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MMO Teams everywhere, but not a game to spare.

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It seems that everyone recently (this past couple years) just wants to make MMO's. But the thing is, the more I see these teams, the more I just want to tell them to stop and think. From what I have seen is that they play through a MMO and they say "Hey, I want to make one to" But what they dont realize is that they are jumping in far to deep. Here is the 3 most major errors I seen in people who do just say "I want to make a game" ________________________________________________________________________________ Talent Most of these people have no experience in game development. And yet they beleive they have the ability to become this great person overnight. You need to be able to contribute somehow to have a succesful project. Be it Programming, 3D/2D Art, Music, anything that you can! But as I said before, these people usually have no talent at all in this industry which is a very very hard one to boot. I think that this is needed because your staff will be happy to see that your not just useing them. If you work on it yourself, NO MATTER WHAT THE SIZE OF THE JOB -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Money OK, So let us assume you have talent in the game design area. Do you have the funds to support a MMO? Because, MMO's are THE hardest thing to pay for there is. Servers, at there least (100MBps, 1GB RAM, 2x Intel Xeon 2.7GHz) are $600 per month. Even to a rich man thats alot of money, hell thats an H2 Hummer right there! I have seen a few cases of people that are allowed to use there schools servers, but they eventually will be kicked off them and have to fend for themselves. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Managment Alrighty then, you have talent, and have money...Can you manage the project? As the founder, the staff will look to you for directions. And if you cant point them in the right direction, your team will ultimatly fail. Poor managment is what makes what I would say 80% of these projects end. I even seen a team that were professionals...but there leader was horrible and didnt know that there was actually a programming language called C++....(Kinda sad really, being as he got some professionals on his team and never got to use them) Most managers just say "Go make a red haired guy for me. use your imagination" What they should say is "We need a red haired character, about 5'8'' muscular with blue eyes, here is some concept art as well" And they can not organize things nicely as well....have you ever seen someone just put all there files in ONE folder...I mean ALL THE FILES. Music, Source, Models, Text docs, everything! At least put it in a "Music Folder" "Source Folder" "Model Folder" "Text Folder" layout, rather then just one big lazy pile of files. ________________________________________________________________________________ So now, what can we do to repair this problem? That is the most simplest thing to answer...... START SMALL! No, you dont have to start with a PONG/TETRIS/MARIO clone. You can start with whats called a OneHourGame. Its basicly any genre you want, 2d or 3d. At most it will require 4 people... 2 Programmers, Musician, 3D/2D Artist What you do is make it very cliche' just make it the best design you can possibly make. Story, gameplay, and even art is unneeded. Just design it....DESIGN DESIGN DESIGN. This will give you some of the needed experience to work on something bigger. Each time you make a new game, improve on features you left out in the last one. For example, Game 1: RPG Game 2: RPG w/ better graphics Game 3: RPG w/ better story Game 4: RPG w/ better gameplay Game 5: My First MMORPG Game 6: My Second MMORPG, CLANS! Game 7: My Third MMORPH, Many features!!! Game 8: My Fourth MMORPG, I WILL CHARGE FOR THIS ONE!!!

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I have been teaching people C++ for some time now, on msn and the like, and the number of people who ask me to help them make a game when they have little or no knowledge of the language amazes me.

But another take on this is that this is the way i began, you don't realise how much hard work it is until you try and make something like this.

I have an insane amount of unfinished Visual C++ Solutions on my computer.

As you say, designing is SOOO important. Even with the simplest applications it is so easy to start and then think "oh i will add this feature" and instead that feature turns into another solution.

I agree with you and disagree at the same time, although alot of people do spend alot of time in making part of an MMO and then not finishing, it is a good learning experience.

ace

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So so true.
I've been learning C++ for about 5 years now, and gmae development for about 1 1/2. A few of my friends want to start a team, one who's been doing BlitzBasic for about a year, and just made a Pong and Galaga clone, and about 6 'designers' (not real designers, just the people who don't know programming or art and just sit there with their thumbs up their asses because they want to make a game).
And guess what their first project is? Right, an MMO. Patience spazuhs, patience.
</rant>

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Original post by XisZ


Money

OK, So let us assume you have talent in the game design area.
Do you have the funds to support a MMO?
Because, MMO's are THE hardest thing to pay for there is.

Servers, at there least (100MBps, 1GB RAM, 2x Intel Xeon 2.7GHz) are $600 per month.
Even to a rich man thats alot of money, hell thats an H2 Hummer right there!


Well, we've been running our game for several years now at a total cost of 0$ so far. We are using donated servers for both our forums and game server. If you show that you are dedicated to your project and can put together something reasonable there are people out there willing to host your game for you. We've already had people wanting to donate money but we have not looked into that yet.


Quote:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Managment

Alrighty then, you have talent, and have money...Can you manage the project?
As the founder, the staff will look to you for directions.
And if you cant point them in the right direction, your team will ultimatly fail.


Yes, this is a pretty good one. You don't need an entire team of experts BUT you do need a core group of people that are experienced in their fields and have them as team leaders. Our team meets once a week on irc to give status reports, discuss what was completed this week and assign out tasks for the next week.


One of the issues I have trouble with is people saying you need a full design document before even starting. That might be good in the industry where you know exactly what you are doing for that design document. But in trying to build an indy team I think people will bail on you if you don't show some actual game progress. After all, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to write down ideas. Now to make them make sense is a totally different issue. Also you need an idea of what is practicle in terms of technology/modeling/implementation. In our system we design around a release, so we come up with a list of features, ideas we want to implement for the next release and repeat. It works out fairly well :)

I think the problems that most of these teams face is that they start off well and have good intentions but after a while they hit a wall. This can be caused by a couple of things like:

1) Missing content ( ie programmer art, crappy models, etc)
2) A major technological block. Something like a fundamental flaw in networking or something screwed up in the GUI system. This is a real biggy because it basically brings progress to a halt.
3) In team fighting. Basically you get more arguements than work done.

The teams that make it are those that can push through these walls. Often time working on the game is great fun but other times it's a total bitch, especially if it something like a major code refactor. But it has to be done some somebody has to step up to the plate :) Keeping things moving forward is the key, even if it's just adding comments or cleaning up code.

I think a big aspect for a team leader is don't assign a task to somebody that you are not willing to give a try yourself ( even if you do suck ) because at some point you may have to be the one to push the game over the wall.

-----------
Andrew

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I think lack of experience is the sole reason why everyone is trying to make a MMORPG. I've learnt how to program, written a few small games, and even worked in the industry, which is why I'm not making a MMORPG; I know enough about the industry to know that I haven't a hope in hell of finishing a MMORPG by myself.

Although it is a bit depressing to see so many new game designers aim for something way beyond their reach. It's not new; back when I was a kid, the cool fad was FPS games like Wolfenstein 3D or Doom. But it actually was possible for a single teenager to make a game like Wolf3D in their spare time. A multimillion dollar graphical MMORPG, however, is not.

I'd understand if they were aiming to make a text based MUD, which is achievable and technically a MMORPG, but that's not the impression of the potential projects that I see in the posts here.

Sorry about the mini-rant. I know I shouldn't really care about it so much, but I just feel a bit sad that so many eager young students in all areas of game cretion are going to fail at their projects due to unrealistic expectations and become disenchanted with game development.

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I agree with the top post. Its sad how many people are hopelessly wasting their time developing MMORPGs that (for the most part) go nowhere when they could be developing games that are fun and have a chance at seeing the light of day. I too, underestimated game programming at first, thinking my 4+ years of "regular" programming was enough. Luckly I was smart enough to avoid the MMORPG trap (I don't really have any interest in them in the first place), but looking back on things, I still think I took too big of a jump initially. Not that it was a bad thing, but I had to learn a lot before I was really able to take my game in the right forward direction.

Quote:

For example, Game 1: RPG
Game 2: RPG w/ better graphics
Game 3: RPG w/ better story
Game 4: RPG w/ better gameplay
Game 5: My First MMORPG
Game 6: My Second MMORPG, CLANS!
Game 7: My Third MMORPH, Many features!!!
Game 8: My Fourth MMORPG, I WILL CHARGE FOR THIS ONE!!!


I would change Game 1 to "simple RPG". When I hear RPG, I think 40+ hour Final Fantasy game. My first and current game (that I've been working on for almost 15 months now) is a long, fully-featured RPG. And you know what? Those take a lot of time to develop, especially when its your first shot at things. I would advice people to develop an RPG that maybe has one town, one dungeon, and one short and sweet ending. That shouldn't take too long to build, as long as you don't try to make the graphics/etc overly complex.


Anyway I'm done rambling. Its bed time [smile]

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For example, Game 1: RPG
Game 2: RPG w/ better graphics
Game 3: RPG w/ better story
Game 4: RPG w/ better gameplay
Game 5: My First MMORPG
Game 6: My Second MMORPG, CLANS!
Game 7: My Third MMORPH, Many features!!!
Game 8: My Fourth MMORPG, I WILL CHARGE FOR THIS ONE!!!


That is the secret to successful game dev right there. Good call! :D

Personally, I think it could even be started lower. My first release for testing will be a town. No quests, no plot, no NPC banter. Just a character, buildings, a place to shop, a place to sleep, and a place to hunt monsters (sewer, forest, the grassy patch just outside the city limits). Done. At least then, players are able to kill, loot, upgrade, repeat. Cliche' as it is, it gives them something playable. Then the developer can slowly add NPCs, NPC text, a few simple quests, a larger area outside of town, etc.

Starting low like that has a few benefits. It allows players into the game early to start finding bugs, which minimizes the impact later. It allows players to make suggestions early on, which allows for more efficient game design. And it allows people to see that youve made progress and have actually completed something, which will bring in extra help. ;)

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Poor managment is what makes what I would say 80% of these projects end.

People seem to neglect how important management is. When I went to college for 'digital media arts' I had three management related projects rolled into my program. One for project management, one for business communication and a final one for general business concepts and problem solving. Though a lot of my classmates slept through these classes (big words cause art students to zone out) I really appreciated what I learned there. The fact is, getting the neccesary talent for a game is only half the battle. You need to manage that talent to succeed. Achievable time-based goals need to be set, team members need constant direction and ideas need to be scaled, revised and (most importantly) finalized. Otherwise your team is just sitting around, never getting anything substantial done.

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Quote:
Original post by Omegavolt
Quote:
For example, Game 1: RPG
Game 2: RPG w/ better graphics
Game 3: RPG w/ better story
Game 4: RPG w/ better gameplay
Game 5: My First MMORPG
Game 6: My Second MMORPG, CLANS!
Game 7: My Third MMORPH, Many features!!!
Game 8: My Fourth MMORPG, I WILL CHARGE FOR THIS ONE!!!


That is the secret to successful game dev right there. Good call! :D

Personally, I think it could even be started lower. My first release for testing will be a town. No quests, no plot, no NPC banter. Just a character, buildings, a place to shop, a place to sleep, and a place to hunt monsters (sewer, forest, the grassy patch just outside the city limits). Done. At least then, players are able to kill, loot, upgrade, repeat. Cliche' as it is, it gives them something playable. Then the developer can slowly add NPCs, NPC text, a few simple quests, a larger area outside of town, etc.

Starting low like that has a few benefits. It allows players into the game early to start finding bugs, which minimizes the impact later. It allows players to make suggestions early on, which allows for more efficient game design. And it allows people to see that youve made progress and have actually completed something, which will bring in extra help. ;)


This post reminded me about Diablo. It is basically this idea but on many game levels. One town where you return to sell and recover, and back again.

Many companies have started that way, focusing on a single line. But taking again Blizzard as an example, you have an excellent example of progression. Warcraft, Warcraft2, Diablo, Starcraft, Diablo2, Warcraft3. All a line of tile based games improved in each release. Everyone should start this way.

But the most important thing here is FINISH SOMETHING PLEASE!!! Once I thought that programming my game engine was difficult. Now, after years of programming my MMOG, If you ask me... I would use an already made engine instead of trying to make one myself :P

Luck!
Guimo




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Hell I've been making small games for over 10 years and find it hard to complete a project. Suffice to say I'm not going to be aiming for the MMORPG any time in the next 50 years. Ignorance is bliss.

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I think it has to do with the fact the people want to make games that they would want to play. And since so many people are playing MMO these days its natural that there is so many people out there wanting to make their own MMO.

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One thing to remember on this forum is not everyone who posts the newest MMO idea is trying to make one (alot are, but not all)

Some of us, have no clue on programming, nor any plan to make an MMO.

However, we do have ideas, and post them. For us its like a hobby of creativity.

I have alot of ideas floating around. Will I make one...no. But I like posting the idea...besides someone may say...HEY thats a cool idea, I like it.

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Quote:
Original post by Omegavolt
Quote:
For example, Game 1: RPG
Game 2: RPG w/ better graphics
Game 3: RPG w/ better story
Game 4: RPG w/ better gameplay
Game 5: My First MMORPG
Game 6: My Second MMORPG, CLANS!
Game 7: My Third MMORPH, Many features!!!
Game 8: My Fourth MMORPG, I WILL CHARGE FOR THIS ONE!!!


That is the secret to successful game dev right there. Good call! :D

Personally, I think it could even be started lower. My first release for testing will be a town. No quests, no plot, no NPC banter. Just a character, buildings, a place to shop, a place to sleep, and a place to hunt monsters (sewer, forest, the grassy patch just outside the city limits). Done. At least then, players are able to kill, loot, upgrade, repeat. Cliche' as it is, it gives them something playable. Then the developer can slowly add NPCs, NPC text, a few simple quests, a larger area outside of town, etc.

Starting low like that has a few benefits. It allows players into the game early to start finding bugs, which minimizes the impact later. It allows players to make suggestions early on, which allows for more efficient game design. And it allows people to see that youve made progress and have actually completed something, which will bring in extra help. ;)


That is a good explanation, Omega. That design is so effective. But since it's so simple, many people, such as noobs, think that "simple" design is stupid and underrated. Too bad for them they're wrong. I think that if anyone's going suceed in any type of MMO, they need to start making game, gain experience, and gain some common sense that making large games like that will lead ignorant teams, or person, to oblivion. Lol. I always wanted to say that.

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The simple start is what I have in mind for my MMORPG. I plan on starting with a town in a text based RPG and NOTHING more. You will be able to move around and look at things.

When that works I'll add in shops and things like dart boards or training facilities. With these implemented I have combat implemented. With combat, the hunting grounds are added.

Next is mining facilities where players can go mine stuff, followed by allowing players to purchase mining equipment and mine and build their own buildings.

And so on, I prefer the itterative approach as opposed to trying to do everything at the start.

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Quote:
Original post by robert4818
One thing to remember on this forum is not everyone who posts the newest MMO idea is trying to make one (alot are, but not all)

Some of us, have no clue on programming, nor any plan to make an MMO.

However, we do have ideas, and post them. For us its like a hobby of creativity.

I have alot of ideas floating around. Will I make one...no. But I like posting the idea...besides someone may say...HEY thats a cool idea, I like it.


true, i enjoy brainstorming for ideas. I enjoy designing games even if they wont ever get made.

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Thank you for all the constructive replies...I will now take the time to reply to all of you.


ace_lovegrove: I can definatly understand your point of view.
This is a large, complex, and limitless industry...and leads to multiple concepts.


Sol462: Finally, I thought I was the only one who noticed this trend.


acraig: That is very fortunate of you, but still can you imagine the fact that there are 100's of these projects out there...and only about 1 out of every 100 make any progress at all...and only 1 out of every 100 of those make it to complete!

Thats way less then a 1% chance of making it!


Trapper Zoid: Yes that is most definatly the reason why they try to make these games.
But what they don't realise is that if they cant make something simple, there is 0 chance of making it full time.


Roots: Oh, hmm well when I here RPG I think Walk around, beat up bad guys, and talk to strangers....as well as a normal young boy has a big tragety and now he is this mystic warrior.


Omegavolt: Right, well as I said before people have no patients to start with those simple things like that.
So the thing is, I would start out with the most basic of basic rpg.


Radiostorm: I am glad to see you agree with me.
And where did you go to school?


Guimo: Hmm, thats another thing.
Most people want an origanal game engine, which is very sickening being as that even the most simplest of 2D game engines are hard to make...let alone a next gen 3D game engine, with physics, and ai!


evolutional: I got a good laugh out of that one...
10 years is alot of experience, what games have you made!


TechnoGoth: As I said to TrapperZoid, that is 100% the reason why they want to do that.


robert4818: Right, but if you look at the help wanted forum, all you see is "H3lp m3 with me MMORPG!!!!111one"


Zido: Erm, well I guess that post isnt directed to me, so I wont reply.


Drethon: Where is this game, I might be interested in playing it.


Riviera Kid: That post wasn't directed towards me, so I will not reply






OK, thank you all for the great post.
Keep it up, I would love to see this post evolve more on.

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Radiostorm: I am glad to see you agree with me. And where did you go to school?

Seneca College in Ontario, Canada. I took their two year digital media arts program. < http://www.senecac.on.ca/fulltime/DMA.html >

There was a lot of emphasis on project management in addition to practical application of software. A good portion of my project marks were based on my process, planning, rough work, storyboards and idea maps. I was even thrust into the role of a project manager over several classmates in a few instances. My professors were really intent on ingraining the importance of project management into our jaded art student minds.

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Actually, the single biggest hurdle to making a small 3D MMO is the amount of art needed. Characters, weapons, items, monsters, environments, interface, effects, ... it just goes on. While some good programmers happily work for free in their spare time, most artists don't seem to want to do that. I think they're smarter than us ;-)

Now, here's where money comes in: if you have money, you can pay artists. And that's where management comes in, because you can't have other people giving you money unless you have your act together. Pretty soon, the whole thing snowballs and it grows too big for an indie.

There are some exceptions. PlaneShift is one; RuneScape is another (it's indie, but it's been around for a while). There are some MMOs that use 2D, or are set in space, or otherwise chooses to not have the challenges of a typical 3D MMO, too.

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The game I'm working on is still in the development phase, I'm spending more time working on Conflict Omega (www.conflictomega.com) at the moment.

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Hmm, seems we have 3 more comments.
Ok well I will try my best to reply.


RadioStorm: Thanks, sorry for the random gest.
I was just curious is all.
I am interested in not only checking ones experience, but where there background is as well.

Its more of a "Does this school teach well, or not" kind of thing.
I always put myself as if I was a corporation (alas I am not) and If I was hiring I would look more into your school to find out the success ratio, any famous developers from the school, and the average game style that is spawned from that company to compare if it's compatable with mine.

Research is another great aspect I noticed many game developers (some professional corperations as well) don't put into view.



hplus0603: I must agree with the art part, but I can not find A single programmer at all.
May it be from the fact that I myself do not know how to program well? (I can basicly read it, but not code)



Drethon: I will check that game out, see what it's all about.
If possible I would like to maybe even play it when/if it's released (if as in If it is currently released, not as in if it ever will be)

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I am very new here and I would like to share something I see as a flaw (please correct me if I am wrong)

I do not see anything truely focused on the testing side of developing these MMO games... I seriously think that folks in general do not understand the scope of their own game enough. If this is the case, how can we expect them to be tested effectively? The trend I see currently, Thanks to UO and EQ1, is that pushing broken systems is ok because the users will figure out the bugs... am I the only one here that sees this?

Sorry I cannot go into too much depth but I am working ATM :D

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