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MMORPG Basics: Planning


Craig1020

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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

 

 

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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!

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 8/31/2016 at 1:41 PM, Craig1020 said:

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

 

 

 

Nice advice, but I think some of the points you defined in the story making are very limiting or rather, optional/not needed.

Like defining the most intelligent species, government rule, factions etc. In my game, there won't be any factions, or types of government.

My game will be set in the afterlife after your life on earth, where you'll have to play an eternal survival game where everybody is against each other in a battle royale.

 

As for story, this is a pretty good template for the traditional mmorpg, but it doesn't hurt to go out of the canvas of known story elements and try to do your own thing.

The rest is great, though.

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@lurv Anarchy is a form of government, like atheism is a form of religion. In a world with a battle royal type system there would obviously be groups who clan together to make themselves stronger and create a defense from other people who could attack and kill them by alone being stronger (mob/gang mentality). So whoever the strongest would be essentially would have rule over the other groups and individuals. I don't want to stray from the topic tho, it was a fine post and will be very helpful for newcomers (and it was helpful). Just because in a small singular instance that his post doesn't apply to you doesn't necessary mean it isn't valid or correct, because even in your instance his rules apply. To have none is still to have something. :D

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7 minutes ago, Grizzy said:

@lurv Anarchy is a form of government, like atheism is a form of religion. In a world with a battle royal type system there would obviously be groups who clan together to make themselves stronger and create a defense from other people who could attack and kill them by alone being stronger (mob/gang mentality). So whoever the strongest would be essentially would have rule over the other groups and individuals. I don't want to stray from the topic tho, it was a fine post and will be very helpful for newcomers (and it was helpful). Just because in a small singular instance that his post doesn't apply to you doesn't necessary mean it isn't valid or correct, because even in your instance his rules apply. To have none is still to have something. :D

Yeah, it is, but I never mentioned my world being anarchic. And building bases in my game won't support more than 4 ish people so they won't be able to govern like big clans in other survival games. The game will be fair to everyone and will always remain a true battle royale through balancing. And yeah, the post is really good and helpful, i'm just trying to encourage people to go outside the canvas.

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Just to add my two pennies of experience,

 

I started out as an ideas guy. I had an idea for a game, it was glorious. But I couldn't do graphics, or program - and nobody wants to work for an ideas guy. Nobody. The ideas guy is the kid in school that during group cant and wont do anything, and expects the rest of the group to share the reward of the project with him because he said "Let's make a project."

 

So I started doing my own graphics, and they were ATROCIOUS. Seriously, they're still bouncing around Eclipse somewhere.

Then after a few years they got to an acceptable level.

 

Now that I'm not an ideas guy and I can put the graft in, I started trying to team up with Programmers, and there were many, many failed attempts. Quite simply because nobody likes working for a long time for free... So I started programming, too. It was a horrible, horrible experience but after about a year and a few failed projects, I was able to do the basics and a bit.

 

And now I'm working and programming and pixeling and making graphics for my own project, the latest of about 15 failed attempts over the years, with a solid base and it's been going for a good near-year, but it's still pretty much the same concept of that first game I wanted to make 11 years ago.

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@Azkanan makes a fantastic point, and I think I'll try to reinforce it. Peeps, little Sue Sally down the block has ideas. During my brief and inexperienced pursuit of game development for a living (ongoing lol) I've run into plenty of people that want to make games, but simply have no required skills to do so. This would be fine, however, if they were just open to trying to attain those skills. I started out as a simple writer and musician in game dev. It took me a while, but after a few years of hobby programming I've grown rather proficient at it. Never read a book, never took a class. Dedication got me to where I am and if I had to pick a trait in which to possess to pursue games as a living, or even a hobby, dedication would be it.

 

Anywho, if you're the idea guy and you want to create a game, show some dedication and read some pointers on programming, artwork, or good storybuilding.

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^ True point. I started out as simply an idea guy... except my ideas weren't even original. My first attempt at a MMO was a Pokemon clone which is laughable since I didn't have the skills to find/collect needed resources let alone write a line of code.

 

It has taken many years but here I am today, I can write some code now.. not a whole lot has changed but at the very least I could work or contribute on a few projects... that's something :P

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  • 5 years later...

me gusta esta clase de¬†personas , todas son como yo mismo, el tipo de¬† las ideas. todo me retrata a mis pasados conscientes, y mis ganas desde¬† mas de 15 a√Īo en crear un video juego, paraa mi que¬†sea de la clase q sea, q sea mi juego, ahoa claro estan las ideas mejoradas pero en mi cabeza, no hay un dia en que no sue√Īe alguna idea para mi juego, interset parese ser mi nueva fuente fuente de inspiracion, q bendicion este moto¬† ///¬† ¬†

i like this kind of people, they are all like myself, the guy of ideas. everything portrays me to my conscious past, and my desire since more than 15 years to create a video game, for me that is of the kind that is, that is my game, now of course the ideas are improved but in my head, there is not a day that i do not dream some idea for my game, interset seems to be my new source of inspiration, what a blessing this engine.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

r

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