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So...How do I begin on my journey to create an MMO?

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I'm young - still in my first few years of high school - and made my first computer game when I was 5 or 6 I believe, a pathetic little maze game that I created using the program Game Maker. Anyway, ever since then, after I gave up on Game Maker, as it was tricky to make games that were good with it and I wanted an easy route (I was ignorant, and didn't know how hard it was to make good games), I had searched for a way to make games. I looked for programs like Game Maker that let me do more things - I found Scratch, but that was just pathetic - then, at the age of 11 I started looking into Java. The Gower brothers became my heroes, for they showed me that with determination you could build a small, pathetic game and build it into a Massively Multiplayer Online Game. I looked for books and web resources on Java, but most books were written for adults, and most web sites were outdated. Then I found the book Programming Video Games for the Evil Genius. I am learning from it, I have built a racing game, though there is a problem with the compiling. Anyway, that isn't my point. My point is, I want to learn at least some of the things I need to have for an MMO by the time I reach university, but I don't know what I need to learn. Also, my life goal is create an MMO like WoW or EverQuest, not like RuneScape. I am learning Java because I want to keep my options open in the future, and I also wish to work for Jagex for a few years, maybe working on my MMO with some friends I make there in my free time, before working on the game full-time. Well, that's my question. What do I need to learn to make an MMO? Some resources on learning the subjects would help to. Thanks. EDIT: Oh, also, it would be useful to know how each thing fits into the everlasting system of the MMO.

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From a programmers view a MMO isn't anything special, the only really special about MMOs is the network part, which has to be more scaleable than a standard MP game.

The real challange of a MMO is its size (i.e. WOW: take a few years(3-5), 50-100 people, $ XX mio cash, a few 1000 computers and you are happy :) ).

So, the best advice sofar is, just start with a simple MP game(max 10 players), after that start to extend it to more players (100-200 players, which could be the base of a zone based MMO). The most experiences will be gained from a finished game even if it is a small one, not a 1000-players-network-techdemo :)


--
Ashaman

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I have friends that are willing to work with me when we graduate, well, one, actually, but as I said, Andrew and Paul Gower did it, albeit with a small, graphics-impaired game. Also, by the time I get a job, technology may well have advanced far into the future. When I think about it, that worries me. By the time I wish to create my game, game development may have advanced, and I might of been left behind.

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Or wrote:
>What do I need to learn to make an MMO?

Assuming you mean to do the programming yourself, you should get a Computer Science degree, and make mods in your spare time.

>By the time I wish to create my game, game development may have advanced, and I might of been left behind.

Hogwash.

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My $.02(or $2.00) I don't know....

MMO are a lot harder to make than regular games or games that have a multi-player option. You should pull out a few minor games building your knowledge. And while you are doing that you can put together a design document of what will make up your MMO. As in if it will be 2D or 3D, if 2D will it be tile or isometric, if 3D what model and textures will it use/need. What Sound effects and background music will need to be made. So on.....

You would need to also make it upgrade friendly so adding new stuff like items or quest or other things not source code related would require little work and require little tapering with the source. How will you handle distribution of the resources and how will it keep track of everything in the world.

While to are making other games and mods and such, put together a plan that will show where the project should be at every stage of development. Maybe even a timeline to when something should be done and ready for testing.

Check out the book section on gamedev for books you might need or/and ask around. First after you picked out what type of MMO type you want it to me(2D,3D) decide what main API it will use. SDL,OpenGL,DirectX, ext. Also try checkign out some of the journals on the site for some hints and tips on what you might be looking for.

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Original post by Daaark
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Original post by Orechalcos
bump
RealmCrafter.com?


What? RealmCrafter is pathetic. But that might just be because i got the demo.

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On what grounds do you judge it "pathetic?"

As with any creation-assist utility suite (such as Game Maker, et al) or engine/framework there will be limitations in the system simply because designing such a system involves making choices about the implementation, which in turn dictates what restrictions the system must impose on the end-user for the sake of practicality.

RealmCrafter may certainly have limits. But whatever system you created would be equally as limited, all other things being equal. The difference is that you may not notice the limitations since they are limitations you didn't consider to be that problematic. Still, it's a bit presumptuous to generalize the entire thing as "pathetic." Those sorts of toolsets can be extremely useful to a lot of people.

It's also worth noting that "all other things" won't be equal here, and it's unlikely that you will be in a position to develop a technology base equivalent to RealmCrafter's for a long while. As Tom and others have said, what you need to do -- assuming you want to program the thing -- is get a good CS education and work on smaller programming projects and games. The fundamental issue issues behind MMOs are common computer science problems and are solvable by somebody or small team of developers who have a reasonable chunk of experience and a solid background in concurrency, networking, et cetera. Don't jump right into it, but as soon as you feel comfortable building single-player graphical games with your programming language of choice, start looking into multiplayer and networking, because you will want to understand those in detail.

The other half of the equation is the scale of the product, which requires a detailed understanding of the aforementioned domains because you need to build a system that can scale really well -- also, lots of money and/or time is required to pay for the servers to host a massive amount of traffic and to create the massive amount of content. However these are actually lesser concerns since it is extremely unlikely that a hobbyist "MMO" project will attract the requisite number of actual players to warrant a truly massive content or server cluster base. That will take years, if it happens at all.

As far as "everything fits together" in an MMO, there is no one answer to this question: it is a far too open and general in any case. All the successful MMOs out there right now do things in slightly different ways, tailored to their specific needs and scope.

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It is wildly impractical for us to detail every little thing you need to learn in order to build an MMO on your own (and that's assuming you have the perseverance to keep at it for years on end or the ability to get others to help, train them, and keep the project coherent). It's like telling someone how to design and assemble a car when they've no idea how a car works.


Anyways, some tidbits:

1. Stop with the game centric learning resources. Learn to program first, then application design, then some of the game specific bits.

2. Make a chat program. It's relatively easy enough to do, but difficult enough to require research and work. And that sort of thing is required for an MMO, but able to stand on its own.

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I understand this is a beginner section, however MMORPG's / ORPG's / MMO's, ect... are not for beginner programmers. Once you've become an expert with general programming in your language of choice then I would pick an API and become an expert in that as well. Until then don't bother asking about making MMO's, it wont happen and cannot happen because you don't have the programming experience to do so.

You will need to program an entire Engine which deals with the basic game and you wont just be detecting events for your player but hundreds...

I really wish people would learn general programming first before asking about MMO's or even API games all together. Sadly too many people get caught up into their ideas of what they want to do without even having any foundation to make their ideas come into action.

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Original post by Tom Sloper
Or wrote:
>What do I need to learn to make an MMO?

Assuming you mean to do the programming yourself, you should get a Computer Science degree, and make mods in your spare time.

>By the time I wish to create my game, game development may have advanced, and I might of been left behind.

Hogwash.


What he said.

There is nothing about game programming that is particularly special or unique. Games are just simulations of mathematical models. It's the design of that model which makes it a game and not, say, a military flight simulator or a financial forecasting application. The programming doesn't change all that much.

Programming is just translation. Take a Comp. Sci. degree. That'll teach you how to program.

Finally: Complex games are built by teams, not individuals. The cults of personality seen in the entertainment industries are a poor indicator of skill, talent or worth; they just tell you who has the best PR people. Even the greatest movie directors would be nothing without good editors, screenwriters, cinematographers and lighting technicians.

(Incidentally, I've seen behind the scenes of JAGEX and Runescape. They use some of the worst tools I've ever seen, and the engine is no great shakes either.)

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Original post by MrCpaw
I understand this is a beginner section, however MMORPG's / ORPG's / MMO's, ect... are not for beginner programmers. Once you've become an expert with general programming in your language of choice then I would pick an API and become an expert in that as well. Until then don't bother asking about making MMO's, it wont happen and cannot happen because you don't have the programming experience to do so.

You will need to program an entire Engine which deals with the basic game and you wont just be detecting events for your player but hundreds...

I really wish people would learn general programming first before asking about MMO's or even API games all together. Sadly too many people get caught up into their ideas of what they want to do without even having any foundation to make their ideas come into action.


I know that I'm not going to be able to jump into MMOs. I said - if not very properly - that I want to go to uni then work for a smaller company like Jagex, just working on the less MMO specific parts. THEN I may go for a bigger company like Blizzard or something. Though Blizzard might be too high for me. Then and only after many years in the industry, shall I decide to begin my own game. In my free-time before then, I may do up basic parts of the game, but I shall not begin to take it seriously until I feel that I have had enough experience. And even then I will not begin that until I have gathered a few friends who are willing to help start it up as well. I never said that I would be working alone. I already have one. Though... he doesn't seem to be demonstrating any programming skill. He's alright at HTML, though he doesn't rly do much with it. I suppose I could teach him a language. I hope he doesn't dislike it as much as he dislikes french.

I hope that clears things up. I just want to know what languages I should focus on to beign that journey.

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HTML is not a programming language.

And you're making some assumptions here. A big one being that both JAGEX and Blizzard will let you in.

You should learn to program, and program well.
You should learn application structure, and be able to design in your sleep.
You should learn a graphics API (learn more than one, it'll be helpful), and learn everything you can about it. Tutorials hardly ever cover anything advanced. For that, you'll need to look at articles, books, and forums.

These are all things people have already mentioned.

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Original post by Viral_Fury
HTML is not a programming language.

And you're making some assumptions here. A big one being that both JAGEX and Blizzard will let you in.

You should learn to program, and program well.
You should learn application structure, and be able to design in your sleep.
You should learn a graphics API (learn more than one, it'll be helpful), and learn everything you can about it. Tutorials hardly ever cover anything advanced. For that, you'll need to look at articles, books, and forums.

These are all things people have already mentioned.


First, I KNOW HTML is not a programming language.

Second, I said I want to work for someone LIKE Jagex or Blizzard. A games comapny in general.

Third, I know I need to learn all that.

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Original post by Orechalcos
What? RealmCrafter is pathetic. But that might just be because i got the demo.
Well consider the fact that I play both sides of the fence when it comes to programming and game art. I hang out on two types of forums.

1) Programming forums where MMOs get you mocked.

2) Game art forums where people who don't know a thing about anything technical, especially programming, buy Realm Crafter or other solutions off the shelf and make working MMOs in a small amount of time.

The problem with MMOs isn't the game. Anyone who can pick up a 3D content tool and pump out some environments and characters can get a small game up and running with these off the shelf solutions.

The problem with MMOs is the 'Massive' part. It's a gigantic undertaking and takes a lot of time, money, and resources. However, MMO is becoming a generic term for any online persistent game world, and massive part may or may not be in your plans.

If you just want to get a few buddies together, you can get Realm Crafter, another RC-like product, or even some MUD source code, and go from there. Some light scripting and custom art can take you a long way, and you can run a small game for fun.

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The originator of this thread seems to be ignorant to the information provided to him by everyone here. It appears as though you don't understand what needs to go behind an MMO. Not only that, but it will take a lot more than you and a couple of friends to do it. You contradicted yourself as well, in your first post you said you wanted an MMO running before you went into college, then later you said that you wanted to have one after years in the industry?

Another thing I noticed about you, you are too afraid. You can't be afraid of possibilities when going into programming. "Technology may be too advanced... Blizzard may be too high for me... Blahblah". Everything is possible, you just have to apply your mind to it.

Now, because I just said everything is possible, it would be contradicting for me to give you the statistics of how many MMOs are successful versus how many fail. The numbers are astounding, look into it. And another thing, do you know anything about programming? It seems like you are searching for a magical link that will provide you with knowledge to create the world's greatest MMO. Those don't exist.

For being in high school, you still have a lot to learn about how life works.

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He is too old to begin the training.

I sense much fear in him.

He's reckless!

My advice is to just be persistent and committed. Think long term. If you're 15 now just think how good of a game programmer you could be by the time you are 30 _if_ you stay focused and keep your eyes on the prize. You'll be able to write any type of game you want at that point and you'll know what you're doing and how to go about doing it.

Wanting to create a MMO as a long term project is fine. But if you are planning on using that lump of gray matter inside your skull, you'll plan your ascension to Evil Genius pragmatically. Conquer a small neighborhood before you conquer your city and before the state, the nation and the world! MUAHAHAHAHA!

Erm... yeah. forget about MMO for now. Write smaller games that will help you develop the skill and understandings you will need.

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I'm young - still in my first few years of high school


Hi, Orechalcos. Please let me explain why you are getting some of the responses here.

FIRST: You said yourself: You're young. That's okay, we're not knocking that. But a lot changes when you get older, especially through highschool. Things you thought were cool when you were 15 won't be cool when you're 18. Then of course when you're 28, 18 seems totally lame. Then 38, 48, and so on. I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that, generally speaking, MMO games appeal to the somewhat younger audience (read: your age). By the time you're 30, the idea of creating your own MMO might seem rediculous. In fact, you might end up like most adults and consider the idea of even playing a MMORPG rediculous. ("Get a life," others would say.)

SECOND: We get about a thousand kids a week that show up here and ask basically the same thing. "Dudez! Howz do i make a MMORPG like [insert current fad]?" Most of these people think that making a game is just something you do in your free time between watching cartoons. We try to burst their bubbles as politely as possible.

Since you seem to understand that making a game of any size is difficult, but since you also don't seem to grasp the utter hugeness of something like this, i can only recommend what everyone else already has. Get the education and, moreso, the experience in programming. Plan on being a peon and working a deadend job for a few years. Plan on failure after failure. Plan on frustration, disallusion, distraction, and changes in taste. Then somehow, if you survive all that and STILL enjoy programming and game development, then we'll talk some more ;-)

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Original post by leiavoia
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I'm young - still in my first few years of high school


Hi, Orechalcos. Please let me explain why you are getting some of the responses here.

FIRST: You said yourself: You're young. That's okay, we're not knocking that. But a lot changes when you get older, especially through highschool. Things you thought were cool when you were 15 won't be cool when you're 18. Then of course when you're 28, 18 seems totally lame. Then 38, 48, and so on. I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that, generally speaking, MMO games appeal to the somewhat younger audience (read: your age). By the time you're 30, the idea of creating your own MMO might seem rediculous. In fact, you might end up like most adults and consider the idea of even playing a MMORPG rediculous. ("Get a life," others would say.)

SECOND: We get about a thousand kids a week that show up here and ask basically the same thing. "Dudez! Howz do i make a MMORPG like [insert current fad]?" Most of these people think that making a game is just something you do in your free time between watching cartoons. We try to burst their bubbles as politely as possible.

Since you seem to understand that making a game of any size is difficult, but since you also don't seem to grasp the utter hugeness of something like this, i can only recommend what everyone else already has. Get the education and, moreso, the experience in programming. Plan on being a peon and working a deadend job for a few years. Plan on failure after failure. Plan on frustration, disallusion, distraction, and changes in taste. Then somehow, if you survive all that and STILL enjoy programming and game development, then we'll talk some more ;-)


Yes, I admit that I may decide that MMOs are boring or some other adjective later on in life, but I somewhat doubt it. I just love the idea of another world that you can access from your PC, in which you meet other people and do things just like real life, with the difference of the wonderful landscapes and the things you couldn't do in real life. Though perhaps my views will change in the future, I would be proud to maintain one of those worlds, along with a group of people.

As for those kids that you mention, alot of those kids think that making games is easy. There is a handful of kids out there who are serious about game development, and I am one of them. I know that it will take work to eventually come to the level of the MMO developer, and I'm willing to do that work. All I'm doing now is trying to get a head-start on that work. I am trying to further my education myself, seeing as school isn't helping...

All in all, I really couldn't care less what you think. I believe that if I believe, I can succeed in this industry. I'm going to start out small, like Andrew Gower. As I said, I've been inspired by Gower, and I think it's too late to go back on that.

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Original post by stimarco
Quote:
Original post by Tom Sloper
Or wrote:
>What do I need to learn to make an MMO?

Assuming you mean to do the programming yourself, you should get a Computer Science degree, and make mods in your spare time.

>By the time I wish to create my game, game development may have advanced, and I might of been left behind.

Hogwash.


What he said.

There is nothing about game programming that is particularly special or unique. Games are just simulations of mathematical models. It's the design of that model which makes it a game and not, say, a military flight simulator or a financial forecasting application. The programming doesn't change all that much.

Programming is just translation. Take a Comp. Sci. degree. That'll teach you how to program.

Finally: Complex games are built by teams, not individuals. The cults of personality seen in the entertainment industries are a poor indicator of skill, talent or worth; they just tell you who has the best PR people. Even the greatest movie directors would be nothing without good editors, screenwriters, cinematographers and lighting technicians.

(Incidentally, I've seen behind the scenes of JAGEX and Runescape. They use some of the worst tools I've ever seen, and the engine is no great shakes either.)


Im intrested in knowing what tools they use at Jagex.. care to tell us?

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Original post by Kodexx
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Original post by stimarco
Quote:
Original post by Tom Sloper
Or wrote:
>What do I need to learn to make an MMO?

Assuming you mean to do the programming yourself, you should get a Computer Science degree, and make mods in your spare time.

>By the time I wish to create my game, game development may have advanced, and I might of been left behind.

Hogwash.


What he said.

There is nothing about game programming that is particularly special or unique. Games are just simulations of mathematical models. It's the design of that model which makes it a game and not, say, a military flight simulator or a financial forecasting application. The programming doesn't change all that much.

Programming is just translation. Take a Comp. Sci. degree. That'll teach you how to program.

Finally: Complex games are built by teams, not individuals. The cults of personality seen in the entertainment industries are a poor indicator of skill, talent or worth; they just tell you who has the best PR people. Even the greatest movie directors would be nothing without good editors, screenwriters, cinematographers and lighting technicians.

(Incidentally, I've seen behind the scenes of JAGEX and Runescape. They use some of the worst tools I've ever seen, and the engine is no great shakes either.)


Im intrested in knowing what tools they use at Jagex.. care to tell us?


Agreed.

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JAGEX uses an engine that they developed in-house along with a scripting language they've developed. You won't be able to get what they use.

Here's my suggestions for you, and you should take them and run with them.

1. Buy a book on programming, pick a language that will accomplish what you want to do. (Java for web development, C++/XNA for desktop, etc).
2. Buy a second book on a grapics API.
3. Program some basic games, start out with a pong game.
4. After you get some basic arcade games running, move on to something else, like an RPG of your own. Write the whole engine, and script in the quests and things of that sort.
5. Buy a book on networking with your language, and read read read. To make an MMO, you need to know networking inside and out.
6. Spend forever working on your MMO.

When I was younger, I dreamed of working on an MMO, just like you. I am only a senior in high school, but I've been taking initiative and teaching myself programming because my school doesn't offer it. When I played EQ2 and WoW, I wanted to be a GM sooo bad. It always seemed cool, they had all of the cool powers, they had all of the fun. Well, now that I am friends with people in the game development industry (some in MMOs), it isn't as fun. They hardly ever get to play the game that they are working on.

I suggest you take my advice. By the time you are knowledgeable enough to make an MMO, you won't want to, trust me. You will want to make other games that are fun :)

Hope you accept what I said instead of bashing it as not being the response you wanted to hear.

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Original post by Orechalcos
[...] I am trying to further my education myself, seeing as school isn't helping...

That's quite arrogant of you. As I see it, you're likely another one who believes that schooling is irrelevant and that you will make due without it. You're dead wrong in that case.
School is important. Getting a degree is important.

Now, if you still want to "further your education" then you got several things to do. Modding games, making small programs and getting good grades in school are all things that you should do to get where you want to be.

Quote:
Original post by Orechalcos
[...]
All in all, I really couldn't care less what you think.

That's too bad...for you. If I were you I would show some respect to the good people here, they're just trying to get you on your way.

Quote:
Original post by Orechalcos
[...]
I believe that if I believe, I can succeed in this industry. I'm going to start out small, like Andrew Gower. As I said, I've been inspired by Gower, and I think it's too late to go back on that.

Belief does *NOT* make a game. Your beliefs are nothing but childish dreams unless they inspire you to pursue your goals. And to pursue your goals you need to listen to the ones who have more experience than you. So far, all you've done is ignore pieces of advice that have been, in my honest opinion, very helpful.

Right now, all I've seen from you is plain arrogance and a childish belief that if you "believe" you can make a game. Well, let me tell you again - beliefs don't make games. Blood, sweet, tears and hard work makes games.
If you're serious about game development then you'll listen to what we've said. Otherwise...best of luck to you, really. Since I can't see how you'll make it with the attitude that all you need is a passion for games and some "belief" to makes games...

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Its quite true, Im learning Java at the moment and im still on the basics and i feel like ripping my hair out ;0. But im slowly progressing through..

And by the way you might not know but Andrew Gower started programming since he was 7 and he started making the game around 18 - 19 years old. Thats how much experience hes had in programming. Oh and Andrew Gower did have Straight A's in highschool just so you know.

PS
Pick up a copy of Head First Java as your first Java book then you can get more advanced books on Java later on.

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