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About microscope

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  1. Personally I don't like cover systems at all, it's too 'Hollywood' and takes me out of game. I preferred how it worked in the old days when you could lean, crouch, and sometimes lie down. The games did not specify where you should and shouldn't do this, that was just up to the player. You generally just knew that leaning around a corner was better than running around and hoping for the best. As for ducking and lying down, you just did it whenever you saw a good opportunity. The best game I've seen in terms of this, is probably Arma2 / Operation Arrowhead. That is a simulation approach of course, but if I'm playing a realistic shooter than I wouldn't want it any other way. If the game is happy to be an action shooter, then again I prefer it to achieve that some other way. Max Payne for example, you didn't need to hide behind things and peak out, you could just run in guns blazing and hit bullet time. You also had a fair amount of hit points and a regular supply of painkillers. Or Crysis, you can run very fast, engage armor mode, jump over buildings etc.. it achieves the same Hollywood-ish action packed shootin' gameplay, but without having to go from conveniently placed waist high wall to conveniently placed waist high wall.
  2. microscope

    MMO: How do you level?

    I think there are lots of smaller things that all play a part in promoting or hindering the social aspects of MMO's. For example in Everquest, the players were a LOT more friendly and sociable, in the early days at least. I think this was largely due to longer fights and very long downtime. You usually would have a big tence fight and then you would all have to 'meditate' and rest for at least a minute, to recover your health and mana. If it was a particularly tough fight, this could be a few minutes, maybe even 5 minutes or more. If this coincided with buffs wearing off and perhaps if someone died they will also need to be resurrected and then rebuffed.. this can become several minutes. This is a lot of time to be sat around, so people chatted. It was generally very mature and friendly (relatively speaking). So when I first played WoW, this was one of the main things that struck me. Fights generally were a lot shorter, and then downtime was almost none existant. So even when doing a dungeon crawl, it was fight fight fight, loot up and leave. There were no breaks and little opportunity for chatting. Seeing as this was the first MMO for most people, it created a completely different mood and etiquette to what I was used to. Not only that, but the constant questing (rather than 'camping') changes it too. In Everquest, you got XP by sitting in one spot and someone would run off and annoy enemies and bring them back to the party. You all kill them, and then sit around waiting while the 'puller' goes off to collect more enemies. So the more chilled nature was more condusive to chatting too. Unlike with WoW, where you generally are grabbing a quest, rushing off to kill whatever it wants you to kill, rush back to hand in the stuff for your reward, and then you are rushing off to the next quest in your list. This constant 'on-the-go' nature makes it a lot less sociable too. There are many other things too. Instances etc, and the fact that players are generally self sufficient in WoW affects matters. Unlike EQ where people regularly needed help from other people for binds, ressurections, buffs, teleports, etc. In other words, the entire philosophy behind these games is different. One of them paid a LOT of thought to the social aspect of the game and the other game seemed content with just letting people play the entire game by themselves. I think if you intend your game to be either one or the other, you need to think about all this stuff. p.s. I should also mention that difficulty played a big part in this too. In WoW, every class can solo easily. In Everquest, this was not the case. Some classes had a really hard time soloing, perhaps even impossible, and the game was very dangerous and brutal in general, especially in the early levels of the game. Unlike most modern MMORPG's, the world was not designed to be enjoyed, it was designed to be feared. The mobs were not just wandering around waiting to be picked off one by one like a shooting gallery, but rather, they wandered around looking for newbie blood. You could be fighting a wolf, and it could be a close fight... and a huge Orc might creep up behind you and will start attacking you too. This would often happen, even at level 1, and no consideration was given to the player being new and low level. The game seemed completely guilt-less in this respect. The enemies would seemingly happily team up together (in what people called Trains), to slaughter innocent players. For this reason, many people actually WANTED to play together, as a means of survival - simple safety in numbers. When out in the middle of a forest, if there are 3 or 4 players together in a group, you are a lot more likely to survive one of the regular 'mishaps', like a passing wolf jumping you at the wrong moment. I think it was only a bit later through the levels, once you finally learned your class (and the game) better, that some people started soloing sometimes, carefully. But for classes that couldn't solo very well, that entire game was all about finding groups. And to think that this was done before "LFG Tools" even existed!
  3. microscope

    MMO: How do you level?

    Well some MMO designers disagree with you. Some argue that it is entirely their job to get people playing together because that is the whole point of an MMO. Soloers have single player RPG's to play by themselves. In some games, soloers get in the way of everyone else, so in future games they have tried to promote grouping. Some do this with encouragement, some use punishment, some use a mixture of both, some don't care. My favourite one uses encouragement, offering XP bonuses the more people you have in the group. Solo XP is still a decent way to play, but really, everyone wants to group up together. Another game is more strict and does it by only offering good equipment from dungeons, and all dungeons have mobs that are not only more difficult, but are linked in groups to make it impossible for a soloer to even get inside. You can of course have both, content for soloers and content for groupers, but the two things are sometimes at the detrement of each other, and you are also splitting your content in half. Some people might appreciate the freedom to do both, but if you are only interested in either grouping or soloing, then you basically have half a game because it's a game that tried to please everyone. I would also say that in regard to the rest of your post about giving players what they want, there are some people who want the exact opposite of what you want. For example some people want to be able to help newbies and dislike game mechanics that stop them from doing this. Some people also resent solo players being able to do whatever they want, because they are putting in less effort than those who are coordinating groups/raids. I would also say that in general terms, one of the key principles of game design dating back to the very dawn of gaming, was actually NOT giving players what they want but rather deliberately withholding things. Often games would impose things on the player that were not fun, deliberately, because they knew that it is human nature to not give up when met with failure, but rather to try to overcome in the hope that you will bleed out some more fun from the game. It's this desire that "hooked" gamers.
  4. microscope

    Stats for pilots in RPG?

    It depends on how the game works. I played a really fun space game called Space Rangers and it's sequels. In that you had stats like Trade and Charisma. Trade made you better at trading so you could buy stuff cheaper and sell stuff at a higher cost, just like a "bartering" type skill that you get in some RPG's. And the Charisma skill meant that you made more money as the reward from missions/quests. There was also an Attack and Defense stat which basically just made your pilot better at those things and improved your damage and ability to take damage. They could be reworded to be Accuracy and Nimble-mindedness or something, but I think most players don't think about this kind of thing. You see Attack / Defense / Trade / etc and you know what they do and don't question it. For health you could just call your stat "Engineering" (or Tech) or something like that. Make out that pilot does tweaks on his ship and that increases the health.
  5. microscope

    RPG Classes

    I've played one exactly like that. I forgot it's name though. It must be around 20 years old now.
  6. microscope

    Female Enemies in Beat 'em Up

    Sexism would be NOT including them. If a feminist heard that a female was not being included because the male designers thought the little delicate flowers should be kept out of violent and dangerous situations, their heads would spin! So no, I think they should be included, and I personally consider it the opposite of sexism if anything. Go for it. As for the character being sexy, that's a bit different but ultimately the same bottom line. And lastly, I think that it is a very small percentage of gamers who would even question this kind of thing. Good luck.
  7. It's certainly possible, games used to be made by one person all the time, and some still are. Gotta look no further than Minecraft and Angry Birds. But those games are a far cry from an RPG, and miles away from an MMORPG. There is a huge difference between putting together a game that works, and putting a game that is popular and manages to maintain some popularity. With MMORPG's, I know that people churn through content so quickly. Look at something like Rift for example, one of the most expensive games out there costing many millions and employing 100+ of top people in the industry and it still took years to make. And yet, I had seen and done everything there was to do in just 3 weeks and then it got uninstalled. Not only that, but this is true even considering that most of the 'content' is crappy MMO grind content. Like you said yourself, the quests in MMORPG's tend to be very dull, "Kill 20 wolves" rather than a nice story line. The game I mentioned that was made by 3 people and was a success, it was a success in financial terms in that they managed to recover their costs and got jobs from a top games company from it. But in terms of the actual game itself, again, very few people played it for more than a month. And this was a game that was made relatively recently with similar tools that you have. It was made using Python so pretty easy to put together. So I think you could do it, but I just question how interesting and deep it can be, and whether I would be interested in playing it when my alternatives are so good. Casual gamers are not going to be interested in something like this when they can play The Witcher 2 with blood n guts n boobz and flash graphics. And hardcore RPG nerds like me, tend to be really picky and need lots of deep content. If an RPG doesn't have dozens of spells and really challenging and interesting combat (Baldur's Gate style, etc), then I'm very unlikely to play it. So you got your work cut out! So all I'm saying is that if I was you, I would be looking to get some contributions from other people.
  8. microscope

    End Game

    Nice interesting idea, although ultimately not a good one, in my opinion. I just think that from a design point of view, whatever it attempts to achieve could be achieved in other better ways, without the negative aspects of it. And from a business point of view it's basically suicidal. It wouldn't be so bad if you are guaranteed that the game will meet your sales figures for those 5 years, but no game has those guarantees and many MMO's rely desperately on their longevity. If it didn't sell well, AND was forced to close after a finite amount of time, then you could end up at a loss. Subscriptions could fizzle away over time too like most MMO's, so ideally you would need to have people pay up front for it, but that will earn you less than a subscription based mmo, and it will also be requiring quite a leap of faith from players. Without going in to the financial implications, from a design point of view, it seems a bit self destructive. You can think about how it could work and what wouldn't work etc, but at the end of the day, if it's not fun, nobody plays, and if it is fun, then people would not be happy knowing that it's going to be forcefully ended at some point. One of the big selling points of MMO's originally, was that they would potentially last forever. That is how "Everquest" was pitched to me back then, and it was something I really liked the idea of and made it stand out above other games. For this idea to work, it would have to approach it completely differently, and be more like a film, with a beginning middle and end. People don't mind knowing that a film with end after all, but it's different because the financial investment is very low and so is the emotional investment. Most importantly though, with a film, the "pay off" is usually when you watch it to the end and everything gets wrapped up nicely. With a 90 minute movie, that's easy to sit and receive. With a game that lasts 5 years, it's a very different prospect. I can't help but think that if I just play it for a few months, will it even be fun at all? What happens if in 4 years I get married and move on? Will I feel like I've wasted my time playing some average game and never got to see the conclusion? Would it feel like when my TIVO malfunctions and fails to record the crucial last 15 minutes of a film? It could work though, if just playing it in a kind of "living for today" spirit, was really enjoyable. But that is what brings me to my biggest reservation. The only reason that MMO's can keep people playing for such a long time, is that they are filled with cheap, cut and paste, drawn out content, otherwise known as the dreaded "grind". In Everquest it was sitting in one spot for countless hours, killing the same enemies over and over and over again, just to see your little experience bar increase millimetre by millimetre. In more modern MMO's, it's grind through quest after quest. Thank you for killing those 20 wasps, now if you can just kill 20 bears... I will reward you with a really nice pair of boots. You grind through the quests month after month, and eventually when you reach max level, there is yet more grinding to do. Grinding for PVP honor to buy gear, or grinding through raid after raid to get uber PVE gear. In my opinion, the *only* reason why gamers put up with this kind of gameplay, is because they feel like they are actually achieving something. They feel like they are building towards a better future. They tell themselves... 'it might feel boring and grindy now, but some day... I will be flying around on the back of a dragon, reigning destruction on all who cross me!" It is the desire to grow and someday become godlike which keeps people playing, and without that, they wouldn't put up with the usual MMO gameplay for more than 10 minutes - especially when the alternatives are so much better in single player RPG's which give a shorter but far richer experience. So with the knowledge that you will be forced to end some day, what will keep people playing? It could work, but I reckon that coming up with a none grind game that lasts 5 years is as likely as growing a money tree The longest I have ever played a none MMO game, was probably Unreal Tournament 2k4. I think I played that for about a year, maybe 18 months on and off. It's an interesting idea though, keep thinking of them. Gaming is sooo stagnant these days, it sure could use some people who think outside the box.
  9. I love the old MMORPG's. I don't really have anything to add tho. My only thought is that you should maybe consider accepting contributions, and perhaps even paying for them. Making an entire game by yourself would be so soooo much work, and there are a lot of things that would need to be good too. I know a small independent MMO that was pretty successful (they ended up selling the company and getting good jobs etc), but that was a husband and wife team, the husband doing the programming and the wife was very good at dialogue and quest writing. They also employed an art guy to help them with some extra art assets. He lived in a different country and worked as a professional artist for a game company so was very good, but he obviously did a bit of extra work on the side for them, partly because he loved his work, partly because he wanted to help out this nice couple to make a successful game, but also partly (I think) because they paid him. There are however examples of games that have people submitting content for free. Usually all they ask for, is for their name to be credited. There are lots of ways to approach it I suppose, I just wonder if it might be good for you to reach out to people who like the same kind of thing and see if you can get a helping hand from somewhere. Good luck anyway.
  10. microscope

    Flip The RPG "Hero" Role

    There are other games where you play as an evil character too. Not to mention that most good ole RPG's let you roleplay your character any way you wanted. The older Bioware games for example, you could choose to be pure evil. That doesn't mean you couldn't do it too though. Also I like your idea about flipping back and forth, Pulp Fiction stylee. Reminds me a bit of the first Call of Juarez game where you got to play as a good guy and an evil preacher who was actually chasing the good guy.. So you kind of play every location twice, once as a good guy, once as an evil guy.
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