Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
Shanira

Indy MMORPG development, can it be done?

This topic is 4883 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

I'm not sure what exactly I hope to accomplish posting this here. Maybe I just need someone to tell me to chin up, and that it can be done. Fair warning, this is long, and a little angsty. But a girl should be avoided a little leeway. If the long slough of text bores you, feel free to skip to the last couple of paragraphs for the million dollar question. First, a little about me. I'm a 22 year old young woman currently living on disability, which means I have a LOT of spare time. When I was young I was introduced by my father who was one of the early programmers to computers, and of course games, and ever since I've sort of stayed infatuated with them. When he introduced me to adventure games, and even worse, the Ultima series, my fate was basically sealed, I wanted to make games like this. Create worlds, so to speak. Yes, a born and raised girl geek, uncommon in my generation. My brother learned programming at an early age, he was better than me at it for a long time. I was too wilful to really let anyone teach me anything, insisting I always knew to do it better. In games I was always trying to mod them and carve out my little piece of the gameworld. I loved editing games and making a little piece of their world I created, but it wasn't enough. At some point I got a hold of Microsoft Visual Studio 6, I think it was. And I endulged myself a few times trying to work out how VB worked, and failing miserably. Around the age of 15 I think I got into online gaming and MMORPGs, starting with Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds, then continuing with Dark Ages (also by Nexon), Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot, Anarchy Online, Lineage 1, Ragnarok Online, World of Warcraft, Horizons and some other various few and sundry MMORPGs I played along the years. I also became an avid roleplayer, even going as far to create an IRC roleplaying channel with a friend of mine, which is still running after well over 3 years. I coded the bot for it and a fully functional D&D 3E character generator and tracker, entirely web paged and browser compatible. Earlier than that IRC game, I wanted to make my own MMORPG. I actually managed to dabble deep enough into DirectX7 and VB6 to make something half worthy of the name MMORPG in about a year and a half time. It had a client, a server, and you could go around and kill things. Equip items, unequip, drop items, pick them up, it spawned enemies, respawned enemies, and even had an NPC scripting language. Of course, it was terribly hackneyed in how horribly I coded it. It was a damn mess, aside from the DirectX wrapper class which I have reused ever since. Coding more for it on top of an ultimately fatally flawed base became too much and I dropped the project, focussing on art instead. I had to do my own "artwork" for this 2D game, and it rather intrigued me. I tried drawing traditional art for a long time, and while I've gotten fairly proficient at it, its never of a consistantly high quality that I would consider myself a proper concept artist or anything of the sort. 3D I also tried, stupidly I've been told in Maya, and it just didn't do it for me. Maybe I don't have the spacial coordination for it, but really... Pixel art, that's where my passion lies. Beautifully crafted pixel sets like Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger and Seiken Densetsu 3 intrigued me. I actually excelled at this, and even with my lack of proper self esteem I now dare say I'm even -talented- at it, constantly pushing myself to the utter limit, settling for no less than the beautifully cute, crafted little works of art, transferring that feeling of nostalgia from when you played those console RPGs. My MMORPG projects never stopped though, I made project upon project dropping it various stages through the client development. All learning experiences though, since inevitably I could do in VB6 what a lot of people couldn't do in C++, create a nicely handling, GUI driven, lighting containing, error checking, logging MMORPG client that basically was "done" as far as client driven features were concerned. Sure, the coding wasn't done by a longshot, but I had the memory management, the special effects, the dirty rectangle updating system, the GUI class with its nested objects, the data classes with the animation methods, etc, etc. All I had to do was build onto it. Really, this wasn't too long ago, and I was never closer to thinking I could actually realize my dream. Hell, I even entered a 72 hour game development competition not long before and actually completed a fully functional sidescrolling shooter game with an interesting twist. But then I lost hope nonetheless. Even after all my expertise, being able to push VB6 to it's limits and supplying pure optimized C DLLs where its speed failed, I still knew absolutely, positively NOTHING about proper server programming. And that's when it hit me, I could either hone my skills on that for another 10 years, or just maybe for once start looking for other people to work with me. Because no way would I be able to craft a world, do the scripting, do the client programming, do the server programming, do the webpage, man the server, etc, etc, all by myself. But really, I don't know anyone with this passion to create an MMORPG, one who actually captures the "RPG" that's now lost in the commercial market. One that doesn't revolve wholly and utterly around "the grind", catering to people who have no sense of community and pride themselves on nothing but time investment, people who tear through content as fast as possible only to arrive at the end and demand more. I'm starting to ramble here. I don't know anyone who could help. Do I accept help like I did with my first project, when all the help that was offered was by people who had no skill at all and just wanted the prestige? Do I set the standard too high for myself, am I too much of a perfectionist that I want so much that I can never deliver, when an equally good, less perfect product could've made by me already? And would I be this demanding of team members? Would I be able to lead? I'm not the best at structuring and planning, despite being very experienced - maybe even talented - in graphics and client/visual programming, at least semi knowledgeable about server and scripting programming, and a tiny bit knowledgeable about sound and music, but enough to instill a sort of creative vision in team members? Will my self esteem get in the way if I have a team? Is a woman even the right person for the team? Because frankly, I don't have any of that hardassed attitude that this seems to demand, despite people telling me that I could probably be a good dev leader if I just structured things a little better. I like cooperation, not a strict rigid hierarchy where I tell people exactly how things are going to be, and how what is going to be. Brainstorming and input from other people is what I thrive on. Will people even "take orders" from a girl? I guess the thing is, I'm now at a point where I can't stand the worlds everyone else has crafted, and I know I can't make one by myself, but I don't know if I'm ready, capable or willing to lead a team. I just know this desire to build a world keeps resurfacing, because that's what I love to do, and I've worked up to this moment for a decade, maybe more. Even if I am ready and willing, where do I get the people to work with, and how can you tell if they can live up to the task? Hell, can a decent quality indy MMORPG even be done? Do I expect answers to my questions in this rambly nonsense? Not really, maybe a few helpful hints, pointers, or maybe even a contact to talk with over IMs about this stuff. After all these are questions I need to ask myself more than others. Hell, even a dumb pat on the back and a "chin up girl" would be nice right now, since at least for once it might be coming from peers. Oh and yes, I am prone to overthinking things, how astute of you. ;) (Incidentally, if anyone is curious about the work I've done, please ask and I'll spit out a few links.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
Guest Anonymous Poster
Girls can't program, you should just give up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
http://enichan.no-ip.com/tempstuff/marine.zip

Download, unzip, run. Made everything included in that game from scratch myself in 72 hours, so yes, girls can program (though I'd be better just focussing at the art if you ask me) just fine. At least this one can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I, myself, have no other talent but ideas. Not story or structure (though I can think up some pretty good stories) but ideas for interface, and game design.

Unfortunately, being programming illiterate and having a very exapnsive idea for an MMOG leaves me worse off than you, so consider yourself lucky, and never give up, because I'm not, and I have less resources than you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Will my self esteem get in the way if I have a team? Is a woman even the right person for the team? Because frankly, I don't have any of that hardassed attitude that this seems to demand, despite people telling me that I could probably be a good dev leader if I just structured things a little better. I like cooperation, not a strict rigid hierarchy where I tell people exactly how things are going to be, and how what is going to be. Brainstorming and input from other people is what I thrive on. Will people even "take orders" from a girl?

Gender has nothing to do with it. You don't need to be hardassed, but you do need to set up an atmosphere of consistency. It all comes down to picking the right team, setting the right goals for the team and giving them the right amount of "encouragement" along the way :p 95% of online teams fall apart due to lack of motivation/structure; if you avoid that, you're well on the way to achieving something big.

Quote:
I guess the thing is, I'm now at a point where I can't stand the worlds everyone else has crafted, and I know I can't make one by myself, but I don't know if I'm ready, capable or willing to lead a team. I just know this desire to build a world keeps resurfacing, because that's what I love to do, and I've worked up to this moment for a decade, maybe more. Even if I am ready and willing, where do I get the people to work with, and how can you tell if they can live up to the task? Hell, can a decent quality indy MMORPG even be done?

"Eternal Lands" by Raduprv; our resident GDNet celebrity [grin]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Tim Cowley
"Eternal Lands" by Raduprv; our resident GDNet celebrity [grin]

Ah! So now I know who the competition is, thank you! >_>

And thanks for the two positive replies. That troll post up there was uncalled for, oh well, some people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Its not impossible to independently develop full blown MMORPGs even on your own. There are just two things to keep in mind, patience and paperwork.

Of course, patience is needed for any project of any size, especially when it may take a year or maybe more. However, its the paper work that can save you along the way. In organized crime, they tell you not to leave a paper trail, in organized programming and software development, you ALWAYS leave a paper trail. Its not for others, but rather mostly for yourself. Documentation is vital as you may have learned from past projects.

Documentation comes in two forms, documenting what you've done and documenting what you will be doing. In the end, everything comes down to the basic software principle of structured reusability. A good foundation will take you a long way. Also, there must be a little foresight. When faced with two solutions to a problem, a specific and a generic one, the choice of which usually depends on which stage of development you are on. Personally, when possible, I always go for the general solutions, because they can be more flexible in the long run.

It seems you've done alot thus far and the list is quite impressive. And as a previous poster wrote, gender really isn't an issue. Personally, I feel that a team must have a shared vision, so, though you occassionally want someone with a different perspective, most of the time, you really do need people you can work with, get along with, and share a vision with.

Just my penny worth of thoughts....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Shanira
Earlier than that IRC game, I wanted to make my own MMORPG. I actually managed to dabble deep enough into DirectX7 and VB6 to make something half worthy of the name MMORPG in about a year and a half time. It had a client, a server, and you could go around and kill things. Equip items, unequip, drop items, pick them up, it spawned enemies, respawned enemies, and even had an NPC scripting language.

If you really ever got this far, then I have no doubt that you can do it, eventually.
Quote:
3D I also tried, stupidly I've been told in Maya, and it just didn't do it for me. Maybe I don't have the spacial coordination for it, but really...

Pixel art, that's where my passion lies. Beautifully crafted pixel sets like Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger and Seiken Densetsu 3 intrigued me. I actually excelled at this, and even with my lack of proper self esteem I now dare say I'm even -talented- at it, constantly pushing myself to the utter limit, settling for no less than the beautifully cute, crafted little works of art, transferring that feeling of nostalgia from when you played those console RPGs.

I don't think RPGs look better in true 3D; Diablo II's graphics are much more attractive to me than Guild Wars'. Staying 2D simplifies many steps of development, too. Especially if you can do a good job on the art yourself.

In answer to the rest of your post, I would say a few things:
- The fact that you are a girl is not intrinsicly relevant. You can make it a problem if you let it discourage you, or if you try to form a team with people who can't handle it, but there are plenty of people out there who can, and talent speaks for itself.
- I agree that it will take you a very long time to finish without the help of a team, however I don't think you should take anyone who doesn't seem likely to pull their weight. Don't wait for perfect team members, or you'll never get any help, but keep control of the project for yourself and don't take anyone who doesn't seem to have some truly useful skill to offer and don't take anyone who balks at "taking orders from a girl", as you put it.
- Visual Basic 6 and DirectX 7 are both old. Since it sounds like you have a lot of good code around for them, don't throw it away. However, if you decide at some point that there is no way you can make it work, start over in a better language (I would recommend C#, C++, or Visual Basic .NET, in about that order). Also switch to DirectX 9.0c; DirectX Graphics is a vast improvement over the old Direct3D and DirectDraw.
- It's not clear how much other programming you have done, aside from MMORPG projects. If you are getting frustrated or feel like you don't know enough, take a break and try making a simpler game, or other program. Completing any project as you intended is very rewarding, as you no doubt remember from your sidescroller. Any time spent programming helps you toward your goal, because it is time spent practicing and learning.
- Don't be discouraged. You have already got much farther than most people who dable in game programming ever will. You apparently have plenty of the single most important resource to the indy developer: free time. You have a good chance at succeeding if you keep trying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, it can be done, even by Indies.

It appears to me your problem is your constitution (And that your a girl).

At one point, in any large project your going to feel like giving up. The way to approach this is not to try to avoid this occuring (Its almost inevitable), but being able to deal with it when it does occur: eg, cut out features that are causing you design crisis.

Your base code may be perfectly fine, but you may disagree because you no longer understand everything about it (Due to the sheer number of lines).

I myself have wrote a fully functioning MMORPG, complete with HTTP account generation. Infact, its been my summer project improoving it, since not only is the server unstable, but game-balance is a little off, plus the matter of getting time to program all the features that I cut out... [rolleyes]

Of course, I started rather simple...

"Procedural-C, DIBs (Win32), Winsock.", is there a more striaghtforward approach than that? Not likey... [razz]

Just don't forget to bookmark this site for when you run into code problems. A quick search will reveal to you all the questions I've had to ask.. [rolleyes]

Best of luck! [smile]

[Edited by - Thevenin on July 31, 2005 12:24:02 AM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Articles by Radu Privantu about MMOG

With C++ being the main stay of game dev it will be harder, but I don't think impossible to dev server in VB. It will mean that you will have to try harder & do more research/testing. But I think that the fact that you have already done some server programming is a huge help. Unless you're a pro. with alot of exp., that you will need to go back "clean-up" old code that is sloppy. The main thing is to learn from it. [wink]

The fact that you are a young woman, I personally see only being as much of a problem as you allow it to be. Any team that you build will have to be interested in the game & not social/gender sterotypes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

GameDev.net is your game development community. Create an account for your GameDev Portfolio and participate in the largest developer community in the games industry.

Sign me up!