the original developer at least a year to make, with a team of at least 10 people.

Then Lucas arts bought it, and spent at the least another year simply building art assets and altering the engine for their exact needs.

On top of that, you want to implement complex network and database code to manage thousands of concurrent connections.

So here's how I see a simple time plan, assuming you have 10 seriously good programmers, and 10 artists:

Your graphics and tool programmers begin right away,
Your artists begin making assets and concept work right away.
Your network/database programmers begin faffing around right now.
Get a few sound guys to begin concept work, and ambient tracks.

In eight months time, you have a basic 3D engine and tools in an alpha state, half your artists can get into the world and begin building, the other half can start working on your organics, and continue texture work. Your server will crash every 10 minutes.

In another eight months you will have a dinky little island fully furnished, and plenty of nice graphical effects going into your engine, animations will work, but many will not be completed. The server will still crash every 10 minutes.

In another eight months time most of the world is done, the engine is running smoothly with lots of lovely features. Most of the network bugs are non critical and you can begin thinking about spawning the world and placing NPC's. A small team of testers is hired to work non-stop for the next six months.

Six months on you enter Beta testing. Add four to eight months Q&A
Secure server hardware, network pipes, credit transaction, customer support services. Go gold.

And thats what the Lineage II team might have gone through. everything x2 for indie development. Anyway, i'm sure your project isn't as ambitious as anything commercial... best of luck!

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Quote:
Original post by Timus
If I simply asked a team of programmers to design something I could make maps in (with specific ((reasonable)) Features) then let them take a break, then in say, oh, six months time after I (and perhaps a few others) had actually made the maps bring back the programmers (and a few people skilled with networking) and ask them to assemble them into a working functional online world.

Would this be simpler than simply, assembling an entire game from scratch?
This is the standard way that commercial games are made. A map editor is written to output maps, which include event scripts and monster/object placement. The game engine is written to accept this output automatically and while the programmers are working on the engine and networking etc the design team are creating the maps, scripts, scenarios etc.

The days of the programmer writing the engine then hard coding the game data are long gone. Map editors make the process of designing, testing and tweaking far more efficient and leave the programmers free to program.

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