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Offline EvilJohn

Junior Newbie




Less Talk, More Beer.


« Posted 2003-06-26 06:01:11 »

A few weeks have passed since the changing of the horses in Java Gaming community, and if I'd like to comment on the situation. This post originally started out as a response to a thread about Java Performance and how people perceive the language. After typing a few extraneous paragraphs, I've decided to move them here, in a vague attempt to be on topic.

Why are the flames from a group of misinformed prepubescent SlashDot users about performance relevant to the recent developments at Sun and JavaGaming org? In a world where games are give the development go-ahead based on how successful and accountable a team's previous effort was, perception of those very angry young men is the reality in which Java must prove itself.

As a Java developer, I myself have shouted "Beware the Microbench!" along side my fellow developers. Like so many Shakespearen soothsayers, words are given little heed, and the slaying of Caesar plays out time and time again. We say Java is fast enough to do all but the most demanding of gaming tasks, but with little more than "macro benchmarks" to back our claims, we sound desperate with hollow words. Without a title to prove the point, yelling at the mountain of disbelief serves little purpose.

There is a paradox in producing Java based games. There was a joke in this month's Gamasutra, there were so many sequels at E3 this year, the editor expected the show to be called E4. If only named development teams with established histories, using established titles are getting the publisher dollars, how is a new technology supposed to make inroads? This is a difficult question indeed. And so to offer constructive thoughts, I've made a few suggestions below. These are not directed solely at Sun's newly formed Java Games Division, but also the community at large. It is a not a call to action but merely the ramblings of one man. Doubtless Jeff and Chris have heard these (from me) before, but I feel I've come up with a few possible suggestions to solve what I see are the major issues facing Java today.

Before I do this however, allow me to introduce myself. My name is John Carney, and I'm a Java developer (I certainly was at one point, current situation not withstanding). I worked for awhile at a company called Tower Technology, we produced our own JVM via a Java to C complier. Also for sometime, I ran a community event, in id Software's Quake universe, called QuakeCon. I'm also a co-owner of the Online Gaming League, a challenge/league/tournament service, dedicated to serving a few hundred thousand gamers and a few dozen games. While none of this makes me an expert as to why an OpenGL method should be called gl.vertex() or glVertex(...), it does give me an excellent sense of why gamers pick the games they do, and why developers make the choices they do to appease those very hot headed slashdotters everyone seems so upset about. It also gives me an excellent view of how communities are built, and why some succeed were others fail.

To start, allow me to congratulate who ever came up with the idea that Dell installing Sun's Java on their PC line was due to the success in the wireless market. If anyone starts playing any of the games available a Nokia cell phone on their PC, I'll eat my Redhat issued Redhat.

Recapturing the Java advocates

Recapturing the Java advocates in existing development houses MUST be step number one. After the JSR-134 fiasco, I'm surprised the developers who stuck with things survived as long as they did. I suspect without the LWJGL, things would have been in a far worse shape, and Sun's task would now be exponentially harder.

As quickly as possible, release all the work that was done on the JSR to the development community. However, don't get caught up on the details, if a company is dragging their feet granting you a license to do so, bypass them. Drop their contribution from the new division. Make it clear you're working forward from this point on, and if they want in, now is the time. Nobody cares what Gamespy does anyway. It is CRITICAL Sun lay all it's cards on the table as soon as possible to keep the momentum of Java One going as along as possible. Reserverations that Sun will release a technology developed for the JSR is retarding Open Source projects from starting to help fill in the holes in the current technology.


Learn from failure of the JSR.

Leaders in the industry aren't always the leaders forever. No more grandiose initiatives, no more sweeping promises of epic technology. The games division at Sun must be nimble, able to incorporate new technology, such as shaders, into the Java gaming libraries at rapid pace. Do not try to out Microsoft the DirectX team. Follow the Linux example of agile, on target need fulfillment. Use modular packaging, and class loading to your advantage.


Don't try to eat the whole steak at once.

Convincing a development house to write a rendering engine in Java is a difficult proposition at best. While I applaud the effort to move away from Java3d , people who write rendering engines will be the last to think about a Java solution. Direct your efforts to where redundant effort is most obvious, at the game programmers and level designers. Writing a robust scripting engine is a tedious, difficult process. Typically they exist outside the game engine proper, providing a clear cut border for data transfer and coding duties. To this end, I would suggest integrating the JVM into either a licensed copy of the Quake3 engine or the GPL version of the Quake 2 engine, replacing the DLL invocation of game logic with game code written in Java. Using NIO, I bet this could achieve some very impressive results, while providing a real world example you could show to interested development houses.


Work to your strengths.

Java is best known as a networking, backend language right now. With nearly 70 MMOGs in active development or planning, Java would seem to be the answer to a great many of their issues. Pursing the MMOG might seem to be backwards, bypassing smaller scale server applications like Quake and Unreal network engines, but in actuality, it is not. Smaller scale applications like first person shooters with less than 64 players are tied heavily to the native client side code for things like PVS and collision detection. MMOGs do not do this, as it is computational cost prohibitive. This is one place where it will pay to look before you leap.

Build a class framework suitable of handling a few thousand connections from an existing native client application. Connecting a demo Ogre application to a scalable backend would be a remarkable demonstration. An application like Warbirds would be an ideal target, as  the distinction between client side duties and server side tasks is very clear.


Throw away what doesn't work.

Give up on Java3d completely as a game technology. This might have unofficially happened, but it needs to be said, loudly. It doesn't work for game developers. Scene management is needlessly complex, while the collision model is nearly useless. While Java3d does an excellent job getting novice developers running quickly, it handcuffs them from standard development techniques. It is clear, however the lowered barrier to entry of Java3d struck chord. So, for my next point....


Keep what does work.

Java has allowed people to produce very complex applications with basic knowledge and nearly free tools. Java needs to continue this tradition by making standard functions of game development, such as scene rendering, network communcation, and input management approachable. Create as much example code as possible. Java.net is a great start, but take a look at the documentation section of the Unreal Technology engine. Write a reasonably complex 3d engine in Java new users can use as a replacement for Java3d. Not as a paradigm, but in practice. This has the added benefit of showing experienced developers how Java accomplishes standard development tasks. Not only does Java have to compete with C++, but it must compete with existing license technology. Publishers would rather pay for a licensed engine they know will work, and does what they need.


Find New Space to ROAM.

The latest rage in games is physics. At present, Havok and MathEngine are leading this add-on market place. They're expensive, but add a huge advantage to companies that license the middlewar. Offering a built in, 100% Java physics engine would be a compelling feature indeed. As games grow more to a free-form polygon soup environment, Java versions of technologies like physics, dPVS or Jon Blow's unified rendering LOD code would be a great thing to have as a downloadable resource.

I feel doing some of these things would greatly benefit the Java Game Development Community.

Respectfully,

John "EvilJohn" Carney
Offline princec

JGO Kernel


Medals: 342
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #1 - Posted 2003-06-26 11:35:28 »

Welcome John. Anybody would think you just summarised the last two years' postings from the JGO site!

That's quite a good essay, although I might disagree on a few points a little.

I advocate capturing the hearts and minds of the smaller developers who can afford to experiment rather than trying to shoot for the moon and convince a battle-hardened tribe of corporate slaves (the state of the current C++ game programmer sect) that there's a better way to do things. The older C++ developers will gradually just get older, and disappear, to be replaced by more experimental people coming up from the ranks and different directions. In other words I'm saying give up trying to convince brass monkeys and concentrate on the problem of getting newbies up to speed.

The second thing that gets my goat is all this tosh about physics and MMOLG. Physics doesn't make games; in fact to date physics has largely spoiled games. One of fundamental criteria of a "game" is that it is an especially simplified system designed to highlight a particular, usually simple, process. The more realistic games get, the less like games they are. And if there's one thing a game is, it's fun - and it stands that not game == not fun. Imagine Sensi Soccer with real physics. Yuk! Imagine Quake with real physics! Agh!

Now some games can use a simple piece of physics as part of their game - but that's because this simple, singular bit of phsyics is what the game is about. Consider Goof Ball as an example. It's an absolutely brilliant game; it's based around one simple thing: the physics of a ball on a surface. That's the entire game - and that's its genius.

And as for MMOLGs - exactly how big do you envisage the market to be for these? There are some vastly overhyped estimates about but even with a conveniently high number, if merely a hundred games suddenly required MMOLG subscription there's suddenly only 1% of the pie for each of them. That may still be a big figure but we're talking about 100 customers for the serverside logic. That's not going to make for sustainable business unless the serverside stuff is incredibly expensive. And when something's incredibly expensive the inevitable happens: some people get together and create a free one that's better. Crash!

And here's something I'd like to add to your essay:

Separate the Java Gaming brand from J2SE

All of Java's performance wobbles have come from the evil shadow of J2SE, which is long and cold. We have the enormous download; we have the ugly fonts that still aren't antialiased; we have Swing GUIs which generally make native platform users want to retch because of their alienness; we have the large memory footprint and slow startup time - yes, it's still too slow; we have an unfortunate choice between the client VM which starts up fast and runs too slow or the server VM which starts up too slow and runs fast enough; and most of all we've got the stuffy corporate image behind J2SE.

I received an email the other day suggesting I remove the Java logo and all mention of Java from my site and game in case it put potential customers off bothering to try the demo. I was dumfounded - but already I have creeping doubts: what if he's right? Is the Java logo really so badly stigmatised? Well - just try the Java Webstart version. YUK! What is that FILTHY GUI doing popping up and downloading my game? Oh - you haven't got Webstart? I have to wait for an hour to download Java? Criminy, that Java stuff is shite isn't it. And so on. I know what I want to do about it but it's illegal.

More thoughts?

Cas Smiley

Offline shawnkendall

Senior Member





« Reply #2 - Posted 2003-06-26 13:04:59 »

Hi EvilJohn it's good to hear from ya and knwo your still out there!

I justed wanted to chime in on a couple of things.

"Learn from failure of the JSR."
As a member of the JSR-134 I will express what I consider to have been the failure.  It was two-fold.
First, Sun did not have a Games Technology group at the time, and therefore no resources allocated to greater R&D than the small JSR group could provide.  This has been solved now due to Chris, Jeff, Doug, and the rest efforts.

Second, an expert group is normal made of industry interested presentatives (take a look at the list of other expert group members) but simply put, the game developer community did not get give much support.  In fact, I can not remember a single "game industry" member that actually was in attendance consistantly from more than 6 months other than Rob Harris, and very few ever developed any kind of code-base or demos using Java.
The gaming community simply did not want to hear from us, and we fought a up-hill battle everyday.  On JavaGaming.org we hear some of the cross-talk from Slashdotters and the like, but the developers in the meeting rooms and on the conference floors were – how shall I put it – even less “friendly”. I've had more than one developer laugh in my face at our demos, only moments later to admit, “Well, it is really good for Java”  Or my favorite, “That's not Java”, “Yes, yes it is” followed by “Well, if it is, then you are doing some trick here”
Inroads in the game industry will just take much work and time.  It wouldn't really matter how good Java is, this would still be true.  The fact tha web-based applet Java from 1997 is what most of these guys know of Java only makes it harder.  BTW, the Java branding initiative by Sun will help in this respect.And as princec  wrote, I have just about given up on the core game developer community and turn my eyes and efforts to the upstart, indepedant, and/or newer, younger developers who are not quickened to C/C++.

Lastly you mentioned “shaders”. I am assuming you are talking about shader languages like CG because I just demoes cel-shading (a vertex “shader”) and real bump mapping on animated characters using Java3D at the Video Game Summit at JavaOne.  Neither used a shader language, they used Java code and texture combiners currently available in Java3D.  However, if you want shader langauge execution (i.e. run on the GPU),  JOGL can do it, every OGL extension at the time of release is available.

"Work to your strengths."
At JavaOne, Zona presented there server-side back-end stuff and they work with game developers using C/C++ client front-ends.  That is there ARE getting Java into the server-side where it's strongest right now in enterprise, and using it's strengths.  Of course the Sun game tech guys are all over the server side push as well, it's the most obvious for a Sun exec to see ;-)

"Throw away what doesn't work. "
I'm not sure what you are advocating here...Stop release Java3D?  Remove the web-site?  Java3D was never designed for game development, it's just that some of us grabbed it and tried.  Sun never said "Use Java3D for games" as far as I know.  At most they said "Here are some games and demos using Java3D, it's possible"  Just like GL4Java is possible etc, etc.

Ok, I'm not sure how well my organization in this response is, but I will stop now as it is nearly as big as your original post!

Glad to see you here, and I hope ALL our efforts for Java in gaming will bring us to the next level of industry acceptance very soon.

BTW - I picked up the "Law and Order" game and although it crashes from time to time on my already crashing PC :-), my girlfriend has been playing it everynight, and is eagerly awaiting the second one coming out in the Fall.  Not every game has to be 100fps killing-machines (like Jamid hehe) to bring Java to the market.

Shawn Kendall
Cosmic Interactive, LLC
http://www.facebook.com/BermudaDash
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline shawnkendall

Senior Member





« Reply #3 - Posted 2003-06-26 13:06:03 »

oops sorry for the garbage characters in the previous post, I cut-and-pasted from OpenOffice and forgot to pull them.

Shawn Kendall
Cosmic Interactive, LLC
http://www.facebook.com/BermudaDash
Offline gregorypierce

Senior Member




I come upon thee like the blue screen of death....


« Reply #4 - Posted 2003-06-26 20:35:44 »

First let me frame my response. I talk to real game developers each and every day as I used to be a commercial game developer. When they learned of LWJGL, or JOGL, etc. to be honest they really didn't care.

According to developers shipping real products to consumers - the solutions aren't mature enough and they don't really write engines anymore so they don't care from that perspective either. Until there is a Java solution that is equivalent of NDL, don't expect anyone to give a Java gaming binding more than a passing glance because the industry as a whole has really already passed that point.

There are companies who use Java3D ( and a couple who are currently working on commercial games using Java3D ) because J3D provides an 80% solution to them and they simply don't need much more. They don't want to go back to OpenGL engine writing - its not economical anymore to even consider doing that unless you're trying to sell an engine, and the business model for that just isn't all that good anymore either unless you first ship a marguee title with that engine.

So to sum up what I've heard over the past 60 days. "A java OpenGL binding is interesting, but we don't code at that low a level anymore so we really don't care." Add to this that they're more console focussed and what you end up with is a solution that isn't suited to the problem.

Sun needs to take some of that $500 million that they're spending to promote Java and get a JVM on the PSP and PS3 in order for commercial game developers to really care about Java in the gaming space.

http://www.gregorypierce.com

She builds, she builds oh man
When she links, she links I go crazy
Cause she looks like good code but she's really a hack
I think I'll run upstairs and grab a snack!
Offline Javabear

Senior Newbie




Java games rock!


« Reply #5 - Posted 2003-06-26 21:55:10 »

Some comments from a newbie:

Targetting indies

First off, I agree with those who state that focussing on indie developers is the way to go. First and foremost, for the most part indie devs pick and choose their own languages, APIs, tools, etc.

In the big dev houses, I don't believe those decisions are typically made by the devs, but at a much higher level in the corporate food chain. These days, game corporations, like most, are very averse to risk. Hell, just look at the games they are putting out: sequels, brand franchises, and minor variations on a theme. If they are hesitant to take a chance on a game that breaks the mould, how much more hesitant would they be to switch to a whole new development language.

These days, there's a renaissance in indie games. We're already seeing some interesting games being produced by indies, and I think this trend is going to continue.

MMOs

MMOs are an interesting topic. On the one hand, you have articles like this one (http://money.cnn.com/2003/06/25/commentary/game_over/column_gaming/index.htm?cnn=yes) from yesterday's CNN Money. The writer predicts that there will never be more than 3-5 successful games. He cites the failure to capture a large portion of either the casual market (like Myst and Sims players who don't want to pay $xx per month) and the hard-core market (like Unreal and Diablo players who don't want to pay $xx per month).

Then again, perhaps there's a market for indie MMOs. The success of Runescape and others would suggest that there is. Runescape will never reach EQ subscription levels, but indie games don't need that many players to succeed.

I should mention that I'm somewhat biased; having played a few MMORPGs, I have a hard time playing anything that's standalone  Grin.

Take care,
Paul
_|_
Offline Jeff

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #6 - Posted 2003-06-26 22:01:45 »

In re predictions.

I recently saw an interesting real study of the MMO market.  If I can find it again I'll post a pointer.

The most interesting thing to me was an adoption chart.  Contrary to popular beliefe the figures on teh chart showed that new MMOs *do not* appreciably canabalize the user group of old ones.  Rather they bring primarily new users.

As long as this trend continues the room for new MMOs in boundless.  (Its wrong ofcourse to expect it to continue for ever but its obviously equally wrong to assume there is "room for 3 or 4.")

JK


Got a question about Java and game programming?  Just new to the Java Game Development Community?  Try my FAQ.  Its likely you'll learn something!

http://wiki.java.net/bin/view/Games/JeffFAQ
Offline kevglass

JGO Kernel


Medals: 120
Projects: 23
Exp: 18 years


Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer


« Reply #7 - Posted 2003-06-27 06:38:54 »

Just clarifying what you said:

The article said when a new MMOG comes out it doesn't canabalize the communities from older MMOGs?

Is this right? Because if it is, its absolute &##%£$. I've played 6 or 7 MMOG. Running/Flying/Teleporting around in those world I'm always running into people I used to play with on the older games and more often than not recognising the names of folks..

Kev

Offline leknor

Junior Member




ROCK!!!


« Reply #8 - Posted 2003-06-27 08:49:48 »

Quote
Is this right? Because if it is, its absolute &##%£$. I've played 6 or 7 MMOG. Running/Flying/Teleporting around in those world I'm always running into people I used to play with on the older games and more often than not recognising the names of folks..
As with most games, the life cycle of a MMOG is such that the players get bored with a game after a certain amount of time. When you compare the rate at which players leave from boredom with the rate players leave due to something better you'll find the latter is relativity insignificant. Anyway, the rate at which you and your friends get bored is not indicative of the whole market, it's too small of a sample to be anything but anecdotal evidence at best.
Offline kevglass

JGO Kernel


Medals: 120
Projects: 23
Exp: 18 years


Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer


« Reply #9 - Posted 2003-06-27 09:18:49 »

Sorry, got carried away Smiley

Although, the current market in MMOG is remarkably small. There are only a handful of games that have a large number of players.

I suppose the real point I was trying to make was that the market is not really growing for the reasons the article would have seemed to suggest since the people developing MMOG are only developing games that appeal to a certain type of person. Read RPG (to greater/lesser extent).

If the market is growing I would have though it was more to do with the number of users getting cheap reliable internet access. It would seem to be more a transition from single player games on the desktop to MMOG. In this way, the games the market is the same as always.

The Sims Online appears to be the only different vein of MMOG, and we've yet to see how thats going to do/work.

Looking forward to the first MMORTS to really get it right. Isn't there a java project rount here doing that?

Kev

Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline princec

JGO Kernel


Medals: 342
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #10 - Posted 2003-06-27 10:04:46 »

You read it here first, so quote me Cool

MMOLGs are likely to follow a Zipf distribution in the same manner that the distribution of website popularity works. There will be a handful of games with a huge number of subscribers, a bunch of games with an average number, and a whole load of games which never quite manage to get off the ground.

Risky business, indeed.

Cas Smiley

Offline William

Junior Member




No Exit


« Reply #11 - Posted 2003-06-27 10:50:28 »

Quote
The Sims Online appears to be the only different vein of MMOG, and we've yet to see how thats going to do/work.

I am currently working on project to research and develop a quest system for It's Alive, and I think you will agree that they present a very different kind of MMOG.

PlanetSide is a MMOFPS and combat flight simulators have been using the MMOG format for over a decade I think.
Offline kevglass

JGO Kernel


Medals: 120
Projects: 23
Exp: 18 years


Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer


« Reply #12 - Posted 2003-06-27 11:01:25 »

The its alive site doesn't seem to give many details, but from i saw it all looks pretty damn cool...  Grin

PlanetSide is a more towards FPS but still has many elements of RPG. Its also still to be seen whether it will actually be a success.

I've not seen a combat flight sim your could really call MM. The space trading games are about as close to a flight sim as you seem to get in the MM world, and mostly they are run like RPGs.

Kev

Offline larry

Junior Member




.. son of jor-el, kneel before zod ...


« Reply #13 - Posted 2003-06-27 12:14:27 »

building serious games commercially with Java has always been an uphill battle.
It is a matter of time, before Java seeps into gaming builds.

Currently, J2ME is commercially successful and supported by SUN ( because strategically its a future market and a market that is relatively new with less competition).

Java serverside does suit serverside gaming, but as for clients and J2SE .. the fight must go on
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #14 - Posted 2003-06-27 13:24:24 »

Quote
Just clarifying what you said:

The article said when a new MMOG comes out it doesn't canabalize the communities from older MMOGs?

Is this right? Because if it is, its absolute &##%£$.


It's mainly true; I don't have the link off hand, but I was maintaining a similar chart for much of the past few years, and I can vouch the conclusions are broadly accurate. It partly is accounted for by people who used to play EQ now ALSO play AO (for instance). There is no cannibalization, since in terms of subscribers (and revenue) the original game has not lost any. There are signs of significant cannibalization of gaming-hours-per-subscriber, and hence some small effect on the activeness of the community of each game.

If you really need, I can supply quotes from some of the producers and managers from MMOG dev teams about the statistical analysis they've done of their own consumers. The problem, though, is that "past performance is no indicator of future success".

Up until six months ago, there was something like a 99% confidence that cannibalization was not a significant factor in subscriber growth. We have no idea - yet - how much of that was accounted for by the fact that the available market of consumers was growing fast enough to hide cannibalization. Right now, it's impossible to remove the influence of things like the massive changes in size of broadband market; it's also impossible to say how much the change in composition of that market is affecting things: we're seeing a huge change in the percentage of BB users who are hardcore gamers, for instance.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #15 - Posted 2003-06-27 13:32:20 »

Quote

Then again, perhaps there's a market for indie MMOs. The success of Runescape and others would suggest that there is. Runescape will never reach EQ subscription levels, but indie games don't need that many players to succeed.


I happen to know a lot about Runescape, and it's growth, and I think Cas is wrong: as soon as people cotton-on to adopting a business model akin to RS's, we will end up with a sea of high-quality, moderately sized MMOGs.

(I think I'm one of the very few people who've seen RS's precursor. All I can say is that although it was very ugly, there was some slight satisfaction in beating the shopkeeper to death, when you got frustrated at the lack of anything else to do, bar chasing sheep. Apologies to Andrew, if he reads this Wink - it was actually a fine achievement in the java 1.0.x/1.1.6 days ).

Quote

I should mention that I'm somewhat biased; having played a few MMORPGs, I have a hard time playing anything that's standalone  Grin.


Indeed; this is what many people forget. MMOG's have a unique lure which keeps scaring the crap out mainstream games industry people. Many execs are smiling but quietly breathing a sigh of relief every time another MMOG fails; if the MMOG's stop failing, they can see the way the wind is blowing.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline Orangy Tang

JGO Kernel


Medals: 56
Projects: 11


Monkey for a head


« Reply #16 - Posted 2003-06-27 13:37:48 »

Quote
It partly is accounted for by people who used to play EQ now ALSO play AO (for instance). There is no cannibalization, since in terms of subscribers (and revenue) the original game has not lost any. There are signs of significant cannibalization of gaming-hours-per-subscriber, and hence some small effect on the activeness of the community of each game.


The cannibalisation claim would have merit if the current crop of MMO-- games were actually any good. Its painfully obvious that the MMO genre is still very much in its infancy and theres lots of progress to be made. Particularly that most tend to get released way too early, with the attitude that they can be patched up to spec later. I played AO about a year ago, at which point it had already been running for over a year yet basic features like team missions were not implemented (or worse, superficially present, but totally broken).

Most MMO suvive on the population waiting for 'the next big thing' that was promised X months ago, yet the developers are busy fixing all the security holes and existing bugs in their sloppy get-rich-quick implementation so these promised features never arrive.

In short, almost all MMO games are fundamentally broken. My only exception to the rule would be PSO, which manages to be beautiful, well balanced and polished, *and* feature complete. Possibly the fact that being a console game, Sega knew they couldn't rely on patches to fix things Smiley

[ TriangularPixels.com - Play Growth Spurt, Rescue Squad and Snowman Village ] [ Rebirth - game resource library ]
Offline Javabear

Senior Newbie




Java games rock!


« Reply #17 - Posted 2003-06-27 13:43:33 »

Quote
In re predictions.

I recently saw an interesting real study of the MMO market.  If I can find it again I'll post a pointer.


Was it this one?

http://pw1.netcom.com/~sirbruce/Subscriptions.html
Offline bmyers

Junior Member





« Reply #18 - Posted 2003-06-27 18:45:50 »

Quote
Looking forward to the first MMORTS to really get it right. Isn't there a java project rount here doing that?

Kev


There's probably several, but here's the one I'm working on: Galactic Village,
which is still very much a work-in-progress.  Also, Galactic Village is not really a RTS, it's more of a god-sim game with parallel turns.

Offline gregorypierce

Senior Member




I come upon thee like the blue screen of death....


« Reply #19 - Posted 2003-06-27 19:49:13 »

Oh cool, I had seen that game before. Nice to know the person working on it Smiley

http://www.gregorypierce.com

She builds, she builds oh man
When she links, she links I go crazy
Cause she looks like good code but she's really a hack
I think I'll run upstairs and grab a snack!
Offline Jeff

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #20 - Posted 2003-06-27 20:55:58 »

Quote


Thats it!  Thanks!

jk

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Offline Jeff

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #21 - Posted 2003-06-27 20:59:22 »

Quote

I am currently working on project to research and develop a quest system for It's Alive, and I think you will agree that they present a very different kind of MMOG.
.


Hmm. I think we can agree they are goign to get their asses sued off (or least a C&D) for the name and logo of their "MATRIX online game platform."

Somone needs to explain Trademarks to these chaps.

JK

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Offline gregorypierce

Senior Member




I come upon thee like the blue screen of death....


« Reply #22 - Posted 2003-06-28 03:35:10 »

Yep - AOL/TW has deep pockets and legal staff.

http://www.gregorypierce.com

She builds, she builds oh man
When she links, she links I go crazy
Cause she looks like good code but she's really a hack
I think I'll run upstairs and grab a snack!
Offline larry

Junior Member




.. son of jor-el, kneel before zod ...


« Reply #23 - Posted 2003-06-28 16:56:31 »

My scoop on the MMO genre is that its requires so much work, technology and time that maintaing and creating such a game requires HUGE cashflow.

Thus, MMOs are quite demanding on getting monthly subscription fees from members who not only have to pay constant subscriptions but also have to spend huge amounts of time playing, to gain some level of importance in the game.

This makes selling such a product over a long period of time difficult. The only way an MMO can really succesfully compete are therefore:
1 - make the game original: unique fun to the many others
2  - limit subscription fee
3  - somehow change the gaming model so that
     joe-schmoe who only has 1 hour every odd day
     to play can enjoy it.

these restrictions along with the need of breaking many technological challenges ( security, latency etc) is tough one which can only be supported by a handful of rich studios with access to huge memberlists and groundbreaking internet:gaming technologies.

I initially thought that the home-alone developer could break in with a cool game on mobile phones, but after working on commercial product, the costs and skills involved in such work coupled with the graphics abilities of upcoming phones (nokiq ngage) makes it a difficult target for the garage startup developer.
Larry
Offline Javabear

Senior Newbie




Java games rock!


« Reply #24 - Posted 2003-06-28 17:33:52 »

Quote
My scoop on the MMO genre is that its requires so much work, technology and time that maintaing and creating such a game requires HUGE cashflow.


It all depends on your expectations. If you expect hundreds of thousands of subscribers on a massive world with bleeding-edge 3D graphics ... well, yeah. You're right.

However, there are a number of indie MMO efforts which are current successes. They won't bring in millions of dollars a month, but then again, their development costs are so modest compared with the big dev houses they don't need to in order to succeed. Look at Furcadia for example, or Runescape. I've run across a few others, but I can't quite recall the URLs. There's also a few up-and-comers, like Magicosm and Pernica.

Quote
I initially thought that the home-alone developer could break in with a cool game on mobile phones, but after working on commercial product, the costs and skills involved in such work coupled with the graphics abilities of upcoming phones (nokiq ngage) makes it a difficult target for the garage startup developer.


I respectfully disagree. There are a number of indie game developers who are making a very good living at it.

Take care,
Paul
_|_
Offline Jeff

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #25 - Posted 2003-06-28 20:28:05 »

Quote
My scoop on the MMO genre is that its requires so much work, technology and time that maintaing and creating such a game requires HUGE cashflow.


Only bnecause of the nascenty state of the technology.  As it matures costs will come down.

Quote

3  - somehow change the gaming model so that
     joe-schmoe who only has 1 hour every odd day
     to play can enjoy it.


I agree the "casual persistant online game" that make sit mwork will probably be a catagory maker.

Quote

these restrictions along with the need of breaking many technological challenges ( security, latency etc) is tough one which can only be supported by a handful of rich studios with access to huge memberlists and groundbreaking internet:gaming technologies.


Again only because everyone is working today with stone knives and bear skins. Expect it to change.

Also I think you are mixing the idea of MMO with the idea of "persistant 3D RPG".  There are many MMO ideas that can be executed at significantly lower cost.

For a casual MMO game done by a small independant team in their garage, see "Puzzle Pirates."

CQ

Got a question about Java and game programming?  Just new to the Java Game Development Community?  Try my FAQ.  Its likely you'll learn something!

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Offline princec

JGO Kernel


Medals: 342
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #26 - Posted 2003-06-29 11:27:50 »

Our game Multiple Injury was a casual persistant online game. Imagine Quakeworld meets Starcraft. We've got mostly all the graphics, and a huge chunk of code already.

Unfortunately no matter which way we cut it we need a couple of million $ to write it and support it until it makes its own money back from subscriptions, and when we asked for venture capital they'd usually hang up the phone the first time the word "game" was mentioned, or if not then, when we subsequently went on to mention "Java".

You never know, if Alien Flux does unexpectedly well we might just manage it one day...

Cas Smiley

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