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  Initial bit of pre-proposal fishing...  (Read 2427 times)
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Offline BadgerKing

Senior Newbie




Java games rock!


« Posted 2005-02-28 20:49:39 »

Hello everybody!

Firstly, a huge thank you in advance to anyone who reads all this (or even tries to!).

I'm posting this introduction to what I intend to turn into a full and detailed project proposal.  Whilst you are all reading this, and probably telling me how silly it all is, I shall be knocking up some high level UML class diagrams in a bid to show you how serious I am about this project.

It is going to be a fairly strange project proposal, in so much as my first step is going to be to try and find a good, reasonably experienced lead programmer.

I myself, although familiar with some Java (mainly servlets and EJB), have no games programming experience at all.  I could only work on my own project as a designer, and assistant developer.  To start with, at least.  Until I find my feet.

So, I'm looking to see if there are enough people out there who like the sound of this, and don't mind working on a project where the initiator is a newless cluebie...

I'm planning on having a nice, sedate, and very open approach to this project.  Although I realise that what I am about to propose sounds very ambitious, there are large sections which can be worked on independently of each other, or added in much, much later.  No rush, no hassle, no pressure.

So, let me know what you think.  And if you think it's a bunch of crap, then just wait till you see my next idea...or the one after that... Wink

(Note: Will also need graphics and sound people...oh yes, very much so...)

1.0 "Warbands" - Game Introduction

The small but proud nation of Garamandor finds itself in the grip of chaos.  The king has been murdered, the heirs have vanished and the nobility bicker amongst themselves as they vie for power.  

Lawlessness is on the rise, and reports of bandit attacks on small villages and unprotected travelling merchants are increasing dramatically.  The people are becoming fearful, and the dukes and barons find themselves forced to increase military patrols in their lands to safeguard their holdings.

Where do you fit into all of this? Who are you?  How have you come to be where we find you now? Are you a fallen member of the nobility; disgraced, stripped of your titles and cast out? Maybe you are a foreigner, exiled from a distant realm, lost and confused in this new land? Or are you just a victim?  Reduced to nothing by outrageous fortune and eking out a living any way you can.  How did you come to find yourself part of a murderous, despicable and disorganised rabble of bandits and thugs?

Whoever you are, it doesn't matter.  Your past is nothing.  Your future is all that matters.  Now is your time, now you can carve a name for yourself in this troubled land and take for yourself all that comes your way.  But first you need to assume your rightful place as leader of this dark gathering of criminals...

(The player will now be given the option to play the tutorial)

2.0 Overview

The vision for this game is of a massively multiplayer online game where players control a medieval/fantasy warband, with which they simply seek to cause as much carnage and destruction in the persistent game world as possible.

Warbands will be a squad-level, tactical turn-based combat system set inside a pseudo-real time campaign map.

Players will move their warbands around, using up a daily movement allowance, and have the option of laying waste to AI-controlled settlements and parties, or hunting down other player-led warbands and fighting them.

The combat system will be reminiscent of X-COM/UFO, but more like the more modern Laser Squad Nemesis ( http://www.lasersquadnemesis.com ).  Combat will be handled through a client-server set up.  Players plot their moves for the turn, before submitting to the server.  As soon as the player's opponent has submitted their corresponding turn, the turn-file is sent back to the player who watches the results, and then plots his next turn.  Of course, if the player is fighting the AI, then turns will be almost instantaneous.  

When two human players engage in battle, then one of a pre-set selection of time limits must be agreed upon in the battle setup screen.

Players can replenish warband losses at inns, which are scattered across the map.  They may even have chance encounters on the campaign map with thugs for hire.  Although a player can manage a warband of up to 60 individuals, he will never (i.e. can not) commit more than 30 to any one battle.  No self-respecting warband leader is going to risk putting all of his eggs in one basket.  Besides, if we did let a player get himself into a situation where he lost his entire warband in one go...we might find we get a lot of unhappy players quitting the game quite quickly.  The emphasis is going to be on small, fast, brutal skirmishes, and lightning-quick raids to grab loot, food, weapons, or some sort of quest item (introduced to the community as a sort of treasure hunt periodically to keep interest levels high).

One worry with a game in which players have to wait for turns from another person is that the player will become agitated that he is being left behind as the game world carries on without him.  There are numerous ways to think about handling this.  One thing to bear in mind is that at some point all players will be held up, so in the long run, nobody "gains".  But to assist that feeling, the player is able to divide his maximum of 60 warband members into as many smaller raiding parties as he wishes.  The active player should always aim to have as many fingers in as many pies as possible to keep his excitement levels high.

The game is set in a medieval fantasy land, so combat will be melee-based.  However, it is clear straight away that having ten men standing next to each other taking it in turns to hit each other with a sword could get boring.  So there will be a large emphasis on missile weapons in this world.  Repeating crossbows, hand-cannons, glass globes filled with explosive powder, possibly even magical relics from a time gone by, which have ranged, explosive possibilities.  Not to mention throwing daggers, axes, spears, bows, etc.

The main aim of the game is simply to be the nastiest, dirtiest, scariest, toughest, richest warband in the world.  To climb to the top of the warband ranking ladder, and stay there as long as possible.  How long will it be before some upstart, or alliance of weaker warbands tears you down like a pack of ravenous dogs?

What follows is the introductory portion of my unfinished, first draft, game overview.  There are 50 more pages where this came from... Shocked

3.0 Game World

This game takes place in a medieval fantasy land called Garamandor, which is a small country consisting of one large, fortress-city surrounded by a host of towns, villages, keeps, coach houses, inns, country estates, farms etc.  Merchants and assorted other travellers ply the roads and armed tax-collectors and military patrols roam between the towns and villages, going about their appointed duties.

Vicious groups of unscrupulous bandits infest the countryside, raiding villages and outposts, attacking merchants and ambushing patrols.

The authorities try their best to respond to bandit attacks, increasing local patrols for a period after each raid.  Merchants begin to employ more guards, better equipped to protect the precious cargos.  Villagers arm themselves with whatever tools or weapons they can find.  So the warbands must grow and become more cunning if they are to continue to thrive on the chaos they create.

The world will have a tangible economy, and the effects of raids and attacks remain visible for some time after they take place.  A raided village for example, will be poor pickings for any other warbands for some time to come as the survivors try to rebuild their economy.

4.0 The Players

The players of this game will assume the roles of leaders of these bands of criminals.  Their aim is to simply become the greatest, most powerful, feared and respected warband in the land.

The NPCs that a player recruits into his warband all have personalities, needs and desires.  Some desire only gold, gold, gold, whereas others are there purely for the blood.  The player will have to ensure he attacks the right targets, and enough of them to provide all the things necessary to keep his warband loyal.  A rebellion in the ranks could be deadly...

The game will be massively multiplayer with a host of human participants controlling the actions of their own warbands in the same game world.  Perhaps the best way to obtain greatness is for these warbands to prey on each other.  Survival of the fittest, or at least, survival of the most cunning.

Players start with a small warband that they acquire by completing the introductory tutorial (The player's in-game persona challenges the leader of his warband, causing a 50-50 split in the ranks).  Or they can skip the tutorial and have a small warband generated for them, as if the introductory battle had just taken place.

The player is then free to do what he will with his warband.  He can hunt down other players and fight them, he can raid towns and villages, he can do what he likes, causing as much carnage as he is able in order to gain a fearsome reputation (scoring points and climbing the warbands ranking ladder).
Offline NPExterminator

Junior Newbie




Java games rock!


« Reply #1 - Posted 2005-02-28 21:46:25 »

bdger king, I have just entered the world of java gaming and I want to start from the ground up. My java level is a lttle more advanced than your but by no means epic. However given that I m eagerly into starting on a proj from the start so please let me know if I can get involved and where you are. my email add is mrtonyakbar@hotmail.com

Sounds like a tight idea
Offline Daire Quinlan

Junior Devvie





« Reply #2 - Posted 2005-02-28 23:30:29 »

Quote

The vision for this game is of a massively multiplayer online game


I was wondering when you were going to mention this :-)

Seriously though, I think something a little less ambitious would be a much better start for your java gaming project. It looks like you haven't even really thought this one through. MMORPG, but also turn based combat ?? how does that work ?? With just an idea like this, you're not going to get many volunteers either.  Its a neat idea, but -everyone- has their own ideas about what their next great game is going to be, myself included, and if you have the technical ability chances are you're working on your own idea, not someone elses :-)

Anyway, I don't mean to rain on your project, as i said, its a neat idea. Maybe do an offline version first or something, see how that goes. With a great single player game with good assets and an interesting idea, you're much more likely to attract attention and volunteers for the next big step !

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

Senior Newbie




Java games rock!


« Reply #3 - Posted 2005-03-01 07:25:44 »

Hi NPExterminator.  Thanks for your reply.  I'm going to give a little bit more thought to the initial direction to take this in, then I'll give you some more details.  However, this may take a day or two, due to work
commitments.  Wait till I make the full project proposal (this is just a fishing trip).  If you still like the direction I'm going in, then we can talk about how to get started.

As for where I am?  Is this an international community?  I'm in Bristol, England.  Where are you?

--------

Hi Daire Quinlan,  I have been thinking this through, and come up with a few issues that need further thinking! Smiley  Such as the bit you point out.  How to mix a turn-based combat system with the campaign map?  That is the thorniest issue by far, yes.  I mentioned a couple of considerations about it in my initial post.

Yes, it's ambitious, and starting with an offline version is a great suggestion, and one I have previosuly considered.  THis project could easily be broken up into a multi-stage affair.  The gameworld can be developed as a living entity, independent of the rest of the game.  The battle engine could be done on its own.  The example game I mentioned (Laser Squad Nemesis) has just a battle engine.  They always planned to add an online campaign, but never got round to it...but for a few years now, the LSN game has had a loyal fanbase, even though it just allows two people to fight, for no real incentive.

1) Build a gameworld
2) Build the basic combat engine (player versus AI)
3) Enhance the combat engine to allow two players to fight.  Sumbitting their turns to the server.
4) Put the gameworld on a server
5) Integrate multiplayer.

Stage 1 and 2 can be done in any order, and by the tiem the combat engine is built, we have a product we can provide to subscribers.

I know that people will want to work on their own projects.  I also know that I should probably forget my idea for now, and volunteer as a junior on somebody elses.  But, you never know, I might just get a team together.  Already had one offer for help.

I think that when I make the full proposal, I will present it, as you advise, as a single player offline game first, but pitch it with a lean towards future multiplayer.

Thanks for your helpful comments.
Offline kevglass

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 211
Projects: 24
Exp: 18 years


Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer


« Reply #4 - Posted 2005-03-01 08:06:51 »

Quote

As for where I am?  Is this an international community?  I'm in Bristol, England.  Where are you?


It seems the area is just brimming with java gaming advocates Smiley

Kev

Online princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 429
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #5 - Posted 2005-03-01 08:59:49 »

I'm in Taunton. But I'm already up to my ears in my own plots and schemes.

Cas Smiley

Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #6 - Posted 2005-03-01 09:29:20 »

Quote

Seriously though, I think something a little less ambitious would be a much better start for your java gaming project.


http://www.stratics.com/content/articles/mmoguide.php

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

Junior Newbie




Java games rock!


« Reply #7 - Posted 2005-03-01 15:24:09 »

I live in L.A.

my email is mrtonyakbar@hotmail.com email me when you are ready to proceed and meanwhile I ll sharpen my skillset regarding java games
Offline Daire Quinlan

Junior Devvie





« Reply #8 - Posted 2005-03-02 12:08:51 »

Quote



I'm not saying its impossible, I know people have done it before, Wurm and Runscape come to mind. However it IS astonishingly difficult. Do a search on sourceforge for 'mmorpg' and check out the thousands of entrys you get back. Now randomly click on some and check out if any of them are in any sort of playable state or even anything more than screenshots of their 'particle system test' and 'terrain engine test' . If you're really lucky you might find one :-)

So we have a self professed 'newless cluebie' and somebody who describes himself as having 'just entered the world of java gaming', it doesn't bode well.

All i was suggesting that in order to avoid disappointment that something a little less ambitious might be a better idea. Maybe even contribute to one of the CRPG projects going on here or something.

D.
Offline BadgerKing

Senior Newbie




Java games rock!


« Reply #9 - Posted 2005-03-02 12:33:47 »

No, no, I totally accepted your advice at face value.  I think that starting with offline single player, but planning to allow for future expansion is the way to go.

I'm going to start small (single player) and build upwards.  Now, if only "real life" would go away and let me finish my design, then I can make the official proposal.

Smiley
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