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Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #30 - Posted 2003-12-14 11:28:34 »

Quote

Pretty much sums alot up, it's a shame, I used to play AD&D and it wasn't like that, Diablo was hack and slash, but amusing for a while, Baldurs Gate wasn't quite so hack and slash, and was much harder, but I imagine it had a smaller following, I wonder if thats why alot of the MMORPGs go for hack and slash, for market reach.


Actually, the issue is that the only MMOG's that survive are the ones that went for hack-n-slash; there have been many many more innovative ones which have failed / been closed down. E.g. EA hasn't yet done a hack-n-slash, but they have written, promoted, run, and then shut down two (perhaps soon to be three) MMOG's already.

Current opinion mostly seems to be that hack-n-slash is easy to make addictive. MMOG development is still a very young and under-explored industry, so most of the innovative genres still haven't been sufficiently explored to work out how to make them as addictive as that one genre that has now been running continuously for more than 7 years (and, arguably, for almost 20 years).

Ditto chat-centric games; they have similarly been experimented with constantly for decades, with major chat systems making money for most of that time, which is more than can be said for any other MMOG genre (e.g. MMOG FPS or RTS to cite a trivial example).

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

Junior Member





« Reply #31 - Posted 2003-12-14 11:32:05 »

Quote

if you want to see all these concepts suggested, analysed, explained, critiqued, expanded upon - and lots and lots of real examples of people trying most of the things you can think of (and nearly always willing to share whatever they've learned in the process).


Oh, but that's not invented here, now is it?! Wink
Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #32 - Posted 2003-12-14 11:32:55 »

Quote

but I imagine it had a smaller following, I wonder if thats why alot of the MMORPGs go for hack and slash, for market reach.


Even by the standards of the games industry, MMOG's are pulling in "small" numbers of customers, so hack-n-slash in and of itself is clearly not being chosen for being special in that regard.

Witness that (games without subscribers aside) no MMOG has reached 1 million players, and the publically available evidence suggests none have even reached 0.5 m yet (c.f. Sir Bruce's figures, which are as accurate as any I've ever seen - http://pw1.netcom.com/~sirbruce/Subscriptions.html ).

EDIT: I meant to add that a single player game that sells fewer than a million copies today is pretty unexciting. A decade ago, Bullfrog was selling 0.75 - 1.3 million copies of it's games regularly, and still wasn't getting bestsellers IIRC.

Nowadays, EA etc look for games that will sell 3+ million in months (not 0.5m in 5 years, which is EQ today!) - although I can't find any stats on number of copies sold for the current charts to check this I'm afraid (feel free to correct me if you can find real figures!) - I'm going from what I vaguely remember last time I saw a copy.

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

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« Reply #33 - Posted 2003-12-14 11:39:33 »

Quote


I think the biggest reason is that its an easily scalable form or gameplay.  "Story driven" stuff  works well single player but how many "Heroes of the Foobar Quest" can you have before it starts becoming meaningless?

Its a gameplay cop-out mostly, I think.


Um, have you actually thought about this much? Several thousand people within the MUD community (who actually work with this stuff) would disagree with you very strongly (albeit politely), I think.

If you speak to someone who knows what they're talking about (e.g. script writers who've thought about multiple agent stories) Story-driven gameplay is actually in many ways much much easier in large multiplayer games.

The best of the story writers in the games industry whom I know  make frequent reference to the fact that most stories in games are told by the players themselves; this is a parallel to how most of the gameplay that players experience is invented for themselves.

Remembering and retelling to friends how you managed a spectacular crash by accident in GTA:VC, or an unbelievably lucky scrape with Diablo where - against all the odds (the rest of your party went the wrong way and ran out of portal scrolls) - you managed not only to survive but to kill the b*stard too...these are the most powerful stories in computer games today. At least, that's what I hear again and again and I agree entirely.

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

Junior Member




No Exit


« Reply #34 - Posted 2003-12-14 14:28:25 »

Quote
Witness that (games without subscribers aside) no MMOG has reached 1 million players

Lineage claims to have several million active subscribers in South Korea, but it's often considered an exception because of the gamer culture over there.

I think your disagreement with Jeff has a lot to do with terminology (story as a dramatic structure vs story as the player's experience). A good text on the subject is Chris Klug's
Implementing Stories in Massively Multiplayer Games
. I bumped into the problem for my master's project on a quest system for an MMOG and tried my best to avoid using the word "story" in my thesis (except when discussing references and traditional storytelling).

I think your experience from Diablo is something that would be less powerful as a story in a MMORGP than in a single-player or non-persistant multiplayer game. In most MMORPGs, the experience would be more like scoring a goal in a match than changing the world simply because Diablo would respawn shortly for someone else to kill.

I'm sure many would find it more satisfying to be a sports hero in a MMORPG than a world savior in a single-player game though.
Offline Jeff

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« Reply #35 - Posted 2003-12-14 23:44:12 »

Quote


Even by the standards of the games industry, MMOG's are pulling in "small" numbers of customers, so hack-n-slash in and of itself is clearly not being chosen for being special in that regard.

Witness that (games without subscribers aside) no MMOG has reached 1 million players, and the publically available evidence suggests none have even reached 0.5 m yet (c.f. Sir Bruce's figures, which are as accurate as any I've ever seen - http://pw1.netcom.com/~sirbruce/Subscriptions.html ).


Individually no. But what is staggering about Sir Bruce's numbers is that, if they are to be believed, new successful games launch with very little cannibalization of previous player bases.  So collectively we've already got a couple million MMOLRPG players in total with no sign of the growth in that base stopping.

Quote

EDIT: I meant to add that a single player game that sells fewer than a million copies today is pretty unexciting. A.


Which just goes to illustrate my favorite Mark Twain quote.  Numbers by themselves mean very little.  In particular comparing retail box numbers between off line and on-line games is very deceptive.  While there are fewer copies of EQ sold then Halo, each copy brings in MUCH more revenue of the course of the player account's life.  The profit at retail actually is almost noise level compared with the recurring monthly fees.

Apples and oranges.

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Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Member




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #36 - Posted 2003-12-15 05:25:07 »

Quote
Individually no. But what is staggering about Sir Bruce's numbers is that, if they are to be believed, new successful games launch with very little cannibalization of previous player bases.  So collectively we've already got a couple million MMOLRPG players in total with no sign of the growth in that base stopping.

In Sir Bruce's chart, players with subscriptions to more than one game show up as multiple users, and I think it's reasonably safe to assume that there is some not insignificant percentage of MMORPG players with subscriptions to more than one game. In the IGDA's latest whitepaper on the online games industry they place the total market for MMOGs at around one million players. which I think is probably pretty accurate if Sir Bruce's numbers are to be believed.

A note about Lineage, according to a recent article I read (I'll try to dig up the url and post it here). Apparently, the majority of "subscribers" (something like 60%) do not play from their homes, but from internet bars, something that most of us know, already. What I didn't know was that access to Lineage from these bars is not paid for on a per-account basis, but on a per-cpu basis, and then players are charged a usage fee (similer to web access from an internet cafe) What this means is that there is no additional cost for having multiple accounts, or starting a character and abandoning it. This is why Neopets has over 60 million "active" accounts: it costs nothing to start a new one. The net result is that the number of actual Lineage players is probably far less than the multi-million subscriber number that NCSoft likes to throw around.

I don't know where the saturation point is for MMORPGs, but it is reasonable to assume there is one, and I'd be willing to stake money on it being reached within the next few years. Why? Because the investment of time and money required by the genre is self-limiting. There are only going to be so many people who will be willing and/or able to make the committment.  There have been a couple of admittedly informal surveys of older gamers (30 yrs+) that would indicate that as people begin working full-time and raising families that they tend to abandon MMORPGs for other, less time consuming games. Whether you buy this or not it's certainly a reasonable assumption, which, if true, would suggest that we'll reach a point of stability where the number of new players begins to be offset by the number of retiring players. Once again, there's no hard evidence to support this, but my gut tells me this is how it's gonna go.

That said, I think there is a large, untapped market for massively multiplayer casual online games. (MM-COGs)  a formula perfected (within its very specific demographic) by Neopets. Here's a game that boasts 60M accounts, 3,000,000 unique visits per months, and, next to Pogo, and MSN Game Zone, more monthly gameplay minutes than any gaming site on the web, and while it is free, this demographic is almost entirely limited to girls between the ages of 9 and 18.  IMHO, this success can be almost entirely attributed to cost, both in terms of money AND time. The game is free to play, and consists almost entirely of activities (games, chat, guild maintenance, shop-keeping, house building, etc) that can be accomplished within a very limited time period (5 - 10 minutes)  Initiating any activity in the game is never more than a few clicks away, so almost no time is wasted traveling between areas of interest. At the same time, it's without question an MMOG. There is a single economy that ties everyone together, inter-player commerce is a principal function of the game, guild -creation and social interaction are stressed and even combat between players is supported, though less popular than other activities.

What remains to be seen is whether the MM-COG format can be successfully applied to other (less cutesy) themes, and whether this might be a way to crack the .5M player upper limit we're currently seeing in the MMOG market.

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #37 - Posted 2003-12-15 06:32:24 »

Quote

In Sir Bruce's chart, players with subscriptions to more than one game show up as multiple users, and I think it's reasonably safe to assume that there is some not insignificant percentage of MMORPG players with subscriptions to more than one game.


Indeed, in his own analysis, and in correlations with other studies, e.g. Nick Yee's, the general conclusion has been quite a large percentage of people doing this.

Informal information from the dev & admin teams for the big US games also backs this up.

Quote

In the IGDA's latest whitepaper on the online games industry they place the total market for MMOGs at around one million players. which I think is probably pretty accurate if Sir Bruce's numbers are to be believed.


...unless they qualified it with something like "that are RPG's AND that are based in the USA" (I've not read it yet, so I can only guess Smiley) that's completely and utterly wrong. Even just taking RPG's worldwide it's trivially bullsh*t. Sad

Quote

A note about Lineage, according to a recent article I read ... What I didn't know was that access to Lineage from these bars is not paid for on a per-account basis, but on a per-cpu basis, ... What this means is that there is no additional cost for having multiple accounts, or starting a character and abandoning it.


Yup, that's definitely the case. This is the reason Lineage took off - site licenses that were to cafes nothing more than a small additional fixed monthly cost, and to customers were a significant differentiator in an industry with fundamentally identical product in every cafe.

Quote

I don't know where the saturation point is for MMORPGs, but...


Sounds sensible, *assuming no-one innovates on the revenue model*. For several years I've been proposing that the monthly fee for MMORPG's is likely to go up - e.g. to around $30 a month - although this has partially been to counteract the long-standing naive feeling that it could only come down over time.

I'll come back to this later, but I know of quite a few MMORPG's with more interesting revenue models who are pretty much printing money at the moment - but not making any noise about it (to some extent their marketing is helped by deceiving people into thinking they are barely breaking even). They would all show up on SB's chart, but he apparently isn't aware of them (or isn't tracking them because they never issue press releases...).

Quote

Because the investment of time and money required by the genre is self-limiting.


Yeesss, but... that statement is very fragily predicated upon the exact nature of current MMORPG's, so (theoretically - myself, I'm not guessing far either way) could easily be broken by even modest innovation in game-design.

Quote

That said, I think there is a large, untapped market for massively multiplayer casual online games. (MM-COGs)
...
What remains to be seen is whether the MM-COG format can be successfully applied to other (less cutesy) themes, and whether this might be a way to crack the .5M player upper limit we're currently seeing in the MMOG market.


I've not heard of MM-COG before, as most people I talk to don't differentiate between this and an MMOG (just like we don't differentiate between Bejewelled and Warcraft3 except on playstyle - these days both are capable of making similar revenues and achieving similar market penetration).

As far as the 0.5m per game limit is concerned, I'm actually surprised that games have gone as high as they have with the high level of incompetency in the technical, design and marketing teams (of course there are many exceptions to one or two of those, but very few to all three...). The marketing in particular is mainly god-awful from the perspective of any corporations that are accustomed to selling mass-market services. I know little about this, but I can see that the big-publisher MMOG's are still mainly using the same techniques that the self-published ones are using (who typically are constrained by very little budget and experience!).

I personally know of about 5 MMOG's with upwards of 50k-150k subscribers that don't appear on SB's charts (I've independently confirmed the figures for two of them). Most of those use "free" accounts to bring in new subscribers, and typically boast 500k or more total accounts. Some of them are direct competitors to projects I'm involved with, so I don't feel any temptation to give them free publicity!

In summary, even amongst those who have a good reputation amongst public and press (e.g. SB) for knowing about the MMOG industry are still woefully ignorant; there is so little in the way of any real experts at the moment that anyone who puts in a lot of effort and tries to be diligent and do something useful becomes a de facto expert. I respect SB's diligence in particular, but by his own admission, he's only guessing Sad. Similarly, Nick Yee puts a lot of hard work into his studies, and they are generally of a very high quality...but without access to authoritative data from the game-owners he can never cross-correlate and check the accuracy of his respondents' answers; only VI/Sony truly know the accuracy of his direct results (and hence of his indirect ones).

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

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« Reply #38 - Posted 2003-12-15 06:35:25 »

Quote

Which just goes to illustrate my favorite Mark Twain quote.  Numbers by themselves mean very little.  In particular comparing retail box numbers between off line and on-line games is very deceptive.  While there are fewer copies of EQ sold then Halo, each copy brings in MUCH more revenue of the course of the player account's life.  The profit at retail actually is almost noise level compared with the recurring monthly fees.

Apples and oranges.


But:

Quote

but I imagine it had a smaller following, I wonder if thats why alot of the MMORPGs go for hack and slash, for market reach.


...we were talking about the size of the audience / market, weren't we?!?!? In which case, comparing number is precisely all that matters!

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

Senior Newbie





« Reply #39 - Posted 2003-12-16 11:47:43 »

Made something like this a while ago, check http://www.chatpoint.com. The community is mostly dutch.

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kul_th_las
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« Reply #40 - Posted 2003-12-16 12:18:34 »

To bring us back on topic...

Is anyone still interested in taking this project forward? It didn't sound like anyone was interested in making money from this project anyway, so wha's all the fuss about?

Cheers, and happy holidays to the lot of you.
Offline Orangy Tang

JGO Kernel


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Monkey for a head


« Reply #41 - Posted 2003-12-16 17:43:54 »

Seems to have gone off track somewhat, to clarify:
This is *not* a game, its a simple IRC-chat like with a game-like visual display. Given that, I think that makes it pretty different than a 'standard' MUD in that they work the other way (multiplayer game, emphasis on game not any actual view). However I've not looked at any MUDs or others with those weird and wonderful acronyms, so i might be wrong.

Also, this isn't a commercial thing, so I don't have to care about target audiences, gameplay style etc. etc. May I suggest a new thread for all that?

I've just started working on it (getting to grips with NIO at the moment), and I hope to get a very simple working version done for early jan. Hopefully then I can get Chris to put it on a machine in their lab and let people use it Smiley Assuming all goes well by that point I'll probably make it avalible as a project on java.net so if anyone is serious about lending a hand they can then.

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

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« Reply #42 - Posted 2003-12-16 20:58:07 »

Quote
Seems to have gone off track somewhat, to clarify:
This is *not* a game, its a simple IRC-chat like with a game-like visual display. Given that, I think that makes it pretty different than a 'standard' MUD in that they work the other way (multiplayer game, emphasis on game not any actual view). However I've not looked at any MUDs or others with those weird and wonderful acronyms, so i might be wrong.


Sorry if my frustration obscured my points Smiley - check out "Graphical MUSH"'s - (Multi-user-shared-hallucination). Others, such as MOO. Anything that lists Habbo (or any of the Lucasarts things) amongst others is likely to throw up many hits for you.

e.g. just on a quick search I found http://www.cortland.edu/flteach/methods/obj2/moo2.html which has some very simple intro to the non-game side of things.

The thing with MUD's is that only a minority of them are like MMORPG's - level-based games - and there are very many that have no game elements at all, so there should be plenty of prior art for you to look at.

e.g. I've seen literally hundreds of "IRC + isometric 3D" chat systems, and more that are 2D verging on becoming isometric 3D.

Everything that's been suggested here so far I've seen several times over in other MU*'s...this isn't to put it down in any way, just to say that to explore it/develop it without checking out what's been done 10 years previously in the same area would be to re-invent the wheel.

There's all sorts of funky stuff going on out there...because of the ease of getting a MUD started (and of altering the code) a lot of academic research uses MUD's (mainly sociological and teaching - the latter uses lots of clever non-game chat systems).

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

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #43 - Posted 2003-12-16 21:39:35 »

Oh Boy, a lot to catch up on here.

First to get this out of the way...

(1)I think, thanks to my development experience on the DSo side and my extensive online and off-line RPG experience I really DO know something of what I'm talking about. Thank you very much.  (In point of fact some of my posts to MUD_DEV can still be found archived and quoted on the net.)

Now that ego is satisfied, on to the real stuff...

(1)  i think you totally misunderstood me.  There is a HUGE difference between the stories people tell each other online and game-play that is structured as a story.  The former scales easily because its really just what people have done around the fire for about as long as man has existed.  The latter is VERY hard to make scale because of real issues that impact sense of disbelief.

Conversations like "You killed Krix today? I killed him last week..."  both make the act of killing Krix a pretty meaningless thing and stretch believability to the breaking point.  This is why hardcoded story-driven content really *doesn't* work MM the way it does for single player games.  Making it work at all is HARD and IMO an currently unsolved problem.  

(Our solution in DSOII, which alas never got finished, was to build a dynamic situation the players impact rather then a story and in that way hope the "story" would grow organically.  Even there though we were designing for only hundreds of players, not hundreds of thousands.)

(2) Size of the market does matter but comparisons of subscription numbers to "fire and forget" content retail sales  numbers is meaningless.  They are different business.  In the latter the measure is sales.  In the former the measure is a combination of acquisition (important) and retention (vital).

Its like comparing magazine numbers to book numbers-- apples and oranges.

(3)   The number of actual players is irrelevant and a red herring.  The number of active billed ACCOUNTS the market can support is the key because thats what is tied to income.  And thats the lesson of the chart, that total billed accounts show no sign of slowing down yet.  Whether EQ is being played by 400,000 people with one account each or 1 person with 400,000 accounts is totally irrelevant to its income.

And thats what's important to us, right, income potential?


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Offline ChrisM

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END OF LINE.


« Reply #44 - Posted 2003-12-17 02:04:44 »

Ok, so now my brain hurts.

So, back to the original topic.  I don't need the whole Metaverse, just the "Black Sun".

When do we get started? Smiley

-ChrisM

Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #45 - Posted 2003-12-17 09:19:48 »

Quote

(1)..
Now that ego is satisfied, on to the real stuff...


You have a habit of making statements about things without checking them out - people often provide a URL the content of which you comment on without even visiting. I know however that you have a background in this area, hence my question "have you thought about this" was not rhetorical...

Quote

(1)  i think you totally misunderstood me.  There is a HUGE difference between the stories people tell each other online and game-play that is structured as a story.  The former scales easily because its really just what people have done around the fire for about as long as man has existed.  The latter is VERY hard to make scale because of real issues that impact sense of disbelief.


Perhaps I am still misunderstanding you. I've checked out a lot of opinions and concepts in this area, and have been persuaded by those who maintain that the two things you describe are both part of the same thing, not mutually incompatible?

All the interesting work I've seen in the last few years in storytelling in games focusses on the fact that "gameplay structured as a story" really ought to be generating stories people tell each other - otherwise it's failing.

Your assumption seems (as I said, perhaps I'm still completely misunderstanding you?) to be that the only stories that games designers can build are like Majestic - a novel in game form, which unsurprisingly was one of the most spectacular failures of recent years. Novels are the opposite end of the spectrum from MMOG's, so it is a very brave thing not to adapt the storytelling at all from one medium to the other Sad.

(FYI for anyone who doesn't know Majestic - one of the major problems was challenges in the game you were pre-destined to succeed or fail; this was a plot with thousands of real people, but no-one had any control over their fate or the fate of others. There were other major problems stemming from the designers misunderstanding of the market, and it bombed).

Quote

Conversations like "You killed Krix today? I killed him last week..."  both make the act of killing Krix a pretty meaningless thing and stretch believability to the breaking point.  This is why hardcoded story-driven content really *doesn't* work MM the way it does for single player games.  Making it work at all is HARD and IMO an currently unsolved problem.  


You pick an example from a genre of game that is universally panned for shockingly bad / complete abscence of storytelling; it's not surprising that looks bad.

Quote

(Our solution in DSOII, which alas never got finished, was to build a dynamic situation the players impact rather then a story and in that way hope the "story" would grow organically.  Even there though we were designing for only hundreds of players, not hundreds of thousands.)


That's now been tried a lot of times and tends to fail miserably. Most people currently seem to believe that setting things up and hoping the story will grow is a non-starter - it was a nice idea, much like closed-system economies, but in practice (or with the luxury of a lot more time to think about consequences) it doesn't work. Not to say it can't be extensively modified to work, but AFAICS there's no magic bullet (yet).

Quote

(2) Size of the market does matter but comparisons of subscription numbers to "fire and forget" content retail sales  numbers is meaningless.
...
(3)   The number of actual players is irrelevant and a red herring.
...
And thats what's important to us, right, income potential?


c.f. my last post - I thought we were talking about the size of the audience, not "how much money I can make if I launch one of these games".

Your point 3 is fair enough, but not absolute; penetration percentage is very important (and is e.g. seriously worrying mobile phone companies now; with European countries at 150% penetration of handsets or more, they've broken the 100% barrier but growth cannot continue much longer) - assuming there is a saturation point per individual player of how many games they want to / can manage to play, it's very important to know how much of your new sales are coming from existing players, because it predicates whether you can extrapolate your growth curve based on past rate of change OR whether you have to artifically level it off at some time in the future. That's a very big difference...

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

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #46 - Posted 2003-12-17 22:20:03 »

Quote
Perhaps I am still misunderstanding you. I've checked out a lot of opinions and concepts in this area, and have been persuaded by those who maintain that the two things you describe are both part of the same thing, not mutually incompatible?


Yup your still not getting me.  Go play ANY single player RPG and you will see what I am referring to.

Quote

Your assumption seems (as I said, perhaps I'm still completely misunderstanding you?) to be that the only stories that games designers can build are like Majestic -


Nope.  Majestic is a loopy off  in left field endeavor.

I'm referring to the mainstream and more or less entire history of single player RPGs, going all the way back to Wizardry.

Quote

it's very important to know how much of your new sales are coming from existing players, because it predicates whether you can extrapolate your growth curve based on past rate of change .


You can NEVER extrapolate based on past rate of change with any accuracy.  Thats the great fallacy of most marketing hype.

All systems have a limiting factor.  Sooner or later you run into it.
If total number of possible accounts = total number of possible players * average number of accounts each player will support, then either term has the same effect on the equation, no?

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Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #47 - Posted 2003-12-20 06:31:55 »

To make up (in a small way) for my part in the thread-jacking Smiley, here are some specific links that may be of interest to OT etc in developing a new / modifying an existing chat/game system:


  • http://www.intermud.org/i3/specs/ - widely-used protocol for networking MUD's to each other (enables you to use all MUD's like an IRC/FidoNet network) for cross-MUD chat etc
  • http://www.zimmers.net/home/mud.html - decent, actively maintained 100% java MUD that is pretty easy to customize - reading the developers guide it looks like the API's are well-thought-out etc; BUT no graphical commponent Sad but possibly quite easy to add - the base code for running a full MUD/MUSH/MOO etc is already there
  • http://www.btinternet.com/~wolfmud/documentation/index.html - another Java MUD (although it doesn't look as good as the zimmers-net one, might be worth a look too)


...although specifically for graphical MUDs there are quite a lot of graphical MUD codebases around, no small number of them in java, I haven't got access to my main MUD resources DB at the moment Sad.

In particular, I would also suggest taking a close look at XUL and CSS-based Java MUDs; these provide easily customizable graphic systems - XUL is Mozilla's XML-based GUI engine, and both it and  CSS provide huge amounts of GUI customization and development with relative ease (much quicker than programming Swing, for instance).

I wouldn't use either in a serious project (yet) but for a simple, collaborative fun project like this the ease of getting up and running probably makes them a good bet. I have heard from about 5 or 6 people who've been developing graphical MUDs using either or both within the last 3 years, although again I can't provide links or names at the moment Sad

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

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #48 - Posted 2003-12-20 06:45:56 »

Quote

Yup your still not getting me.  Go play ANY single player RPG and you will see what I am referring to.


I've played a lot of them (most Ultimas, up to and including 8 not 9, most Wizardy's, although 7 is much better than 8 IMHO which I never really got into, all the EoTB series and derivatives, several of the MaM series, etc). This doesn't at all mean I know what I'm talking about Smiley, but I don't think that playing them again will make me understand, I'm afraid, in the context of:

Endolf:
"I wonder if thats why alot of the MMORPGs go for hack and slash, for market reach."

Jeff:
"I think the biggest reason is that its an easily scalable form or gameplay.  "Story driven" stuff  works well single player but how many "Heroes of the Foobar Quest" can you have before it starts becoming meaningless?

Its a gameplay cop-out mostly, I think."

...I don't see how "story driven stuff" doesn't work in a multi-player environment? I do see that "naively re-implementing single-player static novel-type stories in a freeform shared virtual world" obviously sucks, will always suck, and was darn stupid idea in the first place...so perhaps I agree with you?...but my point is that you don't *have* to be naive - you can be intelligent, you can take the perspective of professional story-tellers, and adopt some of the knowledge of their discipline. This can take you far into creating stories that are the parallel (and, I think you can argue, also the "more generic version") of the single-player-only, fixed-track stories that I *think* are the aspect you are focussing on?

This is what I meant when talking about how people active in the MUD community have taken multiplayer stories far beyond naive / stupid cloning of single-player stories.

Quote

Nope.  Majestic is a loopy off  in left field endeavor.


AFAICS Majestic was a naive attempt to implement the "Broadcast TV" techniques of storytelling in a game environment, without paying any attention to the features, practicalities, and problems of the medium.

In that sense, Majestic was no more loopy than the idea that ""Story driven" stuff  works well single player but [not multiplayer". Majestic assumes you can clone techniques without adaptation and it will work; your statement seems to (?) assume that you cannot clone techniques at all - it will always fail. AFAICS the experience of the MUD community is that you CAN clone techniques, so long as you are imaginative and diligent in adapting them.

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

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #49 - Posted 2003-12-21 19:00:53 »

Quote


Individually no. But what is staggering about Sir Bruce's numbers is that, if they are to be believed, new successful games launch with very little cannibalization of previous player bases.  So collectively we've already got a couple million MMOLRPG players in total with no sign of the growth in that base stopping.


Whilst working on a report this weekend, and going through our knowledgebase, I came across this quote from Dave Rickey (of Mythic Entertainment). We've got quite a few bits of info to back up SB's conclusions, but this one was marked as a public quote (which probably means Mud-Dev in this case):

From: "Michael Tresca" <email removed>

>> MMORPGs are not simply new products.  They are "experiences" with
>> long life cycles.  So far, all I've seen is the rush to market
>> approach -- grab as many customers as possible and then let the
>> game flameout, ultimately losing customers to other MMORPGs in the
>> same genre.

As near as I can tell, we don't.  I don't know what happened to EQ
when we launched, but I've been told that EQ barely caused a ripple for UO, and I've seen first hand that AC2 and TSO didn't even touch us.  I think I could calculate to within a hundred the number of accounts lost to those two, and it's not a big enough number to make me worry (actually, I have calculatesd it, I'm just not sure how much confidence to put in it).  If SWG comes out and has a similarly low impact, then I'll be pretty well convinced that competition from other games is actually the *least* of our problems.

--Dave

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 #50 - Posted 2004-01-05 05:33:59 »


Still working on this, but its taking longer than expected. 'Proper' landscape needs to be next on the list I think, but mainly I'm still stuck without a server so its not going anywhere fast. Sad

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

JGO Knight


Medals: 19
Projects: 1


I'm gonna wring your pants!


« Reply #51 - Posted 2004-01-05 06:54:09 »

Though I applaud the use of somekind of "silly" Roll Eyes interface for the a site chat client - could we *please* make sure it has somekind of IRC backend?

I have always been annoyed by the fact that we dont have an IRC chat - and now that we may finally have somekind of chat, I would like to be able to add it to my IM instead of having an fullblown client for JUST jgo.

Offline AndersDahlberg

Junior Member





« Reply #52 - Posted 2004-01-05 10:01:45 »

http://www.jibble.org/pircbot.php

used it, loved it  Grin

Can't get much easier to add irc support  Smiley
Offline Jeff

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #53 - Posted 2004-01-06 05:53:13 »

Quote

but my point is that you don't *have* to be naive - you can be intelligent, you can take the perspective of professional story-tellers, and adopt some of the knowledge of their discipline. This can take you far into creating stories that are the parallel (and, I think you can argue, also the "more generic version") of the single-player-only, fixed-track stories that I *think* are the aspect you are focussing on?

This is what I meant when talking about how people active in the MUD community have taken multiplayer stories far beyond naive / stupid cloning of single-player stories..


AAh so here we are at brass tacks. I said its an unsolved, and likely unsolvable problem.  You've fervently disagreed but so far in generalities.

Lets have explained one of these "MUD community" story structured games.  That will give us something solid to discuss.  And we may want to make it a seperate thread...

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 Jeff

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #54 - Posted 2004-01-06 05:57:45 »

Oh and for the record...


Quote

That's now been tried a lot of times and tends to fail miserably. Most people currently seem to believe that setting things up and hoping the story will grow is a non-starter - it was a nice idea, much like closed-system economies, but in practice (or with the luxury of a lot more time to think about consequences) it doesn't work. Not to say it can't be extensively modified to work, but AFAICS there's no magic bullet (yet).


I dotn think anyones come close to doing what we were planning. Perhapse you can give an example that shows me wrong.

And if it hasn't been tried it hasn't been proven OR disproven.  (Even if it has keep in mind that Edison had 200 failures before he found the light bulb filament.  Failures just mean you don't have it yet, not that you never will find it.  Unless someone has done it just the way we planned to and failed, in that case it cna be shown not to work Smiley )

Every example I know of was trying to create a "world" and expecting story to happen organically (your example of clsoed economies fall into this.)

We OTOH were creating a *situation*, much as the DM creates situations for PCs, but a global situation that evolved and gave the game structure, meaning and purpose.

All things that as near as I can see are still missing from any MMOLRPG today.  SWG comes the closest but its so simplistic in its situation and so horribly flawed in other ways I doubt it'll really test the concept, either.

(One of the big differenes between SWG and our structure was we had a hand on the evolution of the game in the form of creating major quest goals for the meta-players to get the PCs to accomplish and in the powers the meta-players gained as they evolved.  This meant we had ultimately a controlled dynamic situation rather then SWG's mostly unctrollrd but fundementally static one.  We also had many different sides that had to both cooperate and compete in the forms of the meta players which would allow plitics to evolve and change over time.  The fact that the meta-players were designed witha  need for their enemies in particualr woudl have lended to poltiics over simplistic outright war-fare.

SWG is fixed in its mythos and their 2 sides simplistic goals, both of which is simply to destroy the other)



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 blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #55 - Posted 2004-01-06 10:29:15 »

Quote
I dotn think anyones come close to doing what we were planning. Perhapse you can give an example that shows me wrong.

And if it hasn't been tried it hasn't been proven OR disproven.


LOL. Indeed, you're talking to someone who's been founded startups, and done lots of work promoting and helping other startups Smiley. Point taken.

Quote

(One of the big differenes between SWG and our structure was we had a hand on the evolution of the game in the form of creating major quest goals for the meta-players to get the PCs to accomplish and in the powers the meta-players gained as they evolved.  This meant we had ultimately a controlled dynamic situation rather then SWG's mostly unctrollrd but fundementally static one.


Thanks, this is what I hadn't appreciated from what you were saying - the element of control. The lesson that's easy to learn from the examples I was referring to is that being a god-like Creator, and then leaving your Creation to get on with becoming a world just doesn't work; it requires lots and lots of hand-holding and actually often rather low-level direction and tweaking (I'm talking in terms of tweaking players here, of course, not merely re-balancing classes etc) to make it work.

Control and responsibility are the key elements - the game creators must have complete control ("almost" might be good enough, but I haven't seen enough examples to know either way yet?), and must fuilfil their responsiblity by exercising this control to shape the game - they can't be lazy about it.

Quote

We also had many different sides that had to both cooperate and compete in the forms of the meta players which would allow plitics to evolve and change over time.  The fact that the meta-players were designed witha  need for their enemies in particualr woudl have lended to poltiics over simplistic outright war-fare.


Sounds interesting; how much did you look at the classic "political" MUD's? (or those with strong political elements in a wider game; particularly old/popular examples that spring to mind are Achaea and Avalon).

I know very little about DSO2, and the handful of quotes I've got e.g. "DSO 2 plans to do not only the above, but actually overhear players boasting about killing other players, and lower their notoriety just for bragging about it" sound like they come from an early game-design doc before it had a run-in with reality, so it's very hard to guess what it might have been Sad.

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

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #56 - Posted 2004-01-07 05:31:55 »

Actually our inspiration for the meta-game was a cross between a classic old multi-player trading game and Hamurabi.  The trading game startd as a baord game called Stellar Conquest, had many versions on computer,  but arguably the most successful was a  multi-terminal mac version from Delta-tao. (I forget the name but I could go look it up.)

The quote you gave is kind of true and kidn of not.  We were puprosefully cagey beause this was a rather revolutionary way of looking at things and we didn't want to give it away before launch.

Since we never launched though...

It had an information propegation model based on classic meme theory. A killing creates a meme in the meme list of witnesses.  Bartenders and other "social robots" trade memes with players, which is also a primary info source for players.  An entire town has a single meme repository and, as negative memes accumulate in a town repository about an individual,  the NPCs become less friendly to that PC.

The meme system ALSO partly sovled the "the answer is on web-site..."  problem.  We had a way of trackign what wsa PC info and knowing it as a player didnt do you any good.  You had to go through the actions to accumulate the knowledge as a PC.  Now PCs could trade memes so you coudl get the info/quest key from someone else but you at least had to have an in-game interraction to do it.

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 Orangy Tang

JGO Kernel


Medals: 56
Projects: 11


Monkey for a head


« Reply #57 - Posted 2004-01-08 16:34:32 »

ChrisM: I sent you a PM a while ago asking about whether you could get this hosted on one of your lab machines, yet havn't heard back. I can only guess you don't check your messages Huh

Is there any word either way on that? Without a server I get a nagging feeling that I'm wasting my time, and I don't have the spare hardware to set one up myself.

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

Senior Member




my game will work, my game will work!


« Reply #58 - Posted 2004-01-08 17:40:28 »

My apologies for coming in late, but there was a company that was doing a shopping mall a while back that had a 3d universe where you could walk your avatar around and talk to others...that was it.  It used a VRML plugin of sorts.  
activeworlds.com comes to mind as someone who expanded this idea into a real "mall"

Great idea though, can't count the number of times in muds or EQ where a group does nothing but chat for hours.

MickeyB

Current Project: http://www22.brinkster.com/mbowles/
kul_th_las
Guest
« Reply #59 - Posted 2004-01-08 23:27:55 »

Orangy, dont' worry about the server. I've got a machine lined up that's perfect for this.

It's always powered-on, always-on Internet connection, and a cable modem. It should be more than adequate for the bandwidth needs/JDK requirements. I've been running it like this for months, so I can safely say that I've got a machine to spare.

Please don't feel that you're wasting your time. I've been following this idea since the first post, and I'm still with you, willing to lend whatever support I can.
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