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Critical_Waste

So you want to make an MMORPG?

51 posts in this topic

So you want to make a MMORPG? Or any type of game for that matter? I will let you in on a few secrets that will help you reach your goals. 1. Write down what you would REALLY like to achive with your goals. 2. Read what you wrote down and consider just how that goal is actually going to be fulfilled. 3. Write down your new goals you would like to achive. Read and repete process until you can no longer use a pen and paper to reach your goals. The above example is extremely simple but it is effective. Now if your smart expand upon it into other areas. Some logical steps might be to start on a design document or doing some research. With a little digging you would be surprised at what has already been done. Take this and expand. Set to work. Get to work. Make it happen, however possible, if that is what you want to do. Because your game will never become finshed with just a good idea. Thank you for humoring me.
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I''ve read somewhere (I think in some forum post from an industry professional) that MMO games are very tough to implement, and that its just not something for the spare-time game developer (like many of us here).

I suspect that it is true. How many MMORPGs and other MMO games have come from small bands of amateur developers?

It does seem a bit outrageous to announce intentions of making a MMORPG, without any experience in making even a simple single player design.
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We used to laugh at the newbies who wanted to write a first person shooter like Quake, the game of the moment. We knew that maybe one in fifty or so would actually succeed, and by ''succeed'' we were being generous. The more design-biased newbies would want to write RPGs, and again we could laugh as RPGs are notoriously difficult to complete due to the masses of content required.

These days, the same type of newbie comes along and says that they want to make an MMORPG, which is the current flavour of the month. This is even more futile, as an MMORPG requires 90% of the graphical element of first person shooters like Quake, a more robust networking model than any shooter, all the complexity of RPGs, plus social issues that even the industry giants haven''t cracked yet. It''s even more laughable.

Now, I expect a very small minority of people will actually go on to succeed. But I really wouldn''t recommend trying it on that basis. The odds are against you, and failure is discouraging, so it''s always better to start small. Just look at the first games written by the likes of Richard Garriot or John Carmack to see what I mean by ''small''.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files ]
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Talk about that... I''ve been creating my RPG for 6 years now.
Man it''s going to beat all games that were ever made
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quote:
We used to laugh at the newbies who wanted to write a first person shooter


quote:
The more design-biased newbies would want to write RPGs, and again we could laugh


quote:
the same type of newbie comes along and says that they want to make an MMORPG... ...It''s even more laughable.


/me thinks that Kylotan spends too much time laughing at other people.

Good thing that you laughed at people wanting to make MMOGs, AC was done by a group of amateurs. DAoC was made in 18 months, including a rewrite of the skills.

While I think that these aren''t two of the best examples of the genre (actually I think that there aren''t any good examples right now, EQ was good when it came out, as was UO, but those seem to be the exceptions), DAoC is largely successful, with over 200k subscriptions, if their press release wasn''t misleading (stating total subscriptions, including cancelled) and AC was pretty much rather blah, but it had/has a very loyal following. I''m pretty sure that Microsoft is happy enough with what they achieved that they are having them make a much more powerful game that will be the centerpiece of their online gaming offerings for the X-Box.

I''m suprised that you are a moderator in the forums for a game development site that is (95%) compromised of amateurs and ''newbies'' (at least to the gaming industry) and you spend most of your time laughing at them. Maybe you should resign your position if all you do is laugh at the ''newbie'' developers, or maybe qualify your statements a little better.
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quote:
Maybe you should resign your position if all you do is laugh at the ''newbie'' developers, or maybe qualify your statements a little better.


I''d rather hear laughter when I propose an idea, even ridiculing laughter, than lies (''sure, go ahead, make that MMORPG. You can do it!''). There''s something refreshing about someone saying ''you can''t do that''. Of course, a statement like that goes in better when it comes paired with ''but, you do this much easier thing and then perhaps one day move on to more difficult things.''

Dreaming can be nice... but it can also be a waste of time. I''ve banged my head enough times by now, but I still dream too much. Good thing we have people like Kylotan around

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Of course I would assume that Kylotan is a very successful game developer himself...right...?
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The problem for newbies is they see "MMORPG" when that isn''t the case. There''s "MMO" and "RPG." Once you see it at two seperate concepts and can visualize multiplayer when writing code, turing any game to a MMO game is cake.

Gang Wars (MMORPG) was written in 10 days from design to release (see site for source code). Newbies can do it and in a reasonable amount of time (6 months to a year I''d guess). I''m not exactly new at this genre so I can do it significantly faster.

When designing an MMORPG you don''t consider what the MMO part can and cannot do. Forget MMO. Focus only on the RPG part. Once you have a working RPG (graphics, sound, input) then worry about MMO.

It took a week to turn Tombstone from single player to MMO having never done an MMO before simply because the code was designed like an MMO even though it was single player.

Also there''s a huge difference between amature and newbie. A newbie is new and uneducated. An amature just isn''t paid. Amature doesn''t define skill. Newbie does. A newbie could not create Gang Wars in 10 days. An experienced amature could. And no, a newbie should not attempt an MMO of any genre they have never done as a single player first. Do the RPG first. Then add MMO.

Ben


IcarusIndie.com [ The Rabbit Hole | The Labyrinth | DevZone | Gang Wars | The Wall | Hosting ]
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"Realistically speaking you need a team of 10 or more developers for about four years, full time. And those 10 people had better know what they''re doing to begin with. All those four years you will have to pay their salaries, hardware, office space, whatnot. That requires couple things: a company, and funding."

That''s the biggest load of crap I''ve ever read on a single page. I don''t know where you got that llyod but if you wrote it, you should erase it because it''s crap. Realistically speaking you have no idea what it takes to create an MMORPG.

Anybody with two networked computers can create an MMORPG. You could even do it on one computer if you''re in to that sort of self inflicted suffering. As I said in my previous post it took 10 days with just me to create Gang Wars which supports up to 1024 (arbitrary. It could be more if I wanted to up it.) players. It cost me $0 to make.

Obviously these newbies are not going for Everquest. If you''d like to change your title to "So You Want to Clone Everquest" maybe...just maybe...you might have a case. As it stands that page is a just a collection of some of the biggest myths going. MMOPRGs aren''t as complicated as you''d like to make them out to be.

Ben


IcarusIndie.com [ The Rabbit Hole | The Labyrinth | DevZone | Gang Wars | The Wall | Hosting ]
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While I don''t think that 10 days is practical for an MMOG, I do agree for the mostpart with KalvinB.

It''s two completely different projects and the client is little more than a pretty dumb terminal to display graphics. The server is where everything happens and it''s easier than a regular RPG because you don''t have to worry about the load that the graphics will pull. So long as you have a good, distributed setup for the servers, you''re good to go and your main problem will become creating the content. Hard? Yes. Impossible for a team of experienced graphic content designers, a couple of decent AI programmers and a good mapping tool for the mappers to use? Hardly.

Is my team a group of experienced game programmers? Not all of them. We have a couple of experienced game programmers and they work on the client with graphics. Graphics? All professional modelers and artists. Music? OK, he''s experienced with games industry too. Server programmers? Only the AI guys really need to have game programming experience, all of the others are professional server/client programmers and database programmers.

You think that a game programmer could build a database as well as a programmer that builds databases day in and day out for accounting and ERP vendors? There is a world of difference between an MMOG and a regular computer game. MMOGs are really better off going after half a team of experienced game programmers and the other half they should pull from other industries because it''s a whole other world in the MMO arena. Half of it is content and display, the other half is nothing like any game.
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I am planning to write an article about my work on a "online rpg" called Whispers in Akarra (http://akarra.planetqs.com) when I feel that I've achieved at least the basic features of what I wanted from the beginning. This goal has yet to be reached, but I thought I should spend a few words here.

Don't do an online rpg. Simple.

I am a programmer with many years of programming experience, and two years in the game development industry. Look at the game I've made... it has very simple graphics and some monsters, but no items/guilds/skills/classes/"huge landscapes"/"thousand items"/"crime systems" or whatever else you might come up with. I've been working on this game since september last year... that's (nearly) every evening, weekend, holiday and extra hours I could get during TEN MONTHS . And you're talking about your cool spell system? Allow me to laugh together with Kylotan: LOL

Every morning me and my colleagues check through the gamedev forums for any new "great game ideas" that more often than not sounds like "game X, but with more stuff", and laugh at them. This is not because we're evil, but because we've been there too. Know your limitations. Don't do an MMORPG if you haven't done...

- A game (any game).
- A single-player rpg with working GUI (not to be underestimated).
- A single-player game with similar gfx as you want in your MMORPG (ie, a FPS for most of you).
- A multi-player game (not turn-based).

As a final note... I searched through my Akarra project folders for *.cpp and *.h and found 370 files. Food for thought.

(end of rant... you wanna play with me? I gladly create accounts for you Hopefully items will be added in the next version.)

EDIT: Fixed some typos...


[edited by - Khaile on June 20, 2002 5:52:59 PM]
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I''ve had my ideas for this military RTS game I''m working on for about 2 years now. I''m only just now sitting down and experimenting with reticles and adding to an engine I''ve had sitting there for a while. I''m beginning to realize it probably is just a hobby and something I do not want to do full time.

I wish I could figure out what I really wanted to do full time, though! I''d really like to land somewhere where I can say to myself, "Yes, THIS is what I''ve been working towards." But I guess not all of us can be that lucky every year of our lives.

If you''re convinced you were born to make games, trust me. Go outside every once in a while, climb a tree. You''ll find your appreciation for games and your burning desire to make them is NOT an ends in itself. Our appreciation for many other things in our lives helps fuel what we enjoy about games and programming them. If you put all your energy into games and focus on nothing else, it could all fall flat someday and you''ll be left with a very serious rut to get out of.
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*scratches head*

I don't understand why people are going on and on about how hard it is to develop an mmorpg. I was able to create a simple (and I mean SIMPLE) tile-based engine in about 3 hours. Granted, it was with Python, not C++, so development time was far less, but still, it was something, and it DID something. All with a programming language that I had just decided to learn earlier that evening.

Now, like I said, C++ is far more difficult, and I have no intentions of touching it until I can take some classes (books just don't cut it for me with C++. Go figure).

I don't think the issue is actually creating the MMORPG is the problem. In fact, I think it's an excellent way to learn a LOT about game development, as long as you are willing to accept failure many times, and having to rewrite the code. But that's how you learn, from your mistakes. My little tile-based engine impressed the hell out of me, but it was written without proper planning, and no object orientation taken into account. For me, the engine taught me some of the finer points about Python and Pygame. In turn, Python has taught me a little about OO programming. C++ was extremely frustrating because without a good teacher, OO design went completely over my head. I couldn't get classes to work, I had no idea what to put into which functions, and worrying about scope was a nightmare. Hell, the post before this is me asking for help on data structure! Slowly, I'm learning.

You know what, laughing at someone is a little excessive. Telling them that chances are they'll give up on the project before they finish it might be a little more effective. I mean, EVERYBODY is a newbie at one point or another. Who says that newbie you laughed at might be the next Richard Garriot.

Newbies: This is all coming from a fellow newbie. Want some inspiration? Take a look at the articles. Or visit Sourceforge.net. It's an excellent place for the aspiring programmer. There, you can see how other people do it (by looking at their source) and the like. And just because someone laughs at your ideas, doesn't mean it's not possible. But realize, taking on an MMORPG project is a laughable cause if you have no experience. I myself, I like getting in completely over myhead

EDIT: Almost forgot. Don't take the advice and criticism of your veterans for granted. Though it may not come to you in a form you like, you'd be surprised how much they can help by merely saying you screwed up somewhere

[edited by - artemisx on June 20, 2002 6:13:53 PM]
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quote:
Original post by Waverider
I''ve had my ideas for this military RTS game I''m working on for about 2 years now. I''m only just now sitting down and experimenting with reticles and adding to an engine I''ve had sitting there for a while. I''m beginning to realize it probably is just a hobby and something I do not want to do full time.

I wish I could figure out what I really wanted to do full time, though! I''d really like to land somewhere where I can say to myself, "Yes, THIS is what I''ve been working towards." But I guess not all of us can be that lucky every year of our lives.

If you''re convinced you were born to make games, trust me. Go outside every once in a while, climb a tree. You''ll find your appreciation for games and your burning desire to make them is NOT an ends in itself. Our appreciation for many other things in our lives helps fuel what we enjoy about games and programming them. If you put all your energy into games and focus on nothing else, it could all fall flat someday and you''ll be left with a very serious rut to get out of.


Feels very off-topic but I must admit that is true about me. I''ve always loved games and have never done anything else (hasn''t been computer games only, though... lots of pen-and-paper rpg and tabletops), and now I''m stuck. I''m working at a game company and my spare-time hobby is game programming. Dunno about the rut... don''t doubt you, though. Are you talking out of personal experience?
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quote:
Original post by ArtemisX
I don''t understand why people are going on and on about how hard it is to develop an mmorpg. I was able to create a simple (and I mean SIMPLE) tile-based engine in about 3 hours. Granted, it was with Python, not C++, so development time was far less, but still, it was something, and it DID something. All with a programming language that I had just decided to learn earlier that evening.



Hmm... that''s the problem, in my opinion. Inexperienced programmers (no offence) believe the graphics engine is the hard part and go on making "terrain engines" or whatever. It''s not. Trust me.
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Khalie: Oh trust me. I''ve realized the graphics engine is the easy part

It''s just merely an example. I''ve NEVER been able to get a decent result in my previous endeavours, but the tile engine, well, it was something tangible. Until that point, I didn''t think I''d ever get anything to run.

As it stands, things like AI, combat engines, magic systems, etc. are all out of my league. But with a little dedication and a lot of caffeine, I know something will show up.

Plus, I doubt many of the people here plan on going professional with the MMORPG they''ve designed. I personally just want to say I''ve done it. Bragging rights Plus it''s a hobby, and it''s entertaining as hell to me. Not to mention no one else has really created a full-fledged MMORPG in Python, so I thought I''d give it a whack
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M)assive M)ultiplayer O)nline

Diablo would be only a MORPG if you call it a RPG at all.
Everquest, UO and the like would be MMORPG.

As I still think most are MMOH&SG
(Massive Multiuser Online Hack&Slash Games)

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My 2 cents:

Motivation and perseverance may lead you everywhere.
(Except if you are really dumb perhaps).

Don't listen to those defeatists people around here. When I started my project with some friends, some people laughed at us. Now that's us who're laughing at them.

And if you have not the recquired competence to accomplish your dream, the time spent for your project will not be lost, you will gain experience in every cases.





[edited by - Khelz on June 21, 2002 10:32:17 AM]
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Most of you guys seem to be ignoring the biggest part of creating/running a MMORPG: actually running the game . KalvinB, you said that you finished GangWars in 10 days, and that it supports 1024 people. Do you actually have a server up and running 24/7 that allows people to log in and play? Are you able to keep lag and hacking to a minimum? I am not trying to be a jerk, and kudos to you if GangWars is online and running smooth! Unfortunately, it is not realistic for any newbie to think that he/she can actually get a MMORPG online, even if they are able to "finish" coding it. A physical server to run a MMORPG from that can handle more than a handful of users will cost multiple thousands of dollars. A full-time internet connection will cost over $1,000 per month. Lastly, taking the example of Everquest, they spent months (years?) perfecting and adding on to the game's code, simply because of an ever-increasing user base and miscellaneous bug maintenance. As the article that llyod linked to described, you will need a team of skilled people maintaining the game 24/7, acting both as Moderators and maintenance programmers.

We are not trying to be "defeatists". We are just trying to warn newbies away from the same path most of us surely took at one time: Wanting to make the best game ever, our own version of a Quake/EverQuest/Command & Conquer-killer. Finishing a simple game first will increase someone's confidence MUCH more than failing to finish a huge one.

You don't learn to drive a car before you learn to walk. It's as simple as that.

[edited by - doctorsixstring on June 21, 2002 10:54:00 AM]
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I''m just gonna give two examples of successfull amateur MMORPGS (Graphical Mud-style).

www.realmsofkaos.com
-> 200 to 300 players online at the same time, growing community, server running on a T1.

www.nightmist.co.uk
-> 40 to 60 players online, server running on a simple cable modem (that kind of connection runs 24/7 and is accessible to everyone).

Well those games are both free. Okay that''s not a full 3D
everquest but that''s an EVIDENCE that amateurs will not be able to do better in terms of techniques and performances than professional companies. I''ve never seen a newbie claming to do better than professional companies (or they''have to be really stupid). BUT there''s more place for creativity in amateurs projects, that''s why I believe in them, and that''s why I don''t laugh at someone who wants to get into MMORPG programmation.


------
GameDev''er 4 ever.
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quote:
Okay that''s not a full 3D everquest but that''s an EVIDENCE that amateurs will not be able to do better in terms of techniques and performances than professional companies.

I guess it depends on what people define as ''better''. I''m betting that most of the ''better'' evaluation is based on graphics.
quote:
BUT there''s more place for creativity in amateurs projects

See, now MY definition of ''better'' usually is based mostly on gameplay, originality and creativity.

What it all boils down to is
a) creating a good game is hard
b) creating an online game is hard
c) creating a multiplayer game is hard
d) creating a good multiplayer online game is very, very hard

...but it can be done.
(especially if graphics can be sacrificed)
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I totally agree with you SilverMyst.

It IS hard, and that''s why I love it. If it were too easy it wouldn''t be fun at all

If you think you can handle it, if you take a lot of pleasure from doing it, and if you have the time to do it, then just do it.

And I''m one of those who thinks graphics can (must?) be sacrified for amateur teams.


------
GameDev''er 4 ever.
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