Going on 30 years of gaming now, while admittedly what I know about programing would not fill Bill Gate's lil creamer cup that he puts in his coffee.
What I do know is game mechanics, and gamers. I've actually played games with folks from the old TSR team so yes Im a Dinasaur. I've created table top dice game systems for a gaming group I was once a part of... and no it was not my group of 5 nerdy buddies that got together on the weekends, it was known as New Horizons Gaming Guild and boasted an active membership of 90 people, playing games our members created, MTG, Vampire the Masqurade both book and live version, Live action Boffo, Shadowrun, Paranoia, Ogre, GURPS, D&D, Dragon Dice, and the list goes on and on.
What bothers me about the current generation of games is they keep cookie cutting the same old race, class, and leveling senario. The game producers throw in a few new skills, a new class, small world expansions, etc to try to keep interest. If you want an example of this just check out WoW.
I hope and I pray that very soon producers wake up and realize its possible in this day and age, with the current technology, to create something much greater.
If any of you out there know of a MMORPG out there that is not Race, Class, Level based please direct me to it.
If any of you want to understand better how to break out of the RCL rut just ask because I do have the mechanics worked out as to how to get around just that and I'm getting too damn old to go hunting around for some development team to make what I know a reality.
Life is but and ocean
We ships upon its waters
So come set sail with me
To a "New Horizon"
Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't Funcom, the developers of The Secret World, continually saying that The Secret World doesn't have levelling or class systems.
It does have 3 factions but its hard to get away from that if you want to overarching war in game between 3 large sets of people.
Anyway you should check out some of the developer interviews, they have some interesting concepts that they are implementing. But largely it comes down giving the player a greater degree of choice of how they want to build there character, and give them the ability to tweak or change that build completely depending on the situation.
Just finished reviewing the con interviews on The Secret World. I find it interesting that the inventors group representative I spoke with a couple years back about classless, levelless systems actually told me he had some ties with EA games. He did have some interest in what I was talking about but quickly started going into a speal of how I would get very little finacial gain out of it.
What I was hearing still falls way short of the mechanics I'm talking of however. The mechanics I have worked out allows for limitless races. The attribute system is tweaked in such a way that allows for never ending growth. Also imagine a game world that is not static where everything can always be changing. Where crafting is not just something you do when your buddies are not around but actually has real bearing on the world. Then your scratching the surface of what I have in mind.
Made the table top dice version to this all about 15 years ago and hosted it in fantasy, contemporary, space, superhero, and post apocolyptic genres with my son and his friends, but I have never let it any further loose than that. Always holding on to the hope that I might meet the right person or people to take it to.
Time after Time
With every line
Nothing but Perfection
At the end of the ryhme
I have lot's of RCL free RPG systems I have tested.
In game play terms, I find the ones that allow "feats" work best.
Say you spend some of your hard earned expierience on a generic sword play skill. When you get proficient enough in that skill, the "sword breaker" feat becomes available to buy.
That sort of thing works well in modern games as the feats can be mapped to a key chain for the end user.
I agree though that the main stream games developers have no balls. They tweak and play with this or that rather than rewriting and redesigning. It's not just in RPG's that this applies, Call of Duty uses ancient game logic.
I don't know if you've played it, but the basic game logic is...
1) Hit waypoint. Infinite enemies come from these locations until you hit next waypoint.
2) Hit waypoint. Infinite enemies come from these locations until you destroy this item.
In this day and age you should be able to model communications and troop movement.
I think the problem is that the cost of developing a AAA game is so vast that taking a risk and changing something that people like and have "bought into" is considered too dangerous.
Most development houses are one flop away from closing.
Square Enix have played around with their combat system more than most, but I hate their games designers with a passion.
LET ME SAVE MY F&*&*ING GAME WHEN I WANT TO
The shear audacity of assuming I have a couple of hours free to play their game without saving winds me up like a five year old on jolt cola.
Also when I walk into a building killing weak enemies, I don't expect the same enemies to suddenly be so powerful they kill my entire party the instant I step out of the building.
Has evolution suddenly jumped in the five minutes I was in the room?
There are so many examples of poor coding and bad design in the market at the moment, but people buy the games, so what can we do?
LOL I call it Call of Dooky. I loved Modern Warefare II up to the three or four week mark when all the mods started hitting the Infinity Ward forums. It was beyond me why a company would support and condone the bastardization of their own game. Walked into a match where the whole map was exploding with carpet bombs. Another match they were shield bashing each other across the maps. I just don't get it, perhaps its a generational thing.
Oh what the hell... I'm tired of trying to find a good game so maybe some developer will actually pay attention.
The base behind an anti RCL game with infinite growth is a point system. Honestly what i've built on table top was an infinite race system instead of raceless but it was left up to the player to define their race.
The point system works on three levels. First is the body construct. Body construct is the most expensive part of the point base because it is the base of your character. First part being buying your size. The way I defined size in the games I built was in this fashion... Huge x4, Giant x2, Human x1 Small X.5 the multipliers are modifiers for damage, defense ect. If the base cost for human was 2000 points then for giant was 8000 points.
Next in body construct was form. Forms included Gaseous, Gelatinous, Skeletal, and Exo Skeletal. Again there were the modifiers.
Next in body construct was fleshing to allow for character definability. Each fleshing has defensive ratings. Feathers x .5, skin x 1, hide, x2, scales x3, mineral x4. If skin cost was 1000 points then mineral would be 4000 etc.
Finally in body construct was all the body parts one might want Horns, eyes, tentacles, digits, wings, gills, muzzle, fangs, blah, blah, blah. This allowed for the creation of nearly every possible creature in evolution.
Note this format also makes random creature generation possible on a point based system. This is what fueled my format for the "Hunter Skill" While in my game monstes did randomly appear I also make it possible for my hack and slash enjoyers to have a skill that allowed them to attract monsters. The higher their skill the larger the beast attracted and consequently the greater the reward.
So with your character fleshed out you went on to Attributes. I called my attribute system the "CGC" Character Genetic Code. It was a 16 attribute system with 8 birth attributes and 8 secondary attributes. You were given 400 points to spend in the birthing of your character this meant if you wanted to make an average person you would have 50 points in each attribute. On a 100% based randomization that gave you a 50/50 chance of succeeding in dice rolls. You could however lean your character to more physical, magical, or mental in the attributes depending upon how you spent the points.
From the attributes you went to skills. Skills are what made what you could do. The way the system was made allowed for oddities. Has anyone ever seen someone without arms play the piano with their toes? I have thus the reason for limitless progression of skills. If you choose to practice something long enough even if you may not be equiped for it you can still become extremely profficient at it.
The point system was all encompassing. You were only given starting points enought to make a base human character. The points broke down where 10 body points = 100 attribute points = 10,000 skill points. In the game play 1 skill point = 1 credit and credits were the base monitary system. Why make your monitary system the same thing that is used to progress your character? Simple... same as our own monitary system supply and demand. You dont have to buy "things" to become stronger you can simply raise your character's abilities. But you can also do trades that raise stats as well.. Think of an armor smith that can infinitely raise his skills at making armor. Once they reach 100% on their abilities they start creating modifiers +1 to infinity
The skill system buy up is logrithmic 100 200 400 800 1600 3200 6400 and so on to infinity however that next level is always achievable.
Time for work later I will discuss world interactions.
I think the skill point system is also legacy and unrealistic. How can it possible to learn bow mastery with experience earned on killing monsters with axe!? I think a skill can be learned only with activity related to that skill. Fireball casting can be improved with training of the firewall chanting but not with sword exercises. This system can automatically lead to the character classes separation as it's most effective to train existing skills rather than absolutely new.
All those things are just game extenders. What's needed, in my mind, is to actually make games smaller by eliminating some of them. Not all, but by having fewer, they mean more. You gain something at the end of a longer quest and nearly nothing during battles so you need to conserve resources. Also, fights need to focus more on strategy and that means they need to be less random and more evenly matched. Story should be more important and be the main reward. You discover something and that opens up the next quest. Less is more.
First per Smiles comment. I work in building maintenance and the money, aka credits I earn there I take to a shooting range to buy and learn to fire a weapon. So I learned firearms from doing maintenance work. Pig farmers send their children to college off of money earned from pig farming to become computer programers. So the purchasing of skills I don't see as unrealistic. Some people like grinding and will probably buy up their axe skill with credits earned from kill critters with their axe nothing wrong with that, but a game creator in my thoughts needs to look past just the hack and slash players because there is a whole other group of players that after they master all the trades of a game and complete all the quests they move on to the next game. Why? because there is no reason to stay.
Next fireside I could not agree more with you all you saw so far was my CGC section of my ideas. Now lets talks about the actual game world. I hate static worlds and lets face it thats what everyone has made to date. All the crafting materials spawn in the same place. The towns never change until the game creators do some huge event. The quests are always the same. Hell in WoW I got to the point where I did not even have to read all I did was run my same old circuit of quests and could blindly level a character to 40 in a weekend. Thats not gaming thats just doing boring math problems all weekend.
How do you break free of having a static world? Make the Player Characters the NPCs. How do you make the Players give other Players quests? Create Needs. How do you create needs? The players actually build the meat of the world. My version of a none static world has only the base land masses, mountains, rivers, oceans, deserts, grasslands, tundras. There is one town to start whole world. In that town are people who only sell seeds, tools, and simple weapons. The rest are made only by players. In this game the skills make the person define who they are and what they want to do in the game.
Leadership - Someone with the leadership skills gives a party buffs on the low end of skills but on the upper end they can become mayors, generals, lords, kings. They can actually enter a section of the game where they can set tax rates for their town, castle, feifdom, kingdom. Of which they can earn credits. But to make those first steps to work up to becoming a king they need, carpenters, masons, heralds, scribes, so on and so forth.
Weapons Smith - can make all sorts of weapons to infinity bonuses howerver they need engineers to build a mine, miners to mine the ore, carpenters and masons to build their buildings
Fletchers - can make bows and arrows however they need farmers to plant trees, harvesters to harvest lumber, engineers to make lathes, hunters to kill feathered creatures.
So on and so forth.
So whole forests can rise up over night in areas as well as whole towns just from the players building things. They can also be destroyed over night through wars between neighboring kingdoms.
You have to think beyond the hack and slash battle and into a completely knew virtual reality. Players will not only have an effect on a game world like this they will control it.
I know what some people will be thinking too. What if a single player starts getting too powerful? Well just as there is old age and death in the real world there is old age and death in the game.
I know there are programers out their cringing at trying to figure out the strings of codes for doing this but honestly its not all that involved. There does not have to be huge differences in all the trees in the world for example there can be just a few visuals and the values of the trees would come from the skills of the farmer, and harvester. A begining farmer and harvester might be getting lumber X1 where someone who has done it for a few years are getting lumber x10. This lumber depending on the skill of the carpenter might be making a staff x1 or a staff x10 and if x10 lumber is turned into staff by a x10 carpenter you have a x100 staff.... everything hinges on the other things.
There will always be player to player involvement thus there will be limited need for quests to gain skills. Because by your trade what ever those trades are you will gain credits. With no need to do quests GM's will no longer have to listen to the crap of "Blah quest is broken again" "I did not get the X15 leather drop from the boss like I was supposed to" So GM's will be free to do real things that improve game play like host special events. Design and Run special dungeons. You know like the good old days in table top when the GMs would actually challenge players rather than just play mommy and wipe their noses.
Oh and did I mention with simplified worlds you also have the possibility of Space games where you actually have multiple worlds to explore and do business with rather than being stuck in one.
Of course there are powers as well. Lycanthrope, Vampirism, Telekinisis, Magic, blah, blah, blah. These naturally run more expensive than standard skills
Also remember that the skills are based off of a 16 attribute system so it becomes necessary to work toward raising attributes.
Another skill I toyed with in my mind was Wealth for those who dont get as much time to play as others so that they could accrue credits daily even when they were not in game. For us old working folk that pour 36 hours of game time into a weekend and then dont play through the week.
Thats the guts and gile of it. Feel free to ask me specifics of how to handle anything in particular I have most likely put thought into it.
Well, actually I'm thinking about a game world like yours (around 10 years of thinking ). I have the same basic ideas: players as NPC (there is nothing NPC can do while players cannot) and players build world. But I think my idea is more detailed (years didn't wasted) and you don't see the problems that lay ahead.
First of all, playing regular craftsman is dead boring. Second, to support stable economy game characters must present 24/7. What is the meaning of a village shop which is always closed and salesman is offline? How to defend a town when defenders are offline?
My answer is ingame bot. Player create a smith character, train him, put in a forge and then logout. Smith automatically shoe horses, make money and support economy. In the same time player can create carpenter, farmer, trooper and then switch and play the hero character most of the time.
Another large problem is technical. World must be large and dynamic, for mining and large construction work ground must be diggable. Especially hard to program, I think, are dynamic land surface and water dynamic. Also AI for ingame bots also not simple.
P.S. buying skills from NPC is not consistent with players as NPC idea. In my variant you can learn from a player which already have required skill.
First of all, playing regular craftsman is dead boring.
I agree. Your idea is good. Not very many people would be into that side of things. Having a personal bot is a good solution. That's basically how strategy games work. I mainly don't like strategy games because they get too big with too many NPC's to handle. If I had a party of 8 or something and left two to do chores, that would be more interesting.
Another large problem is technical. World must be large and dynamic, for mining and large construction work ground must be diggable. Especially hard to program, I think, are dynamic land surface and water dynamic. Also AI for ingame bots also not simple.
That would be overkill in my mind. Representation would be enough. If a field looked like a farm field, or a mine or whatever, that would be fine since it's just a bot anyway. Those kind of things, especially if you are an individual or a small group, end up killing a project.
Personally I'm looking forward to two major trends that will merge the real world with the virtual, in-game world:
1) Location-based mobile games. Imagine that you and someone at your bus stop can suddenly both be dropped into a fight against an oncoming zombie horde. Not only would this make gaming spontaneous and fun, but it could lead to fun ice breakers. A Party system would also give a group of friends the ability to move as a unit and face challenges together throughout the night. We spend a lot of time in the real world, so why shouldn't games incorporate it?
2) Real-money games. Right now, players play social games like Zynga for nothing other than the thrill of it. They pay for virtual currency which is literally worthless and provides only negative ROI for the player. This is part of the reason why only 1-5% of players end up paying for virtual goods. They see nothing but monetary downside, even with the potential upside that their virtual currency purchase will bring to their game. With real-money play (essentially, social games + gambling), players will be able to win money and cash out while playing their games, making them much more likely to "buy in" in the first place. Also, playing for real money has the potential to make games more exciting and peer-to-peer play more intense.
I'm kind of in the same boat here.
I'm an old time gamer as well. I've been playing video games since the 70's, have had consoles from that time period on ( Atari, NES, SEGA, PS2, Wii, XBox 360 ) , have been playing computer games since the 80's, have been playing MMO's for over 10 years, have beta tested many of them ( WoW, SB, AOC, Rift ) , and have played over 10 MMO's.
I have been kicking around an idea for an MMO that would pretty much revamp the whole thing, but I have nowhere to go with it. I've tried contacting some development and gaming companies to at least talk about the idea, but most don't want to because of the money involved. Some of the concepts in mine are close to what's being discussed here. Here's some of the major points.
Get way from MMORPG and call it MMOSIM - Most RPG's claim that characters live in the gaming world, when really all they do is exist. Also by calling it a SIM would not put it in the same market as the RPG's which might help it to break out.
Alternate Advancement System - What I mean by this is like what was discussed before; no levels. The characters would gain experience points by performing certain tasks. Also, the characters would age over time.
Reduction of classes - Again, similar to what's being discussed where the only class distinction would be between melee and magic classes. That would be the primary divide. Do you go to the monastery compound to learn spells and such, or do you go to the village and learn melee abilities.
Gear Independent - As it says, making a characters gear and equipment a small factor in development.
Persistent World - Some games have claimed to have this, but haven't seen this really followed through. Example - Rift has invasions that will take over a whole zone, but if the invasion isn't beaten, it simply disappears. In a real persistent world, that invasion would stay until you actually remove it. My example is this:
You log off in your village and everything is normal. You log back in later that day, or the next day to find the village is deserted. There are broken weapons all around, and in the village center is a spear with a note attached to it, stating that the inhabitants of the village have been captured by the local bandit gang, and they are asking for a ransom. So, you either have to come up with the ransom money, or go to their campsite and wipe them out. Either way, something has to be done, or the village won't go back to normal.
- Revamp useless systems/constructs - Nothing annoys me more than most games crafting systems, mount acquisition, gathering systems, and construction systems. In keeping with the SIM concept, these systems would make sense. In order to obtain a horse, you would have to spend time learning how to ride. Once you have a basic understanding of riding you can either rent or purchase a horse from your local stablemaster. As you continue to ride, your skill improves and you can go faster on the horse, as well as eventually do combat from the horse. The same goes with crafting.
If you kill a deer, you don't just get one item. You would get a hide, some meat, bone and antler, as well as sinew or gut that could be used for stitching and such. A more realistic crafting system. Also, add into that that you would have to learn how to construct a shelter from the beginning, otherwise you have no place to rest and store your items. Also, mines would be in an actual mine, not just ore randomly sticking out of the land. So instead of mining runs where you run from spot to spot, it would be more like a dungeon run where you journey through finding ore as you go.
As you can imagine, this MMO would be a big departure from the current crop of games on the market, and would probably considered a big risk. I don't think it would be though, because all of the things that this game would incorporate are the same things that players have been asking to have fixed. It's just hard when I can see the game in my mind, and have been detailing of all the aspects out on paper, but that's probably as far as it will ever get because gaming companies don't want to take the risk.
Sounds like a few folks are looking in the same direction as myself. Currently throwing a BB together for my game idea to be realized in table top. Figured what the heck might as well do something with it. So I'll throw all the rules up for the world to see and use for free. Perhaps demand will go up as the system is played table top. I have the BB locked up right now until I finish putting it together.
I've thought along similar lines as well. The biggest problem for me with MMORPG-s is the fact that there are ancient invincible players. They should die at some point. No guarantees on whether such idea would keep players, but here is what I have had in mind:
In the beginning there is an empty world inhabited by AI controlled creatures and their natural food-sources. For simplicity assume emulated 16bit computers (taking 65535 bytes of memory each) with genetically evolved programs as their controllers - no scripting required. They multiply and keep evolving by themselves - the usual genetic programming.
It is possible to emulate 10000 of these on a decent computer at decent speed. How smart they can grow I have no idea, but they did manage to at least gather food and kill each other in a simple 2D sim. Though I believe they would be only effective in 2D or pseudo-3D world, true 3D is probably too complex to run so many and they may not be smart enough.
When first players arrive, they would at first be in wilderness surrounded by AI creatures some of whom see them as a food-source. Players would receive whatever resources from them and would compete for food-sources.
From killing a creature player would receive a certain amount of raw materials that would otherwise be more difficult to gather. Eg, one can eat grass, but it's a lot less effective than eating meat. These resources can be used mostly for weaponry, armour etc. Also, it could be possible to "tame" the creatures by rewriting their code after capturing them. Tamed creatures may serve as body-guards or as craftsmen. Badly tamed/coded creatures would of course be generally stupid and useless.
For player skills system I would also prefer something where it is possible to advance in any skill indefinitely and that it would depend on performing the action instead of generic killing/doing quests. In this department my ideas aren't fleshed out much.
For terrain to be destructible and for buildings to be created by players I can currently only imagine block-like system like in Terraria or Minecraft. Anything else seems too complex. There is a possibility to use geometry subdivision algorithm to make such block-based world to look more natural (both in 2D or 3D). I think it would be easier/faster to render than precise voxel graphics while still looking more-or-less natural.
Lastly, the ultimate goal of players is to survive a threat to this world. There is a known external threat in some form that will kill all player chars when month has passed. What exactly is needed for it's reversal or avoidance? Maybe building a tower of certain height to stop the sky from falling; stopping an alien invasion etc. Or maybe it is possible to dig a deep enough hole against incoming comet, pull a cover over it and to hell with everyone else.
Whatever the goal, it would be very difficult to achieve. Normally only if most players work together would the world be preserved until the next threat comes. The cataclysms could serve both to eliminate players with skills too high and to reset the world to a new clean one. Whether to use aging of characters or not in this case, I am not sure of.