Sign in to follow this  

Asymetric MMO. Please tell me what you think!

This topic is 3489 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

Before I pitch my idea for yet another browser-based game I'd like to say that I do have 8 years of experience with web programming, but the last time I wrote a game (a character-based maze in Basic) He-Man and the Thundercats were still on TV, so it's about the design itself and whether it sounds like a game you'd play. The setting is a pseudo-Caribbean in the Golden Age of Piracy. At registration time, the player chooses if he will play as the governor of a tiny island or the captain of a ship. Gameplay is drastically different for these two types of player. Governors play a real-time game that is to Seafarers of Catan what Travian is to Settlers. Their islands produce a certain amount of basic raw materials, but each island will produce more from some materials to stimulate commerce. Although they can build ships in their shipyards, they only use them to create trade routes. Captains navigate among the islands and perform errands for the governors or raid their merchant fleets. Although it may seem like a great idea to go around pillaging and destroying everything on sight, captains depend on the ports governors control to trade, upgrade and repair ships or recruit new members for their crews. Also, governors can offer bounties on the heads of specially annoying pirates. That was the overview. Now here go the details, starting with the map: The game is played in a 200x200 map. Initial player-controlled islands occupy three tiles, but sizes vary from one to dozens of tiles. Distance from one port to its closest neighbor will be most of the time between 6 and 12 tiles. The captain begins with a small sloop (a 100 ton, one-sail ship), 10 inexperienced sailors, some gold, food and rum, and 36 movement points. One movement point is spent to move the ship one tile, including diagonals. Every hour, a movement point is added to the movement pool, so in one day a captain should be able to visit three or four ports if so inclined. There's more to the game than traveling from port to port and picking fights, though. Captains can explore islands and make contact with the natives, with unpredictable (but usually beneficial) results. Food and rum are consumed at a rate of one unit per hour per crew member, and if they reach zero, the crew will rebel and take the ship to the nearest port rather than starve -- there's also a good chance they will throw the captain overboard. Thankfully, captains are great swimmers, and after a mutiny or or the destruction of their ship will appear a few days later at another port with another small sloop and green, gullible sailors. All islands produce wood (boosted by a forest tile), food (ranch), and gold (gold mine), but a few also produce sugarcane (plantation) and/or iron (iron mine) The game allows governors to order the construction of the usual buildings: a forge to make cannon and pistols, a distillery to produce rum, a tavern to attract sailors, a coastal fortress to repeal raiding pirates, mill and slaughterhouse to increase food production, and so on. A market lets governors post offers to passing captains. If they want something more permanent, they can use a ship to create a trade route, shown in the map as a solid line going from one port to the other. So, what do you say? Would you play this game it if I wrote it? What role sounds more interesting? There's more info from where that came, including the (abstract) naval battle system and a few numbers, if you feel it's still too vague. [Edited by - ruby-lang on May 28, 2008 6:35:22 PM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It sounds like it might be fun, but I don't really like the idea of choosing a role when the game begins. In my opinion, it would be a much better decision to give players the decision to do tasks related to either role as the game progresses, rather than forcing them into one style of play.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by ruby-lang
Governors play a real-time game that is to Seafarers of Catan what Travian is to Settlers.


I'm afraid I don't follow this analogy. Wasn't Seafarers of Catan the expansion to Settlers?

Quote:
Original post by sunandshadow
Let everyone be both a governor and a pirate.


I agree! Long live the pirate governors!

But on a serious note, I would definitely play "Sid Meyer's Pirates" for solid ideas on implementations. It sounds a bit similar to what you are thinking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I really like the idea in principle. I would vote for keeping the two roles really separate and really different if you can draw those two types of gamers into your game. But what do you do if you have too many people wanting to be governor or wanting to be pirate?

I think you'll need to offer more than just ports for the governor player as he seems a bit weak. What if governors have the power to defend themselves and make war against other governors, but at huge expense? Pirates then could become privateers, offering the ability to wage war and cripple trade without declaring it overtly.

And what if pirates can raid ports (winning them in land battles like in Pirates!)? Then a governor has to keep the balance of power between not only the other governors, but the other pirates as well.

I really think you need to allow the two sides to interfere with each others gameplay more because if you don't you may end up with some oddly imbalanced games. For instance, what if you have dozens of pirates and only a few governors? Or dozens of governors and barely any pirates?

If you allow the governors a bit more direct intervention (say by only being able to create sloops, but put them in fleets of up to 10?) I think the gameplay for being a pirate will be more lively because they'll encounter more ships on the board (moving intelligently, btw). If pirates can threaten govenors on land, then I think there'll be more diplomacy, as well.

Just some thoughts (take with a grain of salt as I'm not an MMO player).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I know I'd like to play both sides, like most of you who lost nights of sleep to Civ, but I'm thinking of people who don't want the whole enchilada. There are lots of people out there complaining on boards that they can't build their little empires in peace without griefers bombarding them back to the Stone Age. Conversely, there's lots of people who would like to just receive a few units to go explore and fight other players, because they find micromanaging towns terribly boring.

Besides, I can run two instances, so you can play governor in one map and buccaneer in the other. Or what do you suggest? Run a traditional 4X game, but give paying players the option to leave micromanagement to an AI, perhaps?

EDIT: Thanks, Wavinator, those are all good ideas to sleep on. Letting roles overlap would give players a lot more flexibility, and that already went into my design notes. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I really like the idea of a game having multiple levels of play.

My suggestion is basically making 2 games that share the same data. Governors only see a "risk" type map while captains see a smaller 3rd person view. The master game engine uses input from the governors to generate events for the captains and vice versa. if too many pirate pirates are one area, the governor game engine generates a "pirate haven found!" to give the governors a chance to build a fleet to battle the pirates (which are NPC pirates based on actual PC pirates from the other game engine). At the same time, the captains suddenly find an NPC fleet armed against them. That way you can increase the # of governors in the captain engine without affecting the players wanting to play the governor scnenario.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Although it may seem like a great idea to go around pillaging and destroying everything on sight, captains depend on the ports governors control to trade, upgrade and repair ships or recruit new members for their crews.


I like this part.. In order for a recursive design to work there has mutual relationship between the different levels, and it does sound possible in the way you describe it - A worker vs. employer relationship where both parts depend on eachother.

I know there has been some discussions earlier on the subject, but then at a much greater scale, such as player A running around on planet P playing a FPS shooter, while player B is located right outside the atmosphere in a spacecruiser playing a X-wing type game, and while player C playing the latest master of orion type game controls sets of units all over the universe. Typical problems that arises with this design is, what happens with player A if player C suddenly decides to send a bunch of starcruisers to blow up planet P? I can't think of any obvious problems like that in this case though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm glad to see this game proposal got your attention. Thanks for the comments, please keep them coming. :)

I like the idea of having NPCs. They should help smooth out differences in number between governors and pirates, and give players something to do when the game starts. I think they don't even have to be all that smart, since they aren't meant to be the main opposition anyway.

Another idea I'm adopting is that governors have to spend more to wage war, but instead of limiting them to using only the smallest boats, I'll go the other way around and force them to use galleons; first, so only governors with a solid base will have an offensive navy; and second, to keep the setting's convention that pirates are the underdogs in a one-on-one fight: "Shiver me timbers, cap'n! It's a Man o'War upwind!"

Speaking of galleons, I'm planning to have four categories of ships: one-sail sloops, two-sail brigs, and three-sail frigates and galleons, the frigates being as fast as the smaller categories, and the galleons being huge and slow (movement points refresh more slowly and the max cap is lower). Each category has minimum/maximum crew requirements and a maximum number of guns. Guns count towards the maximum tonnage, though, and they are heavy enough to take up 40 to 70% of it, so their owners will have to strike a balance between capacity and protection.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
well, not on topic, but concerning your game.
On the combat system (or on any nagivation route also), are you thinking on addind weather effects? On those days, that had a great effect on stratergies etc..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I intended to add weather but only incidentally, through exploration random events. It may be worth the added complexity, though, so it's going to my phase two list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by ruby-lang
I know I'd like to play both sides, like most of you who lost nights of sleep to Civ, but I'm thinking of people who don't want the whole enchilada. There are lots of people out there complaining on boards that they can't build their little empires in peace without griefers bombarding them back to the Stone Age. Conversely, there's lots of people who would like to just receive a few units to go explore and fight other players, because they find micromanaging towns terribly boring.

I meant, combine the two sides in an optional way. You know like in a regular MMO crafting is optional, create separate leveling or whatever for the two activities. So people can do both or whichever they want whenever they want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Id leave them seperate, but not give players a choice at the start

make em find a governor or pirate to be their commander, and let them earn land or a ship before they are given all the abilities

thought it sounds fine by itself, I wouldn't play thought, not a big fan of web based games.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This topic is 3489 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.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this