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BranTheMedMan

My MMO Vision/Dream

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Hello all, thank you for attention, My name is Brandon Odell, in this article im going to unveil my idea for an MMO in which hasn't been thought of or attempted. As a disclaimer i will admit that i am in no way educated in terms of video game design or am i attempting to create a video game with this idea. I AM however going to articulate the ideas i have into an easy to read post to which may have an effect on others who CAN create video games. either way, thank you and enjoy!

 

Genre of game: MMORPG, Spacelike*, Simulation, 3rd/1st person shooter, survival, exploration, crafting, base/city/town building, housing and much more.

 

Possible Titles: Aecor** Nebula Online ; . . . . . ; . . . . . .

 

Timeline: 2040-2300+ (near future) gameplay starts 2300.

.

Place: a post-apocalyptic earth, melted polar ice caps, game play is all underwater in the oceans.  some land exists, but not accessible.

 

Prologue: The threat of human extinction is real. We all thought at the beginning of WW3 mankind would be demolished and our earth destroyed by mushroom clouds and fallout. However, such was not the case. in 2040, when the first atomic bomb hit south korea, 2 more hit north korea. This may have ended the North Korean reign, but when south Korea took over the entire Korean peninsula to rebuild and thrive, China went on the offensive. No one knew was was coming, over 20 nuclear weapons were used during the 40 year long war. Both nations suffered dramatic losses, but in 2088, the in house assassination of china's leader marked the end of the war and sparked a 100 year peace treaty with all nations. All life was not lost, in fact, it was not until 2 years into the treaty when scientists discovered that the negative aspect of the bombs didnt directly effect humans, but rather the atmosphere instead. Scientists knew that it was too late and too costly to try and reach for space. The atmosphere was enriched with nuclear waste and thus created an extremely potent green house effect which caused rapid depletion of all polar icecaps, all nations came together from all over the world to attempt to create a solution to the crippling atmosphere and all nations funded the Aecor (Latin word for ocean) project, which was the colonization under the deepest parts of our ocean. Immense underwater cities were created much like outer space would have been, space ship like vessels were in mass production and added to all aecor cities, not all people wanted to follow along with the government and branched off into their own private sector to create their own vessels and cities, they would later be labeled pirates. Scientists predicted that our planet would be impossible to live above water in the year 2200, which was the prediction of when all nuclear fallout would begin its descent to the surface. In order to combat the fallout from affecting the ever growing oceans, the scientists created a foaming substance which was a living bacteria that lived only on the top of all water and self sustained itself. This was humanity's only hope. humanities only chance. The last of the vessels that went underway was 2180, 20 years past and the cities thrived, trade routes were developed, and humans were once again under rule of their nations governments. the nations of the sea all met on that fateful day, march 2nd 2200, when the last of the foam grew over the final bit of opening to the sunlit air. This was known as the day of the dark. and some elders speak of that day watching the big streak of light that grew smaller and smaller. Huge domes of glass litters the surface, also known as paradise sanctuaries. They serve as both a vacation spot to view the sun, and as power generators to the cities of the deep.

 

Plot: The year is 2300. Born into a miner family in the US Pacific Aecor City in 2080, you wake up in your vessel after a dream that you were flying in the air above the clouds, what little you remember from your 1 and only visit to the pacific paradise sanctuary 14 years before as a child. your beautiful partner and copilot wakes you up over the intercom. you a head to the cockpit cabin and meet her, where she informs you of sighting a great white shark (which have doubled in size due to the foam's altering all sea life's DNA) ...you quickly turn on the turret and scan the area, scan indicator shows enemy but its no shark, its a pirate and he's got a lock on to your ship. You quickly divert all power to the bow shields, shrug off the missile and turn the enemy vessel into swiss cheese. But this is just ONE instance, you can start the game from a variety of areas and nations. whether its the pacific, atlantic, indian, etc. the oceans are all connected and if you think about it, in scale can be as big as any space mmo. from capital mothership vessel's to single seat fighter vessels. free range 360 fighting, just not as fluid as space. due to the foam's effect. most sealife emit a glow and it looks like tiny stars underwater wherever you explore. huge lights built throughout all areas during the building of aecor project can be found and has created a lighting effect to see better under the ocean.

 

Build underwater homes in your areas, leave the ship and fix area of your hull. encounter huge underwater beasts, or fight for control of territory, help aid vessels on trade routes, or pirate! be what you want.

 

anyways, instead of space... we could use the ocean as a playground....

 

let me know your thoughts!

 

-Bran

 

*Space-like, meaning gameplay will be like space games where you have complete 360 movement and freedom, but have to adhere to all limits of have no o2 and high pressure.

**Aecor is Latin for Ocea

Edited by BranTheMedMan

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An underwater game could be quite cool if you were a mer-person or some other being that didn't need thousands of pounds of metal and an air supply just to survive.  I can totally imagine harvesting coral "trees" for "lumber" and using seashell pieces for roof slates and floor mosaics.  But being a human in that kind of environment seems so limited.  And the same goes for space, really; I'd much rather see a very soft sci-fi game where there's breathable aether or whatever between asteroids so you can ride your space-serpent mount there and hunt space fish, etc...

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I understand your vision of a genre which incorporates a living fantasy involving different kinds of species that are adapt to their environment. However, my idea of an oceanic realm survival mmo relies on the idea that humanity in the near future was stripped of their ability to make it to the stars, thus relied heavily on quick reaction to survive an irreversible, impending threat. humanity came together to change their entire lives, much like they would had they become spacers, the only difference is our planet is not going anywhere, we just have to survive safely from her attempt to hard reset herself. I could see perhaps in the year 4000 if we stayed in the water we could perhaps have adapted, but this idea is for a few hundred years of survival and adaption to the ocean, then coming back to the surface when its clear of fallout.

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Sounds interesting - like a online Bioshock world.

 

I see several key focuses and major challenges.

 

Focuses and challenges:

A) Atmosphere.

The underwater environment creates an excellent setting to really layer atmosphere on thick and heavy. You get it almost for free, so you'd basically have to try hard to mess it up. But even with getting it for free, you want to go above and beyond, and do an incredible job, because it'd be one of your main selling points. I'd say key here would be to actually scale back the thick-and-heavy free ambiance, and really go for a more finessed atmosphere by keeping the atmosphere subtle and laying five or six subtle layers of complementary atmosphere to in-game areas to create a richer meal that'll be more enjoyable to players long-term.

Bioshock took the thick-and-heavy approach, which works excellently for it single-player game only lasting 15 hours, but not for an MMO that players play 10-20 hours a week for months and years.

 

B) Level design. 

To an especially creative person, underwater habitats provide a welcome challenge and artistic constraint to create interestingly laid out gameplay areas, and provide some fantastic components to do so. Unlike with atmosphere, however, it'll take conscious effort and skill to both create those areas well on the normal scale - each area needing to be properly designed, not merely built on the fly - and also to make every area fit together well in the macro-scale big picture; it can't feel like each area is the same, nor can it feel like each area is entirely different. The world itself can't feel like hundreds of areas built in isolation and merely connected together - the game needs diversity, but it also needs cohesion.

 

C) Area diversity.

By setting the game almost exclusively underwater and on the ocean surface, you'd have to work extra hard to not make everything look the same, and to have plenty of varied environments for players to explore.

It's certainly doable by someone skilled in world design, but while setting the game underwater gives you a free boost to atmosphere, it also penalizes you on area diversity, and you'll have to work extra hard to overcome that, or your game will suffer with long-term player retention.

 

D) Exploration initiative

You'll also have to work extra hard to make players want to explore. If the world feels just like a bunch of mostly-identical pockets of areas pointlessly spread apart by giant empty space, people get bored fast. If you ever played Legend of Zelda: Windwaker, it suffered from this problem - and you need a hundred times more content, making it an even bigger challenge.

 

In addition to that, you'll need solid world lore (read: backstory, culture, etc...), and solid gameplay.

 

You haven't mentioned any gameplay (a bad sign), and there's loads of problems with your story, which I'll just give some examples of and explain why it's important.

 


 

 

in 2040, when the first atomic bomb hit south korea, 2 more hit north korea. This may have ended the North Korean reign, but when south Korea took over the entire Korean peninsula to rebuild and thrive, China went on the offensive. No one knew was was coming, over 20 nuclear weapons were used during the 40 year long war. Both nations suffered dramatic losses, but in 2088, the in house assassination of china's leader marked the end of the war and sparked a 100 year peace treaty with all nations.

 

This strikes me as entirely unrealistic and hand-wavy, which breaks immersion.

It seems you already know the result you want (an underwater game) are writing the plot backwards to get the result you want, but that can easily lead you to having a crummy plot.

 

A) "when the first atomic bomb hit south korea, 2 more hit north korea."

In response to a nuclear bomb hitting South Korea, ZERO nukes would be launched at North Korea. It's unrealistic to real-life politics. It's not in anybody's interest (China, USA, or even South Korea's) to launch a nuke at North Korea.

 

And even if there was a nuke launch, there is no need to launch more than one! North Korea only has one viable target (Pyongyang), and the only point of a nuke would be symbolism, and even there it'd be a dumb political move with almost zero benefit and loads of detriment.

 

B) "over 20 nuclear weapons were used during the 40 year long war."

It's unrealistic for the war involving actually-launched nuclear weapons to last 40 years. If it did last 40 years, and nukes were launched, it's unrealistic that only 20 would be fired.

It's unrealistic that China would launch any nukes at anyone, unless they were involved in direct war against a major nuclear-armed state like Russia or the USA. In a war against South Korea, the political cost of China launching a nuke outweighs the man-power and economic costs of just kicking their butt using traditional means.

 

C) "Both nations suffered dramatic losses"

No, that's just too hand-wavy. China would curbstomp Korea, unless something really substantial occurred - like an Admiral Yi. But that's an abnormality, so unless you explain or hint at the abnormality, then your half-hearted "yea they both lost pretty equally, despite one being two hundred times better equipped and two hundred times more man-power." breaks immersion because it contradicts the reality of your own fictional world. Because anything you don't explicitly add into your world, is automatically adopted from reality. Unless you say gravity is different, then gravity is the same. Unless you explain why China would suffer any kind of even minor losses from Korea, then China automatically wins.

 

For example, South Korea doesn't even have nuclear bombs! The USA has several nuclear-bomb equipped bomber jets stationed there, but South Korea can't use them, and in a conflict with China, China can take them out with traditional weapons before people even know war has began.

 

D) "the in house assassination of china's leader marked the end of the war"

Nope, the assassination of China's leader won't mark the end of the war. (You do know China is ran by a council of 9 members, right? The current President Xi is the head of the party, having replaced the former president and party-leader because the former president was too old according to party laws)

This just seems a hand-wavy excuse to end a war that you hand-wavy started, just to get the result you want.

 

E) "and sparked a 100 year peace treaty with all nations."

You only sign peace treaties with nations you are at war with, or at risk of war with. Not "all nations" ('all nations' = hand wave). Not 100 years (another hand wave, being overly neat and overly dramatic, with zero explanation or reason).

 

Obviously this isn't the whole story, and just snippets to give us the general idea, but what I'm saying is even if you took this story concept and expanded using a brilliant writer and a full novel, it'd still break immersion, because the key details are unrealistic at the core. I only mention this because unrealistic hand-waving breaks immersion. You're violating the contract you signed with me, as a consumer. The contract states that I agree to suspend disbelief as much as possible, while you agree to minimize breaks of immersion as much as possible. You are breaking immersion frequently, because your world isn't self-consistent with the perception of it you have formed in my mind when you invited me into your magic circle.

 

[Edit:] My apologies for the sloppy grammar - I was in a hurry. Hopefully this is enough to get you started re-analyzing your idea, and maybe get you to look at it from a few additional design angles.

Edited by Servant of the Lord

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