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Craig1020 last won the day on August 28

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  1. They develop in their own time, the engine is non-profit and they have no obligation to do anything. They're good programmers and easy to chat to, but we all have stuff to deal with "IRL" so cut them some slack. -Craig PS: Nice interface!
  2. Interesting read, kind of similar to income tax in many ways, applying a percentage to the first amount with increasing rates and fixed intervals, love it! -Craig
  3. Commission Graphic Packs / Code/Script modules for release with the engine
  4. Create one from the reputation system as it hits milestones as I said, it's the only way he have of measuring contributions. Total posts means nothing, 90% of your posts could be just compliments or general chat. You need to reward to donors, what's wrong with a contributor tag? Nothing. Keep it the same for all donor's and keep the minimum donation a fiver, it's not that elitist.
  5. Interesting. I'll be watching this, keep it up!
  6. Create colours for reputation, something that can't be bought. The current system of donater status works perfectly fine as most people can attain it realistically
  7. Looks fun and quirky, love the style
  8. Write them myself! If there's a specific topic you want covered let me know, they're just brief articles because an in-depth one of 20+ pages wouldn't be of much use to the majority of developers!
  9. Author: Craig Brady Version: 0.1 1. Introduction So you want to build your own Online world, like many who have come before. Let me start of by saying you've a long road ahead of you; Not to discourage any potential developers, it's just this line of work is backbreaking. There's an old figure I remember reading saying you will need to put in over 10,000 hours of ground work before you have something that can be considered a solid release. While this figure isn't an exact science by any stretch of the imagination it's important that we respect the amount of work will be required. Different people will have different development times, different software/skillset/experience all contribute to this. MMORPG's differ to traditional games as we all know. The games operate under perfect market conditions generally when it comes to in-game economies, you have hundreds, if not thousands of players who could possibly stumble upon something you didn't anticipate and break your world. Not to mention we need content that the players engage with and enjoy, while providing them with a reason to come back. ( After all, they pay the bills! ) What is the best thing about MMORPG's that no other game has to offer? It's simple, social interaction. These games are worlds inhabited by many players, who engage with each other to further themselves in the game or just to socialise. It is an outlet, and often due to the nature of these games characters can be designed to be co-dependent on each other; With teaming up and forming groups essential to complete tasks and quests and so on. They allow us to tell our story, a magnificent world in our eyes that we want others to experience and enjoy. ( Or you could be in it for the money, I don't judge ) The average person will play an MMORPG for 1.9 hours at a time for 5 sessions a week on average. I imagine this statistic fluctuates greatly and is a mathematical average as opposed to the statistical average. And your content will have to cater for not only them, but for players who playtime can greatly exceed that! Is it possible? Yes. The trick is to do it in a way that hasn't been done before, make yourself unique and stand out. Every great developer started off where you are now, it's completely possible. 2. So what should I do first? Take a deep breath and put the kettle on, what you need to do is take out a pen and some sheets of paper. This is known as a brainstorming session. What you need to write down are basics, we need to decide some things. I often compare this session to planning a fantasy novel, because that's what it is. This should serve as an example for developers. I do not pretend to be an omniscient authority on the matter by any stretch of the imagination, and some people have different development methods. Humor me and give it a shot. 1. Where is our story located? Talk about the world, sketch a crude map. Design map features like forests, mountains, rivers, hills. Don't throw them in to look cool, they all were created for a reason and they effect the world. Humans developed settlements near rivers because they needed water, etc. 2. Who are the main intelligent species of the world? What's their population, their government type? Their average Age, height and unusual characteristics? How will this work with the game play you had in mind? 3. Now that we have some races tell me their faction backstory, their leadership type and their long term goals and short term goals. 4. Tell me about the sub-intelligent species, the animals, the monsters. Get personal, draw sketches no matter how crude. Where do they come from? Why are they there? Who first discovered them? Describe them in detail and the role you want them to serve. 5. What has happened in the world up until now to make it the way it is? Has there been war, famine, a magical curse on the land? Tell me the driving force that's creating and shaping your world. What's so special about the world that it makes a player want to join at it's present state. 6. Decide about magic, decide if you want it, who uses it, how it's used and how you want it to affect the overall world. The general rules on magic are don't make it over powerful and don't use it to explain everything you can't think of a good backstory to. Think Lord of the Rings, Gandalf was more than powerful enough to take on mordor by himself ( Tolkien fanboys don't hurt me I love gandalf! ), but he never used magic unless it was an absolute neccessity, a gentle touch. 7. Fill in the finer details. Government types ( Who rules who?, class systems( is there a large wealth divide? ), Down to the type of vegetation you expect to find flourishing/ not flourishing in certain areas. 8. What makes your world unique? What type of game-play are you going to include? Does this make sense in the context of the world? This process shouldn't be rushed, it's going to be your figurative Bible. What you create here is what decides if your world will make sense to some degree or fail. What you need is something unique, something to grab players attention about this world, make them connect and want to re-visit and engage with the world. The reason being thorough here is important is that we don't want to revisit constantly to correct details, adding details within the parameters you have set is perfectly acceptable, but if we want to tackle the monumental development task than we might as well do it correctly. 3. Other types of planning. This is the part that's more the technical side. The approach most people are familiar with is the "Scrum" approach. Basically what you do is set out a series of goals to be completed over an iteration of time (Weekly/Monthly) You work and finish these goals, marking your progress as you go. Breaking the project into manageable chunks you can monitor your progress and man hours, you can see when you're productive and when you aren't and make changes accordingly. Diving in and tackling the "fun stuff" isn't a great use of your time, might be fun, but it's not what will get you finishing that game. You need to think about the following 1. What software does my team require? Do we all need a licence? Is there a free alternative? 2. Do I possess the required skillset or do we need to bring additional personnel on board? Can we afford them? Can I learn the required skills? 3. Do I have any contacts in the gaming industry? Is there anyone I can ask for advice? 4. Is the capital we have enough to see the project through to completion? Do we need an investor? 5. Is the project income from the project greater than the estimated expenditure? 6. Do I have the time to devote to a project right now? Should I join another team and gain experience/develop my skillset? When you hopefully finish your project you will also have other worries such as Marketing, hosting and management. I'll cover them another time, you don't need to know about these just yet and you're a long way out from them just yet! Earlier I advised you to create your world on paper. Now what I want you to do is break down creating your world into manageable chunks of work. This is going to be boring, but it's crucial. I want you to tell yourself the order in which you will tackle creating every aspect of the world, how the work will be distributed and estimated completion times. These can always be adjusted, but when working off a plan you'll find yourself much more focused. People are drawn to this focus and this drive, and it stops yourself reaching the stage of not being bothered to work on a project anymore, I mean you have your list of work, why not just tick one or two things off on a slow day? You'll find your enthusiasm coming back when you see that big list of completed work, and as the list ticks down you'll find your project firing towards completion! I highly recommend further research into this area, into things such as business plans and software development models. These are topics that require their own article entirely. What I wanted is to give you a quick idea into how much planning goes into creating your world on paper. Yours in development, -Craig
  10. Yeah most people are aware of these concepts, it's just meant to serve as a primer for people making the transition to multiplayer games or to hopefully refresh some of this stuff for people
  11. Brief Economic Overview for Online Games 30/08/2016 - V0.1 Note; It is not just for this Engine, it applies to all Online Worlds. Things here are a rule of thumb and a guide, not a law. 1. Introduction MMorpg's or Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games are different to traditional games, we all know this. It's a game that is played concurrently by many players around the world, all interacting in the same game world. While people do not need economic degrees to play these games, it is often advisable to have a fundamental understanding of economics when designing the virtual environment. Through this simple guide I hope to give you a basic understanding of the concepts that you need to address and look at, as well as some simplistic approaches you can apply to your own development chain to save you time down the road. Often players create items as they develop the game or "on the fly"; This practice should be discouraged as it increases development time significantly and can give rise to inconsistencies. 2. The cost of Interaction A player in a virtual world must have some costs. If a high level player can take down higher-tier dungeons/bosses with little to no cost you are doing something incorrectly. There must be a cost/benefit ratio. Examples are paying for gear to be enchanted, repaired or paying for an instanced version of the encounter with in-game currency. This is essential to offset the influx of higher level equipment into an economy. Some games require players to buy food/water to survive etc. If something is beneficial in a game it must be balanced. The law of supply and demand could have an entire article dedicated to itself; It's defined as "the amount of a commodity, product, or service available and the desire of buyers for it, considered as factors regulating its price." What the hell does this mean? It means that the more that a good is wanted the higher its price will be, and the less that a good is wanted the lower the cost will be, simple! How does this affect our worlds? If we have a high tier weapon the demand will be high so the cost will be high, but if this item is easily attainable then the cost will drop and so will demand, this could potentially break our economy as players suddenly have access to higher gear very quickly, with MMorpg's it's often hoped that the influx of new players will offset this as more people will always need this higher end gear. This often isn't the case, and eventually the market will become saturated with this item, so we must find a way to either remove the item in a fair way ( item degradation? ) or continue to introduce items scaling in power and difficulty to obtain. I'll throw in an example quickly. If we have 10 of item X entering the economy every 12 hours, than we need to ensure there is adequate demand for these. If more than 10 people are after these items we are okay, the price will hold or increase. That's great! Now if we only have 5 people who need this item what happens? The price of the weapon suddenly goes down as sellers need to offer a lower price to convince buyers to purchase one. When this happens the value of the item drops and we have a surplus of this item. On its own this isn't a major deal, it happens in real life all the time, the problem with a virtual economy is this can have a landslide effect onto other goods and you can see a game economy enter free fall in the space of a few days. 3. Adjusting Demand How can we adjust demand for an item in a way that suits our purpose and is fair to the players? This mechanism will have to be adjusted to suit your own particular project. In a fantasy project you might introduce a mechanism whereby if you have 5 swords you can merge them to create a slightly more powerful sword, this will reduce the number of original swords in circulation and create demand for a more powerful sword. In a sci-fi game you could create perhaps a more powerful fuel source that works by multiple quantities of the original commodity, once again the purpose is to create fairness and to increase demand and reduce market saturation reasonably. The sci-fi example uses a good that is perishable so it's slightly different to the fantasy example but operates fairly similarly ( It's a Geffen good which basically means some demand will always exist however, think of food). The main idea here is to make an item be used more or less so it affects the price/value in the way that suits us as developers and the player in the long term. 4. Money Sinks For dealing with currency, games introduce systems such as gambling, repairing and perishable goods. This will always exist and will require players to spend money on them, removing their currency and helping curb the accumulation of excess wealth to a degree. Most games revolve around capitalism, so we always assume that a small percentage of players will have large stores of wealth. If too many have wealth, or too little than you've designed your game with inconsistencies. If Player A decides to go to a dungeon that's high tier than how do we balance this? If there's no costs for him than he'll just accumulate wealth rapidly. So we introduce that for instance he will have to pay to repair gear if damaged, He might have to purchase potions because he wont be naturally strong enough to beat the boss; We introduce party systems that split the wealth accumulated proportionately and reasonably to stop low players accumulating wealth unfairly; We make him pay costs for a timed instance, where if he wants a shot at getting large rewards he hasto pay for that opportunity. This might come across as not that much, but long term it greatly affect everything. If a boss is swarmed with players fighting over one piece of loot than it's better for us then 100 players fighting 100 instances which could generate loot much quicker. 5. Proportionate Costs This is where a lot of indie/amateur game developers hit problems. Decide early on a formula for calculating a base introductory cost into an economy. A tier 1 sword should not be more expensive than a tier 3. The costs and attributes must mach the increments in power. If a weapon is cheap relative to it's strength than we create the supply/demand issue, demand for other items will drop, raising their prices and suddenly a tier 1 sword is more expensive than a tier 3! I always write down my items/spawns on paper first, and see do they make sense by comparing costs and values and the percentage that their various attributes differ. If it works on paper it will usually work on your game, as long as existing items are taken into account. Items with identical attributes should not differ in price unless there is an aspect we don't consider such as additional affects/aesthetic appeal etc. When it comes to money sinks the same principal should apply. A higher level dungeon should cost more to create an instance of than a lower level dungeon, proportionate to the loot that can be accumulated from such a dungeon. There can be exceptions made such as if we see a particular area is deserted and another more heavy we can attempt a de-centralization policy whereby we decrease the cost temporarily or increase the loot that can be obtained at the more deserted one within the perimeters of the dungeon. ( Let's not throw super gear into a weak dungeon ) This approach must be monitored of course, don't forget what you've done and don't make it permanent or to the extent that it can damage your economy. 6. Short/Long term adjustments Short and Long types of adjustments will make up the most part of your development as they will account for most tweaks, medium term do exist but are less common. 1. Short term is any adjustment with immediate effect that is designed to temporarily increase supply/demand before fading. 2. Long term is any adjustment with a lesser immediate effect that will over time create supply/demand and remain steady if other policies are taken into account. If we see demand of an item is soaring we need to examine why this is happening, is this what we intended? A short term adjustment is to raise the spawn rate or ability of the item to enter our game world, and while short term it might curb the price, long term it will be detrimental. This is damage control. It can also be used to test an idea before a larger roll out. We can create quick money sinks, such as adjusting the rate at which a piece of armour degrades or introducing a special requirement to use. A long term adjustment would be to look at the amount of places spawning and other factors such as why do players want this? We could increase places it can enter the world or reduce the number of places, adjust spawn rate and/or attributes. The difference here is the item is adjusted to take into account the long term economic plan, whereby a short term effect is just a quick fix to limit damage, this long term implementation should take time to see full effects, but once complete should over-ride the short term fix and stabilize the issues. It takes into account data acquired from the short term fix. If you are fixing long term strategies with short fixes you will run into issues down the road. Do it once and do it correctly. 7. Attribute balancing This is slightly off the topic from the main article, however similar concepts apply and so I will address this topic while I'm here. There are a few things to bear in mind when designing these attributes using the principles of economics. 1. Players must level proportionately on a steadily increasing curve, sometimes this skews at the end to make higher end players increasingly more powerful. 2. Attributes must be useful and serve a purpose, not because they sound cool. 3. Appropriate Strengths have Appropriate weaknesses. If magic is overpowered compared to melee for instance than more players will opt for this route ignoring melee; having detrimental long term effects. This is simple, but it will work. Using a pen and paper I want you to write down completely how you want players to increase in strength, and writing out what attributes should roughly be at each level, using this we can design how we want players to increase over time, accounting for how long we want each level to take roughly etc. These numbers are guides however, as environments with lots of players will be subject to great variation. Doing these tasks while taking overall design into account leads to smarter game environments. And it's an area we can't ignore while developing the economy we want these players to interact in, as we're essentially creating the consumers as well as the products! I strongly encourage developers to develop graphs and charts while taking all of this into account, visualization is better than any amount of writing! Using player information we can develop a general model of how players are allocating points, creating an average player which can then be used to create predictions on where players will be at certain levels, this can be used when creating furhter content. Conclusion Thanks for taking the time to read, it's a very simplistic article but I hope I even got people more interested in this type of content, it's not an after though and is a very important part of online game development. A lot of these ideas are ones that I have used before when balancing my own projects, and I'm sure many people have many different approaches. I certainly haven't covered them all and this guide is nothing more than a child when compared to the plethora of resource available, what the purpose of it hopefully has been is to get you thinking more as a developer and perhaps to shine light on something you hadn't thought of before. There's bound to be mistakes and the likes, and if you spot any please shoot me a PM and let me know so I can change it, I'd like this to be a decent resource one day. All the best. -Craig Brady
  12. Thanks @PhenomenalDev Now get out of Harambe's Cage!
  13. The tool is exceptional, can generate 100 random characters very quickly and give them accessories. The generators can also be edited with your own graphics to suit your own needs, very quick for prototyping.
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