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Emergence

A Good Start for a MMORPG? (A core that could compete with Ultima Online)

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It's late at night here so I'll try keep it brief and hopefully stop any tangents before they happen.

From what I understand you're asking whether the goals of doing a MORPG and then maybe moving onto a MMORPG is realistic. My knee jerk reaction is no. I think that you would probably be better of making some small test versions of the game so that you can prove what you want to do is possible and then maybe getting others on board to help out. You also need to remember that a MORPG is actually quite different from MMORPG in both design and implementation. For instance I don't know a single MMORPG that can say "Anything implemented after this, is polish." although that is possible for a MORPG. By making a MORPG you risk putting yourself in a position where you can't successfully turn it into a MMORPG.

Your ideas, although decent, seem to need some more refinement as-well.

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Breaking down your grand objective into smaller objectives is a good thing, and aiming for a core upon which you can build further is certainly one way of doing so. However, to me, achieving something comparable to UO, even though it's over ten years old, is still a pretty big milestone. If I were developing this game, I would aim at breaking things down much, much more.

e.g:
1. Build a simple application which allows a single player to walk about a couple of rooms using a client/server architecture. The 'client' part of the application retrieves object and map data from the server part of the application ONLY. Note there is no actual networking involved here. Your objective here is to establish the basis for the client/server interface and to get something reasonably 'playable' - even if it isn't actually a game - running as quickly as possible.

2. Split the application into the separate client/server apps, using the core interface, and implementing network code. The application should appear to be identical to the previous version, but this time the server component can be running on a completely different machine.

3. Enable multiple players to connect to the server. Players can walk about the rooms and see each other. Perhaps add a handful of action commands such as emotes and chat so players can interact a little. Stress test and work on solving scaling issues (what happens when 200 people gather in the same room? 1000? These cases need to be handled smoothly.

4. You now have the core of a game. Your characters can walk about, talk, see each other. From here, you can start adding the features that will make it an MMO proper, such as combat, NPCs etc.

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IMO, most MMORPG's are actually MORPG. You rarely see more than 20 players on screen at any one time, except maybe in RAIDS or PvP, and even then not really. The only MMORPG's I know of that actually are true to MMO are quite few. Most seem to be more along the lines of ORPG (not even MORPG) with a centralized database. Perhaps the capital cities are MORPG, but it leaves me pondering when so many MMORPG's have a plethora of servers, but so few on each. Sometimes I wonder why some MMORPG's aren't just lobby games, and why they even hurt themselves by maintaining persistent servers (not databases) like they (i assume) do.[/quote]

There are a few games that call themselves MMOGs but are in fact lobby game. I have seen people call LoL and HoN MMOs although they most defiantly are not. It's kind of a moot point though since it's all just a semantics, give it a few years and the MMO hype will have died down enough for games to start moving away from that as a definition.

The reason for the massive number of servers but only having a few thousand on each is generally down to technology. It's just not possible for most companies to create or buy servers that could reliably handle a more than a few thousand players at once. Even then you get more than a 50 people in one place and you will get server issues in most games. There does seem to be a slow move towards bigger single servers though, SOE talked about "mega servers" (name may be wrong) and of course there is EvE online with its single server.

What ideas specifically are you talking about?[/quote]

I feel that in general you have an idea of what you want to make but you have not made any final decisions about it. Move away from saying it will use a system like/similar to X game. Instead get to a point where you are happy to say this is the system I will be using. That way you know exactly what you want to do and more importantly others know as-well. It also means you can run tests on implementing that feature and if it all goes wrong you can go back to the drawing board.

You also need to be careful about borrowing ideas from other games, the oddest things can be copyrighted e.g. the stats a game uses for its characters (str, int etc). It may not seem like much but if you base your entire game on something like that and find out you can't use it in the end you will have some huge headaches.

Also what i was talking about when it came to the differences wasn't so much to do with the network but the actual design of the game itself. It may seem odd but to me when you make a MORPG then you're primarily making a game but when you make a full blown MMORPG you're primarily making a world. Some things may work really well in one but just don't have the same impact in another.

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The main thing you'll have to take into account if you plan on "extending" something into an mmorpg in the future is scalability, The server architecture differences between a morpg and a proper mmorpg are about as big as the differences between Microsoft Word and Counter-Strike, you should, in my opinion actually write it as a MMORPG from the very start. (This doesn't mean that you should implement a gameworld the size of europe and 35000 quests, 5 million npcs, etc from the start, it just means that you should design your overall architecture in a way that can scale to the extremes an MMO requres), The game design considerations are also quite different between the two gametypes.

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I like the look of the artwork and I hope that you can find a way to make a game become reality. I won't tell you not to do it. All I would like is for people to succeed in creating enjoyable games. I hope you are open to help, if not now, in the future. Collaboration is something I wish more people would be open to, but I can see why they would not want it so. Design and implementation of said design integrity is something that can be hard to want to alter, but for the sake of the game, do not fear change. Don't be afraid to seek programming/design assistance if you truly wish to create something as expansive as I believe you want to create.

You can do it. Start basic and work up from there. Aim for success, not a niche.

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