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velentry

MMO cost

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Heya, Ok i know we are not supposed to mention MMO's so much but i was wandering why do they cost so much to develop is it simply because of the size of the team needed or the server cost, i'm just curious thats all there isn't any flame intended here Vel

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Original post by velentry
i was wandering why do they cost so much to develop is it simply because of the size of the team needed or the server cost?
Server and hosting costs for an MMO are not cheap, nor are the programmers to write the engine, but both can be dwarfed by the cost of creating the massive amount of content needed for this size of world.

And then lets not forget that it isn't a one-time expense - to keep players coming back, you need a steady rollout of new content, you also need a large support staff: programmers to maintain the engine, techs to keep your servers patched and running, and of course technical support, cheating prevention, etc.

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Original post by velentry
Ok i know we are not supposed to mention MMO's so much but i was wandering why do they cost so much to develop is it simply because of the size of the team needed or the server cost, i'm just curious thats all there isn't any flame intended here

There's nothing wrong with mentioning MMOs, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to make one (or even trying to). The only bad thing about people making MMOs on this forum, is that 4 out of 5 people who post about them don't have any real experience making games, want other people to do the work, or blatantly ignore or criticize entirely valid and good advice given by people who do have experience making games. [smile]

My guess as to the cost of MMO developement is that:

A) There are fewer MMOs compared to other genres like FPSs, so no chance of re-using a good engine without heavy modification.

B) The world must be HUGE with lots of things do to entertain players for long times.

C) You must continually add new content to keep old players.

D) You must have alot of staff working as admins/moderators ingame or on the forum. Although player GMs would relieve some of the workload, you can't give them too much power without a chance of abuse, so you need at least some true staff in-game.

E) If there is a bug that allows someone to cheat in a FPS, who cares? Players can cheat if they want to. If there is a bug that allows someone to cheat in a MMO, your entire fanbase goes rabid and if it's not resolved quickly, it could cost you a good number of subscritions.

F) Advertising might cost a good bit, especially when you're stealing players from other MMOs like WoW and Eve Online.

G) The servers probably cost something too...

I'm not in the industry, however, so take my words lightly.

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Original post by Servant of the Lord
My guess as to the cost of MMO developement is that:

A) There are fewer MMOs compared to other genres like FPSs, so no chance of re-using a good engine without heavy modification.


There is plenty of useful middleware - things that provide rendering and/or physics engines for the client, load balancing and persistence on the server, and maybe even physics verification on the server. But all these things are quite expensive if you want one that can actually handle a real MMO.

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B) The world must be HUGE with lots of things do to entertain players for long times.

C) You must continually add new content to keep old players.


This is the big one (same basic idea really). Your typical console RPG provides, from what I've heard, around 40 hours of gameplay these days, and most people play through once, form an opinion and put it away. WoW is something that addicts will spend hours a day on, every day, for many months.

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E) If there is a bug that allows someone to cheat in a FPS, who cares? Players can cheat if they want to. If there is a bug that allows someone to cheat in a MMO, your entire fanbase goes rabid and if it's not resolved quickly, it could cost you a good number of subscritions.


Lots of "cheating" really can't be checked for, because it would (a) require way too much processing power on the server and (b) dramatically worsen every issue with network lag, even for tiny amounts of lag. You do what you can (ideally, you never trust information that comes from the client beyond "the user pressed this key"; practically, you let the client dictate some simple things such as the player's position, and verify later that travel at the implied speed is allowed) and hope for the best.

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OK now i really do see how they work up such a bill i knew there was alot involved but some things i just didn't think of, its weird the more and more i find out about the process of making one the less i seem interested not to say i'm lazy just that i am starting to realize just how much work one person would have to do in order to create a single area on a MMO

Thanks for the eye opener
Vel

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Original post by Zahlman
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E) If there is a bug that allows someone to cheat in a FPS, who cares? Players can cheat if they want to. If there is a bug that allows someone to cheat in a MMO, your entire fanbase goes rabid and if it's not resolved quickly, it could cost you a good number of subscritions.


Lots of "cheating" really can't be checked for, because it would (a) require way too much processing power on the server and (b) dramatically worsen every issue with network lag, even for tiny amounts of lag. You do what you can (ideally, you never trust information that comes from the client beyond "the user pressed this key"; practically, you let the client dictate some simple things such as the player's position, and verify later that travel at the implied speed is allowed) and hope for the best.


A lot of MMORPGs "solve" the issue by having everything happen through very limited actions. Movement in a beeline towards a clicked position, for example -- this is basically the essence of only trusting that the client is making these input requests.

Even at this extreme and limiting ideal (twitch based gameplay isn't really an option with that model), there's still at least one unsolved problem: Botting.

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Original post by MaulingMonkey

there's still at least one unsolved problem: Botting.


From the design of most MMOs, without chat, bots can already pass the Turing test within the context.

But that's the problem with the design of gameplay, and not a problem per se.

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Original post by Antheus
From the design of most MMOs, without chat, bots can already pass the Turing test within the context.


And even with chat it can pass. Really successful botters route tells to their PDA/cellphone so that even if their bot is caught they can chat away happily and via other messaging modify the behavior of the bot remotely.

-me

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If you can find it online or at a local library/barnes and noble I suggest reading "Developing Online Games: An Insiders Guide" by Jessica Mulligan, Bridgette Patrovsky. Its dated from 2003 so it doesn't have any information about new generation MMO's such as World of Warcraft or Eve, but it does look at all the classics like Everquest, Ultima Online, and Dark Ages of Camelot. It basically goes through costs, what to look at, pitfalls and triumphs, etc. A fairly good read to those thinking about making/designing an MMO.

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Original post by Antheus
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Original post by MaulingMonkey

there's still at least one unsolved problem: Botting.


From the design of most MMOs, without chat, bots can already pass the Turing test within the context.

But that's the problem with the design of gameplay, and not a problem per se.


Whether or not it's a problem per se is up to debate, especially given that it is a problem which seems to afflict many MMOs -- but I agree that this arises from gameplay issues, one I would seek to "solve" by making unnecessary. The largest factor for bots seems to be the automation of grinding -- be it experience, loot, or other possibly boring accumulation jobs -- and fairly unique to the RPG experience IMO, and hardly integral to my idea of fun in any game.

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Original post by Antheus
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Original post by MaulingMonkey

there's still at least one unsolved problem: Botting.


From the design of most MMOs, without chat, bots can already pass the Turing test within the context.

But that's the problem with the design of gameplay, and not a problem per se.




The Turing Test WAS the ability to 'chat' and not be distiguishable from a human. So it cant be that the bots are passing. With the low budgets for GMs these days (and problems with allowing players to NARC on other players) the inability to do Turing test chat might not be so important (hmm, I wonder how hard it would be to stick a version of ALICE onto the chat interface and after a bit of training to fill in some context have it be able to handle a typical GM conversation....)

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