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Game Design....Possible?

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I would like to know if my game, The After, is a feasible. The site is http://www.netemp.net/after/index.htm if you need more information. Generally, it is an MMORPG set in a futuristic world, but it has plenty of fantasy-themed aspects as well. Set on the planet of Ulrath, the planet was inhabited by Atlanteans after their planet sank, and they continued their civilization. Many years later, scientists on Earth find a way to this planet, which sets off a bunch of events which devastate the world, killing most of the people except for a few that make it to the orbiting vault. The MMORPG starts when the humans in the vault are coming down to rebuild the civilization, but they find the world overrun by mutants, side effects of the event that destroyed the world. These mutants, though, are not stupid. There will be plenty for players to do. In fact, you could consider the game having a set storyline, in a way, for people to survive. For example, there is radiation covering the world and people gain some every day, and some areas are more radiated than others. Thus, people will need to invent medicines for radiation cleansing and immunity or people will die. Also the places with a lot of technology before the catastrophe are covered in radiation, and thus armor to defend against radiation is needed. We want the graphics to be top-notch as well, along with the physics, such as dynamic weather, floods, fully deformable terrain, etc so the people have full control of the world, but nature has a say in things as well to keep players on the edge. We''ve looked into Power Render and may be using that game engine, but we really want to know if the entire game is possible before we pay for the engine and get more devteam members besides the current ones. So, is the game feasible for us to accomplish as an MMORPG? Our features are at http://www.netemp.net/after/index.htm, mostly under FAQ and The After, if you want to check the game out before you reply. We aren''t worrying about servers right now, which will be a problem in the future. We just want to see if the game itself can be completed and work. We''re looking for a larger team as well. We need 3 C/C++ programmers, another artist, 3 or 4 3D renderers that can do skeletal systems, and 3 or 4 more music and sound effect composers. This will give us a better foundation to finish this game. Thank you. -William Phelps Lead Developer of The After

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Well I''ve been looking through site you''ve got and there are some good ideas, although somewhat ambitious. This looks like it has very good potential, with the right combination of Dedication AND Skill. If you don''t mind I''d like to add a little constructive criticism on what I think. Remember I don''t mean to be negative or dis your work so dont get mad.

First off your projected sys requirements are a bit steep. I know this isnt going to be an issue for a while but even if it is a year or two before people get to play it P3 700 mhz probably still wont be common. And in my opinion the system requirements must be common for you to be able to grab a decent share of the population out there. Also for you to have voice interaction with NPCs is going to require a whole lot more bandwidth then 56k.

A note about skills, I think several games already have had the skills increase with use. Betrayl in Krondor i think, and Betrayl at Antara I''m sure.

Umm I hate to actually say this but your being really optimistic as far as player numbers go. Thats good of course I hope though that you arent set on that many people playing. 15k - 20k for beta testing is an aweful lot. Especially if they have to have highend systems. Technology may advance but it still costs money to upgrade. 100,000 to 200,000 would be nice but that is an aweful lot of people. That would be a very large part of the market. And I''m not sure there are a whole lot of people who will pay for more then 1 MMORPG at a time. But I could be wrong and times change.

Does your team have a lot of experience in making games? I hope so because they will need everything they got. The design is plausible, but not an easy design to implement from the ground up. Also remember that companies like Interplay and EA are going to need definite proof that the game will sell to the mass public. Thats another reason I brought the sys requirements. Anyways I think thats about all I''m going to write for now. Youve got enough to do without sitting there reading this. Peace.

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It does sound ambitious, but hey so have a lot of other great titles out on the market today so what the heck - go for it!

However i too have some issues with it. The foremost is the combination of story and MMOG. Very, very, very hard. Well actually that's not true, it depends on how deep you are planning on making the story. If the story is generated by player interactions, then that's a bit easier. However having 200,000 people follow the same storyline is next impossible. How do you advance the story when other's are just starting it?? I'm pretty sure you're going with the story-generation method but I just wanted to say that.

Matter of fact, I've written an article for an upcoming book entitled Game Design Methods (tentative) about something I've labeled "online persistence" see this thread for what it is. I dunno how far you guys'll be when it is released (GDC 2002) but I would suggest reading it anyways.

And I have to agree with Hydra on the voice-communication. I'd save that for PvP interaction, rather than NPC, plus I acknowledge that it's a bandwidth hogger.

Anyways best of luck

[EDIT]
DOH!!! I forgot to close the quotes on the hyperlink!! There, all better now...
[/EDIT]

==============================
"Need more eeenput..."
- #5, "Short Circuit"
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quote:
Original post by Servivas
There will be plenty for players to do. In fact, you could consider the game having a set storyline, in a way, for people to survive. For example, there is radiation covering the world and people gain some every day, and some areas are more radiated than others. Thus, people will need to invent medicines for radiation cleansing and immunity or people will die. Also the places with a lot of technology before the catastrophe are covered in radiation, and thus armor to defend against radiation is needed.

How does the system decide when something useful is invented or not? Bear in mind that human-generated content can rarely keep up with the players. You need the game to auto-generate or regenerate enough content to keep everyone interested.
quote:
We want the graphics to be top-notch as well, along with the physics, such as dynamic weather, floods, fully deformable terrain, etc so the people have full control of the world, but nature has a say in things as well to keep players on the edge.

Fully deformable terrain jumps out and shouts NO at me Most games so far store the map on the client, because they are too detailed to stream over the connection. If you want ''top-notch'' graphics, you will almost certainly have to do this. So, how are you going to propagate these changes? If one person burns down a tree, suddenly everyone needs to download notification of this change. You might be able to defer the update for people who aren''t in the area at the time, but that''s still gonna be a fair amount of bandwidth you''ll consume that way, I assume.

This is the main thing that I think you would have a problem with.

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Ah, I do need to update the website soon. We made a few changes these past few days for the system. Hopefully this will fix any of the problems that were mentioned here.

For TechnoHydra, our system requirements were a complete guess from before. We have already chosen an engine to use, and it works perfectly fine, inside, and with some lag, on a Pentium II 350. I''m sure after tweaking it a bit, we could reduce the requirements down. Also we have taken voice recognition out. It is just too early of a technology to have inside a game, especially, as you mentioned, with many people still using 56k modems. The amount of people we want for beta really isn''t too optimistic, and the numbers for the release are what the game world can handle. Mind you, this isn''t going to be one server, persay, but players will only see one server. So it would be like taking all the many servers that EQ has and synchronizing them together into one world, which we will need to do.

For Gaiiden, we really don''t have a "set" storyline. I was just pointing out that there will need to be events that players must accomplish in The After to get somewhere else. There won''t be the usual kill everything and quest to level, which really has no point. As I mentioned in the example, the first event would be to get some cities built so people can survive. Then technology will need to be made to expand, like the radiation medicines needed to get into certain technology-rich areas that are covered in radiation. Each time they accomplish these events, not only does the entire population go forward, but it opens up more things for the players to do. And we will always have some major event that needs to be accomplished to get to the next stage or age.

For Kylotan, as I mentioned above, there isn''t a set storyline, but a group of major events that need to be accomplished to procede into the game deeper. Just like civilization expanded with the inventions of certain things, so will The After. For the deformable terrain, our engine already accomplishes this, and we aren''t worried about the lag for a few reasons. Why is, even though there are no zones, the world will be split into a large grid. Changes in the area you are in are the only ones you receive, and changes to other areas around you can be set to download on-the-fly if you want, so that when you leave one grid square, you won''t even notice the few seconds it takes to load up the next. Unless we somehow find a way around using zones, or zone clone, that system is what we will use.

-William Phelps
Lead Developer of The After

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The site is good and I liked the graphics. But - there''s always one isn''t there? - I got no impression of what the player is going to do in the game. For example will players need to eat and drink a certain amount each day to survive? If so there will have to be farming, hunting etc... In a radioactive world that might be a problem.

I''m sure you''ve got all this worked out but it needs to go on the site. Nothing really answered the question - why should I play The After?

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