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About JoshNet83

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  1. Topia Online - An MMORPG for game developers

    Here's our brand new Kickstarter video, it should explain any questions you guys have:
  2. Although this is more of a 'rant' than a design post, I think the future of MMORPGs is monopolizing on 'emergent behavior' and encouraging community-based interaction. Everyone suggest this is a pipe-dream, and I would like to hear your thoughts. In a true sandbox MMORPG, the developers shouldn't have a lot of control over 'emergent behavior'. In online games like Ultima Online, the development team constantly strived to 'balance' the world against 'griefers' and other disruptive players. Instead of providing the community with proper tools, the developers continually eliminated or restricted features of the game until it was no longer a real sandbox. Players are often working together to protect the world against great evils. These great evils are usually represented by NPCs in 'raid encounters' and other such mechanics. Video games will have you believe that 'good always prevails'. It's a comforting feeling to know that heroes will always come out on top. However, life in a fantasy sandbox world is not what it's cracked up to be. Emergent behavior is a powerful force in an online game, and it is oftentimes negative. Many games with PvP and open-worlds are plagued by problems because things snowball and get out of control. Griefers and 'trolls' intentionally use their freedom to disrupt play for others. They ruin it for everyone, and game developers choose to punish everyone by creating more and more gameplay boundaries and restrictions. My development team is working hard to create a game world that encourages players to work together for a common good. A community is always more powerful than it's individual parts. In our game, we have provided players with the tools to not only create their own content, but also to autonomously aid in enforcing certain behaviors. All creatures in the game are controlled and programmed by the players. However, these tools will be used for evil. We've accepted and welcome that. In this game, if you do not work together for the greater good, not only will your character die, but the entire game world can potentially collapse. The server dies because no heroes rose from the community to maintain balance and order. This isn't about griefing or hackers, this is cause and effect in a game world that is not governed by the developers. When this happens, we will relaunch a new server, giving the community another opportunity to create a world worth living in. The new world will be procedurally generated, and mankind will attempt to stand the test of time once again. I present to you, the Slimepocalypse: And ive provided a code snippet that will allow griefers to rampage in the game, consuming everything they can. My final question to the GameDev community: What will it take for players in gaming communities to truly cooperate? If griefing is prevalent, can the community as a whole stand together to stop it?
  3. Topia Online - An MMORPG for game developers

    Scripts execute within the context of your character, which means that your character must have the associated skills and resources to execute certain script commands. Therefore, you can't just code yourself 'god items' without having all the necessary prerequisites.
  4. I've been developing an MMORPG to use as a teaching tool for Javascript, HTML, and other programming concepts. It's received a huge amount of attention lately in various programming communities. I think the GameDev programming community will be especially interested to learn about it. The game is called Topia Online, and the game engine is designed to give player's full scripting capabilities and a marketplace to share their creations. Here is a screenshot of the marketplace: All creatures in the game are coded by players, limited only by their creativity and the limitations imposed based on their characters skills and resources. Scripts execute within the context of your character, so you need the appropriate abilities and reagents to invoke scripts. Players can also create their own interfaces. I am currently working on a sandbox which teaches Javascript in an interactive way. Here's a game screenshot: Our Kickstarter is trending slowly, and we're having a hard time explaining to non-programmers how they can enjoy the game. We're reaching out to a lot of IT / 'technical' communities to help us get a following. I'm not trying to advertise the Kickstarter, so I won't link it here, but I would definitely like to spark some discussion about 'programming in online games'. I also think this game will be the birth-place of very complicated automated ecosystems and society.
  5. A system of Magic/Spell Creation

    Topia Online lets users script their own spells/abilities with Javascript. Here is an example: Of course, all of the functions/properties are only executed if the caster has the neccessary magic power and reagents. We've balanced this by adding costs to invoking any of the skills and powers.
  6. Topia Online - An MMORPG for game developers

    We sure hope so too. We're realizing how difficult it is to market this sort of game now, even to the indie community. Game development is hard!
  7. Topia Online - An MMORPG for game developers

    Thank you so much! Im glad you think so, we've had a lot of trouble with people not preferring the sprites. ;-)
  8. I'm the lead developer of Topia Online, a massively multiplayer sandbox RPG. Everything in Topia Online can be programmed by the players using built-in editors. The engine itself will be licensed out to fellow indie developers so that they can create their own MMORPGs. Our Kickstarter just went live as well: [url=""][/url]
  9. I would like everyone to discuss their feelings on PVP, particularly these questions: 1. Does it feel different to be killed by a player than it does by an NPC/monster? If so, why? What if the player is controlling a monster rather than a human? 2. What weaknesses have you seen in other games which implement PVP? 3. What would make it easier for you to cope with your 'sandcastle being kicked down' by bullies or griefers? 4. Would you be more acceptable to PVP if you felt that you always had a fighting chance? 5. Do you get positive excitement from battling other players?
  10. I am developing an online HTML5 tile-based MMORPG called 'Topia Online'. It features many things that ive always wished an online game would contain. Here is the feature list: - A fully player-run world, where every creature is controlled by players. - Permadeath ensures that each player takes responsibility for their actions. - A powerful crafting system that allow players to create homes or dungeons. - Dynamic procedurally generated sandbox world with no 'safe zones'. - Every character is always 'logged in', resulting in a true persistent world. - Play as any creature in the game, including wolves, vampires, or dragons. - Built-in scripting system allows players to create artificial intelligence. - Support for thousands of scripted characters on a single game server. - Fully customizable game interface allows players to play the way they want. I am 2 months away from a beta test. I will be launching at Kickstarter at the end of November. Please follow my dev blog, wiki, and forum for information about the game. This is the first official public announcement ive made about the game. I will be discussing it in more detail in two weeks.
  11. Since I am developing a game that is specific to this topic, I figure I would weigh in on my design choices for this genre: The problem with permadeath/open pvp: The problem with most people's thinking on permadeath/pvp is that it's applied to a game that's very similar to 'modern MMORPGs'. They feature long grinds, repetitive game content, lack of 'low level fun', dying due to lag, griefers, etc. It also spawns 'take no risks' gameplay habits. Players will hide in safe areas, fight only low-level creatures, and generally avoid any risk of death. Permadeath can only be successful in games that are designed from the ground up for it. It brings numerous problems to the table that most online games have not solved. As a result, permadeath/pvp often hampers a player's ability to enjoy all of the game's content. The infamous 'rage quit' often occurs as a result of losing a high level character, which damages the overall playerbase and puts a sour taste in the victim's mouth. Solutions I am implementing to overcome the negatives of permadeath: For the most part, any 1 or 2 of the below solutions fall apart without the rest of the features to counter-balance each one. Making a permadeath game fun and rewarding is a careful balancing act. 1. Accept that players are going to die a lot, and reward them for doing so. This is the 'roguelike/realm of the mad god/arcade' solution that is often implemented. When a player dies, give them a 'score' and show them their achievements. Unlock new play styles, encourage them to try new character combinations, and provide new ways to enjoy the game. This will often create a 'okay, just one more time' mindset that will keep a player hooked to try to unlock new things each time they play. Moreover, if a player is scored and put in a 'hall of fame' list, they have some bragging rights and some remembrance of their character that they can show off to their friends even after death. 2. Implement a combat system that allows a character to defend himself in the event of disconnects/lag/AFK. This is one of the trickiest solutions, and not always recommended. Automated combat routines can be a cool feature though, when implemented properly. The idea is that if the player is not entering commands, his character will still continue to perform 'auto combat' routines. These routines could either be designed by the player themself, or by the game's creator. In my own online game, I have provided a scripting language that allows players to fully customize their character's combat routines. In traditional RPGs, this system is relatively easy to implement, though it may never be as smart as a 'real player'. However, for action-based 'twitchy' games, this solution may not work. 3. Design a game world that is equally fun and challenging at 'high level' as it is at 'low level'. Sandboxes are the perfect environment for permadeath games, because they often let the player loose to do anything that they feel like doing in the game. It is important to ensure that there are very few repetitive activities that encourage constant 'grinding'. Huge timesinks that grow a player's character will only infuriate them more so if they end up dying. Moreover, when they create a new character, they should be able to jump back into activities that they WANT to do, rather than repeat activities that they don't want to do. Advancement in the game should be based more on material possessions and 'the way they play their character' rather than 'I killed 1000 orcs'. There should also probably be diminishing returns on the character's growth, so that 'new characters' can close the gap with older characters a lot faster. (but still allow older characters to grow in 'strength' slowly) 4. It's important to encourage the player to still 'take risks'. If the player can advance simply by doing low-risk activities, there is much less incentive for them to take risks that could involve losing their character. There should be plenty of 'high risk' activities in the game that offer the player rewards that are not obtainable through low-risk means. The risk for these tasks should be clear, so that the player feels responsible for their decisions, rather than being punished for unknown random gameplay mechanics. Finally, for players that take these risks, the game should broadcast their achievements to give other players something to aspire to. In other words, high-risk actions should be visible to others. 5. Killing other players should have consequences. However, the consequences should not be so negative that it completely hampers a player's will to fight other players. In a permadeath game, the consequences will often be that if you kill by the sword, you will die by the sword. If you kill other players, chances are that someone will kill you as a result and you will lose your character. Something that I believe works is a 'bounty system', which encourages other players to seek 'murderers' to claim bounties. There could also be bonuses/incentive for a player to create a new character to hunt down and get revenge on his killer. Lastly, everyone in the game should have a fighting chance. It should be possible for groups of players to take down any single player, even if the group are 'newbies' compared to a single veteran player. This will prevent extremely 'high level' players from camping or griefing new players. 6. Losing all of your items should not be a huge deal. One of the games that did this properly was Ultima Online back in it's prime. It hurt to lose all your stuff, but you could be back on your feet within an hour usually. This is because there were diminishing returns on the quality of equipment. The difference between a 'Sword' and a 'Sword of Power' was decent, but you could still kill many things with a plain sword. Rare and awesome equipment should be present in the game, but it should not be so powerful and rare that it is completely demoralizing to lose it. As I said earlier in this paragraph, Ultima Online was an excellent example of the careful balance between items and equipment impacting full-loot gameplay. 7. Recreating a character should take less a minute. They should be able to 'save the template' for the last character to easily get back into the game. They should be able to easily use the same character name and appearance as well. Death may take all of their character's acievements, skills, and property, but it's important that they get back into the game without a click-fest. Moreover, once inside the game, they should not be forced to perform any tedious 'newbie tasks' that actual new players may have undergone. These can be account flags or options to bypass tutorials, newbie quests, and so forth. If you agree on any of my above points, please follow my progress as I develop 'Topia Online' ( ). I am exhibiting many of the above examples in this upcoming MMORPG.
  12. Thoughts on making a 'living' world

    I am working on an MMORPG that follows this pattern for persistent worlds, except it's player driven. I just got my site online at, though most of the sections will not be functional until next week.
  13. I just got my site online at . This game will probably satiate your desire for open PvP / full loot sandbox once it's released. ;-) Contact me at if the feature list excites you and you want to stay up to date on the game's progress.
  14. Programming games

    I am developing a browser-based online RPG where the characters are 'always online' and can be scripted to perform tasks while the player is offline.
  15. I could use some opinions on the various sprites that ive received from various artists for an online browser-based RPG. Here is a screenshot of the various characters: Here are the criteria for deciding on a character: - Uniqueness / iconic feel - Familiarity - Fun Does anyone have any opinions on what type of character they like best?