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navaburo

The Myth of the MMOFPSRPG?

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navaburo    115
The internet spawned the MMO, D&D gave birth to the RPG, and well, human nature resulted in the FPS. The combination of these is the legendary MMOFPSRPG. This idea is frequently discussed (especially on gamedev.net), and has arguably _never_ been properly implemented. Please post your ideas on why we can't seem to create such a game! I believe the primary reason is that in a first-person game inconsistency is VERY apparent since the game is so much more immersive. Unfortunately internet latency is real and tends to cause such inconsistencies. I could go on, but I think the technical obstacles are discussed well on this thread: http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=384016 I am interested in more theoretical ideas on how to fix the problem, and create this "dream MMO" that haunts the thoughts of so many gamers/programmers.

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Trapper Zoid    1370
Heh, it seems I was the first to reply in the linked thread too.

I'm not a network programmer and don't care much for MMOs, so I'm a bit hazy on the details, but I think you've hit the primary reason for why MMOFPS games aren't yet feasible. FPS games usually require fast input to reaction times; translating pressing the "fire" button to shooting a gun to hitting a target. However MMO game s, as far as I know, rely mostly on server side calculations for the gameworld physics. This puts an inherent delay factor from player action to reaction in the game. I'm fairly sure most MMO games have some sort of estimation algorithms to keep players' avatars moving and acting to in-game events, but I'd bet split-second reaction times are not part of the game design (given I don't play MMO games I'd be happy to be corrected on this).

In order to make a MMOFPS, you'd either have to come up with a design that can cope with lag (which would probably break the common gameplay perceptions of the FPS genre), or figure out some way to perform some of the gameplay calculations client-side without it being prone to cheaters and hackers (hard) and being able to combine them with the server's storage of the game world (also hard).

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navaburo    115
Possibly the game could be made to allow inconsistencies. It would be a strange world. I might have killed you in my world, and you might have killed me in mine (this is the most extreme example). Maybe a game could be made to harness this strangeness and "soft-sync" clients. If you rely stop to think about it, this sort of system would still be fair, just strange.

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Way Walker    745
I don't know how well it would appeal to FPS-fans, but you could design the combat mechanics such that endurance becomes more important than twitch and aim. Some options would be less accurate weaponry, few one shot kills, variable number of hits (not necessarily random, in Infantry (granted it's top down) the way energy worked meant that the more shots you dodged the more shots you could eat), etc.

Also, you add RPG onto the end. When I think FPSRPG, I think Deus Ex. This had both less accurate weaponry (somewhat dependent on character-skill) and few one shot kills (I thought the AR was pretty worthless). Actually, I think a lot of latency sins could be covered up with character-skills (as opposed to player-skills) or lack thereof.

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Quote:
Original post by navaburo
Possibly the game could be made to allow inconsistencies. It would be a strange world. I might have killed you in my world, and you might have killed me in mine (this is the most extreme example). Maybe a game could be made to harness this strangeness and "soft-sync" clients. If you rely stop to think about it, this sort of system would still be fair, just strange.


Okay, so you killed Trapper Zoid, and he killed you. Which of those alternate universes would that put Way Walker as an observer in? And with the constant alternate paths being pursued by the large multitudes of clients, how will you keep track of each one? An alternate universe for each client? Or will you try and merge universes. Obviously, you can end a alteration when a client logs off, but which of them will a client log into?

If... I'll use Way Walker, you, and Trapper Zoid again. If Walker just killed Trapper Zoid and vise-versa, and you just logged on, which one is dead on your client? If you then were killed by Trapper Zoid, while Walker was respawning, and in Way Walker's world, he killed you, while Trapper was respawning, who gets the Exp, who were you fighting, and what would happen if one killed you in his universe, and the other was killed by you in his universe a few seconds later?

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Sirisian    2263
I'll not mention Planetside, as it's the true MMOFPSRPG.

Ok the basic idea that kills MMO's is the need to clump. For players to collect in large groups at one place. Planetside had 3 teams and this obviously caused clumping. 2 factions fighting in the same place at one time.

In my experience of designing my mmo:

1. Basically you force people to go solo or be in squads/outfits.

2. Make no landmarks and make tons of I-have-to-fight-there spots around the large map. Either copying the same place in multiple areas or make certain places hard to get to.

3. If there's objectives in the game, make tons of them and place them far apart so people have to choose what to do and not have it so 1000 people go for the same thing causing clumping.

4. Make long range weapons and vehicles. Especially snipers. Being close to another player to shoot should be a disadvantage. This causes players not to clump.

5. Last but not least add cloaking or other stealth things into the game that add incentive for a player to lure from a group and kill things.

The whole idea is to keep people far away from one another. Bandwidth is exponential. If this means giving everyone 10 km sniper rifle, so be it.

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Sirisian    2263
I'll not mention Planetside, as it's the true MMOFPSRPG.

Ok the basic idea that kills MMO's is the need to clump. For players to collect in large groups at one place. Planetside had 3 teams and this obviously caused clumping. 2 factions fighting in the same place at one time.

In my experience of designing my mmo:

1. Basically you force people to go solo or be in squads/outfits.

2. Make no landmarks and make tons of I-have-to-fight-there spots around the large map. Either copying the same place in multiple areas or make certain places hard to get to.

3. If there's objectives in the game, make tons of them and place them far apart so people have to choose what to do and not have it so 1000 people go for the same thing causing clumping.

4. Make long range weapons and vehicles. Especially snipers. Being close to another player to shoot should be a disadvantage. This causes players not to clump.

5. Last but not least add cloaking or other stealth things into the game that add incentive for a player to lure from a group and kill things.

The whole idea is to keep people far away from one another. Bandwidth is exponential as more players clump. Make bullets fast moving and make it very very hard to die in the game. Give them incentive to retreat or want to stay alive rather than dieing.

Oh yah and the major idea, make guns realistic and make ammo very very valuable. No one is going to pop some shots off if they know that they only have 5 clips and are hunting other players for resources. (Kinda reminds me of planetside when I use to vampire players as a cloaker. Kill them steal their medkits and ammo.

One thing I've never liked about MMO games is that the maps are giant rectangles. It would be so much more satisfying if the map was a sphere. Just large enough so that the horizon is our of view but close enough that you could fly around it in a plane and not orbit every 5 minutes.

[Edited by - Sirisian on November 8, 2006 8:52:52 PM]

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Let's look at this like a Venn Diagram:

MMO- Lots of players and allows teamwork with random ppl
RPG- Ability to make your character become stronger over time
FPS- Deep Immersion, Mainly skill oriented

Now lets look at 2 combined

MMORPG- Not to many of these (sarcasm)
MMOFPS- Halo2 is like this and has fast paced game play with others
RPGFPS- FF7 remake is like this haven't played it though

MMORPGFPS- Well to make this you need fluent skill based gameplay where your character can get better as you play and must run through the internet with lots of ppl with teamwork

Hope that helps.

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Way Walker    745
Quote:
Original post by Servant of the Lord
If... I'll use Way Walker, you, and Trapper Zoid again.


Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
Travel the world and the seven seas
Everybody's looking for something
Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused

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Way Walker    745
Quote:
Original post by navaburo
Possibly the game could be made to allow inconsistencies. It would be a strange world. I might have killed you in my world, and you might have killed me in mine (this is the most extreme example). Maybe a game could be made to harness this strangeness and "soft-sync" clients. If you rely stop to think about it, this sort of system would still be fair, just strange.


It's not just the fairness of the rules, but the ability to cheat. It's basically trusting the client, which is a no-no.

On the other hand, thinking about this, made me smile. I thought of what happens when I die (a common occurrence in FPS's) and thought, "What if there's a split, and I don't die in my view but I do die in their's". Well, that's fine, until there're other players, but then I thought, "What if I'm simply a ghost to my killer (I'll 'respawn' after some time) and cannot kill him but nothing has changed for the others". Then I thought of someone not realizing they've been killed and proceeding to shoot their killer. They'd be all like, "OMGWTF!!!?! WHY DON'T YOU DIE?!?!?!", and their killer would be like, "You're dead to me". Ok... moving on.

Yeah, basically, modern physics doesn't do so well as multiplayer game mechanics.

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navaburo    115
I like the Venn Diagram.

I also like that people are discussing the multiple histories idea, even though its pretty bogus. Just interesting to try and wrap your head around the idea. Way Walker has a good point in suggesting that what is impossibly inconsistent for the the online game is the reality of our physical world...

And on the subject of client trust we have to look at the great demand for heavy clients. On many threads here and elsewhere people shoot down otherwise good ideas with the reasoning that the idea (like the MMOFPSRPG) would place too much trust in the client, making cheating way too easy. While this is quite true with current clients, there must be a way to improve this. I can think of two solutions, the combination of which is most probably the solution:

1) apply modern cryptography to the client. Obsfucated code, encrypted networking, encrypted memory and binaries, etc. Now this would use LOTS of client and server CPU power, causing all sorts of negative speed and cost effects.

2) implement a communal trust system to deter cheating (think digg.com + anticheat). An insightful proposition for such a system was written by the creator of Saurbraten, Wouter van Oortmerssen. Here is the link: http://strlen.com/rants/trusted_communities.html

Other ideas?

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
Well, I've played enough MMOs to know that they all have their pluses and minuses.

With considering the FPS part of MMOFPSRPG, you need an engine that can keep up while allowing a lot of freedom. The new source engine seems like it could keep up, on a small scale at least. Look at the game that ran off the source engine... I can't remember the name, it was some grad school project that turned into a great game... Played as a chick with magic power, kinda dark and halloweeny. Anyway, it implemented a magic system that had a cool feel but would definetly work on a larger scale(to an extent).

I really like the idea of a progressive game that still requires skill as well as diligence. I think about how the Wii is going to be VERY gesture based for games like Wii Sports, Zelda, (list goes on and on). And this is a very sophisticated form of recognition because everyone's gestures are different yet the same @ the same time. When crafting a sword as a blacksmith wouldn't it be cool that the way you swung the hammer mattered in the end as much as where u got the ore and further how long u let it sit in the fire to heat up. Did you temper it enough?

An MMO of any sort today HAS to be better than all those before it but I don't think it's as hard as it sounds if there were simply an engine to support all the aspects we would want.

Lol... I don't know if i really helped here but I hope so =)

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sharpnova    108
reasons why it's not realized yet (though planetside is fairly badass)

-latency issues
really hard to maintain a fair and consistent (complying with the basic laws of motion and causality) universe when latency down to the tenth of a second makes a big difference as it does -not- in mmorpgs.
-cheating
any game involving reflexes and coordination and skill like that can easily be cheated at. how hard is it to make a bot that kills players with perfect accuracy and dodges with perfect dexterity. look at WoW. most of you don't know this but there is a multimillion dollar business involved in finding exploits in WoW and gold-selling is a billion dollar market. if a truly successful mmofpsrpg came about, that same incentive to cheat would arise and we'd have perfect killers/survivors rising to the top.

as for concepts and design and balance.. that's all trivial and i think it could easily be figured out if these two issues were overcome.

the solution to these issues is simple too: all you need to do is completely replace the current fiberoptic infrastructure of the planet and upgrade the technology level of internet connections by twenty years. oh that and improve the means by which software distringuishes between a bot and a human by about an order of magnitude on the AI scale. you know.. nothing less trivial than a machine capable of reliably administering a turing test.

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makeshiftwings    398
Quote:
Original post by sharpnova
the solution to these issues is simple too: all you need to do is completely replace the current fiberoptic infrastructure of the planet and upgrade the technology level of internet connections by twenty years. oh that and improve the means by which software distringuishes between a bot and a human by about an order of magnitude on the AI scale. you know.. nothing less trivial than a machine capable of reliably administering a turing test.


i am designer look 4 programmer to do this no i cant pay lol but u will get share of salse when it's sells also i dont have webpage yet but u join my team we will have it set up soon my friend did some awesome drawings for art i will put those up soon too ok ps no flames

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Yvanhoe    157
Quote:
Original post by sharpnova
the solution to these issues is simple too: all you need to do is completely replace the current fiberoptic infrastructure of the planet and upgrade the technology level of internet connections by twenty years. oh that and improve the means by which software distringuishes between a bot and a human by about an order of magnitude on the AI scale. you know.. nothing less trivial than a machine capable of reliably administering a turing test.


Don't forget also some breakthrough in physics alos, because even if information goes at the speed of light with no routers to slow it down, Australia will always have a ping of at least 130 ms from US because of the speed of light.

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sharpnova    108
Quote:
Original post by makeshiftwings
Quote:
Original post by sharpnova
the solution to these issues is simple too: all you need to do is completely replace the current fiberoptic infrastructure of the planet and upgrade the technology level of internet connections by twenty years. oh that and improve the means by which software distringuishes between a bot and a human by about an order of magnitude on the AI scale. you know.. nothing less trivial than a machine capable of reliably administering a turing test.


i am designer look 4 programmer to do this no i cant pay lol but u will get share of salse when it's sells also i dont have webpage yet but u join my team we will have it set up soon my friend did some awesome drawings for art i will put those up soon too ok ps no flames


sounds like the chance of a lifetime. do you guys have vent? is MC on farm status yet?

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navaburo    115
Yvanhoe, while yes if we sent the information around the earths circumference, the lowest pings would be ~134ms, you don't take into account the possibility of drilling through the earths core to run fiberoptics. That would reduce the tranist time by a factor of pi/2 yielding pings as low as 85ms! I can live with that!

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SimonForsman    7642
Quote:
Original post by navaburo
Better yet, we place the servers in the earths core, so everyone has a to-server ping of ~43ms.


that server would need some state of the art cooling i think,

but isn't this getting a bit off topic ?

anyway to the poster way above named "Ripple in Reality"

Halo2 is not an mmo in any way, shape or form. its a simple multiplayer shooter.
(The number of players in a single instance of the game world is way too low for the game to be considered an mmo).

Planetside is one of the few games that can remotly fit into the mmofps category
it also has some rpg elements (or more precicely , it has some character advancement in the form of experience points and promotions/upgrades),
others include World War II Online and possibly Neocron2.

WW2 Online is more of a war simulator than an action game though and Neocron is marketed as an rpg (combat is similar to your average fps though).

thus the only games that could be considered MMOFPSRPGS are Planetside and Neocron, Planetside leans more to the action side while Neocron2 is a bit more on the rpg side.

Neocron2 is officially crappy though, it got a stunningly high 2.4 (out of 10) rating in PC Zone UK

Quote:

<snip>
I wish I could find something redeeming to say, some reason to recommend giving Neocron 2 a try. Unfortunately, I can only sit here and resent the fact it exists. This is because there's a staggeringly good William Gibson-esque, Deus Ex-ish cyberpunk MMOG waiting to happen and while Neocron continues to pollute the genre with its presence, it's unlikely to encourage anyone else to want to give the setting a try.
<snip>

Full review: Here

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Why not use instanced dungeons?
Any important building, compound, or other "quest" area where fighting will take place would then only have to handle one particular team/squad/party.

If you consider that the Battlefield games currently support 64 (I think) simultaneous players, all fighting on some very large maps, you could probably have several parties in any area at once.

Guild Wars even goes so far as to have the entire game instanced, apart from the town areas - iirc.

To stop people from fighting in the "town" areas where there's likely to be a lot of people you could simply prevent players from drawing a weapon... or in a futuristic setting have some kind of suppresion field to disable all weapons. This should also stop the players from killing your towns' NPCs and shopkeepers (or wondering why they're invincible).

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Mass Effect looks to be single-player only. You might be thinking of Huxley?
It's certainly an MMOFPS game ...but I don't know anything about the RPG bit.

There's also Hellgate London coming soon, which appears to be "like Diablo but from a first person perspective and with guns as well."
MMOFPSRPG?

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DominusDomno    122
Well, for starters lets look at the word 'MMO'.

How many players is massive? Exactly, it's more or less relative, but given the standards of today's multiplayer games we can assume that it needs to be a fair bit larger than 64 players.

But that's not the truth to it. It's the persistance that really makes an MMO which presents some possibilities; is it possible to call something like BF2 MMO since it has stats tracking(limited persistance)?

But also to my mind it's also the variety, the difference that every encounter you fight in even if it's at the same place with similar circumstance, it'll be different. Though that's something that must always be in a multiplayer FPS, sadly it's something often lost with MMORPG's these days.

It's probably easier if I were to present my ideals:

- No zones, unless there's the right situation such as exiting your factions main base, or maybe an airlock or such.
- Large variety of environments, jungles to deserts.
- Server support for at least 1000 players.
- Peer to peer networking.
- Voice integration, aswell as integrated support for TeamSpeak and Ventrillo.
- One side per server.
- 'Clan'/Outfit based gameplay.

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