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TechnoHydra

Problems with space-sim MMORPGs???

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Okay I''ve been thinking about working on the design for a futuristic MMORPG set in space as a hobby to work on in my spare time. Okay the reason for this is topic is to determine the major reasons why they aren''t as popular as fantasy based MMORPGs. Evidently if your using space as a setting then you can expand with a whole lot of new possibilities. So why aren''t they as prevalent? I''m hoping you''ll post a response if you: 1) Have a reason that you don''t enjoy them as much. 2) Have seen a reason that they aren''t made as much. 3) Have a suggestion for fixing obstacle that stands in the way of a space-sim MMORPGs. I want to address these issues as I design. Thx

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For your reasons:

For 1) I dont like humans, or aliens, just gods and demi-humans

For 2) They are alot harder due to the fact you need to have different planets/galxies/ possibly multiple universes since its never been prven theres only one universe!

For 3) The action can't be constant in a space SIM. The avaiblible world needs to be explored, thats no short journey. You can't force missions on to people like in Baldurs gate, you have to allow them to be free. This can become hard. Also, you need a wide group of graphic artists, and all your programmers need to know the same API. Your team needs to be very determind, and if you plan on doing it alone, I sggest you take your time, because the fastest one person could get it done is 5 years(if your a guru) and for a novice programmer/graphic artist/ network programmer/ writer/ designer(which is everything you need to act as) it should take you 10 years.

!Good Luck!

"I've sparred with creatures from the nine hells themselves... I barely plan on breaking a sweat here, today."~Drizzt Do'Urden

Edited by - Drizzt DoUrden on September 4, 2001 5:24:09 PM

Edited by - Drizzt DoUrden on September 4, 2001 5:25:27 PM

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For the First problem, are there any alternatives that could be used to replace standard humans/aliens concept? I''m open to suggestions.

Hmm the non-linear aspect does present a big problem since players are always going to be testing the boundries of Space. So is there anyways that the universe you''ve created could limit the area your players want to travel in? Something that although perhaps a frustrating could be plausible and even understandable for your players to grasp?

Whew this is going to be interesting...

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Maybe the problem with space-sims is that more imagination is needed to create plots (you have no magic... in teory ). And in space MMORPG your principal weapon is a laser... ups, in MMORPG those types of weapons are difficult to manage...

About the boundaries problem, there''s a very simple solution: just place your first part of the MMORPG in a few solar systems with an hyperspace torment, so nobody can escape . Next, when you have created the entire galaxy, just stop the torment. And when you have created the whole universe, just make somebody to discover an hyperdrive [best hyperspace motor] .
And if you don''t like boundaries... well, everyday new planets are discovered ... . Just when you create a planet, it''s added to the pool ...

And about the time of making the game... just take a look to http://www.argentum-online.com.ar , this''s a MMORPG Done (well, it''s under development but it''s very very advanced) in 1.5 year. So if you want it, you CAN do it.

Go for it . But two advices:
1) Make a VERY GOOD Design.
2) Take some people into your jorney. I''m programming a console-style CRPG and i''m ending the engine... but it took more than 6 years (i was programming & learning) ...

RRC²Soft

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TechnoHydra, I honestly think the bottom line answer to why is very simple: It''s just not time yet.

Not too long ago the whole cRPG fanbase was suffering from a lack of games. But space sims were going strong (you had the Wing Commanders, Freespace, Star Rangers, Privateer, X-Wings, etc.). Now things are reversed, and I-War2 is just about the only space sim around. Publishers play it safe and herd together. They saw UO made money at a time when cRPGs were making a comeback probably thanks mostly to AD&D and Black Isle.


There''s nothing you can''t do with a science setting that you can do with magick, you just have to be creative. Sci-fi encompasses fantasy. You can have magick (psionics / space-time fabric manipulation), heros and royalty, and even low tech castles & such in a sci-fi universe; whereas, a tank or plane in a fantasy universe is wrong.

Since most fantasy MMORPGs are hack & slash anyway, and most space sims are combat oriented, I don''t see a big difference. The only problem might be bandwidth if players expect the traditional fast action feedback system of your typical space sim. (Your typical MMORPG "watch the falling healthbars" for combat might not be interactive enough).

Compare:
* Fight - Already talked about
* Trade / Inventory Swap - Same
* Commerce (Blacksmith / Tavern) - Same (space station Bar / Shipyard)
* Missions / Plot - Same (rescue drug lord rather than princess, for ex.)
* Character Building / Leveling - Same (w/ your ship instead)
* Characters / Storyline - Megacorps vs. orcs, same thing
* Beautiful setting - Same (check I-War 2''s dust clouds, nebula, and planetary graphics-- stunning!)

Some folks have the mistaken notion that cRPG == medieval. It doesn''t. But GameDev I think is a bit skewed towards that perspective. You may have better luck getting a response on comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.space-sim than here, since I think a lot of cRPG fans here are fantasy fans.

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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The other aspect I''d add to Wav''s list is:

Religion. Gods / priests. You can easily have them in a space
game and the Gods can give adherents magical powers

As far as boundaries are concerned they can be technology limitations etc.. or physical barriers such as in Star Trek first series where there was a physical barrier between the Star Trek galaxy and the next one. If you are developing an MMPORG then presumably development will continue even after the game goes gold so that you can add star clusters or new galaxies after the start.

As far as why space games are not made that isn''t true. MS is making Freelancer but I think they''ve canned the internet play bit. I''m not sure why. But given the success of games like Frontier and Privateer these games are being made - look at Eve as well as the other games mentioned earlier.

You don''t have to have aliens in space. There any number of Sci Fi stories about human expansion into space followed by a technological / societal collapse and what happens when one set of humans runs into another centuries later - Isaac Asimov and the Foundation series for example.


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Nice feedback. Tech limitations would be a good way to keep people in an area until others are implemented. As far as types of PCs, would it work to have androids and cyborgs? These could possibly be upgraded or enhanced as the player got stronger. The same could be done with people, through genetic manipulation. I was sort of thinking of trying to add several different ways to play the game. There would be trading for those who like that sort of thing. Combat and quests. Skills like mining and such.

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I was just thinking back to a topic on a sipace sim idea. And I''m thinking perhaps having personal combat option as well. Then having player vs. player tournaments and these would be broadcast on a sort of sports channel. As to Wav''s thought on space sims be out at the moment. By the time I get anywhere major on this theyll probably be back lol.

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Well, I can think of a lot of reasons that fantasy based MMORPGs are being produced. The first is simply that a few allready exisist. That always makes imagining and pitching a game much easier. "It''s like UO/EQ/AC but with..." The second is that it''s a lot easier and more socially acceptable to rip off classic fantasy ideas than it is Sci-Fi. Third is that usually we''re not expecting Fantasy to make sense, which makes designing something easier.

And what do you think the chances of multiple civilizations all obtaining similar degrees of spacefaring technology at the same time really is?

So, with sci-fi, which is something that I think we expect to make some kind of sense, there''s a greater burden of responsibility on the designer to keep things believable.

hope that helps

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I''ve been designing a space empire mmorpg for some time now but like most of my projects it ends up being placed on hold because I can''t find a good team =)
I think mine is slightly different because you have a fleet of ships instead of just one but most things should still apply. The game should be confined to one galaxy. I mean the milky way contains billions of stars..no need to complicate things by making the universe infinite. Still, space is HUGE. You need some kind of fictional technology to explain how ships can travel faster than light. In my design there are sectors which behave like the areas in Baldur''s Gate. They may be a system with habitable planets or a nebula or just some empty space where you can be alone or meet up with someone in secret.
As for action..well that''s pretty constant. As you may have guessed parts of the galaxy are at war so all you have to do is go to a known hostile sector if you want a fight. As wavinator pointed out a lot of traditional aspects can be carried over to sci-fi fairly easily. Need a dungeon? How about a system that was once populated by a warfaring culture but now only contains planetary and automated defense systems.

Well, everything else I have to say was pretty much summed up by Wav but if you wanna discuss some details of this design I''d be happy to share some of the stuff I''ve come up with.

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